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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

John 10

Verses 1-99

10:1.�

The αὐλὴν τῶν προβάτων is the open courtyard in front of the house, where the sheep were folded for the night. The word is used thus in Homer, where the Trojans are compared to ὄϊες πολυπάμονος�Genesis 18:1; cf. Antt. 1. xi. 2). A shepherd, who had access to the courtyard, would naturally come in and go out by the θύρα. See on v. 16; and cf. 18:15, 16 for these terms.


ἀλλὰ�

κλέπτης ἐστὶν καὶ λῃστής, “is a thief and a robber”; he has, presumably, come to steal the sheep and to carry them off with violence. See further on v. 8. κλέπτης is used again of Judas (12:6) and λῃστής of Barabbas (18:40). Cf. Obadiah 1:5 for κλέπται and λῃσταί coming by night.

2. ὁ δὲ εἰσερχόμενος κτλ. On the other hand, a man coming into the court or fold by the door presumably is entitled to do so. He is a shepherd, whose business it is to look after the sheep. He is ποιμὴν προβάτων (Genesis 4:2). The application of this to Jesus comes later. So far the picture is true of all sheepfolds and shepherds.


3. τούτῳ ὁ θυρωρὸς�

φωνεῖ. So אABDLW, as against the rec. καλεῖ (ΓΔΘ). Jn. prefers φωνεῖν to καλεῖν; but cf. Isaiah 40:26, Isaiah 43:1, Isaiah 45:3 for the use of καλεῖν with ὄνομα. See on 1:48.


It is still common for Eastern shepherds to give particular names to their sheep, “descriptive of some trait or characteristic of the animal, as Long-ears, White-nose, etc.”1

4. ὅταν τὰ ἴδια πάντα ἐκβάλῃ. So אcaBDLΘ, but AΓΔ read πρόβατα for πάντα. The rec. has καὶ ὅταν (with ADΓΔ), but אBLWΘ omit καί. It probably came in from καὶ τὰ ἴδια in the preceding verse. “When he has put out (of the fold) all his own”: he is careful to forget none, as he leads his flock to pasture. ἐκβάλλειν suggests a certain measure of constraint, the shepherd thrusting out a sheep that delays unduly in coming forth at his call.

The shepherd, having collected his own flock from the fold, goes before them (ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν). At 3:28 ἔμπροσθεν is used of priority in time; here it refers to space, as at 12:37. His own sheep follow him (cf. v. 27), because they know his voice (cf. vv. 26, 3).

5. They will not follow an�

6. ταύτην τὴν παροιμίαν εἶπ. κτλ. παροιμία occurs again in N.T. only in John 16:25, John 16:29 (as well as in 2 Peter 2:22, where it introduces a quotation from Proverbs 26:11). On the other hand, παραβολή does not occur outside the Synoptists, except at Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 11:19. In the LXX both words are used to translate מָשָׁל: in Ezekiel 12:23, Ezekiel 12:18:2, Ezekiel 12:3, the LXX having παραβολή and Symmachus παροιμία. In Ecclus. 47:17 we find Solomon’s ᾠδαί and παροιμίαι and παραβολαί all mentioned together.

Etymologically παραβολή suggests the placing of one thing beside another (παραβάλλειν) or a comparison, while παροιμία is derived from παρʼ οἶμον, something said “by the way.” But the distinction sometimes put forward, that παραβολή always stands for a fictitious narrative, intended to instruct the hearer, as in the “parables” of Christ, while παροιμία is a “proverb,” a terse saying of wisdom, cannot be sustained. Thus in the passage now under consideration, παροιμία is the description of the allegory of the Shepherd and the Sheep, while at Luke 4:23 the proverbial taunt, “Physician, heal thyself,” is called a παραβολή (cf. Luke 5:36). And in Ezekiel παραβολή is sometimes descriptive of an allegory (17:2f.), and sometimes signifies a “proverb” (16:44, 18:2). Cf. Ecclus. 8:8, 39:3, for the παροιμίαι of the wise and their hidden meaning.


All that can be said about these two Greek words here is that Jn. uses παροιμία, while the Synoptists prefer παραβολή, both doubtless going back to the Hebrew מָשָׁל, a saying or discourse which, either from its terseness or its veiled significance, may need explanation before it can be fully understood.

This παροιμία of the Shepherd and the Sheep was addressed to the Jews (see v. 25): εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς. They, however (ἐκεῖνοι, for clearness as to the persons indicated; see on 1:8), did not understand its application; and accordingly Jesus proceeds to explain how it bears on what he had told them (v. 26). The idea of a shepherd as a spiritual leader was, of course, quite familiar to them (see on v. 26), as were also the ordinary habits of shepherds and sheep. But what they did not realise was the appositeness of the allegory in vv. 1-5, in relation to their question, “Art thou the Messiah?” (v. 24). In particular, what was the Door through which Jesus said the true shepherd must come?

Jesus is Not Only the Shepherd, He is the Door (vv. 7-10)

7. εἶπεν οὖν πάλιν ὁ Ἰησοῦς. οὖν is here more than a mere conjunction; it was because they did not understand that the explanation which follows was given. “Accordingly, Jesus said to them again”; πάλιν also being emphatic (cf. 8:12, 21).

The rec. adds αὐτοῖς after πάλιν, but om. א*B.

ἀμὴν�

ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων must mean primarily the gate by which the sheep enter and leave the αὐλή, and this would also be the gate used by the shepherd. The phrase cannot be translated, however, “the gate to the sheep,” although that is involved. Cf. ἡ πύλη τῶν ἱππέων, “the horse gate” (2 Chronicles 23:15), meaning the gate by which the horses enter. “The sheep gate” (cf. 5:2) in Nehemiah 3:1 is ἡ πύλη ἡ προβατική. Jn. never uses πύλη, while θύρα occurs again 18:16, 20:19, 26.


When Jesus announces here that He is ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων, the primary meaning is that He is the legitimate door of access to the spiritual αὐλή, the Fold of the House of Israel, the door by which a true shepherd must enter. In v. 9 the thought is rather that He is the door which must be used by the sheep.

For ἡ θύρα, the Sahidic supports ὁ ποιμήν, which is adopted by Moffatt as the true reading here. But, apart from the fact that ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων has the weight of MS. authority overwhelmingly in its favour, ὁ ποιμήν would not fit the argument at this point. The Jewish inquirers could not have failed to understand that Jesus claimed to be the Shepherd (see v. 26); their difficulty was as to the interpretation of the Door which was so important in the allegory of vv. 1-5. Verses 7-10 are taken up with the explanation of this: “I am the Door,” a figure verbally inconsistent indeed with the image of the Shepherd entering by the door, but being quite intelligible when taken by itself. See further on v. 9.1

8. πάντες ὅσοι ἦλθον πρὸ ἐμοῦ κλέπται εἰσὶν καὶ λῃσταί. So אcABDLW but א* om. πρὸ ἐμοῦ, with most vss., including the Latin, Sahidic, and Syriac; and Westcott-Hort treat the words as a “Western and perhaps Syrian” gloss. On the other hand, they may have been omitted by scribes to lessen the risk of the passage being interpreted as if it applied to the O.T. prophets.2 πρὸ ἐμοῦ must relate to priority in time (cf., e.g., Nehemiah 5:15). But even if the words be omitted, ἦλθον involves a “coming” in the past; and we must translate “all that came before me are thieves and robbers.”


The reference is, undoubtedly, to v. 1. He who enters the fold by any other way than the “door” is “a thief and a robber.” Now Jesus claims to be the Door of the Fold of the Flock of Israel, and hence it follows that all who sought a way of access to the sheep before He was manifested as the “Door” may be described as “thieves and robbers.” This, nakedly stated, is a harsh saying. But, if the sequence of the argument be followed from v. 23 onward (see on v. 26), it is not so intolerant as it sounds (see also on 14:6). The distinction that is being drawn out is not that between the ministrations of older prophets and teachers, and the perfect ministration of Jesus, but rather (as Chrysostom points out) between those who falsely claimed to be heaven-sent deliverers and the true Messiah Himself.

The methods, e.g., of Judas of Galilee, who instigated the people to revolt against Roman taxation about the year a.d. 6, were violent, and led to murder and robbery (so Josephus, Antt. XVIII. i. 6; cf. B.J. II. viii. 1 and Acts 5:37). According to Acts 5:36, Theudas was an earlier impostor of the same type, although Josephus (Antt. xx. v. 1) seems to put him later, if indeed he is describing the same person. And, apart from Judas and Theudas, we have the testimony of Josephus (Antt. XVII. x. 4, 18) that at the beginning of the first century Judæa was the scene of innumerable risings and disorders, which were caused, in part at any rate, by current misinterpretations of the Messianic idea, associated by the Zealots with militant activities. It is true that we have no knowledge of any Jew before Barcochba (a.d. 135) who claimed explicitly to be the Messiah. But there were many pretenders to the office of leadership of the nation, and to such the words of Jesus, “thieves and robbers,” were fitly applied. And the present tense εἰσίν confirms the view that His allusion was to leaders of revolt who belonged to the first century, some of whom were probably living at the time.


The convincing proof that none of these was the divinely appointed Shepherd of Israel was: οὐκ ἤκουσαν αὐτῶν τὰ πρόβατα, “the sheep,” sc. the true sheep of Israel, who are alone in view throughout this chapter, “did not listen to them” (cf. vv. 4, 5, where it was pointed out that sheep recognise their true shepherd’s voice, while they will not listen to one who is only an impostor). It was just because the Jews who were arguing were not the true sheep of Israel that they did not accept Jesus as their Shepherd (v. 26).

9. ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα. This is repeated from v. 7, a repetition in the Johannine manner (see on 3:16), a slight change being made in the form of the saying. In v. 7 the stress is laid on Jesus being the Door through which a lawful shepherd would enter. But here the thought is simpler. He is the Door through which the sheep must enter the fold, a saying which is not relevant to the allegory of this chapter, but is consonant with the teaching of Jesus as presented by Jn. elsewhere. He is the Door into the spiritual fold, as He is the Way (and the only Way) of access to the Father (14:6; cf. Ephesians 2:18, Hebrews 10:20). The αὐλή (see v. 1) to which He is the Door is the fold of the house of Israel, the Jewish fold; nor has anything been said up to this point which suggests any wider fold (cf. v. 16, where the Gentile fold is indicated for the first time). But the saying I am the Door has always been quoted, from the first century onward, as having as wide an application as the parallel saying I am the Way.

Clement of Rome, commenting on Psalms 118:19, Psalms 118:20, speaks of “that gate (πύλη) which is in righteousness, even in Christ” (§ 48). Ignatius (Philad. 9) speaks of Christ as being θύρα τοῦ πατρός, “through whom Abraham and Isaac and Jacob enter in, and the prophets and the apostles, and the Church.” Both these passages seem to carry an allusion to ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα. So also Hermas (Sim. ix. 12) has: ἡ πέτρα αὕτη καὶ ἡ πύλη ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, the explanation being added that the Rock is ancient, but the Gate recent (καινή), because “He was made manifest in the last days of the consummation,” … ἵνα οἱ μέλλοντες σώζεσθαι διʼ αὐτῆς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν εἰσέλθωσι τοῦ θεοῦ, words which recall the teaching of v. 9. According to Hegesippus (Eus. H.E. II. xxiii. 8), James, the Lord’s brother, was asked by inquirers τίς ἡ θύρα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ; which carries an allusion either to this passage or to a Synoptic precept such as Luke 13:24Matthew 7:13 has πύλης).

Two reminiscences of the Johannine “I am the Door” may be quoted from Gnostic sources. In the hymn in the second-century Acts of John (§ 95), we find the phrases θύρα εἰμί σοι [τῷ] κρούοντί με, ὁδός εἰμί σοι παροδίτῃ. The image of one knocking at a door is not identical with that of one entering by it; but it probably goes back to John 10:9. Again, Hippolytus cites John 10:9 from a Naassene writer in the form ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ πύλη ἡ�John 3:5 as well as 10:9.1

Probably the proclamation “I am the Door” should be taken in connexion with the Synoptic saying about the Narrow Door (Matthew 7:13, Luke 13:24). Jn., however, is careful not to suggest that the Door is narrow, while he implies that there is only one Door. The comparison with the Synoptists suggests that the αὐλή or fold of the spiritual Israel represents the kingdom of God.


διʼ ἐμοῦ ἐάν τις εἰσέλθῃ, σωθήσεται κτλ. διʼ ἐμοῦ comes first for emphasis. The form ἐάν τις expresses the catholicity of the implied appeal (cf. 7:17); any one may enter by this Door. And the sheep which enters the fold thus shall, first of all, be safe (σωθήσεται; see on 3:17). As Jesus had said already, none can snatch His sheep from the Shepherd’s hand (v. 28).

καί εἰσελεύσεται καὶ ἐξελεύσεται. The “going out and coming in” suggests being at home (Deuteronomy 28:6, Psalms 121:8), the daily routine of the sheltered flock (cf. Acts 1:21). Numbers 27:17, which speaks of the shepherd leading the sheep out and bringing them in again, is hardly apposite, for at this point the thought is of the sheep rather than of the shepherd. We must take the words in connexion with καὶ νομὴν εὑρήσει. The sheep which has entered the fold by the door is then safe, and he shall find pasture for his needs. Cf. 1 Chronicles 4:40, where the same phrase εὑρίσκειν νομήν is found. The shepherd leads the sheep to pasture (v. 3 above; and cf. Psalms 23:1, Psalms 74:1, Psalms 95:7, Psalms 100:3, Ezekiel 34:14); but here the thought is of the happiness of the sheep rather than of the duty of the shepherd.

10. ὁ κλέπτης οὐκ ἔρχεται κτλ. The thief (cf. Exodus 22:1) comes only to steal and kill (κλέπτειν and θύειν do not occur again in Jn.) and destroy (see Jeremiah 23:1; and cf. v. 28, οὐ μὴ�


ἐγὼ ἦλθον κτλ., “I have come (on the contrary) that they may have life.” Cf. v. 28 and 14:6. The Fourth Gospel was written that believers might thus “have life” in the Name of Jesus (20:31).

καὶ περισσὸν ἔχωσιν, “and may have it to the full.” This is the περισσεία of Christ’s grace (Romans 5:20). So Xenophon (Anab. VII. vi. 31), περισσὸν ἔχειν, “to have a surplus.”


Jesus the Good Shepherd (vv. 11-30)

11. We have had the allegory of the Shepherd and the Sheep (vv. 1-5); then the explanation of what is meant by the Door (vv. 7-10); now we come to the great proclamation of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, as contrasted with the hireling.

Philo (de Agric. §§ 6, 9, 10) draws out a similar contrast between the�Joh_10 and Philo.


On ἐγώ εἰμι, and the special appropriateness of this phraseology in passages such as this, something has already been said in the Introduction (p. cxviii). Dods quotes, however, a striking parallel from Xenophon (Mem. II. vii. 14), where ἐγώ εἰμι is used only to mark a contrast, the sheep-dog being represented as saying to the sheep, ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι ὁ καὶ ὑμᾶς αὐτὰς σώζων, ὥστε μήτε ὑπʼ�

ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός, “the Good Shepherd,” Pastor bonus. We have already noticed that Philo calls his good shepherd�1 Peter 4:10); ὁ τοῦ μισθοῦ καλὸς�

τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τίθησιν κτλ. He lays down His life for the sheep. All good shepherds are ready to risk their lives in defence of their flock (1 Samuel 17:35, Isaiah 31:4); He who is uniquely the Good Shepherd lays down His life.

For τίθησιν, א*D substitute the more usual δίδωσιν, but τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τιθέναι is a characteristic Johannine expression for the “laying down” of His life by Jesus, occurring again vv. 15, 17, 13:37, 38, 1 John 3:16, and (of a disciple acting as Jesus did) 15:13. It stands in contrast with the Synoptic δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ (Mark 10:45, Matthew 20:28).

The expression τὴν ψυχὴν τιθέναι, “to lay down one’s life,” ponere animam, is not found in the Greek Bible outside Jn. (cf. 15:13, 1 John 3:16). Nor is it a classical phrase, but from Hippocrates, ψυχὴν κατέθετο, “he died,” is quoted by Dods, following Kypke. We have, indeed, in Judges 12:3 (cf. 1 Samuel 19:5, 1 Samuel 28:21), ἔθηκα τὴν ψυχήν μου ἐν χειρί μου, “I took my life in my hand,” i.e. I risked my life; but in Jn. τὴν ψυχὴν τιθέναι means rather “to divest oneself of life,” as at John 13:4 τίθησι τὰ ἱμάτια means “He divests Himself of His garments.”

ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων, “on behalf of the sheep.” The Synoptists in similar contexts have�Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45), but�1 John 2:2. But there is no inconsistency with the catholicity of these great pronouncements; and, lest the allegory might be too narrowly interpreted, mention is made in v. 16 of “other sheep” who must learn to follow the Shepherd.


12. ὁ μισθωτὸς καὶ οὐκ ὢν ποιμήν. The rec. with AΓ has δέ after, אDΔΘ have it before, μισθωτός: om. BLW. Syr. cur. has “the hireling, the false one, ” but this explanatory gloss is not in Syr. sin.

Blass (Gram. 255) suggests that οὐκ is a Hebraism, “since in the case of a participle with the article, the LXX render לֹא by οὐ” (cf. στεῖρα ἡ οὐ τίκτουσα, Isaiah 54:1). But although in v. 1 we have ὁ μὴ εἰσερχόμενος, “any one not coming through the door,” at v. 12 οὐκ is preferable to μή before ὤν, because the hireling is certainly not the shepherd.

ὁ μισθωτός. The term occurs again in the N.T. only at Mark 1:20, where it is used of the “hired servants” in Zebedee’s boat. It occurs often in the LXX, and is not necessarily a term of reproach. In Job 7:2 it is used, as here, of a servant who thinks primarily of his wages. The μισθωτός may be an honest man; but the care of a herdsman who comes for wages to look after a flock of sheep can never be equal to that of their own shepherd, who knows each one and is ready to give his life for theirs. In vv. 1-5 the shepherd was contrasted with the thief, nothing being said about the excellence of the shepherd’s service, the thought being only of his right to enter the fold. Here, in vv. 11-15, we have the contrast exhibited between a good shepherd and a hired man whose only interest in his flock comes from his wages. In vv. 12, 13, the conduct which may be expected from the μισθωτός in the hour of danger is described in terms contrasting strongly with the conduct of the really good shepherd. We must not confuse the “hireling” with the “thief” of v. 1, any more than with the “wolf” of v. 12. He is only blameworthy because his service is perfunctory, as compared with ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός, who is the perfect shepherd.

The centre of the picture is the figure of “the Good Shepherd,” that is, of Jesus Himself. His example of self-sacrifice and watchfulness has always been held up to the “pastors” of His Church (vv. 1-16 form the Gospel for the Ordering of Priests); but to these lesser pastors there is no direct reference in this passage, while the figure of the “hired man” supplies a warning to them all. Cf. 1 Peter 5:2, where those who tend the flock of God are warned that they must not do their work “for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”


οὗ οὐκ ἔστιν τὰ πρόβατα ἴδια, “whose own the sheep are not.” There is no thought here of the owner of the sheep; that does not come into the allegory. But every true shepherd counts the sheep entrusted to his care as his own in a peculiar sense; this the μισθωτός does not feel.

θεωρεῖ τὸν λύκον ἐρχόμενον, “notices the wolf coming.” For θεωρεῖν as signifying intelligent perception, see on 2:23, and cf. 9:8.

The wolf is the great danger to sheep in a country like Palestine (cf. Matthew 10:16); and that “grievous wolves would enter in, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29), was a warning to the Church at Ephesus of which its leaders could not mistake the meaning. The μισθωτός is likely to leave the sheep and run away when the wolf appears. Cf. “ut non derelinquas nos, sicut pastor gregem suum in manibus luporum malignorum” (2 Esd. 5:18). See Zechariah 11:17.


ὁ λύκος ἁρπάζει αὐτά, “the wolf snatches them,” as no enemy could snatch His sheep from the care of Jesus (v. 29). That is because He is “the Good Shepherd.”

καὶ σκορπίζει. The rec. adds τὰ πρόβατα, but this explanatory addition is not necessary, and is not found in אBDW. A consequence of the carelessness of the man in charge of the sheep is described similarly in Jeremiah 10:21 καὶ διεσκορπίσθησαν (cf. Jeremiah 23:1). And in the vision of Ezekiel 34:5, when the shepherds neglected their duty “the sheep became meat to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered.”

For σκορπίζομαι, διασκορπίζομοι, as applied to the “scattering” of the spiritual flock, cf. 11:52, 16:32. One of the marks of the unworthy shepherd of Zechariah 11:16 is τὸ ἐσκορπισμένον οὐ μὴ ζητήσῃ. Cf. also Zechariah 13:7, “smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”


The rec. repeats after σκορπίζει, ὁ δὲ μισθωτὸς φεύγει, but this unnecessary gloss is omitted by אBDLΘ. W om. this, and also the following ὅτι μισθωτός ἐστιν.

13. οὐ μέλει αὐτῷ περὶ τ. π. We have the same construction, descriptive of God’s providence, at 1 Peter 5:7 αὐτῷ μέλει περὶ ὑμῶν. Cf. Tob. 10:5, οὐ μέλει μοι.


14. ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός, repeated after the Johannine manner. Cf. v. 9 for the repetition of “I am the Door”; and see on 3:16.

καὶ γινώσκω τὰ ἐμά. This has been said already, v. 27, κἀγὼ γινώσκω αὐτά. It is one of the marks of a good shepherd; cf. v. 3, where it is noted as a habit of the shepherd to have individual names for his sheep. “The Lord knoweth them who are His” is a sentence of judgment (Numbers 16:5); but it may also be taken as a benediction (2 Timothy 2:19). Cf. Nahum 1:7.


The rec. proceeds καὶ γινώσκομαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἐμῶν (see on 14:21), following AΓΔΘ, but אBDLW read καὶ γινώσκουσί με τὰ ἐμά. This, too, has been said or implied before; cf. vv. 27, 3, 4. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice.

15. καθὼς γιν … κἀγὼ γινώσκω … We have seen on 6:57 that the constr. καθὼς … κἀγώ may be taken in two different ways. In the present passage we may either (1) place a full stop after ἐμά, and then we have a new sentence, sc. “As the Father knoweth me, so I know the Father,” the constr. being the same as that at 15:9, 20:21; or (2) we may treat καθὼς γινώσκει … τὸν πατέρα as explanatory of the preceding words, sc. “I know mine, and mine know me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father,” the constr. then being similar to that at 6:57, 17:21. The A.V. follows (1), the R.V. adopts (2); and both are legitimate renderings of the Greek, and consistent with Johannine usage. The difficulty of (1) is that the words “As the Father knoweth me, so I know the Father,” would seem to be irrelevant to the context, unless we are to connect them with what is said in v. 17, and understand by v. 15, “As the Father knoweth me, so I know the Father, and, because I know Him and His will, I lay down my life for the sheep.”1 But this is to interpolate a thought which is not expressly stated. On the other hand, it may be objected to the rendering (2), that it suggests that the knowledge of Christ by His true disciples is comparable in degree and in kind to the knowledge that He has of the Father. No other statement in the Fourth Gospel or elsewhere claims for His disciples so intimate a knowledge of Christ as this would seem to do (the promise of 14:20 is for the future, not the present). But we have seen (on 6:57) that καθὼς … καί does not, in fact, imply a perfect or complete parallelism with what has gone before. All that is said here, if rendering (2) be adopted, as we believe it must be, is that the mutual knowledge by Christ’s sheep of their Good Shepherd, and His knowledge of them, may be compared with the mutual knowledge of the Son and the Father; it is not the perfection or intimacy of the knowledge that is in view, it is its reciprocal character. Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3; and see further on 17:18.


Adopting rendering (2), the sequence of thought in vv. 14, 15, is plain: “I am the Good Shepherd, as is shown first by my knowledge of my sheep and theirs of me, and secondly by my readiness to lay down my life on their behalf.” These are the two principal marks of the Good Shepherd which have been noted in the preceding verses.

The mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son which is brought in here parenthetically is explicitly stated in the great declaration Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22, and is implied at 17:21 and at many other points in the Gospel. That Jesus knew God in a unique manner and in pre-eminent degree was His constant claim (see on 7:29; and cf. also 8:55, 17:25).


καὶ τὴν ψυχήν μου τίθημι κτλ. This is repeated, like a refrain, from v. 11, in the Johannine manner. See note on 3:16 for such repetitions.

For τίθημι, א*DW have δίδωμι. See the similar variant in v. 11, and the note there.

16. ἄλλα πρόβατα ἔχω κτλ. These “other sheep” were the Gentiles, who “were not of this fold,” i.e. not of the Jewish Church.1 They were not, indeed, in any fold as yet, being “scattered abroad” (11:52). Jesus claims them as already His: “Other sheep I have, ” for such is the Divine purpose, which, being certain of fulfilment, may be spoken of as already fulfilled.

κἀκεῖνα δεῖ με�Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:6), but there was the explicit promise, “The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to Him, beside His own that are gathered” (Isaiah 56:8).


All this is intelligible from the standpoint of a Christian living at the end of the first century, when it had long been conceded that the gospel was for the Gentile as well as for the Jew. But it is not so easy to be sure how far Jesus taught this explicitly. Had His teaching been clear on so important a point, it is difficult to believe that the apostles could have misunderstood it. Yet Acts and the Pauline Epistles show that acute controversy arose in the apostolic circle about the position of the Gentiles. All were ready to admit that, as Jewish proselytes, they might pass into the Christian Church; but could they be admitted to Christian baptism without passing through the portal of Judaism? For this Paul contended successfully, but his struggle was severe. Had he been able to quote specific words of Christ determining the matter, his task would have been easier; but this, seemingly, he was unable to do. Did Jesus, then, teach plainly that Gentile and Jew were equally heirs of the Gospel promises?

In Mk. (excluding the Appendix), the mission of Jesus to those who professed the Jewish religion is the exclusive topic of the narrative, and there is no saying of Jesus recorded which would suggest that He had a mission also to the Gentiles. Indeed, when He crossed the border into the country “of Tyre and Sidon,” He did not wish His presence to be known (Mark 7:24); and when the Syrophœnician woman asked Him to cure her daughter He is reported to have said to her, “Let the children first be filled,” adding that children’s bread should not be given to “dogs.” This may have been a proverbial saying (which would mitigate its seeming harshness); but at any rate Mk. gives no hint that Jesus regarded non-Jews as having any claim on His ministry. In Mt. (15:24) Jesus actually says to the woman, “I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”; as He had said to the apostles in an earlier passage (10:5, 6), “Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But these are only seemingly instances of Jewish particularism. They do not explicitly convey more than that Jesus regarded His mission as directed in the first instance to the Jews; and, in fact, there are many indications that both Mt. and Lk. believed the Gentiles to be included within the redeeming purpose of Christ. The prophecies about Messiah being a light to the Gentiles are quoted (Matthew 4:16, Matthew 4:12:21; cf. Luke 2:32). The Roman centurion was commended for his faith (Matthew 8:10); so was the Samaritan leper (Luke 17:19); and the example of the Good Samaritan is held up for imitation (Luke 10:37). The saying, “Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,” is in Mt. (8:11), and, in a different context, also in Lk. (13:28). The command to preach to all nations is in the Marcan Appendix (Mark 16:15) as well as in Matthew 28:19; and, even if it be supposed that we have not in the latter passage the ipsissima verba of Christ, there can be no doubt that it represents one aspect of His teaching (cf. Matthew 24:14, Luke 24:47).


In Jn.’s narrative the Gentiles come without argument or apology within the scope of the Gospel. Jesus stays two days with the Samaritan villagers, to teach them (4:40); He does not admit that descent from Abraham is a sufficient ground for spiritual self-satisfaction (8:39); He is approached by a party of Greeks (12:20f.); He declares that He is the Light of the world (8:12), which implies that the Gentiles as well as the Jews are the objects of His enlightening grace. And in the present passage (10:16) Jesus, in like manner, declares that He has “other sheep” besides the Jews, while it is not to be overlooked that He puts them in the second place: “Them also I must lead.” They are not His first charge: that was to shepherd “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He “came to His own” (1:11) in the first instance.

Jn., then, is in agreement with Mt. and Lk. in his representation of the teaching of Jesus about the Gentiles; and this teaching is accurately represented in the saying of Paul that the gospel was “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Mk. is the only evangelist who says nothing about the inclusion of the Gentiles. The significance of what Jesus had said about this was perhaps not appreciated by Mk., any more than it was by those with whom Paul had his great controversy. See further on 11:52, 12:21.

καὶ τῆς φωνῆς μου�Acts 28:28). Note that�


μία ποίμνη, εἷς ποιμήν, “one flock, one shepherd”: the alliteration cannot be reproduced in another language.

A rendering of the Latin Vulgate in this verse has led to so much controversy, that the textual facts must be briefly stated. All Greek MSS. have ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης … μία ποίμνη, εἷς ποιμήν. The O.L. vss.1 correctly preserve the distinction between αὐλή and ποίμνη, by rendering them respectively ouile (fold) and grex (flock). But Jerome’s Vulgate has ouile in both places. This might be taken for a mere slip, were it not that in his Comm. on Ezekiel (46) he distinctly implies that the Greek word αὐλή is repeated, saying that he is dissatisfied with the old rendering ouile for αὐλή and suggesting atrium. Wordsworth and White (in loc.) regard this as establishing Jerome’s reliance here on some Greek authority which had αὐλή in the last clause instead of ποίμνη. Into this question we need not enter, further than to note that no such Greek authority is now extant. However Jerome’s eccentric rendering unum ouile et unus pastor arose, the weight of authority is overwhelmingly against it, although it has caused misunderstanding and perplexity for many centuries.

Jesus did not say there would be one fold (αὐλή): He said one flock, which is different. In one flock there may be many folds, all useful and each with advantages of its own, but the Flock is One, for there is only One Shepherd. The unity of the Hebrew people is indicated similarly in Ezekiel by the assurance that one shepherd will be set over them, as ruling over an undivided kingdom, Judah and Israel having come together again: “I will set up one shepherd over them, even my servant David: he shall feed them” (Ezekiel 34:23; cf. 37:24). The phrase “one shepherd” is also found in Ecclesiastes 12:11, where it refers to God as the one source of wisdom.


Jn., in the next chapter, expresses the thought that the Death of Jesus had for its purpose the gathering into one of the scattered children of God: ἵνα τὰ τέκνα τοῦ θεοῦ τὰ διεσκορπισμένα συναγάγῃ εἰς ἕν (11:52). In 10:16 Jesus is to “lead” �

17. διὰ τοῦτο … ὅτι. See on 5:16 for this favourite Johannine construction, διὰ τοῦτο referring to what follows. The meaning here is that God’s love for Jesus is drawn out by His voluntary sacrifice of His life in order that He may resume it after the Passion for the benefit of man. The same idea is found in Paul: “Wherefore God also highly exalted Him” (Philippians 2:9). See also Hebrews 2:9; and cf. Isaiah 53:12


με ὁ πατήρ. So אBDLΘ; the rec. has ὁ πατήρ με.

με ὁ πατήρ�

18. οὐδεὶς ἦρεν αὐτὴν�Matthew 26:53.


ἀλλʼ ἐγὼ τίθημι αὐτὴν�

“Can a devil open the eyes of blind people?” Mt. represents the Pharisees as admitting the possibility of miracles wrought by demoniac agency (Matthew 12:24), but this idea does not appear in Jn. To open the eyes of the blind is a Divine prerogative (Psalms 146:8).


ἀνοῖξαι, אBLWΘ fam. 13; the rec. has�

ἡ στοὰ τοῦ Σολομῶνος is mentioned again, Acts 3:11, Acts 5:12.


24. ἐκύκλωσαν οὖν αὐτὸν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι. “The Jews (see on 1:19) surrounded Him,” sc. that they might settle the question as to His claims.

ἕως πότε τὴν ψυχὴν ἡμῶν αἴρεις; “How long dost thou hold us in suspense?” This rendering of the R. V. is probably accurate, although no exact parallel for ψυχὴν αἴρειν in this sense has been produced. We have the phrase at Psalms 25:1, Psalms 86:4, meaning “lift up my soul,” and so Josephus uses it (Antt. III. ii. 3). Here it is, “How long do you excite our spirits,” i.e. arouse our expectations?—in other words, keep us in suspense. The expression is idiomatic Greek, and has survived in modern Greek: ὡς πότε θὰ μᾶς βγάζεις τὴν ψυχήν, “How long will you plague us?”1


εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστός κτλ. “If thou be the Christ, etc.,” σύ being emphatic, “If you are really the Christ.”

εἰπὸν ἡμῖν παρρησίᾳ. Cf. Matthew 26:63, Luke 22:67; and for παρρησίᾳ, see on 7:4.


25. “Art thou the Christ?” is one of those questions which cannot be answered by a direct “Yes” or “No,” if misunderstanding is to be avoided. If He had said “Yes,” they would have assumed that He claimed to be the Messiah of Jewish patriotic expectation; and this He was not. But He could not say “No” without disavowing His mission. So He answers by saying (1) that He had told them already, and (2) that His works sufficiently exhibit Him as the Anointed of God.

א*D omit αὐτοῖς, but ins. אcABLWΘ B omits ὁ before Ἰησοῦς, as it frequently does.

εἶπον ὑμῖν (see on 6:36, 11:40). The only open avowal by Jesus of His Messiahship recorded by Jn. before this point in the narrative is at 4:26, and this was addressed, not to the Jews but to the Samaritan woman. But He had told them indirectly, and more than once (e.g. 5:39, 8:24, 56, 9:37; cf. 2:16); if their thoughts had been in tune with His, they would have understood.

καὶ οὐ πιστεύετε, “and yet (note καί for καίτοι or�

26 ff. In our arrangement of the text we have at v. 26 the first appearance in Jn. of the image of Jesus as the Shepherd, and of His followers as His sheep. The image is introduced without any explanation, but it is apparent from the Synoptic Gospels that it was one which Jesus often used, and which must have been familiar to His disciples. He called them His “little flock” (Luke 12:32); and He declared His mission to be primarily addressed to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6, Matthew 15:24). One of the most touching of His parables is that in which He compared Himself with a shepherd seeking a lost and strayed sheep, while the rest of his flock are left temporarily by themselves (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). The wandering crowds move His pity, because they are as “sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34, Matthew 9:36). He told His disciples, in words from Zechariah, that when their Shepherd was smitten, they would be like sheep scattered abroad (Mark 14:27, Matthew 26:31). This was one of the illustrations by which Jesus was accustomed to describe His own ministry; and the apostolic writers speak of Him in the next generation as the “Shepherd of souls” (1 Peter 2:25), “the great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20), without adding any comment or explanation.

This imagery, natural to a pastoral people, was already familiar to the Jews. In the Psalms, Yahweh is the Shepherd of His people (Psalms 23:1, 77:20, 79:13, 80:1, 95:7, 100:3; cf. Ezekiel 34:12-16). And it is particularly to be observed that Messiah is spoken of in the O.T. as a Shepherd. Micah (5:4) and Isaiah (40:11) both speak of the future Deliverer as one who will feed His flock; and in the Psalms of Solomon (xvii. 45) the same picture is found of the Messianic king tending the flock of Yahweh. Cf. 2 Ezra 2:34. This idea of the Messiah as Shepherd is developed in the verses which follow here.

The sequence of thought in vv. 26-29, 1-18, must now be set out. In v. 24, the Jews ask Jesus for a plain answer to the question, “Art thou the Messiah?” In the note on v. 25 it has been pointed out that an answer “Yes” or “No” might have been misleading. Jesus first replies that He has in effect, told them already, and then that His “works should be a sufficient witness. He now goes on to give a fuller answer. The reason why the Jews did not realise at once that He was the Messiah was that they were not His true “sheep.” Were they His sheep, they would recognise His voice as that of their Shepherd, and would follow Him unhesitatingly (v. 27). He it is indeed who gives His sheep eternal safety, and no one can snatch them out of His hand, or out of the hand of God who gave them to Him (v. 28). They are “the sheep of His hand,” as the Psalmist has it (Psalms 95:7).


It ought to be possible always to recognise a true shepherd. He comes into the fold through the door, and does not climb over the wall, as a thief would do (v. 1). The porter opens the door to him, and the sheep recognise his voice: he calls them by name, and leads them forth (v. 3). He leads and they follow, recognising his voice (v. 4), while they would run from that of a stranger (v. 5). But the Jews did not understand what bearing this allegory had on the question they had asked, sc. “Art thou the Messiah?” In particular, they cannot perceive what or where is the door into the fold by which the true shepherd enters. So Jesus explains this.

“I am the Door,” He says (v. 7). Accordingly all claiming to be your Messianic shepherds who did not pass through this Door are thieves and robbers (v. 8), as is further established by the fact that the sheep of Israel did not attend to them (v. 8). “I am the Door,” and not only for the shepherds, but for the sheep. I am the Door for the shepherds because I am the Door for the sheep. It is only through me that you can enter the fold of safety, and be led out into good pastures (v. 9). The thieves and robbers come only to destroy and kill. I am come to give life abundantly (v. 10).

And then the main theme is resumed, the metaphor of the Door having been explained. I am the Good Shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep, unlike the hireling who runs away when there is danger (vv. 11-13). I know my sheep, and they know me (just as the Father knows me and I know Him), vv. 14, 15. I have other sheep besides those of the Flock of Israel: them also I must lead, and they too shall hear my voice. So shall there be One Flock and One Shepherd (v. 16).

The Father loves me, because I am thus laying down my life, to take it up again (v. 17). My death is voluntary. But the Father knows and approves. Indeed this is His commandment (v. 18). The fact is, that I and my Father are One (v. 30).

26.�

28. κἀγὼ δίδωμι αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (This is the order of the words in אBL.) This was the gift of Jesus to His sheep, i.e. to His faithful disciples, as promised 6:27, 40. Cf. 1 John 2:25, 1 John 5:11.


For ζωὴ αἰώνιος, see on 3:15, 4:14 above.

καὶ οὐ μὴ�

καὶ οὐδεὶς δύναται ἁρπάζειν ἐκ τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ πατρός. Jesus has already given the assurance that “no one will snatch His sheep away from Him.” They are the sheep which His all-powerful Father has given to Him, and He adds (as self-evident) that “no one can snatch them away from the Father.” See Deuteronomy 32:39 οὐκ ἔστιν ὃς ἐξελεῖται ἐκ τῶν χειρῶν μου; and cf. Isaiah 49:2, Isaiah 51:16. This is at the heart of the comfortable saying of Wisd. 3:1 δικαίων δὲ ψυχαὶ ἐν χειρὶ θεοῦ.


The allegory of the Sheep and the Shepherd follows at this point. No one can snatch the sheep of Jesus from His safe-keeping, and He proceeds to explain with emphasis that it is only with Him that safety is assured (see Introd., p. xxiv).

30. ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν. As has been shown (Introd., p. xxv), this great utterance seems to have been made in explanation of v. 18, upon which it immediately follows in our arrangement of the text. None the less, it would not be out of place if it followed on v. 29, in the traditional order.

It has been customary, following the habit of the patristic commentators, to interpret these significant words in the light of the controversies of the fourth century. Bengel, e.g. (following Augustine), says: “Per sumus refutatur Sabellius, per unum Arius”; the words thus being taken to prove identity of essence between the Father and the Son, while the difference of persons is indicated by the plural ἐσμέν. But it is an anachronism to transfer the controversies of the fourth century to the theological statements of the first. We have a parallel to ἕν ἐσμεν in 1 Corinthians 3:8, where Paul says ὁ φυτεύων καὶ ὁ ποτίζων ἕν εἰσιν, meaning that both the “planter” and the “waterer” of the seed are in the same category, as compared with God who gives the increase. A unity of fellowship, of will, and of purpose between the Father and the Son is a frequent theme in the Fourth Gospel (cf. 5:18, 19, 14:9, 23 and 17:11, 22), and it is tersely and powerfully expressed here; but to press the words so as to make them indicate identity of οὐσία, is to introduce thoughts which were not present to the theologians of the first century.


Ignatius expresses the same thought as that conveyed in this verse, when he writes ὁ κύριος ἄνευ τοῦ πατρὸς οὐδὲν ἐποίησεν, ἡνωμένος ὤν (Magn. 7). Cf. 8:28 above.

The Jews Accuse Jesus of Blasphemy: He Defends His Claim to Be Son of God (vv. 31-39)

31. The Jewish opponents of Jesus, with a true instinct, perceived that He was claiming to be more than human.

ἐβάστασαν πάλιν (cf. 8:59) λίθους οἱ Ἰουδ. κτλ. For βαστάζειν, see on 12:6 below. Here it means “to lift up and carry off,” and expresses more than αἴρειν in the similar context in 8:59. They fetched stones from a distance, that they might stone Him. The verb λιθάζειν does not occur in the Synoptists, but cf. 11:8.

32.�Mark 11:14 for�

πολλὰ ἔργα καλά, “many noble works,” καλός expressing goodness as well as beauty (see on v. 11; and cf. 1 Timothy 6:18); His works of healing were not only good works (as we use the phrase), but were works significant of the beauty of holiness. See on 2:23 for “signs” which He showed at Jerusalem on an earlier visit. These ἔργα were ἐκ τοῦ πατρός. This He had repeatedly urged (5:19, 36, 9:4, 10:25).


The rec. has μου after πατρός, but om. א*BDΘ. For ἔδειξα, Θ has ἐδίδαξα.

διὰ ποῖον αὐτῶν ἔργον ἐμὲ λιθάζετε; He knew, indeed, that it was not merely because He had cured the impotent and the blind that they sought to kill Him, but because of the claims which He consistently made as to the source of His power and authority. He desired to bring this out, by putting to them such a question, “For what kind of work among these do you stone me?” ποῖον directs their attention to the quality and character of His works.

33.�

The Jewish opponents of Jesus give Him the answer that He anticipated. They had set about stoning Him, because death by stoning was the appointed penalty for blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16; cf. 1 Kings 21:10, 1 Kings 21:13), and His language was, in their ears, blasphemous, “making Himself God,” as they said. Cf. 5:18, and 19:7 below, where the charge against Him was more accurately formulated, ἑαυτὸν υἱὸν θεοῦ ἐποίησεν.

περὶ βλασφημίας, “because of blasphemy”; cf. Acts 26:7 περὶ ἧς ἐλπίδος ἐγκαλοῦμαι, where περί is used in the same way. The word βλασφημία occurs in Jn. only in this passage.


34. For the formula of citation ἔστιν γεγραμμένον, see on 2:17.

The quotation is from Psalms 82:6, the “Law” embracing the O.T. generally; cf. 12:34, 15:25, Romans 3:19, 1 Corinthians 14:21. Thus in Philo, de Iona (§ 44, extant only in an Armenian version), we find, “Hast thou not read in the Law …?” quoting Psalms 102:26. So also in Sanhedrin, f. 91. 2, cited by Wetstein: “Quomodo probatur resurrectio mortuorum ex lege? quia dicitur (in Psalms 84:5) non laudauerunt sed laudabunt te.”


ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν. So אaABL latt. and some syrr.; but om. ὑμῶν א*DΘ and Syr. sin. For the phrase “your law” on the lips of Jesus, see on 8:17.

The argument is thoroughly Jewish: “In your Scriptures, judges are addressed as אֶלֹהִים by the Divine voice, being commissioned by God for their work and thus being His delegates and representatives; where, then, is the blasphemy in my description of myself as υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, being (as I am) the Ambassador of God and sent by Him into the world?” In Psa_82, which represents God as the Judge of judges, He is represented as reminding unjust judges that it is by His appointment they hold their office, which is therefore divine: “I have said (sc. when you were made judges), Ye are gods.” Cf. Exodus 21:6, Exodus 21:22:9, Exodus 21:28 for אֶלֹהִים used of judges in the same way. The argument is one which would never have occurred to a Greek Christian, and its presence here reveals behind the narrative a genuine reminiscence of one who remembered how Jesus argued with the Rabbis on their own principles.

The natural retort (obvious to a modern mind) would be that the argument is insecure, because it seems to pass from “gods” in the lower sense to “God” in the highest sense of all. But (1) ad hominem the argument is complete. On Jewish principles of exegesis it was quite sound. Jesus never called Himself “son of Yahweh”; such a phrase would be impossible to a Jew. But “sons of Elohim” occurs often in the O.T. (Genesis 6:2, Job 1:6, Psalms 29:1, Psalms 89:6, etc.). That Jesus should call Himself υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ could not be blasphemous, having regard to O.T. precedents, however unwarranted His opponents might think the claim to be. And (2) there is a deeper sense in which the argument as presented in Jn. conveys truth. The strict Hebrew doctrine of God left no place for the Incarnation. God and man were set over against each other, as wholly separate and distinct. But even in the Jewish Scriptures there are hints and foreshadowings of potential divinity in man (cf. Psalms 82:6, Zechariah 12:8); and it is to this feature of Hebrew theology that attention is drawn in v. 34. The doctrine of the Incarnation has its roots, not in bare Deism, but in that view of God which regards Him as entering into human life and consecrating human activities to His own purposes.

35. εἰ ἐκείνους εἶπεν θεούς, “if then the Law (i.e. the Scripture) called them gods,” πρὸς οὓς ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐγένετο, “to whom the message of God came,” sc. at the moment of their appointment to high office, which was a Divine call. So it was said of Jeremiah ὃς ἐγενήθη λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ πρὸς αὐτόν (Jeremiah 1:2), and of John the Baptist ἐγένετο ῥῆμα θεοῦ ἐπὶ Ἰωάνην (Luke 3:2); and it is implied here that the same words are applicable to the judge who is invested with authority to execute justice in God’s name. The call of circumstance may often be truly a “word of God” to the man to whom it comes.

καὶ οὐ δύναται λυθῆναι ἡ γραφή. For λύειν used of “breaking” a law, see on 5:18. Here we should render “the Scripture cannot be set at naught.” The opposite of setting the Scripture at naught or “destroying” it is the “fulfilling” of it. See Matthew 5:17. The meaning of this parenthesis is that the words of Psalms 82:6 are full of permanent significance and must not be ignored. See Introd., p. clii.


ἡ γραφή, as always in Jn., signifies the actual passage of the O.T. which is cited or indicated, and not the whole body of the Hebrew Scriptures. See on 2:22.

36. ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασεν. ἁγιάζειν is a Biblical word, connoting primarily the idea of setting apart for a holy purpose. Thus it is used of Yahweh hallowing the Sabbath (Exodus 20:11), and of the consecration of an altar (Leviticus 16:19). It is applied to men who are set apart for important work or high office, e.g. to Jeremiah as prophet (Jeremiah 1:5), to the priests (2 Chronicles 26:18), to Moses (Ecclus. 45:4), to the fathers of Israel (2 Macc. 1:25). In the N.T. οἱ ἡγιασμένοι are the Christian believers (Acts 20:32, Acts 20:26:18, 1 Corinthians 1:2, Hebrews 2:11, Hebrews 2:10:10, 2 Timothy 2:21), a form of expression which we have in John 17:19, where Jesus prays that the apostles may be ἡγιασμένοι ἐν�


καὶ�

The argument is repeated 14:11, πιστέυετέ μοι (i.e. believe my word) ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί· εἰ δὲ μὴ (but, if you will not, then accept the lower form of witness) διὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτὰ πιστέυετε. The reciprocal communion of the Father and the Son—“I in Him, and He in me”—is expressed again in the same mystical words at 17:21; cf. 1 John 3:24, 1 John 4:15.


39. ἐζήτουν οὖν. So אALWΔ, but οὖν may have come in from 7:30 or may be an itacism; om. BΘ.

The project of stoning Him (v. 31) was abandoned, perhaps because v. 38 did not seem to express His equality with the Father so uncompromisingly as v. 30, but more probably because οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι (v. 33) found that, as before, the crowd were not in entire agreement with their policy of violence.

πάλιν. His Jewish opponents had sought His arrest more than once before (cf. 7:1, 30, 44, 8:20). א*D omit πάλιν.

For πιάζειν, see on 7:30.

καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῶν. There is no suggestion of His escape being miraculous, any more than at 8:59 (q.v.).

For the redundant ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ, see on 4:30.

Jesus Retires Beyond the Jordan, and Many Believe on Him There (vv. 40-42)

40. It had become apparent that the Jews were not to be persuaded of the claims of Jesus, to whom their hostility was increasing. So he retired beyond the Jordan to the scene of His earliest ministry, where He had called His first disciples; and there He found what must have been a welcome response to His teaching.

καὶ�Mark 10:1, Matthew 19:1.


For the constr. ὅπου ἦν Ἰω. βαπτίζων, see on 1:28. Jn. is careful to note that he means the place where John was baptizing first, not “Ænon near Salim,” where we find him exercising his ministry at 3:22.

For τὸ πρῶτον, אDΘ give τὸ πρότερον; but the constr. τὸ πρῶτον appears again 12:16, 19:39.

καὶ ἔμενεν ἐκεῖ. Jesus seems to have remained in Peræa, until He went to Bethany for the raising of Lazarus (11:7), i.e. perhaps about three months.

41. That the people flocked to hear His teaching in Peræa is confirmed by the Marcan tradition (Mark 10:1, Matthew 19:1). They remembered what John the Baptist had said about Him, and remembered too that his witness had been found trustworthy. This was the reason why they came now in such numbers to see and hear Jesus.


Of John the Baptist, too, they remembered that he did no “sign,” such as might be expected of a prophet; but nevertheless, although it was not confirmed by signs (see on 2:11), his witness was true. For the witness of the Baptist, cf. 1:7, 29-34, 3:27-30, 5:33. It made a profound impression.

אD omit ὅτι after ἔλεγον, apparently not realising that ὅτι here is recitantis. The words which follow are set down as the actual words which the people used.

42. πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτόν, a favourite phrase of Jn. See on 4:39.

For the constr. πιστεύειν εἴς τινα, see on 1:12.

ἐκεῖ comes before εἰς αὐτόν in the rec. text; but אABDLWΘ place it at the end of the sentence, as at v. 40. perhaps for emphasis. It often comes last in Jn., e.g. 2:1, 11:8, 15, 31, 12:2.













He says “my Father” here and vv. 25, 29, 37. His relation to God was unique; see on 2:16.

Moulton-Milligan Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, illustrated from the papyri, by J. H. Moulton and G.Milligan (1914-). This is being completed by Dr. Milligan; it is indispensable.

אԠSinaiticus (δ 2). Leningrad. iv.

A Alexandrinus (δ 4). British Museum. v. Cc. 6:50-8:52 are missing.

B Vaticanus (δ 1). Rome. Cent. iv.

D Bezæ (δ 5). Cambridge. v-vi. Græco-Latin. Cc. 18:14-20:13 are missing in the Greek text, and the gap has been filled by a ninth-century scribe (Dsupp).

L Regius (ε 56). Paris. viii. Cc. 15:2-20 21:15-25 are missing.

W Freer (ε 014). Washington. iv-vi. Discovered in Egypt in 1906. The Gospels are in the order Mt., Jn., Lk., Mk. Collation in The Washington MS. of the Four Gospels, by H. A. Sanders (1912).

Γ̠(ε 70) Oxford and Leningrad. ix-x. Contains Song of Solomon 1:1-13 8:3-15:24 19:6 to end.


Δ̠Sangallensis (ε 76). St. Gall. ix-x. Græco-Latin.

Θ̠Koridethi (ε 050). Tiflis. vii-ix. Discovered at Koridethi, in Russian territory, and edited by Beermann & Gregory (Leipzig, 1913). The text is akin to that of fam. 13, fam. 1, and the cursives 28, 565, 700 See Lake and Blake in Harvard Theol. Review (July 1923) and Streeter, The Four Gospels. Cf. also J.T.S. Oct. 1915, April and July 1925.

1 C. T. Wilson, Peasant Life in the Holy Land, p. 165. The author’s observations illustrative of the relation of the shepherd to his sheep are very apposite in connexion with c. 10.

1 For a critical analysis of the parable of the Shepherd and the Sheep, see Holtzmann, Life of Jesus, Eng. Tr., p. 37 f.

2 So Valentinus applied them (Hippol. Ref. vi. 35). Jülicher thinks (Introd., p. 401) that the words have a Gnostic ring.

1 For an account of the nineteenth-century Persian reformer who called himself Bāb, or “the Gate,” see ERE ii. 299, s.v. “Bāb.”

1 καλός “denotes that kind of goodness which is at once seen to be good” (Hort, on 1 Peter 2:12).


1 Cf. Abbott, Diat. 2125, 2126.

1 Clem. Alex. (Strom. vi. 14, p. 794 P) comments on the “other sheep, deemed worthy of another fold and mansion, according to their faith.”

1 Except Cod. Sangallensis (sæc. ix.), which has ouile vel pastorale for ποίμνη.

אSinaiticus (δ 2). Leningrad. iv.

B Vaticanus (δ 1). Rome. Cent. iv.

L Regius (ε 56). Paris. viii. Cc. 15:2-20 21:15-25 are missing.

W Freer (ε 014). Washington. iv-vi. Discovered in Egypt in 1906. The Gospels are in the order Mt., Jn., Lk., Mk. Collation in The Washington MS. of the Four Gospels, by H. A. Sanders (1912).

Θ̠Koridethi (ε 050). Tiflis. vii-ix. Discovered at Koridethi, in Russian territory, and edited by Beermann & Gregory (Leipzig, 1913). The text is akin to that of fam. 13, fam. 1, and the cursives 28, 565, 700 See Lake and Blake in Harvard Theol. Review (July 1923) and Streeter, The Four Gospels. Cf. also J.T.S. Oct. 1915, April and July 1925.

A Alexandrinus (δ 4). British Museum. v. Cc. 6:50-8:52 are missing.

D Bezæ (δ 5). Cambridge. v-vi. Græco-Latin. Cc. 18:14-20:13 are missing in the Greek text, and the gap has been filled by a ninth-century scribe (Dsupp).

Γ̠(ε 70) Oxford and Leningrad. ix-x. Contains Song of Solomon 1:1-13 8:3-15:24 19:6 to end.


Δ̠Sangallensis (ε 76). St. Gall. ix-x. Græco-Latin.

1 See A. Pallis, Notes on St. Mark and St. Matthew (1903), p. v.

1 Aramaic Origin, etc., p. 102. Torrey agrees with this (Harvard Theol. Review, Oct. 1923, p. 328).



אԠSinaiticus (δ 2). Leningrad. iv.

B Vaticanus (δ 1). Rome. Cent. iv.

D Bezæ (δ 5). Cambridge. v-vi. Græco-Latin. Cc. 18:14-20:13 are missing in the Greek text, and the gap has been filled by a ninth-century scribe (Dsupp).

Θ̠Koridethi (ε 050). Tiflis. vii-ix. Discovered at Koridethi, in Russian territory, and edited by Beermann & Gregory (Leipzig, 1913). The text is akin to that of fam. 13, fam. 1, and the cursives 28, 565, 700 See Lake and Blake in Harvard Theol. Review (July 1923) and Streeter, The Four Gospels. Cf. also J.T.S. Oct. 1915, April and July 1925.

A Alexandrinus (δ 4). British Museum. v. Cc. 6:50-8:52 are missing.

L Regius (ε 56). Paris. viii. Cc. 15:2-20 21:15-25 are missing.

W Freer (ε 014). Washington. iv-vi. Discovered in Egypt in 1906. The Gospels are in the order Mt., Jn., Lk., Mk. Collation in The Washington MS. of the Four Gospels, by H. A. Sanders (1912).

Γ̠(ε 70) Oxford and Leningrad. ix-x. Contains Song of Solomon 1:1-13 8:3-15:24 19:6 to end.


Δ̠Sangallensis (ε 76). St. Gall. ix-x. Græco-Latin.









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Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on John 10". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/john-10.html. 1896-1924.