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the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
John 7

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

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Verse 1

After these things (μετα ταυτα). John's favourite general note of the order of events. Bernard conceives that the events in John 7:1-14 follow John 7:15-24 and both follow chapter 5, not chapter 6, a wholly needless readjustment of the narrative to suit a preconceived theory. John simply supplements the narrative in the Synoptics at points deemed important. He now skips the period of withdrawal from Galilee of about six months (from passover to tabernacles).

Walked (περιεπατε). Imperfect active, a literal picture of the itinerant ministry of Jesus. He has returned to Galilee from the region of Caesarea Philippi. He had been avoiding Galilee as well as Judea for six months.

For he would not walk in Judea (ου γαρ ηθελεν εν τη Ιουδαια). Imperfect active of θελω picturing the attitude of refusal to work in Judea after the events in chapter 5 (perhaps a year and a half before).

Sought to kill (εζητουν αποκτεινα). Imperfect active again, progressive attitude, had been seeking to kill him as shown in John 5:18 where the same words occur.

Verse 2

The feast of tabernacles (η σκηνοπηγια). Only New Testament example of this word (σκηνη, tent, πηγνυμ, to fasten as in Hebrews 8:2). Technical name of this feast (Deuteronomy 16:13; Leviticus 23:34; Leviticus 23:43). It began on the 15th of the month Tisri (end of September) and lasted seven days and finally eight days in post-exilic times (Nehemiah 8:18). It was one of the chief feasts of the Jews.

Verse 3

His brethren (ο αδελφο αυτου). "His brothers" (half-brothers actually), who "were not believing on him" (ουδε επιστευον εις αυτον) as stated in verse John 7:5. They were hostile to the Messianic assumptions of Jesus, a natural attitude as one can well see, though at first they were friendly (John 2:12).

Depart hence (μεταβηθ εντευθεν). Second aorist active imperative of μεταβαινω, to pass to another place (John 5:24; John 13:1). It was impertinence on their part.

That thy disciples also may behold (ινα κα ο μαθητα σου θεωρησουσιν). Final clause with ινα and the future active indicative of θεωρεω. Jesus had many disciples in Judea at the start (John 2:23; John 4:1) and had left it because of the jealousy of the Pharisees over his success (John 4:3). The brothers may have heard of the great defection in the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6:66), but the advice is clearly ironical.

Which thou doest (α ποιεις). To what works they refer by this language we do not know. But Jesus had been away from Galilee for some months and from Judea for a year and a half. Perhaps the brothers of Jesus may actually have been eager to rush Jesus into the hostile atmosphere of Jerusalem again.

Verse 4

In secret (εν κρυπτω). See Matthew 6:4; Matthew 6:6 for this phrase.

Openly (εν παρρησια). "In public" (παν, ρησις, telling it all). See on Matthew 8:32. Common in John (John 7:13; John 7:26; John 10:24; John 16:25; John 16:29; John 18:20; here again contrasted with εν κρυπτω). It is wise advice in the abstract that a public teacher must allow inspection of his deeds, but the motive is evil. They might get Jesus into trouble. Ιφ θου δοεστ θεσε θινγς (ε ταυτα ποιεις). This condition of the first class assumes the reality of the deeds of Jesus, but the use of the condition at all throws doubt on it all as in Matthew 4:3; Matthew 4:6.

Manifest thyself (φανερωσον σεαυτον). First aorist active imperative of φανεροω.

To the world (τω κοσμω). Not just to "thy disciples," but to the public at large as at the feast of tabernacles. See John 8:26; John 14:22 for this use of κοσμος.

Verse 5

For even his brethren did not believe on him (ουδε γαρ ο αδελφο αυτου επιστευον εις αυτον). Literally, "For not even were his brothers believing on him." Imperfect tense of πιστευω with sad picture of the persistent refusal of the brothers of Jesus to believe in his Messianic assumptions, after the two rejections in Capernaum (Luke 4:16-31; Mark 6:1-6; Matthew 13:54-58), and also after the blasphemous accusation of being in league with Beelzebub when the mother and brothers came to take Jesus home (Mark 3:31-35; Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 8:19-21). The brothers here are sarcastic.

Verse 6

My time is not yet come (ο καιρος ο εμος ουπω παρεστιν). Only use with verse John 7:8 of καιρος in this Gospel, elsewhere χρονος (John 5:6) or more often ωρα (John 2:4) "the predestined hour" (Bernard). Here καιρος is the fitting or proper occasion for Christ's manifesting himself publicly to the authorities as Messiah as in verse John 7:8. At the feast of tabernacles Jesus did make such public claims (John 7:29; John 7:33; John 8:12; John 8:28; John 8:38; John 8:42; John 8:58). Παρεστιν is present active indicative of παρειμ, old compound, to be by, to be present. The brothers of Jesus had the regular Jewish obligation to go up to the feast, but the precise day was a matter of indifference to them.

Verse 7

Cannot hate (ου δυνατα μισειν). Because of "the law of moral correspondence" (Westcott), often in John for "inherent impossibility" (Vincent). The brothers of Jesus here belong to the unbelieving world (κοσμος) which is unable to love Jesus (John 15:18; John 15:23; John 15:24) and which Jesus had already exposed ("testify," μαρτυρω, John 5:42; John 5:45). This unbelieving "world" resented the exposure (John 3:19, cf. John 18:37).

Verse 8

Go ye up to the feast (υμεις αναβητε εις την εορτην). The emphatic word by position is υμεις (ye) in contrast with εγω (I). Second aorist active imperative of αναβαινω, old and common verb for going up to the feast (John 2:13) or anywhere. Take your own advice (John 7:3).

I go not up yet (εγω ουπω αναβαινω). So Westcott and Hort after B W L (Neutral) while ου (not) is read by Aleph D, African Latin, Vulgate, Coptic (Western). Some of the early Greek Fathers were puzzled over the reading ουκ (I go not up) as contradictory to verse John 7:10 wherein it is stated that Jesus did go up. Almost certainly ουκ (not) is correct and is not really contradictory when one notes in verse John 7:10 that the manner of Christ's going up is precisely the opposite of the advice of the brothers in verses John 7:3; John 7:4. "Not yet" (ουπω) is genuine before "fulfilled" (πεπληρωτα, perfect passive indicative of πληροω). One may think, if he will, that Jesus changed his plans after these words, but that is unnecessary. He simply refused to fall in with his brothers' sneering proposal for a grand Messianic procession with the caravan on the way to the feast. He will do that on the journey to the last passover.

Verse 9

He abode still in Galilee (εμεινεν εν τη Γαλιλαια). No "still" (ετ) in the Greek text. The constative aorist active indicative εμεινεν covers a period of some days.

Verse 10

Were gone up (ανεβησαν). Second aorist active indicative of αναβαινω, not past perfect though the action is antecedent in fact to the following τοτε ανεβη. The Greek does not always draw the precise distinction between the merely punctiliar (aorist) antecedent action and the past perfect (John 2:9; John 4:45).

He also (τοτε αυτος). As well as the brothers.

Not publicly (ου φανερως). Against their advice in verse John 7:4, using φανερωσον (the very same word stem).

But as it were in secret (αλλα ως εν κρυπτω). "Not with the usual caravan of pilgrims" (Bernard). Just the opposite of their advice in verse John 7:4 with the same phrase εν φανερω. Plainly Jesus purposely went contrary to the insincere counsel of his brothers as to the manner of his Messianic manifestation. This secrecy concerned solely the journey to Jerusalem, not his public teaching there after his arrival (John 7:26; John 7:28; John 18:20).

Verse 11

The Jews (ο Ιουδαιο). The hostile leaders in Jerusalem, not the Galilean crowds (John 7:12) nor the populace in Jerusalem (John 7:25).

Sought (εζητουν). Imperfect active of ζητεω, "were seeking," picture of the attitude of the Jewish leaders toward Jesus who had not yet appeared in public at the feast. In fact he had avoided Jerusalem since the collision in chapter 5. The leaders clearly wished to attack him.

Where is he? (που εστιν εκεινοσ;). "Where is that one? (emphatic use of εκεινος as in John 1:8; John 9:12). Jesus had been at two feasts during his ministry (passover in John 2:12; possibly another passover in John 5:1), but he had avoided the preceding passover (John 6:4; John 7:1). The leaders in Jerusalem had kept in touch with Christ's work in Galilee. They anticipate a crisis in Jerusalem.

Verse 12

Much murmuring (γογγυσμος πολυς). This Ionic onomatopoetic word is from γογγυζω for which verb see John 6:41; John 6:61; John 7:32, for secret displeasure (Acts 6:1) or querulous discontent (Philippians 2:14).

Among the multitudes (εν τοις οχλοις). "The multitudes" literally, plural here only in John. These different groups were visitors from Galilee and elsewhere and were divided in their opinion of Jesus as the Galileans had already become (John 6:66).

A good man (αγαθος). Pure in motive. See Mark 10:17; Romans 5:7 (absolute sense of God). Superior to δικαιος. Jesus had champions in these scattered groups in the temple courts.

Not so, but he leadeth the multitude astray (ου, αλλα πλανα τον οχλον). Sharp clash in the crowd. Present active indicative of πλαναω, to go astray (Matthew 18:12), like our "planets," to lead others astray (Matthew 24:4; Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:11, etc.). In the end the rulers will call Jesus "that deceiver" (εκεινος ο πλανος, Matthew 27:63). The Jewish leaders have a following among the crowds as is seen (John 7:31).

Verse 13

Howbeit (μεντο). See John 4:27 for this compound particle (μεν, το), by way of exception, but yet.

Spake (ελαλε). Imperfect active of λαλεω, "was speaking," picturing the whispering or secret talk ( no man openly , ουδεις παρρησια). Best MSS. do not have εν here with παρρησια (locative or instrumental case of manner) as in John 7:26; John 10:24; John 11:54, but εν genuine in John 7:4; Colossians 2:15. This adverbial use of παρρησια is common enough (Mark 8:37).

For fear of the Jews (δια τον φοβον των Ιουδαιων). Objective genitive. The crowds really feared the Jewish leaders and evidently did not wish to involve Jesus or themselves. See the same phrase and attitude on the part of the disciples in John 19:38; John 20:19.

Verse 14

But when it was now in the midst of the feast (ηδη δε της εορτης μεσουσης). Literally, "But feast being already midway." Genitive absolute, present active participle, of μεσοω, old verb from μεσος, in LXX, here only in N.T. The feast of tabernacles was originally seven days, but a last day (verse John 7:37; Leviticus 23:36) was added, making eight in all.

And taught (κα εδιδασκεν). Imperfect active of διδασκω, probably inchoative, "began to teach." He went up (ανεβη, effective aorist, arrived). The leaders had asked (verse John 7:11) where Jesus was. There he was now before their very eyes.

Verse 15

Marvelled (εθαυμαζον). Picturesque imperfect active of θαυμαζω, "were wondering." After all the bluster of the rulers (verse John 7:13) here was Jesus teaching without interruption.

Knoweth letters (γραμματα οιδεν). Second perfect active indicative used as present. Γραμματα, old word from γραφω, to write, is originally the letters formed (Galatians 6:11), then a letter or epistle (Acts 28:21), then the sacred Scriptures (John 5:47; 2 Timothy 3:15), then learning like Latin litterae and English letters (Acts 26:24; John 7:15). "The marvel was that Jesus showed Himself familiar with the literary methods of the time, which were supposed to be confined to the scholars of the popular teachers" (Westcott).

Having never learned (μη μεμαθηκως). Perfect active participle of μανθανω with μη, the usual negative (subjective) with the participle. It is not the wisdom of Jesus that disconcerted the Jewish leaders, but his learning (Marcus Dods). And yet Jesus had not attended either of the rabbinical theological schools in Jerusalem (Hillel, Shammai). He was not a rabbi in the technical sense, only a carpenter, and yet he surpassed the professional rabbis in the use of their own methods of debate. It is sometimes true today that unschooled men in various walks of life forge ahead of men of lesser gifts with school training. See the like puzzle of the Sanhedrin concerning Peter and John (Acts 4:13). This is not an argument against education, but it takes more than education to make a real man. Probably this sneer at Jesus came from some of the teachers in the Jerusalem seminaries. "Christ was in the eyes of the Jews a merely self-taught enthusiast" (Westcott).

Verse 16

Mine (εμη). Possessive pronoun, "not mine in origin." Jesus denies that he is self-taught, though not a schoolman.

But his that sent me (αλλα του πεμψαντος με). Genitive case of the articular participle (first aorist active of πεμπω). His teaching is not self-originated nor is it the product of the schools (see the Talmud in contrast with the New Testament). Jesus often in John uses this idiom of "the one who sent me" of the Father (John 4:34; John 5:23; John 5:24; John 5:30; John 5:37; John 6:38-40; John 6:44; John 7:16; John 7:18; John 7:28, etc.). The bold claim is here made by Jesus that his teaching is superior in character and source to that of the rabbis.

Verse 17

If any man willeth to do (εαν τις θελη ποιειν). Condition of third class with εαν and present active subjunctive θελη not used as a mere auxiliary verb for the future "will do," but with full force of θελω, to will, to wish. See the same use of θελω in John 5:40 "and yet ye are not willing to come" (κα ου θελετε ελθειν).

He shall know (γνωσετα). Future middle indicative of γινωσκω. Experimental knowledge from willingness to do God's will. See this same point by Jesus in John 5:46; John 18:37. There must be moral harmony between man's purpose and God's will. "If there be no sympathy there can be no understanding" (Westcott). Atheists of all types have no point of contact for approach to the knowledge of Christ. This fact does not prove the non-existence of God, but simply their own isolation. They are out of tune with the Infinite. For those who love God it is also true that obedience to God's will brings richer knowledge of God. Agnostic and atheistic critics are disqualified by Jesus as witnesses to his claims.

Of God (εκ του θεου). Out of God as source.

From myself (απ' εμαυτου). Instead of from God.

Verse 18

From himself (αφ' εαυτου). This kind of teacher is self-taught, pushes his own ideas, presses his own claims for position and glory, "blows his own horn" as we say. Jesus is the other type of teacher, seeks the glory of the one who sent him, whose herald and ambassador he is.

The same (ουτος). "This one."

Unrighteousness (αδικια). Old word from αδικος (α privative and δικη). Here in contrast with "true" (αληθης). See 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 13:6 for the deceit of unrighteousness in contrast with truth as here.

Verse 19

And yet (κα). Clear use of κα in the adversative sense of "and yet" or "but." They marvelled at Christ's "ignorance" and boasted of their own knowledge of the law of Moses. And yet they violated that law by not practising it.

Why seek ye to kill me? (Τ με ζητειτε αποκτειναι;). A sudden and startling question as an illustration of their failure to do the law of Moses. Jesus had previously known (John 5:39; John 5:45-47) that the Jews really rejected the teaching of Moses while professing to believe it. On that very occasion they had sought to kill him (John 5:18), the very language used here. Apparently he had not been to Jerusalem since then. He undoubtedly alludes to their conduct then and charges them with the same purpose now.

Verse 20

The multitude (ο οχλος). Outside of Jerusalem (the Galilean crowd as in verses John 7:11) and so unfamiliar with the effort to kill Jesus recorded in John 5:18. It is important in this chapter to distinguish clearly the several groups like the Jewish leaders (John 7:13; John 7:15; John 7:25; John 7:26; John 7:30; John 7:32, etc.), the multitude from Galilee and elsewhere (John 7:10-13; John 7:20; John 7:31; John 7:40; John 7:49), the common people of Jerusalem (John 7:25), the Roman soldiers (John 7:45).

Thou hast a devil (δαιμονιον εχεις). "Demon," of course, as always in the Gospels. These pilgrims make the same charge against Jesus made long ago by the Pharisees in Jerusalem in explanation of the difference between John and Jesus (Matthew 11:18; Luke 7:33). It is an easy way to make a fling like that. "He is a monomaniac labouring under a hallucination that people wish to kill him" (Dods).

Verse 21

One work (εν εργον). Direct allusion to the healing of the impotent man when in Jerusalem before (John 5:1). He had wrought others before (John 2:23; John 4:45), but this one on the Sabbath caused the rulers to try to kill Jesus (John 5:18). Some wondered then, others had murder in their hearts. This crowd here is ignorant.

Verse 22

For this cause (δια τουτο). Some would take this phrase with the preceding verb θαυμαζετε (ye marvel for this cause).

Hath given (δεδωκεν). Present active indicative of διδωμ (permanent state).

Not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers (ουχ οτ εκ του Μωυσεως εστιν αλλ' εκ των πατερων). A parenthesis to explain that circumcision is older in origin than Moses.

And on the sabbath ye circumcise (κα εν σαββατω περιτεμνετε). Adversative use of κα=and yet as in John 7:19. That is to say, the Jews keep one law (circumcision) by violating another (on the Sabbath, the charge against him in chapter 5, healing on the Sabbath).

Verse 23

That the law of Moses may not be broken (ινα μη λυθη ο νομος Μωυσεως). Purpose clause with negative μη and first aorist passive subjunctive of λυω. They are punctilious about their Sabbath rules and about circumcision on the eighth day. When they clash, they drop the Sabbath rule and circumcise.

Are ye wroth with me? (εμο χολατε;). Old word from χολη (bile, gall), possibly from χλοη or χλωρος (yellowish green). Only here in N.T. So to be mad. With dative. Vivid picture of bitter spleen against Jesus for healing a man on the sabbath when they circumcise on the Sabbath.

A man every whit whole (ολον ανθρωπον υγιη). Literally, "a whole (ολον) man (all the man) sound (υγιη, well)," not just one member of the body mended.

Verse 24

According to appearance (κατ' οψιν). And so, superficially. See John 11:44. Also not "righteous" (δικαιαν) judgment.

Verse 25

Some therefore of them of Jerusalem (ουν τινες εκ των Ιεροσολυμειτων). The people of the city in contrast to the multitude of pilgrims at the feast. They form a separate group. The word is made from Ιεροσολυμα and occurs in Josephus and IV Maccabees. In N.T. only here and Mark 1:5. These Jerusalem people knew better than the pilgrims the designs of the rulers (Vincent).

Is not this? (ουχ ουτος εστιν;). Expecting affirmative answer. Clearly they were not as familiar with the appearance of Jesus as the Galilean multitude (Dods).

They seek (ζητουσιν). The plural refers to the group of leaders already present (John 7:15) to whom the Jerusalem crowd probably pointed. They knew of their threats to kill Jesus (John 5:18).

Verse 26

They say nothing unto him (ουδεν αυτο λεγουσιν). But only make sneering comments about him (John 7:16) in spite of his speaking "openly" (παρρησια, for which word see John 7:13; John 18:20) before all. lt was sarcasm about the leaders, though an element of surprise on the part of "these shrewd townsmen" (Bernard) may have existed also.

Can it be that the rulers indeed know (μη ποτε αληθως εγνωσιν ο αρχοντες). Negative answer expected by μη ποτε and yet there is ridicule of the rulers in the form of the question. See a like use of μη ποτε in Luke 3:15, though nowhere else in John. Εγνωσαν (second aorist ingressive active indicative of γινωσκω) may refer to the examination of Jesus by these rulers in John 5:19 and means, "Did they come to know or find out" (and so hold now)?

That this is the Christ (οτ ουτος εστιν ο Χριστος). The Messiah of Jewish hope.

Verse 27

Howbeit (αλλα). Clearly adversative here.

This man (τουτον). Possibly contemptuous use of ουτος as may be true in John 7:25; John 7:26.

Whence he is (ποθεν εστιν). The Galilean Jews knew the family of Jesus (John 6:42), but they knew Jesus only as from Nazareth, not as born in Bethlehem (verse John 7:42).

When the Christ cometh (ο Χριστος οταν ερχητα). Prolepsis of ο Χριστος and indefinite temporal clause with οταν and the present middle subjunctive ερχητα rather than the more usual second aorist active ελθη as in verse John 7:31, a trifle more picturesque. This is a piece of popular theology. "Three things come wholly unexpected--Messiah, a godsend, and a scorpion" (Sanhedrin 97a). The rulers knew the birthplace to be Bethlehem (John 7:42; Matthew 2:5), but some even expected the Messiah to drop suddenly from the skies as Satan proposed to Jesus to fall down from the pinnacle of the temple. The Jews generally expected a sudden emergence of the Messiah from concealment with an anointing by Elijah (Apoc. of Bar. XXIX. 3; 2Esdr. 7:28; 13:32; Justin Martyr, Tryph. 110).

Verse 28

And I am not come of myself (κα απ' εμαυτου ουκ εληλυθα). Κα here="and yet." Jesus repeats the claim of verse John 7:17 and also in John 5:30; John 8:28; John 12:49; John 14:10.

Whom ye know not (ον υμεις ουκ οιδατε). Jesus passes by a controversy over the piece of popular theology to point out their ignorance of God the Father who sent him. He tersely agrees that they know something of him. Jesus says of these Jews that they know not God as in John 8:19; John 8:55.

Verse 29

I know him (εγω οιδα αυτον). In contrast to the ignorance of these people. See the same words in John 8:55 and the same claim in John 17:25; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22 (the Johannine aerolite). "These three words contain the unique claim of Jesus, which is pressed all through the chapters of controversy with the Jews" (Bernard). Jesus is the Interpreter of God to men (John 1:18).

And he sent me (κακεινος με απεστειλεν). First aorist active indicative of αποστελλω, the very verb used of Jesus when he sent forth the twelve (Matthew 10:5) and used by Jesus again of himself in John 17:3. He is the Father's Apostle to men.

Verse 30

They sought therefore (εζητουν ουν). Imperfect active of ζητεω, inchoative or conative, they began to seek. Either makes sense. The subject is naturally some of the Jerusalemites (Westcott) rather than some of the leaders (Bernard).

To take him (αυτον πιασα). First aorist active infinitive, Doric form from πιαζω, from the usual πιεζω, occasionally so in the papyri, but πιαζω always in N.T. except Luke 6:38.

And (κα). Here = "but."

Laid his hand (επεβαλεν την χειρα). Second aorist active indicative of επιβαλλω, to cast upon. Old and common idiom for arresting one to make him a prisoner (Matthew 26:50). See repetition in verse John 7:44.

His hour (η ωρα αυτου). In John 13:1 we read that "the hour" had come, but that was "not yet" (ουπω). "John is at pains to point out at every point that the persecution and death of Jesus followed a predestined course" (Bernard), as in John 2:4; John 7:6; John 7:8; John 8:10; John 10:39; John 13:1, etc.

Was not yet come (ουπω εληλυθε). Past perfect active of ερχομα, as John looks back on the story.

Verse 31

When the Christ shall come (ο Χριστος οταν ελθη). Proleptic position of ο Χριστος again as in John 7:27, but ελθη with οταν rather than ερχητα, calling more attention to the consummation (whenever he does come).

Will he do? (μη ποιησει;). Future active indicative of ποιεω with μη (negative answer expected). Jesus had won a large portion of the pilgrims (εκ του οχλου πολλο) either before this day or during this controversy. The use of επιστευσαν (ingressive aorist active) looks as if many came to believe at this point. These pilgrims had watched closely the proceedings.

Than those which (ων). One must supply the unexpressed antecedent τουτων in the ablative case after πλειονα (more). Then the neuter plural accusative relative α (referring to σημεια signs) is attracted to the ablative case of the pronominal antecedent τουτων (now dropped out).

Hath done (εποιησεν). First aorist active indicative of ποιεω, a timeless constative aorist summing up all the miracles of Jesus so far.

Verse 32

The Pharisees (ο Φαρισαιο). This group of the Jewish rulers (John 7:11; John 7:15; John 7:25) was particularly hostile to Christ, though already the Sadducees had become critical (Matthew 16:6) and they join here (ο αρχιερεις, the chief priests being Sadducees) in determining to silence Jesus by bringing him before the Sanhedrin. They had heard the whispered talk about Jesus before he arrived (John 7:12) and still more now.

Heard the multitude murmuring (ηκουσαν του οχλου γογγυζοντος). First aorist active indicative of ακουω with the genitive case and the descriptive participle of the vivid onomatopoetic verb γογγυζω (verse John 7:12) now grown louder like the hum of bees. It was the defence of Jesus by a portion of the crowd (John 7:31) that irritated the Pharisees. Here the Pharisees take the initiative and enlist the Sadducees in the Sanhedrin (for this combination see John 7:45; John 11:47; John 11:57; Matthew 21:45; Matthew 27:62, the organized court) to send "officers" (υπηρετας) "to take him" (ινα πιασωσιν αυτον, final clause with ινα and first aorist active subjunctive of πιαζω for which verb see verse John 7:30). For υπηρετας (temple police here) see verse John 7:45; John 18:3; John 18:12; John 18:22; John 19:6; Acts 5:22; Acts 5:26. For the word see Matthew 5:25; Luke 1:2, "an under rower" (υπο, ερετης), any assistant.

Verse 33

Yet a little while (ετ χρονον μικρον). Accusative of extent of time. It was only six months to the last passover of Christ's ministry and he knew that the end was near.

I go unto him that sent me (υπαγω προς τον πεμψαντα με). See the same words in John 16:5. Hυπαγω, old compound (υπο, αγω), has the notion of withdrawing (literally, go under). See John 16:7-10 for three words for going common in John (πορευομα, go for a purpose, απερχομα, to go away, υπαγω, to withdraw personally). Hυπαγω often in John of going to the Father or God (John 8:14; John 8:21; John 13:3; John 13:33; John 13:36; John 14:4; John 14:5; John 14:28; John 15:16; John 16:4; John 16:7; John 16:10; John 16:17). See John 6:21. It was enigmatic language to the hearers.

Verse 34

And shall not find me (κα ουχ ευρησετε με). Future active indicative of ευρισκω. Jesus had said: "Seek and ye shall find" (Matthew 7:7), but this will be too late. Now they were seeking (verse John 7:30) to kill Jesus, then they will seek deliverance, but too late.

Where I am (οπου ειμ εγω). No conflict with verse John 7:33, but the essential eternal spiritual home of Christ "in absolute, eternal being and fellowship with the Father" (Vincent).

Ye cannot come (υμεις ου δυνασθε ελθειν). This fellowship was beyond the comprehension of these hostile Jews. See the same idea in John 7:36 by the Jews; John 8:21 to the Jews and then to the disciples with the addition of "now" (αρτ, John 13:33, νυν in John 13:36).

Verse 35

Among themselves (προς εαυτους). These Jewish leaders of verse John 7:32 talk among themselves about what Jesus said in a spirit of contempt (this man or fellow, ουτος).

That (οτ). Almost result like οτ in Matthew 8:27.

Will he go? (μη μελλε πορευεσθαι;). Negative answer expected in an ironical question, "Is he about to go?"

Unto the Dispersion among the Greeks (εις την διασποραν των Hελληνων). Objective genitive των Hελληνων (of the Greeks) translated here "among," because it is the Dispersion of Jews among the Greeks. Διασπορα is from διασπειρω, to scatter apart (Acts 8:1; Acts 8:4). It occurs in Plutarch and is common in the LXX, in the N.T. only here, James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1. There were millions of these scattered Jews.

And teach the Greeks (κα διδασκειν τους Hελληνας). Confessing his failure to teach the Jews in Palestine, "thus ignorantly anticipating the course Christianity took; what seemed unlikely and impossible to them became actual" (Dods).

Verse 36

What is this word? (Τις εστιν ο λογος ουτοσ;). Puzzled and uneasy over this unintelligible saying. Even Peter is distressed over it later (13:37).

Verse 37

Now on the last day (εν δε τη εσχατη ημερα). The eighth day which was "an holy convocation," kept as a Sabbath (Leviticus 33:36), apparently observed as a memorial of the entrance into Canaan, hence "the great day of the feast" (τη μεγαλη της εορτης).

Stood and cried (ιστηκε κα εκρασεν). Past perfect active of ιστημ used as imperfect and intransitive and first aorist active of κραζω. Picture Jesus standing (linear) and suddenly crying out (punctiliar).

If any man thirst (εαν τις διψα). Third class condition with εαν and present active subjunctive of διψαω, "if any one is thirsty." On each of the seven preceding days water was drawn in a golden pitcher from the pool of Siloam and carried in procession to the temple and offered by the priests as the singers chanted Isaiah 12:3: "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." "It is uncertain whether the libations were made upon the eighth day. If they were not made, the significant cessation of the striking rite on this one day of the feast would give a still more fitting occasion for the words" (Westcott).

Verse 38

He that believeth on me (ο πιστευων εις εμε). Nominative absolute as is not uncommon.

The scripture (η γραφη). No precise passage can be quoted, though similar idea in several (Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1; Joel 3:18). Chrysostom confines it to Isaiah 28:16 by punctuation (only the nominative absolute as the Scripture).

Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (ποταμο εκ της κοιλιας αυτου ρευσουσιν υδατος ζωντος). Some ancient Western writers connect πινετω of verse John 7:37 with ο πιστευων in verse John 7:38. By this arrangement αυτου (his) with κοιλιας is made to refer to Christ, not to the believer. Burney argues that κοιλια is a mistranslation of the Aramaic (fountain, not belly) and that the reference is to Ezekiel 47:1. C.C. Torrey refers to Zechariah 14:8. But the Eastern writers refer αυτου (his) to the believer who not only quenches in Christ his own thirst, but becomes a source of new streams for others (John 4:14). It is a difficult question and Westcott finally changed his view and held αυτου to refer to Christ. Ρευσουσιν is future active indicative of ρεω, old verb, to flow, here only in the N.T.

Verse 39

Which (ου). Genitive by attraction of the relative ο (accusative singular object of λαμβανειν) to the case of του πνευματος (the Spirit) the antecedent. But it is purely grammatical gender (neuter ο because of πνευμα) which we do not have in English. Even here one should say "whom," not which, of the Spirit of God.

Were to receive (εμελλον λαμβανειν). Imperfect active of μελλω with the present active infinitive λαμβανειν, to receive, one of the three constructions with μελλω (present, aorist, or future infinitive). Literally, "whom they were about to receive," a clear reference to the great pentecost.

For the Spirit was not yet given (ουπω γαρ ην πνευμα). No verb for "given" in the Greek. The reference is not to the existence of the Spirit, but to the dispensation of the Spirit. This same use of ειμ like παρειμ (to be present) appears in Acts 19:2 of the Spirit's activity. John, writing at the close of the century, inserts this comment and interpretation of the language of Jesus as an allusion to the coming of the Holy Spirit at pentecost (the Promise of the Father).

Because Jesus was not yet glorified (οτ Ιησους ουπω εδοξασθη). Reason for the previous statement, the pentecostal outpouring following the death of Jesus here called "glorified" (εδοξασθη, first aorist passive indicative of δοξαζω), used later of the death of Jesus (John 12:16), even by Jesus himself (John 12:23; John 13:31).

Verse 40

Some of the multitude (εκ του οχλου). Τινες (some) to be supplied, a common Greek idiom.

Of a truth (αληθως). "Truly." See John 1:47.

The prophet (ο προφητης). The one promised to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15) and long expected. See on John John 1:21. Proof of the deep impression made by Jesus.

Verse 41

This is the Christ (ουτος εστιν ο Χριστος). These went further and dared to call Jesus the Messiah and not merely the prophet who might not be the Messiah. They said it openly.

What (γαρ). These denied that Jesus was the Messiah and gave as their reason (γαρ, for) the fact that he came from Galilee. The use of μη expects a negative answer.

Verse 42

The scripture (η γραφη). The reference is to Micah 5:2, the very passage quoted by the chief priests and scribes in response to Herod's inquiry (Matthew 2:6). This ignorance of the fact that Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem belongs to the Jews, not to John the author of the Gospel.

Verse 43

A division (σχισμα). A clear split. See Matthew 9:16 for the word from σχιζω, to rend. Used again in John 9:16; John 10:19.

Verse 44

Would have taken him (ηθελον πιασα αυτον). Imperfect active of θελω and first aorist active infinitive of πιαζω, "were wishing to seize him." See verse John 7:30 for a like impulse and restraint, there επεβαλεν επ' αυτον, here εβαλεν επ' αυτον (simple verb, not compound).

Verse 45

Why did ye not bring him? (Δια τ ουκ ηγαγετε αυτον;). Second aorist active indicative of αγω. Indignant outburst of the Sanhedrin (both Sadducees and Pharisees) at the failure of the (τους, note article here referring to verse John 7:32) temple police to arrest Jesus. "Apparently they were sitting in expectation of immediately questioning him" (Dods). They were stunned at this outcome.

Verse 46

Never man so spake (ουδεποτε ελαλησεν ουτως ανθρωπος). Police officers are not usually carried away by public speech. They had fallen under the power of Jesus "as the Galilean peasants had been impressed" (Bernard) in verses John 7:28. It was the words of Jesus that had so gripped these officers, not his works (John 15:24). It was most disconcerting to the Sanhedrin.

Verse 47

Are ye also led astray? (Μη κα υμεις πεπλανησθε;). The Pharisees took the lead in this scornful sneer at the officers. The use of μη formally expects a negative answer as in John 4:29, but the Pharisees really believed it. See also John 6:67. The verb form is perfect passive indicative of πλαναω, for which see verse John 7:12 with perhaps an allusion to that phase of opinion.

Verse 48

Hath any of the rulers believed on him? (Μη τις εκ των αρχοντων επιστευσεν εις αυτον;). Negative answer sharply expected. First aorist active indicative of πιστευω. "Did any one of the rulers believe on him?" "What right have subordinates to have a mind of their own?" (Dods). These police were employed by the temple authorities (rulers). "Power was slipping through their fingers" (Dods) and that was the secret of their hostility to Jesus.

Or of the Pharisees (η εκ των Φαρισαιων). A wider circle and the most orthodox of all.

Verse 49

This multitude (ο οχλος ουτος). The Pharisees had a scorn for the amhaaretz or "people of the earth" (cf. our "clod-hoppers") as is seen in rabbinic literature. It was some of the οχλος (multitude at the feast especially from Galilee) who had shown sympathy with Jesus (John 7:12; John 7:28).

Which knoweth not the law (ο μη γινοσκων). Present active articular participle of γινωσκω with μη usual negative of the participle in the Koine. "No brutish man is sin-fearing, nor is one of the people of the earth pious" (Aboth, II. 6). See the amazement of the Sanhedrin at Peter and John in Acts 4:13 as "unlettered and private men" (αγραμματο κα ιδιωτα). No wonder the common people (οχλος) heard Jesus gladly (Mark 12:37). The rabbis scouted and scorned them.

Are accursed (επαρατο εισιν). Construction according to sense (plural verb and adjective with collective singular οχλος). Επαρατο is old verbal adjective from επαραομα, to call down curses upon, here only in the N.T.

Verse 50

Nicodemus (Νικοδημος). Not heard from since chapter 3 when he timidly came to Jesus by night. Now he boldly protests against the injustice of condemning Jesus unheard. He appears once more (and only in John) in John 19:39 with Joseph of Arimathea as a secret disciple of Jesus. He is a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin and his present act is courageous.

Saith (λεγε). Dramatic present active indicative as in John 2:3.

Before (προτερον). This is genuine, a reference to the visit in chapter 3, but νυκτος (by night) is not genuine here.

Being one of them (εις ων εξ αυτων). As a member of the Sanhedrin he takes up the challenge in verse John 7:48. He is both ruler and Pharisee.

Verse 51

Doth our law judge a man? (μη ο νομος ημων κρινε τον ανθρωπον;). Negative answer expected and "the man," not "a man." These exponents of the law (verse John 7:49) were really violating the law of criminal procedure (Exodus 23:1; Deuteronomy 1:16). Probably Nicodemus knew that his protest was useless, but he could at least show his colours and score the point of justice in Christ's behalf.

Except it first hear from himself (εαν μη ακουση πρωτον παρ' αυτου). Third-class negative condition with εαν μη and first aorist active subjunctive of ακουω. That is common justice in all law, to hear a man's side of the case ("from him," παρ' αυτου).

And know what he doeth (κα γνω τ ποιε). Continuation of the same condition with second aorist active subjunctive of γινωσκω with indirect question and present active indicative (τ ποιε). There was no legal answer to the point of Nicodemus.

Verse 52

Art thou also of Galilee? (Μη κα συ εκ της Γαλιλαιας ει;). Formally negative answer expected by μη, but really they mean to imply that Nicodemus from local feeling or prejudice has lined himself up with this Galilean mob (οχλος) of sympathizers with Jesus and is like Jesus himself a Galilean. "These aristocrats of Jerusalem had a scornful contempt for the rural Galileans" (Bernard).

That out of Galilee ariseth no prophet (οτ εκ της Γαλιλαιας προφητης ουκ εγειρετα). As a matter of fact Jonah, Hosea, Nahum, possibly also Elijah, Elisha, and Amos were from Galilee. It was simply the rage of the Sanhedrin against Jesus regardless of the facts. Westcott suggests that they may have reference to the future, but that is a mere excuse for them.

Verse 53

This verse and through John 8:12 (the passage concerning the woman taken in adultery) is certainly not a genuine part of John's Gospel. The oldest and best MSS. (Aleph A B C L W) do not have it. It first appears in Codex Bezae. Some MSS. put it at the close of John's Gospel and some place it in Luke. It is probably a true story for it is like Jesus, but it does not belong to John's Gospel. The Canterbury Version on which we are commenting puts the passage in brackets. Westcott and Hort place it at the end of the Gospel. With this explanation we shall proceed.

They went (επορευθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of πορευομα used as a deponent verb without passive idea. In this context the verb has to refer to the Sanhedrin with a rather pointless contrast to Jesus.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/john-7.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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