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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 2

Verse 1

John 2:1 . Τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ ) On the third day after the promise given, ch. John 1:51 . Now is exhibited a specimen [of its fulfilment]. [ Between that day, on which Nathanael teas gained over, and the celebration of the marriage-feast, one day intervened; on which some disciples, as it is reasonable to suppose, joined those previously made . V. g. Nor was this portion of time too limited for accomplishing the journey from Bethabara (Bethany?) to Galilee ( and especially to Cana ). Harm., p. 159.] γάμος , the marriage-feast ) Christ does not abolish human society but sanctifies it. Thirst can be assuaged even by water; but at a marriage-feast the Lord gives wine: [on an occasion] independent of marriage there would have been no case of need. The great graciousness of the Lord [is herein exhibited]: He takes part in a marriage-feast at the earliest period [of His ministry], whilst He is alluring [in a winning manner] disciples, being afterwards about to proceed by more severe ways leading to the cross, [both methods alike at the last] eventuating in glory. ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ , the mother of Jesus ) John never calls her by the name Mary ; but takes the name for granted as known from the other evangelists: comp. note on ch. John 6:67 , John 7:42 , John 21:2 . ἐκεῖ , there ) as a relative or intimate friend.

Verse 2

John 2:2 . Οἱ μαθηταί , the disciples ) There were by this time more disciples than those who had invited Jesus and His disciples seem to have thought: on that account the wine was the more speedily all spent; but Jesus most liberally compensates them, by giving as many vessels of wine as were about the number of companions whom He had brought with Him. αὐτοῦ , His ) Hence maybe inferred the piety of those who invited Him.

Verse 3

John 2:3 . Ὑστερήσαντος , failing [coming short]) How many days the marriage-feast lasted, on what day of it the Lord came and the wine failed, is not known. οὐκ ἔχουσι ) The newly-wedded couple have not . She means this: I would wish you to withdraw, in order that the rest also may withdraw, before that the scarcity be made evident to all. [45] Adopting this [Bongel’s] sense as the meaning of Mary, the reply of Jesus not only does not appear harsh, but is most full of love.

[45] This seems mere conjecture. Lücke more probably supposes that the Lord Himself had recently given some reason to expect that He would manifest His Messiahship in wonderful works. Indeed she herself might have inferred this from prophecy: Isaiah 35:5-6 ; Genesis 49:10-11 . E. and T.

Verse 4

John 2:4 . Τὶ ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί ; what is there [common] to Me and thee? ) Thy thoughts are one thing, saith He, mine another. Similarly the disciples are disciplined, ch. John 6:6 , “Jesus saith to Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? and this He said to prove him;” ch. John 13:7 , [Jesus to Peter, when about to wash his feet] “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.” γύναι ) He does not say, Mary , nor mother ; but woman ; which appellation held a middle place, and was especially becoming for the Lord to use: ch. John 19:26 , “Woman, behold thy son;” perhaps, also, it was peculiar [in its use] to Him. The Lord had regard to the Father above all things; not even did He know His mother, according to the flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:16 , “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.” Comp. note on John 20:13 . Especially was the appellation of mother unsuitable to this formula, What is there to Me and thee? However, the Greek γύναι , having no synonym in our language, has a more respectful sound than Woman [ch. Joh 19:26 shows it betrays no want of tender respect], mulier , [Germ.] Weib , as contradistinguished from [female, lady] femina , [Germ.] Frau : and woman is used for mother , Isaiah 45:10 , “Woe unto him, that saith to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?” οὔτω ἥκει ) is not yet come . The same word [occurs], ch. John 4:47 , John 8:42 . ὥρα , hour ) of doing what you hint to Me, i.e. of withdrawing. Certainly his hour of assisting them was come.

Verse 5

John 2:5 . Λέγει , she saith ) Mary had not yet seen a miracle performed by Jesus: John 2:11 [proves this]; but from His own reply she wisely inferred, that one was about to be performed. ὅ , τι ἂν λέγὑμῖν , ποιήσατε , whatsoever He shall have said unto you, do it ) She feels that He is about to do something; therefore she delegates the whole management, resting on herself, as well as the servants themselves, to Him. Comp. Genesis 41:55 , ὁ ἐὰν εἴτὑμῖν , ποιήσατε , whatever He shall have said to you, do ye [Pharaoh’s direction that the Egyptians should go to Joseph].

Verse 6

John 2:6 . Ὑδρίαι ) water-pots , rather more broad in shape, than high: for they were lying [ κείμεναι ]; and they were capacious, long, broad, and deep, out of which draughts might be drawn, John 2:8 . κατὰ ) for [Engl. Vers., after the manner of ]. τῶν Ἰουδαίων , of the Jews ) who used to have frequent washings. The Evangelist did not write among the Jews, [as] John 2:13 ; John 5:1 [prove]. μετρητάς , metretæ [firkins, three-fourths of the Attic medium, about nine gallons Engl.]) 2 Chronicles 4:5 , Septuag. χωροῦσα ( בתים ) μετρητὰς [baths] πρισχιλίους . Hist. Bel, John 2:2 , σεμιδάλεως ἀρτάβαι δώδεκα καὶ πρόβατα τεσσαράκοντα καὶ οἴνου μετρηταὶ ἓξ . With these seventy priests were filled, besides women and children. See the same passage, John 2:9 . Nor is there any doubt but that the remains left over were large. On this analogy the 15 metretæ in Cana could have sufficed for the giving drink to more than 175 men, besides women and children, certainly not fewer; for giving food to whom, 30 artabæ (a Persian measure = 1 medimnus + 2 chœnices) or 1530 chœnices, and 100 sheep, would be needed. I say purposely, on this analogy; and also, presently after, I refer the words, for giving food to whom, to the words, more than 175, not to 175; and thereby the word more itself is much enlarged in its meaning. Comp. 1Es 8:22 (20). Matt. Hostus shows that 12 metretæ (at Frankfort on the Oder) are 7773/5 nossellæ; but that 18 metretæ are 11662/5 nossellæ: thus the mean between for 15 metret145 will be 972 nossellæ.

Verse 8

John 2:8 . Ἤνεγκαν , They bare ) i.e. They drew and bare . [They exhibited a] beautiful obedience [to His directions].

Verse 9

John 2:9 . Ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος , the governor of the feast ) who was directing the whole management of the feast: one skilled in deciding a question of taste. τὸ ὕδωρ ) The Article marks the subject. οὐκ ᾔδει · ᾔδεισαν , did not know: they knew) The ignorance of the governor of the feast proves the goodness of the wine: the knowledge of the servants[proves] the truth of the miracle. φωνεῖ ) calls : it is not added, to himself .

Verse 10

John 2:10 . Λέγει , saith ) So that those who were present might hear: see the preceding verse. τὸν καλόν , the good ) Therefore the bridegroom had set down wine, in the judgment of the governor of the feast, good enough; but Jesus gave better. ὃταν μεθυσθῶσι ) Simply the speech of the governor of the feast is repeated, as also the custom of the Jews: drunkenness is not approved of. τετήρηκας , thou hast kept ) He speaks as one ignorant of what had taken place, John 2:9 .

Verse 11

John 2:11 . Ταύτην , this ) The early miracles of Christ are put before us in singular abundance; because the beginnings of faith rested on them. [ And indeed the first miracles, in this place, and ch. John 5:8 , “Rise, take up thy bed and walk” (Jesus to the impotent man); Matthew 8:13 , “Jesus said to the centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee,” He did not perform by His hand, but by words: in order that it might be manifest, His healing power teas divine. A natural force is sometimes in men, so that even rather severe infirmities of body yield to their hands. But Jesus’ healing power was of a different character; since, when subsequently He stretched out His hands, or employed other ceremonials, in miraculous healings, He did so for the sake of those on whom the benefit was conferred : Mark 7:33 , etc. (The deaf mute; whom Jesus “took aside, put His fingers into his ears, spit, and touched His tongue”); ch. John 8:23 (The blind man; whom Jesus “led out of the town, spit upon his eyes, and put His hands upon him”), etc. Harm. , p. 159, etc.] ἀρχήν , beginning ) Whence now it might be supposed, that more [miracles] would follow. καὶ ἐφανέρωσε , and manifested ) And thus began to manifest His glory. Previously He had not wrought miracles. [ He, it seems, gave [præmisit] doctrine before signs. When He made this beginning of signs, the beginning of His doctrine had been previously made with His disciples, who became confirmed in their faith by this very miracle, as also with others, through John the Baptist, and also through Jesus Himself . John 1:0 . Harm. , p. 160.] ἐπίστευσαν ) They believed the more fully [comp. ch. John 1:50 , a “Because I said, etc., believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.” Even in a marriage-feast a progress in faith is to be sought after. Thenceforth the disciples were prepared to embrace whatever their Lord was about to do and say. μαθηταί , the disciples ) His mother had previously believed: Luke 1:45 , “Blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance,” etc.

Verse 12

John 2:12 . Κατέβη ) He went down from Cana. καί , and ) A holy family. His Brethren are put before His disciples . The privileges of His brethren had been great, if they had used them. [ These are here mentioned in the first place: and Joseph is not now added. It is not without good reason one may suspect, that Joseph died during the interval between the twelfth and thirtieth year of Jesus’ age, and that His brethren were not Joseph’s own children ( for Jesus, as He was reputed the Son, so was He reputed to be absolutely the first-begotten of Joseph ), but Mary’s sisters sons. Harm. , p. 160.] οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας , not many days ) He accustomed them to travelling from place to place; and His journey to Jerusalem was at hand. See the following ver. [ Manifestly by this phrase (comp. Acts 1:5 , οὐ μετὰ πολλὰς ταύτας ἡμέρας ; John 13:31 , ἐπὶ ἡμέρας πλείους ) this continuing [ ἔμειναν , they continued there ] is distinguished from His dwelling at Capernaum. That went before, this followed the imprisonment of John. Harm. , l. c.]

Verse 13

John 2:13 . Τὸ πάσχα , the Passover ) About the times of the Passover the office of Christ was in especially fruitful exercise.

Verse 14

John 2:14 . Βόας καὶ πρόβατα καὶ περιστεράς , oxen, and sheep, and doves ) which were used in sacrifices. καθημένους , sitting ) in the very act of negotiation: [ going on so much the more briskly, as the Passover festival was at hand. Harm. , p. 161.]

Verse 15

John 2:15 . Φραγέλλιον , a scourge ) Admirable zeal! ἐκ σχοινίων ) of several cords : for so scourges were formerly made. Moreover there was no material which inflicted less lasting hurt on the body than this. Nor is it said, that He inflicted a single blow upon the men: He accomplished His purpose by the terror [which He inspired].

Verse 16

John 2:16 . Τοῦ Πατρός μου , My Father ) Surprising authority! [ The Saviour proved Himself on this occasion Lord of the temple, and of all the feasts connected with it; therefore there was no reason why men should wonder, if either then He did not wait on to the end of the feast, or if afterwards He did not frequent all the feasts, or if he neglected to be present at the beginning of the feast . Harm., p. 162.]

Verse 17

John 2:17 . Ἐμνήσθησαν , they remembered ) Comp. John 2:22 , ch. John 12:16 [His triumphant entry into Jerusalem], “These things understood not His disciples at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him.” Concerning the time of remembrance, also ch. John 14:26 , “The Holy Ghost shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” ὁ ζῆλος καταφάγεταί με , Zeal shall eat Me up [46] ) So Septuagint, Psalms 69:10 . In truth, His enemies afterwards killed Jesus on account of His zeal for His Father’s house . οἴκου , house ) See John 2:16 .

[46] So ABP, the best authorities, read; but the old Latin Versions abc Vulg., and the Rec. Text, read κατέφαγέ , hath eaten Me up . E. and T.

Verse 18

John 2:18 . Τί σημεῖον , what sign ) And yet this very act was a σημεῖον , sign, which Jesus had miraculously wrought. [ Of how great a number do you imagine there would be need, if all the buyers and sellers had to be immediately driven out of any market-place! V. g. And on that account, indeed, that act was the more marvellous, inasmuch as Jesus, having just come from His baptism, had not yet ceased to be a stranger to the inhabitants of Jerusalem . Harm., p. 161.] They require signs, to be proved by signs. They showed the same perversity, ch. John 6:30 , [After His miracle of feeding 5000, they said] “What sign showest Thou then, that we may see and believe Thee?” Matthew 21:23 , “The chief priests came unto Him, as He was teaching in the temple, and said, By what authority doest Thou these things? and who gave Thee this authority?” ὅτι ) seeing that, since .

Verse 19

John 2:19 . Λύσατε , destroy ) On account of this very deed, namely, the cleansing of the temple, they afterwards destroyed the temple of His body. Matthew 21:23 [see above], Matthew 21:46 , “They sought to lay hands on Him;” Matthew 27:40 , [They that passed by reviled, saying] “Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save Thyself;” Matthew 26:61 , [False witnesses said, in His trial before Caiaphas] “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.” Destroy, i.e. if you destroy : or rather, you will destroy . A similar use of the Imperative [occurs] Sir 30:9 ; Sir 33:26 , Soothe your little son , etc. [= you will soothe], τὸν ναόν , the temple ) The body of Jesus, about to be raised again, is the temple and dwelling-place of the Godhead. Therefore Jesus is the Lord of the temple at Jerusalem, which was the type of the body of Jesus. τοῦτον , this ) There is no doubt but that Jesus supplied that which the Evangelist adds, John 2:21 , by the employment of a nod or gesture, unobserved by the Jews. [47] ἐγερῶ , I will raise it up ) A suitable word, [both] concerning the edifice of stone, and concerning the temple of His body. It recurs at verse 22. This is a grand declaration of His, I can do what I please with the temple of My body: ch. John 10:17-18 , “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again;” and so also I can do what I please with this temple made of stone and wood. He puts off those demanding the sign: comp. ch. John 8:28 , “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself:” nor, however, even in the time then being did He perform no signs; John 2:23 , “Many believed on His name, when they saw the miracles which He did .”

[47] ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις , in three days ) From this very time, in which it first came into the Jews’ mind to destroy the temple of Christ’s body (Mark 14:58 , We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands), down to His resurrection, by which He Himself raised the temple, is accounted, even in that sense, a three days’ period, if you take one day, and that the Passover day, in this figurative language, as one year: to wit, by including in the numeration the years of the prophecy and of its completion (which years are Dion. 28 and 30). Harm. , p. 162.

Verse 20

John 2:20 . Ὠκοδομήθη , was built [ was in building ]) by Herod the Great, and subsequently. See, besides others, Witsius in Misc. T. ii. p. 311. καὶ σύ , and wilt thou ) For this reason, the more they seem to have taken Jesus’ words literally, because He was called a workman . Mark 6:3 , “Is not this the carpenter? ” comp. Matthew 26:61 ; Matthew 27:63 , [The Pharisees, after the crucifixion, to Pilate] “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.” Stupidity often, in the case of malice, is of advantage [proficit, prevails, makes progress, i.e. as to its own wicked purpose].

Verse 21

John 2:21 . Περὶ τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ σώματος , concerning the temple of His body ) that is, concerning the temple, which was the body of Jesus. Let the expression be compared, which is found ch. John 11:13 , “Howbeit Jesus spake of His death; but they thought that He had spoken of taking rest in sleep.”

Verse 22

John 2:22 . Was risen ) His Resurrection, not His glorification, is appealed to, because the sign was fulfilled by His resurrection. Comp. ἐγερῶ , I will raise , John 2:19 . ἐμνήσθησαν , they remembered ) Faith and memory lend mutual help to one another in this passage; and ch. John 12:16 , John 16:4 , “These things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them:” they also work together; Matthew 16:8-9 , “O ye of little faith Do ye not yet remember the five loaves,” etc.; Psalms 106:13 , “They soon forgat His works;” John 2:12 , having just before stated, “Then believed they His words.” τῇ γραφῇ καὶ τῷ λόγῳ , the Scripture and the word ) concerning the raising of the temple: both being alike divine.

Verse 23

John 2:23 . Ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ , in the feast ) the people being collected, ch. John 4:45 , “The Galilæans received Him, having seen all the things that He did at Jerusalem at the feast.” ἐπίστευσαν , believed ) as those, concerning whom ch. Joh 8:30 speaks: “As He spake these words, many believed on Him;” John 12:42 , “Among the chief rulers also many believed on Him.” τὰ σημεῖα , signs ) More signs are recorded as having been done by the Evangelists in Galilee, than in Judæa and Jerusalem: John 2:1 , and chap. John 4:46 [The miracle of the wine at Cana, and on the nobleman’s son at Capernaum]. For in Galilee He wrought very many: Matthew 11:20 , “Then began He to upbraid the cities, wherein most of His mighty works were done:” and those which had been wrought in Jerusalem, were then very well known of themselves.

Verse 24

John 2:24 . Αὐτός ) Himself . οὐκ ἐπίστευεν ἑαυτόν , He did not commit Himself ) He did not descend to too great familiarity with them (Septuag., Job 29:24 , εἰ ἐγέλων πρὸς αὐτοὺς , οὐκ ἐπίστευον , “If I laughed on them, they believed it not):” He did not reveal to them the things which it was not yet the full time for revealing. [ In fact, He left the city, when the passover feast was either not yet, or scarcely, finished, for this reason, because those men were already meditating with themselves the plots, which broke out more openly , ch. John 5:16 ; John 5:18 , “The Jews sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day:” and also “said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God;” John 7:1 , “He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him:” for it was not then as yet the time for His submitting Himself to encounter their hatred. Without doubt it was, as having a secret surmise of these things, that Nicodemus had the interview with Him by night. Harm. , p. 163.] The antithesis to οὐκ ἐπίστευεν ἑαυτόν is ἐπίστευσαν , many believed , John 2:23 . αὐτόν ) Himself , of Himself, knew all men. γινώσκειν , knew ) Often John so uses the word γινώσκειν , to know , of Jesus having cognizance of all things, without information given Him by man: ch. John 4:1 , “The Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made more disciples than John;” John 5:6 , “When Jesus knew that he (the impotent man) had now been a long time in that case,” etc.

Verse 25

John 2:25 . Ὅτι ) because . τοῦ ἀνθρώπου · τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ , of man: in man ) This is said of the whole race of men: in the preceding verse, of the individuals contained under it. αὐτός ) Himself , without any other testimony. τί , what ) to wit, treachery : every man is deceitful. The language of John has Euphemy. [48] In man [the natural man] there is what is human: in the new man there is what is divine, Christian, spiritual.

[48] He avoided the harsh expression of all that was implied. E. and T.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.