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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 9

Verse 1

John 9:1 . Καὶ παράγων , and passing by ) Immediately after the attack of His enemies. τυφλόν , blind ) Who was begging at the temple. Comp. Acts 3:2 , “The lame man, laid at the Beautiful gate of the temple, to ask alms.”

Verse 2

John 9:2 . Ἠρώτησαν , asked ) They were well aware of the [omniscient] knowledge of their Master. ὗυτος , this man ) This question of the disciples ought not to be curiously examined into; whether, and when, that blind man could have sinned and thence contracted blindness. An interrogation, especially a disjunctive one, asserts nothing; and an assertion of the disciples would not compel us to an assent. γεννηθῇ , that he should be born ) That he was born blind, the disciples had heard from others.

Verse 3

John 9:3 . Ἀπεκρίθη , answered ) Jesus is wont to answer more plainly to His disciples than to the unbelieving Jews. ἥμαρτεν , hath sinned ) Repeat, that he should be born blind [ Human reason delights to draw the conclusion of there being some special fault, from some special misfortune : Luke 13:2 ; Luke 13:4 , “Suppose ye, these Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you nay, etc. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell,” etc.; Acts 28:4 , “When the barbarians saw the venemous beast hang on Paul’s hand, they said, No doubt this is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.” V. g. ἀλλʼ , but ) Comp. ch. John 11:4 , “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” ἴνα , that ) The power of God. τὰ ἔργα , the works ) Plural. When one work of God is known, all are known. From His works shine forth the Power, and the Glory, and the Grace of God.

Verse 4

John 9:4 . Νύξ , the night ) Christ is the light: when it departs, the night comes, which does not restrain the light, but obscures the earth. οὐδείς , no man ) He does not say, I cannot ; but, no man . He Himself could have worked at all times; but yet He observed the seasonable time: John often describes Christ as speaking thus indefinitely concerning things that present themselves, in the way that would become any ordinary pious person in speaking of such matters: ch. John 11:9 , “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not,” etc.; John 12:24-25 , “Except a corn of wheat die, it abideth alone, but, etc. He that loveth his life, shall lose it,” etc. In fact, Jesus was tempted in all things, but without sin.

Verse 5

John 9:5 . Φῶς , the light ) An allegory from the object of sight, which He was about to bestow on the blind man. Comp. John 9:3 , that they might be made manifest ; and ἡμέρα , day , John 9:4 [containing the same metaphor].

Verse 6

John 9:6 . Εἰπών , having spoken ) in the hearing of the blind man. Jesus also prayed, John 9:31 , “If any man be a worshipper of God , and doeth His will, him He heareth.” πηλόν , clay ) Clean spittle, mixed with clean dust, was a clean medicine. Man was created from the earth: now the creation of sight is taken from the same earth. ἐπὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς , upon the eyes ) It is a poetic fancy of Nonnus, that he has represented that there was not even the trace of eyes on the face of this blind man: Joh 9:10 disproves it [How were thine eyes opened? ]

Verse 7

John 9:7 . Νίψαι , wash thyself ) thy face. τοῦ Σιλωάμ , Siloam ) A name given to this place formerly, because Jesus Christ was about to send thither the blind man. And from this time the name of the place was a memorial of the miracle wrought at it. The derivation is implied in Go, wash thyself . ὁ ἐρμηνεύεται ἀπεσταλμένος , which is rendered in translation Sent ) The Evangelist adds this. Comp. John 9:11 , “Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash.” καὶ ἦλθε , and he went ) before going to his parents.

Verse 9


John 9:9 . [253] Ὅμοιος , like ) Human reason invents and supposes anything, sooner than it will believe a miracle has been wrought: John 9:18 , “But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight;” Acts 2:13 , “Others mocking, said, These men are full of new wine.” But on that account the more is the truth confirmed.

[253] Ver. 8, οἱ γείτονες , neighbours ) the miracle was manifest to all. V. g.

Verse 11

John 9:11 . Ἄνθρωπος λεγόμενος Ἰησοῦς , a man who is called Jesus ) The article is not added, but the participle. Comp. ch. John 11:54 , “ Into a city called Ephraim ,” Ἐφραὶμ λεγομένην πόλιν . The blind man had not known the celebrity of Jesus. ἀνέβλεψα , I received [or recovered ] sight ) He had not had the power of seeing ever before; but yet that power is natural to man; on this account he says, I recovered sight [the strict sense of ἀνέβλεψα ].

Verse 13

John 9:13 . Πρὸς τοὺς Φαρισαίους , to the Pharisees ) as if to inquisitors.

Verse 15

John 9:15 . Καὶ οἱ ) Και , also .

Verse 16

John 9:16 . Παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ , from God ) The words opposed are, to be from God , and to be a sinner , [ An antithesis worthy of observation. Either the former, or else the latter, exactly applies as the description of every man . V. g. ὅτι , because ) In Theology applied to estimating characters, nothing is to be done in a hurry.

Verse 17

John 9:17 . Προφήτης , a prophet ) i.e. from God , John 9:16 , “This man is not from God ,” 33; ch. John 1:6 , “There was a man sent from God ,” etc.; John 3:2 , “We know that Thou art a teacher come from God” [ Jesus had prayed in undertaking the cure , John 9:31 : and from that circumstance the blind man had come to know the close intimacy subsisting between Jesus and God . V. g.] It is delightful to observe how faith gradually arises in this man, whilst the Pharisees are contradicting [ Teased with the repeated questionings of the men, at last he unlearned the lesson of being bound by mere authority. Thus advantage may be derived even from the perverse ways and humours of others . V. g.]

Verse 18

John 9:18 . Αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἀναβλέψαντος , of him that had received his sight ) These are joined as substantive and adjective, and the of him refers to the blind man .

Verse 19

John 9:19 . Πῶς βλέπει ) How it has happened, that he sees .

Verse 21

John 9:21 . Οὐκ οἴδαμεν , we know not ) As yet they had not seen their son seeing: but they had immediately conjectured that the gift of sight had come from Jesus. On this account the former part of this verse is not attributed to fear [but only the latter, “He is of age; ask him,” as stated] in John 9:23 . ἡμεῖς , we ) Emphatic; in antithesis to αὐτὸς , himself which follows and is repeated more than once. αὐτὸς ἡλικίαν ἔχει , αὐτὸν ἐρωτήσατε ) So John 9:23 . But the Latin , and after it, Augustine and others, at John 9:21 , “ ipsum interrogate; œtatem habet .” And what follows agrees with this; he shall speak for himself . [So [254][255][256][257] [258][259] Vulg. But [260] and Rec. Text put αὐτὸν ἐρωτ · after ἡλικίαν ἔχει ]. ἡλικίαν , age ) sufficient for giving testimony.

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

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

[256] Cod. Reg., Paris, of the Gospels: the text akin to that of B: edited by Tisch.

[257] Cod. Monacensis, fragments of the Gospels.

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

[259] Colbertinus, do.

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

Verse 22

John 9:22 . Ἐφοβοῦντο , they were afraid of ) to such a degree that they left their son [ at whose receiving of the gift of sight, however, they without doubt were exceedingly rejoiced . V. g.] alone in the danger; and not only did not acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, but did not even acknowledge that, from which it followed as a consequence. ἀποσυναγωγος , expelled from the synagogue ) which was a most severe punishment.

Verse 24

John 9:24 . Ἐκ δευτέρου , again ) He had therefore been sent away after the conversation with him, described at John 9:17 . δός , give ) A spacious preface. He gives glory to God, who confesses the truth, especially in a matter and cause attended with difficulties. ἡμεῖς οἴδαμεν , we know ) They attempt to prepossess and move him, as an unlearned man, by the weight of their authority, that he should call Jesus a sinner, and not avow Him as the Son of God [We see, say they; comp. John 9:41 (Now ye say, We see). V. g.] ἁμαρτωλός , a sinner ) John 9:16 , “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day.”

Verse 25

John 9:25 . Ἐι , if [whether]) In a case, concerning which he has as yet no certainty, he nevertheless does not yield to the false authority of others; and he rather believes, that Jesus is not a sinner, than that He is a sinner. τυφλὸς ὤν , whereas I was blind ) The participle has the force of a præterite tense, which is manifest from that which follows, now I see . Comp. Galatians 1:23 , “They had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith, which once he destroyed, ὄτιδιώκων ἡμᾶς πότε , νῦν εὐαγγελίζεται τὴν πίστιν , ἥν πότε ἐπόρθει .”

Verse 26

John 9:26 . Εἶπον , they said ) These wretched persons strangely torture themselves. [261]

[261] τὶ πῶς , what how? ) They were wishing to suppress the certainty of the miracle, provided only it were possible. Many extraordinary things happen in all ages: several things of that kind are also reported without good foundation. Therefore it would be advantageous that the True, in such cases as these, should be distinguished from the False, and the Certain from the Doubtful, by the most searching investigation which it is possible to make. But indeed the unbelieving world conceives it to be for its own interest that nothing should be altogether evident, and cleared of every difficulty. Thus, as we may see, under the pretext of its being only the result of an accumulation of tricks, the truth itself can be avoided. V. g.

Verse 27

John 9:27 . Τί , why ) wherefore? και ὑμεῖς ye also ) He confesses that he wishes to become a disciple of Jesus. θέλετε , do ye wish ) A sweet and becoming irony. [ And indeed it is right, that he, who wishes to become a disciple of Christ, should resort to anxious investigation. The truth does not shrink from it . V. g.]

Verse 28

John 9:28 . Ἐλοιδόρησαν , they reviled ) They thought that they were loading him with dishonour, whomsoever they called by the term, a disciple of Christ . ἐκέινου , of that man ) By the use of this expression they put Jesus away to a distance from them.

Verse 29

John 9:29 . Ἡμεῖς οἴδαμεν , we know ) They knew it by such testimonies, as at the present clay also are irrefragable. πόθεν ἐστίν , whence He is ) as well as His doctrine.

Verse 30

John 9:30 . Ἐν γὰρ τούτῳ [why herein], for in this ) So ἐν γὰρ τούτῳ , for in this , ch. John 4:37 [And herein is that saying true. Engl. Vers.] γαρ , such being the case [videlicet], at times adds a graceful effect to a reply. θαυμαστόν , a marvellous thing ) Answering to we know not , John 9:29 . To be ignorant and to wonder , are closely allied. πόθεν , whence ) namely, from God: John 9:33 , “If a man were not of God he could do nothing:” John 9:16 , “This man is not of God.” [262]

[262] The man’s words, John 9:33 , are opposed to these words of theirs, John 9:16 . E. and T.

Verse 31

John 9:31 . Ἁμαρτωλῶν , sinners ) The faith of the man increases: comp. John 9:17 ; John 9:24-25 , “He is a prophet; whether He be a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” τὸ θέλημα , the will ) Whoever doeth the will of God, God doeth His will for him, when he prays.

Verse 33

John 9:33 . Οὐδέν ) nothing , not merely of those things, which He Himself doeth, hut also of those things which other excellent men do. Jesus had not the external helps on which ordinary mortals are wont to rely.

Verse 34

John 9:34 . Ἐν ἁμαρτίαις , in sins ) They upbraid him with his former blindness: John 9:2 , “Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” καὶ σύ ) and yet dost thou . διδάσκεις , teach ) Indeed his words, from John 9:30-33 , form an excellent sermon. ἐξέβαλον αὐτόν , they cast him out ) as being a Christian: John 9:22 , “The Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” That act of theirs tended to his great good: but they themselves betray thereby the hatred of the truth, with which they are actuated. ἔξω , out ) from that place in which they were met together.

Verse 35

John 9:35 . Εὑρών , having found ) He had therefore sought for him, after He had permitted him for a time to be persecuted by the world. σύ , thou ) Although others believe not. The pronoun renders the interrogation in this place akin to an affirmation.

Verse 36

John 9:36 . Καὶ τίς , and who ) καὶ τί , and what [has happened that]: ch. John 14:22 , [ How is it that . Engl. Vers.] καὶ τίς , and who [is my neighbour?], Luke 10:29 , Notes. [263] ἵνα , that ) This depends on Tell me , and the, Tell me, lies hid in the, Who is He ? πιστεύσω , I may believe ) It was a step in faith, that he accounts Jesus as one whom he must believe, whatsoever He may say.

[263] Καὶ “approves of the speech that immediately precedes, and yet adds something to it,” (of an adversative kind; but who; but what). E. and T.

Verse 37

John 9:37 . Ἑώρακας , thou hast seen ) Thou hast begun to see with these eyes of thine, which have been opened for thee. ὁ λαλῶν , He who speaks ) A lowly speech, being framed in the third person.

Verse 38

John 9:38 . Κύριε , Lord ) He now uses this term in a more strict sense than he had used it at verse 36. [264] προσεκύνησεν , he worshipped ) The worship follows spontaneously the recognition of His Divinity. [ Jesus nowhere required this worship of any one ; it was the spirit of faith that instructed believers to render it. V. g.]

[264] There simply, Sir ; here, Lord. E. and T.

Verse 39

John 9:39 . Κρίμα , judgment ) just and true, better than that of the Pharisees. βλέπωσι , may see ) in body and mind οἱ βλέποντες , who see ) who suppose that they are possessed of sight, and are not conscious that they are blind: John 9:41 , “Now ye say, We see.” τυφλοί , blind ) in mind.

Verse 41

John 9:41 . Ἁμαρτίαν sin ) If ye would say, we are blind , ye would seek sight, and your sin would have already ceased. Sin exists even in the intellect; for blindness affects the sight, and is synonymous with sin.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 9". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.