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Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
John 11

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

John 11:1 . Λάζαρος , Lazarus ) It may be inferred from many circumstances that Lazarus was the younger, and his sisters the older by birth. It is from these latter that the village is designated; John 11:1 , “The town of Mary and her sister Martha:” and Lazarus is put third in the order of names, John 11:5 . Ecclesiastical history hands down the tradition, that Lazarus lived after the ascension of the Lord as many years as had been his age at that time, namely, thirty. ἀπὸ ἐκ ) Not unfrequently a preposition is repeated in apposition, either the preposition itself, or else a synonym: 2 Corinthians 1:19 [ διʼ ἡμῶν διʼ ἐμοῦ ]. Μαρίας ) Mary was the better known of the two among the disciples, owing to those acts of hers which are mentioned in John 11:2 [the anointing of Jesus]: she is accordingly placed before Martha; though Martha was the elder-born, John 11:5 ; John 11:19 [where Martha is named the first].

Verse 2

John 11:2 . Ἦν δὲ Μαρία , moreover it was the Mary ) John proves Mary’s pious affection towards Jesus at the present time (as he elsewhere in a similar way proves the absence of pious affection on the part of the traitor) by a subsequent act, ch. John 12:3 [Mary’s anointing Jesus’ feet with costly ointment of spikenard, and wiping His feet with her hair]. [ By one remarkable act, either good or bad, any one may be rendered notable to all eternity . V. g.] It was not merely by the raising up of her brother to life, that she was first stirred up to such a work. τὸν Κύριον , the Lord ) An appropriate appellation here. ἧς , whose ) for of her . The language here is very plain.

Verse 3

John 11:3 . Ὃν φιλεῖς , whom Thou lovest ) This is more modest, than if they were to say, he who loves Thee , or Thy friend ; comp. John 11:11 , “Our friend Lazarus” [Jesus’ words]. ἀσθενεῖ , is sick ) They elegantly do not express [but leave to be inferred] the consequent, therefore come to our help [John 11:31-32 , (Mary to Jesus) “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” Truly greater things were now close at hand . V. g.] Comp. ch. John 2:3 , “When they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They have no wine ” [leaving the consequent unexpressed, but implied, Do Thou relieve them ]. The great love of the sisters towards their brother here shines forth.

Verse 4

John 11:4 . Εἶπεν , He said ) It is worthy of being observed, by what method Jesus prepared His disciples, and the sisters of Lazarus and the people, for beholding with profit the greatest of miracles. αὐτή , this ) i.e. This sickness is consonant with love . πρὸς θάνατον , unto death ) whereby [not unto death, in the sense that thereby] the sisters should lose their brother. So the Septuag. εἰς θάνατον , 2 Kings 20:1 [ i.e. Βασιλ . Δ . John 20:1 , Hezekiah was sick εἰς θάνατον ]. ὑπέρ , for ) The glory of God and the glory of the Son of God is one and the same glory. ἵνα δοξασθῇ , that He may be glorified ) The result was truly so. The raising again of Lazarus is so powerful an argument for the truth of Christianity, that Spinoza said, that, if he could believe it, he would cast away his whole system. And yet the following considerations demonstrate the reality of the death and of the resurrection of Lazarus: 1) The deliberate delay of Jesus, who was then at a distance away; 2) His informing His disciples of the death, and foretelling as to the resurrection; 3) The variety and multitude of the witnesses who were present; 4) The faith that followed in consequence, on the part of very many Jews, who were by no means credulous, and the perversity of the rest; John 11:46 , etc., “They went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done;” [ Joh 11:53 ] “They took counsel together to put Him to death.” διʼ αὐτῆς , by it ) by this sickness Jesus was glorified, inasmuch as many forthwith acknowledged Him as the Son of God; John 11:45 , “Many which had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him;” and the rest of the Jews determined to kill Him, John 11:46 , etc.; and it was thereby He was about to enter into glory.

Verse 5

John 11:5 . Ἠγάπα ) loved , in such a way as that it was evident to all; John 11:3 , “Lord, he whom Thou lovest.” [ Therefore there is no reason that any one should exceedingly dread the death of those whom Jesus loves . V. g.] The motive cause of the raising again of the dead man, and of the whole of His mode of action preceding it, is herein contained. καὶ , καί , and, and ) Happy family!

Verse 6

John 11:6 . Τότε , then ) although to others there might have seemed to be the greatest reason for haste. ἔμεινεν , He abode ) To die is a thing not so much to be shrunk back from. Lazarus was dead for a time to the glory of the Son of God.

Verse 7

John 11:7 . Ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο , then after this ) after the two days’ delay [ Joh 11:6 ]: thus John 11:11 , μετὰ τοῦτο , after this ; John 11:14 , τότε , then . Jesus gradually elevated the faith of the disciples, so as that they should set out to Judea without fear, and so behold the greatest of miracles.

Verse 8

John 11:8 . Νῦν ἐζήτουν ) They now seek; for they lately were seeking . λιθάσαι , to stone ) Ch. John 10:31 , [when He had said] “I and My Father are one.”

Verse 9

John 11:9 . Ὥραι , hours ) The course of Jesus was now far advanced; it was now a late hour in His day: but it was however still day. τῆς ἡμέρας ) of the day, or else in the day . The whole course of life, in all its parts, is compared to the day. The standing [state] is presupposed: one standing or state in one, another in another, regarded as the Subject; to walk is the Predicate. τίς , any one ) Again used indefinitely. Comp. ch. John 9:4 , “ I must work, etc.: the night cometh, when no man can work.” This applies to the disciples, who were afraid, even for themselves. οὐ προσκόπτει , he does not stumble ) in the midst of snares of the world lying in his way. τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου τούτου , the light of this world ) beaming out from the sun. The providence of the Father, in respect to Jesus, is intimated; and the providence of Christ in respect to believers. βλέπει , He seeth ) Understand, and there is light in him: and in the following verse understand, and he seeth not the light of this world . But in both instances the clause, which is expressed, is especially suited to its own passage respectively: for during the day, the light of the world, which each one sees , as it were absorbs the sense of the light which he has in himself. By night the light of the world, being not seen, increases the sense of his defect in the case of him who hath no light in himself.

Verse 10

John 11:10 . Ἐν αὐτῷ , in him ) in him who walks by night.

Verse 11

John 11:11 . Ταῦτα λέγει ) These things said He, and after this saying forthwith He saith , etc. Comp. John 11:7 , “ Then after this saith He .” λέγει , He saith ) He said it at the very time in which Lazarus had died. Comp. ch. John 4:52 , [The nobleman’s son recovered of the fever] “at the same hour in the which Jesus said, Thy son liveth.” The disciples also had heard of the illness of Lazarus, John 11:3-4 . No one had announced his death; and yet Jesus knew it. ἡμῶν , our ) With what an entirely human feeling [ humanness ] Jesus communicates [imparts] His friendship to His disciples! κεκοίμηται , is fallen asleep ) Death is the sleep of the pious in the language of heaven; but the disciples did not here understand His language. The liberal freedom of the Divine language is incomparable: but the dulness of men causes that Scripture often descends to our more sombre mode of speaking. Comp. Matthew 16:11 , etc., “How is it that you do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees?”

Verse 12

John 11:12 . Εἰ κεκοίμηται , if he sleep ) Often a long sleep is a means of restoration to health. The disciples were supposing that the sleep was sent to Lazarus by Jesus, in order that what He had Himself foretold might come to pass: John 11:4 , “This sickness is not unto death, but, etc., that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”

Verse 15

John 11:15 . Ὅτι οὐκ ἤμην ἐκεῖ , that I was not there ) It is beautifully consonant with Divine propriety, that no one is ever read of as having died whilst the Prince of life was present. If you suppose that death could not, in the presence of Jesus, have assailed Lazarus, the language of the two sisters, John 11:21 ; John 11:32 , attains thereby a more sublime conception, “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died:” and thereby also the joy of the Lord at His own absence is illustrated. πρὸς αὐτόν , unto him ) to the place where he lies dead.

Verse 16

John 11:16 . Ὁ λεγόμενος Δίδυμος , who is called Didymus ) John wrote in Greek. καὶ ἡμεῖς , let us also ) Thomas perhaps had had some peculiar tie of connection with Lazarus. ἵνα ἀποθάνωμεν , that we may die ) Thomas seems to have taken the words of Jesus immediately preceding in this sense, as though Jesus would have been about to die with Lazarus, had He been present, and as though, now that the faith of His disciples had been still further established, He was about to depart this life at Bethany, and that by the plots of the Jews against Him, John 11:8 , “The Jews of late sought to stone Thee.” He [Thomas] was, as it were, standing mid-way [indifferent] between this life and death, without sorrow or joy, ready to die; not however without faith. Comp. ch. John 14:5 , “Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest.” In this view he seems to have understood the πρός , unto , in the discourse of Jesus, in the same sense as it occurs 2 Samuel 12:23 , [David of his dead child] “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” μετʼ αὐτοῦ , with Him ) with Jesus. Not unlike is the meaning of Peter’s words, Luke 22:33 , “Lord, I am ready to go with Thee into prison and to death.”

Verse 19

John 11:19 . [295] ΠΟΛΛΟΊ ) many , on account of being in their neighbourhood. τὰς περί ) An idiomatic phrase. Acts 13:13 [ ΟἹ ΠΕΡῚ ΠΑῦΛΟΝ , Paul and his company ], Act 28:7 [296] ἵνα παραμυθήσωνται , that they might be comforted ) some days after the burial. In the present day we say, to condole with .

[295] John 11:17 . τέσσαρας ἡμέρας , four days ) Therefore Lazarus was buried on the very day of his death. Comp. ver. 39, “Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days.”. V. g.

[296] ἐν τοῖς περὶ τὸν τόπον , in the same quarters. So here translate, Martha, Mary and her friends . A and Rec. Text read τὰς περὶ M. But BCLX abc Vulg. read πρὸς τὴν M. D reads πρὸς M., omitting τήν . E. and T.

Verse 20

John 11:20 . Μαρία δέ , but Mary ) either because she was unwilling to leave the Jews alone, or because she chose to sit and wait until she should be called. She was of a more sedate disposition. Comp. Luke 10:39 , “Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word.”

Verse 21

John 11:21 . Εἰ ἦς ὧδε , if Thou hadst been here ) Thus Mary also expresses herself, John 11:32 . From which it may be inferred that this was their language before their brother’s death, Would that the Lord Jesus were here . Himself stirs up the spark of faith, that lies hid in these words.

Verse 22

John 11:22 . Καὶ νῦν οἶδα , even now I know ) Martha had conceived a hope from those words which the Saviour had spoken at John 11:4 , “This sickness is not unto death.” For there is no doubt but that these words had been reported to Martha. [ The praiseworthy alacrity of faith is here illustrated. V. g.] αἰτήσῃ ) Jesus, when speaking of Himself asking, says, ἐδεήθην , Luke 22:32 , and ἐρωτήσω , John 14:16 (comp. John 11:13 : where so, immediately before, John 11:16 , He uses αἰτεῖν of the disciples; ὅ , τι ἂν αἰτήσητε ), and ch. John 16:26 [ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου αἰτήσεσθε , and I say not to you that I ἐρωτήσω τὸν Πατέρα , etc.], John 17:9 ; John 17:15 ; John 17:20 [ ἐρωτῶ ]; but never αἰτοῦμαι . Accordingly the Syriac Version expresses both the former [ ἐδεήθην and ἐρωτῶ )] by one word, and the latter [ αἰτοῦμαι ] by a different word. Martha did not speak in Greek, yet John expresses her inaccurate speech, which the Lord bore indulgently. For αἰτεῖσθαι appears to be a word less worthy in its application, although the Septuagint, Deuteronomy 10:12 , have τὶ Κύριος ὁ Θεός σου αἰτεῖται παρὰ σοῦ ; [297][297] αἰτέω , ‘peto,’ is more submissive, as of the inferior begging, or making a petition to a superior, ἐρωτάω , ‘rogo,’ implies some equality or familiarity in the asker, making the request . E. and T.

Verse 23

John 11:23 . Ἀναστήσεται , he shall rise again ) Jesus does not immediately add the mention of the time, but exercises the faith of Martha.

Verse 24

John 11:24 . Ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει , in the resurrection ) Therefore the Jews were believers in the resurrection. ἐσχάτῃ , last ) Martha supposes that to be more distant, which the connection, John 11:22-23 , was showing to be close at hand, “Whatsoever thou wilt ask, God will give. Thy brother shall rise again.”

Verse 25

John 11:25 . Ἐγώ ) I , present, not limited to the future. Do not suppose, Martha, that you are being put off to the distant future. Death yields to Life, as darkness to Light, forthwith. ἡ ἀνάστασις καὶ ἡ ζωή , the resurrection and the life ) The former title is peculiarly suitable to this occasion; the latter is frequently used. The former is explained presently in this verse; the latter in John 11:26 , “Whosoever liveth , and believeth in Me, shall never die .” I am the Resurrection of the dying, and the Life of the living. The former deals with the case of believers dying before the death of Christ; for instance, Lazarus. For there was none of his prey which death was not obliged to restore, in the presence of Christ: the daughter of Jairus, and the young man at Nain. And it is probable that all who at that time saw with faith Jesus Christ, and died before His death, were among those who rose again, as described in Matthew 27:52-53 , [After the crucifixion] “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints, which slept, arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” The latter title treats of the case of believers falling asleep after the death of Christ. The death of Christ deprived death of its power. Before the death of Christ, the death of believers was death: after the death of Christ, the death of believers is not death: ch. John 5:24 , “He that believeth hath everlasting life is passed from death unto life:” John 8:51 , “If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death .” ζήσεται , shall live ) even in body.

Verse 26

John 11:26 . Πᾶς , every one [‘whosoever’]) This word, which was not employed in John 11:25 , brings on the discourse to greater things. ζῶν ) that liveth , namely, this present life of the body. The antithesis to this lies in the words, John 11:25 , even though he die [ κἂν ἀποθάνῃ : “though he were dead,” Engl. Vers.] Those especially treated of here, are they who then were alive and saw the Son: ch. John 6:40 , “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.” οὐ μὴ ἀποθάνῃ , shall not die ) Shall be exempt from death, to all eternity. The antithetic word to this is ζήσεται , shall live , restored to life; John 11:25 . There is a great difference between the death [mortem] of believers before the death of Jesus Christ, and the departure [obitum; metaphor from setting of heavenly bodies] of believers after the death of Jesus Christ. These latter are altogether exempt from the judgment . [298] πιστεύεις τοῦτο ; believest thou this? ) An application of the truth, in the second person, to all collectively and individually, which is often found elsewhere, and which here, by means of the unexpected interrogation, is very pungent. Thus [by means of this personal application] Martha is completely won over to faith.

[298] Condemnation : ch. John 5:24 , He that henreth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation , but is passed from death unto life. E. and T.

Verse 27

John 11:27 . Ἐγὼ πεπίστευκα , I have believed and do believe ) Martha replies with ready mind, I have taken up this faith . σύ ) Thou , who art come into the world, art the Son of God. This knowledge of the truth concerning Jesus Christ includes all the rest. [ She testifies that she has faith in the word of Jesus, even though she did not fully understand it. This forms the analogue to the faith of Peter ; ch. John 6:68-69 , “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life: and we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” A faith much more serene, than if one were to say , I believe whatever the Church believes. V. g.] ἐρχόμενος ) Present; Matthew 11:3 . [299] For as yet He was only becoming known.

[299] σὺ εἷ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ; the Comer: He that should come . E. and T.

Verse 28

John 11:28 . Ταῦτα εἰποῦσα , having said these things ) Faith, and her confession of His Messiahship, lent her alacrity. λάθρα ) Without the knowledge of the Jews, as Joh 11:31 proves. [300] ΔΙΔΆΣΚΑΛΟς , the Master ) So they were wont to call Jesus, when speaking of Him among one another. φωνεῖ σε , calls thee ) Either Jesus expressly ordered Mary to be called: or else Martha, by His permission, called Mary; and in this case spake so, in order the more speedily to rouse up Mary. Mary’s sedate disposition was no hindrance in her way; yet she was called, in order that she might be present at the miracle.

[300] The Jews therefore mistook the motive of Mary’s going out: “She goeth unto the grave to weep there.” E. and T.

Verse 30

John 11:30 . Οὔπω , not yet ) Jesus did all things with the exact amount of delay required. δέ ) γάρ is the reading of the Copt. [= Memphitic] and Lat. versions; also Augustin. Cant. The reading of the Lat. codex Reutlingensis , which has neither autem nor enim , is a middle one between the two. [301]

[301] AB and Rec. Text read οὔπω δέ . D abc Vulg. read γάρ : and D, οὐ for οὔπω . E. and T.

Verse 31

John 11:31 . Ἵνα κλαύσῃ , that she may weep ) It was a well-known custom, that the friends of the dead should give themselves up to mourning during the time that intervened whilst the funeral preparations were being made, and indulge in paying the pious [affectionate] tribute of their tears.

Verse 32

John 11:32 . Ἔπεσεν αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς πόδας , she fell at His feet ) This Martha had not done. Mary thus makes amends for her slowness in going to meet Him. [ Herein she gives a specimen of the most profound reverence arising out of faith . V. g.]

Verse 33

John 11:33 . Τοὺς συνελθόντας , who had come with her ) John 11:31 . ἐνεβριμήσατο , He groaned ) Thus it was that, by a more austere [more severe] affection of the mind, Jesus restrained His tears; and presently after, at John 11:38 , He broke off His tears [to which He had given way, Joh 11:35 ]: and by that very fact, the influence produced by them [His tears] on the bystanders was the greater; John 11:36 , [The Jews were constrained to say, “Behold how He loved him!”] ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν , He troubled Himself [‘was troubled,’ Engl. Vers.; and some MSS. of Vulg., “turbatus est in se ipso”]) The elegance of this reflexive [reciprocæ] phrase is inexpressibly striking: comp. ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς , They have ordered themselves [“addicted themselves,” Engl. Vers.], 1 Corinthians 16:15 . The affections of Jesus’ mind were not passions, but voluntary emotions, which He had altogether in His own control; accordingly, this “troubling of Himself” was fully consonant with order, and the highest reason. The case is a weightier [more hard to understand] one, which is described subsequently, ch. John 12:27 , τετάρακται , κ . τ . λ .; John 13:21 ; and yet it also is to be explained by means of the present passage. [ So Christians are not, on the one hand , Stoics; but, on the other, they do not succumb to their own mental affections. They are not agitated with passions, properly so called . V. g.]

Verse 35

John 11:35 . Ἐδάκρυσεν , [ wept ] shed tears ) not cried aloud [ lacrymatus est , non ploravit ]; nor did He weep at once; nor yet did He weep only after [not until after] He had seen Lazarus, but at the exact time when it was seasonable. He wept, lovingly, as Joh 11:36 testifies, on account of the death of Lazarus; not on account of his return to this life.

Verse 37

John 11:37 . Τινές , some ) who were more estranged [averse] from faith. οὐκ ἠδύνατο , could not? ) Jesus had shed tears. Thence they were inferring, that Jesus had the desire to have preserved the life of Lazarus, if He had had the power. He could , say they, and He ought . So ἠδύνατο , This might have been [sold, and ought to have been sold for much, and given to the poor], Matthew 26:9 . They draw their conclusion from the greater exercise of power to the less. But then to raise the dead is, in its turn, a greater exercise of power, than to cure the sick or restore sight to the blind. The conclusion, which they ought to have drawn, was this: He hath given sight to the blind; therefore He can give life to the dead. But unbelief precipitates [hurries away with] all its conclusions in an opposite direction. καὶ οὗτος , even this man ) this Lazarus, one in the prime of youth, and beloved by Him.

Verse 38

John 11:38 . Πάλιν ἐμβριμώμενος , again groaning ) By this groan Jesus also repelled the Jews’ gainsaying, lest it should tempt His own mind to give up the raising of Lazarus, etc. He refutes them by deed, not by words. Comp. John 11:33 , notes.

Verse 39

John 11:39 . Ἡ ἀδελφὴ τοῦ τεθνηκότος , sister of him that was dead ) Herein is specified a cause of the greater feeling of instinctive shuddering, arising from nature and the tie of relationship. ὄζει , he stinketh ) The loathing of putrefaction [is instinctive with all], even with the nearest relatives. There is a contest between reason as well as natural affection on the one hand, and faith on the other. τεταρταῖος , of four days’ continuance ) Lazarus seems to have been committed to the tomb the same day on which he died, John 11:17 , “When Jesus came, He found that he had lain in the grave four days already.” A similar phrase, τριταῖος , [thine asses that were lost] three days, 1 Samuel 9:20 [ ἀπολωλυιῶν τριταίων , in LXX.], 1 Samuel 30:13 .

Verse 40

John 11:40 . Εἶπον , said I not? ) Jesus said it, ver. [23] 25. δόξαν , the glory ) which is the opposite of corruption.

Verse 41

John 11:41 . Ἄνω , upwards ) He turned His eyes off from the object, which was now the prey of mortality, to heaven. [302] εὐχαριστῶ σοι , I give Thee thanks ) Jesus proceeds to this, His greatest miracle by far, most sure of the event. ἤκουσάς μου , thou hast heard Me ) Therefore Jesus [it seems] had prayed, when He had heard of the sickness of Lazarus, John 11:4 , [and so He said at that time] “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”

[302] Πάτερ , Father ) A short but pre-eminently choice prayer. V. g.

Verse 42

John 11:42 . Ἐγώ , I ) Jesus seems to have made this declaration after some pause. ᾔδειν , I knew ) Jesus shows to the people, that He returned thanks to the Father, not as though it were for something new to Himself, and such as He had not experienced before. The filial intimacy of Jesus in relation to the Father was far too great, to admit of being fully expressed by speech among men. πάντοτε , always ) even after the death of Lazarus. ἀκούεις , Thou hearest ) The Father, when hearkening to Him, replied sometimes by a voice from above, but generally by a most immediate effecting [of the Son’s desire]. εἶπον , I said ) this, and gave thanks. So εἴρηκα , I have said [“I have called you friends,” Engl. Vers.], ch. John 15:15 , of something that had been just said. [303][303] ἵνα πιστεύσωσιν , that they may believe ) Such was the result, ver. 45. V. g.

Verse 43

John 11:43 . Φωνῇ μεγάλῃ , with a loud voice ) not as workers of enchantments, who mutter their incantations. All, who were present, heard the loud voice . δεῦρο ἔξω , come out [forth]) Jesus recalled Lazarus out of the sepulchre, as easily as if Lazarus had been not only alive but even awake, John 11:11 , “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ; but I go to awake him out of sleep;” ch. John 12:17 , “The people that was with him, when He called Lazarus out of his grave,” etc.

Verse 44

John 11:44 . Τοὺς πόδας , feet ) The two feet had been swathed up together, or else each separately. κειρίαις ) The same word occurs in LXX. Proverbs 7:16 , “I have decked my bed with coverings ” [ κλίνην κειρίαις ].

Verse 45

John 11:45 . Οἱ ἐλθόντες , who had come ) John 11:19 , “to comfort them concerning their brother,” 31.

Verse 46

John 11:46 . Ἀπῆλθον , departed [went their ways]) as aliens to Him.

Verse 47

John 11:47 . Τί ποιοῦμεν ; what do we? ) What they ought to have done was, not to have thus held deliberations, but to have believed. But the truth is, death itself sooner yields to the power of Christ than unbelief.

Verse 48

John 11:48 . Οὓτω ) thus , as heretofore, say they, we have left Him alone. πάντες , all men ) and indeed with good reason. οἱ Ῥωμαῖοι , the Romans ) Their supposition was, that the Romans would regard that [the adhesion of the people to Jesus] as sedition. And yet [with all their scheming] the Jews did not escape that which they dreaded: [ nay, indeed they brought it upon themselves by this very course of action . V. g.] καὶ τὸν τόπον καὶ τὸ ἔθνος , both our place and nation ) Equivalent to an adage, i.e. our all, τόπος , territory .

Verse 49

John 11:49 . Τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκείνου ) in that year , a memorable one, as being that in which Jesus was about to die. It was the first and chiefest year in the seventy weeks [Daniel 9:0 ], the fortieth before the destruction of Jerusalem, and one celebrated also in Jewish history for various reasons. Even before this year, and after it, Caiaphas was high priest. At the time that John was writing his gospel, it was remembered, how great and how remarkable that year had been, and what a leading part Caiaphas had taken among the opponents of the Gospel. Thrice the Evangelist notes the high priesthood of Caiaphas as being in this year: in this passage, and at John 11:51 , and at ch. John 18:13 . Comp. Acts 6:6 , “Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas , and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest.” ὑμεῖς , ye ) The high priest reproves the slowness in resolve of his fellow-counsellors, and, sure in his purpose, affirms that the matter can be most easily accomplished: that it is not the people who should be attacked; but that it is Jesus alone, who must be taken out of the way. Caiaphas abuses the strength of mind, which arose from prophecy, [304] for the purpose of a mere political affirmation.

[304] Given him supernaturally as high priest. E. and T.

Verse 50

John 11:50 . Συμφέρει , it is expedient ) Caiaphas is thinking of mere political expediency; but the Spirit of prophecy so directs him, as that he uses words suited to express what was spiritually expedient. Caiaphas and Pilate condemned Jesus; yet both gave a testimony foreign to their own personal feeling: Caiaphas, in this passage, gives testimony as to the sacerdotal character of the death of Christ; Pilate, in the inscription on the cross, gave testimony as to His kingly character. εἷς , one ) 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 , “ One died for all , He died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves.” καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ ἔθνος ἀπόληται , and not that the whole nation perish ) He refers to their words in the close of John 11:48 , “The Romans shall take away both our place and nation .”

Verse 51

John 11:51 . Ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ , of his own self ) as men, who deliberate, otherwise are wont. σὐκ εἶπει , said not ) By this is explained the verb εἶπεν , said , which was used in John 11:49 . ὑπερ τοῦ ἔθνους , for the nation ) Caiaphas had said, ὑπὲρ τοῦ λαοῦ , for the people , John 11:50 . But John does not now any longer call them λαόν , a people , since their polity was expiring.

Verse 52

John 11:52 . Καἰ οὐχ , and not ) John everywhere obviates the possibility of a wrong interpretation: so at ch. John 21:23 [where the false construction was put on Jesus’ words, as if the beloved disciple should not die, John counteracts the error by adding, “Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”] In this passage, his object in adding Joh 11:52 is, lest any should infer from the words of Caiaphas, that Jesus died for the Jews alone. In truth, the apostle of Christ takes a wider range of view than the Jewish high priest. ἵνα καὶ τὰ τέκνα ) Almost all the Latin MSS. omit the particle καὶ , also Augustine , and with them Luther . Let the reader weigh the evidence and decide. [305] τὰ τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ , the children of God ) He calls them the children of God in respect to the Divine foreknowledge; and because they were in very deed about to become the children of God, [ even though not being the posterity of Abraham, according to the flesh V. g.] τὰ διεσκορπισμένα , that had been [ were ] scattered abroad ) The Preterite denotes, not those who are in the dispersion, but those who have come into a state of dispersion. Genesis 10:32 , “The nations were divided in the earth after the flood;” John 11:8 , [at Babel] “The Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth.” The words in antithesis are, the people , John 11:50 , and the scattered abroad [children of God], John 11:52 . Otherwise the people and the children are synonyms: Romans 9:26 , “In the place where it was said, Ye are not My people , there shall they be called the children of the living God.” So then Christ inflicted no detriment on the people [the Jews], in order that He might make a people of those also, who had not been a people [the Gentiles]. Comp. ch. John 12:20 , etc. [Greeks, by their own desire, are brought to Jesus through Philip: whereupon Jesus saith] “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

[305] ABD Rec. Text and Origen retain καί . abc omit it. Some MSS. of Vulg. have it, but others omit it. E. and T.

Verse 53

John 11:53 . Οὖν , therefore ) This refers to John 11:50 , taken in connection with what went before.

Verse 54

John 11:54 . Οὐκέτι , no more ) This was not the result of fear. Ἐφραΐμ , Ephraim ) See 2 Samuel 13:23 , “Baal-hazor, beside Ephraim.”

Verse 55

John 11:55 . [307] Ἐκ τῆς χώρας ) out of that region , John 11:54 , “the country near to the wilderness, into a city of which , Ephraim” [Jesus had retired]; just as from all other regions. ἵνα ) That they might purify themselves, and remove all hindrances to their eating the passover.

[307] λεγομένην , called ) It must have been therefore an obscure place. V. g. κἀκεῖ διέτριβε , and there continued ) This retreat was prior to His arrival in Jericho, For before that He came to Jericho. He was alone with His disciples: but at Jericho a numerous crowd of people, flocking together to Him, accompanied Him in His solemn entry into Jerusalem, and escorted Him in meeting the multitude from that city. Matthew 20:17 , “Jesus, going up to Jerus., took the Twelve apart ;” 29, “As they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him;” John 21:8-9 , “The multitudes that went before , and that followed cried, Hosanna;” Mark 10:46 , “He went out of Jericho with a great number of people.” Harm. , p. 431.

Verse 56

John 11:56 . Οὖν , therefore ) These above others were aware that Jesus is not far off. τί ) An abbreviated expression for, What think ye? Think ye, that He will not come?

Verse 57

John 11:57 . Δέ , but [now]) They had not been content with that which is mentioned, John 11:53 [ i.e. with merely taking counsel to put Him to death ].

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 11". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/john-11.html. 1897.
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