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Bible Commentaries
John 10

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

Verily, Verily (Αμην, αμην). Solemn prelude by repetition as in John 1:51. The words do not ever introduce a fresh topic (cf. John 8:34; John 8:51; John 8:58). So in John 10:7. The Pharisees had previously assumed (Vincent) they alone were the authoritative guides of the people (John 9:24; John 9:29). So Jesus has a direct word for them. So Jesus begins this allegory in a characteristic way. John does not use the word παραβολη, but παροιμια (verse John 10:6), and it really is an allegory of the Good Shepherd and self-explanatory like that of the Prodigal Son in John 10:15. He first tells it in verses John 10:1-5 and then explains and expands it in verses John 10:7-18.

Into the fold of the sheep (εις την αυλην των προβατων). Originally αυλη (from αω, to blow) in Homer's time was just an uncovered space around the house enclosed by a wall, then a roofless enclosure in the country where flocks were herded as here and verse John 10:16. It later came to mean the house itself or palace (Matthew 26:3; Matthew 26:58, etc.). In the papyri it means the court attached to the house.

Climbeth up (αναβαινων). Present active participle of αναβαινω, to go up. One who goes up, not by the door, has to climb up over the wall.

Some other way (αλλαχοθεν). Rare word for old αλλοθεν, but in 4Macc. 1:7 and in a papyrus. Only here in N.T.

The same (εκεινος). "That one" just described.

Is a thief and a robber (κλεπτης εστιν κα ληιστης). Both old and common words (from κλεπτω, to steal, ληιζομα, to plunder). The distinction is preserved in the N.T. as here. Judas was a κλεπτης (John 12:6), Barabbas a robber (John 18:40) like the two robbers (Matthew 27:38; Matthew 27:44) crucified with Jesus erroneously termed thieves like "the thief on the cross" by most people. See Mark 11:17. Here the man jumping over the wall comes to steal and to do it by violence like a bandit. He is both thief and robber.

Verse 2

The shepherd of the sheep (ποιμην εστιν των προβατων). No article with ποιμην, "a shepherd to the sheep." He comes in by the door with the sheep whom he leads. Old word is ποιμην, root meaning to protect. Jesus applies it to himself in verse John 10:16 and implies it here. It is used of Christ in 1 Peter 2:25; Hebrews 13:20. Paul applies it to ministers in Ephesians 4:11. Jesus uses the verb ποιμαινω, to shepherd, to Peter (John 21:16) and Peter uses it to other preachers (1 Peter 5:2) and Paul uses it for bishops (elders) in Acts 20:28. Our word pastor is simply Latin for shepherd. Christ is drawing a sharp contrast after the conduct of the Pharisees towards the blind man between himself and them.

Verse 3

To him (τουτω). "To this one," the shepherd, in dative case.

The porter (ο θυρωρος). Old word for doorkeeper (θυρα, door, ωρα, care, carer for the door). Used for man (Mark 13:34; John 10:3) or woman (John 18:16), only N.T. examples. The porter has charge of the sheep in the fold at night and opens the door in the morning for the shepherd. It is not certain that Jesus meant this detail to have a special application. The Holy Spirit, of course, does open the door of our hearts for Jesus through various agencies.

Hear his voice (της φωνης αυτου ακουε). Hear and heed (verse John 10:27). Note genitive case φωνης (accusative in John 3:8).

By name (κατ' ονομα). Several flocks might be herded in the same fold overnight. But the shepherd knows his own (τα ιδια) sheep (verse John 10:27) and calls their names. "It is still common for Eastern shepherds to give particular names to their sheep" (Bernard).

And leadeth them out (κα εξαγε αυτα). Old and common verb, present active indicative. The sheep follow readily (verse John 10:27) because they know their own shepherd's voice and his name for each of them and because he has led them out before. They love and trust their shepherd.

Verse 4

When he hath put forth all his own (οταν τα ιδια παντα εκβαλη). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν and the second aorist (effective) active subjunctive of εκβαλλω. No need of the futurum exactum idea, simply, "when he leads out all his own sheep." They are all out of the fold. He overlooks none. Εκβαλλω does mean "thrust out" if a reluctant sheep wishes to linger too long.

He goeth before them (εμπροσθεν αυτων πορευετα). Staff in hand he leads the way in front of the flock and they follow (ακολουθε) him. What a lesson for pastors who seek to drive the church like cattle and fail. The true pastor leads in love, in words, in deeds.

Verse 5

A stranger (αλλοτριω). Literally, "One belonging to another" (from αλλος, opposed to ιδιος). A shepherd of another flock, it may be, not necessarily the thief and robber of verse John 10:1. Note associative instrumental case after ακολουθησουσιν (future active indicative of ακολουθεω, verse John 10:4). Note the strong double negative ου μη here with the future indicative, though usually with the aorist subjunctive (Aleph L W have it here). They simply will not follow such a man or woman, these well-trained sheep will not.

But will flee from him (αλλα φευξοντα απ' αυτου). Future middle of φευγω and ablative case with απο. They will flee as if from a wolf or from the plague. Alas and alas, if only our modern pastors had the sheep (old and young) so trained that they would run away from and not run after the strange voices that call them to false philosophy, false psychology, false ethics, false religion, false life.

Verse 6

This parable (ταυτην την παροιμιαν). Old word for proverb from παρα (beside) and οιμος, way, a wayside saying or saying by the way. As a proverb in N.T. in 2 Peter 2:22 (quotation from Proverbs 26:11), as a symbolic or figurative saying in John 16:25; John 16:29, as an allegory in John 10:6. Nowhere else in the N.T. Curiously enough in the N.T. παραβολη occurs only in the Synoptics outside of Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:19. Both are in the LXX. Παραβολη is used as a proverb (Luke 4:23) just as παροιμια is in 2 Peter 2:22. Here clearly παροιμια means an allegory which is one form of the parable. So there you are. Jesus spoke this παροιμια to the Pharisees, "but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them" (εκεινο δε ουκ εγνωσαν τινα ην α ελαλε αυτοις). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω and note ην in indirect question as in John 2:25 and both the interrogative τινα and the relative α. "Spake" (imperfect ελαλε) should be "Was speaking or had been speaking."

Verse 7

Therefore again (ουν παλιν). Jesus repeats the allegory with more detail and with more directness of application. Repeating a story is not usually an exhilarating experience.

I am the door of the sheep (εγω ειμ η θυρα των προβατων). The door for the sheep by which they enter. "He is the legitimate door of access to the spiritual αυλη, the Fold of the House of Israel, the door by which a true shepherd must enter" (Bernard). He repeats it in verse John 10:9. This is a new idea, not in the previous story (John 10:1-5). Moffatt follows the Sahidic in accepting ο ποιμην here instead of η θυρα, clearly whimsical. Jesus simply changes the metaphor to make it plainer. They were doubtless puzzled by the meaning of the door in verse John 10:1. Once more, this metaphor should help those who insist on the literal meaning of bread as the actual body of Christ in Mark 14:22. Jesus is not a physical "door," but he is the only way of entrance into the Kingdom of God (John 14:6).

Verse 8

Before me (προ εμου). Aleph with the Latin, Syriac, and Sahidic versions omit these words (supported by A B D L W). But with or without προ εμου Jesus refers to the false Messiahs and self-appointed leaders who made havoc of the flock. These are the thieves and robbers, not the prophets and sincere teachers of old. The reference is to verse John 10:1. There had been numerous such impostors already (Josephus, Ant. XVIII. i. 6; War II. viii. I) and Jesus will predict many more (Matthew 24:23). They keep on coming, these wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15) who grow rich by fooling the credulous sheep. In this case "the sheep did not hear them" (ουκ ηκουσαν αυτων τα προβατα). First aorist active indicative with genitive. Fortunate sheep who knew the Shepherd's voice.

Verse 9

The door (η θυρα). Repeated from verse John 10:7.

By me if any man enter in (δι' εμου εαν τις εισελθη). Condition of third class with εαν and second aorist active subjunctive of εισερχομα. Note proleptic and emphatic position of δι' εμου. One can call this narrow intolerance, if he will, but it is the narrowness of truth. If Jesus is the Son of God sent to earth for our salvation, he is the only way. He had already said it in John 5:23. He will say it again more sharply in John 14:6. It is unpalatable to the religious dogmatists before him as it is to the liberal dogmatists today. Jesus offers the open door to "any one" (τις) who is willing (θελε) to do God's will (John 7:17).

He shall be saved (σωθησετα). Future passive of σωζω, the great word for salvation, from σως, safe and sound. The sheep that comes into the fold through Jesus as the door will be safe from thieves and robbers for one thing. He will have entrance (εισλευσετα) and outgo (εξελευσετα), he will be at home in the daily routine (cf. Acts 1:21) of the sheltered flock.

And shall find pasture (κα νομην ευρησε). Future (linear future) indicative of ευρισκω, old word from νεμω, to pasture. In N.T. only here and 2 Timothy 2:17 (in sense of growth). This same phrase occurs in 1 Chronicles 4:40. The shepherd leads the sheep to pasture, but this phrase pictures the joy of the sheep in the pasture provided by the shepherd.

Verse 10

But that he may steal, and kill, and destroy (ε μη ινα κλεψη κα θυση κα απολεση). Literally, "except that" (ε μη) common without (Matthew 12:4) and with verb (Galatians 1:7), "if not" (literally), followed here by final ινα and three aorist active subjunctives as sometimes by οταν (Mark 9:9) or οτ (2 Corinthians 12:13). Note the order of the verbs. Stealing is the purpose of the thief, but he will kill and destroy if necessary just like the modern bandit or gangster.

I came that they may have life (εγω ηλθον ινα ζωην εχωσιν). In sharp contrast (εγω) as the good shepherd with the thieves and robbers of verse John 10:1 came Jesus. Note present active subjunctive (εχωσιν), "that they (people) may keep on having life (eternal, he means)" as he shows in John 10:28. He is "the life" (John 14:6).

And may have it abundantly (κα περισσον εχωσιν). Repetition of εχωσιν (may keep on having) abundance (περισσον, neuter singular of περισσος). Xenophon (Anab. VII. vi. 31) uses περισσον εχειν, "to have a surplus," true to the meaning of overflow from περ (around) seen in Paul's picture of the overplus (υπερεπερισσευσεν in Romans 5:20) of grace. Abundance of life and all that sustains life, Jesus gives.

Verse 11

I am the good shepherd (εγω ειμ ο ποιμην ο καλος). Note repetition of the article, "the shepherd the good one." Takes up the metaphor of verses John 10:2. Vulgate pastor bonus. Philo calls his good shepherd αγαθος, but καλος calls attention to the beauty in character and service like "good stewards" (1 Peter 4:10), "a good minister of Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 4:6). Often both adjectives appear together in the ancient Greek as once in the New Testament (Luke 8:15). "Beauty is as beauty does." That is καλος.

Layeth down his life for his sheep (την ψυχην αυτου τιθησιν υπερ των προβατων). For illustration see 1 Samuel 17:35 (David's experience) and Isaiah 31:4. Dods quotes Xenophon (Mem. ii. 7, 14) who pictures even the sheep dog as saying to the sheep: "For I am the one that saves you also so that you are neither stolen by men nor seized by wolves." Hippocrates has ψυχην κατεθετο (he laid down his life, i.e. died). In Judges 12:3 εθηκα την ψυχην means "I risked my life." The true physician does this for his patient as the shepherd for his sheep. The use of υπερ here (over, in behalf of, instead of), but in the papyri υπερ is the usual preposition for substitution rather than αντ. This shepherd gives his life for the sin of the world (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2).

Verse 12

He that is a hireling (ο μισθωτος). Old word from μισθοω, to hire (Matthew 20:1) from μισθος (hire, wages, Luke 10:7), in N.T. only in this passage. Literally, "the hireling and not being a shepherd" (ο μισθωτος κα ουκ ων ποιμην). Note ουκ with the participle ων to emphasize the certainty that he is not a shepherd in contrast with μη εισερχομενος in verse John 10:1 (conceived case). See same contrast in 1 Peter 1:8 between ουκ ιδοντες and μη ορωντες. The hireling here is not necessarily the thief and robber of verses John 10:1; John 10:8. He may conceivably be a nominal shepherd (pastor) of the flock who serves only for the money, a sin against which Peter warned the shepherds of the flock "not for shameful gain" (1 Peter 5:2).

Whose own (ου ιδια). Every true shepherd considers the sheep in his care "his own" (ιδια) even if he does not actually "own" them. The mere "hireling" does not feel so.

Beholdeth (θεωρε). Vivid dramatic present, active indicative of θεωρεω, a graphic picture.

The wolf coming (τον λυκον ερχομενον). Present middle predicate participle of ερχομα.

Leaveth the sheep, and fleeth (αφιησιν τα προβατα κα φευγε). Graphic present actives again of αφιημ and φευγω. The cowardly hireling cares naught for the sheep, but only for his own skin. The wolf was the chief peril to sheep in Palestine. See Matthew 10:6 where Jesus says: "Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves."

And the wolf snatcheth them and scattereth them (κα ο λυκος αρπαζε κα σκορπιζε). Vivid parenthesis in the midst of the picture of the conduct of the hireling. Bold verbs these. For the old verb αρπαζω see John 6:15; Matthew 11:12, and for σκορπιζω, late word (Plutarch) for the Attic σκεδαννυμ, see Matthew 12:30. It occurs in the vision of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:5) where because of the careless shepherds "the sheep became meat to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered." Jesus uses αρπαζω in John 10:29 where no one is able "to snatch" one out of the Father's hand.

Verse 13

Because he is a hireling (οτ μισθωτος εστιν). And only that, without the shepherd heart that loves the sheep. Reason given for the conduct of the hireling after the parenthesis about the wolf.

And careth not for the sheep (κα ου μελε αυτω περ των προβατων). Literally, "and it is no care to him about the sheep." This use of the impersonal μελε (present active indicative) is quite common, as in Matthew 22:16. But God does care (1 Peter 5:7).

Verse 14

I am the good-shepherd (εγω ειμ ο ποιμην ο καλος). Effective repetition.

And mine own know me (κα γινωσκουσιν με τα εμα). Jesus as the Good Shepherd knows his sheep by name as he had already said (verse John 10:3) and now repeats. Yes, and they know his voice (verse John 10:4), they have experimental knowledge (γινωσκω) of Jesus as their own Shepherd. Here (in this mutually reciprocal knowledge) lies the secret of their love and loyalty.

Verse 15

And I know the Father (καγω γινωσκω τον πατερα). Hence he is qualified to reveal the Father (John 1:18). The comparison of the mutually reciprocal knowledge between the Father and the Son illustrates what he has just said, though it stands above all else (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 17:21-26). We cannot claim such perfect knowledge of the Good Shepherd as exists between the Father and the Son and yet the real sheep do know the Shepherd's voice and do love to follow his leadership here and now in spite of thieves, robbers, wolves, hirelings.

And I lay down my life for the sheep (κα την ψυχην μου τιθημ υπερ των προβατων). This he had said in verse John 10:11, but he repeats it now for clearness. This he does not just as an example for the sheep and for under-shepherds, but primarily to save the sheep from the wolves, the thieves and robbers.

Verse 16

Other sheep (αλλα προβατα). Sheep, not goats, but "not of this fold" (εκ της αυλης ταυτης). See verse John 10:1 for αυλη. Clearly "his flock is not confined to those enclosed in the Jewish fold, whether in Palestine or elsewhere" (Westcott). Christ's horizon takes in all men of all races and times (John 11:52; John 12:32). The world mission of Christ for all nations is no new idea with him (Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:28). God loved the world and gave his Son for the race (Jον 3:16),

Them also I must bring (κακεινα δε με αγαγειν). Second aorist active infinitive of αγω with δε expressing the moral urgency of Christ's passion for God's people in all lands and ages. Missions in Christ's mind takes in the whole world. This is according to prophecy (Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 56:8) for the Messiah is to be a Light also to the Gentiles. It was typified by the brazen serpent (John 3:14). Christ died for every man. The Pharisees doubtless listened in amazement and even the disciples with slow comprehension.

And they shall hear my voice (κα της φωνης μου ακουσοντα). Future middle indicative of ακουω with the genitive φωνης. These words read like a transcript from the Acts and the Epistles of Paul (John 10:9-11 in particular). See especially Paul's words in Acts 28:28. Present-day Christianity is here foretold. Only do we really listen to the voice of the Shepherd as we should? Jesus means that the Gentiles will hearken if the Jews turn away from him.

And they shall become one flock, one shepherd (κα γενησοντα μια ποιμνη, εις ποιμην). Future middle indicative of γινομα, plural, not singular γενησετα as some MSS. have it. All (Jews and Gentiles) will form one flock under one Shepherd. Note the distinction here by Jesus between ποιμνη (old word, contraction of ποιμενη from ποιμην, shepherd), as in Matthew 26:31, and αυλη (fold) just before. There may be many folds of the one flock. Jerome in his Vulgate confused this distinction, but he is wrong. His use of ovile for both αυλη and πομνιον has helped Roman Catholic assumptions. Christ's use of "flock" (ποιμνη) here is just another metaphor for kingdom (βασιλεια) in Matthew 8:11 where the children of the kingdom come from all climes and nations. See also the various metaphors in John 10:2 for this same idea. There is only the one Great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20), Jesus Christ our Lord.

Verse 17

For this reason (δια τουτο). Points to the following οτ clause. The Father's love for the Son is drawn out (John 3:16) by the voluntary offering of the Son for the sin of the world (Romans 5:8). Hence the greater exaltation (Philippians 2:9). Jesus does for us what any good shepherd does (John 10:11) as he has already said (John 10:15). The value of the atoning death of Christ lies in the fact that he is the Son of God, the Son of Man, free of sin, and that he makes the offering voluntarily (Hebrews 9:14).

That I may take it again (ινα παλιν λαβω αυτην). Purpose clause with ινα and second aorist active subjunctive of λαμβανω. He looked beyond his death on the Cross to the resurrection. "The purpose of the Passion was not merely to exhibit his unselfish love; it was in order that He might resume His life, now enriched with quickening power as never before" (Bernard). The Father raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:32). There is spontaneity in the surrender to death and in the taking life back again (Dods).

Verse 18

No one taketh it away from me (ουδεις αιρε αυτην απ' εμου). But Aleph B read ηρεν (first aorist active indicative of αιρω, to take away), probably correct (Westcott and Hort). "John is representing Jesus as speaking sub specie aeternitatis" (Bernard). He speaks of his death as already past and the resurrection as already accomplished. Cf. John 3:16.

Of myself (απ' εμαυτου). The voluntariness of the death of Jesus repeated and sharpened. D omits it, probably because of superficial and apparent conflict with John 5:19. But there is no inconsistency as is shown by John 3:16; Romans 5:8. The Father "gave" the Son who was glad to be given and to give himself.

I have power to lay it down (εξουσιαν εχω θεινα αυτην). Εξουσια is not an easy word to translate (right, authority, power, privilege). See John 1:12. Restatement of the voluntariness of his death for the sheep.

And I have power to take it again (κα εξουσιαν εχω παλιν λαβειν αυτην). Note second aorist active infinitive in both cases (θεινα from τιθημ and λαβειν from λαμβανω), single acts. Recall John 2:19 where Jesus said: "And in three days I will raise it up." He did not mean that he will raise himself from the dead independently of the Father as the active agent (Romans 8:11).

I received from my Father (ελαβον παρα του πατρος μου). Second aorist active indicative of λαμβανω. He always follows the Father's command (εντολη) in all things (John 12:49; John 14:31). So now he is doing the Father's will about his death and resurrection.

Verse 19

There arose a division again (σχισμα παλιν εγενετο). As in John 7:43 in the crowd (also in John 7:12; John 7:31), so now among the hostile Jews (Pharisees) some of whom had previously professed belief in him (John 8:31). The direct reference of παλιν (again) may be to John 9:16 when the Pharisees were divided over the problem of the blind man. Division of opinion about Jesus is a common thing in John's Gospel (John 6:52; John 6:60; John 6:66; John 7:12; John 7:25; John 8:22; John 9:16; John 10:19; John 10:24; John 10:41; John 11:41; John 12:19; John 12:29; John 12:42; John 16:18).

Verse 20

He has a demon and is mad (δαιμονιον εχε κα μαινετα). As some had already said (John 7:20; John 8:48 with the addition of "Samaritan"). So long before in Mark 3:21. An easy way of discounting Jesus.

Verse 21

Of one possessed with a demon (δαιμονιζομενου). Genitive of present passive participle of δαιμονιζω. They had heard demoniacs talk, but not like this.

Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? (μη δαιμονιον δυνατα τυφλον οφθαλμους ανοιξαι;). Negative answer expected. Demons would more likely put out eyes, not open them. It was an unanswerable question.

Verse 22

And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem (εγενετο δε τα ενκαινια εν τοις Ιεροσολυμοις). But Westcott and Hort read τοτε (then) instead of δε (and) on the authority of B L W 33 and some versions. This is probably correct: "At that time came the feast of dedication in Jerusalem." Τοτε does not mean that the preceding events followed immediately after the incidents in John 10:1-21. Bernard brings chapter 9 up to this date (possibly also chapter 8) and rearranges chapter 10 in a purely arbitrary way. There is no real reason for this arrangement. Clearly there is a considerable lapse between the events in John 10:22-39 and John 10:1-21, possibly nearly three months (from just after tabernacles John 7:37 to dedication John 10:22). The Pharisees greet his return with the same desire to catch him. This feast of dedication, celebrated for eight days about the middle of our December, was instituted by Judas Maccabeus B.C. 164 in commemoration of the cleansing of the temple from the defilements of pagan worship by Antiochus Epiphanes (1Macc. 4:59). The word ενκαινια (εν, καινος, new) occurs here only in the N.T. It was not one of the great feasts and could be observed elsewhere without coming to Jerusalem. Jesus had apparently spent the time between tabernacles and dedication in Judea (Luke 10:1-13).

Winter (χειμων). Old word from χειμα (χεω, to pour, rain, or from χιων, snow). See Matthew 24:20.

Verse 23

Was walking (περιεπατε). Imperfect active of περιπατεω, to walk around, picturesque imperfect.

In Solomon's porch (εν τη στοα του Σολομωνος). A covered colonnade or portico in which people could walk in all weather. See Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12 for this porch. This particular part of Solomon's temple was left uninjured by the Babylonians and survived apparently till the destruction of the temple by Titus A.D. 70 (Josephus, Ant. XX. 9,7). When John wrote, it was, of course, gone.

Verse 24

Came round about him (εκυκλωσαν αυτον). Aorist active indicative of κυκλοω, old verb from κυκλος (cycle, circle). See Acts 14:20 for the circle of disciples around Paul when stoned. Evidently the hostile Jews cherished the memory of the stinging rebuke given them by Jesus when here last, particularly the allegory of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-19), in which he drew so sharply their own picture.

How long dost thou hold us in suspense? (εως ποτε την ψυχην ημων αιρεισ;). Literally, "Until when dost thou lift up our soul?" But what do they mean by this metaphor? Αιρω is common enough to lift up the eyes (John 11:41), the voice (Luke 17:13), and in Psalms 25:1; Psalms 86:4 (Josephus, Ant. III. ii. 3) we have "to lift up the soul." We are left to the context to judge the precise meaning. Clearly the Jews mean to imply doubt and suspense. The next remark makes it clear.

If thou art the Christ (ε συ ε ο Χριστος). Condition of first class assumed to be true for the sake of argument.

Tell us plainly (ειπον ημιν παρρησια). Conclusion with ειπον rather than the usual ειπε as if first aorist active imperative like λυσον. The point is in "plainly" (παρρησια), adverb as in John 7:13; John 7:26 which see. That is to say "I am the Christ" in so many words. See John 11:14; John 16:29 for the same use of παρρησια. The demand seemed fair enough on the surface. They had made it before when here at the feast of tabernacles (John 8:25). Jesus declined to use the word Χριστος (Messiah) then as now because of the political bearing of the word in their minds. The populace in Galilee had once tried to make him king in opposition to Pilate (John 6:14). When Jesus does confess on oath before Caiaphas that he is the Christ the Son of God (Mark 14:61; Matthew 26:63), the Sanhedrin instantly vote him guilty of blasphemy and then bring him to Pilate with the charge of claiming to be king as a rival to Caesar. Jesus knew their minds too well to be caught now.

Verse 25

I told you, and you believe not (ειπον υμιν κα ου πιστευετε). It was useless to say more. In John 7:14-10 Jesus had shown that he was the Son of the Father as he had previously claimed (John 5:17-47), but it was all to no purpose save to increase their rage towards him.

These bear witness of me (ταυτα μαρτυρε περ εμου). His works confirm his words as he had shown before (John 5:36). They believe neither his words nor his works.

Verse 26

Because ye are not of my sheep (οτ εκ των προβατων μου). This had been the point in the allegory of the Good Shepherd. In fact, they were the children of the devil in spirit and conduct (John 8:43), pious ecclesiastics though they seemed, veritable wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15).

Verse 27

My sheep (τα προβατα τα εμα). In contrast with you they are not in doubt and suspense. They know my voice and follow me. Repetition of the idea in John 10:4; John 10:14.

Verse 28

And I give unto them eternal life (καγω διδωμ αυτοις ζωην αιωνιον). This is the gift of Jesus now to his sheep as stated in John 6:27; John 6:40 (cf. 1 John 2:25; 1 John 5:11).

And they shall never perish (κα ου μη απολωντα). Emphatic double negative with second aorist middle (intransitive) subjunctive of απολλυμ, to destroy. The sheep may feel secure (John 3:16; John 6:39; John 17:12; John 18:9).

And no one shall snatch them out of my hand (κα ουχ αρπασε τις αυτα εκ της χειρος μου). Jesus had promised this security in Galilee (John 6:37; John 6:39). No wolf, no thief, no bandit, no hireling, no demon, not even the devil can pluck the sheep out of my hand. Cf. Colossians 3:3 (Your life is hid together with Christ in God).

Verse 29

Which (ος). Who. If ο (which) is correct, we have to take ο πατηρ as nominative absolute or independent, "As for my Father."

Is greater than all (παντων μειζων εστιν). If we read ος. But Aleph B L W read ο and A B Theta have μειζον. The neuter seems to be correct (Westcott and Hort). But is it? If so, the meaning is: "As for my Father, that which he hath given me is greater than all." But the context calls for ος ... μειζων with ο πατηρ as the subject of εστιν. The greatness of the Father, not of the flock, is the ground of the safety of the flock. Hence the conclusion that "no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

Verse 30

One (εν). Neuter, not masculine (εις). Not one person (cf. εις in Galatians 3:28), but one essence or nature. By the plural συμυς (separate persons) Sabellius is refuted, by υνυμ Arius. So Bengel rightly argues, though Jesus is not referring, of course, to either Sabellius or Arius. The Pharisees had accused Jesus of making himself equal with God as his own special Father (John 5:18). Jesus then admitted and proved this claim (John 5:19-30). Now he states it tersely in this great saying repeated later (John 17:11; John 17:21). Note εν used in 1 Corinthians 3:3 of the oneness in work of the planter and the waterer and in John 17:11; John 17:23 of the hoped for unity of Christ's disciples. This crisp statement is the climax of Christ's claims concerning the relation between the Father and himself (the Son). They stir the Pharisees to uncontrollable anger.

Verse 31

Took up stones again (εβαστασαν παλιν λιθους). First aorist active indicative of βασταζω, old verb to pick up, to carry (John 12:6), to bear (Galatians 6:5). The παλιν refers to John 8:59 where ηραν was used. They wanted to kill him also when he made himself equal to God in John 5:18. Perhaps here εβαστασαν means "they fetched stones from a distance."

To stone him (ινα λιθασωσιν αυτον). Final clause with ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of λιθαζω, late verb (Aristotle, Polybius) from λιθος (stone, small, Matthew 4:6, or large, Matthew 28:2), in John 10:31-33; John 11:8; Acts 5:26; Acts 14:19; 2 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 11:37, but not in the Synoptics. It means to pelt with stones, to overwhelm with stones.

Verse 32

From the Father (εκ του πατρος). Proceeding out of the Father as in John 6:65; John 16:28 (cf. John 7:17; John 8:42; John 8:47) rather than παρα as in John 1:14; John 6:46; John 7:29; John 17:7.

For which of those works (δια ποιον αυτων εργον). Literally, "For what kind of work of them" (referring to the "many good works" πολλα εργα καλα). Noble and beautiful deeds Jesus had done in Jerusalem like healing the impotent man (chapter 5) and the blind man (chapter 9). Ποιον is a qualitative interrogative pronoun pointing to καλα (good).

Do ye stone me (λιθαζετε). Conative present active indicative, "are ye trying to stone me." They had the stones in their hands stretched back to fling at him, a threatening attitude.

Verse 33

For a good work we stone thee not (περ καλου εργου ου λιθαζομεν). "Concerning a good deed we are not stoning thee." Flat denial that the healing of the blind man on the Sabbath had led them to this attempt (John 8:59) in spite of the facts.

But for blasphemy (αλλα περ βλασφημιας). See Acts 26:7 where περ with the genitive is also used with εγκαλουμα for the charge against Paul. This is the only example in John of the word βλασφημια (cf. Matthew 12:31).

And because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God (κα οτ συ ανθρωπος ων ποιεις σεαυτον θεον). In John 5:18 they stated the charge more accurately: "He called God his own Father, making himself equal with God." That is, he made himself the Son of God. This he did beyond a doubt. But was it blasphemy? Only if he was not the Son of God. The penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning (Leviticus 24:16; 1 Kings 21:10; 1 Kings 21:13).

Verse 34

Is it not written? (ουκ εστιν γεγραμμενον;). Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of γραφω (as in John 2:17) in place of the usual γεγραπτα. "Does it not stand written?"

In your law (εν τω νομω υμων). From Psalms 82:6. The term νομος (law) applying here to the entire O.T. as in John 12:34; John 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21. Aleph D Syr-sin. omit υμων, but needlessly. We have it already so from Jesus in John 8:17. They posed as the special custodians of the O.T.

I said (οτ εγω ειπα). Recitative οτ before a direct quotation like our quotation marks. Ειπα is a late second aorist form of indicative with instead of -ον.

Ye are gods (θεο εστε). Another direct quotation after ειπα but without οτ. The judges of Israel abused their office and God is represented in Psalms 82:6 as calling them "gods" (θεο, elohim) because they were God's representatives. See the same use of elohim in Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:9; Exodus 22:28. Jesus meets the rabbis on their own ground in a thoroughly Jewish way.

Verse 35

If he called them gods (ε εκεινους ειπεν θεους). Condition of first class, assumed as true. The conclusion (verse John 10:36) is υμεις λεγετε; ( Do ye say? ). As Jews (and rabbis) they are shut out from charging Jesus with blasphemy because of this usage in the O.T. It is a complete ad hominem argument. To be sure, it is in Psalms 82:6 a lower use of the term θεος, but Jesus did not call himself "Son of Jahweh," but "υιος θεου" which can mean only "Son of Elohim." It must not be argued, as some modern men do, that Jesus thus disclaims his own deity. He does nothing of the kind. He is simply stopping the mouths of the rabbis from the charge of blasphemy and he does it effectually. The sentence is quite involved, but can be cleared up.

To whom the word of God came (προς ους ο λογος του θεου εγενετο). The relative points to εκεινους, before. These judges had no other claim to the term θεο (elohim).

And the scripture cannot be broken (κα ου δυνατα λυθηνα η γραφη). A parenthesis that drives home the pertinency of the appeal, one that the Pharisees had to accept. Λυθηνα is first aorist passive infinitive of λυω, to loosen, to break.

Verse 36

Of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world (ον ο πατηρ ηγιασεν κα απεστειλεν εις τον κοσμον). Another relative clause with the antecedent (τουτον, it would be, object of λεγετε) unexpressed. Every word counts heavily here in contrast with the mere judges of Psalms 82:6.

Thou blasphemest (οτ βλασφημεις). Recitative οτ again before direct quotation.

Because I said (οτ ειπον). Causal use of οτ and regular form ειπον (cf. ειπα in verse John 10:34).

I am the Son of God (υιος του θεου ειμ). Direct quotation again after ειπον. This Jesus had implied long before as in John 2:16 (my Father) and had said in John 5:18-30 (the Father, the Son), in John 9:35 in some MSS., and virtually in John 10:30. They will make this charge against Jesus before Pilate (John 19:7). Jesus does not use the article here with υιος, perhaps (Westcott) fixing attention on the character of Son rather than on the person as in Hebrews 1:2. There is no answer to this question with its arguments.

Verse 37

If I do not (ε ου ποιω). Condition of first class, assumed as true, with negative ου, not ε μη=unless.

Believe me not (μη πιστευετε μο). Prohibition with μη and the present active imperative. Either "cease believing me" or "do not have the habit of believing me." Jesus rests his case on his doing the works of "my Father" (του πατρος μου), repeating his claims to sonship and deity.

Verse 38

But if I do (ε δε ποιω). Condition again of the first class, assumed as true, but with the opposite results.

Though ye believe not me (καν εμο μη πιστευητε). Condition now of third class, undetermined (but with prospect), "Even if you keep on (present active subjunctive of πιστευο) not believing me."

Believe the works (τοις εργοις πιστευετε). These stand irrefutable. The claims, character, words, and works of Jesus challenge the world today as then.

That ye may know and understand (ινα γνωτε κα γινωσκητε). Purpose clause with ινα and the same verb γινωσκω repeated in different tenses (first γνωτε, the second ingressive aorist active subjunctive, that ye may come to know; then the present active subjunctive, "that ye may keep on knowing"). This is Christ's deepest wish about his enemies who stand with stones in their uplifted hands to fling at him.

That the Father is in me, and I in the Father (οτ εν εμο ο πατηρ καγω εν τω πατρ). Thus he repeats (verse John 10:30) sharply his real claim to oneness with the Father as his Son, to actual deity. It was a hopeless wish.

Verse 39

They sought again to seize him (εζητουν αυτον παλιν πιαζα). Imperfect active, "They kept on seeking to seize (ingressive aorist active infinitive of πιαζω for which see John 7:30) as they had tried repeatedly (John 7:1; John 7:30; John 7:44; John 8:20), but in vain. They gave up the effort to stone him.

Out of their hand (εκ της χειρος αυτων). Overawed, but still angry, the stones fell to the ground, and Jesus walked out.

Verse 40

Again (παλιν). Referring to John 1:28 (Bethany beyond Jordan). Παλιν does not mean that the other visit was a recent one.

At the first (το πρωτον). Adverbial accusative (extent of time). Same idiom in John 12:16; John 19:39. Here the identical language of John 1:28 is used with the mere addition of το πρωτον (οπου ην Ιωανης βαπτιζων, "where John was baptizing").

And there he abode (κα εμενεν εκε). Imperfect (continued) active of μενω, though some MSS. have the constative aorist active εμεινεν. Probably from here Jesus carried on the first part of the later Perean Ministry (Luke 13:22-16) before the visit to Bethany at the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44).

Verse 41

Many came to him (πολλο ηλθον προς αυτον). Jesus was busy here and in a more congenial atmosphere than Jerusalem. John wrought no signs the crowds recall, though Jesus did many here (Matthew 19:2). The crowds still bear the impress of John's witness to Christ as "true" (αληθη). Here was prepared soil for Christ.

Verse 42

Many believed on him there (πολλο επιστευσαν εις αυτον εκε). See John 1:12; John 2:11 for same idiom. Striking witness to the picture of the Messiah drawn by John. When Jesus came they recognized the original. See John 1:29-34. What about our sermons about Jesus if he were to walk down the aisle in visible form according to A.J. Gordon's dream?

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/john-10.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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