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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
John 8

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verses 1-11

John 8:1-11 . Ἰησοῦς δὲ καὶ μηκέτι ἁμάρτανε ) The wisdom and effectual power which Jesus evinced in the history of the adulteress are so great, that it is strange this remarkable portion of the Gospel history should be accounted by many in the present day as uncertain. It is also omitted in the Codex Ebnerianus, but only from verse 3; and at the end of the Gospel according to John it is so supplied, and attached to verse 2, that it is readily apparent, that the transcribers removed only from public reading this portion, which they acknowledged as genuine. In the book, Joh. Lami de Eruditione Apostolorum, describing the Florentine Greek manuscript of the four Evangelists, he says, ‘ In the Gospel of John, Iambic verses were written in the end. There comes first an index of the nineteen chapters . The tenth chapter had been omitted, and, out of the regular order, in the front, there was recounted περὶ μοιχαλίδος , concerning the Adulteress, whose history is extant in the Gospel itself. The writing is of the twelfth century. ’ P. 230. [217] ἐπορεύθη , went ) as one who had no home . Comp. ch. John 7:53 , “Every man went unto his own house.” εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαίων , to the mount of Olives ) to that mountain, in which they were afterwards about to take Him; ch. John 18:2 , “Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place; for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with His disciples;” whereas they had only made the attempt, but in vain, at ch. John 7:30 .

[217] The passage is omitted by ABCT MSS. of the oldest class, LX Δ ; by the Old Latin Cod. Vercellensis, the Peshito Syriac, the Memphitic, and Thebaic; by Origen and Chrysostom. D is the oldest MS. that has it; also the Old Latin Cod. Veronensis; the Vulgate; the Æthiopic. E. and T.

Verse 2

John 8:2 . Παρεγένετο , was coming ) as being expected. ἐδίδασκεν , He was teaching ) On this account His interrupters were the more intrusive: John 8:3 .

Verse 3

John 8:3 . Κατειλημένην ) תפש , Septuag. καταλαμβάνειν · but at Numbers 5:13 , and more frequently, συλλαμβάνειν .

Verse 4

John 8:4 . Διδάσκαλε , teacher [Master]) The reason [is implied in the title by which they address Him], why they require Him to give His decision. ἐπαυτοφώρῳ , in the very act ) Such scandalous acts are frequently perpetrated about the time of feasts . Comp. ch. John 7:37 . What follows also confirms the truth of this history, as at John 8:12 , the mention of the darkness , “He that followeth Me, shall not walk in darkness ,” when this verse is compared with it, inasmuch as treating of adultery, a work of darkness; and at John 8:15 , concerning judgment , “Ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man ,” comparing with it John 8:11 , “ Neither do I condemn thee.”

Verse 5

John 8:5 . Λιθάζειν , to stone ) [D and the best versions read λιθάζειν , instead of λιθοβολεῖσθαι ]. Either this woman was betrothed, or else the expression of the Scribes and Pharisees is abbreviated, with this sense: Moses ordered , that adulteresses should be visited with capital punishment ; Deuteronomy 22:22 , etc., “If a man be found lying with a woman married, then they shall both die; If a damsel be betrothed, and a man lie with her, then ye shall stone them with stones,” etc.; and our ancestors [elders] have defined that punishment to be stoning . See Grot. on this passage. οὖν , therefore ) This particle exhibits their question as more framed to entrap Him, than if they had openly said, but .

Verse 6

John 8:6 . To accuse ) of having violated the law. They were aware of the leniency of Jesus towards the guilty, as being one who had not come into the world for the sake of executing judgment. δέ , but ) Men at leisure, when immersed in thought, are wont at times to employ various gestures, which also resemble those of persons writing; and omit these gestures, when anything serious occurs. Very different is the gesture which the Saviour uses here, upon the case having been now submitted to Him by the Scribes and Pharisees; and this He does more than once. κάτω κύψας , τῷ δακτύλῳ ἔγραφεν εἰς τὴν γῆν , stooping downwards, He began writing with His finger on the earth ) Once only God wrote in the Old Testament, namely, the Decalogue; once too, in the New Testament, Christ wrote: moreover He wrote with His finger; for He who was Wisdom itself did not use a pen [stilus]: also He wrote on the earth, not in the air, not in a tablet; He wrote, in other words, drew, either the forms of letters composing words, perhaps the very words which are mentioned at John 8:7 , “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her;” or else lines and strokes, not having a distinct signification; the characters in either case, when His finger rested, either remaining or disappearing, Comp. Daniel 5:5 , [At Belshazzar’s feast] “came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the kind’s palace.” Writing is wont to be used with a view to future remembrance. Therefore this action seems evidently to require to be interpreted from the words that follow, that the Lord may signify this: Moses wrote the law: I also can write; nay, the law of Moses was My writing. Ye, Scribes, write judgments against others; I also can write against you, John 8:26 , “I have many things to say and to judge of you .” Your sins have been written in your heart; and your names in the earth: Jeremiah 17:1 ; Jeremiah 17:13 , “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond ; it is graven upon the table of their heart ; they that depart from Me, shall be written in the earth , because they have forsaken the Lord.” (What suppose that He wrote the names of the accusers?) This writing of Mine ye do not now understand; but hereafter it will be made evident to the whole world what I have written, when the books shall be opened, and your foul acts shall all be disclosed. Therefore Jesus, first, by means of this silent action fixed the wandering, hasty, and careless thoughts of His adversaries, and awakened their conscience; second, He intimated, that He at that time had not come to deliver forensic judgments; and that He preferred to do that, which would seem to the unseasonable accusers an idle act, to devoting His attention to a case of that kind (it is to this that the ancient Gloss refers, “He wrote on the earth, μὴ προσποιούμενος , signifying that this business does not belong to Him;” instead of which more modern copies have καὶ προσποιούμενος ); that the time when He Himself shall act as Judge, as well with respect to this case, and to these the actors in it, as also with respect to all men, the unjust and just, and that, concerning all things, is not now, but shall be hereafter; that in the meantime all things are recorded in the books; that hereafter the earth will not cover the foul deeds of hypocrites. Isaiah 26:21 , “Behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain:” Job 16:18 , “O earth, cover not thou my blood.” For writing is wont to be employed for the sake of remembrance against the time to come: Exodus 17:14 , “ Write this for a memorial in a book;” Psalms 102:18 , “This shall be written for the generation to come .” Evidently this action of Jesus Christ has a certain degree of likeness to that ceremony, which was wont to be employed in the case of an adulterous woman: Numbers 5:13 ; Numbers 5:17 ; Numbers 5:23 , etc. [the trial of jealousy by holy water with dust in it from the floor of the sanctuary]: “And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and shall blot them out with bitter water:” but there is also a dissimilarity; for the law refers to the case of a woman suspected, but this passage, to that of a woman caught in the act; and in the law, the woman drinks the letters written by the priest in a book, and washed out with water, together with the [bitter] water and dust from the ground; but the letters which Jesus wrote on the earth itself, the woman was not able to drink with water, much less without water. Hence it may readily be seen, that, in this action of Jesus, as far as concerns the accused, there is something as it were broken of and left in suspense, in order that He may appear to intimate, that He is indeed the Judge, but that His judgment shall be accomplished not now (for which reason He dismisses the accusers only wounded [not destroyed] for the present), but hereafter; and that then also this adulterous woman shall have her share either of punishment or of complete acquittal.

Verse 7

John 8:7 . Ὡς δὲ ἐπέμενον , but when they were persevering ) For δέ there is in most of the Latin copies ‘ergo’ [not in the best copies of the Vulg., the Cod. Amiatinus, etc., “cum autem perseverarent”]. This is according to the custom of John; who, however, in this paragraph more often employs δέ , which occurs frequently in this gospel even elsewhere: for instance, in ch. 9 ὁ ἀναμάρτητος , he who is without sin ) ἀναμάρτητος , if respect be had to the termination, is, either one who cannot sin, or one who hath not sinned. Septuag. Deuteronomy 29:19 : μὴ συναπολέσῃ ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς τὸν ἀναμάρτητον . Comp. 2Ma 8:4 [ τῶν ἀναμαρτήτων νηπίων ], John 12:42 [ συντηρεῖν ἑαυτοὺς ἀναμαρτήτους ]. The witnesses were wont to be the first in the act of stoning. [ Hence the expression is τὸν λίθον , with the article . V. g.] These witnesses had all contracted guilt, worthy of capital punishment, either in that very act [such as they accused the woman of], or in similar deeds of shame.

Verse 9

John 8:9 . Ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων , beginning with the elders ) These had been most conscience-struck. Great was the force of Jesus’ words, [ throwing open the inmost recesses of men . V. g.] μόνος , alone ) not one of those, who had proposed the case, remaining. Others, who also were of the Pharisees, remained, as appears from comparing John 8:3 ; John 8:13 .

Verse 10

John 8:10 . Καὶ μηδένα θεασάμενος πλὴν τῆς γυναικός ) The preposition πλήν , which is employed by John in no passage of all his writings, betrays the fact of these words being a gloss unknown to the ancients: he has everywhere expressed the force of that preposition by some other word. [218] ἐκεῖνοι , those ) They had now fled far away.

[218] Therefore Beng. here clearly approves of the omission of this clause ( which the larger Ed. had less sanctioned ), along with 2 Ed., and also the Vers. Germ. E. B. [D Vulg. and several Versions, and Ambrose and Augustine, all omit the words. E. and T.]

Verse 11

John 8:11 . Πορεύου , go ) He does not add, in peace ; nor does He say, Thy sins are forgiven thee ; but, hereafter sin no more : ch. John 5:14 , [Jesus to the impotent man] “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

Verse 12

John 8:12 . Πάλιν , again ) as at ch. 7. Jesus is wont to take the beginnings of His discourses from the doctrine of salvation: then, when men contradict. He adds a proof. τὸ φῶς , the Light ) An expression suitable to the time of His speaking, the morning , and opposed to the works of darkness, such as is adultery . τοῦ κίσμου , of the world ) the whole world. ὁ ἀκολουθῶν , he who follows ) By this very expression He shows, that adultery is by no means sanctioned by Him, although He did not pronounce condemnation on the adulteress.

Verse 13

John 8:13 . Εἶπον , said ) with undisguised importunity. περὶ σεαυτοῦ , concerning Thyself ) They bring up against the Lord His own words, comp. ch. John 5:31 , “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true,” but in a perverted sense. ἀληθής , true ) An abbreviated mode of expression. A man can speak the truth concerning himself; but that is not wont to be deemed as a sufficient testimony. But the Jews, in order that they may the more vehemently contradict Him, pretend that the testimony of Jesus is not even true.

Verse 14

John 8:14 . Κἄν , even though ) He does not speak conditionally, but affirms, that He bears witness of Himself, John 8:18 , “I am one that bear witness of Myself.” After that He has taught them many things, He demands of His hearers, what He had not before so demanded. [219] οἷδα , I know ) It is from sure and confirmed knowledge that true testimony proceeds. πόθεν , ποῦ , whence, and whither ) The doctrine concerning Christ can be reduced to these two heads. The former head is treated of at John 8:16 , etc., “If I judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me; the testimony of two is true;” the latter head is treated of at John 8:21 , etc., “I go My way, and ye shall seek Me,” etc. ὑμεῖς , ye ) It is with you the fault rests, that you do not attain to perceiving the truth of My testimony. “What you need is, that I should tell you, what no one of mortals can tell you. ἔρχομαι , I come ) To be distinguished from the preceding ἦλθον , I came . By the expression, I came , Jesus signifies, that He always knew; by the expression, I come , He signifies, that the Jews not even now know.

[219] Viz., that they should believe Him, though bearing witness of Himself. E. and T.

Verse 15

John 8:15 . Κατὰ τὴν σάρκα , according to the flesh ) and so, according to the appearance , ch. John 7:24 , “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” [In antithesis to “from above,” John 8:23 , “Ye are from beneath, I am from above .” V. g.] οὐ κρίνω , I do not judge ) Comp. John 8:11 , “Neither do I condemn thee.”

Verse 16

John 8:16 . Ἡ κρίσις ἡ ἐμή , My judgment ) The same principle holds good of judgment as of testimony: John 8:14 ; John 8:17 , “Though I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true; the testimony of two is true;” ch. John 5:30 , etc., “As I hear I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father. There is another that beareth witness of Me,” etc. The testimony is in reference to God and the Son of God; the judgment is in reference to men. ἀληθής , true ) not according to the flesh, John 8:15 . μόνος οὐκ εἰμί , I am not alone ) even in judging. Comp. ch. John 5:19 , “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” ὁ πέμψας με , He who hath sent Me ) By this very expression He intimates whence He came.

Verse 17

John 8:17 . Καί ) also . ἐν τῷ νόαῳ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ) in your law , to which ye refer, John 8:5 , “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that,” etc. δύο ἀνθρώπων , of two men ) how much more that of God and of the Son of God? Since these witnesses are said to be two , the argument [proof] is one of the same nature. See as regards these two, Zechariah 6:13 , at the end, “ He shall build the temple of the Lord ; and He shall bear His glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both .” ἀληθής , true ) irrefragable.

Verse 19

John 8:19 . [221] ΠΟῦ , where ) They ask, where , in order that they may know whence Jesus has come, having been sent by the Father. οὔτε ἐμέ , neither Me ) Jesus does not at once answer directly to the Jews’ interrogatory, where is Thy Father? but follows up the line of discourse He began, and at the same time, however, prepares the way for making a reply. For He shows the perversity of their interrogation, and teaches them, that they must first know the Son, whom they see and hear in the flesh, if they wish to know the Father. For when the Son is known, the Father is known: comp. John 8:16 , “I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me;” John 8:18 , “I am one that bear witness, and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me,” wherein the Son is named before the Father. Add Matthew 11:27 , “Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him;” and below, ch. John 14:9 , “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father: and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” He shows plainly where the Father is, at John 8:23 , “I am from above .” And also in this passage, when asked as to the Father, He answers as to Himself; presently after, in turn, when asked Himself, He answers as to the Father; John 8:25 ; John 8:27 , “They said, Who art Thou? Jesus saith Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning; they understood not that He spake to them of the Father ;” because Himself and the Father are one. καί , also ) Comp. ch. 14. [ Joh 8:7 ] “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye both know Him and have seen Him.” ᾔδειτε ἄν , ye should have known ) So that there should be no need for you to inquire, where He is. This passage contains a most clear testimony concerning the unity of the Father and of the Son: wherefore at John 8:20 [27?] it is described as something wonderful, that they did not understand Jesus.

[221] Ver. 18, καί , and ) Here the two that bear witness are mentioned expressly: there is to be added the testimony of a third, the Holy Spirit. V. g.

Verse 20

John 8:20 . Ἐν τῷ γαζοφυλακίῳ , in the treasury ) in that place, where any one might easily have been taken; where there was a very great crowd of men. διδάσκων , teaching ) The Didacticks of Jesus may be here considered, especially from the means of judging furnished by John. Christ, the Teacher, one, true , and good. One , Matthew 23:18 , One is your διδάσκαλος ; John 8:10 , One is your καθηγητής , even Christ], of the highest dignity, John 8:8 ; power, John 8:9 , “One is your Father, which is in heaven;” and authority, John 8:10 . He is the true teacher, John 7:0 ; for He was sent by God, and teaches the truth [John 8:18 , He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true , and no unrighteousness is in Him.] Good ; apt to teach, 2 Timothy 2:0 [ Joh 8:24 ], Three kinds of teachers are distinguished in Matthew 23 : Prophets, Wise men, Scribes . He did not Himself bear the title of a Scribe, but He left it to His disciples, Matthew 13:52 , “Every scribe , which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven.” He had no need of learning, John 7:15 . Only once He read, Luke 4:17 [viz. the book of Isaiah, in the synagogue of Nazareth], He found the place [where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, etc.] Only once He wrote, John 8:6 . Thus then He did not write books in His own name, as the apostles did, nor did He use the apparatus of books; yet He dictated some epistles, Revelation 1:0 [John 8:11 , What thou seest write in a book, and send it unto the Seven Churches in Asia]. There remain the two titles, Wisdom and Prophet , applied to Him by implication, Matthew 12:41-42 , “Behold, a greater than Jonas is here: Behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” The name, Prophet , is otherwise greater than that of Wisdom. In the case of Christ, the name, Wisdom , is in some measure more sublime than Prophet . He prayed, ever following the Father’s commands. He sweetly drew disciples to Himself; 1) as recorded in John 1:38 , etc.; comp. ch. John 8:30 ; John 2:0 ) in Luke, etc. He taught them in order, first, concerning His own person, concerning Himself as the Christ, 1) in the presence of the people; 2) in the presence of His adversaries; 3) by themselves apart: moreover also concerning His passion and resurrection; He taught them first in plain language, afterwards by parables, Matthew 13:0 ; first at a marriage feast, afterwards on other occasions. He taught the people in one way, the Pharisees in another way, the disciples of John in another, His own disciples in another. He taught concerning the fasting of the disciples of John, concerning the baptism of John, Matthew 21:0 , concerning the tribute-money, etc. He taught by His works, rather than by His words, Matthew 11:1 , etc. [To the disciples of John, inquiring, “Art Thou He that should come?” He replied, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see. The blind receive their sight, etc.] He taught also by gesture and look, Luke 20:17 , “He beheld them, and said,” etc. [ ἐμβλέψας ]. He avoided celebrity and a crowd, Matthew 12:0 [16 21]. He taught by asking questions Himself: He taught also those who asked Him questions. He also observed a distinction in the disciples among one another. He taught in one way before the resurrection, and in another way after the resurrection. His prediction of His passion was, 1) enigmatical; 2) subsequently plain and open. His valedictory address followed, in fine, His departure itself, 1) at His passion; 2) at His ascension. He did not give over, until He was able to say, Now ye believe , John 16:31 . He confirmed His doctrine out of the Scriptures and by miracles. He desired the disciples to learn by experimental proof, John 16:22-23 , at the beginning, “In that day ye shall ask Me nothing” [ ἐρωτήσετε ]. He wisely took His opportunities, John 4:0 . [The woman of Samaria at the well]. In a short interview on each occasion, He taught Nathanaël, and the Samaritan woman, what the disciples had taken several years to learn. Before the more elevated class of hearers He set elevated truths: John 3:0 .[Nicodemus], He gradually opened out His subject: John 16:4 ; John 16:12 , “I have yet many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now;” John 11:13 . He did not state all things altogether plainly; but wrapt them up in appropriate enigmatical forms. Many err by indiscriminate perspicuity. Our style of writing should not pass beyond the accustomed order of doctrinal teaching: if in any instance it shall be different, it will not glide off to philosophical aphorisms, but will betake itself to Holy Scripture. Moreover Christ did not remain in one place, nor always with the same persons. See John 4:44 , “He left His own country for Galilee, testifying that a prophet is not in honour in his own country .” He had the powers of a good teacher, and exhibited them sweetly and gently; Matthew 11:0 ; Luke 4:0 . He sent forth twelve disciples, afterwards seventy. He gradually taught them to pray; Luke 11:1 ; John 16:24 , etc., “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may he full.” οὐδεὶς ἐπίασεν , no one laid hands on Him ) although they attempted it.

Verse 21

John 8:21 . Πάλιν , again ) For He had said so at ch. John 7:33 , etc., “Ye shall seek Me, and not find Me; and where I am, thither ye cannot come,” when they had plotted against Him, as at this place. ἀμαρτίᾳ , sin ) The Singular: the whole of perdition is one, arising from unbelief, through which all sins flourish, John 8:24 , “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins ” [Plural]. In this place, the emphasis is on the word, sin , which in this verse comes first; afterwards [at Joh 8:24 ] on the verb ye shall die , which there comes first. ἀποθανεῖσθε , ye shall die ) by death of every kind [spiritual and eternal, of body and soul]. ὑπάγω , I go ) John 8:22 , ch. John 13:33 ; John 13:36 . [to Simon Peter] “Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now, but thou shalt follow Me afterwards;” John 14:4 , “Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

Verse 22

John 8:22 . Μήτι ἀποκτενεῖ ἑαυτόν , whether will He kill Himself? ) A most wicked thought: nay, rather, the Jews were about to kill Him. What they mean to say is, that they can find Him anywhere.

Verse 23

John 8:23 . Ὑμεῖς , ye ) Again Jesus passes by their interrogatory; and proves what He said, John 8:21 , “Ye shall die in your sins; whither I go ye cannot come;” comp. ch. John 3:13 , “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven.” ἐκ τῶν κάτω , from those things which are below ) from the earth. ἐγώ , I ) He shows whence He is, and hath come, and whither He is about to go; from the world to the Father. τούτου , of this ) By this being added, it is shown that there is also another world: ch. John 9:39 , “For judgment I am come into this world.”

Verse 24

John 8:24 . [222] Ἀποθανεῖσθε , ye shall die ) The Jews had neglected the weightier words of John 8:21 , “Ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins:” all the rest they had taken up at John 8:22 [viz. that part of His words, “Whither I go, ye cannot come”]: therefore now those weightier and more severe words are repeated.

[222] ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ πιστεύσητε , for unless ye shall believe) They who believe attach themselves to Christ, and through Him alone they attain to that, to which they could not attain otherwise. V. g.

Verse 25

John 8:25 , etc. Σὺ τὶς εἶ ; who art Thou? ) They are referring to that expression of His, ἐγώ εἰμι , I am He [ Joh 8:24 ]. They ask the question, but in such a perverse frame of mind, that they have no real intention to believe on Him, when He tells them. εἶπεν , He said ) It is not said, He replied . The Lord addresses Himself less directly to meet the Jews’ interrogatory; but He addresses Himself to the fact itself plainly, and in such a way as to make a further progress in His own discourse. A similar question and reply occur at ch. John 10:24 , etc., “If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly . Jesus answered I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” τὴν ἀρχὴν , ὅτι καὶ λαλῶ ὑμῖν , πολλὰ ἔχω περὶ ὑμῶν λαλεῖν καὶ κρίνειν · ἀλλʼ ὁ πέμψας με ἀληθής ἐστι , κἀγὼ ἃ ἤκουσα παρʼ αὐτοῦ , ταῦτα λέγω εἰς τὸν κόσμον ) All these words form one complete paragraph, of which both the Protasis and the Apodosis are each double-membered, so as that they most aptly correspond with one another, in this way:

In the beginning, since I also speak to you , [inasmuch as I am even speaking to, or, for you],

I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you : But He, who sent Me, is true ;

and what things I have heard from Him, these I speak to the world .

Every word in this passage both ought and can be taken in its own proper signification. I. Τὴν ἀρχήν is not here equivalent in meaning to ὅλως , altogether , but in the strict sense, in the beginning . I have shown it to be so at Chrysost. de Sacerdot, p. 425, etc.: also at 1 Corinthians 5:1 . Also the Herodotea Raphelii, p. 293, etc., deserve to be well weighed. Nonnus, when he might have retained τὴν ἀρχήν (saith Joach. Camerarius), as the numbers of his verse were no obstacle, yet has changed the words into Ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὅττι περ ὑμμῖν Ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὀάριζον . II. Ὅτι is because, since, inasmuch as ; so John 8:45 , but because , ὅτι , I speak the truth, ye do not believe Me . Let the force of the same particle be weighed at John 8:22 ; John 8:43 ; John 2:18 , “What sign showest Thou, seeing that Thou doest these things?” John 11:47 , “What do we? for inasmuch as this Man doeth many miracles;” John 8:56 , “What think ye, that He will not come to the feast?” etc. III. Καὶ about the beginning, and not the very beginning of a clause, has the force of even, also ; and in this passage it intensifies the force of the present tense and indicative mood in the verb λαλῶ ; Comp. with it καί , even , 1 Corinthians 15:29 , “What shall they do, that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then [Engl. Vers. καί ; rather, even ] baptized for the dead?” Philippians 3:8 , “Yea doubtless, and I [Engl. Vers. καί ; rather, I even ] count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.” IV. Λαλῶ , I am speaking , not merely I have to speak , not merely I have spoken , but even yet I am speaking [I speak]. V. Ὑμῖν , to you [for you], is the dative of the advantage, i.e. I speak concerning Myself, who I am, in order that ye may believe and be saved . Hardly any point has caused more difficulty to expositors than the stopping after this ὑμῖν . The Codices MSS. quoted in the Apparatus Crit. p. 589, defend the comma ; and so also, in addition to Chrysostom, Nonnus , and Scaliger , who are mentioned in the same place, Knatchbull, Raphelius , also James Faber, Corn. Jansenius , and Franc. Lucas . [Engl. Vers. “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say,” etc. Vulg. “Principium quia (or, as other copies, qui) et loquor vobis;” [223] [224] , ‘quod;’ [225] , ‘quoniam;’ Ὁ , τι in Rec. Text. So Lachmann, reading the sentence with an interrogation, making ὅ , τι = διὰ τι , resembling the εἰ interrogative. So Mark 9:11 , “They asked, saying, Ὅ , τι λέγουσιν οἱ γραμματεῖς , ὅ , τι Ἡλίαν δεῖ ἐλθεῖν . Alford translates ἀρχήν , etc., I am essentially that same which I SPEAK unto you . Appropriate to Him, as the λόγος revealed . Just as to Moses I am that I am was appropriate of One as yet unrevealed .] VI. Πολλὰ περὶ ὑμῶν , much [multa] concerning you , on account of your much [multam] incredulity. This was the chief point of Jesus Christ’s complaint concerning the Jews everywhere, and especially here, where He begins to make mention as to His departure. VII. Ἔχω λαλεῖν καὶ κρίνειν , I have to speak and to judge . To this appertains the τὴν ἀρχήν , and it has thus somewhat more force than πρῶτον . Now for the first time there was given by the Jews to the Lord by far the greatest reason for His speaking and judging concerning themselves, after that they had heard so many testimonies, and yet had not believed. Similarly νο ͂ ν , now , is employed, Luke 11:39 , in an argument, for which a great handle had been given, “ Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup,” etc. Comp. the ἤρξατο , began, Matthew 11:20 , “Then began He to upbraid the cities,” etc. Here the Protasis ceases, in the whole of which the same thing is said, as at ch. John 6:36 , I said to you that ye both [ also , Engl. Vers.] have seen Me, and do not believe; and at ch. John 10:25 , etc., where to the same question the same reply is repeated, only in other words. VIII. There follows the Apodosis, beginning with ἀλλʼ , in which He plainly enough intimates, who He is . IX. Ὁ πέμψας με ἀληθής ἐστι · i.e. although you to such a degree refuse to believe, that your incredulity furnishes the strongest reason why I might have judged you; yet He, who hath sent Me into the world, is true. Your unbelief does not set aside His own faithfulness . X. Κἀγὼ , ἃ ἤκουσα παρʼ αὐτοῦ , ταῦτα λέγω · i.e. These things I speak, which He that is true hath committed to Me, for the purpose of saving you, not for the purpose of judging you; the sum and substance of which is, that I have been sent by Him: I speak these things, and these alone, not other things, which would appertain to the judging of you; ch. John 3:17 , “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved;” ch. John 5:45 , “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father;” ch. John 12:47 , “If any man hear My words and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” XI. Εἰς τὸν κόσμον . An abbreviated form of expression, i.e. These things, which were before unknown to the world, I have brought into the world, and I speak in the world, in order that they may be distributed by My witnesses throughout the whole world, now a stranger to [alien from] the faith, but, whether you will believe or not, hereafter about to believe. I do not pay any regard to your obstinacy . Out of the four members of this portion, as marked out at the beginning of this note, the first and fourth, the second and third, cohere together in a most suitable χιασμός . In the Protasis, both the first clause, I even speak to you , and the second, I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you , and the connection of both, ought to be regarded. For the words in antithesis are, I even speak , and the expression, to you : corresponding respectively to, I have to speak and to judge , and the expression, concerning you . The Apodosis is easy to perceive, when regarded by itself; but how it stands in relation to the Protasis, they who look less to the sense than to the words, are not likely forthwith to perceive. These will observe, that the unbelief of the Jews is marked in the Protasis; but , that the unshaken perseverance of Jesus in setting forth the truth unto salvation is rather made manifest in the Apodosis, and at the same time the truth itself concerning Jesus, who He is , is summarily brought in by implication. Comp. by all means the whole of 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; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. I might justly make the beginning of My speech , saith He, now even more than heretofore, by a judgment pronounced on your unbelief before that I bring forth the other subjects: but I perseveringly speak not so much severe things of you, as saving things of Myself [tidings of salvation to you in Myself]. Very many take separately these words, τὴν ἀρχὴν ὅ , τι καὶ λαλῶ ὑμῖν : and indeed H. B. Starkius has thus explained the words, In the beginning , to wit, I said, what even still I say to you : which had been previously the explanation of Nic. Hemmingius, from whom John Brentius in his Homilies does not much differ. Others generally in this way: ὃν τινα εἶναί με τὴν ἀρχὴν ἔλεγον , εἰμί , i.e. I am He, whom in the beginning I said to you I was ; an interpretation which, however easy a sense it introduces, yet will be found to make many departures from the words of the text, if you compare them together.

[223] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

[224] Colbertinus, do.

[225] Cantabrigiensis, do.: the Gospels, Acts , , 3 d Ep. John.

Verse 27

John 8:27 . Οὐκ ἔγνωσαν , they understood not ) By means of this epicrisis [explanatory addition] John intimates his astonishment at the unbelief and blindness of the Jews; as at ch. John 12:37 , “But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him.” τὸν τατέρα , the Father ) the Father had sent Him, John 8:26 : and had they known the Father, they would have known who Jesus was, John 8:25 .

Verse 28

John 8:28 . Ὑψώσητε , ye shall lift up ) on the cross. τότε ) then , not before: 1 Corinthians 2:8 , “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” γνώσεσθε ) ye shall know from the fact, what now ye believe not on the credit of My word; John 8:24 , “I said, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.’ We read the event recorded, Matthew 27:54 , “When the centurion, and they that were with him, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly and said, Truly this was the Son of God;” Luke 23:47 , etc., “All the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts;” Acts 2:41 , “Three thousand souls added” [to the church on Pentecost]; John 21:20 , “Thou seest how many thousands of Jews there are, which believe.” καὶ , and ) The connection of the words is this; I am (that which at some time to come ye shall know) and I do nothing of Myself , etc. From this to the end of Joh 8:29 there are four sentences: The first begins with, and I of Myself ; the second with, and He who ; the third with, hath not left me ; the fourth with, because [for]. Of these the second and third are parallel; and also the first and fourth. ποιῶ , I do ) Understand, and I speak . καθὼς ταῦτα , as these things ) A similar mode of expression occurs, Numbers 32:31 , ὅσα οὕτω , whatsoever things [the Lord hath said] so [will we do]. See Comen. in Didact. λαλῶ ) these things , which I speak, I speak . Understand, and I do . The one is to be supplied from the other.

Verse 29

John 8:29 . Καὶ , and ) and so. οὐκ ἀφῆκε με , hath not left me ) The Præterite signifies that He is never at any time abandoned. The πάντοτε , always , corresponds to this. [226] ὅτι , because ) Comp. ch. John 15:10 , “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” τὰ ἀρεστὰ αὐτῷ , the things, which are pleasing to Him ) The same argument, by which the Jews were led to believe in Jesus Christ, serves also to prove the whole authority of Holy Scripture, and of the Christian religion. At all times, in all places, in every way, He requires of all, and teaches all, all those things, which are pleasing to God, and worthy of God. πάντοτε , at all times ) The Lord spake these things with the utmost sweetness). [227]

[226] In the next clause, i.e. I always please Him, therefore at no time does He leave me. E. and T.

[227] Ver. 30, ἐπίστευσαν , believed ) This was as it were the delicate bud of faith. But a severe conflict followed between good and evil, ver. 44. V. g.

Verse 31

John 8:31 . Ὑμεῖς , ye ) who have begun to believe, although the rest believe not. μείνητε , ye will continue ) Acts 13:43 , “Many proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” ἀληθῶς , indeed ) It is not enough to have begun. So ὄντως , in deed ; John 8:36 , “Ye shall be free indeed .” ἐστέ ) ye are so already: only see that you continue so.

Verse 32

John 8:32 . Τὴν ἀλήθειαν ) the truth , concerning Me, as sent by the Father; concerning yourselves, as being My disciples indeed. ἡ ἀλήθεια ) The truth , being known, concerning Me; and I Myself. For the Son makes free, John 8:36 . Comp. ch. John 1:12 , “To them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:” and He is the truth, ch. John 14:6 , “I am the Way, the Truth ,” etc. ἐλευθερώσει shall make free ) We ought not to wonder, that Jesus suddenly threw in the mention of this, which the Jews were sure to contradict. For always, in accordance with His own infinite wisdom, He spake especially that which would assail the prejudices of men, and be most beneficial to men; although men would take from thence occasions of disputing with Him. The Freedom is the exemption of the sons of God from all adverse control [ namely, from sin, and its slavery ; John 8:34 , “Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin:” and from death ; John 8:51 , “If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.” V. g.]

Verse 33

John 8:33 . Αβραάμ , of Abraham ) They appeal to Him afresh at John 8:52 , “Abraham is dead and the prophets; and Thou sayest,” etc. οὐδενὶ δεδουλέυκαμεν , we were in bondage to no man ) They speak of their own age and generation; for their forefathers had been in bondage to the kings of Egypt, and of Babylon. ἐλευθεροί , free ) They lay hold of this one expression: they make no objection as to the truth making free. So also at John 8:22 , they mutilated the preceding words of Jesus [taking no notice of the rest of His words, “Ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins;” they fastened only on, “Whither I go, ye cannot come.” It was a mixed crowd. Some of them were of a mind inclined towards Jesus; others were of an inimical feeling. Some of them, moved by His preceding words concerning faith, had begun to aspire after faith, but at this turning point drew back.

Verse 34

John 8:34 . Ἀπεκρίθη , answered ) Jesus replies in inverse order to the twofold objection of the Jews, and first goes on with the portion of the discourse concerning freedom , then discusses the portion concerning the children of Abraham , from John 8:37 . ὁ ποιῶν ) he who habitually committeth sin, as opposed to the truth . δοῦλός ἐστι , is the slave ) by the very fact, 2 Peter 2:19 , “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage;” Romans 6:16 , “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.”

Verse 35

John 8:35 . Δοῦλος ) slave , in social standing: slave-like , of illiberal [base] disposition, and so committing sin. ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ) in the house of the Father. ὁ ὑιός ) The Son, the only-begotten. Comp. ver. following, “If the Son shall make you free,” etc. The article here has a greater force, than in the antithetic words, ὁ δοῦλος . μένει , abideth ) in the house. The allusion is, inasmuch as the question is concerning Abraham, to Genesis 21:10 , “Sarah said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son Hagar and Ishmael for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac;” Genesis 25:5 , “Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac:” comp. Galatians 4:22 , etc., “He who was of the bondwoman, was born after the flesh, but he of the free woman was by promise, which things are an allegory,” etc.

Verse 36

John 8:36 . Ὁ ὑιός ) the Son , the only-begotten.

Verse 37

John 8:37 . Ἀλλά ) but ye cherish sin, even the design of killing Me. ὁ λόγος ὁ ἐμός , My word ) the word of truth and of freedom. οὐ χωρεῖ , doth not take . [228] ) They who do not believe, have an antipathy towards Christ and His word. Comp. the foll. ver., “ Ye do that which ye have seen with your father,” in opposition to, “ I speak that which I have seen with my Father.” The correlatives are: a man ought to abide: [Christ’s] word ought to take possession [have place in; please].

[228] i.e. Your tastes; doth not take possession in your case. Better the Engl. Vers. “Hath no place in you.” E. and T.

Verse 38

John 8:38 . Λαλῶ , I speak ) Understand, and I do . See presently after. καί , and ) This follows from the general sentiment [maxim], which in the former half of the verse is taken for granted: each one imitates his own father. ποιεῖτε , ye do ) Understand, and ye speak : although I speak is more suitable concerning Jesus in this passage; and ye do , concerning His adversaries. The one member is to be supplied from the other. So Malachi 1:14 , who hath in his flock a male [and one free from blemish], and yet making a vow sacrificeth [a female, or one in other respects] an unsuitable victim.

Verse 39

John 8:39 . Ἀβραάμ , Abraham ) They attempt to defend what they had said, John 8:33 , “We be Abraham’s seed.” They feel that Jesus is speaking concerning another father of theirs. ἐποιεῖτε ) ἄν is understood , as at John 9:33 [ εἰ μὴ ἦν οὗτος παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ , οὐκ ἠδύνατο ποιεῖν οὐδέν .]

Verse 40

John 8:40 . Ἀποκτεῖναι , ἄνθρωπον , to kill, a man ) Jesus is wont to entitle Himself the Son of Man ; but in this passage, He calls Himself a man : for to this passage corresponds the fact, that at Joh 8:44 He calls the devil a man-slayer [ ἀνθρωποκτόνος , a murderer of man ]. Therefore the word who seems best to be referred to the me , rather than to a man . τὴν ἀλήθειαν , the truth ) which is precious, as well as otherwise unknown to men, and hated by you. Often the truth and the life are joined, as also a lie and death. The former are peculiar to Christ and believers; the latter, to the devil and the ungodly; John 8:44 , “ Ye are of your father the devil ,” etc. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth . When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own.” οὐκ , not this) but what was altogether different, and worthy of a lover of the Christ. See below, John 8:56 , “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day,” etc.

Verse 41

John 8:41 . Τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν , of your father ) His name is not yet expressed: but presently after, when the Jews presume to call God their father, he is expressly called the Devil : see foll. verses. ἐκ πορνειας , from fornication ) A new paroxysm of Jewish unreasonableness [unseasonable clamour]. They stoutly insist, that they are not illegitimate.

Verse 42

John 8:42 . Ἠγαπᾶτε , ye would love ) ye would not persecute Me with such deadly hatred as ye do. ἐξῆλθον , I came forth ) Hereby is intimated the “terminus a quo” [the source from which]. ἥκω , I am come ) Hereby is intimated the “terminus ad quem” [the destination to which].

Verse 43

John 8:43 . Διατί , why is it that ) To this particle by and by answers John 8:44 , “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye do]. ὅτι , because ) By this clause the one immediately preceding is explained. Comp. ὅτι , ch. John 11:47 , “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles;” John 9:17 , “What sayest thou of Him, ( seeing ) that He hath opened thine eyes]. τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμήν ) my speech , which is most true. οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν , ye cannot hear by reason of the hatred which is innate in you. A similar epitasis [an emphatic explanation of a proposition already stated, appended to it] occurs, 1 Corinthians 2:14 , “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God neither can he know them, for,” etc.

Verse 44

John 8:44 . Ὑμεῖς , ye ) A most undisguised proof against them. καὶ , and ) and thence it is that. ἐπιθυμίας , the lusts ) which from the beginning he has been unable to accomplish, as respects the Son of God. θέλετε , ye wish ) with all your might. ἀνθρωπο κτόνος ) a man-destroyer [murderer]. ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς , from the beginning ) ever since he knew anything of the nature of man. καὶ ἐν ὅταν , and in when ) Two sentences, expressing two contraries; to each of the two, ὅτι , because [for] is added. οὐκ ἕστηκεν , he abode not [did not stand fast]) The Præterite time, and the theme itself ἵστημι , I stand , imply this to be the meaning; He did not attain to a fixed standing in the truth: (A similar expression occurs Romans 5:2 , “We have access by faith into this grace, wherein we have obtained an established standing ”) i.e. He was a liar from the beginning, as well as a man-destroyer ; for this clause does not go before the mention of his lust of murder, but follows it. οὐκ ἔστιν , is not ) There was truth in him; but there is not now . Moreover, when first the truth ceased to exist in him, it was by his own fault; the lust of murder had place in him, and he determined to destroy man for that very reason, because man was then in the truth. From this it is evident that it was not long before the sin of man, that the devil sinned, and that the devil was created, not long before he sinned. τὸ ψεῦδος , what is false [a lie]) Scripture is wont to designate not merely a voluntary lie by this severe term, but even error itself. Romans 1:25 , “Who changed the truth of God into a lie ;” 2 Thessalonians 2:9 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:11 , “lying wonders God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie ;” 1 John 2:21 , “Because ye know the truth and that no lie is of the truth;” 27, “The anointing is truth, and is no lie.” ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων , of his own ) The origin of evil. The contrary holds good of Christ; ch. John 7:17 , “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself ; He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory, but He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true , and no unrighteousness is in Him.” καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ , his father ) The article ὁ has this force; and so . The word αὐτοῦ can be expressly referred to ψεῦδος , concerning which lie treats in the following clause; but it ought rather to be referred to the noun ψεύστης , a liar , which must be repeated in an indefinite sense. [229] For sometimes a relative expressed or implied appertains to another subject similar to it. 1 Timothy 2:15 , “ She shall be saved ,” namely, woman , indefinitely although the she is to be referred to Eve [ the woman alluded to, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman,” in the previous verse. So Job 1:21 , “ Naked came I forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return THITHER” [to my mother’s womb in a different and wider sense than in the first clause, viz. the womb of the earth]. Thus here the devil is said to be both a liar himself and father of every liar . For the opposition is clear between God and the devil, and between the sons of God and the sons of the devil. The man who is a liar, is a son of the devil. It is not the lie that is said in this passage to be the offspring of the devil.

[229] The father of every one who is a liar. E. and T.

Verse 45

John 8:45 . Ἐγώ , I ) This pronoun is put with emphasis at the beginning of a sentence. ὅτι , because ) inasmuch as. It is a characteristic of truth, not to believed by the evil. τὴν ἀληθείαν , the truth ) to which the ψεῦδος , lie , is opposed. λέγω , I tell ) In antithesis to, he speaketh in the preceding verse. οὐ , not ) Ye give not ear to me: ye give ear to the devil.

Verse 46

John 8:46 . Ἑλέγχει , convicts ) Jesus appeals to the conscience of all. περὶ ἁμαρτίας , of sin ) that is, that I am in error, and that I am away from the truth . What person dares to maintain this? διατί , why ) To this why , the word therefore in Joh 8:47 answers. Comp. the why , John 8:43 , “Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ,” etc.

Verse 47

John 8:47 . Ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ) of [from] God , as of a father. τὰ ) he alone heareth the words of God. διὰ τοῦτο , therefore [on this account]) The conclusion, Ye are not of God, John 8:42 , is proved by the effect; inasmuch as ye do not hear; John 8:42 , “If God were your Father, ye would love Me.”

Verse 48

John 8:48 . Ἀπεκρίθησαν , they answered ) with a most unjust retort, in the forms of cavil which they had so frequently used. οὐ καλῶς λέγομεν ἡμεῖς , do not we well say? ) They utter this awful insult with some degree of fear as yet. Σαμαρείτης , a Samaritan ) an alien from the true God of the true Israel. Jesus replies at the close of the 54th verse and in the following verses, “It is My Father that honoureth Me, of whom ye say, that He is your God: Yet ye have not known Him, but I know Him.” συ ) thou , they say, no we . δαιμόνιον , a demon ) So they said, who supposed, that the words of Jesus flowed from a foolish pride and assumption. Thus is made clear the reference of those things which Jesus replies in John 8:49 , etc., “I have not a devil, but I honour My Father ,” etc., “and I seek not Mine own glory .”

Verse 49

John 8:49 . Τιμῶ τὸν πατέρα μου , I honour My Father ) by making manifest His name. καὶ ὑμεῖς ) and ye notwithstanding. ἀτιμάζετε με , treat me with insult ) This they had done at John 8:48 .

Verse 50

John 8:50 . Οὐ ζητῶ , I do not seek ) as ye suppose; and therefore think it right, that I should be treated with insult. ἔστιν , there is ) I do not seek My own glory; nor is there any need that I should seek it; for My Father vindicates it.

Verse 51

John 8:51 . Ἐάν τις , if any [if a man]) Jesus proves from the future effect, wherewith the Father is about to honour Him, that He and His word have nothing in common with the proud and murderous devil. τηρήσῃ , will keep ), as I keep My Father’s word, John 8:55 , “I know Him, and keep His saying.” We ought to keep the doctrine of Jesus, by believing in it; His promises, by hoping for them; His injunctions, by obeying them. θάνατον , death ) Jesus hereby shows, that He is not a Samaritan. The Samaritans were Sadducees, opposed to the doctrine of immortality, according to the testimony of Epiphanius . At least the Jews, who speak here, seem to have attributed that error to the Samaritans. Yet I will admit that it was the smaller portion of the latter, who laboured under that error. οὐ μὴ θεωρήσῃ , he shall not see ) A most effectual argument against the maintainers of soul-annihilation.

Verse 52

John 8:52 . Νῦν ἐγνώκαμεν , now we know ) Previously they had spoken with some degree of doubt: John 8:48 , “Say we not well that Thou art,” etc.; but now to the solemn asseveration of Jesus, John 8:51 , they oppose this assertion of theirs.

Verse 53

John 8:53 . Μὴ σὺ μείζων , whether [art] thou greater ) Thou, say they, who dost promise to him, that keepeth Thy word, immortality, a privilege which was not enjoyed by so great men as Abraham and the prophets. καὶ , and ) Explain thus; and greater than the prophets , who are dead? The Christ was indeed greater than Abraham and the prophets.

Verse 54

John 8:54 . Ἀπεκρίθη , answered ) He refutes those words [of last ver.] thou thyself . ὃν ὑμεῖς λέγετε , ὅτι Θεὸς ἡμῶν ἐστι ) A very similar construction occurs, ch. John 10:36 , ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασε ὑμεῖς λέγετε , ὃτι βλασφημεῖς . Also Galatians 1:23 , “ ἀκούοντες ᾖσαν ὃτι ὁ διώκων ἡμᾶς ποτὲ νῦν εὐαγγελίζεται τὴν πίστιν ἥν ποτε ἐπόρθει , καὶ ἐδόξαζον ἐν ἐμοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ;” James 1:13 , “ μηδεὶς πειραζόμενος λεγέτω ὅτι ἀπὸ Θεοῦ πειράζομαι ,” and Jos 22:34 in the Heb., “The children of Reuben and Gad, called the altar Ed : for it shall be a witness between us ,” etc. For the Septuag. have αὐτῶν for ἡμῶν ; as in this passage some have written ὑμῶν for ἡμῶν [So [230][231] [232][233][234] Rec. Text. But [235][236] and Vulg. have ἩΜῶΝ . ΛΈΓΕΤΕ , ye say )] falsely.

[230] the Vatican MS., 1209: in Vat. Iibr., Rome: fourth cent.: O. and N. Test. def.

[231] Bezæ, or Cantabrig.: Univ. libr., Cambridge: fifth cent.: publ. by Kipling, 1793: Gospels, Acts, and some Epp. def.

[232] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

[233] Veronensis, do.

[234] Colbertinus, do.

[235] the Alexandrine MS.: in Brit. Museum: fifth century: publ. by Woide, 1786 1819: O. and N. Test. defective.

[236] Ephræmi Rescriptus: Royal libr., Paris: fifth or sixth cent.: publ. by Tisch. 1843: O. and N. T. def.

Verse 55

John 8:55 . Οἶδα ) He had lately said, οὐκ ἐγνώκάτε · now He says, not ἐγιωκα but οἶδα · ἔγνωκα implies in some degree a beginning to know [I come to know]: but the Son’s knowledge of the Father is eternal: He knows the Father and the glory [honour] which the Father hath assigned to Him. ψεύστης , a liar ) He is a liar, who either affirms what he ought to deny, or denies what he ought to affirm. οἶδα αὐτόν , καὶ τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ τηρῶ , I know Him, and keep His saying ) First He saith, I know ; then afterwards, I keep : for He is the Son. But believers, under His direction, keep the word , and so acquire knowledge ; ch. John 7:17 , notes, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine,” etc.

Verse 56

John 8:56 . Ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν , your Father ) John 8:37 ; John 8:39 , “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; Abraham is our father.” ἠγαλλιάσατο , ἵνα , exulted that ) Evinced his eagerness with longing desire. A similar expression occurs, Romans 10:1 , “My heart’s desire, εὐδοκία τῆς ἐμῆς καρδίας ,” ἵνα , that follows verbs of desiring. This ἀγαλλίασις , exultation , preceded, his seeing; and again χαρά , joy , accompanied the seeing. τὴν ἡμέραν τὴν ἐμήν , my day ) The day of the Majesty of Christ: Philippians 1:10 , “sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;” 1 Corinthians 1:8 , “blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ;” which day presupposes all the times of Christ, even in the eyes of Abraham. The days of Christ’s flesh (when He bestowed Himself on others) are one thing, the day of Christ Himself and of His glory is another thing [ i.e. the two are altogether distinct]. This latter day was future in respect to this speech. Therefore the joy of Abraham preceded that day. καὶ εἶδε , and he saw it ) He saw it, even then in the revelation of My Divine glory; see verses following and Hebrews 11:13 , “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them,” etc. He saw the day of Christ, who of the seed of the patriarch, which was about to be equal in number to the stars, is the greatest and brightest luminary. And inasmuch as he saw this day, which is to be altogether a day of life, he did not see death; John 8:51 , etc., “If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death : Abraham is dead and Thou sayest, If a man,” etc. Thus the vehemence of the Jews is rebutted. He did not however see it, as the apostles did: Matthew 13:17 , “Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them.” καὶ ἐχάρη , and he rejoiced ) having obtained his wish.

Verse 57

John 8:57 . Πεντήκοντα , fifty ) For contention’s sake they exaggerate the number. But, had they not been altogether forgetful of His nativity at Bethlehem, they would have said, Thirty years old, and not much more. As it is, they imply this by their words, Thou hast not yet reached a half century, in other words, the year of superannuation; Numbers 4:3 , The term of the Levite service, “From thirty years old and upward, even until fifty years old,” as Lightfoot observes; whence it seems, the expression is not unlike an adage. It is not likely, that Jesus by reason of sorrows had contracted a premature appearance of old age. Hebrews 1:9 , “God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above they fellows:” Matthew 9:15 , “ Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn , as long as the bridegroom is with them?” ch. John 11:19 , “The Son of Man came eating and drinking .” Ἀβραάμ , Abraham ) He had died 1850 years before this colloquy. ἑώρακας , hast thou seen ) They speak (and rightly so, indeed; comp. ch. John 16:16 ; John 16:22 , “A little while, and ye shall not see Me , and again, a little while and ye shall see Me ,” etc.: “Ye now have sorrow, but I will see you again,”) by the force of correlatives. Since Abraham saw Thy day; Thou hast seen Abraham.

Verse 58

John 8:58 . Πρὶν Ἀβραάμ γενέσθαι , ἐγὼ εἰμί , before that Abraham was brought into being, I am ) The Jews are hereby refuted, who were denying, that Abraham even then could have seen that day. I was , saith Jesus, even then; therefore I saw Abraham, and Abraham saw My day: not merely did I not begin to be only afterwards [afterwards and not till then], but I was, before that he teas brought into being . The difference is to be observed between I am brought into being , and I am ; Mark 4:22 [ οὐ γάρ ἐστί (is) τι κρυπρὸν , ὁ ἐὰν μὴ φανερωθῇ · οὐδὲ ἐγένετο ( has been made , or, become , viz. by design), ἀπόκρυφον , ἀλλʼ ἵνα εἰς φανερὸν ἔλθῃ ]. Acts 26:29 , “I would to God that all γενέσθαι , might become such as I am , εἰμι :” 1 Corinthians 3:18 , “If any man seemeth to be wise εἶναι let him become a fool γενέσθω .” Moreover, it is an abbreviated form of expression, in this sense; Before that Abraham was made , I was: and at this day, at so long an interval after the death of Abraham, I am . For John often expresses himself in such a way, that the Protasis and Apodosis mutually complete one another; 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:” John 8:38 , “I speak that which, etc., and ye do that which,” etc. [ do is to be supplied to the first clause, speak to the second]; ch. John 5:21 , “As the Father raiseth up and quickeneth , even so the Son quickeneth ” (underst., and raiseth up ) etc.; John 8:30 , “I can of Mine own self do (supply, and judge ) nothing; as I hear I judge” (supply, and do ); ch. John 11:8 , John 14:10 , “The words I speak, I speak not of Myself (supply, and the works I do, I do not of Myself ) but the Father doeth the works (supply, and speaketh the words ); ch. John 15:27 ; Revelation 14:10 , notes. Thus the particle before and the present I am , elegantly cohere; comp. also Colossians 1:17 , He Himself is before all things . And yet Artemonius in Diss. iv., p. 618, calls this expression, after the daring example of Enjedinus, a barbarism; but the present is often so put, as that the past time is included; Luke 15:29 , So many years (I have served and still) serve thee ( τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω ). In the same ch. John 8:31 (thou hast been) and art always with Me , as the Goth. Vers. renders it [ πάντοτε εἶ ]. Septuag. Psalms 90:2 , πρὸ τοῦ ὄρη γενηθῆναι , σὺ εἶ [before the mountains were brought forth , thou art ], where Artemonius can by no effort of his change the punctuation. Proverbs 8:25 , πρὸ πὰντων βουνῶν γεννᾷ με , where, if only Artemonius be right in saying that there is some error, nothing [no correction] is nearer (for חוללתי ) than γεννῶμαι , which is also present. I would like to see what device he would contrive to meet Jeremiah 1:5 , πρὸ τοῦ με καταπλάσαι σε ἐν κοιλίᾳ , ἐπίσταμαί σε . Artemonius, with Socinus, thus explains the words; Before that Abraham is made the father of many nations, I am, to wit, the Christ: and also he takes I am in the same sense as at John 8:24 , “If ye believe not that I am He;” John 8:28 , “Then shall ye know that I am He;” ch. John 13:19 , “That, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He;” Mark 13:6 , “Many shall come saying, I am (Christ).” I reply, 1) The Jews had objected that Abraham was deceased for more than fifty years before; Abraham was not regarded by them as about to belong to the New Testament. 2) This sentiment would not have borne that most solemn asseveration, Verily, verily, I say unto you. For in this sense even the Jews, who were then living, would have been before Abraham. 3) The word I am, in this colloquy, is employed concerning age and time, in antithesis to the inchoative to be brought into being [ γενέσθαι ]. Moreover, the reference of the words opposed is the same, and both verbs ought to be understood absolutely, as was is used; ch. John 1:1 , “In the beginning was the Word,” etc. However this absolute signification includes that other by consequence; before that Abraham was brought into being; He who speaks, was; and He was the same as He asserted to the Jews that He was. πρἰν Ἀβραάμ γενέσθαι ) Γενέσθαι is wanting in some of the old fathers, especially the Latin fathers; but the use of the adverb πρίν does not bear the omission. That indeed is certain, that those fathers had no thought of the Socinian perversion of the sense of the verb γενέσθαι , and so the perversion of this whole passage. [Dabc and Epiphanius omit γενέσθαι . But [237][238] , Vulg. and Orige [239] I., 750 f , etc., have it.]

[237] the Alexandrine MS.: in Brit. Museum: fifth century: publ. by Woide, 1786 1819: O. and N. Test. defective.

[238] Cod. Basilianus (not the B. Vaticanus): Revelation: in the Vatican: edited by Tisch., who assigns it to the beginning of the eighth century.

[239] rigen (born about 186 A.D., died 253 A.D., a Greek father: two-thirds of the N. Test. are quoted in his writings). Ed. Vinc. Delarue, Paris. 1733, 1740, 1759.

Verse 59

Joh 8:59 and John 9:1 . Καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ , καὶ παρῆγεν οὕτως · καὶ παράγων εἶδεν , κ . τ . λ .) This appears to be the mediate [240] and genuine reading [see App. Crit., Ed. ii. on this passage]: for ΠΑΡΆΓΩΝ manifestly has reference to ΠΑΡῆΓΕΝ , and ΟὝΤΩς denotes the miraculous ease of His departure. ΠΑΡῆΓΕΝ ΚΑῚ ΠΑΡΆΓΩΝ , He passed by and passing by ) A similar connection [of participle and verb] occurs, Acts 27:0 at the close, and 28 at the beginning [ διασωθῆναι διασωθέντες ]. ΟὝΤΩς , so) As if no one were seeking Him. [241] , and ace. to Lachm. [242] , read ΔΙΕΛΘῺΝ ΔΙᾺ ΜΈΣΟΥ ΑὐΤῶΝ ( [243] adding probably, from Luke 4:36 , through the Harmonies, ἘΠΟΡΕΎΕΤΟ ) ΚΑῚ ΠΑΡῆΓΕΝ ΟὝΤΩς . [244] , and acc. to Tischendorf, [245] , omit these words: so also [246][247][248] , Orige [249] 4, 292, [250] , Theb [251] and Vulg. versions.]

[240] From which the other readings diverged, as from a common starting point.

[241] the Alexandrine MS.: in Brit. Museum: fifth century: publ. by Woide, 1786 1819: O. and N. Test. defective.

[242] the Vatican MS., 1209: in Vat. Iibr., Rome: fourth cent.: O. and N. Test. def.

[243] the Alexandrine MS.: in Brit. Museum: fifth century: publ. by Woide, 1786 1819: O. and N. Test. defective.

[244] Bezæ, or Cantabrig.: Univ. libr., Cambridge: fifth cent.: publ. by Kipling, 1793: Gospels, Acts, and some Epp. def.

[245] the Vatican MS., 1209: in Vat. Iibr., Rome: fourth cent.: O. and N. Test. def.

[246] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

[247] Veronensis, do.

[248] Colbertinus, do.

[249] rigen (born about 186 A.D., died 253 A.D., a Greek father: two-thirds of the N. Test. are quoted in his writings). Ed. Vinc. Delarue, Paris. 1733, 1740, 1759.

[250] Laudianus, do.: Acts.

[251] heb. the Thebaic, or Sahidic do.: publ. by Woide and Ford, from MS. Alex, at Oxford, 1799.

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 8". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/john-8.html. 1897.
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