John 18:1. ἐξῆλθε, He went forth) straightway. Therefore He had spoken in the city the words which have been written in the preceding chapters.— τῶν κέδρων) It is called by the Hebrews קדרון. The Latin Vulgate has Cedron, not Cedrorum. Therefore we regard the τῶν as inserted by transcribers.(376) The Greeks inflected several Hebrew nouns so as to accord with the sounds of their own language, as Hiller shows in the Onom., p. 715: therefore in this way τῶν κέδρων might have place. But the LXX. never have it so, save at 1 Kings 15:13, where however the Tigurine Edition,(377) and moreover the Cod. Alex., have ἐν τῷ χειμάῤῥῳ τοῦ κέδρων. In other cases the LXX. are wont to say, without an article, ἐν τῷ χειμάῤῥῳ χοῤῥάθ, εἰς τὸν χειμάῤῥουν κεισῶν, κ. τ. λ. Also, during the times of the LXX. translators and of John, the phrase, τῶν κέδρων, does not seem to have been in use.
John 18:2. τὸν τόπον) the place, and the plan of the whole place. [It is truly the worst of all sins, when one perverts to a bad use the knowledge of a good cause, which he had formerly possessed.—V. g.]— ἐκεῖ, there) in the scene of His approaching agony.
John 18:3. τὴν σπεῖραν) the band (cohort) of Roman soldiers with the Captain: in contradistinction to which, the ministers or officers of the Jews are mentioned in John 18:12.— μετὰ φανῶν) φανὸς, a lantern. See Hesychius.
John 18:4. ἐξελθὼν, having gone forth) Therefore He might even still have departed.— εἶπεν, said) in order that He might turn aside the violence of the cohort (band) from the disciples: John 18:8.
John 18:6. ἔπεσον, fell) They ought not after that to have continued to kick against the pricks, especially Judas.
[7. οἱ δὲ εἶπον, and [but] they said) The violence of their mad attack upon the Saviour robbed them of all consideration, or regard to so striking an omen.—V. g.]
John 18:8. ἀπεκρίθη, answered) Twice He says, I am [He]: if He had said it the third time, they would not have taken Him. He shall say it the third time hereafter.— τούτους, these) viz. the disciples; whom they were blindly attacking.
John 18:9. πληρωθῇ, might be fulfilled) Jesus therefore was a Prophet: so in John 18:32.— οὐκ ἀπώλεσα, I have not lost) not even in this their greatest occasion of danger.
John 18:10. σίμων, Simon) John alone records that it was Simon who did this: the other evangelists keep back the name of Peter. [No doubt because these latter wrote at a time when Peter might readily have run risk with the world (had his name been mentioned): John, writing last of all, filled up the omission of the name when all risk was over.—Harm., p. 531. Comp. ch. John 21:19, note marg.]
— ἔχων having) Even to have a sword was attended with danger.— ἀπέκοψεν, cut off) with a dangerous stroke.— ΄άλχος, Malchus) It is probable that, for a long time after, this man continued to be well known among Jews and Christians. The name of the servant is given in the sacred narrative, as that of the maid (Rhoda), Acts 12:13.
John 18:11. τὸ ποτήριον, the cup) Jesus refers to those things which He had said in Matthew 20:22; Matthew 26:39.(379) Therefore John presupposes those particulars which Matthew wrote in the passages just quoted.— οὐ μὴ πίω; shall I not drink it?) It was at this (that He should not drink the cup) that the fighting of Peter was aiming.
John 18:13. πρῶτον, first) merely by way of honour. Comp. Acts 4:6 [where ‘Annas’ is mentioned as High Priest; the same words however being understood after ‘Caiaphas,’ who comes next]. That the Saviour was presently after led thence to Caiaphas, John intimates by the fact, that he says that Caiaphas was the High Priest, and that Peter went in with Jesus into the palace of Caiaphas: John 18:15, at the end.
John 18:14. ὁ συμβουλεύσας, who had given the counsel) and was on that account eager for the destruction of Jesus.
John 18:15. ἄλλος) without the article, another, indefinitely, as being here first mentioned.(380) For presently after ὁ has a relative force. See E. Schmid. on this passage.— τῷ ἀρχιερεῖ, to the High Priest) and on that ground they were admitted in.
John 18:16. ἔξω, without) The disciple, although known as such (John has not added in this place κεκρυμμένον, secretly, as in ch. John 19:38),(381) walking in openly, is safer than Peter, who was not known as such, and who acts timidly. General hatred of religion admits of an exception in the case of personal friends, so as to connive at them.— εἶπε, spake) asking her to allow him to bring in Peter.
John 18:17. καὶ σὺ,) thou also, as many others, and as thy companion.(382) If the maid had been ignorant of the fact that that other disciple was a disciple, there is no doubt but that she would have questioned him also. Therefore the maid had not asked the question for the sake of injuring him, but lest she herself should come into danger. [She had previously permitted the unnamed disciple to introduce Peter; then at last, fearing that she had admitted in a strange man at an unseasonable time, she went near the light, and having found Peter, who after a brief sitting or lying down (‘accubitum’) had presently after risen up again, she accosted him, thereby causing further questions to be put to him by the other servants also. Peter replied to the maid and the servants in the negative. This was the first denial. The same damsel made the beginning of that inquiry also, which impelled Peter to a second denial, after that he had been in the meantime occupied with warming himself in the palace, and had afterwards gone forth into the hall (‘atrium’). Some of the servants, as naturally happens, were sitting, some were standing; Peter did both by turns. His first denial was whilst sitting; the second, whilst standing. Whilst these things were being done, which are recorded, ch. John 18:19-23, he stood near the fire; for which reason John twice introduces mention of his standing: John 18:18; John 18:25.—Harm., p. 535.] Nor was Peter in greater peril than the other disciple.
John 18:18. πέτρος, Peter) He had become cold on the Mount of Olives.
John 18:19. διδαχῆς, doctrine) The High Priest asks the question, just as if the doctrine of Jesus had crept in (spread gradually) in secret. So the world often wishes to make out of the truth a thing done in a corner. Jesus answers as to His doctrine: there was no need of His answering as to His disciples.
John 18:20. τῷ κόσμῳ, to the world) Language (i.e. His speaking) very comprehensive. παῤῥησίᾳ, openly, signifies the manner; πάντοτε, ever, or always, the time; in synagogue and in the temple, the place.— ἐν συναγωγῇ) Editions have ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ: as presently after we have the expression, ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ. But it is not without good reason that the Evangelist has omitted the article τῇ. Joh. Harduin lays it down that there were only two synagogues at Jerusalem, the one for native Jews, the other for the ‘Libertines,’ Acts 6:9; and attempts to infer from this passage of John, that there was but one synagogue of native-born Jews.—Op. Sel. p. 904.(383) But the Lord is speaking of the synagogues of the whole country, not merely of the city; and so, therefore, from this passage the oneness of the synagogue in the city neither is refuted, nor is to be inferred. The noun in the Singular number, ἐν συναγωγῇ, acquires a distributive force [in synagogue, wherever it might happen to be, in every one]: and thence the article τῷ, added to “the temple,” forms an Epitasis [an emphatic addition, in repeating the previous ἐν].— ἐν κρυπτῷ) in secret, nothing, as far as concerns My doctrine (teaching) before the people. For He also apart taught His disciples many things; the main substance of which, however, He now confessed, even in presence of the Council (Sanhedrim). Matthew 26:64, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
John 18:21. τί με) Why ask Me, whom thou dost not believe? [It was suitable neither to the time nor to the place, for Him to set forth the particular dogmas of faith.—V. g.]— τί) This second τί depends on ἐρώτησον, ask.— οὗτοι, these) He points to the multitude then present, even these (here) know.
John 18:22. ῥάπισμα, a stroke) with a rod or stick [Engl. Vers. “with the palm of his hand”]. Comp. ch. John 19:3, note; [not as Engl. Vers. “They smote Him with their hands,” but with a reed, as appears from Mark 15:19; or else with rods, as appears from] Matthew 26:67, where ἐκολάφισαν is the word used to express blows with the hand; ἐῤῥάπισαν, blows with rods, which the servants had, note, Mark 14:65.— οὓτως, so) in such a manner. He was not able to impugn the truth itself; he wishes to indicate that Jesus erred in the manner, as each most innocent person is often accused by the unjust. But Jesus defends even His manner, declaring that He has spoken, not ill, but well.
John 18:23. αὐτῷ) Hirs. Goth. Lat. in MS. Bodl. vet. and Luther, omit this word.— μαρτύρησον, bear witness) If I have spoken evil, then, and not till then, ceteris paribus (presuming that there are no other objections to that course of proceeding), bear witness, etc. The minister or officer had attempted to bear witness by means of the stroke itself, but wrongly.— εἰ δὲ, but if) This has the force of affirming [But since I have spoken well].
John 18:24. ἀπέστειλεν, sent) One or two editions supply οὖν, or δὲ, or τέ. There is no need of doing so.(384) That Jesus had been led by Annas to Caiaphas, had been indicated by John, in John 18:15, by the verb συνεισῆλθε, and by the very appellation High Priest being so often repeated. But now he takes up again this very circumstance, and records it more expressly in conjunction with the mention of His being bound, in which state the Saviour [both ingenuously confessed the truth (Harm., p. 536), and] received a most undeserved blow. Sometimes in a narrative there is put something out of the regular order of time, which is connected with those circumstances that receive light from it: ch. John 5:9, John 9:14, John 11:30; Acts 4:22; Jeremiah 29:29, compared with what goes before and what follows. It was in one and the same palace of the High Priest, although in different parts of it, that Peter thrice denied Jesus [This explains the connection with John 18:25].— δεδεμένον, bound) John 18:12.
John 18:25. καὶ σὺ) thou also, who art here present, a stranger to us.
John 18:26. οὗ ἀπέκοψε, whose ear Peter cut off) Peter struck the man: accordingly it is by the man’s relative that Peter is attacked. A sad retaliation.
John 18:27. ἐφώνησεν, crew) Concerning the repentance of Peter, John takes for granted those particulars which the other evangelists record. Add ch. John 20:2-3 [which presupposes his repentance].
John 18:28. αὐτοὶ) they themselves.— ἳνα μὴ μιανθῶσιν, lest they should be defiled) as Pilate’s house was not cleared out of leaven: Deuteronomy 16:4, “There shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coasts seven days.”— φάγωσι τὸ πάσχα, that they might eat the Passover) So 2 Chronicles 30:22, ויאכלו המועד, “They ate the feast seven days.”(385) [This observation of John is not opposed to that view whereby we have shown that the Jews ate the Passover on the evening which formed the commencement of the Friday; i.e. at the close or evening of Thursday. (See note of the Gnom. on Matthew 26:17.) In fact, the word πάσχα, in the strict sense, means only the Passover lamb, not a bull, etc.(386) But when the Passover in general is mentioned, by the Passover lamb, as being the principal part (Deuteronomy 16:1, “Keep the Passover,” with which comp. John 18:2, “sacrifice the Passover of the flock and the herd”), the whole feast is meant by Synecdoche (a part for the whole); namely, on the same principle as σάββατον, the Sabbath, means both the seventh day of the week in the strict sense, and by consequence the whole week. To these considerations Lightfoot (Hor. on this passage) adds, that the defilement by entering the Pretorium or judgment-hall would last only up to evening, and that therefore would not prevent them, after being cleansed, from eating the Paschal lamb. Since, then, in this passage, the Evangelist is speaking of such an eating of the Passover as the Jews would have been excluded from before the evening by any defilement, no doubt a different part of the feast from the actual feast of the Passover lamb is indicated.—Harm., p. 544, et seqq.] τὸ πάσχα cannot be the Accusative of time, during the Feast. For though defiled, they might eat common food. [Therefore it could not be ordinary eating, but eating the Passover, which this passage implies that defilement would have excluded them from.]
John 18:30. εἰ μὴ, if not) It is a monstrous calumny to treat the cause of an innocent person as if it were a case of notorious criminality. They wish to relieve Pilate of the labour of investigation, so as that he should not trouble himself about their law, but only inflict the punishment.— οὗτος, this man) Answering to, against this man, in John 18:29.
John 18:31. ὑμῶν, your) Pilate seems to have said this not without contempt: comp. John 18:35, “Am I a Jew?” and not to have considered the charge brought against Jesus a capital offence, as the Jews were accounting it.— οὐκ ἔξεστιν, it is not lawful) It is not very easy to interpret the feeling of a tumultuous crowd. Pilate speaks of himself (by virtue of his own authority), with whom the power rests: John 18:39. Certainly, when he granted the permission, they had it in their power to kill Jesus: but they are unwilling to avail themselves of that concession, and therefore appeal to the fact of the power of life and death having been taken from them. And Jewish history accordingly tells us that on that very year, the fortieth before the overthrow of the city, the power was taken from them. See also ch. John 19:31, [The Jews beg leave from Pilate that the bodies be taken down, thus acknowledging his authority; so also they ask leave to watch and seal the tomb,] Matthew 27:62.
John 18:32. εἶπε, He spake) ch. John 12:32-33, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said signifying what death He should die.”— ποίῳ, by what kind of) viz. such a death as the Romans were wont to inflict. The Jews would have stoned Him [that being the punishment of blasphemy among them].
John 18:33. σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ἰουδαίων; art Thou the King of the Jews?) John brings before us Pilate, with changeable mind, always pressing upon this point.
John 18:34. ἄλλοι, others) This was calculated to rouse the conscience of Pilate, so as that he should not simply [without corroborative proof] believe the Jews. It was altogether the statement of ‘others,’ namely, the Jews,—those outside namely, when Jesus had been already by this time introduced into the Pretorium or judgment-hall. Jesus was wishing Pilate to observe this part of His question: Pilate lays hold (fastens) on the former part of it, not without anger.
John 18:35. ΄ή τι, I am not a Jew, am I?) That is to say, certainly it is not of myself that I say this: the Jews have told it to me.— τὸ σὸν, Thy own nation) of which Thou art called the King.— ἀρχιερεῖς, the high priests) The chief ministers themselves.— τί ἐποίησας, what hast Thou done?) Pilate glances at the question concerning Jesus being King.
John 18:36. βασιλεία, kingdom) Thrice Jesus names His kingdom.— οὐκ, not) Jesus merely says from whence His kingdom is not, namely, not of this world; but does not express whence it is, namely, from heaven. However He intimates it, when He says, that “He came into the world,” John 18:37.— ἐκ) The particle of or from is to be marked. See note on Revelation 11:15, “The seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.” For ἐν and ἐκ differ: above, ch. John 17:11; John 17:14, “I am no longer in ( ἐν) the world;” “I am not of ( ἐκ) the world.” ἐκ denotes precisely the origin, as presently after ἐντεῦθεν, from hence. [Comp. Erklär. Offenb. p. 553.—V. g.]— κόσμου τούτου, of this world) On this account Christ did not stay long in this life.— εἰ ἐκ, if of) Of this world is emphatically put in the beginning of the clause [not ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ ἦν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, but ἐκ τ. κοσμ. is put first]. The world defends its kingdoms by force of arms.— ὑπηρέται, My servants, ministers) who are not from or of this world.— ἠγωνίζοντο, would fight) Each kind of agent acts in its own sphere.— παραδοθῶ, that I should not be delivered) Pilate was already contemplating this, John 18:31.— νῦν, now, as it is) The particle is adversative, not a particle of time.
John 18:37. ἐγώ. ἐγὼ, I. I) A powerful Anadiplosis [The repetition of the same word in the end of the preceding and beginning of the following member of a sentence. Append.]— εἰς τοῦτο, for this) So twice. The first εἰς τοῦτο may be referred to the preceding clause, concerning His being “a King,” in order to intimate that He was born a King: Matthew 2:2, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” The second may be referred to what follows as to “bearing witness unto the truth.” Comp. οὗτοι, καὶ οὗτοι in Deuteronomy 27:12-13, “These shall stand upon Mount Gerizim to bless—and these upon—Ebal to curse.”— γεγέννημαι, I was born) Herein His human nativity is signified. Pilate was not capable of comprehending His divine Sonship. Yet it is declared here, notwithstanding, that not the whole origin of Jesus is contained in His human nativity, when there is subjoined, I came into the world.— τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, unto the truth) The truth, which previously had been told to the people (Jewish), in His passion is preached to princes also, and to the Gentiles. This then is the crowning point of His preaching. All heard and saw the Christ: the truth was offered even to Pilate. The kingdom of the truth is opposed to the kingdom of this world.— πᾶς, every one) Jesus appeals from the blindness of Pilate to the capability of comprehension existing on the part of believers.— ὁ ὢν ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας, he who is of the truth) To be of the truth precedes: to hear follows.— ἀκούει, heareth) with pleasure and intelligence. And these are the citizens of the kingdom of Christ.— τῆς φωνῆς, My voice) which is true, in its assertion of My kingdom.
John 18:38. τί ἐστιν ἀληθεία; what is truth?) Pilate thinks that the mention of truth does not square with what He said concerning His kingdom. He knows only to connect the idea of a kingdom with power, not with truth. But the kingdom of truth is a kingdom of freedom; for the truth makes free (ch. John 8:32; John 8:36). Here Pilate ought to have questioned Him, as an earnest inquirer: but he so questions Him, as to confess that he is not of the truth. The words of Jesus were an enigma to Pilate; and Pilate confesses this. It is at the end of his conversation with Jesus, and not till then, that he asks τί ἐστιν, what is truth? Sir. (Ecclesiasticus) Sirach 22:8, “He that telleth a tale to a fool, speaketh to one in a slumber; when he hath told his tale, he will say, What is the matter?”
John 18:39. ἐν τῷ πάσχα, at the Passover) Therefore the Passover was on that day. And on that day the people, who were assembled together, begged the favour of Pilate.
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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 18". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/
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