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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 2



John 2:10 . τότε is wanting in B. L. א .* Min. Verss.; deleted by Tisch. But how easily might it, in itself superfluous, have been passed over before τὸν !

John 2:11 . The τήν before ἀρχήν we must delete, with Lachm. and Tisch., following A. B. L. Λ . Min., Origen, and other Fathers.

John 2:12 . ἔμειναν . A. F. G. Λ . Min. Copt. Arm. Pers. p. 2 :Nonn.: ἔμεινεν . In keeping with the preceding κατέβη and the following ἀνέβη .

John 2:15 . For τὸ κέρμα , B. L. T b . X. 33. Copt. Arm. 2 :Origen: τὰ κέρματα (explanatory).

John 2:17 . δέ is wanting in B. L. X. א . Copt.; bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. Added for connection sake. For καταφάγεται Elz. has κατέφαγε , against all the Uncials, from the LXX.

John 2:22 . After ἔλεγε Elz. has αὐτοῖς , an addition feebly supported.

Verse 1

John 2:1 . Τρίτῃ ] is, with Origen, c. Cels . vi. 30, to be reckoned from the last-named day, John 1:44 , not from the coming to Cana (Ewald), which has not yet been alluded to. Thus we have in all six days from John 1:19 , not seven (see on John 1:41 ), in which number Luthardt would find this symbolic meaning: “It is a Sabbath, as it were, which Jesus here is keeping.”

By τῆς Γαλιλαίας the village of Cana (now not Kafar kenna , as Hengstenberg and Godet still think, but Kana el-Jelîl: see Robinson, III. p. 443; Ritter, XVI. 753 ff.), about three hours N.W. from Nazareth, is distinguished from another Cana; for in John 2:11 ; John 4:46 ; John 21:2 , τῆς Γαλιλαίας is also added, and hence it must be taken as a standing descriptive addition, as if belonging to the name (like our “Freiburg im Breisgau” and the like), and not here as a mere allusion to the arrival in Galilee (B. Crusius). The other Cana lay in the tribe of Asher , Joshua 19:28 (S.E. from Tyre; comp. Robinson, III. 657), and though also to be considered as belonging to Galilee, was yet so near to Phoenicia , that the designation of our Cana as Κ . τῆς Γαλιλαίας , in distinction from the other, is justified on geographical grounds. Ewald distinguishes our Cana from the Kanath lying east of the river district, but the name ( קְנַת , Numbers 32:42 , 1 Chronicles 2:23 ; and Bertheau on the word; Κανάθ LXX., Κανάθα Josephus) does not correspond.

καὶ ἦνμήτηρ , κ . τ . λ .] Mary was already there when Jesus and His disciples arrived in Cana, no doubt arranging and helping (see John 2:3 ; John 2:5 ) in the friend’s house where the wedding was to take place. That shortly before the baptism of Jesus she had come to live at Cana (Ewald), but soon after removed thence to Capernaum (John 2:12 ), is without specific intimation both here and in John 4:46 . That Joseph was not there with her, is in keeping with his entire disappearance (equally unaccountable as it is) from the Gospel narrative after Luke 2:41 ff. It is usually assumed, though without proof (see John 6:42 ), that he was already dead.

Verse 2

John 2:2 . Jesus also and His disciples (those won in chap. 1) were invited, i.e. when, in the meanwhile, He had come to Cana. [133] To take ἐκλήθη as pluperfect is objectionable both in itself (see on John 18:24 ), and also because the disciples had been first won by Jesus on the way. But there is nothing against the supposition that Jesus had journeyed not to Nazareth, but to Cana , on account of the wedding; for He may have known (through Nathanael, Godet thinks) that His mother was there, and because, considering the friendly relations with the family, He did not need a previous invitation. This is at the same time in answer to Weisse, II. 203, who finds an invitation inconceivable; to Lange, who holds that Jesus found the invitation awaiting Him at Nazareth (?); also to Schleiermacher, who makes the invitation to have preceded even His baptism. Of the disciples, Nathanael, moreover, was himself a native of Cana (John 21:2 ). But even apart from this, the friendly invitation of the disciples along with Jesus by no means implies a previous extended ministry of Jesus in Galilee (Schenkel), or even such a ministry at all before His baptism (Schleiermacher).

As to the sing. ἐκλήθη , see Kühner, § 433, 1; Buttmann, N. T. Gk . 110 [E. T. p. 126 ff.].

[133] Schenkel thoughtlessly says, that, “according to our Gospel, Jesus was to all appearance transported to Cana by a miracle of almighty power .”

Verse 3

John 2:3 . Ὑστερήσ . οἴνου ] because a scarcity of wine had occurred , on what day of the marriage feast (it usually lasted seven, Genesis 29:27 ; Judges 14:14 ; Tob 9:1-2 ; Tob 10:1 ) we are not told. [134] The expression ὑστερεῖ τι , something fails or runs short , belongs to later Greek (Mark 10:21 ; Isaiah 51:14 ; Nehemiah 9:21 ; Dios. v. 86).

οἶνον οὐκ ἔχουσι ] they are short of wine, they, i.e. the family of the bridegroom, who provided the feast. They might be disgraced by the failure of the wine. The words, however, are not only an expression of interest, which was all the more reasonable, as the deficiency was accelerated by the invitation of her Son and His disciples; but they also contain, as Jesus Himself understood (John 2:4 ), an indirect appeal for help , as is confirmed by John 2:5 , which was prompted by thoughtful consideration for the credit of the house providing the feast. Some find herein a call to work a miracle . But wrongly, because this would imply either that Mary had inferred from the conception, birth, etc., of her Son, His power of working miracles, which she now expected Him to display, or that Jesus had already, on some previous occasion, though in a narrower circle, done some wonderful works (the former hypothesis in Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Baumgarten, Maier, Godet, Hengstenberg, and many more; the latter in Lücke and others), assumptions which are equally incapable of proof. Wrongly too, because the supply of this want of itself so little suggested the need of a miracle, that the thought of so disproportionate a means occurring to Mary’s mind without any adequate reason, even by the recollection of such traits as are related in Luke 2:49 ff. (Brückner), or by the miracle at His baptism, or by the call of the disciples, or by the declaration of John 1:51 , of which she would be informed at the marriage (Godet), is quite inexplicable, even supposing that she had observed more clearly than any others the change which had taken place in her Son, and had therefore with fuller expectation looked up to Him as the Messiah (Ewald’s view, comp. Tho luck). Far rather did she wish to prompt Jesus in a general way to render help; and this she would suppose He would do in the most natural manner (by furnishing wine), which must have appeared as obvious a way as that of miracle was remote. But Jesus, in the feeling of His divine call (John 2:4 ), intended to render help in a special and miraculous manner; and accordingly, with this design of His own in view, returns the answer contained in John 2:4 . In this way the obscurity of the words is removed (which Lampe and De Wette dwell upon), and at the same time the objection raised from John 2:11 (by Strauss, B. Bauer, Schweizer, Scholten) against the entire narrative, upon the assumption that Mary (from the Logos standing-point of the evangelist, it is supposed!) expected a miracle. Lastly, it is purely gratuitous to suppose that Mary wished to give a hint to Jesus and His disciples to go away (Bengel, Paulus); yet Ebrard (on Olshausen) has brought this view forward again, explaining afterwards “mine hour” of the time of His death, when Jesus would have to leave the marriage (the marriage figuratively representing the period of His earthly ministry). This is not profundity, but a mere playing with exegesis.

[134] The text does not say that it lasted only one day, as Hengstenberg finds expressed in ver. 1, where we are simply told that the marriage began on the third day, which has nothing to do with its duration . Nor is there any hint in the text of “ poor circumstances ,” for it speaks of the master of the feast and of servants. Least of all does the inviting of Jesus’ disciples along with Himself imply poverty. This also in answer to Godet.

Verse 4

John 2:4 . Jesus understands His mother’s wish, but He has in His mind a method of help altogether different from what she meant. He therefore repels her interference, in the consciousness of the call which here is given Him to begin His Messianic ministry of miracles, and holds out the prospect of rendering help at a later period.

τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί ;] a rejection of fellowship ( מַה־לִּי וָלָךְ , Joshua 22:24 ; Judges 11:12 , al.; Matthew 8:29 ; Matthew 27:19 ; Mark 1:24 ; Luke 8:28 ; also in the classics; see Bernhardy, p. 98), here with reference to the help to be rendered, which He Himself, without His mother’s assistance, and independently of her, would accomplish, according to His own divinely determined call and will, and in a miraculous manner. Godet well says: “Sa devise sera désormais: mon père et moi.” Comp. Dorner, Jesu sündlose Vollkommenh. p. 11. The appellation γύναι added to the τί

σοί (which Hofmann thinks should be joined to what follows; but why?) does not contain anything unfriendly (“duriter respondet,” Melancthon), as is clear already from John 19:21 ; see also Wetstein. Comp. John 20:15 . But His not saying μῆτερ followed involuntarily from the consciousness of His higher wonder-working capacity and will, by virtue of which, as an ἀμήτωρ , He rejected any, interference proceeding from feminine weakness, even such as, was presented here before Him in His mother. The remark of Euthymius Zigabenus is not happy (comp. Augustine): “He spoke thus as God;” while that of Epiphanius, Beza, Calvin, and many others, is singular: “His aim was to oppose that future Mariolatry which He foresaw.” Still, the passage tells against that worship. Schenkel says erroneously, quoting Mark 3:21 , “He was at variance with the members of His family.”

ὥρα μου ] can only mean, the moment when it will he for me to help. [135] So also Hengstenberg, in keeping with the context. Jesus, conscious of His close communion with the Father, sees clearly that this His first manifestation of Himself as Messiah in the working of miracles stands, even with reference to the time when it is to begin, in close connection with the divine appointment; and He feels that the moment ( ἡ ὥρα = ὁ καιρός , as in John 16:21 , and often in the N. T. and the classics) for this first Messianio display of power is not yet present when His mother refers to the want of wine. How He was conscious of the exact horas et moras for working, cannot be more precisely determined. Euthymius Zigabenus is substantially right: ἡ τοῦ θαυματουργῆσαι ; and Ewald: “the hour of full Messianic sense of power.” Strangely attributing to Mary thoughts of that kind, Baumgarten Crusius remarks, “the moment of my public appearance as Messiah;” and Godet: “l’heure de l’avénement royal .” Anticipating John 2:11 , Lücke, Tholuck, Brückner, Maier, Baur, Baumgarten render: “the moment of the revelation of my glory .” Comp. Luthardt: “This miracle, as the figurative prolepsis of Christ’s subsequent full revelation of Himself before the eyes of men, was of significance only for that narrow circle, and was intended to lead Jesus on from it into public life,” of which, however, the text contains no hint either in John 2:0 :or elsewhere.

[135] It is an error to suppose that ἡ ὥρα μου in John always signifies the hour of Christ’s death . Its reference depends entirely upon the context , as in John 7:30 , John 8:20 , where it means the hour of Christ’s seizure; and John 13:1 , where the more precise definition is expressly given. Already τινὲς in Chrysostom, Ebrard, and many, take it here as meaning the hour of Christ’s death. Hilgenfeld understands it of the hour of the glorification of Jesus, the culminating point of which was certainly the crucifixion; and that Jesus, according to John, gives expression to the full consciousness of the Logos, and its superhuman independence of all human counsel.

Verse 5

John 2:5 . The words of Jesus last spoken implied that He intended to help, though not immediately. Hence Mary’s direction to the servants, whose service she supposed Jesus would require (perhaps to go and fetch wine). Any allusion to Genesis 41:55 (Hengstenberg) is remote from the text. Ebrard finds it implied in the passage, that Jesus, after He had spoken, John 2:4 , rose and turned towards the servants.

Verse 6

John 2:6 . Ἐκεῖ ] Whether in the feast chamber, or possibly in the vestibule, we are not told.

ὑδρίαι ] water-pitchers for carrying water, John 4:28 ; often in the LXX.; Dem. 1155. 6; Arist. Vesp . 926; Lysistr . 327, 358; Lucian, Dem. enc . 29.

ἕξ ] Not stated as explanatory of the Jewish custom , but as vividly describing the exact circumstances, yet not with any symbolic significance (six, Lange thinks, was the number of poverty and labour).

κείμεναι ] positae, set down, placed there . Comp. John 19:29 ; Jeremiah 24:1 ; Xen. Oec . viii. 19 : χύτραςεὐκρινῶς κειμένας .

κατὰ τὸν καθαρ . τῶν Ἰουδ .] i.e. for the sake of cleansing (the hands and vessels, Matthew 15:2 ; Mark 7:3 ff.; Luke 11:39 ; Lightfoot, p. 974), which the Jews practised before and after meals. On κατὰ , in which, as in 2 Timothy 1:1 , “notio secundum facile transit in notionem propter ” (Kühner, ad Xen. Mem . i. 3. 12). Comp. Winer, p. 376 [E. T. p. 602].

μετρητάς ] In conformity with his Hellenic tendency, John gives the Attic measure, which, however, is equal to the Hebrew בַּת (Josephus, Antt. viii. 2. 9). The Attic metretes contained 12 χόες or 144 κοτύλαι , 1½ Roman amphorae, i.e. about 21 Würtemburg measures (see Wurm, de ponderum etc. rationib. 126), and about 33 Berlin quarts, in weight eighty pounds of water [about 87/8 gallons] (Bertheau, Gesch. d. Israel, p. 77). Comp. Böckh, Staatshaush. I. 127; Hermann, Privatalterth. § 46. 10. Each pitcher contained two or three metretae (which are not, with Ammon, to be referred to a smaller measure, nor even, with Ebrard, to that of an amphora); for as a row of six pitchers is named, ἀνά can, consistently with the context, only be taken in a distributive sense, not in the signification which is, besides, linguistically untenable (see Winer, p. 372 [E. T. pp. 496 7]) of circiter, according to which all six must have held only about two or three metretae (Paulus, Hug). The great quantity of water thus turned into wine (252 378 Würtemburg measures, 106 160 gallons) seems out of all proportion, and is used by Strauss and Schweizer to impugn the historic character of the narrative; but it is conceivable if we consider the character of the miracle as one of blessing (compare the miraculous Feedings), and that we are to suppose that what was left over may have been intended by Jesus as a present for the married pair, while the possible abuse of it during the feast itself was prevented by the presence of the Giver. We must also bear in mind that the quantity was suggested to Him by the six pitchers standing there; and therefore, if the blessed Wonder worker had not merely to measure the amount of the need, He had occasion all the more not to keep within the exact quantity which the circumstances demanded, by changing the contents of only one or two pitchers into wine, and omitting the rest. The blessing conferred by the Wonderworker has also, considering the circumstances, its appropriateness and decorum, in keeping with which He was not to act in a spirit of calculation, but, on the contrary, to give plentifully, especially when, as was here the case, this abundance was suggested by the vessels which were standing there.

Verses 7-8

John 2:7-8 . The transformation is accomplished in the time between John 2:7 and John 2:8 . [136]

αὐτοῖς ] the servants, who obeyed Him according to the direction of Mary, John 2:5 ; not, as Lange’s imagination suggests, “under the influence of a miraculously excited feeling pervading the household.”

ΓΕΜΊΣΑΤΕ ] The most natural supposition from this and John 2:6 is that the pitchers had been empty , the water in them having been used up before the feast began, and were to be filled afresh for use after meat. Observe, moreover, that Christ does not proceed creatively in His miracles, neither here nor in the feedings.

ἕως ἄνω ] This is stated for no other purpose than to give prominence to the quantity of the wine which Jesus miraculously produced.

ἀντλήσατε ] Altogether general, without specifying any particular pitcher, showing that as all were filled, the water in all was turned into wine (in answer to Semler and Olshausen). From the nature of the case, no object is appended, and we therefore can only understand the general word it . The drawing out was done by means of a vessel (a tankard, πρόχοος , Hom. Od . xviii. 397), out of which the master of the feast would fill the cups upon the table (comp. Nitzsch on Hom. Od . η . 183).

The ἈΡΧΙΤΡΊΚΛΙΝΟς , table-master (Heliod. vii. 27), in Petron. 27 triclinarches , elsewhere also called τραπεζοποιός (Athen. iv. p. 170 D E; Beck. Char . II. 252), is the chief of the waiters at table, upon whom devolved the charge of the meats and drinks, and the entire arrangement of the repast. See Walch, De architriclino , Jena 1753. Comp. Fritzsche on Sir 35:1 , where he is designated as ἡγούμενος . He was at the same time the taster of the meats and drinks, and is not to be confounded with the ΣΥΜΠΟΣΊΑΡΧΟς , modimperator, arbiter bibendi , who was chosen by the guests themselves from among their own number (Xen. Anab . vi. 1. 30; Herm. Privatalterth . § 28, 29; Mitscherlich, ad Hor. Od . i. 4. 18).

[136] The commencement of the transformation might indeed be also placed after the drawing out, and consequently after ver. 8, so that only that portion of water which was drawn was converted into wine. But the minute statement of the number and large size of the vessels in ver. 6, by which it is manifestly intended to draw attention to the greatness in a quantitative point of view of the miracle of transformation, presupposes rather that all the water in the pitchers was converted into wine.

Verses 9-10

John 2:9-10 . The parenthesis, usually made to begin with κ . οὐκ ᾔδει , must be limited to οἱ δὲ διάκονοι

ὕδωρ , because not only does the construction run on with καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει , but a reason is also assigned for the φωνεῖ τὸν νυμφίον , κ . τ . λ ., which follows; for had the man known whence the new wine had come, he would not in surprise have called the bridegroom, etc.

τὸ ὕδωρ οἶν . γεγεν .] not the wine which had been water (Luther), but the water which had become wine (and now was wine). Observe the force of the perfect. If the τό had been repeated, this water, as that which had been made wine, would have been distinguished from other water ( aquam, eam dico quae , etc.). See Kühner, ad Xen. Anab . iv. 6. 1. The τό not being repeated, the ὕδωρ οἶν . γεγεν . expresses one complete conception.

πόθεν ἐστίν ] whence it comes, i.e. that it had been drawn out of the water-pitchers. This is evident from the following οἱ ἠνκληκότες τὸ ὕδωρ . The table-master, therefore, cannot have been present at the drawing out of the water, John 2:8 . Concerning the present ἐστίν , see John 1:40 .

The insertion of the words οἱ δὲ διάκονοι , κ . τ . λ ., serves to give prominence to the reality of the miracle .

ᾔδεισαν ] i.e. πόθεν ἐστίν , but they did not know that it was wine which they brought.

φωνεῖ ] He called him to him (comp. John 1:49 ), and said to him. Whether the bridegroom was just outside at the time (as Nonnus represents), or was reclining at the table, or is to be supposed as employed in the chamber, does not appear.

ἀρχιτρίκλ .] a superfluous repetition, but suggested by the parenthesis, as is often the case in Greek.

πᾶς ἄνθρωπος , κ . τ . λ .] spoken under the impression that the bridegroom had kept the good wine in reserve, and had not allowed it to be put forth ( τίθησι ), but now was regaling them with it. We may suppose the words to have been spoken jocularly, in joyous surprise after tasting the wine. The general custom, however, to which the table-master refers, is not elsewhere with any certainty confirmed (the proof in Wetstein is doubtful); nor, indeed, considering the playful way in which it was spoken, does it need any voucher.

ὅταν μεθυσθῶσι ] when they have become intoxicated , so that they can no longer appreciate the goodness of the wine. The word does not mean anything else; not when they have well drunk (Tholuck, De Wette, and several, e.g. Beza, Cornelius a Lapide, and others), because intoxication is the essential though relative conception (see also Genesis 43:34 ; Haggai 1:6 ; Revelation 17:2 ). The man says only in joke, as if it were a general experience , what he certainly may often have observed, and no inference can therefore be drawn from his words that the guests at Cana were already intoxicated; especially as ὥς ἄρτι simply means till now , after they had been drinking so long at the table, in antithesis with the πρῶτον .

Verse 11

John 2:11 . The τὴν before ἀρχήν being spurious (see critical notes), we must translate: This, as beginning of His miracles, did Jesus at Cana . See on John 4:54 , and Bernhardy, p. 319; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg . p. 510 D. From this it is clear that it is the first miracle in general , and not merely the first of those that were wrought in Cana (John 4:46 sqq.), that is meant (so already τινές in Chrysostom and Paulus). This concluding remark of John’s simply serves to express, on occasion of the first of them, the teleological nature of the miracles of Jesus generally.

τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ ] not “His excellent humanity” (Paulus), but His divine Messianic majesty , as in John 1:14 . The miracles of Jesus, as He Himself testified, had for their object not only the δόξα of the Father , but also His own , John 11:4 (in opposition to Weizsäcker, Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol . 1857, p. 165). The former is really the latter, and the latter the former. Observe how in John (as well as in the Synoptics) Jesus begins His Messianic ministry in Galilee , even in this His first miracle.

καὶ ἐπίστευσαν , κ . τ . λ .] and His disciples became believers in Him . The faith which they already had (John 1:35-51 ) was only introductory, belonging to the commencement of their connection with Jesus; now, upon the basis of this manifestation of His glory (John 1:14 ), came the more advanced and fuller decision, a new epoch in their faith, which, moreover, still continued susceptible of and requiring fresh additions even to the end (John 11:15 , John 14:11 ). There is no hint here of any contrast with the unbelief afterwards manifested by the people (Brückner), nor can this be inferred from John 2:12 ff. Comp. Weiss, Lehrbegriff , p. 102.

Note .

This turning of the water into wine must be regarded as an actual miracle , for John as an eye-witness (see on John 1:41-42 ), in the most simple and definite manner (comp. John 4:46 ), represents it as such, and as the first manifestation of the divine glory dwelling in Christ in the direction of miraculous working (not as portraying beforehand the heavenly marriage supper, Revelation 19:8 , Matthew 26:29 , as Hofmann, Schriftbeweis , II. 2, p. 407, and Baumgarten, p. 99, take it). Every exposition which explains away the miraculous element contradicts the words and the purpose of St. John, infringes on his credibility and capacity for simple observation, and places even the character of Jesus in an ambiguous light. The physical inconceivability , which nevertheless is not identical with absolute impossibility (against Scholten, p. 215), pertains to this work in common only with every miracle; [137] and hence the appeal made to a supposed accelerated process of nature (Olshausen, comp. already Augustine and Chrysostom), which must have been at the same time an artificial process, is only a superfluous crutch on which the representation is made to lean, inapplicable to the other miracles, and as arbitrary as it is (in the absence of a vine) inadequate. Its inconceivableness in a telic point of view John himself removes in John 2:11 ; and remembering its design as there stated, the miracle was not an act of luxury (De Wette), but of abounding human kindness in blessing (see on John 2:6 ). To suppose another design, viz. that Jesus wished to show how opposed He was to the strict asceticism of the Baptist (Flatt, Olshausen), is pure and arbitrary invention, in opposition to John 2:11 . Further, the fact that the Synoptics have not the narrative really amounts to nothing, because John selected and wrote independently of the synoptical series of narrations; and as they have not the first, so neither have they the last and greatest miracle. We must, after all, abide by the simple statement that there was a change of substance (John 2:9 ), effected by the power of Jesus over the sphere of nature, in conformity with a higher law of causation. Granting this power, which the whole range of the Gospel miracles demands, there is no ground whatever for contenting oneself (against John 2:9 ) with the assumption of a change of attributes merely in the water, whereby (after the analogy of mineral waters) it may have received the colour and taste of wine (Neander). It is levity of an equally objectionable kind, and a wronging of a writer so serious as John, to explain what occurred as a wedding joke , as Paulus (Jesus had a quantity of wine brought into the house, and had it mixed with water out of the pitchers and put upon the tables, John 2:4 having been spoken jestingly) and Gfrörer (Mary brought the wine with her as a wedding present, and during the feast, at the right moment, she gave her son a sign to bring out and distribute the gift) have agreed to do. Thus, instead of the transmutation of the water, we have a frivolous transmutation of the history. [138] Lastly, the mythical explanation contradicts the trustworthiness and genuineness of the Gospel. According to it, fact is resolved into legend a legend derived from the analogies of the histories of Moses (Exodus 15:23 sqq.) and Elisha (2 Kings 2:19 ), as Strauss will have it, or from a misunderstood parable, as Weisse thinks; while De Wette without, however, adopting the mythical view, but not fully recognising the historic character of the narrative regards the dispensing of the wine as an act corresponding with the dispensing of the bread, and both as answering to the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper. This he holds to be the most appropriate explanation; but it is all the more inept, because there is not the least hint of it in the narrative, and because the Lord’s Supper is not once mentioned in John. According to Schweizer and Weisse, the paragraph is to be reckoned among certain interpolations which have been added to the genuine Johannean nucleus, an arbitrary assertion; whereas Baur, whose criticism rejects the whole Gospel, transforms the narrative into an allegory, wherein water is the symbol of the Baptist, wine of the Messiah’s dignity ( i.e . the bridegroom’s), and the transformation typifies the transition from the preparatory stage of the Baptist to the epoch of Messianic activity and glory (comp. Baumgarten Crusius, p. 82); while Hilgenfeld ( Evang . p. 248) looks upon the turning of the water into wine as intended as a counterpart to the synoptical narrative of the temptation, and to illustrate how Jesus was raised above all narrow asceticism. Thus, too, some of the Fathers (Cyril, Augustine, and many others) allegorize the miracle, without, however, surrendering its objective and historical character as a fact; whereas Ewald, while renouncing any investigation into the historic probability of the narrative, regards it as the gilding of the idea of the beneficent power of the Messianic spirit, whereby even now water ought to become wine. Luthardt holds, indeed, the objective historical reality, but regards the manifestation of the δόξα to have been in contrast with that given in the O. T ., the gift of God occupying the place of the command, and the higher life, which Jesus the bridegroom makes known in this miracle, the place of outward purification. Similarly Scholten, p. 164. But while the representation of Christ as bridegroom is quite remote from the narrative, John gives no support or sanction to the idea that the miracle was symbolical, either in the remark of John 2:6 ( κατὰ τ . καθαρ . τ . Ἰουδ .) or in that of John 2:11 ( ἘΦΑΝΈΡ . Τ . ΔΌΞ . ΑὐΤΟῦ ).

The miracle at Cana is, finally, the only one to which the Synoptics have no one that corresponds. Therefore the miracles in John are all the less to be used in support of the assertion that, in John, Christ, after the manner of the Gnostics, announces another and higher God than the God of the O. T. (Hilgenfeld, Lehrbegr . 281). According to Keim, the marriage in Cana, the first great beaming forth of the divine glory, stands in John as “a loving portrait” of Christ, and designedly in place of the painful temptation in the wilderness. But this glory beamed forth still more grandly and more significantly in its bearing upon the Saviour’s whole ministry in the threefold triumph over Satan.

[137] It does not become more conceivable by Lange’s fiction ( L. J. II. p. 479), which is quite unsupported by the text, viz. that the company were elevated to a higher tone of feeling, as the disciples were at a later time upon the mount of transfiguration, and that Christ, from the full spring of His highest life-power, made them drink creatively “in the element of the higher feeling.”

[138] Ammon also, L. J. I., falls back upon an erroneous idea and representation on the part of John: “What took place in the intervening time, when the water-pitchers were empty, and soon after were filled to the brim, is unknown to us.” The miracle is thus reduced into a natural event behind the scenes. Schenkel simply enough removes every miraculous element from the history, as being legendary adornments.

Verse 12

John 2:12 . Μετὰ τοῦτο κατέβη , κ . τ . λ .] Direct from Cana? or from Nazareth (John 1:46 ), whither Mary, Jesus, and the disciples had returned? The latter must be assumed as the correct view, because the brothers of Jesus (His brothers literally , not His cousins , as Hengstenberg again maintains; see John 7:3 ; John 7:5 , and on Matthew 1:25 ; Matthew 12:46 , 1 Corinthians 9:5 ) had not been with Him at the wedding. It is quite arbitrary to suggest that they were accidentally omitted to be mentioned in John 2:2 (Baumgarten Crusius, following earlier commentators).

κατέβη ] down , for Καφαρναούμ (to be written thus, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, in John likewise) lay on the shore of the lake of Tiberias .

αὐτὸς κ . ἡ μήτηρ , κ . τ . λ .] A common ἐπανόρθωσις (correction). See Fritzsche, Conject . p. 25; ad Matt . p. 420; ad Marc . p. 70; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Crit . p. 50 E. John does not tell us why they went down to Capernaum [139] (Matthew 4:13 is in a totally different connection). The settlement of the family at Capernaum is left uncertain by John; the fact had but little interest for the Judaistic standing-point of his history, and is neither recorded here, as Ewald maintains (the κ . ἰκεῖ ἔμειναν οὐ πολλ . ἡμ . which follows is against this), nor even presupposed (Wieseler, De Wette, Tholuck), for the mention of the brothers who were not with Him at the marriage forbids this. Nor is the settlement attested either by John 4:3 ; John 4:43 , or by John 6:17 ; John 6:59 .

οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας ] because the Passover was at hand, John 2:13 , which Jesus (and the disciples, John 3:22 ) attended; not, therefore, on account of misconstruction and hostility (Ewald).

[139] Hengstenberg supposes that John mentions this only from a feeling of personal interest; that he himself had belonged to Capernaum, and Jesus had stayed at his father’s house. An utterly groundless conjecture, made for the sake of harmonizing (John 1:45 ; comp. Luke 4:38 , Mark 1:29 ), according to which we should have to regard Bethsaida as a suburb of Capernaum; see, on the contrary, Matthew 11:21 ; Matthew 11:23 .

Verses 13-16

John 2:13-16 . Καὶ ] Simply the continuative and, i.e . during this short stay at Capernaum.

For John 2:14-16 , see on Matthew 21:12-13 .

πάντας ] refer not to the persons , but to the animals named immediately afterwards with the τὲ

καί , i.e. not only, but also (see Bäuml. in loc ., and Partik . 225). Thus the unseemliness which some have found in the use of the scourge, certainly intimated by the connection of ποιήσας and ἐξέβαλεν , and along with it every typical explanation of the scourge (Grotius, Godet, and others regard it as the symbol of God’s wrath), disappear.

Ἐξέχεε ] uncontracted form, to be taken as the aor . Lobeck, ad Phryn . p. 222.

τὸ κέρμα ] coin , especially small coin. Mostly in the plural in Greek. The singular here is collective .

καὶ τοῖς τὰς περιστερὰς , κ . τ . λ .] He could not of course drive out the doves like the other animals, and He therefore says to those who sold them, ᾄρατε ταῦτα ἐντεῦθεν . John is here more minute than the Synoptics; but we must not regard the words as indicating greater mildness towards the sellers of the doves, because these were used by the poor (Rupertius, De Wette). The command μὴ ποιεῖτε , κ . τ . λ ., addressed to them applied to all .

τοῦ πατρός μου ] Admiranda auctoritas , Bengel; the full consciousness of the Son manifested itself already (as in Luke 2:49 ) in the temple.

οἶκ . ἐμπορίου ] a house of, a place of, merchandise . The holy temple house had, in the Lord’s view, become this, while the temple court had been made a place of buying and marketing ( ἐμπόριον , Thuc. i. 13. 3; Dem. 957, 27; Xen. de red . iii. 3; Herodian. viii. 2. 6; Ezekiel 27:3 ; Isaiah 23:17 , not the same as ἐμπορία ). Possibly Zechariah 14:21 was in His thoughts.

Verse 17

John 2:17 . Ἐμνήσθησαν ] At the very time of the occurrence, and not (as Olshausen asserts) after the resurrection, a circumstance which has to be stated in John 2:22 (comp. John 12:16 ).

The text quoted is Psalms 69:10 ; the theocratic sufferer in this psalm, a psalm written during the exile, is a type of the Messiah; see John 15:25 , John 19:28 ff. Comp. Romans 15:3 ; Romans 11:9 ; Acts 1:20

καταφάγεταί με ] will devour or consume me , is to be understood of a power which wears one out internally , Psalms 119:139 , not to be referred to the death of Jesus (Bengel, Olshausen, Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf . p. 111; Luthardt, comp. Brückner), for the disciples could at that time have thought of anything but His death; comp. John 2:22 . In this wrathful zeal, which they saw had taken hold of Jesus, they thought they saw the Messianic fulfilment of that word in the psalm, wherein the speaker declares his great zeal for God’s house, which was yet to wear him out. The fulfilment relates to the ὁ ζῆλος τοῦ οἴκου σου , whereof the καταφάγεται indicates only the violence and permanence; and there is therefore no ground for imagining already any gloomy forebodings on the part of the disciples (Lange). For ἐσθίειν and ἔδειν , used of consuming emotions (as in Aristophanes, Vesp . 287), see Jacobs, ad Anthol . VI. 280; Del. epigr . p. 257. As to the future φάγομαι , which belongs to the LXX. and Apocrypha, see Lobeck, ad Phryn . p. 327; like the classical ἔδομαι , it never stands as present (against Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Godet, and others).

Note .

If there was but one cleansing of the temple, then either John or the Synoptics have given an erroneous narrative. But if it happened twice , [140] first at the beginning, and then at the end of the Messianic ministry of Jesus, a supposition which in itself corresponds too well to the significance of the act (in so far as its repetition was occasioned by the state of disorder remaining unchanged after so long an interval had elapsed) to be inconceivable (as has been asserted by some), or even merely to pass the limits of probability, it is then, on the one hand, conceivable that the Synoptics do not contain the first cleansing, because Christ’s early labours in Jerusalem do not belong to the range of events which they generally narrate; and, on the other hand, that John passes over the second cleansing, because he had already recorded the Messianic ΣΗΜΕῖΟΝ of the same kind. We are not therefore to suppose that the one account is true, and the other false, but to assume that the act was repeated . See on Matthew 21:12-13 . So the Fathers and most subsequent writers; also Schleiermacher, Tholuck, Olshausen, B. Crusius, Maier, Ebrard, Luthardt, Riggenbach, Lange, Baumgarten, Hengstenberg, Godet, etc. Others , on the contrary, admitting only one temple-cleansing, decide in favour, some of the synoptical account (Strauss, Weisse, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Scholten, Schenkel [141] ), and some in favour of John’s (Lücke, De Wette, Ammon, Krabbe, Brückner, Ewald, Weizsäcker, and many others; Bäumlein hesitatingly). The latter would be the correct view, because John was an eye-witness; although we are not to suppose, as Baur, in keeping with his view of the fourth Gospel, thinks, that John derived the facts from the Synoptics, but fixed the time of the transaction independently, in consistency with the idea of reformatory procedure. See also Hilgenfeld, who traces here the “idiosyncrasy of John,” who, with reference at least to the knowledge of the disciples and the relations of Jesus to the Jews, begins where the Synoptics leave off; and thus his narrative is merely a peculiar development of synoptical materials. Besides, upon the supposition of two distinct cleansings of the temple, any essential difference between the two acts themselves is not to be discovered. Luthardt, indeed, following Hofmann (comp. Lichtenstein, p. 156), thinks that, in the synoptical account, Jesus as prophet protects the place of divine worship , but that in John’s He as Son exercises His authority over the house ; but the ὁ οἶκός μου of the Synoptics, as the declaration of God, exactly corresponds with ΤῸΝ ΟἾΚΟΝ ΤΟῦ ΠΑΤΡΌς ΜΟΥ in John as the word of Christ. The distinction, moreover, that the first cleansing was the announcement of reformation , and the second that of judgment (Hengstenberg), cannot be made good, separates what is clearly connected, and attaches too much importance to collateral minutiae. This remark in answer to Godet, who regards the first cleansing as “ un appel ,” the second as “ une protestation .” The essential element of difference in John’s account lies in the very striking declaration of Jesus about the temple of His body, John 2:19 , of which the Synoptics have not a word, and which possesses great prophetic significance as uttered at the very outset of His Messianic ministry, but has no special fitness at the end of it. Jesus accordingly did not utter it again at the second cleansing, but only at the first, though upon that second cleansing also, occasion was given for so doing (Matthew 21:23 ). It is this very declaration, however, which marks unmistakeably the Messianic character of the appearance of Jesus in Jerusalem from the very first (against Weizsäcker, Evang. Gesch . p. 260). Chap. John 7:3 is not the first place which treats of that Messianic appearance.

[140] “Whether it took place before or after, once or twice, it takes nothing from our faith.” LUTHER.

[141] Comp. also Luther: “It seems to me that John here skips over the three first years.”

Verses 18-19

John 2:18-19 . The same question as in Matthew 21:23 , but how totally different an answer! It cannot therefore be used to confirm the supposed identity of the two events.

ἀπεκρίθ .] As in Matthew 11:25 (which see), and often, denoting what is said upon occasion of Christ’s act, and with reference thereto .

τί σημεῖον ] If what He had done was to he recognised as appropriate to Him, it must be based upon a really prophetic ἐξουσία , and consequently upon divine authorization; in proof of this, they desired a special miraculous sign or act, accrediting Him as a divine messenger , and which was to be wrought by Him before their eyes, אוֹת , σημεῖον τῆς αὐθεντίας , Euthymius Zigabenus; comp. John 6:30 .

δεικνύεις ] dost thou bring before us, lettest us see; comp. Hom. Il. v. 244: Κρονιων

δεικνὺς σῆμα βροτοῖσιν . Od. γ . 174.

ὅτι ] εἰς ἐκεῖνο , ὅτι , on, John 9:17 , John 11:51 , John 16:9 ; Mark 16:14 ; 2 Corinthians 1:18 ; 2 Corinthians 11:10 . See Fritzsche ad Matt. p. 248. Consequently in the sense of quatenus, see Ast, Lex. Plat. II. 485.

ποιεῖς ] The present denotes the act just performed, but which is still regarded as present.

John 2:19 . λύσατε τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον , κ . τ . λ .] refers, according to the apostle’s explanation in John 2:21 , to the death and resurrection of Jesus, so that he consequently means His body as the dwelling-place of God, who was in Christ (John 10:38 , John 14:10-11 ; John 14:20 , John 17:21 , John 1:14 ), i.e. as the antitype of the temple, [142] and, in conformity with this, His violent death as the pulling down , and His resurrection as the rebuilding of it. We must therefore, according to John, suppose that Jesus, with the temple buildings before Him, to which He points ( this temple here ), sees in them the sacred type of His body, and with that directness of expression characteristic of the old prophets (such as we often see, e.g ., in Isaiah), straightway substitutes the image for that which it represented, so that these sharp, vivid strokes, dashed down without any explanation, contain, as in a pictorial riddle, a symbolic and prophetic announcement of His resurrection, [143] as in Matthew 12:39 ; Matthew 16:4 , and in keeping with what we are to assume throughout, viz. that He never foretold His resurrection in so many words, but only by figures and in obscure terms. The thought accordingly, divested of this figurative envelope, is, according to John, no other than this: kill me, and within three days ( ἐν , see Bernhardy, p. 209; Winer, p. 361 [E. T. p. 482]) I will rise again . The imperative in the protasis is not permissive merely, which weakens the emotion, but contains a challenge; it springs from painfully excited feeling, as He looks with heart-searching gaze upon that implacable opposition which was already beginning to show itself, and which would not be satisfied till it had put Him to death. Comp. πληρώσατε , Matthew 23:32 . John’s explanation is adopted by the ancients, and among modern expositors by Kuinoel, Tholuck, Hildebrand (in Hüffell’s Zeitschr . II. 1), Kling (in d. Stud. u. Krit . 1836, p. 127), Krabbe, Klee, Olshausen (at least as to their inner meaning, while the words, he thinks, were apparently simply a repelling paradox), Maier, Hasert ( Ueb. d. Vorhersagungen Jesu von seinem Tode , Berlin 1839, p. 81), Hauff in the Stud. u. Krit . 1849, p. 106 ff.; Brückner (against De Wette), Laurillard, de locis ev. Joh. in quibus ipse auctor verba J. interpretat. est , Lugd. B. 1853, p. 1 ff.; Baumgarten, Maier, Baeumlein, Godet, even Luthardt (though bringing in a double meaning; by putting Jesus to death, Israel destroyed itself as the house of God, while the resurrection was the setting up of God’s spiritual house; comp. Ebrard, Lange, Riggenbach, Hengstenberg); similarly Baur, p. 137 ff., who, however (and with him Hilgenfeld), traces the expression to synoptic elements much later in point of time. But John’s explanation is abandoned, since the time of Herder ( vom Sohne Gottes ) and Henke ( Programm 1798, in Pott, Sylloge , I. p. 8 ff.), by Eckermann, Paulus, Lücke, Schweizer, Bleek, B. Crusius, Ammon, Strauss, Gfrörer, De Wette, Ewald, Weizsacker, Schenkel, Scholten, and many others, who, with various modifications, explain the pulling down of the temple of the decay of the old temple religion , and the setting up in three days of the new spiritual theocracy so soon to be established; thus the imperative is taken by some as a challenge (as above) (Herder, Henke, Ewald), by some again as a concession (Schenkel), and by some as an hypothesis (Lücke, B. Crusius, De Wette: “Granted that ye destroy”) according to De Wette, with allusion perhaps to the late partial pulling down of the temple by Herod. But (1) before we can assume that John of all men, who yet elsewhere was so deeply imbued with the mind of Jesus, wholly misunderstood Him, and that too at the time when he wrote his Gospel, when, consequently, the old degenerate religion had been long ago overthrown, and the new spiritual sanctuary long ago set up, the most decisive evidence of such a misunderstanding is requisite. If this be not forthcoming, we are bound to seek the true , interpretation of any saying of Jesus from him , and especially in this case , where he distinctly gives his own explanation in opposition to the misconception of the Jews, and gives it not only as his own , but as that of the rest of the disciples likewise. (2) The accusation in Matthew 26:61 , Mark 14:58 (comp. Acts 6:13 ) is no argument in favour of the modern interpretation, for it is based only upon the Jewish misunderstanding of the saying. (3) The place and occasion alike suggested the temple as an illustration , but they determined nothing as to the subject-matter of the comparison; a σημεῖον in general was asked for, not one bearing specially upon the temple . (4) The setting up of the spiritual temple was an event not at all dependent upon a previous λύειν of the old economy; on the contrary, a beginning had already been made, the further development of which was not the effect but the cause (the fermenting element) of the dissolution of the old theocracy: hence the relation of the protasis to the apodosis of the sentence would be neither logically nor historically correct. (5) This spiritual building up was so far from being a momentary act, and was to so great a degree a gradual development, that neither the conception of a ΣΗΜΕῖΟΝ in general, nor the words ἘΝ ΤΡΙΣῚΝ ἩΜΈΡΑΙς , which belong essentially to this conception, have any corresponding relation thereto; the latter expression, even if taken in a proverbial sense (Hosea 6:2 , not Luke 13:32 ; but see Dissen ad Dem. de cor . p. 362), could only mean “ in a few days ,” and therefore would be quite unsuited to the comparison, and would even have the appearance of grandiloquence. Moreover, as the three days joined to the ἐγερῶ were always the fixed correlative of Christ’s resurrection , this ought itself to have excluded the modern explanation. (6) A new temple would of necessity have been spoken of as another (comp. Mark 14:58 ), but ἐγερῶ αὐτόν can only mean the same; and thus the Jews as well as John rightly understood it, for Jesus did not say ἐγερῶ ἄλλον or ἝΤΕΡΟΝ , or the like. [144] (7) It is only a seeming objection to John’s explanation, that according to N. T. theology Christ did not raise Himself from the dead, but was raised by the Father; comp. John 2:22 ; Acts 2:24 ; Acts 2:31 ff., Acts 3:15 ; Acts 4:10 ; Acts 5:30 , al.; Romans 4:24 ; Rom 8:11 ; 1 Corinthians 6:14 ; 2 Corinthians 4:14 ; Galatians 1:1 ; Ephesians 1:21 ; Colossians 2:12 ; 1Th 1:10 ; 1 Peter 1:21 . Any such contradiction to the Christian mode of view, if real, must have prevented John himself above every one from referring the words to the resurrection. But the objection disappears if we simply give due weight to the figurative nature of the expression, which rests upon that visible contemplation of the resurrection , according to which the Subject that arises, whose resurrection is described as the re-erecting of the destroyed temple, must also be the Subject that erects the temple, without affecting the further doctrine, which, moreover, does not come under consideration, that the causa efficiens, i.e . the actual revivifying power, is the father. Christ receiving His life again from the Father (John 10:17 ) and rising again, Himself raises up by His very resurrection the destroyed temple. See, moreover, Brückner, p. 57, and Godet. Comp. Ignat. Smyrn . 2 : ἀληθῶς ἀνέστησεν ἑαυτόν .

For ἘΓΕΊΡΕΙΝ as used of erecting buildings, see Sir 49:11 ; 3 Esdras 5:44, 8:81; Ael. V. H. 12, 23; Herodianus, 3, 15. 6; Jacobs ad Anthol . XII. p. 75

[142] Considering the oft-recurring representation of the indwelling of God in Christ, it is very far-fetched to derive the temple comparison here from the Valentinian Christology concerning a higher body of the Messiah appropriate for union with the Logos (in answer to Hilgenfeld, Lehrbegr . 247). Seeing, further, that Christ (ver. 16) calls the literal temple “ His Father’s house,” how can the Demiurge be conceived of as the God of the Jews? How can we reconcile with that expression even “a milder Gnosticism” (Hilgenfeld, in the Theol. Jahrb . 1857, p. 516)? Simply to admit that “a weak reference to the highest God was not wanting even in Judaism,” is both incorrect in itself, and altogether unsuited to solve the palpable contradiction.

[143] It is assumed (with Bengel) still in my 4th edition, that Jesus indicated the reference to His body “ nutu gestuve ,” but that the Jews did not notice it. This is inadmissible, because thus the τοῦτον would have no reference whatever to the temple of stone, whereas the entire scene in the temple court shows that this reference is contained in it. Besides, such a gesture would be inappropriate while using an enigmatical word, for it would at once give the key to its solution. The intellectual point would be quite lost.

[144] Appeal is wrongly made to Matthew 10:39 , where ψυχήν denotes earthly life merely, and then αὐτήν life eternal . ψυχήν as well as αὐτήν there means nothing but the soul ; and the enigma of the expression lies not in a different sense being applied to these two words, but in the different meaning as respects duration of εὑρών and ἀπολέσει .

Note .

It cannot perplex us in John’s explanation, that the answer which Jesus gave was rightly understood neither by the Jews nor by the disciples at the time. It was the manner of Jesus, as especially appears in John, to throw out seeds of thought for the future which could not take root at the time . Comp. Chrysostom: πολλὰ τοιαῦτα φθέγγεται τοῖς μὲν τότε ἀκούουσιν οὐκ ὄντα δῆλα , τοῖς δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐσόμενα . Τίνος δὲ ἕνεκεν τοῦτο ποιεῖ ; ἵνα δειχθῇ προεισὼς ἄνωθεν τὰ μετὰ ταῦτα , ὅταν ἐξέλθκαὶ τῆς προῤῥήσεως τὸ τέλοςδὴ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς προφητείας ταύτης γέγονεν . And that from His very first public appearance He foresaw the development of the opposition of this seemingly guileless party, onwards to its goal in the destruction of the temple of His body, can be regarded as an unhistorical presupposition of the Logos doctrine only by one who, on the one hand, can by critical doubts [145] get rid of the early references of Jesus to His death which are contained in the Synoptics ( e.g . Matthew 10:38 ; Matthew 12:39 ; Matthew 10:23 ), and, on the other hand, does not sufficiently estimate Christ’s higher knowledge, and especially His acquaintance with the heart which John unfolds, by virtue of which He apprehends the full intent (John 6:64 ) of this seemingly justifiable requirement of a sign.

[145] Comp. Keim, Geschichtl. Christus , pp. 35, 36, Exodus 3:0 .

Verse 20

John 2:20 . An intended deductio ad ahsurdum . Τεσσαράκ . κ . ἓξ ἔτεσιν ] length of time named without ἐν . Bernhardy, p. 81; Winer, p. 205 [E. T. p. 273]. The great number of years stands emphatically first.

ᾠκοδομήθη ] i.e . so far as it was already complete. The proposed enlargement and renewal of the temple of Zerubbabel was begun in the 18th year of Herod the Great’s reign (autumn of 734 5; see Joseph. Antt . xv.11. 1), and was first completed, according to Josephus, Antt . xx. 9. 7, under Herod Agrippa II., A.D. 64. How the 46 years named here prove that the passover then being held was that of the year 782 (A.D. 29), corresponding with the year of the Baptist’s appearance according to Luke 3:1 (August 781 2), see on Acts, Introd. § 4. Wieseler, p. 166, reckoning onwards from Nisan 735, places the end of the 46th year exactly in Nisan 781; [146] comp. also Wieseler in Herzog’s Encykl . XXI. 546.

[146] Ewald reckons from B.C. 20 to A.D. 28, and, counting only the full intervening years, he gets the 46, thus omitting B.C. 20, the year in which the rebuilding began, and A.D. 28, the year of the passover named in our text. For the rest, it must be remembered (in opposition to Keim’s doubts in his Gesch. J . I. p. 615) that the statement in the text does not necessarily oblige us to suppose an οἰκοδομεῖσθαι without any interruptions . The building had been going on now for 46 years.

Verses 21-22

John 2:21-22 . Τοῦ σώματος ]

[ 147] Genitive of apposition; see Winer, p. 494 [E. T. p. 666].

John 2:22 . οὖν ] represents the recollection as answering to the true meaning of that declaration.

ἐμνήσθησαν ] they became mindful of , John 2:17 ; John 12:16 . The saying came afresh to their remembrance when it was explained as a fact by the resurrection; previously, because not understood, it had been forgotten. With ἠγέρθη comp. ἐγερῶ , John 2:19 .

καὶ ἐπίστευσαν , κ . τ . λ .] As the result of this recollection, they believed the Scripture (felt convinced of the truth of its statements), observing, that is, the harmony of its prophecies concerning the resurrection of Jesus (Psalms 16:10 ; Isaiah 53:0 ; cf. Luke 24:26 ; Acts 13:33 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:4 ; Matthew 12:40 ) with that saying of Christ’s, and the word which Jesus had (then, John 2:19 ) spoken , which now, as fulfilled in the resurrection, presented itself to them in its full prophetic truth. Upon πιστεύειν τινι in St. John, comp. Weiss, Lehrbegr . p. 20.

Schweizer (whom Scholten follows) regards John 2:21-22 as spurious, quite groundlessly. The statement is the exact outcome of St. John’s inmost personal experience.

[147] John explains the saying so simply and definitely, that there is no room for the double meaning which Luthardt, Hengstenberg, and others import into it. With equal simplicity and definiteness does he represent the meaning given as that of Jesus Himself (against Weizsäcker, p. 266). In like manner John 7:38 , John 12:32 , John 21:19 . In none of these passages is any distinction drawn between the sense given and the meaning intended by Jesus Himself.

Verse 23

John 2:23 . Δέ ] introducing a characteristic summary statement (to John 2:25 ) regarding this stay of Jesus at the feast, in order next to give prominence to a special scene, the story of Nicodemus in John 3:1 ff.

ἐν τ . Ἱεροσ . ἐν τ . πάσχα ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ ] The latter clause is not added as an explanation for Greek readers (that should have been done at John 2:13 ), but “He was at Jerusalem during the passover in the feast (engaged in celebrating the feast);” thus the first ἐν is local, the second refers to time, and the third joins on with ἦν , and expresses the surroundings, that in which a person is engaged ( versari in aliqua re ). See, concerning εἶναι ἐν here, Bernhardy, p. 210; Ast, Lex. Plat . I. 623.

θεωροῦντες , κ . τ . λ .] while they beheld His miracles , etc. αὐτοῦ , comp. Lycurg . 28: ταῦτα ἐμοῦ ἐθεωρήσατε , and Kühner, § 528, ad Xen. Mem . i. 1. 11. Euthymius Zigabenus rightly says: ἐκεῖνοι γὰρ ἀκριβέστερον ἐπίστευον , ὅσοι μὴ διὰ τὰ σημεῖα μόνον , ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὴν διδασκαλίαν αὐτοῦ ἐπίστευον . Their faith in His name (as that of the Messiah) did not yet amount to any decision of their inner life for Jesus, but was only an opinion, produced by the sight of His miracles, that He was the Messiah; comp. John 8:30 , John 6:26 . Luther calls it “ milk faith .” Comp. Matthew 13:20 . On τὰ σημεῖα , comp. John 3:2 . None of the miracles of this period has been recorded; John 20:30 , comp. John 4:45 . Consequently, not only the Synoptics, but John also speaks summarily of multitudes of miracles, without relating any of them individually (against Schleiermacher, L. J . p. 201).

Verses 24-25

John 2:24-25 . Αὐτὸς δὲ , κ . τ . λ .] But He on His part , though they on their part, on account of His miracles, believed on Him.

οὐκ ἐπίστ . ἑαυτόν ] an intentional antithesis to the preceding ἐπίστ . εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ . Observe the emphatic ἑαυτόν : it must not be taken as meaning “He kept back His doctrine from them” (Chrysostom, Kuinoel, and many), or “ His work ” (Ebrard); but He did not trust Himself, i.e. His own person , to them; He refrained from any closer personal intercourse with them. Without any such reserve on His part, rather with confident self-surrender, had He given Himself to His intimate Galilean friends. Towards the Jews in Jerusalem, on whom, from His knowledge of the human heart, He could not bestow this self-devotion, because there were wanting in them the inward moral conditions necessary thereto, His bearing was more strange and distant. Observe the imperfects ἐπίστευεν and ἐγίνωσκε .

διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν γινώσκ . πάντ .] because He Himself (as in the following αὐτός ) knew all men , universal. Respecting none did His personal knowledge fail Him with regard to the state of his moral feeling.

καὶ ὅτι , κ . τ . λ .] negative expression of the same thought in the popular form of a still further reason.

ἵνα ] not instead of the infinitive construction (Matthew 3:14 al. ), but the object of the need is conceived of in the form of a purpose which the person needing guidance entertains. Comp. John 16:30 ; 1 John 2:27 .

περὶ τοῦ ἀνθρ .] does not apply to Jesus Himself (“concerning Him as man,” Ewald), but concerning any man with whom He had at any time to do. See Bernhardy, p. 315; Winer, p. 109 [E. T. p. 143].

αὐτός ] of Himself, i.e . αὐτοδίδακτος , Nonnus. See Herm. ad Viger . p. 733; Krüger, Anab . ii. 3. 7; comp. Clementine Homil . iii. 13 : ἀπείρῳ ψυχῆς ὀφθαλμῷ .

τί ἦν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρ .] the inward, though not outwardly indicated capacity, character, disposition, and so on; τὸ κρυπτὸν τοῦ νοῦς , Origen. Comp. Nonnus: ὅσα φρενὸς ἔνδοθεν ἀνὴρ εἶχεν ἀκηρύκτῳ κεκαλυμμένα φάρεϊ σιγῆς . To this supernatural and immediate discernment , as possessed by Jesus, special prominence is often given by John. Comp. John 1:49-50 , John 4:19 ; John 4:29 , John 6:61 ; John 6:64 , John 11:4 ; John 11:15 , John 13:11 , John 16:19 , John 21:17 . It is the life expression of His divine essence (Psalms 7:10 ; Psalms 139:2 ; Acts 15:8 ), like the working of miracles.

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Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 2". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.