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ANTITHESIS BETWEEN THE BELIEVING AND THE UNBELIEVING JEWS OF JUDEA AND JERUSALEM AT THE GRAVE OF LAZARUS. CHRIST, IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS RAISING OF LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD, HIMSELF DEVOTED TO DEATH. SYMBOLISM OF DAY’S WORK AND OF SLEEP. THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.
A. Christ’s death-bringing journey to Bethany to raise His friend from the dead. Symbolism of day-life and night-life. Symbolism of sleep
1Now [But] a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of [from] Bethany, the town 2of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that [the] Mary which [who afterwards] anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick. 4When Jesus heard that, he said [And Jesus hearing it, said], This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might [may] be glorified thereby.
5Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6When he had heard therefore [When therefore he heard] that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was [he then remained in the place where he was, two days]. 7Then after that saith he [Then after this he saith] to his [the] disciples, Let 8us go into Judea again. His [The] disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought [just now were seeking, νῦν ἐζήτουν] to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man 10walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11These things said he: and after that [this] he saith unto them, our friend Lazarus sleepeth 12[hath fallen asleep]; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples [The disciples therefore said to him]1, Lord, if he sleep [hath fallen asleep] he shall do well [become whole, recover]2. 13Howbeit Jesus spake [But Jesus had spoken] of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep [he was speaking of the rest of sleep, περὶ τῆς κοιμήσεως τοῦ ὕπνου]3. 14Then [Then therefore, τότε οὖν] said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16Then said Thomas, which [who] is called Didymus [i. e. twin child], unto his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
In the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the most stupendous of the revivifying (quickening) miracles of Jesus, we see at once the ultimate occasion of His death, and the first foreshadowing of His resurrection. Bayle relates of Spinoza [the Jewish philosopher]: “On m’ a assuré qu ’il disait à ses amis, que s’il eût pu se persuader la résurrection de Lazare, il aurait brisé en piéces tout son système et aurait embrassé sans répugnance la foi ordinaire des chrétiens.” [Dict. art. Spinoza].4
The special plea of modern criticism against the reality of this miracle is the silence of the Synoptists. This fact may be explained: 1. By the character of the Gospels, each one of which being a particular view of the life of Jesus, uses only such historical matter as suits its total; 2. by historical circumstances which made it seem advisable to the Synoptists, who wrote earlier, to omit from their records the history of the family of Bethany, probably in order to avoid attracting to it the attention of Jewish fanatics in Jerusalem (see Leben Jesu, II. 2, p. 1132); 5 3. by the preponderance of Galilean tradition in the Synoptists, which may well be connected with the fact that a great portion of this tradition was derived from narratives of the life of Jesus addressed by the earlier disciples of Galilee to the later disciples at Jerusalem. We have proof in the writings of the Synoptists that they were well aware of the frequent sojourn of Jesus at Jerusalem; Matthew 23:37; Luk 10:38.6
[The narrative is divided into three parts: (1) The preparation, which is ruled by the idea of death, 1–16; (2) The raising of Lazarus, or the triumph of life over death, 17–44; (3) The effect, (a) the positive effect: confirmation of the faith of the disciples, 45; (b) the negative effect: exciting the opposition of the Sanhedrin to deadly hatred, 47–57.—The miracle carries its own evidence to every fair and unprejudiced mind. But as the performance of it was a moral test to the Jews, so is its narrative to the readers and critics: a savor of life and a source of comfort to believers, a stumbling-block to unbelievers. There are four false theories, opposed to the true one: 1. The rationalistic view of a raising from a trance, in spite of the ἤδη ὄ̇ζει, John 11:39! (Paulus, Gabler, Ammon, Kern, Schweizer, modified by Gfrörer and Weisse). 2. The mythical hypothesis of an unconscious poem of the primitive Christian fancy. (Strauss, in his large “Life of Jesus,” while in his new Leben Jesu, p. 476 ff., he represents the historic Lazarus of John as a free fiction of the fourth Evangelist based upon the parabolic Lazarus of Luke.) 3. The theory of a conscious symbolical or allegorical representation of the death-conquering glory of Christ and His disciples. (Baur, Weizsäcker). 4. The infamous hypothesis of a down-right imposture or pious fraud, an intrigue of the family of Bethany, to which Jesus lent Himself as an instrument with the view to make an impression upon the unbelieving Jews. (Renan, Vie de Jésus, p. 359 f.). All these theories owe their origin to a disbelief in the supernatural. They neutralize each other and explain nothing at all. The only alternative is: historic truth, or dishonest fiction. The historic truth is abundantly attested by the simplicity, vivacity and circumstantiality of the narrative, the four days in the tomb (John 11:39), and the good sense and moral honesty—to say the very least—of Lazarus and his sisters, the Evangelist and Christ Himself.—P. S.]
John 11:1. But there was a certain man sick.—The δέ indicates that Jesus’ stay in Peræa was terminated by the sickness and death of Lazarus.
Lazarus, from Bethany.—The designation of Lazarus: from Bethany [άπό, like ἐκ, denotes descent, or, as here, residence], as also the designation of Bethany as the town of Mary and Martha her sister (comp. John 1:44), presupposes the acquaintance of the readers with the family of Bethany, and places Mary, as the most prominent personality of the group, in the foreground. After her, mention is made of Martha, as her sister; after both, Bethany is designated; after Bethany, Lazarus.
Bethany on the Mount of Olives, distinct from the Bethany beyond Jordan, in the environs of which Jesus is now, probably, again abiding (see John 1:28), is distant three-quarters of an hour [about two miles] from Jerusalem, in a south-easterly direction, on the other [eastern] side of the Mount of Olives, over whose southern portion the road leads. From its situation on the declivity of the mountain, Simonis thus construes it: בֵּית עֲנִוָּה, locus depressionis, Low Borough, Valley Borough; with more probability, however, Lightfoot, Reland and others hold that it derives its name from its date-palms: בֵּית הִינֵי, locus dactylorum, House of Dates, Date Borough (see the palm-entry, Matthew 21:0).7 In the history of the Passion, Bethany appears as a peaceful refuge for the Lord from hostile Jerusalem; Matthew 21:17; Matthew 26:6, etc.8
[Bethany is never mentioned in the Old Testament or the Apocrypha, and is known to us only from the New Testament, but possesses an unusual charm as the place where more than in any other Jesus loved to dwell and to enjoy domestic life. There was a house of peace with three children of peace, where the Prince of Peace went in and out as a friend. There He received the hospitable attentions of busy Martha, and commended the contemplative Mary (Luke 10:38 ff.); there He performed His greatest miracle on their brother Lazarus, and proved Himself to be the Resurrection and the Life; there Mary anointed Him against the day of His burial; from Bethany He commenced His triumphant entry into Jerusalem; to Bethany He resorted for the rest of the night during the few days before His crucifixion; and near this village He loved so well, He ascended to heaven. At present it is a poor, wretched mountain hamlet of some twenty families, and is called, from Lazarus, El-Azarîyeh (by Robinson) or El-Lazarieh (according to Lord Lindsay and Stanley); the traditional sites of the house and tomb of Lazarus are still shown. Stanley and Grove give a very unfavorable account; but Bonar and Lindsay describe the situation of Bethany, as viewed from a distance, as “remarkably beautiful,” “the perfection of retirement and repose,” “of seclusion and lovely peace.” It is no doubt with Bethany as with Jerusalem and Palestine generally: it is a mere shadow of the past, a scene of desolation and death; yet not without traces of former glory, and not without hope of a future resurrection.—P. S.]
John 11:2. It was the Mary who (afterwards) anointed the Lord with ointment, etc.—John supposes the history of the anointing to be familiar through the evangelical tradition; and this trait shows the vividness and copiousness of that tradition and at the same time the historical character of this Gospel. In the next chapter he proceeds to relate the history of the anointing itself [as required by the course of his narrative]. The evangelist designs here to bring into view the friendly relation existing between Jesus and the brother and sisters of Bethany, in explanation of the following history. Comp. Com. on Matthew, chap. 26; Luke, chap. 10. Touching the vast difference between Mary of Bethany and the great sinner or Mary Magdalene, comp. the Art. Maria Magdalena in Herzog’s Real-Encyklopædia [vol. ix. p. 102 ff.].9 On the character of the two sisters comp. the Com. on Luke, chap. 10. 10 Hengstenberg’s romance founded upon the story of the family of Bethany, is well known.
[Hengstenberg devotes twenty-six pages of his Commentary on John (vol. ii. pp. 198–224) to prove that Lazarus of Bethany whom the Lord raised from the dead, is none other than the poor Lazarus of the parable, and that Mary of Bethany is the same with the unnamed sinner who washed the Saviour’s feet with her tears of repentance (Luke 7:36 ff.) and with Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2). In the former he is original; in the latter he follows the tradition of the Latin church which identified the two or three Marys, down to recent times when it was rightly opposed by several Roman Catholic as well as Protestant divines. Out of the scattered hints of the Gospels Hengstenberg, with more ingenuity than sound judgment and good taste, weaves the following religious novel, which is worthy of a place in a Romish legendary. Mary, originally of Magdala, a village on the western coast of the lake of Galilee, near the city of Tiberias, led a disreputable life, but was converted to Christ, who expelled from her seven devils, i.e., her wild passions, and gave her rest and peace. She clung to Him with boundless devotion and followed Him on His journeys in Galilee (Luke 8:2) and to Judea. While the Lord labored in and around Jerusalem she resided at Bethany in the house or country-seat of her sister Martha, who had married a rich but low-minded Pharisee, Simon the Leper. Here she anointed the Lord and wiped His feet with the tears of repentance, six days before His passion (Luke 7:0, which is assumed to be the same with the scene described John 12:0.) Her brother Lazarus, after a similar life of dissipation and consequent poverty, resorted also to the protection of Martha and lived off the parsimonious charity of his brother-in-law. He is the beggar at the gate of “the rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day” (Luke 16:19 ff.). He died, was buried, and carried to Abraham’s bosom, but was raised again by Christ, to which an allusion may be found in the parable (John 11:31, “though one rose from the dead”). Mary and Lazarus were so dearly loved by Him, not on account of their virtuous and lovely character, but as striking examples of the power of redeeming grace. They illustrate His saying that it is easier for publicans and sinners to enter the kingdom than for righteous Pharisees.—The grounds for this strange combination are the identity of names (Lazarus of the parable—the only name mentioned in any parable of the New Testament—and Lazarus of Bethany; Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany), and the similarity of the anointing scene related by Luke, John 7:36 ff., and the one described by John, John 12:3, as well as Matthew, Matthew 22:3 ff.; and Mark 14:3. But the differences of locality (Magdala and Bethany), of time (the beginning and the close of Christ’s ministry), and of circumstances, in the anointing scenes, are sufficient to neutralize the superficial appearance of identity. Besides, there are strong arguments against Hengstenberg’s hypothesis. 1. Luke’s Gospel which is constructed on the chronological order (Luke 1:3), can not be charged with such a glaring chronological mistake, as to place the anointing of Christ in Bethany in the first year of Christ’s ministry, when according to Matthew, Mark and John it occurred only six days before His passion and had special reference to His near burial. 2. Luke, in introducing Mary of Bethany in Luke 10:39, gives no intimation that she was the unnamed sinner of John 7:0 or the Mary Magdalene whom he had already honorably mentioned inLuke 8:2; nor does John give any hint of such identity when he introduces Mary Magdalene in Luke 19:25. To explain this fact, Hengstenberg (p. 208) resorts to the far-fetched conjecture of intentional concealment of the identity from family considerations and apprehensions of abuse. 3. If Lazarus lived in miserable dependence on a mean brother-in-law, it would have been cruel to call him back from Paradise. 4. There is an intrinsic improbability, as urged already by Origen and Chrysostom, that Jesus should have selected for His special friendship persons whoso former lives were stained by gross impurity.—The view of Hengstenberg has been generally rejected by German commentators, but Bishop Wordsworth (on Luke 11:1), without mentioning his name, seems to adopt it as far as the identity of the Lazarus of the parable and the Lazarus of the miracle is concerned. He finds in the parable a prophecy of the miracle, in the latter a fulfilment of the former. Godet (II. 320) aptly says of Hengstenberg’s dissertation that it only proves the facility with which a man of learning and acumen can prove any thing he wants to prove.—But while we must utterly reject the identification of the two Lazaruses, it is quite possible that the Lazarus of John 11:0 was either a son or a brother-in-law of Simon the Pharisee. An article in Smith’s Dict. (vol. II., p. 1614) identifies him with the young and rich ruler who came to Jesus and was loved by Him, Matthew 19:0; Mark 10:0; Luke 18:8, but this conjecture is without proof and contrary to the chronological order of events. The traditions concerning the later life of Lazarus and his labors in Marseilles, where he is said to have founded a church and suffered martyrdom, are worthless. The ecclesiastical applications of the name of Lazarus (Knights of St. Lazarus, lazaretto, lazar-house, lazzarone) are derived from the Lazarus of the parable and connected with the etymology (Lazarus=לֹא עֵזֶר, auxilio destitutus, no help, helpless, or better=לַעְזָר, abridged from אֶלְעָזָר, Eliazar, Deus auxilium, the German Gotthilf). The Lazarists, a French Society of missionary priests, were named after Lazarus of Bethany (from the College of St. Lazarus in Paris which they acquired in 1632).—P. S.]
John 11:3. Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.—If we read in these words the indirect expression of a positive entreaty that Jesus would come, possibly we overlook the situation of the parties. It is as evident to the sisters in Bethany as to the disciples that imminent peril of death threatens the Lord in Jerusalem and its surrounding country. We are not warranted in assuming that they rated the sickness of their brother higher than the deadly peril impending over Jesus. In fact, in their very appreciation of His danger we read the explanation of their tender message in its delicate historicalness. They give emphasis to their communication thus: whom Thou lovest; it is the expression of an ardent, heart-felt desire wherewith they inform Him of what may happen. [ὅν φιλεῖς is more solicitous of help than the mere name, and yet more modest, than “who loves Thee,” or the designation of “friend,” as the Lord in His condescending love calls Lazarus, John 11:11.—P. S.]
John 11:4. Jesus hearing it said [εἶπεν] This sickness, etc.—[Alford: “The only right understanding of this answer, and our Lord’s whole proceeding here is,—that He knew and foresaw all from the first,—as well the termination of Lazarus’s sickness and his being raised again, as the part which this miracle would bear in bringing about the close of His own ministry.”—P. S.] In the lack of ἀπεκρίνατο (replied) there is no warrant for the assumption that these words did not form part of a message sent to the sisters, although they were addressed to the disciples also. It was, in reality, His prophetic utterance concerning the entire sickness.—Is not unto death [πρὸςθάνατον].—The expression was an ambiguous one and involved a trial of faith for the sisters. They might thus understand it: The sickness will not result in death, will not be fatal; and to this interpretation the rest of the sentence might seem to point: for the glory of God, etc. From these words it was possible to draw the inference that Jesus would at all events preserve Lazarus from death; perhaps by an exercise of healing power from afar. But this was not His meaning. The certainty and the necessity of the death of Lazarus were manifest to Him from the beginning; He foreknew also that He should raise him from the dead. In this sense, therefore, we are to understand His words: The end and aim of this sickness is not death, but the glorification of God by a raising of the dead, which shall also glorify the Son of God.11 Therein lay a trial of faith for the sisters (Brenz, Neander). A human instrumentality in order to the divine awakening of the dead was also thus ordained. The sick man and his sisters waited hopefully for the Lord even until the coming of death; then, if they would not be perplexed by the promise of Jesus (see John 11:40), on which their hopes were based, they must take refuge in the mysterious expression: to the glory of God. Not only does the text afford no ground for the supposition that a second message concerning the further progress of the malady was sent to the Lord, informing Him of the incorrectness of His favorable opinion (Paulus, Neander), but such a supposition is directly contrary to the text (see John 11:14).—That the Son of God may be glorified thereby.—This was the purpose of God. Not that God should be glorified by the glorification of Christ (Meyer), but that the glorifying of God through the miracle wrought in His name should also glorify the Son of God,—and this in a striking manner, in the presence of a great multitude and in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They who accused Him of working miracles by the power of Satan, should be witnesses to this astounding miracle, performed by Him after a solemn invocation of that God, whom they called their God and as the blasphemer of whom they denounced Him. It is noteworthy that after this fact He is no more charged with having a demon and working miracles by the assistance of Beelzebub. Christ’s prayer to God at the grave of Lazarus was, however, introduced by the sending of the man who was born blind to the pool of Siloam, that being the property of the temple and of the God of the temple.
John 11:5. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.—[and—and: happy family! Bengel.]—Reference of these words: 1. De Wette: Explanatory of John 11:3; John 2:0. Meyer: explanatory of the consoling assurance contained in John 11:4; John 3:0. Baumgarten-Crusius: preparatory to John 11:6. “Although He loved them all, He tarried.” Why is Martha here the prominent person and Mary simply designated as her sister? Martha stood in peculiar need of a still greater trial of faith, of purification from her petty cares; and in order to these results, death must be felt in all its terrors and deliverance in all its rapture. In this sense Jesus loved her. Thus the connection with John 11:6 might also be expressed by a “therefore,” etc. But since the evangelist has not specified this connection more positively, room is left for both conjectures (“although” and “therefore”). The expression ἠγάπα, not ἐφίλει (as John 11:3), may not have been chosen solely “on account of the therewith mentioned sisters” (Meyer), but also on account of the loftily severe conduct of the love of Christ. [ἀγαπᾶν may be used of divine love, but φιλεῖν expresses human love and the personal relation of friendship. The relation of Jesus to the female sex exhibits a tenderness truly human with a purity and dignity truly divine. Comp. the remarks on p. 167.—P. S.]
John 11:6. When therefore he heard that he was sick, then (at that time), indeed, he remained two days.—Τότε μέν [tum quidem, omitted in the E. V.]. The μέν leads us to expect a δέ after ἔπειτα, which has, however, been omitted in order that the conclusion of the sentence might appear independently in all its significance. Explanation of the delay of Jesus:
1. In order to test the faith of the interested parties (Olshausen after the ancients). This motive cannot be rejected as “inhuman arbitrariness” (Meyer). It was undoubtedly influential, although not exclusively so.
2. Jesus was detained in Peræa by important business (Lücke [Neander, Tholuck] and others.) Here, without doubt, we have the grand motive and the foundation of the previously mentioned one, for it would have been an utter impossibility for Jesus to remain two days away from Bethany in inactivity. Meyer objects to this explanation on the ground that nothing of the kind is stated in the text. But it is implied everywhere that Jesus was never inactive and that He had days’ works, times (καιροί) and hours, appointed Him by God.
3. Meyer [and Alford]: The motive is indicated John 11:4 : the glorification of God through the miracle. This was undoubtedly a final and supreme motive, one, however, that never stands alone; it is invariably associated with concrete, moral motives. Assuming this to be the sole motive, the delay of two days was totally unnecessary, since Lazarus had already been dead a long time.
Bretschneider and his followers have based their arguments against the authenticity of the history itself upon this delay, which they did not comprehend. We must further beware of the false idea that Jesus first suffered Lazarus to die, and then went to raise him from the dead. As Lazarus had already lain in the grave four days, when Jesus arrived at Bethany, he would (assuming the distance to have been a day’s journey) have been two days in the grave, if Jesus had set out for Bethany immediately upon receiving the message. Hence He caused no fruitless waiting by the bedside of the sick man. The sisters had deferred sending the message to Jesus until Lazarus was at the point of death, because they knew the danger attending the return of the Saviour to Judea. So fine a historical trait cannot have been invented.
Two days.—On the great activity of Jesus in Peræa see the Com. on Matthew. He was to depart from a province in which there were many that believed on Him.
John 11:7. Let us go again into Judea (from Peræa), etc.—He does not say, to Bethany. To Judea, “to the land of unbelief and deadly enmity.”12 The πάλιν is doubtless indicative of the fact that Jesus had previously journeyed with the disciples from Peræa to Judea, to attend the feast of the consecration of the temple.
John 11:8. But just now13 the Jews were seeking to stone Thee.—Dissuading, in view of the obvious peril of death. In this connection the form of the message sent by the sisters is to be explained. These words, as well as John 11:16, prove that the disciples were not apprehensive as to their own safety merely, but that the Lord was the principal subject of their anxiety.
John 11:9. Are there not (fully) twelve hours, etc.?—“In Palestine, where the clays are of nearly equal duration, they are divided, the whole year through, into twelve hours.” Gerlach.14 Jesus probably uttered these words in the early morning, in view of the rising sun,15 just as the day was beginning; in like manner the words: I must work as long as it is day (John 9:4), were spoken in face of the setting sun. In the first place, this was not said to allay the apprehensions of the disciples on their own account (Chrysostom, Neander); it had reference to the life-journey of the Lord Himself: Christ employs, however, such general terms, that the words are applicable to the life-journey of the disciples also. Under the figure of the day, the idea of the life-day of the individual and of the day’s work appointed him is again presented, as in John 9:4 f. Here, however, the God-given, fully meted out day of life is the main point. If there the meaning be: I must work with speed, for My day draweth near its close—there is but little time remaining—the twelve hours will soon be over; so here the signification is: I can still work without peril of death,—I can still make the journey thither,—My twelve hours are not yet at an end. The determination of the day to twelve hours has led Grotius and others to this explanation: Are there not only twelve hours—contrary to the sense of the figure, which portions out the one day into twelve assured sections. Lyra and Luther have discerned in the twelve hours the image of the changing moods of men: “the hearts of the Jews are fickle.” This is at all events an import of minor weight and prominency. Entirely arbitrary and gratuitous is the interpretation of Augustine; according to him, the twelve hours are the twelve apostles, who must follow the Lord as the hours follow the sun.
But now arises the question, whether, by the twelve hours, Jesus intended to express simply His present safety from mortal peril, or whether He would intimate at the same time that, in the future, death was inevitably prepared for Him; that a time of suffering and death was impending, when He must desist from active work. That we are to understand Him as having reference to both facts, the subsequent sentence proves: but if any man walk in the night, etc. The one consideration does not exclude the other; on the contrary they form together a higher unity. To walk and to work as long as the assured day of life lasts, but after that, to rest, and not by wilful working in the night of suffering and death, to plunge into danger and ruin,—such is the teaching of the outward life-regimen, prescribed to us in the distinction of day and night.
But again, the expression, and particularly the “stumbling in the night” points to a still higher antithesis: as the day was made to symbolize the day of life, so the day of life becomes the symbol of duty and of heavenly light in divinely appointed duty; and the evening and night of life are an image of the darkness outside of duty. This was especially applicable to the disciples. Now, when the day of life was still assured to them, they would willingly have abstained from walking and working; but when the Saviour’s night of suffering arrived, then they desired to walk and to act. Judas walked, stumbled, and fell into bottomless perdition; Peter walked, and fell after the most perilous fashion. I walk in the day, and as long as the day lasts, in perfect security; take care that ye do not now desire prematurely to rest, and then, at an unseasonable time, when the night has come, to walk.
Meyer admits only the former apprehension: “The working time appointed Me by God has not yet passed away; so long as this lasts, no man can prevail against Me; but when it has expired, I shall fall into the hands of My enemies, just as he who walks at night stumbles, because he is destitute of light” (and thus Apollinaris, Jansen [ Maldonatus, Corn. a Lapide ] and others). Tholuck apprehends in this the symbol of working as predominant over that of walking, with reference to the περιπατεῖν, which undoubtedly implies such an idea, because now the work of Jesus was a walking to Bethany; nevertheless, this is not the prevailing view; to warrant its adoption as such, another verb would be requisite. With the primary figure of the day of life, Lücke, after Melanchthon, has rightly connected the figure of the day of duty. Luthardt: “He who moves within the bounds of duty, does not stumble, makes no false steps, for the light of the world, i.e. the will of God, enlightens him; but he who walks, i.e. is active, outside of the limits of his vocation, will err in what he does, since not the will of God, but his own pleasure is his guide.” And still further, beyond even this second figure, has the spiritual interpretation of this saying been carried out. Chrysostom and others: The walking by day is that blameless conduct wherein one has nought to fear; Erasmus and others: It is fellowship with Christ; De Wette: It is a pure, guiltless, clear course of action;—the twelve hours being the ways and means of activity, the night, deficiency in wisdom and integrity. All these considerations, however, are included in a just perception of the antithesis of day and night.
The great law of physical life: the day-time for walking and working, the night-time for resting and sleeping, is a symbol of the law of moral life: during the whole day of life to fulfil with joyous and fearless activity the whole duty, and then, in the night of suffering and death, to submit calmly to God’s providence, and rest and cease from labor in Him. But this law of moral life is conditioned by that of religious life: to work in the day of the light of God and Christ; not in the night of self-will, whereby we should prepare for ourselves a fall into perdition. And thus this thought also is indicated: that a false prolongation of life by evasion of duty is the immediate preparation for a night, in which one must of necessity stumble and fall; while a resigned and passive demeanor in the divinely appointed night of death becomes a walking in a loftier sense, a going to the Father (Leben Jesu, ΙΙ. 2, p. 1118). Still this is but the result of the ethical idea, not the immediate sense of the figure itself.
Twelve, brought forward with emphasis, signifying, objectively, life full-measured, rich, with its manifold appointments; subjectively, Christ’s joyful assurance of life.
If any man walk.—The living man a walker and worker, a pilgrim and workman of God.—In the day.—The present day a symbol of the day of life, which, together with its day’s task, is appointed to man.—He stumbleth not.—As men run against objects at night. He does not stumble upon an occasion of his death.—For he seeth.—The light shines upon him so that he avoids the stumbling blocks that obstruct his road even in the day-time. Thus, in a moral sense, man sees in the light of his calling the dangers which he can and should avoid, without being obliged to abandon his vocation.
But if any man walk in the night.—The exceptions to the law of physical life (nocturnal working and walking) do not here come under consideration. Such is the rule in the physical life:—a rule which obtains in a still greater degree in the moral life. A self-seeking excitement—tumultuous living—of life prepares for itself death in the twilight of suffering, and destruction in the night of death. As Jesus has no desire to walk=work in the night, this remark is intended especially for the disciples.—He stumbleth.—See the account of the disciples in the history of the Passion.—The light is not in him.—No day-light from heaven, no light in the eyes; this holds good both in a physical and in a symbolical sense. The weakening of the antithesis of day and night to tempus opportunum and inopportunum (Morus, Paulus, etc.) is not incorrect but altogether insufficient.
John 11:11. And after this.—After the tranquilizing words a pause.
Our friend Lazarus.—Thus Christ was acquainted with his sickness, with the hour of his death and the nature of it, by virtue of His divine-human consciousness. Our friend. An expression of hearty love and fellowship, in which they also do and should share. [Bengel notices the kind condescenion with which our Lord shares His friendship with the disciples. Only twice more does Christ call men by the endearing name of friends, viz., the apostles, John 15:14-15; Luke 12:4. Figuratively John the Baptist called himself a friend of Christ (John 3:29). Abraham is called a “friend of God” (James 2:23; comp. 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8), but more in the passive sense: the favorite of God.—P. S.]
Hath fallen asleep.—This expression is not selected simply in view of the approaching awakening. Comp. Mat 9:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13. It is the kinship of sleep and physical death, that Christ here proclaims. Sleep is the periodical death on earth; death is the final sleep for earth in the period of its present existence;—sleep is the concentration of outward life to the interior, in the nocturnal consciousness and vegetation of the body; death is the concentration and internalization of life in the transit of the soul to another state of existence.—But I go.—The confidence of the Lord in His mission.
[Bengel: “Death, in the language of heaven, is the sleep of the pious, but the disciples did not here understand His language. The freedom of the divine language is incomparable; but men’s dullness often degrades Scripture to our sadder mode of speaking. Comp. Matthew 16:11.” The scriptural designation of death as a sleep from which the pious awakes in the glorious morning of eternity (Matthew 9:24; Matthew 27:52; Acts 7:59; Acts 13:36; 1Co 15:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; Revelation 14:13), furnishes no basis for the false doctrine of the sleep or unconscious condition of the soul from death till resurrection (psychopannychia), against which Calvin wrote his first theological treatise. The life union of the believer with Christ can not be suspended or lost in the darkness of unconsciousness; on the contrary, it passes through death to a higher degree of clearness and joy, being translated into the immediate presence of the Lord, although it does not attain to its perfect maturity till the time of the general resurrection, when the whole body of Christ, and consequently every member of it, will be fully grown.—P. S.]
John 11:12. He shall be restored (be saved).—i.e. recover by means of sleep as a health-bringing crisis. Their misapprehension of the Lord’s words and their application of them to bodily sleep have a psychological connection with their repugnance to the journey to Bethany. According to Bengel and Luthardt, they thought that the sleep had been produced by the agency of Jesus while yet absent (to which the πορεύομαι is considered to refer); according to Ebrard, that a cure had already been effected by the same agency (after John 11:4). The text affords no ground for either assumption.—Of the rest of the sleep.—Of the rest of dream-life; i.e., of real sleep in antithesis to the sleep of death.
John 11:14. Plainly: Lazarus is dead.—Παῥῥησίᾳ, here, without circumlocution, John 11:10; John 11:24.
John 11:15. I am glad for your sakes.—He is glad that He was not there. This does not mean, glad that He was not there to see Lazarus die, because his death might have raised doubts in the minds of the disciples (Paulus; against this construction Bengel remarks, that none ever died in presence of the Prince of Life),—but glad because now the greater miracle of a raising of the dead should take the place of a healing of the sick. He rejoices—not at his death—but in anticipation of the sign from God.—That ye may believe.—[The subjective intent with regard to the disciples themselves; the objective intent being the glory of God, John 11:4.—P. S.] With reference to their still weak faith, and to the trials of faith which they are about to encounter. Meyer: “Every new step of faith is in measure a new believing.” Comp. John 2:11.—But let us depart.—The ἀλλά terminates the conversation in order to the departure, as John 14:31.
John 11:16. Then said Thomas.—תְֹּאם תֹּאמָא [Aramaic] corresponding to the Greek Δίδυμος [Didymus], twin.16 In the Gospels (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15) he is mentioned in connection with Matthew, in the Acts (1:13) with Philip. He was probably a Galilean, as he is mentioned John 21:2 together with the Galilean fisher-apostles. Tradition has made him a veritable twin and bestowed the name of Lysia on his sister. In yet another relation he was pronounced a twin. According to Eusebius, H. E. Ι. 13, 5, he was called Judas; he is also designated in the Acta Thomæ, and has doubtless in this way been confounded with Judas, “the brother of Jesus.” Tradition assigns Antioch as his birth-place, states that as an apostle he preached Christianity among the Parthians and that he was buried at Edessa. According to later authority (as early, however, as Gregory of Nazianzen) he made an apostolic journey to India and there, after the latest tradition, suffered martyrdom. Apocryphal literature has appended his name to an Evangelium Thomæ and the Acta Thomæ.
His characteristics are vividly portrayed in the sayings preserved by St. John; thus here John 11:16; John 14:5; John 20:24 (21:2). In ecclesiastical tradition he is one-sidedly designated as skeptical, from his conduct in the moment of temptation. For various delineations of his character see the Art. Thomas in Winer. According to Winer, he had a bias towards the visible and comprehensible; he was, above all things, desirous of seeing clearly and was then rashly, even violently, decided. According to Tholuck, he united a mind inclining to doubt and despondency with intense acuteness of sensibility. From the passages cited it would appear that his doubting was the result of profound earnestness approaching to melancholy, and allied to a yearning after truth; hence, he became the critical spirit of the circle of apostles;—and hence, too, he displays the utmost decision in living in conformity to his convictions (see Leben Jesu, ΙΙ. 2, p. 697; Com. on Matthew, p. 183).
John 11:16. Let us also depart that we may die with Him.—With reference to Jesus [Meyer, Alford], not to Lazarus (Ewald, following Grotius). Thomas foresees, as he believes, that Jesus is going to His death and is ready to die with Him. Weak faith, strong love; an unequal relationship which is thus explained: a vigorous germ of faith, reflected in his not yet purified and glorified love to Jesus; a weak, dull development of faith, held in check by the carefulness of his hitherto empirical view of the world.
[It is the language of mingled melancholy, resignation and courage, controlled by love to Christ. It is in full accordance with the character of Thomas as it appears on other occasions, John 14:5; John 20:5 ff. He is ever inclined to take the dark view, but deeply attached to his Lord, and ready to die with and for Him. He represents the honest, earnest and noble skeptics, who do not hold fast to the Invisible as if they saw Him, who require tangible evidence before they believe, but who submit to the evidence when presented, and exclaim before the risen Saviour: My Lord and my God!—P. S.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The raising of Lazarus, the death of the Lord. Christ as dying for the resurrection of the world.
2. The three dead-awakenings of Christ in their gradation: The child on its death-bed,—the youth on his bier,—the man in his grave; the awakening in the hushed circle of friends,—in presence of a funeral procession of acquaintances,—in the midst of the Jews.
3. How the opinion of Jesus concerning the sickness of Lazarus applies in a broader sense to every sickness, considered with reference to its final aim, and so in a peculiar sense to the sickness of the believer.
4. The love of the Lord to His friends is holy, and therefore manifoldly and inscrutably deep and mysterious in its manifestation, like the providence of God itself.
5. The delay and haste of Jesus.
6. Symbolism of day-life and night-life. The duty of the day is the day of the duty. This is applicable to the day of life as well as to the individual day.
7. Symbolism of sleep. Christ has changed death into sleep; but as the death of His people is sleep, so is the spiritual sleep of unbelievers death.
8. The noble and therefore open doubt of Thomas in antithesis to the wicked, secret and reserved doubting of Judas.
9. The mysterious rapport of spirit and life between the praying Christ in Peræa and the praying household in Bethany.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
[Literature: On the raising of Lazarus see the numerous and valuable notes of Dr. Mallet on John, John 11:12 in the “Bremer Post,” from the close of the year 1857 to the year 1859. Similarly John 11:0 Sermons on the eleventh chapter of St. John’s Gospel by Dr. Schroeder, Pastor at Elberfeld, 1853. As also the list of books in Heubner, p. 389. Historie von Lazaro, by Sutellius, Wittenberg, 1543; Joh. Arnd’s Lazarus redivivus, Jena 1620; Balthasar Muenter, Public Lectures on the discourses of Jesus, etc., ninth volume, 1793; Lilienthal, Predigten über die Auferweckung des Lazarus, 1764; Ewald, Lazarus, Berlin 1790; Herder, Homilies, No. 19; Seiler, Pastoral-Theologie, ΙΙ. p. 93–101; Hanstein, Erinnerungen an Jesu, vierte Fortsetzung; Wichelhaus, Weg zur Ruhe; Bourdaloue, Sermon, etc.; Massillion, Fournier, Bethanien, Berlin, 1837; Theremin, Predigten, ΙΙΙ. no. 8; W. Huelsemann, die Geschichte der Auferweckung des Lazarus, Leipzig, 1835. [Gumlich, in the Studien und Kritiken, 1862, pp. 65 ff., 248 ff.; Trench, Notes on the Miracles, pp. 312 ff. Sea also a large list of English sermons, lectures and practical treatises on John 11:0 in Darling’s Cyclopædia Bibliographica, vol. I., pp. 1115 ff.—P. S.]
The three sections from John 11:1-57 together, as a homiletical trilogy: 1. The journey of Jesus to Bethany to the grave of His dead friend, or the journey into peril of death, in order to the raising of the dead; 2. the miracle at Bethany, or the raising of the dead in the face of mortal enemies; 3. the message from Bethany, or the death-fate impending over the Lord in consequence of the message of the Prince of Life.—”`Now there was one sick,” or how the distress of His people draws the Lord unto them: 1. down from heaven into human misery; 2. over the Jordan into peril of death; 3. forever back from the rest of heaven into the conflict of earth; 4. in the future, from the throne of glory to the judgment-seat.
Our section, John 11:1-16. The pious household of the sick man.—The fellowship of a believing family: 1. a relationship of blood and spirit; 2. fellowship of suffering and triumph.—The imperishable glory and blessedness of the names of the just. How they shine eternally in the light of the love of Jesus.—“That the Son of God may be glorified thereby.” Or how Christ has always in the highest sense made a virtue of necessity: 1. Of oppression, deliverance; 2. of danger, a triumph; 3. of temptation, a victory; 4. of misery, redemption; 5. of death, a festival of resurrection.—Brothers and sisters after the flesh, as spiritually kindred in Scripture and history.—The message from Bethany: 1. How strong; 2. how tender.—Christ, the Master, over against His people; 1. They call and He tarries; 2. they dissuade and He goes.—Christ’s heavenly knowledge of the earthly circumstances of His people.—“Let us go again into Judea.” Or Christ returns in spite of His enemies.—The twelve hours of the day, or life-time and life’s duty in their indissoluble unity: 1. The certainty of life within the bounds of duty. The servant of God does not die until his work is performed. 2. The sacredness of duty within the bounds of life.—Day and night in relation to the life of duty; 1. Within, day; 2. without, night.—The order of the antithesis between day and night, an image of the antithesis between life-time and death. (Now—work, then—rest).—The inverters of this order, who pass their time in idleness now, shall then incur fearful pains.—Our friend Lazarus sleepeth. How this is applicable to every departed believer: our friend sleeps.—This also is true: the Awakener is already on the way.—The misunderstanding of the disciples.—“Let us go!” Or the same words in their two-fold meaning: 1. In the mouth of Christ; 2. in the mouth of Thomas.—The three expressions of doubt proceeding from Thomas and the victory of his faith. A. The expressions of doubt: 1. A doubt as to the victory of life; 2. a doubt as to the way to heaven (chap. 14); 3. a doubt as to the certainty of the resurrection (chap. 20). B. The victory of his faith. 1. Prepared by his ardent love to Jesus and to the brethren (chap. 11); 2. introduced by his longing desire for a higher disclosure (chap. 14); 3. decided by his joy at the manifestation of the Risen One (chap. 20.)
Starke: Majus: In distress and misery we should dispatch sighs and tears as our messengers to Christ, and remind Him of our covenant that we have made with Him.—Zeisius: Not to the physician of the body, as is the general custom, but to Christ, the omnipotent Physician of soul and body should the sick first of all resort. Psalms 133:1.—Cramer: We pray well when we ground our petitions on the love of Christ, that is, on His love to us, not on ours to Him.—Hedinger: To be sick and to be a dear child of God go well together.—When we pray, we must not limit the Lord in respect to time and method.—Quesnel: God’s manner of regarding sickness and prayer for the sick often differs materially from that of praying relatives and friends. He is concerned for His honor and the eternal salvation of the sufferer, Romans 8:28; Philippians 1:20.—Hedinger: Help is oftentimes delayed, only that deliverance may be all the more glorious:—Quesnel: God sometimes denies us a small favor, that He may show us a greater one.—There is no believer who is not at times forced to cry out: O Lord, how long! Psalms 13:0; Matthew 27:46.—Majus: Jesus does not forget His own, although it sometimes seems as if He did; before they are aware, He is with them.—When God calls a man to venture something, he must shun no danger.—They who seek to escape the cross are never at a loss for excuses.—Hedinger: Death a sleep, Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 57:2.—The ways of the Lord, which apparently militate against faith, must often serve to strengthen it.—Ibid.: It is well, if thou be ready to go with Christ unto death.
Braune: In no narrative is the Lord’s fulness of love more clearly and richly revealed, and nowhere is the heart of the Redeemer more fully unveiled to us.
John 11:4. Honor, therefore, the Christian, and ye honor God; the two things are inseparably connected.
John 11:14. Jesus rejoiced when men wept; He may likewise be angry, when men are glad.
Gerlach: The dead man was not a stranger to Him, like the young man of Nain and the daughter of Jairus (although it is a question, whether these were essentially strangers to Him), but he believed on Him.—In all such cases Jesus proceeds in precisely the same manner as divine Providence, which generally affords relief in the most wonderful ways only when the utmost need is reached. Thus, forsooth, dares no human helper act, who holds not the issues in his power.—When God carries the torch before us and bids us follow, we may courageously advance, even though menaced on all sides by death.
Gossner: The Church of Jesus resembles this house, where Jesus stopped. It has Marys, clinging with ardent devotion to the Lord; it has Marthas, active and fruitful in good works; it has Lazaruses, sick or even dead (better: it has suffering and dying members), but who are healed and raised up by the word of Jesus.—Love and a cross; man cannot make the two rhyme, but it is thus that God always rhymes. Heubner: We can distinguish a three fold love in Jesus: 1. Towards all men; 2. towards believers on Him; 3. towards individuals; a peculiar friendship for them, as here for this family, and for John.—Happy the household, the hearts of whose members love to Jesus unites.—One of the three was sick; the others suffer with him.—The sickness of loved ones is a means of strengthening and intensifying the bonds of love.—“Lazarus, by his weakness and death, assists in the accomplishment of a greater and more glorious work than if he had personally preached in all the world.” (Sutellius.)—Before God all the discord of suffering humanity is already melted into harmony.—Habet Dominus suas horas et moras.—As sleep is the withdrawal of life inwards, for the gathering of new strength, so likewise is death, etc.
Schleiermacher: But two houses are mentioned in which Jesus was peculiarly at home; one was the house of Peter (Matthew 8:14), when He began to dwell at Capernaum and as often as He abode there afterwards; the other is the house of Lazarus and his sisters at Bethany, in the vicinity of Jerusalem. (The third is doubtless the country-house of Gethsemane, the fourth the house in Jerusalem, where He kept the Passover; but a veil hangs over the respective families.)—We may be right in believing that He would not leave this region (Peræa) so suddenly, without saying farewell to those that believed on Him, leaving with them yet other sound words of doctrine and establishing more firmly their faith and love;—all this He must do before He could depart thence with a good conscience and tranquil heart.—From the raising of Lazarus they were to derive the hope that the promise, so frequently heard by them and so deeply graven on their hearts, should in like manner be fulfilled in the case of the Lord.
Schröder: The brother and sisters of Bethany; Lazarus, Martha, Mary. Was it not, perhaps, a step-ladder of spiritual life? Well, if we take Lazarus for the beginning, Martha may be our point of transit, but Mary ever our aim and end.
John 11:3-5. The love of the Lord a tabernacle of God among men. The outer court (John 11:3), the Holy Place (John 11:4), the Holy of Holies (John 11:5).
John 11:6-10. The way of Jesus: He acts in darkness, He walks in light.
John 11:11-13. The death of His friends a sleep. They fall asleep, they rest, they awake.
[Craven: From Augustine: John 11:4. This death , itself was not unto death, but to give occasion for a miracle; whereby men might be brought to believe in Christ, and so escape eternal death.
John 11:11-14. To our Lord, he was sleeping; to men, who could not raise him again, he was dead.—From Chrysostom: John 11:3. They sent, not went, partly—1. from their great faith in Him; 2. because their sorrow kept them at home.
John 11:5. We are instructed not to be sad if sickness falls upon good men, and friends of God.
John 11:9-10. The upright need fear no evil, the wicked only have cause for fear: Or, If any one seeth this world’s light, he is safe; much, more he who is with Me.—From Theophylact: John 11:15. I am glad for your sakes, for—1. had I been there I should have only cured a sick man; but 2. having been absent, I shall now raise a dead man.—From Brentius: John 11:3. The message is like all true prayer; it does not consist in much speaking and fine sentences.—From Lavater: John 11:6. Jesus proposed to help them in His own way, that is as God.—From M. Henry: John 11:2. Extraordinary acts of piety, will not only find acceptance with Christ, but will gain reputation in the church, Matthew 26:13.
John 11:3. His sisters sent unto Him; though God knows all our wants, He would know them from us, and is honored by our laying them before Him.—He whom Thou lovest—not, he who loveth Thee; our greatest encouragements in prayer are fetched from God Himself, and from His grace.—Note 1. there are some followers of Jesus for whom He hath a special kindness, John 13:23; John 2:0. it is no new thing for those whom Christ loves to be sick; 3. it is a great comfort (blessing) when we are sick, to have those about us who will pray for us; 4. we have great encouragement in our prayers for the sick, if we have reason to believe that they are such as Christ loves.
John 11:4. The afflictions of saints are designed for the glory of God; The Son of God is glorified thereby, as His wisdom, power and goodness are glorified—1. in supporting the sufferers; 2. in relieving them; (3. in ordering their sorrows for their welfare. E. R. C.)
John 11:6. It is not said, He loved them, and yet He lingered; but, He loved them and therefore He lingered: He lovingly delayed—1. that He might try the sisters, and through trial, bless; 2. that He might have opportunity for doing more for Lazarus (and his sisters) than for any others.—God hath gracious intentions even in seeming delays, Isaiah 49:13-14; Isaiah 54:7-8.
John 11:7. When Christ knew they were brought to the last extremity (John 11:14) He said—Let us go into Judea; Christ will arise in favor of His people when the set time is come, and the worst time is commonly the set time—man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.—Let us go; Christ never brings His people into any peril without accompanying them in it.
John 11:7-8. Christ’s gracious purpose of revisiting persecuting Judea, and the wonder of the disciples thereat; His ways in passing by offences, are above our ways.
John 11:9-10. Christ shows—1. the comfort and satisfaction of walking in the path of duty; 2. the pain and peril of not walking in this path.—Christ ever walked in the day; and so shall we, if we follow His steps.
John 11:11. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth: see here how Christ calls—1. a believer, friend; 2. a believer’s death, sleep.—Note 1. there is a covenant of friendship between Christ and believers; 2. those whom Christ owns as His friends, all His disciples should take as theirs [our friend); 3. death does not break the bond of friendship.—A Christian when he dies does but sleep; he—1. rests from the labors of the day past; 2. is being refreshed for the next morning.
John 11:13. How carefully the evangelist corrects the mistake of the disciples; those who speak in an unknown tongue, or use similitudes, should learn to explain themselves.
John 11:14. Christ takes cognizance of the death of His saints, for it is precious in His sight, Psalms 116:15.
John 11:15. Let us go unto him—not, unto his sisters; death, which separates from all other friends, cannot separate us from Christ.
John 11:16. Let us go that we may die with Him, i. e. with Christ (?); Thomas here—1. recognizes the danger of following Christ; 2. expresses a gracious readiness to die with Him; 3. manifests a zealous desire to bring his fellow disciples to a similar readiness.—From Burkitt: John 11:4. God is glorified when His Son is glorified.
John 11:9-10. Learn—1. Every man has his working time assigned him by God in this world; 2. whilst this time is unexpired he shall not be disabled (for the performance of the work given him.—E. R. C.). he shall not die; 3. every man has his night in which he must expect to stumble, i.e. to die.
John 11:15. To the intent ye may believe; the faith of the strongest—1. needs confirmation; 2. is capable of increase.—From Scott: John 11:1-5. Those families in which love and peace abound are highly favored; but they whom Jesus loves and by whom He is beloved, are most happy.
John 11:1. Jesus did not come to preserve His people from affliction; but—1. to save them from sin and the wrath to come; 2. to convert sorrows and temporal death into means of completing that salvation.
John 11:1-6. We cannot judge of Christ’s love to us by outward dispensations.—From Alford: John 11:4. The glorifying of the Son of God in Lazarus himself is subordinately implied; men are not mere tools, but temples, of God.—From Stier: John 11:4. The indefinite answer of Jesus—1. includes a consolation which dispels the fear of death as to the issue; but 2. leaves “this sickness” to itself, to run its appointed course.—The resurrection of Lazarus, the comprehensive concluding symbol of all the miracles exhibiting the glory of God in Christ.—From Barnes: John 11:3-5. Whom Thou lovest; this shows that—1. peculiar attachments are lawful to Christians; 2. those friendships are peculiarly lovely which are tempered and sweetened with the spirit of Christ.
John 11:11-14. The word sleep is applied to death—1.because of the resemblance between them; 2. to intimate that death will not be final.—From Williams: John 11:15. Instead of raising up Lazarus from sickness, as they whom He loved had desired, they are all by this miracle to be raised up, together with Lazarus, unto the life of Faith, which will never die.—From A Plain Commentary (Oxford): John 11:6. “To faithful suppliants there is no better sign than for their prayers not to be soon answered, for it is a pledge of greater good in store.”—From Ryle: It was meet that the victory of Bethany should closely precede the crucifixion at Calvary.
John 11:1. How much in life hinges upon little events, and especially on illness; sickness is one of God’s great ordinances.
John 11:2. The good deeds of all saints are recorded in God’s book of remembrance.
John 11:3. The humble and respectful confidence of the message.
John 11:5. Jesus loves all who have grace, though their temperaments differ—Marthas as well as Marys.
John 11:6. Christ knows best when to do anything for His people.—The pain of a few was permitted for the benefit of the whole Church.
John 11:8. How strange and unwise our Lord’s plans sometimes appear to His short-sighted people.
John 11:15. are not Jesus does not say, I am glad Lazarus is dead; but, l am glad I was not there: we may not rejoice in the death of Christians, but we may rejoice in the circumstances attending their deaths, and the glory redounding to Christ and the benefit accruing to saints from them.
John 11:16. The despondency of Thomas; a man may have notable weaknesses of Christian character, and yet be a disciple of Christ.—From Owen: John 11:10. Spiritual light is as necessary to the spiritual traveler, as the natural sun is to one who walks on the earth.]
John 11:12; John 11:12.—Lachmann αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί in accordance with Codd. D. K.; Tischendorf simply αὐτῷ in accordance with Cod. A. etc.; according to Meyer, the latter might he the original reading. [In ed. viii. Tischend. reads, with Cod. Sin.: εἶπον οὖν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί. (Cod. Sin. εἶπαν). So also Westcott and Hort. Alford brackets οἱ μαθηταί, but retains αὐτῷ.—P. S.]
John 11:12; John 11:12.—[Lange inserts the gloss: without our making a perilous journey thither.—P. S.]
John 11:13; John 11:13.—[Or “of the taking of rest in sleep,” or “of taking rest in sleep.”—P. S.]
[“I have been assured that he would say to his friends: If he could have convinced himself of the resurrection of Lazarus, he would have dashed to pieces his entire system [of pantheism] and embraced without repugnance the common faith of Christians.” This is sound reasoning. If Christ could raise the dead to life, it was an easy task for Him to heal the sick, and to command the powers of nature, and He must have been truly the Son of God. This miracle was a fulfilment of what He said concerning His person as the Fountain of life, and a prophecy of His resurrection. It contains, as then for the family of Lazarus, the disciples and friends of Jesus, so now and for all time, the most solid comfort, and effectually disperses the gloom and terror of the grave.—P. S.]
[According to tradition (Epiph. Hær. 66) Lazarus lived thirty years after his resurrection and died sixty years old. But the Gospels were probably written after the year 60. Epiphanius, Grotius, Herder, Olshausen, Bäumlein, Godet and Wordsworth agree with Lange in explaining the silence of the Synoptists from a prudential regard to the surviving family of Lazarus, but Meyer (ed. 5th, p. 439) and Alford (Proleg., p. 15) reject this supposition, because such concealment was alien from the spirit and character of the Evangelists, and because the Gospels and Epistles were at first not published to the world at large, but to believing communities. Meyer explains the omission from the plan of the Synoptists who confined themselves to the Galilean activity of Jesus till His solemn entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:0 and parallels), while John, omitting the Galilean miracles of the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the widow’s son from the dead, describes the resurrection miracle which took place in Judea.—P. S.]
[Cyril remarks that the resurrection of Lazarus furnishes the true explanation of the plaudits and hosannas of our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as described by the Synoptists.—P. S.]
[Stanley (Sinai and Pal. p. 144) agrees with this last derivation, but admits that even then the palm tree was probably rarely found on the high land in Palestine. The olive and fig now only remain. Arnold (art. Bethania in Herzog’s Encycl., II. p. 116) derives tho name from the Chaldee or Aramæan בֵּית עַנְיָא, domus miseri, House of the afflicted (comp. Buxt. Lex. Chald. col. 631 sq.). Origen and Theophylact call it οἶκος ὑπακοῆς, as if related to עָנָה, respondit, exaudivit, i.e., where the prayer of the needy is heard and answered.—P. S.]
With respect to the Bethany of the present day, see Notes on Matt., John 21:0; Art. B. in Winer [Smith, Kitto and others], the books of Eastern travel; the legends on Lazarus see in Thilo, Cod. Apocr., p. 711; Fabric. Cod. Apocr., III, p. 415. On the name of Lazarus see Com. on Luke 16:20 [p. 254, Am. Ed., also art. Lazarus in Smith’s Dict.—P. S.]
 [The Roman tradition (since Tertullian, De pudic. 11), contrary to its usual habit of multiplying scriptural personalities, identifies Mary of Bethany with Mary of Magdala and the unnamed sinful woman who anointed the Saviour’s feet (Luke 7:37 ff.), although Irenæus, Origen and Chrysostom clearly distinguish them. To account for the difference of locality, it was arbitrarily assumed that Mary of Bethany in Judea had a country-seat at Magdala in Galilee. But the anointing recorded by Luke (7), differs as to time, place and character from the anointing in Bethany (Matthew 26:0; Mark 14:0; John 12:0). The superstitious Pope Gregory I. gave his sanction to this hypothesis of the identity of the three Marys, so that it even passed into the service of the Roman Breviary for July 22d and several mediæval hymns, e.g., one de S. Maria Magdalena (in Daniel’s Thesaurus hymnol. tom. I. p. 221):
“Lauda, mater ecclesia,
Lauda Christi clementiam,
Qui septem purgat vitia
Per septiformem gratiam.
“Maria, soror Lazari,
Quæ tot commisit crimina,
Ab ipsa fauce tartari
Redit ad vitæ limina,” etc.
Comp. other hymns on Mary Magdalene in Mone, Lat. Hymnen des Mittelalters, vol. II. pp. 415–425. On all points of exegesis and criticism the Romish traditions are worth very little or nothing at all.—P. S.]
[Martha represents the active, practical, Mary the contemplative, passive, type of piety. They are related to each other as Peter and John among the apostles. Romish asceticism has perverted Mary into a nun and abused the eulogy of the Lord, Luke 10:42 (“Mary hath chosen the good part”) for an overestimate of monastic seclusion from the world and its daily duties.—P. S.]
[Alford: “It need hardly be remarked, with Olshausen and Trench, that the glorifying of the Son of God in Lazarus himself is subordinately implied. Men are not mere tools, but temples of God.” Comp. John 11:15, that ye may believe.—P. S.]
[Luthardt, Godet and Gumlich discover the same design in πάλιν. But it corresponds rather to the πάλιν πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου in John 10:40.—P. S.]
[νῦν with the imperfect ἐζήτουν refers to the recent past as being still present, 10:31. Kühner II. p. 385.—P. S.]
[Alford thinks that the twelve-hour division was probably borrowed from Babylon, and refutes the view of Townson and others, that John adopts the so-called Asiatic method of reckoning time: see on John 1:40; John 4:6.—P. S.]
[So also Gumlich and Godet.—P. S.]
[Hengstenberg fancies that Christ gave Thomas this name to designate his double nature and vacillation between unbelief and faith, and refers for this to Genesis 25:23 f.! Christ did not thus brand His disciples; the names He gave (to Peter and the sons of Zebedee) were names of honor.—P. S.]
B. The raising of Lazarus. The trial and victory of faith at the open grave. The heart of Jesus. The glory of the God of Israel and the glory of Jesus united in a glorious work, for a sign for the Jews from Jerusalem
17Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain [been] in the grave four days already.17 18Now Bethany was nigh unto [near] Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs 19off: And [But]18 many of the Jews came [had come, ἐληλύθεισαν] to Martha and Mary,19 to comfort them concerning their brother [the brother, π. τοῦ ].20 20Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him [when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet him]: but Mary sat still 21[omit still] in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.21 22But I know, that even now [And even now I know that]22 whatsoever thou wilt [mayest] ask of God, God will give it 23thee [will give to thee]. Jesus saith to her, Thy brother shall [will] rise again. 24Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall [will] rise again in the resurrection 25[of all] at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead [should die], yet shall he [he will] 26live: And whosoever [every one that] liveth and believeth in me shall never die 27[lit: will not die for ever, οὐ μὴ ]. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe [have believed, become a believer]23 that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come [who cometh] into the world. 28And when she had so said [having said this] she went her way [away] and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come [is here, πάρεστι], and calleth for (omit for] thee. 29As soon as she heard that [it], she arose quickly, and came24 unto him. 30Now Jesus was [had] not yet come into the town, but was [still] in that 31[the] place where Martha [had] met him. The Jews then [therefore] which [who] were with her in the house, and comforted [were comforting, παραμυθούμενοι] her, when they saw Mary, that she [saw that Mary] rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave [thinking25 that she was going to the tomb] to weep there. 32Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him [Mary therefore, when she came … seeing him, or, as soon as she saw him], she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died [comp. John 11:21-22]. 33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which [who] came with her, he groaned [ἐνεβριμήσατο, was deeply and indignantly moved, stirred up26] in the [his] spirit, and was troubled [troubled himself, ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν], 34And said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see.
36, 37Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And [But] some of them said, Could not this man, which [he who] opened the eyes of the blind [man, τοῦ τυφλοῦ, 38see chap. 9] have caused that even this man should not have died [die]? Jesus therefore again groaning in [deeply moved within] himself cometh to the grave 39[tomb]. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it [against it]. Jesus. said [saith] Take ye [omit ye] away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead,27 saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh:28 for he hath been dead four days 40[he hath his four days]. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not [Did I not say] unto thee, that, if thou wouldest [omit wouldest] believe, thou shouldest [shall] see the glory of God?
41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid [omit from the place where the dead was laid].29 And Jesus lifted up his [the] eyes [to heaven, 42or upward, ἄνω] and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And [Yet] I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people [for the sake of the multitude] which stand by [around] I said it, that they may [might] believe that thou hast sent [didst send] me. 43And when he thus had [had thus] spoken, he cried [out] with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44And he that was dead [the dead man] came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
John 11:17. Four days already.—Jesus comes into the vicinity of the place and learns that Lazarus has already been buried four days. The journey from Peræa to Bethany is estimated at ten hours,—a day’s. journey. One day, therefore, is consumed by His journey, two days by His stay in Peræa after the receipt of the message, and still another day by the journey of the messenger. Hence it results that Lazarus, who, in conformity to the Jewish custom, was buried on the day of his death, died shortly after the departure of the messenger, or while he was preparing to depart. The first and last days enter into the computation as parts of days. And so, when Lazarus died, his sisters must have known, with perfect certainty, that their messenger had not yet reached the Lord, or, at all events, that Jesus could not so soon be with them. They could not, therefore, with the feeling common to humanity, attribute the death of Lazarus to any delay on the part of Jesus; on the contrary, it is far more probable that they reproached themselves with delay in despatching the messenger. But this very trait, like their timid message, finds its explanation in the condition of affairs; they were well aware of the peril involved in His coming. Be it also observed that plain-spoken Martha says: “If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died,”—and not: “if Thou hadst come sooner.”
John 11:18. About fifteen furlongs (stadia) off [ὡς ].—A stadium (ατάδιος and in the classics also στάδιον) a distance of 125 paces. The fifteen stadia about three-quarters of an hour [about two miles]. Ancient construction (Tholuck): Trajection of the preposition ἀπό, which relates to Jerusalem. In opposition to this, Winer, [p. 518]: The ἀπό designates the locality beyond the fifteen stadia, and is to be considered as referring to the stadia. The latter construction seems far-fetched.30 The short distance is mentioned in order to account for the presence in Bethany of so many Jews from Jerusalem. The use of the preterite (Bethany was) is to be explained by its connection with the historical narrative.
John 11:19. Many of the Jews,—i.e. not necessarily members of the Sanhedrin (John 11:46), but people of Pharisaic or Judaistic views. Possibly they wished to regain this family in the absence of Jesus, whose friendship for them may have been known. However, many of the kindred of the family may have been among these Jews and we have no grounds for representing all who came to condole with them as miserable comforters.
To Martha and Mary. Πρὸς τὰς περί M. κ. M. Properly, to the two sisters, with the persons about them. According to later Greek usage it might be indicative simply of the two sisters. “But the New Testament contains no instance of its use in this sense and there is here an especial decorum in the expression, since those who came to them were men. It reveals, moreover, an establishment of the better class.” (Meyer).31 But the more obvious and definite allusion is, probably, to the company of mourners and wailing women.
To comfort them.—The conventional condolences and consolations lasted seven days, according to 1 Samuel 31:13; 1 Chronicles 10:12; Maimonides, De luctu, cap. xiii.; Lightfoot [pp. 107 sqq.], and others.
John 11:20. Then Martha, when she heard, etc.—She appears as mistress of the house and receives the message. She goes without delay to meet the Lord and does not first communicate the sews to Mary; John 11:28 also leads us to suppose that such was the case (Meyer in opposition to Tholuck).—But Mary sat in the (interior of the) house; “because, according to Geier, De luctu Hebr. [pp. 210 sqq.] and others, it was the custom to be seated in receiving condolences,” or “sitting was a part of the mourning rite with the Greeks and Hebrews.” But certainly not for this reason alone. The different conduct of the two sisters in our Gospel is in perfect accordance with the characters in Luke 10:38-42. [This agreement between two Gospels so widely different is no small proof of the historical character of the two sisters. Both loved our Lord, but Martha was more active, practical, demonstrative; Mary contemplative, pensive and quiet, but moved in the deep. Martha as soon as she hears of the Lord’s approach, hastens to Him. Mary does the same afterwards (John 11:29), but speaks less and feels more. We have a precise analogy in the difference between Peter and John.—P. S.]
John 11:21. Lord, if Thou hadst been here [εἰἦςὦδε, not the language of reproach, but of regret].—Meyer translates: If Thou wert here,—not abiding in distant Peræa. That would mean: if this were Thy constant place of abode. This would convey an excellent sense if Bethany had ever bean the permanent dwelling-place of Christ; this, however, was not the case.—My brother would not have died.—Strongly expressed: ἐτεθνήκει. [On the different readings see Text. Note 5.—P. S.]
John 11:22. And even now [καὶ νῦν without ἀλλά] I know that etc.—She still retains this assurance. She gives strong expression to her confidence: 1. Whatever Thou mayest ask God, 2. God will give it to Thee—in the original, the“give” [δώσει σοι] takes precedence of the rest—; 3. the name of God twice mentioned. Certainly an indirect expression of the boldest hope, to which she dares not verbally give utterance—a hope, namely, of the raising of the dead man. The sisters at Bethany were acquainted with the raising of the daughter of Jairus and of the youth at Nain. Martha also remembered the promise (John 11:4) contained in the message of Jesus (Tholuck, Meyer). Hence not simply: if Thou wilt implore consolation (Rosenmüller), or: that Lazarus may not be cast away (Euthymius), or only an assurance: nevertheless, I consider Thee a favorite of God (Paulus). We must not, however, convert this indefinite and sifting expression into a confident expectation of the raising of the dead man,—as results also from the words: whatever Thou mayest ask.
[This is the only place where αἰτεῖσθαι is used of Jesus as praying to God, instead of ἐρωτᾶν, παρακαλεῖν, προσεύχεσθαι, δει̇σθαι, comp. Luke 22:32; John 14:16; John 16:26; John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20. Bengel calls αἰτεῖσθαι, verbum minus dignum; it is certainly more human and implies a state of dependence and need. It is, however, as Meyer remarks, in keeping with the deep excitement of Martha and her as yet imperfect knowledge of the superhuman relation of Christ to the Father.—P. S.]
John 11:23. Thy brother will rise again.—A grand promise, though corresponding with the indefinite hope in being indefinitely worded; not: I will now raise him up. She might understand Him as referring to the general future resurrection. And besides, specific faith in the raising of the dead must issue from a general faith in their resurrection. It was an ambiguous expression, designed for the trial and development of her faith.32
John 11:24. I know that he will rise again, etc.—Her meaning is obvious: I acquiesce in that, but I hope for something more. Her words are expressive not merely of a sad resignation, but of an indirect query—she is feeling her way (De Wette).
John 11:25-26. I am the resurrection.—[This is evidently the central idea of this chapter: Christ the Resurrection of the dead, and the Life of the living. The following miracle is the practical proof of what He is in His own person and a pledge of what He will do on the last day. To Himself (ἐγώ), therefore, He first directs the weak faith of Martha; from the future resurrection and the dead brother she was to look to the present (εἰμί), ever-living and life-giving Saviour. The general resurrection of the dead is only a manifestation of the moral power of the person that stood before her. What sublimity and what comfort in this testimony of Christ concerning Himself! Who can measure the effect which it produces from day to day in countless chambers of mourning and before open graves all over the Christian world!—Resurrection is put first, in opposition to the present power of death which is to be overcome; Resurrection is Life itself in conflict with, and victory over, death, it is the Death of death, the triumph over decay and dissolution swallowing up mortality in life. (Luther has forcibly described the marvellous duel between Life and Death on the cross, in an Easter hymn, where the passage occurs: “Wie ein Tod den andern frass; Ein Spott aus dem Tod ist worden.”) Life comprehends spiritual as well as physical life, life eternal of body and soul. Christ is the Victor of death and the grave, because He is the Prince of life in this absolute sense. In the words following the first clause is an explanation and application of the term Resurrection, the second of the term Life. I am the Resurrection: he that believeth in Me, though he have died, will live (will be raised up again). I am the Life: whoever liveth and believeth in Me will never die (will live forever in unbroken life-union with Me, the Prince of life).—P. S.]
I [and no other], i.e., the future resurrection is not an impersonal fate that is to take place at some future time, but a personal effect proceeding from Me who am present with you. It is even now present and active in Me.—And the life.—Life in the absolute sense, in its power to awaken spirit and body. Hence, as well the principle of resurrection (Hunnius, Luthardt), as its essence and result (Meyer). As the vital principle of the resurrection, He exerts a purely quickening influence, which branches into two forms: a. He who believes on Him, if he have died [ἀποθάνῃ, past], shall live, shall continue to live, shall rise again; b. he who is still living, who through belief on Him becomes truly alive, shall never die, i.e. shall not become a prey to death and the sense of mortality.33 The life of Christ is the author of the resurrection in a two-fold sense; it is the root of the waking of the physically dead, because it is the power which effects the moral awakening,—the power which rouses into spiritual life. They that live in Him shall not die; and the dead are not dead, but live again. In both cases, undoubtedly, the saying has reference to the same believer; the two propositions do not resolve themselves, as ancient commentators declare, into the parallel: “for dead believers I am the resurrection, for living ones the remedium mortis.” It is true, however, that the two propositions indicate, after Euthymius and others, the two-fold point of view; whether one be already dead (Lazarus) or still living (Martha, Mary). In both cases, the spirituo-physical or whole life-agency of Christ is meant. The dead rise spiritually and corporeally to the new life of the resurrection. The living are not swallowed up in the death of the world either spiritually or bodily (inasmuch as they transport with them the germ or the concrete body of the resurrection).
Therefore we are not to attach a merely spiritual meaning to the two propositions, just because Jesus is speaking of faith,—as, for instance: he that believeth on Me shall rise again spiritually, and he that hath received life shall retain it for ever; which would, implicite, involve the idea of the resurrection (Calvin). Neither is the first sentence to be referred to the resurrection of the body and the second to that of the spirit (Lampe, Olshausen, Stier). Comp. John 6:51; Joh 8:56.34
Believest thou this?—Christ had said: Every one that liveth and believeth, and had thus laid down a general rule. Now comes the application of it to her. If she believes this, she believes on Him.
John 11:27. I have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God.—It is apparent that Martha does not thoroughly comprehend the grand thoughts in the words of the Lord; she, however, takes for granted that He is designating Himself as the Raiser of believers from the dead, and perceives that this is involved in a belief on the Messiah. She therefore utters a joyful confession of her faith in Him,—Ἐγὼ πεπίστευκα, with emphasis. She does not believe this now for the first time; she has already become a believer, being convinced a. that He is the Christ, b. as the Christ the Son of God; she believes in the full sense of the term, not simply in accordance with the theocratic idea of belief (Meyer), although she has not yet attained to a developed Johannean knowledge; c. that cometh [ὁ ἐρχόμενος] into the world (Present), that is: Who is even now continually engaged in the unfolding of His Messianic glory and work. Observe the truthfulness of Martha, which will not permit her to repeat Christ’s expressions word for word, but moulds her confession into conformity with the measure of her faith. And yet this is enough. Confessions differing in outward form or expression may agree internally and in substance.
John 11:28. And when she had so said, she went away.—Martha knows enough for the moment. With womanly instinct (such as especially belongs to her practical nature) she does not enter upon a deeper investigation of the great thoughts of Jesus; sufficient for her is the practical thought, that He meets her boldest hopes with the assurance that the resurrection is not merely a distant resurrection-time, but rather a present resurrection power resident in His person.
And called Mary, her sister, secretly.35—On account of the Jews who were present. It appears that Mary was still sitting in the interior of the house, surrounded by the Jews. Therefore Martha called her secretly,—λαθρά, a word, no doubt, indicative of a whisper: therefore she simply said: the Master is here—which Mary well understood; and therefore: He calleth thee. She was to go out to Him. The prudence of Jesus, who remained standing outside, is met by the prudence of Martha; common fear, however, is not to be attributed to either. He must remove His disciples from the influence of the Jews; and they, by going out to Him, must make confession of their faith in Him. It was, moreover, the rule of the Lord to avoid making a parade of His miracles, though He did, on this occasion, finally welcome the eventual notice of the Jews. Remarkable consonance of human prudence and divine assurance. We must not suppose that Martha simply gathered the mandate: He calleth thee, from the expectations that Jesus excited in her own breast (Chrysostom, Tholuck [Brückner, Stier]); she tells of a behest of Jesus (Lücke, Meyer).36
John 11:29. As soon as she heard that.—Mary, as the more important personality, now steps into the fore-ground, although Martha, as we see from John 11:39, again makes one of the group.
John 11:30. Now Jesus was not yet, etc.—See note to John 11:28. Jesus might have been assured from the circumstances of the case, that there were Jews in the house of mourning; it was needless for Martha to apprise Him (after Meyer) of the fact.
John 11:31. The Jews… followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there.—It was a custom much practised among the Jews and Greeks, to sit down and mourn by the graves of their dead (Wetstein, on this passage; Geier, De luctu Hebr.). They therefore went with her, doubtless regarding the scene of mourning which they expected to witness, as a ceremony that had to be performed in compliance with Oriental custom. Even in these points the false way of the ancient world, which gratified its feelings by a common lamentation over the dead, stands contrasted with the truth of life, which demands, solitude for its grief. Of course the too great isolation of mourners is to be guarded against as much as the other extreme.
John 11:32. Mary… fell down at His feet.—The first stroke of character which distinguishes her from Martha. The second is, that she says nothing further than: Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. While Martha added to these words: and even now I know, etc. (John 11:22), Mary bursts into tears. Martha may at first strike us as the one who possesses the greater joy in believing, but Mary is the more human and warm in her feelings, and there is more of devotion in the expression of her faith. Her kneeling posture and her tears are more eloquent than the words of Martha. The saying that both utter, constitutes a precious trait from life. They made this remark to each other over and over again at the death -bed of Lazarus: if He were here, etc. Bengel: “Ex quo colligi potest, hunc earum fuisse sermonem ante fratris obitum: utinam adesset Dominus Jesus!”
John 11:33. He was vehemently (indignantly, angrily) affected (stirred up) in (his) spirit and troubled himself [ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι καὶ ἐτάραξεν ἐαυτόν.—Comp. John 11:38 ἐμβριμώμενος ἐν ἑαυτῷ, but also the weeping between, ἐδάκρυσεν, John 11:35. Note first of all the perfect participation of the Lord in our natural feelings and His sympathy with our sorrows (Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:15), in opposition to the stoic apathy, yet at the same time His perfect control over passion and grief and its violent outbreak.—P. S.]—He was deeply perturbed inspirit. The ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι (see Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5) makes the passage one of exceeding difficulty. The affection here depicted is explained in three ways: 1. as anger, 2. as grief, 3. as a general affection of the mind, in which there is a combination of different emotions.37
1. Of anger. “βριμάομαι with all its compounds has in the classics as well as in the fathers of the Church (and the Byzantines) the signification: to snort (of horses), to mutter (of Hecate), to express anger, to threaten angrily.”38 But again, anger is variously understood:
a. He was angry, in respect of His divine nature, with His human spirit (πνεῦμα) in its passionate emotion (πάθος). So Origen, Chrysostom [Cyril, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigab.], recently Merz [Alford]. This conception is doubly untenable: in the first place, it condemns the human sentiment of grief; and secondly, it creates a conflict in the consciousness of the Lord. [It is also inconsistent with the act of weeping, which follows, John 11:35, and with the parallel expression ἐν ἑαυτῷ—in Himself, John 11:38, which proves that τῷ πνεύματι cannot be the object, but must be the sphere of the emotion=in His spirit.—P. S.]39 Hilgenfeld and others fall upon the same interpretation, with a different conception of it, in imputing a gnostic Christology to this Gospel.
b. He was angry at the power of sin and death (Augustine, Erasmus and others, Luthardt).40 Not to be excluded, but too abstract by itself.
c. At the unbelief of the Jews [Erasmus, Scholten, Wordsworth], and also the sisters (Theodor of Mopsueste, Lampe [Kuinoel],Wichelhaus]). But the sisters were not unbelieving.
d. That He was unable to avert the death of Lazarus (De Wette). This would be impious and is contrary to the connection.
e. At the misconception of His enemies and the want of comprehension displayed by His friends (Brückner). There was, at the moment, no special occasion for such a feeling.
f. At the mingling of the hypocritical tears [crocodile tears] of the Jews with the true tears of Mary (Meyer). Against this, comp. John 11:45 [“Many of the Jews… believed in Him”].41
g. This description of anger has, in the interest of negative criticism, been caricatured by Strauss and others.
2. Of grief. In the passages, Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43, anger is out of the question. Tholuck: “This verb is equally comprehensive with the corresponding German ‘grimmen,’ i.e. originally, an inward convulsive emotion of anger, grief, etc. Hence Luther renders: Er ergrimmete, which he himself explains by σπλαγχνίζεται.”42 Yet Tholuck observes that the signification of grief is not supported by usage, but only by analogy.43 In favor of this view are—Nonnus, Buzer, Grotius and others, Lücke.44 Tholuck, in the early editions of his Commentary, and Ewald: an emotion of great strength, analogous to the στενάζειν τῷ πνεύματι of Jesus, Mark 7:34 (comp. Mark 8:12).45
3. A general affection of the spirit, in which different sentiments combine and alternate. 46This construction is supported: (1) by the choice of the expression, since the Evangelists are familiar with other terms for the definite emotion either of anger or of grief; (2) by the addition: τῷ πνεύματι. The nature of the spirit renders it impossible for any single psychical emotion to rule within it, the spirit is the all-embracing unity of the many-parted life of the soul.47 (3) By the psychological experience, that when the soul is in a state of intense excitement, it is seized at once by the most diverse emotions (see the quotation from Göthe’s Iphigenie: “Es wälzet sich ein Rad von Freud’ und Schmerz durch meine Seele”—“A wheel of joy and grief revolveth through my soul.”—Leben Jesu, p. 1125). (4) By the situation. The weeping of Mary could excite nought but the most heart-felt sympathy. But the tears of the better sort among the Jews were mingled with the tears of the unbelieving. A scene of human lamentation over death presented itself—sympathy in view of the power of death was aroused. Jesus had not to bar out this sympathy; still it was necessary that He should stand on His guard against it—and rouse Himself in indignation against it. Thus His emotion was converted into an ecstatic anticipation of victory. I had at first chosen the expression: Er schütterte sich—He convulsed—agitated Himself. It is significant of violent agitation. But the one upon which I finally settled seems preferable: Er regte sich tief auf, He stirred Himself up from the deep. He moved Himself in the spirit to such a degree that the disciples perceived His agitation in His bodily appearance,—hence: He convulsed Himself; He billowed up,—He surged up. A divine storm of the spirit [ein Gottesge witter des Geistes] passed through His breast, under which His human nature quaked. The fremere invariably arises out of the depths.
[It is not inconsistent with this interpretation of Dr. Lange, if we emphasize sin and death as the chief object of Christ’s mingled emotion and commotion. In this heart-rending scene of mourning: the grave of the departed friend, the broken hearts of the beloved sisters, and the tears of their sympathizers, Jesus saw a miniature photograph of the world of human suffering caused by the terrible curse of sin; all the graves and all the mourners passed in endless procession before His vision; He felt the combined misery and woe of the human family (“der Menschheit ganzer Jammer fasste Ihn an”); He was moved at once with holy indignation at sin which caused all this dreadful desolation, and with tender sympathy for the sufferers, which latter feeling found vent in tears.—And troubled (shook) himself, ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν. This is not quite the same with the passive form ἐταράχθη τῷ πνεύματι, which is used on a similar occasion, John 13:21, but it expresses the external manifestation of the inward commotion by a voluntary act. Hengstenberg (II. 261): “Jesus excites Himself for the energetic conflict with Death, the evil enemy of mankind.” Comp. Meyer, Luthardt, Godet, in loc. Augustine, Bengel and Wordsworth derive from the expression the inference that Christ’s affections were not passions, but voluntary emotions (voluntariæ commotiones), which He had entirely in His power, and that the emotion here spoken of was therefore orderly, rational, full of dignity and directed to proper ends.—P. S.]
John 11:34. Where have ye laid him?—Manifestly, the impulse to work the miracle is completed by what has been going on in His inner life.—Come and see.—The answerers—Martha and Mary.
John 11:35. Jesus wept [Ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησ.].—Two little words: a whole verse, of infinite value. Significant and pertinent verse-division. On the way to the grave, Jesus weeps. After He has troubled Himself in spirit and has made good His stand against all sympathy with Jewish lamentations for the dead, He is at liberty to give Himself up to His fellow-feeling with the sisters; the tear follows His passion, as a summer rain succeeds the thunder-storm. The objection, that Jesus could not weep if He had a real presentiment of the miracle that He was about to perform, carries with it a doubt as to the compatibility of the divine and the human nature; it is also contradicted by human experience itself.48 Not only the succession of feelings, but likewise the truth and disinterestedness of feeling, are explained by a fact, in accordance with which the deepest grief may invade the mind when it is occupied with the anticipation of joy, and vice versâ; nay, more;—these opposite emotions may even succeed each other with the rapidity of lightning, like a “wheel of fire” in swift revolution. “Chrysologus supposed that Jesus wept for joy; Isodorus Pelus., because the raising of Lazarus would summon him from repose back to the unrest of life (this was the decision even of the Concilium Toletanum) etc. All these explanations of the fathers of the Church are utterly unnatural.” Heubner.
[This sentence is the shortest, and yet one of the most significant verses in the Bible. It stands by itself unconnected by any particle with what precedes or what follows. It describes what was seen, and intimates what was felt. Jesus knew that He would shortly raise Lazarus, but in true sympathy He opened His heart to the present grief which opened to Him a picture of the universal desolations of the king of terrors; and with a sympathizing heart, not with a heart of stone, He raised the friend to life again. He felt and acted like a man before He gave a proof of His divine power; so He slept just before He stilled the storm (Matthew 8:24). But His grief was moderate. Δακρύειν signifies a gentle weeping, the expression of a calm and tender grief; it differs from κλαίειν, the crying and wailing of the sisters and their friends, John 11:33, which implies “not only the shedding of tears, but also every external expression of grief” (Robinson, sub. κλαίω). It is remarkable that the very Gospel which most clearly reveals the divinity of Christ, notices this truly human trait of His character. As far as we are informed, Jesus wept or shed tears on three occasions: tears of tender friendship and silent grief at the grave of Lazarus (ἐδάκρυσεν); tears of bitter sorrow and loud lamentation over unbelieving Jerusalem in view of the approaching judgment, Luke 19:41 (ἔκλαυσεν); and bloody tears of agony and sacerdotal intercession in Gethsemane when He bore the burden of the sins of all mankind and wrestled with the powers of darkness, Luke 22:44 (comp. Hebrews 5:7, μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς καὶ δακρύων). The eternal Son of God in tears! What a sublime contrast; what a proof of His true humanity, condescending love and tender sympathy. How near He is brought in His tears to every mourner. How far more natural, lovely and attractive is a weeping Saviour than a cold, heartless, unfeeling stoic!49 By His conduct at the grave He has sanctified tears of sympathy, provided only we sorrow not immoderately as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). His tears over Jerusalem and in Gethsemane should call forth our tears of repentance and gratitude.—P. S.]
John 11:36-37. Behold how he loved him.—This even the Jews could see, without comprehending the full significance of His tears. It is certainly the intention of the evangelist to distinguish these kindly disposed Jews from the others who thus express themselves: Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man, etc. (John 11:37). According to Chrysostom and most of the ancients, as also Luthardt and Meyer, this speech has something of malice in it;50 according to Lücke, Tholuck and others, it is well meant. The idea of malice is supported by 1. the manifest intention to spread abroad an accusation against Jesus, to the effect that He was either unable (want of power) or unwilling (want of love) to avert this death; 2. the circumstance that their words occasion again the convulsive self-agitation of the Lord, and, so to speak, constrain Him to brace Himself anew in the spirit. 3. Here, as in John 11:46, John distinguishes the malicious Jews from those of the better sort by τινὲς δέ. [“John seldom uses δέ as a mere copula, but generally as but, see John 11:46; John 11:49; John 11:51.” Alford]. Hence arises the conjecture that they, starting from the assumption of the powerlessness of Jesus in this case, are desirous to cast a shadow of doubt even upon the healing of the blind man (Meyer). Still less is it to be expected that these citizens of Jerusalem should cite the previous raisings of the dead in Galilee (Strauss) rather than the healing of the blind man, which last was an event of recent occurrence in Jerusalem, still fresh in the memory of all,—an occasion of admiration to some, and to others of Pharisaical offence.51 Their words are the cause of fresh agitation on the part of the Lord, now, however, He is stirred not only in spirit but in Himself, i.e. the emotion is felt in the soul-life also.
John 11:38. To the tomb. It was a cave.—[An indication of the comparative Wealth of Lazarus and his sisters that they had a family vault, such as is here implied. The poor were buried in common places. The large concourse of mourners from Jerusalem, and the very costly ointment with which Mary anointed the feet of our Lord (12:3), lead to the same conclusion.—P. S.] On the Israelitish graves see Com. on Matt. chap. 27.52 On the grave of Lazarus, which is said still to exist, see the books of travel (Robinson, II. p. 310).53—And a stone lay upon [or against] it.—Ἐπέκειτο may mean: upon or before, according as the grave is to be conceived of as a perpendicular vault (such were entered by means of steps), or as a horizontal one. That the tradition makes it a perpendicular sepulchre is not conclusive proof that it was so; yet the expression ἄρατε τὸν λίθον, seems also to testify in favor of a perpendicular grave. In Matthew 28:2 the term is ἀπεκύλιτε.54
John 11:39. Lord, by this time he stinketh [ἤδηὄζει].—The fearful reality of the grave, in which her brother has lain four days, disturbs the practical woman and shakes her faith. She thinks a scandal may result from the bursting forth of the odor of corruption,—especially in the presence of so many people from Jerusalem. For it follows from the reason she assigns for her remark, that she does not already perceive this odor: for he hath been dead four days. [Lit. he is now the fourth day (viz. as a dead man), τεταρταῖος quatriduanus, an adjective marking Succession of days, but used only proverbially, like δευτεραῖος, τριταῖος. δωδεκαταῖος.—P. S.]55 “It is a proverb in the Talmud and the Targum, that corruption sets in the third day after death” (Tholuck after Wetstein). As “the sister of the dead man” [ἡ ] she shudders at the thought of seeing her brother in a putrefying state, of witnessing the exposure of that countenance upon which corruption had already set its seal. We cannot, from the words of Martha, draw the inference that a previous embalming of the body by wrapping spices about it, had not taken place; the customary anointing might, however, have been deferred by the sisters, because, almost unconsciously to themselves, a spark of hope was smouldering within them, as they anxiously expected the coming of Jesus. Hence, likewise, Mary had saved the precious ointment of spikenard. There is no more foundation for the statement that at this particular moment Martha, influenced by the utterances of Jesus, John 11:23-26, had merged her hope of a special raising of Lazarus in a higher stretch of faith (Meyer), than there is ground for questioning the momentary tottering of her hope (Tholuck). This only can be said: she is so agitated by the fear lest her brother appear as a putrefying corpse, that she is unmindful for the instant of the duty of submission to the word of Christ, and delays the execution of His command.
John 11:40. Did I not tell thee?—Not only the words, John 11:25, but the whole of His sayings from John 11:4.—The glory of God appears at such time as He reveals Himself in His wonderworking might. Manifestly, therefore, they had faith in the words of Jesus as they took the stone away (41).
John 11:41. Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven.—We have already adverted to the grand aim of this form of the miraculous healing of Jesus. The Jews in Jerusalem are to see in a great sign, not only the miraculous power of Jesus but also His connection with their God in the working of this miracle. Hence the unreserved outpouring of the prayer. But the prayer is a thanksgiving: I thank thee. He is confident of being heard, and this presupposes earlier prayers.56 So that when He says: I knew that thou hearest me always, an intimation is given us of an uninterrupted life of prayer, a continual union, in prayer, of the will of Jesus with the will of the Father—a union resulting in the continual working with Him of God’s omnipotence. Thus Christ accomplishes His miracles as the God-Man; not in pure divinity, or as a super-human God, without the Father (see John 5:19; John 5:26; John 6:6), nor in simple humanity amidst sporadic entreaties.57
At the same time this saying introduces the following utterance: but because of the multitude standing around, etc.—Those who, like Baur, have inferred from these words that the prayer of Jesus is debased to a mock-prayer have failed to comprehend the grand idea of it.58 In presence of the Jews of Jerusalem, Jesus calls upon their God as His Father, and is heard.59 Thus Moses, in pursuance of God’s instructions, produces his credentials as the ambassador of the God of Israel, before his nation and before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:3 ff; John 7:9); and thus Elijah on Mount Carmel, before the priests of Baal and the backsliding people, petitions the God of Israel for the decisive sign from heaven which shall corroborate the truth of the Israelitish faith, 1 Kings 18:36 ff. For this cause, the design of this prayer is so distinctly emphasized: that they might believe that Thou didst send Me.—That prayer may not have a reflexive reference to the hearers of it, is a tenet which finds prayer only in pantheistic moods; it would, if consistently acted upon, abolish the idea of motherly, ecclesiastical, judicial prayer (the oath), of prayer offered in performing miracles and of prayer generally.
John 11:43. Lazarus, come forth!—Properly: Lazarus, hither! forth! [δεῦρο ἔξω, without a verb, huc foras! Ici, dehors! The simple grandeur, brevity and force of this resurrection call corresponds with the mighty effect, and may be compared to the sublime passage in Genesis: Let there be light! And there was light. Cyril calls it θεοπρεπὲς καὶ βασιλικὸν κέλευσμα.—P. S.] According to Origen [and Chrysostom] the moment of awakening preceded the thanksgiving of Jesus and the call merely occasioned the forthcoming of the recipient of new life. But, manifestly, the loud call with a powerful voice and majestic utterance should itself be recognized as the moment of awakening.60
John 11:44. Bound hand and foot with grave-clothes.—Since the dead man was so wrapped up, even his face being covered, there happened, according to Basilius (θαύμαζε θαῦμα ἐν θαύματι), Chrysostom and many others, Lampe, Stier, a miracle within a miracle,—namely, that Lazarus was able to go forth in spite of his wrappings.61 Others, again, have assumed that he was wrapped about after the fashion of the Egyptians, his hands and feet being bandaged separately (Olshausen, De Wette). Lücke supposes him to have been wrapped from head to foot so closely that his freedom of motion was not impeded.62 From our passage the windings certainly seem to have been partial; whether they were applied in the Egyptian style or not. Such might also have been the idea of the sisters, particularly as the ceremonies of anointing and interment had not yet been completed. But it is obvious that the miracle of new life might be carried out in a miraculous walking, similar to somnambulism. And indeed it was necessary that the forthcomer should be disencumbered of his wrappings, in order that he might move with perfect freedom,—in accordance with the words of Jesus: Loose him and let him go.—i.e. go home independent of aid. We cannot adopt the inference of Grotius; he holds that Christ did not accompany him: ne quasi in triumphum ducere videretur.
[The terms ἄφετε ὑπάγειν, as Godet observes, have a triumphant tone, like the order to the cripple: “Take up thy bed and walk” (John 5:8). Trench: “St. John here breaks off the narrative of the miracle itself, leaving us to imagine their joy, who thus beyond all expectation received back their dead from the grave; a joy, which was well nigh theirs alone, among all the mourners of all times,
‘Who to the verge have followed those they love
And on the insuperable threshold stand,
With cherished names its speechless calm reprove,
And stretch in the abyss their ungrasped hand.’
He leaves this, and passes on to show us the historic significance of this miracle in the development of the Lord’s earthly history, the permitted link which it formed in the chain of those events, which were to end, according to the determinate decree and counsel of God, in the atoning death of the Son of God upon the cross.”—P. S.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. Christ the Resurrection and the Life, the principle of the future resurrection:
a. The foretokens of the principle: the miracles of transformation and the histories of raisings from the dead in the Old Testament, and the raisings of the dead effected by Jesus.
b. The appearance of the principle in the revivifying life and spiritual resurrection of Christ.
c. The operations of the principle until the first resurrection and until the general resurrection.
2. Faith in Christ, the Son of God, embraces the resurrection.
3. The mysterious, holy affections in the life of the Lord. The sensational life in the spirit or the innermost and highest emotion, within which all feelings revolve;—supreme compassion for the misery of men, supreme indignation at the unbelief of the world. The Lord’s bracing of Himself against all sympathy with ungodly sorrow, while at the same time fully sympathizing with the godly sorrow of men.
4. The raising of Lazarus.
Different interpretations: (1) Lazarus was apparently dead (Paulus, Ammon, Schweizer and others); (2) the account a myth (Strauss); either a misunderstanding of a conversation concerning the resurrection, held with the two women of Bethany on the occasion of the death of Lazarus (Weisse); or a remodelling of the story of the raising of the young man at Nain (Gfrörer); or a dogmatico-allegorical representation of the δόξα of Christ (Baur).63—At the grave of Lazarus modern skeptical criticism manifestly celebrates its own dissolution—every man tells a different story.
Omission of the history in the Synoptists: (1) The synoptists were not acquainted with it (Lücke and others). (2) It lay beyond the circle of their statements (Meyer). (3) It was omitted out of consideration for the family of Bethany (Herder, Schulthess, Olshausen, Lange, Leben Jesu, II. 2, p. 1133). Meyer assures us that this last explanation runs counter to the mind and spirit of that first age of Christianity (he should say rather: to the spiritual bravado of the Montanists and Circumcellians). Comp. John 12:10.
Instrumentalities of the miracle. a. The general one: Christ the resurrection and the life, the principle of raisings, quickenings, of the dead. b. The special one: Christ, now entertaining a presentiment of His own death and resurrection. It was necessary that Jerusalem and the Supreme Council should behold a sign of His glory beaming very near to them; this robbed them of all excuse c. The most special one: The faith of the sisters and of Lazarus, and the expectation of all,—especially of the dying man,—that Jesus would come and manifest His power and willingness to help; an expectation which Lazarus preserved in death, as Jesus Himself carried down to death His confidence in His own resurrection (see my Leben Jesu, II. 2, p. 327 and 1127 ff.).
The form of the miracle: A prayer for the hearing of the God of Israel, as a testimony to the Lord in the face of Jerusalem.
Its import: The crown of His raisings from the dead, the presage of His resurrection, the first flashing of His δόξα from the Mount of Olives over Jerusalem.
5. “As regards the moral application, there is no need for allegorical interpretation such as is found in Jerome, Augustine, Bourdaloue, H. Martin, etc. This allegorical interpretation is obviously without historical foundation; it is unnatural,—and to make Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, the type of a sinner utterly dead and even stinking,—is also unseemly.” Heubner.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The raising of Lazarus as the most glorious of the revivifying miracles of Jesus: 1. In respect of the peculiar circumstances attending it in comparison with the previous raisings of the dead; 2. in respect of its intrinsic significance, as demonstrating that Christ is the Resurrection and the Life, or as a demonstration of His glory; 3. in respect of its decisive effects.—Or: the raising of Lazarus in respect of its essential features: 1. The introductory conversation; 2. the walk to the grave; 3. the prayer of thanksgiving; 4. the awakening call; 5. the appearance of the dead man; 6. the effect of his resurrection.—The arrival of Jesus on the fourth day after the burial of Lazarus. Or: Jesus, coming as a Saviour, never comes too late.—How the banished and fugitive Jesus from Peræa and those haughty scorners of Him, the Jews from Jerusalem, meet again at the grave of Lazarus.—The different kinds of condolence on the death of a member of a family: 1. The condolence of the world in general; 2. the ceremonious condolence of Pharisees; 3. the hearty condolence of relatives and friends; 4. the heavenly condolence of Christ.—Christ waiting before the village, or the divine power of Christ in His human weakness,—the type of the Christian life.—The greatest precaution combined with the most joyful anticipation of victory.—Martha and Mary at the grave of Lazarus. Comparison of the two, 1. At their first meeting with Jesus (Luke 10:38), 2. at the second here, 3. at the third in the history of the anointing.—The saying of both: Lord, if Thou hadst been here, etc.—The if of mourners in view of the dead. If this and that had happened: 1. In what degree sinful? As an expression of grief that will not be reconciled to the dispensation of God. 2. In what degree warranted? As an expression of pain investigating the causes of the suffering. 3. In what degree salutary? As an expression of humiliation before God on account of actual neglect.—The trial of faith imposed upon Martha.—The deliverance of Martha from petty household cares by means of the deep distress and mighty aid.—Christ the Resurrection and the Life: 1. What this means: a. the Life unto resurrection; b. the Resurrection unto life: 2. What this signifies to believers: a. to the dead; b. to the living.—Believest thou this?—The confession of Martha in reply to the question of Christ touching her faith.—How Martha here already subordinates herself to Mary, whom she before desired to tutor (she takes a still more subordinate position in the history of the anointing,—serving silently).—“The Master is here:” 1. The Master is here 2. and calleth thee.—The presageful visit to the grave, prelusive to the most presageful visit to the grave of Jesus.—The weeping of Mary and the weeping of the Jews: 1. In itself; the external similarity, the internal diversity; 2. in its signification: thus voices mingle in the songs of the sanctuary, tears in our houses, different spirits in the company of Jesus.—The twice-repeated convulsion of Jesus inspirit: 1. The occasion, 2. the mood, 3. the fruit.—The sensational life of Jesus.—The heart of Jesus in its full revelation: 1. In the full revelation of its love, 2. of its holiness, 3. of its divine power.—How the Lord Himself must guard His temper before His great work.—The moving and yet so salutary sight of the grave.—Our graves.—In their relation to the grave of Christ.—The temptation of Martha.—The prayer of thanksgiving and its signification: 1. In relation to the Lord: reliance on God; 2. with reference to the Jews: a miracle in fellowship with their God, as a testimony against them and to them; 3. in relation to the mourners: the divine consecration of their human joy.—The call of Christ three ghostly words, instinct with vital power: 1. The name, 2. to Christ, 3. forth.—The voice of Christ.—The infinitely significative and comprehensive nature of the human voice.—The unique heaven-tone (the peal of love and lightning-flash of life) in the voice of Christ.—The decidedness of Christ in all His vital traits,—even in His voice.—The appearance of the living man in the garments of the grave, a type of the new life of the Christian in the old vestments of death.—What is expressed by the words: “Loose him and let him go”: 1. How the adoring amazement of the chronicler is lost in silence; 2. how Christ gives Lazarus credit for full vital strength; 3. how He diverts attention from Himself to him who has been raised up.—The three evangelical stories of Bethany.
Starke: Canstein: Jesus comes soon enough because He always brings salvation with Him, though to us He often seems to come too late.—Hedinger: Everything is possible to the power of God: it quickens physically and spiritually those who have lain in the grave for an hour or for a thousand years,—who have sinned for a long or for a short time.—To comfort the mourning is a part of godliness.—Quesnel: We comfort one who has lost his brother by death, and have little or no compassion for him who has lost his God.—Osiander: See how faith wrestles and battles with unbelief!—God is rich above all who call on Him and can do infinitely more than we ask.—Bibl. Wirt.: The greatest consolation of Christians in all kinds of misery and so in peril of death, is the resurrection of the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:54; Hebrews 2:14.—He who believes not on Christ is dead ere he dies.
John 11:28. Ah, how fitting it is for one friend to call the other to Christ!—It is often better to preach Christ in secret than to proclaim Him publicly.
John 11:29. Hedinger: Love tarrieth not.
John 11:31. Zeisius: Those whose hearts are very heavy—and particularly those that are sorely tempted—should not be left alone.
John 11:32. Canstein: A believing knowledge of Jesus worketh holy reverence toward Him and deep humility.—The misery of men moves Jesus’ pity. We too, after His example, should pity the wretched.—Zeisius: We may weep and lament for them that are asleep in Jesus,—but with moderation; and we may comfort ourselves, on the other hand, with the future, joyful resurrection, 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:18.
John 11:35. Thus He wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and in the garden of Gethsemane, Hebrews 5:7. He first gives a sign of His true humanity and then of His divinity.
John 11:41. Ibid.: Learn here from Jesus, when thou art about anything of importance, not to enter upon it without prayer.
John 11:43. Osiander: A testimony to the divine majesty of Christ.
John 11:45. Quesnel: It is good for us to visit pious people; sometimes our salvation depends thereon.—Gerlach: Jesus begins here, as He often does, with words purposely mysterious and sifting; they sound like a general consolation uttered in view of the future resurrection.—It was the grand aim of Jesus in many of His discourses to exhibit the unity of the spiritual and bodily resurrection; He therefore raised up the bodies of the dead.—The resurrection of the wicked is not a true resurrection, but the second death.—He calls the dead as He would a living man, as God calls that which is not as though it were, Romans 4:17.
Lisco, John 11:33 : The affections of believers have not the mastery over them; they are not passions.—Braune: Mourning has a good name in the Old Testament; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob mourned. And Paul writes (Romans 12:15): “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Comp. Philippians 2:27.—From the God of all comfort cometh the gift of consolation.
John 11:27. In this belief is contained her all. Lest her defective conception should deprive her of the enjoyment of salvation.—Mary, John 11:32. Not another word,—only tears; they speak louder.—He was convulsed, etc. What a glorious glimpse of the great heart of Jesus John gives us here!—Scripture mentions eight persons who were raised from the dead: the son of the widow of Sarepta, by means of Elijah (1 Kings 17:22), the son of the Shunamitess by Elisha (2 Kings 4:35), a dead man who was cast into the grave of Elisha (2 Kings 13:21), the young man of Nain (Luke 7:15), the daughter of Jairus (Matthew 9:25), Lazarus, Tabitha by Peter (Acts 9:40), Eutychus by Paul (Acts 20:9).—Gossner, John 11:17. Yet He never fails to come.—No Christian dies.—It is true a child of God may outwardly suffer all manner of things,—but that is to be sick; that is not death.—Mary. She arose, not to go to the dead, but to Him who was her life.—Mary spoke in the same tone that her sister used. For it is customary for one thing to infect another. One man may discourage and dishearten another.—Another time He said on a similar occasion: Weep not! Namely, for the consolation of the widow of Nain. But here He weeps Himself. By His tears 1. He heals (hallows) ours, 2. He wipes them away.—The mighty voice of the Saviour a type of His almighty grace.
Heubner: The longer faith is obliged to wait, the stronger faith grows by waiting and trial,—the more glorious is the help afforded (Wichelhaus).
John 11:24. A general belief in a certain truth is indeed of no avail. This does not touch a man. It must become a faith personally applied to and personally concerning us.—“Believest thou this?” A proof-question for every one.—“The inner relationship of the heart to Jesus must remain a secret to the world, although we should freely confess Jesus” (Wichelhaus).—The Master calleth thee. It is a question of personal relationship.
John 11:29. Who may delay when Jesus calls him?—What divine strength human tears possess!
John 11:43. The voice that we now hear is the authoritative word of the Awakener of the Dead, who hath the keys of hell and of death.—Like a spirit Lazarus comes forth, that at the sight of him all may be seized with trembling and awe, as they think of the invisible world thus brought near to them.—The dead man vouchsafes no narrative to our ears. “He had nought to say in words of this earth” (Herder).—Schleiermacher: The Jews. Such sympathy in the common incidents of life as is manifested even by men who do not share our feelings in regard to the things which are most important and which we have most at heart, should not be condemned by us as devoid of sincerity.—The grief that locks itself up within itself is selfish, inasmuch as it separates a man from connection with his brethren.—That which can rise so high (to God), that which is capable of such communion with the universal fountain of life, is also removed beyond the power of death. If thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God.
Mallet: Jesus’ wrath and tears.—Tears are not only the signs of love, interest, grief; they are also infallible signs of human impotence and weakness. Thus tears here reveal His holy love, but they conceal His might and glory.—She called the grave the place of corruption,—the Lord calls it the place of glory.—The Jews. There is a power in the rays of the sun. They wake the vital germ within the grain of corn and call a new, beautiful and manifold life into being. But the same sun-beam draws poisonous vapors out of bogs and morasses. It summons life from the one,—death from the other.
[Craven: From Origen: John 11:41. Then they took away the stone; Some delay had arisen; it is best to let nothing come between the commands of Jesus and doing them.—Jesus lifted up His eyes: We should pray after Christ’s pattern—lift up the eyes of our heart above present things in memory, in thought, in intention.——From Hilary: John 11:41-42. Christ’s prayer did not benefit Himself, but our faith; He did not want help, but we want instruction.——From Augustine: John 11:22. Martha does not say, Bring my brother to life again, but I know whatsoever Thou wilt ask, God will give it Thee—i.e., what Thou wilt do is for Thy judgment and not for my presumption to determine.
John 11:25. He that believeth in Me: Faith is the life of the soul.
John 11:34. Where have ye laid him? He knew, but He asked to try the faith of His people.
John 11:35. Jesus wept: Wherefore did He weep, but to teach men to weep?
John 11:39. Take ye away the stone: Mystically, Take away the burden of the law, proclaim grace. [?]——From Chrysostom: John 11:20; John 11:28. Martha does not take her sister with her because she would speak with Christ alone; when her hopes had been raised by Him she called Mary.
John 11:29. In her devotions to (trust in?) her Master, she had no time to think of her afflictions.
John 11:35-38. That He wept and groaned are mentioned to show the reality of His human nature.——From Bede: John 11:32-33. Mary did not say so much as Martha, she could not speak for weeping, (but her tears were as effective as the words of her sister.—E. R. C.)——From Alcuin: John 11:17. Our Lord delayed for four days that the resurrection of Lazarus might be the more glorious.
John 11:25. I am the Resurrection, because I am the Life.
John 11:26. Jesus knew that she believed, but sought a confession unto salvation.
John 11:35. Jesus wept because He was the fountain of pity.
John 11:43-44. Christ awakes, because His power it is which quickens inwardly; the disciples loose, because by the ministry they who are quickened are absolved, [?] (through the ministry they are delivered from the bondage of sin.—E. R. C.)——From Theophylact: John 11:28. The Master is come and calleth for thee: the presence of Christ in itself a call.
John 11:33-35. He groaned—wept: Jesus sometimes gave His human nature free vent, sometimes He restrained it: He acted thus—1. to prove that He is very man; 2. to teach us the due measure of joy and grief—the absence of sympathy and sorrow is brutal, the excess is womanly [better: heathenish.—P. S.]
John 11:43. He cried with a loud voice—the symbol of that trumpet which will sound at the general resurrection.—From Burkitt: John 11:21-38. Faith and infirmity mixed together: faith, in Martha’s firm persuasion of Christ’s power; infirmity, in her limiting Him as to place and time.
John 11:23. Christ’s meek answer to Martha’s passionate discourse.
John 11:30. The earnestness of Christ to finish His work—He went to the grave before entering the house.
John 11:35. Jesus wept partly from compassion, partly for example—1. from compassion, (1) to humanity debased by sin to death, (2) to Lazarus whom He was about to bring back to a sinful and suffering world, ((3) to the sorrowing sisters.—E. R. C.); 2. for example, to bring tears from us—(1) at the sight of others’ woes, (2) at the graves of our friends.
John 11:39. Take ye away the stone: Our hands must do their utmost before Christ will help.
John 11:43. Our Lord did not say Lazarus, revive, as to one dead; but Come forth, teaching us that they are alive to Him who are dead to us.——From M. Henry: John 11:17. When Jesus came: Promised salvations though they often come slowly, always come surely.
John 11:19. The home of Martha and Mary a house of mourning.—Grace will keep sorrow from the heart (John 14:1) not from the house.—Where there are mourners, there ought to be comforters.—They comforted them concerning their brother, speaking (probably), 1. of the good name he had left behind; 2. of the happy state to which he had gone.
John 11:20. The different temperaments of Martha and Mary, as manifested by their different conduct.
John 11:21. If Thou hadst been here: We are apt to add to our troubles by fancying what might have been.
John 11:22. When we know not what in particular to ask, let us in general refer ourselves to God. When we know not what to pray for, the Great Intercessor knows and is never refused.
John 11:23. The comforting answer of Jesus. Thy brother shall rise again, directing Martha’s thoughts forward to what shall be.
John 11:25-26. Note 1. The sovereign power of Christ, I am the Resurrection and the Life; 2. the promise of the new Covenant, (1) what it is, life (a) for the body, a blessed resurrection, (b) for the soul, a blessed immortality, (2) to whom made, believers in Him.
John 11:27. Martha’s Creed; observe 1. The guide of her faith, the word of Christ; 2. The ground of her faith, the authority of Christ; 3. The matter of her faith, that Christ was (1) The Christ—the anointed One, (2) The Son of God, (3) The One who should come, ὁ ἐρχόμενος.
John 11:29-31. The (gracious) haste of Mary; she did not consult 1. the decorum of her mourning, 2. her neighbours.
John 11:29-32. Mary’s abounding love for Christ; though He had seemed unkind in His delay she takes it not amiss.
John 11:31-33. The Jews who followed Mary led to Christ by the beholding of the miracle; it is good to cleave to Christ’s friends in their sorrows, for thereby we may come to know Him better.
John 11:33. The tears of Mary; the tears of devout affection have a loud, prevailing voice with Christ.—He was troubled, i.e., He troubled Himself; He was voluntary both in His passion and His compassion.
John 11:35. Jesus wept, showing that He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
John 11:39-40. Martha’s (momentary) distrust, and Christ’s gentle reproof and re-assurance.
John 11:41, The prayer of Christ teaches us in praying—1. to call God, Father; 2. in our prayers to praise Him.
John 11:42. The objects of His public thanksgiving—1. to obviate the (possible) objections of His enemies that He wrought miracles by charms or the power of Satan; 2. to corroborate the faith of His friends.
John 11:43. Loud voice—1. significant of the power put forth; 2. typical of other works of resurrection—(1) of the gospel call, (2) of the Archangel’s trumpet at the last day.
John 11:44. The miracle was wrought—1. speedily, 2. perfectly, 3. with the additional miracle, that Lazarus came forth though bound hand and foot.—From Scott: John 11:41. We cannot raise the spiritually dead, but we should remove the stones and the grave clothes.—From Stier: John 11:21. Lord, if Thou hadst been here; thus does man look back with if in all his heavy trials.
John 11:22. Martha at this point a heroine in faith, but only for a moment.
John 11:24. The implied dissatisfaction of the bereaved one with the mere promise of a resurrection at the last day—(“Half-faith always does what Martha here does.” Draeseke).
John 11:25. I am the Resurrection—1. because I am the Life; 2. as I am the Life—in the same most intrinsically true, and already prevailing, sense.
John 11:25-26. He that believeth in Me shall receive a life which death cannot invade. When the living bury His living nothing should be heard but resurrection joy.
John 11:33. He groaned in the spirit (ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι); The sorrow of Jesus on account of sin, and His wrath against death.
John 11:44. Loose him: The relies of the (spiritual) grave are (in the case of the spiritually quickened) to be removed, by the Lord’s appointment, through the ministry of men—From Barnes: John 11:26. Believest thou this? The time of affliction a favorable period to try ourselves whether we have faith.
John 11:28. The Master: A title which Jesus claimed for Himself, Matthew 23:8; Matthew 23:10.
John 11:35. Jesus wept: Learn—1. that the most tender friendship is not inconsistent with the most pure religion; 2. that it is right to sympathize with the afflicted; 3. that sorrow at the death of friends is right; 4. the tenderness of the character of Jesus.
John 11:40 The glory of God: The power and goodness displayed in the resurrection.—From Melville: John 11:25. I am the Resurrection and the Life; Christ the cause and the origin of the unbelieving Jews: Christianity doth not bid us abate anything of our souls.—From Hall: John 11:28. Secretly for fear of the unbelieving Jews: Christianity doth not bid us abate anything of our wariness.—From A Plain Commentary (Oxf.): John 11:20. The blessedness of Martha in going forth to meet her Lord.
John 11:30. By His remaining without the town, the whole body of friends brought to Him (and to the beholding of the miracle.—E. R. C.)—From Hutcheson: John 11:24. Men believe great things that are far off, when their faith proves weak in a less matter of present trial—From Williams: John 11:33-41. God created man by a word, without effort; but recalls him to life not without many groans and tears and intercessions.—From Ryle: John 11:20-27. To know how much grace believers have, we must see them in trouble.
John 11:21. A strange mixture of emotions—1. reproachful passion; 2. love; 3. faith; 4. unbelief.
John 11:24. General faith is easier than particular.
John 11:31. Those who came to comfort, themselves blessed.
John 11:33-35. He saw weeping and He wept (as the consequence of His real humanity); He still retains His human nature
John 11:36. Behold how He loved him! Of all graces, love most arrests the attention and influences the opinion of the world.—Var. 40. Said I unto thee: The best believers need reminding of Christ’s sayings.—From Owen: John 11:25-26. He that believeth in Me, etc.: Our Lord’s commentary on the preceding words, I am the Resurrection and the Life.
John 11:41-42. The duty of public thanksgiving for gracious answers to prayer64—1. that God may be glorified by the, one benefited before others; 2. that others may be led to glorify Him.]
John 11:17; John 11:17.—[Tischendorf omits ἤδη (already), on the authrity of A.* D., etc.; but Alford, Westcott and Hort retain it with B. C.—P. S.]
John 11:19; John 11:19.—Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Alford, Westcott and Hort] read: πολλοὶ δέ, instead of καὶ πολλοί, in accordance with important authorities. [א. B. C. D. L. X., etc.]
John 11:19; John 11:19.—Lachmann [Alford, Westc. and H.], in accordance with B. C. L. [also Cod. Sin.] read: πρὸς τὴν M., etc. [The text. rec. and Tischend., ed. 8th, read πρὸζ τὰζ περὶ M., to those who were around Martha and Mary. The allusion seems to be to the custom of a company of comforters collecting themselves around mourners. The expression is foreign to the N. T. See Exeg.—P. S.]
John 11:19; John 11:19.—Tischendorf omits αὐτῶν in accordance with the B. D. L. [So also Cod. Sin., Alford, Westc. & H.—P. S.]
John 11:21; John 11:21.—Different placings of the words. Tischendorf: οὐκ ἄν ὁ . [So formerly; but in his 8th crit. ed. 1869, Tischendorf gives—οὐκ ἄν . Ἀπέθ. is in accordance with John 11:32, supported by Cod. Sin. B. C.* D. K. L. X. II., etc., and is also adopted by Westcott & Hort; while Alford prefers ἐτεθνήκει, would have died.—P. S.].
John 11:22; John 11:22.—Ἀλλά is wanting in B. C., etc. [The proper reading is καὶ νῦν, and is now preferred by Tischend. ἀλλα καὶ νῦν.—P. S.].
John 11:27; John 11:27.—[πεπίστευκα is the proper reading adopted by all the critical editors; πιστεύω is poorly supported.—P. S.]
John 11:29; John 11:29.—[Tischendorf, ed. 8th, reads ἐγείρεται and ἐρχεται, but Alford, Westcott and Hort retain the reading of the text. rec. ἠγέρθη and ἤρχετο, which is sustained by Cod. Sin. and B. The historical present is more lively, but may be an emendation.—P. S.]
John 11:31; John 11:31.—[Δόξαντες is abundantly sustained by א. B. C.* D. L. X. Verss., and now generally adopted instead of the λέγοντες of the text. rec.—P. S.]
John 11:33; John 11:33.—[It is perhaps impossible to find a precise equivalent in English for the Greek ἐμβριμάομαι in the sense in which it is used here and in John 11:38. See the Exeg., pp. 352 f.—P. S.]
John 11:39; John 11:39.—Τετελευτηκότος established by A. B. C.* Sin., etc., against the τεθνηκότος of the Recepta.
John 11:39; John 11:39.—[The Saxon stinketh for ὄζει is no doubt a repulsive term for a repulsive thing, but for this reason also more expressive than is offensive (Noyes, Conant and others) or similar modern substitutes.—P. S.]
John 11:41; John 11:41.—In accordance with B. C.* Sin. and others, the sentence: οὗ ἧν ὁ τεθνηκὼς κείμενος must be omitted.
[Buttmann, N. T. Gr., p. 133, derives this peculiar position of ἀπό and πρό in indications of space and time from the influence of the Latin. Comp. John 12:1, πρὸ ἔξ ἡμερῶν τοῦ πάσχα 21:8; Revelation 14:20.—P. S.]
[Alford almost verbally copies this note from Meyer. We have good reason to infer from several indications that the family of Bethany was “one of large hospitality and acquaintance.” Comp. John 12:3; John 12:5 and note.—P. S.]
[So also Meyer, and Alford who remarks that ἀναστήσεται is pedagogically used to lead on to the requisite faith in her mind, and doubts whether it could be used of a recall into human life. Hengstenberg refers the word mainly to the final resurrection, and subordinately to the translation to Paradise, which he includes in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5?); but Lazarus must have been already in Paradise (comp. to-day in Luke 23:43).—P. S.]
[The phrase οὐ μή—εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, John 11:26, is in itself ambiguous and may mean either not forever, or never. The first and literal rendering would give a very plain sense: He that liveth (physically) and believelh in Me, will not die (physically) for ever, i.e. will be raised again. But in all other passages in which the same phrase occurs (John 4:14; John 8:51-52; John 10:28; John 13:8; 1 Corinthians 8:13), it is equivalent to never, like the Hebrew לֹא־לְעוֹלָם (Psalms 55:22; Proverbs 10:30), with an emphasis on the negation: surely not, in no wise, by no means (see Winer, p. 407, on the force of the double negation in Greek). We must then suppose that Christ in John 11:26 either spoke of spiritual death, or overlooked physical death as a vanishing transition to real and eternal life.—P. S. ]
[Comp. Godet in loc. (II. 333), who justly says that it is impossible here to separate the moral and the physical sense in the words resurrection and life. I subjoin the remarks of Trench (Miracles, p. 322) on this glorious declaration: “l am the Resurrection and the Life; the true Life, the true Resurrection; the everlasting triumphs over death, they are in Me—no distant things, as thou spakest of now, to find place at the end of the world; no things separate or separable from Me, as thou spakest of lately, when thou desiredst that I should ask of another that which I possess evermore in Myself. In Me is victory over the grave, in Me is life eternal: by faith in Me that becomes yours which makes death not to be death, but only the transition to a higher life.”—P. S.]
[Alford: “Her calling her sister is characteristic of one who (Luke 10:40) had not been much habituated herself to listen to His instructions, but knew this to be the delight of Mary. Besides this, she evidently has hopes raised, though of a very faint and indefinite kind. προσδοκήσασά τι (Euthymius.”)—]
[So also correctly Alford and Godet.—P. S.]
[Lange translates: regte sich tief auf im Geiste, stirred Himelf up in His spirit; Noyes and Alford: was greatly moved in His spirit. The E. V. groaned in spirit, expresses more the feeling of grief and pain than of indignation and wrath (though Trench on Miracles, p. 325, strangely asserts the very reverse); comp. 2 Corinthians 5:4 : “We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened.” Webster defines groaning: “to give forth a low, moaning sound, to utter a mournful voice, as in pain and sorrow,” and says nothing of anger. The E. V. translates the verb in four different ways: to charge straitly, Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43; to murmur, Mark 14:5; to groan, John 11:33; John 11:38.—P. S.]
[So the Vulgate: infremuit spiritu; Luther: Er ergrimmetc im Geiste, was wroth at, moved with indignation. βριμάομαι and ἐμβριμάομαι (from the root βρέμω, to rush, to roar, φριμάω, fremo, to roar, to bluster; comp. βρίμη, anger, βριμώ, The Angered, a name of Persephone or Hecate), when not used of uttering a sound (snorting, murmuring), always express an emotion of anger or indignation, and are equivalent to ὀργίζεσθαι and ἀπειλεῖν. Passow and Pape know no other meaning. Gumlich has abundantly proved it in the Studien und Kritiken for 1862, pp. 260–269. Sophocles, in his Lexicon of Byzantine Greek (Boston, 1870, p. 453), gives the meaning to be greatly moved, but without any authority except the two passages in John 11:0, which are under dispute. Meyer confidently asserts (p. 431): “Nie anders als vom heftigen Zorn (violent anger) wird βριμάομαι und ἐμβριμάομαι, wo es nicht das eigentliche Schnauben oder Brummen (Aesch. Sept. 461, Luc. Necym. 20) bezeichnet, bei Griechen, LXX. und im N. T. (Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5) gebraucht. S. Gumlich, p. 265 f.” Hengstenberg agrees: “Es ist längst festgestellt, dass ἐμβριμᾶσθαι keinen anderen Affect bezeichnen kann als den des heftigen Zornes.” Alford: “ἐμβριμάομαι can bear but one meaning, that of indignor (‘infremuit,’ Vulg.),—the expression of indignation and rebuke, not of sorrow.” Trench (p. 325): “It is nothing but the difficulty of finding a satisfactory object for the indignation of the Lord, which has caused so many modern commentators to desert this explanation, and make the word simply and merely an expression of grief and anguish of spirit. Lampe and Kuinoel defend the right explanation; and Lange (Theol. Studien und Kritiken, 1836, p. 714 sq.) has many beautiful remarks in an essay wherein he seeks to unite both meanings.” Godet: “Il est généralement reconnu, à cette heure, que le terme ἐμβοιμᾶσθαι (de βριμάζειν hennir, rugir) ne peut désigner qu’ un frémissement d’ indignation.” But all this does not yet settle the precise meaning in this verse. See below. The verb is generally transitive and constructed with the dative of the person or thing against which the angry feeling or rebuke is directed; but here and in John 11:38 it is used intransitively; πνεύματι being not the dat. obj., but the dat. instrum. or loci.—P. S.]
[The Greek interpreters usually take τῷ πνεύματι τῷ πάθει (as dative of the object), but Cyril refers it (as instrumental dative) to the Holy Ghost or the divine nature of Christ, by which He indignantly rebuked His rising human sympathy. (ἐμβριμᾶται τῷ πνεύματι τουτέστι τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐπιπλήττει τρὸπον τινὰ τῇ ἰδίᾳ σαρκί.) In a milder form Dean Alford renews the Greek interpretation without its stoic repulsiveness. He thinks that Jesus, with the tears of sympathy already rising and overcoming His speech, checked them so as to be able to speak the words following. He considers this self-restraint as merely physical, requiring indeed an act of the will, and a self-troubling, but implying no deliberate disapproval of the rising emotion which immediately after is suffered to prevail. Webster and Wilkinson likewise explain ἐνεβριμήσατο of a violent repression of emotion. But this is clearly refuted by the explanatory ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν, and by the fact that Jesus did shed tears immediately afterwards. His effort at self-restraint then would have failed, which is incredible.—P. S.]
[According to Augustine, Cornelius a Lap., Olshausen, Trench and Gumlich, Christ was indignant at death as the wages of sin; according to Nic. Lyra, Melanchthon, Ebrard, Luthardt and Hengstenberg, at the power of death, the terrible foe of the human race, who dared here to confront and threaten his great Conqueror. Nic. Lyra: Fremitus Christi procedebat ex indignatione ejus contra diabolum, per cujus suggestionem mors intravit in mundum, quam erat cito debellaturus. To the same effect is Luthardt’s remark (II. p. 217): “Ueber den Tod und den der des Todes Gewal that, Seinen Gegner von Anfang an, ergrimmte Er, dass er lhm solches angerichtet, so in Seinen nädchsten Kreis gedrungen und so lhm Selbst wie drohend enigegengetreten war. Und das Ergrimmen Jesu ist wie ein Gegendrohen, das sich in der Autferweckung dann versinnbildlichte. Es sind gleichsam die ersten gegenseitigen Ankündigungen des letsten äussersten Kampfes.” Comp. my notes to Lange’s view below.—P. S.]
[Meyer urges the preceding words ὡς εἶδεν αὐτήν κλαίουσαυ—καὶ τοὺς Ἰονδαίους κλαίοντας, as indicating this contrast and cause of the indignation; but this is not applicable to the second use of the verb in John 11:38, although John 11:37 clearly shows that the indignation must have had some reference to the unbelief of the Jews.—P. S.]
[As now used, however, ergrimmen always signifies in German violent emotion of anger, indignation.—P. S.]
[Tholuck and Lücke refer to βριμάσσω, to shake with petulance, βράσσω, to ferment (intransitive), and to shake violently (transitive), also to the Hebrew זָעַף.—P. S.]
[Among American commentators, Owen takes this view: A deep feeling of grief, and not a rebuking of such a feeling.—P. S.]
[Ewald (Com. I. 323) translates: Er erbrauste im Geiste und erschütterte sich, and explains that Jesus, like a hero of old, like a Jacob, gathering up the deepest powers of his mind, went forth to the conflict and in the conflict burst out in tears. Comp. Ewald’s Life of Christ, p. 486.—P. S.]
[Dr. Lange has more fully demonstrated this comprehensive interpretation in a treatise on the words: ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι , in his Miscellaneous Writings, vol. iv. pp. 194 ff. (originally published in the Theological Studies and Criticisms for 1836); comp. also his Leben Jesu, II. 2, p. 1125. Tholuck (7th edition) substantially adopts Lange’s interpretation: “We shall, then, include a feeling of horror also. etc. Hence we assume κινεῖσθαι to be the established philological signification, as one of the most ancient commentators, the translator of the Peshito has done.”]
[Meyer thinks that John might as well have written τῇ ψυχῇ (12:27); Godet (I. 329) distinguishes πνεῦμα. as the seat of religious, ψυχή as the seat of natural emotions. There is certainly a difference. Here and 13:21, when speaking of the treason of Judas, and Mark 8:12, Jesus was moved in the spirit; while when speaking of His approaching passion He says: “My soul is troubled,” John 12:27.—P. S.]
[Neander: “The sympathizing physician in the midst of a family drowned in grief—will not his tears flow with theirs, though he knows that he has the power of giving immediate relief?”—P. S.]
 [After the appearance of Christianity, the heathen notions about the rightfulness of human affections underwent a silent revolution, and the rigor of Stoicism was broken. Comp the beautiful passage in Juvenal, Sat. 15, quoted by Trench:
. …Molissima corda
Humano generi dare se natura fatetur,
Quæ lacrymas dedit: hæc nostri pars optima
[Alford and Godet take the same view. The second emotion of indignation (πάλιν ἐμβριμώμενος ἐν ἑαυτῷ, John 11:38) seems to have been provoked, partly at least, by this exhibition of unbelief, as the οὖν indicates.—P. S.]
[Trench, Alford and Godet rightly regard it as a mark of historical accuracy that these dwellers in Jerusalem should refer to a miracle performed there and still fresh in their memory rather than to the former raisings of the dead in distant Galilee, which they probably may have heard of, but naturally would not thoroughly credit on mere rumor. Says Trench: “A maker up of the narrative from later and insecure traditions would inevitably have fallen upon those miracles of a like kind, as arguments of the power of Jesus to have accomplished this.” Comp. the pointed remarks of Godet (II. 342) against Strauss.—P. S.]
[Also the art. Gräber in Winer’s R. W. B., art. Tomb in Smith’s B. D. (Hackett and Abbott’s ed., vol. iv. pp. 3277 ff.), Robinson, Researches, I. pp. 349 ff., and Capt. C. W. Wilson, Remains of Tombs in Palestine (in Quarterly Statement of the Palest. Exploration Soc, Lond. 1869). The Jewish sepulchres were out of town, away from the living, and either natural caverns or artificial, excavated by man’s labor from the rock, with recesses in the sides, wherein the bodies were laid, occasionally with chambers one above another, and closed by a door or a great stone to prevent the numerous jackals and beasts of prey from tearing the bodies. Many of these tombs still remain. Robinson, I. p. 352: “The numerous sepulchres which skirt the valleys on the north, east, and south of Jerusalem, exhibit for the most part one general mode of construction. A doorway in the perpendicular face of the rock, usually small and without ornament, leads to one or more small chambers excavated from the rock, and commonly upon the same level with the door. Very rarely are the chambers lower than the doors. The walls in general are plainly hewn; and there are occasionally, though not always, niches or resting-places for the dead bodies. In order to obtain a perpendicular face for the doorway, advantage was sometimes taken of a former quarry; or an angle was cut in the rock with a tomb in each face; or a square niche or area was hewn out in a ledge, and then tombs excavated in all three of its sides. All these expedients are seen particularly in the northern part of the valley of Jehoshaphat, and near the tombs of the Judges. Many of the doorways and fronts of the tombs along this valley are now broken away, leaving the whole of the interior exposed.”—P. S.]
[Robinson (vol. I. p. 432, Am. ed.) says: “The monks, as a matter of course, show the house of Mary and Martha, that of Simon the leper, and the sepulchre of Lazarus. The latter is a deep vault like a cellar, excavated in the lime-stone rock in the middle of the village, to which there is a descent by twenty-six steps. It is hardly necessary to remark, that there is not the slightest probability of its ever having been the tomb of Lazarus. The form is not that of the ancient sepulchres; nor does its position accord with the narrative of the New Testament, which implies that the tomb was not in the town.”—P. S.]
[Meyer leaves it undecided whether ἐπί here is to be rendered upon or against, before, the cave: “ἐπέκ. ἐπ’ αὐτῷ kann auch heissen: er lag davor, (vgl. Homer, Od. vi. 19: θύραι δ’ ἐπέκειντο), so dass ein horizontaler Eingang gedacht sein würde. Zu entscheiden ist nicht.”—P. S.]
[Olshausen, Luthardt and Trench agree with Lange that the words ἤδη ὄζει, which were spoken before the opening of the tomb, indicate only the conjecture of Martha, which was erroneous, and assume that He who sees the end from the beginning watched over the body of Lazarus in His providence that it should not hasten to corruption. But the fathers (e.g. Augustine: resuscitavit putenten), Calvin (alios Christus suscitavit sed nunc in putrido cadavere potentiam, suam exserit) Stier, Owen, Alford and Wordsworth take the judgment of Martha as a statement of a sensible fact, on the ground that the very act of death is the beginning of decomposition, and that there is no more monstrosity in the raising of a decaying corpse than in the restoration of the withered hand. Godet also is of this opinion: “II est plus naturel de voir dans ces mots I’ expression d’ un fait positif et dont elle a fait elle-même I’ experience.” As an expression of fact it has been turned to apologetic account against the hypothesis of a mere trance or swoon; but the miracle is sufficiently attested without this by the veracity of Christ and of John.—P. S.]
[So also Meyer and Alford. Others suppose that petition and thanksgiving coincided (Merz, Tholuck), still others that Jesus thanked in anticipation of the miracle as if it was already an accomplished fact (Godet, comp. Hengstenberg).—P. S.]
[Trench (p. 330): “The power (of working miracles) was most truly His own, not indeed in disconnection from the Father, for what He saw the Father do, that only He did; but in this, His oneness with the Father, there lay the uninterrupted power of doing these mighty works… . The thanks to God were an acknowledgment that the power was from God.”—P. S.]
[Baur calls the prayer a Scheingebet, Weisse a Schaugebet, conceived by the evangelist in the apologetic interest for the divinity of Christ (Strauss, Scholten). Such impious nonsense arises from utter ignorance of the singular intimacy between Christ and the Father, which is so often asserted in this Gospel (John 5:19-21; John 5:36-37; John 8:16; John 8:18; John 8:29; John 8:42; John 10:25; John 10:30; John 10:38) and illustrated on this occasion. By virtue of this intimacy He, the only Begotten, never addressed God as “our Father,” but as “My Father” or “Father” simply, and stood in constant communication with Him so that His prayers assumed, as it were, the character of reflection and mutual consultation, and were always answered.—P. S.]
[So also Godet: “En rendant grâces à Dieu devant tout le peuple avant de faire le miracle, Jésus met positivement Dieu en part dans l’ æuvre qui va se faire; cette æuvre devient par Ià celle de Dieu même. Jehovah, le Dieu d’ Israel, sera désormais le garant de sa mission,—ou le complice de son imposture.”—P. S.]
[So also Hilary (nullo intervallo vocis et vitæ), Meyer, Alford, Trench. So in the general resurrection the dead will come forth from their graves when they hear the quickening voice of the Son of Man, John 5:28-29; comp. the “shout,” 1 Thessalonians 4:16; and “the last trump,” 1 Corinthians 15:52.—P. S.]
[Also Augustine: processit ille vinctus: non ergo pedibus propriis, sed virtute producentis.]
[So also Meyer, Trench, Owen, Alford is uncertain.—P. S.]
[Dr. Lange omits the disgraceful explanation of Renan, who here resorts to the theory of a downright imposture. See above, p. 339.—P. S.]
[Is not the address recorded in these verses simply a thanksgiving spoken in respect of a previously offered private prayer? Is it not probable that the prayer was being offered during the period of delay beyond Jordan, throughout the travel to Bethany, and in the groanings at the sepulcher?—E. R. C.]
C. Two-fold result of the raising of Lazarus. The believing Jews. The obdurate ones as betrayers. The high-priestly prophecy, or the extinction of the ancient Urim and Thummim. Demoniacal policy and Divine counsel. Jesus now in the wilderness of Ephraim, as He was in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry
45Then many [Many therefore] of the Jews which came [who had come]65 to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus [what he] did, believed on [in] him. 46But some of them went their ways [went away] to the Pharisees, and told them what things [omit things] Jesus had done.
47Then [Therefore] gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council [the Council, or, the Sanhedrin]66 and said, What do we [shall we do, or, are we to do]? for this man doeth [worketh] many miracles [signs]. 48If we let him thus alone [thus go on], all men [omit men] will believe on [in] him; and the Romans shall [will] 49come and take away both our place and nation. And [a certain] one of them, named [omit named] Caiaphas, being the [omit the] high priest that same [omit 50same] year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor [do ye] consider that it is expedient for us [for you],67 that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not [and not the whole nation perish]. 51And this spake he [he spoke] not of [from] himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied [gave the high-priestly prophetic decision] that Jesus should [was about to] die for that [the] nation; 52And not for that [the] nation only, but that also he should [that he might also] gather together in [into] one [body, or, people] the children of God that were [are] scattered abroad.
53Then [Therefore] from that day forth they took counsel together68 for [omit for] to put him to death. 54Jesus therefore walked no more [longer] openly [freely] among the Jews; but went [departed] thence unto a [into the] country near to [omit to] the wilderness, unto a city called Ephraim, and there continued [so-journed, 55abode] with his [the] disciples. And [Now] the Jews’ passover [the passover of the Jews] was nigh at hand [omit nigh, or, at hand]: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56Then sought they [They sought therefore] for Jesus, and spake [said] among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 57Now both [omit both]69 the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment [issued commandments or, ordered],70 that, if any man [any one] knew where he were [was], he should shew it [give information, or, make it known], that they might take [seize] him.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
John 11:45. Many of the Jews therefore. A new split in the Pharisaical party in Jerusalem itself. The important effect of the raising of Lazarus is observable in the fact that many of these Jews became believers. Some, however, of those who witnessed the miracle at Bethany, separate from the believing portion and confirm themselves in their obduracy, giving notice of the event to the Pharisees, i.e., here, the hostile members of the Sanhedrin. Origen held these individuals to be friends of Jesus, whose intentions in giving the information were good. On the other hand the view of Euthymius who regarded them as malevolents, is the one generally entertained. According to Euthymius, they denounced Him as a sorcerer (γοέτης); according to Theophylact, as a sacrilegious person, who had disinterred a corpse. These hypotheses overlook the possibility that the hardened denunciators held the same opinion to which Caiaphas gives utterance John 11:50, and considered Jesus to be merely a dangerous man. And thus their notification is apprehended by the generality of people. Meyer impugns the assumption of hostile intention on the part of these men; it is οἱ ἐλθόντες [who had come], says he,—not τῶν ἐλθόντων [the reading of D. and text rec.—P. S.] But in this construction the evangelist would say, that the—Jews who came to Bethany constituted a plurality of the whole body of Jews. The better plan would be, perhaps, to distinguish among the spectators friends of Mary, sharers of her sentiments; these had come to Mary and were θεασάμενοι. The Jews were well aware of the deadly enmity of the Pharisees towards Jesus; if these informants had been friends, they must have witnessed for Jesus with heroic martyr-courage, and they would have secured a firm and conspicuous station in the evangelical history.
John 11:47. The high priests and the Pharisees therefore assembled the Sanhedrin.—See Comm. on Matthew, chap. 5 p. 113, Am. Ed.; Winer, Art. Synedrium.
1. The Name: συνέδριον, talmudic: סַנְהֵדְרִיך, Sanhedrin.71
2. Signification: the supreme, theocratico-hierarchical Court of the Jews, resident at Jerusalem.
3. Composition and organization. It consisted of seventy-one members forming three classes (chief priests, elders, scribes). At that time it was composed of Pharisaic and Sadducean elements (Caiaphas, the high-priest, belonged to the Sadducean party). The Sanhedrin had a president (הַנָּשִׂיא), ordinarily the high-priest, who was assisted by a vice-president (אַב בֵּית דִּין). There is not sufficient proof that a third functionary, styled חָכָם, stood at the left of the high-priest (Vitringa).
4. Sessions. Extraordinary: in urgent cases at the house of the high-priest. Ordinary: held daily (with the exception of the Sabbath and feast days), of old in a session room adjoining the temple, called Gazith, but in later times (from a period of forty years before the destruction of the temple) in places near the temple-mount.
5. Matters coming under the cognizance of this court as a forum: Matters concerning a whole tribe, a false prophet, the high-priest, or an arbitrary war, or blasphemy.
6. Punitory power. Formerly: Infliction of capital punishment (stoning, burning, beheading, hanging); later: excommunication and recommendation for capital punishment.
7. Administration. Connection with the minor courts; highest court of appeal from these; intercourse with them through surrogates and apparitors.
8. Extent of authority: Legislation, administration, justice.
9. History. According to the Talmudists this court originated in the institution of Moses, Numbers 11:24. That, probably, was but prelusive. So, too, the Supreme court of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 19:8. Increased importance of this institution after the exile. The γερουσία in the time of the Seleucidæ (2MMalachi 1:10); the first decided mention at the time of Antipater and Herod (Joseph. Antiqu., XIV. 9, 4). A session of the Sanhedrin is called.
What shall we do [or, What are we to do, ποιοῦμεμν]?—The indicative, i.e., something must be done.—For this man.—Implacable hatred. They no longer protest against the many signs of Jesus; but nevertheless they contemptuously
say: this man. Doubtless the expression—many miracles, is also intended to obliterate the simple recognition of the grand raising of the dead. At the same time an expression of fear that He would perform yet other miracles.
John 11:48. If we let Him thus alone.—The policy of fear and anti-christianity. It is a wicked and empty fear that all will believe on Him; a wicked and empty fear that thence troubles will arise that will cause the Romans to invade the country; a wicked and empty fear that they will then make an end of the Jewish commonwealth. There is, moreover, in each one of these considerations a co-operative element of falsehood; hence it is likewise a trebly hypocritical fear And a fear, in sooth, which thinks itself justified by its motives, in carrying on hostile proceedings against a prophet of God, a doer of many miracles. In fine, a fear that occasions the very mischief it considers itself bound mischievously to avert. Weisse and Strauss have regarded this hierarchical portrait as an improbable one. Analogies at once suggest themselves; for instance, Ultramontanism confounds the Reformation with Anabaptism, Socialism, Communism, Antichristianity,—and is itself the parent of those very things which it seeks to foist upon the other.
They will take away both our place and nation [καὶτὸντόπονκαὶτὸἔθνος]. Αροῦσιν according to Euthymius and many others, ἀπολέσουσιν, according to Nonnus and others: they will wrest from us; this certainly is more in accordance with their egotistical sentiment which considers everything lost when the hierarchical rule is gone. Tholuck is in favor of: annihilate,—because Judea was already a Roman province. But the hierarchy still exercised rule. Our, ἡμῶν. Meyer: placed first, with the emphasis of egotism. Τὸν τόπον variously construed: 1. As the temple, as the central sanctuary (Origen, Lücke [De Wette, Hengstenberg] and others, after Acts 6:13; 2Ma 5:19); 2. as the country, “Land und Leute” [Luther] country and people—(Bengel, Luthardt, and others);72 3. as the holy city [the seat of the Sanhedrin and the whole hierarchy], in favor of which, Malachi 3:18; Malachi 3:18; 2Ma 3:30. Chrysostom, Meyer.73 Be it observed that the temple with the holy mountain and the holy city form a concrete unit, as the residence of the theocratical hierarchy. However, the expression is also an unconscious prophecy, like the subsequent remark of Caiaphas.
John 11:49. And a certain one of them, Caiaphas. Καϊάφας. See Comm. on Matt. Matthew 26:3. Also Luke 3:2. It must be observed that the Sadducees, to whom Caiaphas belonged, have already begun to take part in the hostility against Jesus; having probably long despised Him, their active enmity is doubtless excited by the raising of Lazarus. They now, in the person of Caiaphas, take the foremost rank in the persecution; subsequently we see them for a time take the lead even of the Pharisees in hostility towards the Christian Church (Acts 4:1-2).
Being high-priest that year [τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκείνου]. Different interpretations:
1. Bretschneider, Strauss [Schenkel, Scholten]: It is the erroneous idea that the high-priestly office changed hands from year to year. [But whoever was the writer of this Gospel, he shows sufficient familiarity with Jewish customs and localities throughout, to manifest that he was incapable of making such a mistake.—P. S.]
2. Baur: The Pseudo-John supposed Caiaphas and Hannas to have discharged the office alternately [very arbitrary].
3. Tholuck: “The repetition of τ. ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκ. John 11:49; John 11:51; John 18:13 cannot be understood otherwise than thus: namely, that the high-priest who once in the year offered the joint sacrifice for the people (Hebrews 9:7), must himself declare that in that year a greater and more universal joint sacrifice should be offered.” Yet John himself refers the saying not to the high priestly, but to the prophetic position of the high-priest.
4. Lücke: In that memorable year, the deathyear of the Redeemer, Caiaphas was at the head of affairs (and the Evangelist deemed it superfluous to add to the mention of this fact a reference to the duration of the office).74 This suffices; yet the expression undoubtedly contains also an intimation to the effect, that the high-priestly-office was debased at that time by the frequent alternations it sustained. See Leben Jesu.
Ye know nothing at all. Οὐκοὐδέν. As he is aware that he is giving utterance to the inmost wishes of the greater part of them, he can, with an appearance of righteous indignation, revile them, without apprehending the taking of much offence.
John 11:50. Nor consider that it is expedient [συμφέρέι] for us—us of the Sanhedrin75—that one man should die for the people [ἵνα—according to divine purpose—εἶς ἄνθρωπος , and not the whole nation perish, καὶ μὴ ὃλον τὸ ἔθνος . Thus the Jewish priesthood expired with an unconscious and unwilling prophecy of Christ’s atoning death, which it typically foreshadowed. Stier and Luthardt see in this a sublime irony of a most special Providence in the very centre of the world’s history.—P. S.] The ὑπέρ, in commodum, for the benefit, becomes also an ἀντί, instead of, in consequence of the concluding clause: “and that not the whole nation (λαός, the whole mass of the people) perish.76 “Analogous sentences are collected by Schöttgen and Wetstein.” The devilishness of this pseudo-political maxim as conceived by Caiaphas, is contained in the idea that Jesus shall be a guiltless and involuntary sacrifice to secure the good of the nation. This diabolical notion causes the proposition to assume, in this sense, an ultra-heathenish, superstitious and lying aspect. It is the completed idea of the most revolting heathen Moloch-sacrifices, into which Israel lapses when at the very acme of its legalistic zeal for putatively pure Judaism. See Leben Jesu, II., p. 1138.
John 11:51. But being high-priest that year, he prophesied—i.e., unconsciously to himself, the wicked decree, as he apprehended it, had the significancy of an official prediction, and, as such, a higher sense. Various interpretations:
1. In the sense of בַּתַ־קוֹל (De Wette). There is undoubtedly something of a kindred nature in the Bath Kol; yet that is here insufficient, and it belongs to another sphere. See Herzog’s Real-Encyklopædie [I. 719].77
2. An involuntary prophecy, like that of old, contained in the involuntary blessing of Balaam (Lücke, Tholuck).78 The cases are certainly allied; they differ, however, in that in the ease of Balaam, a distinction must be made between his common consciousness and his inspired mood (wherefore his words of blessing are not susceptible of a double interpretation, as is his character), while in Caiaphas we have to distinguish between his consciousness and the unconscious expression, mirroring a higher truth, and hence bearing a double meaning.
3. A sentence in accordance with the appointment of the high-priest, to prophesy by the Urim and Thummim, i.e., to utter the decision assignable to divine causality. Leben Jesu 2, 2, p. 1137. [So also Alford. This view is confirmed by the repetition of the phrase ἀρχιερεὺς ὤν τοῦ ἐν. ἐκ. But this reference to the Urim and Thummim does not exclude the second view.—P. S.] “The high-priest,” says Meyer, “was considered in ancient Israelitish times as the bearer of the divine oracle, the organ of divine revelation (Ewald, Antiquities, p. 385 sq.), which he obtained by examination of the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 27:21). It is true that this examination was discontinued in later times (Joseph. Ant. III., 8, 9)—the high-priestly office being in all things shorn of its glory; yet even in the prophetic age there still existed a belief in the prophethood of the high-priest (Hosea 3:4); we find also in Josephus Antiq. VI., 6, 3, the ancient high-priesthood represented as the bearer of the oracle,” etc., [p. 444 f., 5th ed.] The high-priest was not the organ of divine revelation, but of divine decision; for the people whose king was God, must be able in all cases to have the mandate of its King. Now the decision was, if auspicious (as Philo,79 idealizing the priest, represents him as a prophet), a prophecy of blessing; but if the high-priest was an unenlightened man, his oracle became the utterance of a curse. The decision might also, in itself, be the fountain sometimes of fortune, sometimes of misfortune. But even in the latter case there was attached to it the blessing of a divine judgment, that brought deliverance to the pious (rabbinical passages of unconscious predictions in Schöttgen).
That Jesus was about to die [ἥμελλενἀποθνήσκειν]. Ὅτι. The subsequent observation is not merely a pious reflection of John, as Lücke represents it; it is declaratory of the decisive providence of God, which caused the wicked decree to be so worded that it must express at the same time, unconsciously to the speaker, a divine sense, containing the real doctrine of salvation,—the doctrine of the redemption of man by the death of Jesus. To die for the nation.—The ὑπὲρτοῦλαοῦ (John 11:50), with its hierarchico-national sound, is here changed, in accordance with the last words of Caiaphas, into ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους.
John 11:52. And not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one [people] the children of God that are scattered abroad.—Christian universalism, conditional, however, upon divine ordinance, as defined in the Bible, and upon human faith.—[John 11:52 is an addition of the Evangelist to the unconscious prophecy of Caiaphas to prevent a limitation of the benefits of Christ’s death; comp. 1 John 2:2 : “He is the propitiation for our sins; not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”] The children of God. Interpretations:
1. The future children of God. [Among the heathen. Prophetic and proleptic, like 10:16]. (Euthymius [ὡς μέλλοντα γενέσθαι], Meyer [Alford, Trench: Those who should hereafter become His children. So also Calvin, in a predestinarian sense (to which Meyer assents): Filios ergo Dei, etiam antequam vocentur, ab electione æstimat.—P. S.]
2. Children of God, who are longing for Christ (Messner [Tholuck, Luthardt, Godet]).
3. Children of God by nature, who are such without first becoming so through Christ (Hilgenfeld [contrary to 1:12; 3:3, 6, etc.])
4. The children of God generally, among the Jews,—they being in reality scattered by the hierarchy, jealous for the λαός,—as among the heathen, whose religious men have been scattered abroad since the building of the tower of Babel. The antithesis is: dying for the nation as a unit; dying in order to the gathering of the people of God from all places whither they have been scattered. The fundamental idea is the bringing together (this expression does not refer to place) of all the children of God into one, i.e., into one nation, in antithesis to the λαός of Caiaphas. Comp. Ephesians 2:14. In that passage the fundamental idea is the union of believing Jews and Gentiles, as John 10:16; here the fundamental thought is the union of the scattered sheep. Caiaphas said: the nation is perishing—therefore He must die; John says: He, doubtless, has by His death created the true, real λαός. Christ is the union of this people.
John 11:53. From that day forth they held assemblies of their council, having in view His death: meetings for the murder of Christ. Before this time inferior courts, as well as the Sanhedrin itself, have occasionally sought to bring about His death (chh. 5 and 8); before now, individual Pharisees have sought to thrust Him aside by means of their standing tribunal of zealotism (chh. 9 and 10); before this, too, His adherents have been threatened with excommunication,—have been actually excommunicated (John 9:0) Now the question how He shall be put to death, becomes a settled and ever recurring subject of debate in the Sanhedrin. It is clear that Jesus has long been considered by them as under the ban; apparently, fear of the people has deterred them from inflicting public and formal excommunication upon Him, although this is involved in the mandate issued subsequently to this session.
John 11:54. To a city called Ephraim.—Jesus can no longer appear openly among the people without exposing Himself to the danger of being seized and prematurely sacrificed. It only remains to Him to reflect upon the true way of sacrifice. For this purpose He retires to the city of Ephraim, a small place, whence He can easily withdraw into the wilderness for security and contemplation.—Into the country.—The country in antithesis to Jerusalem.—Into a region near the wilderness.—Ἔρημος generally denotes the wilderness of Judea. In reality, however, it is a uniform desert tract between Jerusalem or the hill-country of Judea and the valley of the Jordan; its centre is formed by the wilderness of Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, to the right of the brook of Kidron; this wilderness is continued southwards in the deserts of Engeddi, Siph and Maon, and northwards in those of Tekoa, Jericho (with Mt. Quarantania) and Ephraim, which last appears as the northern extension of the whole desert region of Judea. Thus it was, in effect, one wilderness in which Christ dwelt at the beginning and the close of the years of His ministry. Ephraim was probably situated not far from Bethel, since it is several times associated with Bethel in historical events and records. With regard to the site of Bethel, it is Robinson’s belief that he recognized it in the ruins of Beitîn (Biblical Researches, II., p. 127 [Am. ed., vol. I., p. 449]). “Bethel,” he remarks, “was a border city between Benjamin and Ephraim; at first assigned to Benjamin, but conquered and afterwards retained by Ephraim. According to Eusebius and Jerome, it lay twelve Roman miles from Jerusalem, on the right or east of the road leading to Sichem or Neapolis (Nâbulus). From Beitîn to el-Bîreh we found the distance to be forty-five minutes, and from Bîreh to Jerusalem three hours, with horses.” In an easterly direction, not far from Bethel, Robinson passed the night at the village of Taiyibeh. “Here the proximity of the wilderness was plainly discernible.” In particular, there is here a rocky valley, “overgrown with furzy plants and sage, interspersed with the fragrant Zaeter.” For a description of the desert itself see Robinson. The village of Taiyibeh is considered by some to be identical with the ancient Ephraim [the same with Ophrah (Joshua 18:23; 1 Samuel 13:17) and Ephron (2 Chronicles 13:17) of the Old Testament. So besides Robinson, Van de Velde and Stanley. The latter says (Sinai and Palestine, p. 210): ‘Further still, the dark conical hill of Taiyibeh, with its village perched aloft, like those of the Apennines, the probable representative of Ophrah of Benjamin, in later times ‘the city called Ephraim,’ to which our Lord retired, ‘near to the wilderness,’ after the raising of Lazarus.”—P. S.]
Since Jesus was now resolved to repair to Jerusalem with the next Galilean and Peræan paschal caravan, i.e. since but one step remained for Him to surrender Himself publicly to the Messianic hope entertained by the pious among the people and now purified by Him,—possessing a distinct foresight, however, of the death resulting upon this step, accompanied by the succumbing of the party of believers to the hierarchical party—(see Leben Jesu II., p. 1140)—Ephraim was the place exactly fitted for a temporary sojourn. Hence He could at need withdraw into the desert; here He could collect His disciples and prepare them for the last journey (see Comm, on Matthew, p. 360, Am. Ed.); here He could join either the caravan coming across Samaria to Bethel or the one passing through Jericho on its way from Peræa (see Tholuck, p. 316). Comp. Joshua 15:61; Joshua 16:1; Joshua 18:22; 2 Kings 2:0. It was in the vicinity of Jericho, according to the Synoptists, that Jesus attached Himself to the festive train from Peræa, having, it is probable, previously received His friends from the Galilean company that passed through Samaria.
John 11:55. And the passover of the Jews was at hand. The nearness of this feast occasioned many to go out of the Jewish country (χώρα not simply that region, as Bengel supposes, but the country in contrast to Jerusalem) beforehand up to Jerusalem, because they had to purify themselves (Lightfoot) before the feast, by means of the prescribed sacrifices and ablutions (Numbers 9:6; 2 Chronicles 30:17 ff.).
John 11:56. They sought therefore for Jesus. We gather from this, in the first place, how eagerly all the people were expecting the appearance of Jesus at the feast. They had hoped to find Him already in Jerusalem. Hence, then, it likewise follows that no special reference is had to people from the country about Ephraim. We therefore translate the ὅτι οὐ μὴ ἔλθῃ: that He will not come (with Meyer), but not: that He has not come (Vulgate and others). Some appear to take it for granted from the condition of things that He will not come, while others question this decision. Manifestly, it is like a sort of betting whether He will come or not. The occasion of this conduct was the mandate of the high-priest, which had been spread abroad throughout the land by means of special orders of the Sanhedrin (see the Textual note) and in accordance with which every one who knew of the abode of Jesus, was bound to give information of it. This mandate—a kind of interdict—of course presupposes excommunication. There seems to have been at that time not a single traitor among the peasants and dwellers in the deserts of Ephraim. Subsequently, however, this decree formed a point for Judas to fasten on. He probably silenced his conscience at first with the cry, that he must be an “obedient son” of the hierarchical Church, or a “loyal subject” of the spiritual authorities. The decree may be regarded as the result of the session John 11:47 (comp. John 11:53, Meyer). The anteposition of δεδώκεισαν, with reference to the decree, is emphatic. We must observe that this edict was at all events designed as an interdict,—a fact of special importance to the friends of Jesus; no one should receive Him into his house without giving information of Him, i.e. without hostility to Him. In all probability the command was issued with a particular view to the family of Lazarus. See John 12:10.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. It has been early demonstrated by John in the history of Nicodemus, that a sincere lawzealot, Jew and Pharisee may believe and be saved. Here he gives prominence to the fact that many Jews believed after witnessing the raising of Lazarus. And this was the second great spiritual miracle connected with the external mighty miracle of the raising of Lazarus: with one impulse many Jews believed on Him. Some, indeed, of those who at first were overpowered by the grand fact, may probably have apostatized. At all events, there was a remnant of unbelievers. To these the savor of life unto life did here become literally a savor of death unto death.
2. The Jews who go from Bethany, from the grave of Lazarus, to the Pharisees, to show them what Jesus has done, are thus become precursors of Judas; in a general sense, types of apostates. They all come—from Bethany; they all go—to the Pharisees; they all, with hostile intent, report what Jesus has done.
3. The council of blood. The policy of fear. It occasions what it means to avert. The policy of timidity became a policy of intimidation, terrorism. Probably the rough words of Caiaphas to his colleagues were further serviceable in terroristically beating down any attempt on the part of the friends of Jesus, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, to dwell upon His many miracles (comp. Gerlach on this passage). It is not likely that these men had any share in the subsequent determined deliberations of the Council of Blood. Once they expressed their positive disapprobation (see Luke 23:51), probably on this very occasion. To this the minute account of this session is no doubt attributable.
4. On the road of ultra-Judaism the Jews have relapsed into the worst heathenism. Pursuant to the counsel of Caiaphas, they relapsed, as regards their intentions into the Moloch-sacrifice. After the destruction of Jerusalem, at the conquest of Massada, into the suicidal despair of the Hindus (Josephus, De bello jud., VII. chh. VIII. IX.); with their Talmud into a mythology which, in comparison with that of Greece and Home, is utterly odious. Thus, too, Christian Judaism [Romanism] usually relapses into the most abominable heathenism.
5. Even Caiaphas, then, has with tolerable plainness set forth the maxim: the end justifies the means.
6. The extinction of the Old Testament office of high-priestly prophecy in the sentence of Caiaphas. Caiaphas must unconsciously sketch the principal features of Christian dogmatics and soteriology. The fearful double meaning of his speech with regard to his intention and the meaning of the Spirit. What it proves: 1. Pro 16:1 :80 Man is master of his intention; that is his own; not so, however, the full import of his words. In the domain of speech the cooperating and counteracting rule of divine providence begins. 2. The symbolical ministry becomes, even in its ungodly tendency, an unconscious prophecy of the real ministry of the Spirit; the false, official high-priest a prophet of the true High Priest and His sacrifice. In what relation do these types stand to the former typism? They are types moulded by the irony of divine dispensation from the elements of human perversity. The school of truth is perfected in the mouth of these wicked priests, while the school of falsehood is perfected in their heart. Hence they are able to blaspheme with words of prayer, to prophesy with words of demoniacal policy. Caiaphas prophesied. “Roman Catholics apply this to popes; popes, though wicked, might still be the organs of truth, as Stolberg remarks in his History of the Religion of Jesus. Our church teaches only—that the Word of God and the Sacraments retain their own virtue even when administered by unregenerate preachers.” Heubner. But here also a relative soundness of the Church as a body must be assumable.
7. The Urim and Thummim are likewise expressive of the truth that decision and resolution are needful in all cases, while, on the other hand, endless vacillation is the greatest evil. Therefore God hardens Pharaoh’s heart with the view of expediting matters, and Judas also receives the command, “What thou doest, do quickly.” The temporal hardening of the people of Israel, however, was designed to prevent their eternal obduracy, Romans 9-11.
8. The work of Christ, regarded by His enemies as a scattering and destroying of the ancient people of God, resulted in the creation of a new and real people of God, gathered from abroad.
9. Christ in the wilderness at the beginning and the end of His career. In the beginning He resolved not to appear publicly under the title of the Messiah, to avoid the Messianic conception of His nation. Now the time had come for Him to issue from the desert for the purpose of surrendering Himself to the Messianic faith of His people, in the state of purification to which He had brought it.
10. Christ the subject of interest and conversation with all the people, while they are occupied with services of ordinances and legal works of purification. How is this? An ultra-montane mind cannot rid itself of the thought of the Evangelical Confession; moreover, the friends of Jesus are present in the camp of legality.
11. The mandate of the Supreme Council: the interdict. Men should show where Christ was. Soon He showed Himself and afterwards all Christian church-steeples pointed upwards to Him. And thus Luther is no longer hidden in the Wartburg, but is everywhere proclaiming himself to the hierarchy.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The decisive effect of the raising of Lazarus.—Bethany and its quiet family the starting point of the decision: 1. The starting point of the positive separation between the friends and the enemies of Jesus; 2. of the palm-entry; 3. of Judas, as 4. of the faithful anointing of the dying Christ.—Sincere consciences are liberated from dead ordinances by facts of life.—The “some” also believed that Jesus had raised Lazarus; they believed it and trembled with fear and rage. Comp. James 2:19.—Even the new life of Lazarus to some a savor of death unto death.—And thus every important awakening is a soul-danger (of offence) for those whose attitude towards the truth is a false one.—Treachery a main-spring of unbelief.—The conference of the Supreme Council about the raising of Lazarus: 1. The wicked lack of counsel of some; 2. the hellish counsel of the high-priest; 3. the silenced voice of the pious counselors (Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea); 4. the heavenly counsel of divine Providence.—How selfish fear ever brings on by its superstitious proceedings the very trouble it would avert by arbitrary acts (the parents of (Œdipus).—He who thinks to escape some fate by wicked ways of his own choosing, incurs the doom he flees.—The Supreme Council also prophesied in its own fashion,—like the high-priest; the former conversely, Caiaphas unconsciously.—The recognition of the works of Christ uttered by the Supreme Council: He doeth many signs.—The saying of Caiaphas in its twofold sense.—The irony of divine Providence as exercised over human perversity, Psalms 2:4.—The ministry of the letter a type of the ministry of the spirit; thus, too, unconsciously, official—things and words are manifoldly typical.—Christ, by His death, the Rescuer of the ancient people, the Creator of a new people.—They would kill Him because He made alive.—This the main reproach that the slaying ordinance has to make against vitalizing faith.—How the Supreme Council has become a standing court of inquisition against Christ.—Jesus, outlawed and banished, in the wilderness.—The Jews who have repaired to Jerusalem, do not converse about their Jewish rites and ceremonies, but about Christ.—The conjectures (bets), as to whether He will dare come or not.—The champion of God; and Israel with Philistinish thoughts concerning Him.—The Jewish edict and interdict, John 11:57.—How all the world fulfils this commandment: 1. How enemies show where Christ Isaiah 2:0. friends.—How Christ gives information concerning Himself. See Matthew 26:64.—How far the edict was ineffectual or rather accomplished the reverse of its design.
Starke, Hedinger: How wise worldly-minded people and knavish men think themselves, when they imagine that they are able to quench the word and kingdom of Christ by their false, famous strokes of state!—Cramer: It is possible even for councils and assemblies of the learned to err.—It is never well to make church matters affairs of state.—Zeisius: The Jews thought that if they did but put Christ out of the way, their repose and prosperity would be lastingly secured, and it was thus that they lost both their temporal and spiritual good things.—Bibl. Wirt.: God often punishes the wicked with calamities which they thought they had averted.—Canstein: It is almost a daily occurrence for men to plunge into disaster while essaying to ward off some imaginary evil.—Ibid.: It is the way of worldly-minded politicians to measure all things by the standard of profit and gain, not by that of truth, righteousness and justice; and this, while in most cases the prosperity of the country is declared to be the grand reason for such a course, though in reality they are actuated by nothing but selfishness.—Osiander: The false church is cruel and blood-thirsty.—O happy country, that receives the Son of God in His persecution!
Gerlach: “That He should die instead of the whole nation, a cleanse-offering, as it were, to avert the ruin that else would threaten the entire nation.—It seems that superstition was mingled with the unbelief of the Sadducee, or that he feigned it while in company with the Pharisees. (Not the Sadducees, however, but the Essenes, were at variance with the old system of sacrifices).—Not merely for the Jews whom Caiaphas meant, but also that He should gather God’s elect into His flock from among the heathen, whilst this wicked high-priest believed that the dispersion of His followers would be the natural accompaniment of His death. (Quite right. This, however, is the first antithesis present to the mind of the evangelist: In the sense of Caiaphas the meaning is: if Christ die, the Jewish nation lives, in the ordinary sense,—while the higher sense of the ambiguous expression was; if Christ die, the nation lives as a redeemed people, and thus a great nation is formed from the scattered children of God).—Lisco: The decision of Caiaphas, that the end justifies the means, that necessity is here an excuse for injustice.—They feel that one must fall: the kingdom of purity and truth, or the kingdom of falsehood and hypocrisy; and this last, in their avaricious lust of dominion, they desire to save.
Gossner: They are forced to say it themselves: this man doeth many miracles. This is true, to be sure,—but—of what consequence is a single man? (thinks Caiaphas) it is the many, to whom regard is due. The world cares nothing for the small ones of the earth; it thinks: what if they be unjustly dealt with, so long as the others are satisfied?
John 11:55. To His last hour He was a faithful church-goer and observer of religion. If He for once missed a feast-day, the people immediately inquired: where is He?
John 11:57. They wished to prepare themselves a festive joy, and to do God a service by slaying His Son at the Passover.—He should show it. An obedient son of the devil was Judas, who conscientiously obeyed this command of hell and delivered Jesus into their hands. “The church hath commanded it.” Thus Judas might (fain would) think.
Heubner: The assembly should have met for the recognition of Jesus. It was the duty of the Supreme Council to be the first to accept Jesus and to call upon the nation to accept Him. But from this very college proceeded the rejection of Jesus. The power of self-interest, and avarice, make men blind to the strongest proofs of divine power,—deaf to the voice of God.
John 11:49-50. How are the weal of the masses and the right of the individual to be united? Impure state-craft never discovers the right means for accomplishing such a result.—The same words have an entirely different sense in the mouth of the wicked and the meaning of the Holy Ghost.
John 11:54. This concealment of Jesus also belonged to His state of humiliation. The Light that lightened all men must withdraw itself.—Often it was a hidden country, valley, that received Christ’s faithful ones until the wrath of the enemy was overpast.
Schleiermacher: Evil should be overcome only by good. But to do evil that good may come is the grossest perversity and the worst depravity into which man can fall.—Involuntarily he prophesied, and in uttering the counsel of human depravity, he declared at the same time the counsel of eternal wisdom and love,—the counsel of Him who gave His Son for us while we were yet sinners.
Besser, John 11:43 : They went their way to the Pharisees who were a net spread, Hosea 5:1.—Once, on the threshold of the Promised land, Israel was blessed through the prediction of a prophet who would fain have cursed; him the strength of the Lord overpowered, putting words into his mouth which confirmed the promise made to the Patriarchs and renewed through Moses, Numbers 23:24. Thus Caiaphas, willing to curse, must now, a second Balaam, on the threshold of the New Covenant, pronounce a blessing upon the true Israel, confirming the prediction of the law and the prophets concerning the expiatory death of the Lamb (see, however, the note to John 11:51).—“Caiaphas and Pilate condemned Jesus, but both must testify of Him in words exceeding the sense which they consciously attached to them; here Caiaphas witnesses to the high-priestly death of Christ,—there Pilate testifies to His kingdom, in the superscription of the cross” (Bengel).—John reads the names of many scattered ones already written in God’s heart as children; he gazes with opened eyes into the holy mission movement of the whole reconciled world, which movement shall not end until all that the Father hath given the Son are brought together.
[Craven: From Origen: John 11:47. This speech an evidence of their audacity and blindness.
John 11:51. Not every one who prophesies is a prophet, as not every one who does a just action is just.
John 11:54. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews: It is praiseworthy when struggles are at hand (pressed upon us) not to avoid confession or refuse to suffer; and it is no less praiseworthy to avoid giving occasion for such trial. If we do not avoid our persecutor, when we have the opportunity (without sin), we make ourselves responsible for his offence.——From Gregory: John 11:50-53. That which human cruelty executed against Him, He turned to the purposes of His mercy.——From Augustine: John 11:47-48. They were afraid of losing temporal things and thought not of eternal life, and thus they lost both.
John 11:54. He would show by example that believers do not sin by retiring from the sight of persecutors.——From Chrysostom: John 11:51. The power of the Holy Ghost in drawing forth a prophecy from a wicked man.—The virtue of a (divinely appointed) office.
John 11:56. His enemies made the feast time, the time of His death.——From Alcuin: John 11:56. Men may seek Jesus with bad intent.—From Theophylact: John 11:55-57. While engaged in purifications they were plotting our Lord’s death.—From Burkitt: John 11:45-46. The different effects produced by this miracle.
John 11:48. Opposers of Christ color their enmity with specious pretences.
John 11:50. A most wicked speech: as a judge he regarded not what was lawful but as a politician consented to what was (apparently) expedient.—It is unlawful to (strive to) promote the greatest national good by unlawful means.
John 11:51. It is consistent with the holiness of God to make use of the worst of men in declaring his will.
John 11:53. The baneful effects of evil counsel, especially from leading men.——From M. Henry: John 11:47. The witness of the Sanhedrin for Christ.
John 11:48. The success of the gospel the dread of its adversaries. When men lose piety they lose courage. Pretended fears are often the color of malicious designs.
John 11:49-50. Carnal policy commonly sets up reasons of state in opposition to rules of justice.—That calamity which we seek to escape by sin, we take the most effectual course to bring upon us.—That the welfare of communities is to be preferred before that of individuals, is a true or false maxim as it may be employed; it is expedient and honorable for an individual to hazard his life for his country, but it is devilish for rulers to put an innocent man to death under color of consulting the public safety.
John 11:51. Caiaphas prophesied—1. God often employs wicked men as His instruments; 2. prophecy in the mouth is no infallible evidence of grace in the heart.
John 11:51-52. The enlargement of the Evangelist on the prophecy, teaching—1. for whom Christ died, (1) the Jews, (2) the children of God scattered abroad, (a) then living, (b) throughout all time; 2. the purpose of His death concerning these, to gather them together in one.—Christ’s dying is—1. the great attractive of our hearts; 2. the great centre of our unity, (1) by the merit of His death recommending all in one to the favor of God, (2) by the motive of His death drawing each to the love of every other.
John 11:53. Evil men confirm themselves and one another in ill practices by conference.
John 11:57. It is an aggravation of the sins of rulers when they make their subjects the instruments of their unrighteousness.—From Scott: John 11:47-57. No devices of man can derange the purposes of God; whilst hypocrites and worldlings pursue their own projects, Christ still communes with His disciples (John 11:54) and orders all things for His own glory and their salvation.—From Barnes: John 11:50-51. God may—1. fulfill the words of the wicked in a way they do not intend; 2. make their wicked plots the means of accomplishing His purposes.—From A Plain Commentary (Oxford): John 11:51. The unworthiness of the individual does not affect the sanctity of his office.—From Ryle: John 11:46. Seeing miracles will not necessarily convert souls, Luke 16:31.
John 11:47-57. The power of unbelief; ecclesiastical rulers are often the foremost enemies of the gospel. John 11:50. What is morally wrong can never be politically right.
John 11:53. The conclusions of great ecclesiastical councils are sometimes wicked.
John 11:54. Christ retires Himself for a season before His last great work; it is well to get alone and be still, before we undertake any great work for God.
John 11:55. What importance bad men sometimes attach to outward ceremonial. The religion which expends itself in zeal for outward formalities is worthless.——From Owen: John 11:52. Gathered in one, i.e., into one spiritual nation or people.
[John 11:47-50. The blinding power of hate.
John 11:54. Christ never acted recklessly nor in bravado, nor in the spirit of one seeking martyrdom; He did Himself from danger when duty did not require exposure.]
John 11:45; John 11:45.—[Οἱ ἐλθόντες is the true reading, supported by Origen, and adopted by Alford, Tischendorf, etc., instead of τῶν ἐλθόντων of Cod. D.—P. S.]
John 11:47; John 11:47.—[συνέδριον means the Sanhedrin, the great council of the Jews. See Exeg.—P. S.]
John 11:50; John 11:50.—[Tischendorf (ed. 1869), Alford, Westcott and Hort read ὑμῖν in accordance with B. D. L., etc., instead of ἡμῖν. Lange follows here the text. rec.—P. S.]
John 11:53; John 11:53.—[Tischendorf supplies συνεβουλέυσαντο by ἐβουλέυσαντο in accordance with Sin. B. D.—P. S.]
John 11:57; John 11:57.—καὶ is omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf in accordance with many Codd. Yet it is recommended by Cod. D. and others, and was perhaps omitted because men failed to recognize the great intensification of the persecution of Jesus expressed in this mandate. Since the decree in question must be disseminated throughout the land, we also consider the reading ἐντολάς, in accordance with B. M., etc., to be correct. [The first καί after δεδώκεισαν, which in the E. V. is rendered both, must be rejected on the authority of א. A. B. K. L. M. U. X., Alford, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort.—P. S.]
John 11:57; John 11:57.—[The singular ἐντολήν of the text. rec. as a correction (because but one is mentioned) must be set aside for the plural ἐντολάς, orders, on the authority of Cod. Sin. and B., etc.—P. S.]
[Sanhedrin is more accurate than Sanhedrim, though this is more frequently used (even by Alford). The rabbinical attempts to trace it to a Hebrew root are futile (see Buxtorf, sub verb.); it is formed from the Greek συνέδριον (σύνεδρος, ἕδρα), a sitting together, an assembly, a council. Winer’s article is more scholarly than the article Sanhedrim in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible. Lange has conveniently brought together all the necessary information on the subject.—P. S.]
[Alford: Our local habitation and national existence.—P. S.]
[So also Grotius, Ewald, Bäumlein, Godet.—P. S.]
[So also Meyer and Alford. Comp. 18:13, where the expression is repeated.—P. S.]
[Lange follows Lachmann in reading ἡμῖν. But the true reading is ὑμῖν, for you, see Text. Notes.—P. S.]
[There is here a slight mistake, as will he seen by referring to the Greek text. Caiaphas uses λαός in the first, and ἔθνος in the last clause. Meyer distinguishes between ἔθνος, the people as a nation, and λαός, the people as a political or theocratic society. Or, to speak more accurately, λαός usually signifies the chosen people (Matthew 1:21; Matthew 2:4; Matthew 2:6, etc.), ἔθνος, a nation among the nations (comp. below John 11:52 οὐχ ὑπὲρ τοὐ ἔθνους μόνον); Matthew 24:7, “nation against nation;” 25:32, “all nations,” etc.). Yet λαός is also used for a great crowd or multitude, like ὅχλος, John 8:2; Luke 23:27, “a great company of people,” etc.—P. S.]
[The Talmudic term, Bath Kol, lit., “the daughter of the voice,” means the echo of a heavenly voice of revelation, or a divine oracle which the Rabbins imagined to receive, or which they were accustomed to derive from accidental circumstances and lots. It arose after the extinction of the prophecy and is a bastard substitute for it. John would not use of this the verb ἐπροφήτευσεν.—P. S.]
[So also Trench and Wordsworth. Similar instances of involuntary prophets or witnesses to the truth we have in Pharaoh, Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, Pilate.god uses bad men as well as good ones for His own ends; He can speak wisdom even through the mouth of an ass, and confound the philosophers. Trench says: “There is no difficulty in such unconscious prophecies as this evidently is. How many prophecies of the like kind,—most of them, it is true, rather in act than in word, meet us in the whole history of the crucifixion! What was the title over our blessed Lord, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,’ but another such scornful and contemptuous, yet most veritable prophecy? Or what again the robe and the homage, the sceptre and the crown? And in the typical rehearsals of the great and final catastrophe in the drama of God’s providence, how many Nimrods and Pharaohs, antichrists that do not quite come to the birth, have prophetic parts allotted to them, which they play out, unknowing what they do; for such is the divine irony; so, in a very deep sense of the words,
‘Ludit in humanis divina potentia rebus,’ ”—P. S.]
[De creat. princ. II., p. 367.]
[Luther’s translation reads differently from our English version, viz: “Man indeed proposeth in his heart, but from the Lord cometh what the tongue shall speak.”]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on John 11". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14