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Bible Commentaries
John 8

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

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Verse 1

But Jesus went (Ιησους δε επορευθη). Same deponent use of πορευομα as in John 7:53 and in contrast to the Sanhedrin's conduct, though it seems "pointless" (Dods). Apparently Jesus was lodging in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Verse 2

Early in the morning (ορθρου). Genitive of time, ορθρος meaning daybreak, old word, not in John, though in Luke 24:1; Acts 5:21. John uses πρω (John 18:28; John 20:1; John 21:4).

He came again into the temple (παλιν παρεγενετο εις το ιερον). If the paragraph is genuine, the time is the next day after the eighth and last day of the feast. If not genuine, there is no way of telling the time of this apparently true incident.

And all the people came unto him (κα πας ο λαος ηρχετο προς αυτον). Imperfect middle of ερχομα picturing the enthusiasm of the whole (πας) crowd now as opposed to the divisions in chapter 7.

Taught (εδιδασκεν). Imperfect active of διδασκω. He took his seat (καθισας, ingressive active participle of καθιζω) as was customary for Jesus and began to teach (inchoative imperfect). So the picture.

Verse 3

The scribes and the Pharisees (ο γραμματεις κα ο Φαρισαιο). John does not mention "scribes," though this combination (note two articles) is common enough in the Synoptics (Luke 5:30; Luke 6:7, etc.).

Bring (αγουσιν). Vivid dramatic present active indicative of αγω. Dods calls this "in itself an unlawful thing to do" since they had a court for the trial of such a case. Their purpose is to entrap Jesus.

Taken in adultery (επ μοιχεια κατειλεμμενην). Perfect passive participle of καταλαμβανω, old compound to seize (Mark 9:18), to catch, to overtake (John 12:35), to overcome (or overtake) in John 1:5.

Having let her in the midst (στησαντες αυτην εν μεσω). First aorist active (transitive) participle of ιστημ. Here all could see her and what Jesus did with such a case. They knew his proneness to forgive sinners.

Verse 4

Hath been taken (κατειληπτα). Perfect passive indicative of καταλαμβανω (see verse John 8:3), caught and still guilty.

In adultery (μοιχευομενη). Present passive participle of μοιχευω, "herself suffering adultery" (Matthew 5:32). Used of married people. Not in John.

In the very act (επ' αυτοφωρω). Old adjective (αυτοφωροσ, αυτος, self, and φωρ, thief) caught in the act of theft, then extended to any crime in which one is caught. Old idiom, but not elsewhere in the Greek Bible. One example in a Berlin papyrus.

Verse 5

Commanded (ενετειλατο). First aorist middle indicative of εντελλω, old verb to enjoin (Matthew 4:6).

To stone such (τας τοιαυτας λιθαζειν). Present active infinitive of λιθαζω (from λιθος), from Aristotle on. Stoning was specified for the case of a betrothed woman guilty of adultery (Deuteronomy 22:23) and for a priest's daughter if guilty. In other cases just death was commanded (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). The Talmud prescribes strangulation. This case may have strictly come within the regulation as a betrothed virgin.

What then sayest thou of her? (συ ουν τ λεγεισ;). "Thou then, what dost thou say?" This was the whole point, to catch Jesus, not to punish the woman.

Verse 6

Tempting him (πειραζοντες αυτον). Evil sense of this present active participle of πειραζω, as so often (Mark 8:11; Mark 10:2, etc.).

That they might have whereof to accuse him (ινα εχωσιν κατηγορειν αυτου). Purpose clause with ινα and present active subjunctive of εχω. This laying of traps for Jesus was a common practice of his enemies (Luke 11:16, etc.). Note present active infinitive of κατηγορεω (see Matthew 12:10 for the verb) to go on accusing (with genitive αυτου). It was now a habit with these rabbis.

Stooped down (κατω κυψας). First aorist active participle of κυπτω, old verb to bow the head, to bend forward, in N.T. only here and verse John 8:8; Mark 1:7. The use of κατω (down) gives a vivid touch to the picture.

With his finger (τω δακτυλω). Instrumental case of δακτυλος for which see Matthew 23:4.

Wrote on the ground (κατεγραφεν εις την γην). Imperfect active of καταγραφω, old compound, here only in N.T., to draw, to delineate, to write down, apparently inchoative, began to write on the sand as every one has done sometimes. The only mention of writing by Jesus and the use of καταγραφω leaves it uncertain whether he was writing words or drawing pictures or making signs. If we only knew what he wrote! Certainly Jesus knew how to write. And yet more books have been written about this one who wrote nothing that is preserved than any other person or subject in human history. There is a tradition that Jesus wrote down the names and sins of these accusers. That is not likely. They were written on their hearts. Jesus alone on this occasion showed embarrassment over this woman's sin.

Verse 7

When they continued asking (ως επεμενον ερωτωντες). Imperfect active indicative of επιμενω (waiting in addition or still, επ, old verb) with supplementary active participle of ερωταω, to question. See same construction in Acts 12:16 The verb επιμενω does not occur in John. They saw that Jesus seemed embarrassed, but did not know that it was as much because of "the brazen hardness of the prosecutors" as because of the shame of the deed.

He lifted himself up (ανεκυψεν). First aorist active indicative of ανακυπτω, the opposite of κατακυπτω, to bend down (verse John 8:8) or of κατω κυπτω (verse John 8:6).

He that is without sin (ο αναμαρτητος). Verbal adjective (αν privative and αμαρτητος from αμαρτανω), old word, either one who has not sinned as here and Deuteronomy 29:19 or one who cannot sin, not in the N.T.

Among you (υμων). Objective genitive.

First cast (πρωτος βαλετω). The nominative πρωτος means first before others, be the first to cast, not cast before he does something else. See John 20:4. The verb is second aorist imperative of βαλλω, old verb to fling or cast. Jesus thus picks out the executioner in the case.

Verse 8

Again he stooped down (παλιν κατακυψας). First aorist active participle of κατακυπτω, old and rare verb (in Epictetus II, 16. 22) instead of κατω κυψας in verse John 8:6.

With his finger (τω δακτυλω). Not genuine, only in D and Western class.

Wrote on the ground (εγραφεν εις την γην). Imperfect active of the simplex γραφω, not καταγραφω. The second picture of Jesus writing on the ground.

Verse 9

Went out (εξηρχοντο). Inchoative imperfect. Graphic picture.

One by one (εις καθ' εις). Not a Johannine phrase, but in Mark 14:19 where also the second nominative is retained as if καθ' (κατα) is regarded as a mere adverb and not as a preposition.

Beginning from the eldest (αρξαμενο απο των πρεσβυτερων). "From the elder (comparative form, common in Koine as superlative) men," as was natural for they had more sins of this sort which they recalled. "They are summoned to judge themselves rather than the woman" (Dods).

Was left alone (κατελειφθη μονος). First aorist effective passive indicative of καταλειπω, to leave behind, with predicate nominative μονος. "Jesus was left behind alone."

And the woman, where she was, in the midst (κα η γυνη εν μεσω ουσα). The woman was left behind also "being in the midst" as they had placed her (verse John 8:3) before they were conscience stricken and left.

Verse 10

Lifted up himself (ανακυψας). First aorist active participle of ανακυπτω as in verse John 8:7.

Where are they? (Που εισιν;). Jesus had kept on writing on the ground as the accusers had slipped away one by one.

Did no man condemn thee? (ουδεις σε κατεκρινεν;). First aorist active indicative of κατακρινω, old and common verb to give judgment against (down on) one, but not in John. No one dared to cast a stone at the woman on Christ's terms.

Verse 11

No man, Lord (Ουδεισ, Κυριε). "No one, Sir." She makes no excuse for her sin. Does she recognize Jesus as "Lord"?

Neither do I condemn thee (Ουδε εγω σε κατακρινω). Jesus does not condone her sin. See John 8:15 for "I do not judge (condemn) any one." But he does give the poor woman another chance.

Henceforth sin no more (απο του νυν μηκετ αμαρτανε). See also John 5:14 where this same language is used to the impotent man. It literally means (prohibition with present active imperative): "Henceforth no longer go on sinning." One can only hope that the woman was really changed in heart and life. Jesus clearly felt that even a wicked woman can be saved.

Verse 12

Again therefore (παλιν ουν). This language fits in better with John 7:52 than with John 8:11. Just suppose Jesus is in the temple on the following day.

Unto them (αυτοις). The Pharisees and crowds in the temple after the feast was past.

I am the light of the world (εγω ειμ το φως του κοσμου). Jesus had called his followers "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14), but that was light reflected from him. Already Jesus (the Logos) had been called the true light of men (John 1:9; John 3:19). The Psalmist calls God his Light (John 27:1). So Isaiah 60:19. At the feast of tabernacles in the Court of the Women where Jesus was on this day (John 8:20) there were brilliant candelabra and there was the memory of the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. But with all this background this supreme and exclusive claim of Jesus (repeated in John 9:5) to being the light of the whole world (of Gentiles as well as of Jews) startled the Pharisees and challenged their opposition.

Shall have the light of life (εξε το φως της ζωης). The light which springs from and issues in life (Westcott). Cf. John 6:33; John 6:51 about Jesus being the Bread of Life. In this sublime claim we come to a decisive place. It will not do to praise Jesus and deny his deity. Only as the Son of God can we justify and accept this language which otherwise is mere conceit and froth.

Verse 13

Of thyself (περ σεαυτου). This technical objection was according to the rules of evidence among the rabbis. "No man can give witness for himself" (Mishnah, Ketub. 11. 9). Hence, they say, "not true" (ουκ αληθες), not pertinent. "They were still in the region of pedantic rules and external tests." In John 5:31 Jesus acknowledged this technical need of further witness outside of his own claims (John 8:19-30) and proceeded to give it (John 8:32-47) in the testimony of the Baptist, of the Father, of his works, of the Scriptures, and of Moses in particular.

Verse 14

Even if (καν). That is κα εαν, a condition of the third class with the present active subjunctive μαρτυρω. Jesus means that his own witness concerning himself is true (αληθες) even if it contravenes their technical rules of evidence. He can and does tell the truth all by himself concerning himself.

For I know whence I came and whither I go (οτ οιδα ποθεν ηλθον κα που υπαγω). In this terse sentence with two indirect questions Jesus alludes to his pre-existence with the Father before his Incarnation as in John 17:5 and to the return to the Father after the death and resurrection as in John 13:3; John 14:2. He again puts both ideas together in one crisp clause in John 16:28 for the apostles who profess to understand him then. But here these Pharisees are blind to the words of Jesus. "But ye know not whence I come nor whither I go" (υμεις δε ουκ οιδατε ποθεν ερχομα η που υπαγω). He had spoken of his heavenly destiny (John 7:33). Jesus alone knew his personal consciousness of his coming from, fellowship with, and return to the Father. Stier (Words of the Lord Jesus) argues that one might as well say to the sun, if claiming to be the sun, that it was night, because it bore witness of itself. The answer is the shining of the sun.

Verse 15

After the flesh (κατα την σαρκα). According to the standards of the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16). The Baptist had said: "There stands one among you whom ye know not" (John 1:26). The Light of the World had come, but they loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19), because the god of this age had blinded their thoughts so that they could not see the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Verse 16

Yea and if I judge (κα εαν κρινω δε εγω). "And even if I pass judgment." Condition of third class again.

True (alˆthinˆ). See John 1:9 for αληθινος, genuine, soundly based (cf. δικαια in John 5:30), "satisfying our perfect conception" (Westcott), not merely true (αληθες) in the particular facts (verse John 8:14).

For I am not alone (οτ μονος ουκ ειμ). Jesus now takes up the technical criticism in verse John 8:13 after justifying his right to speak concerning himself.

But I and the Father that sent me (αλλ εγω κα ο πεμψας με πατηρ). See John 16:32 for a like statement about the Father being with Christ. It is not certain that πατηρ is genuine here (omitted by Aleph D, but in B L W), but the Father is clearly meant as in John 7:18; John 7:33. Jesus gives the Father as the second witness.

Verse 17

Yea and in your law (κα εν τω νομω δε τω υμετερω). Same use of και--δε as in verse John 8:16. They claimed possession of the law (John 7:49) and so Jesus takes this turn in answer to the charge of single witness in verse John 8:13. He will use similar language (your law) in John 10:34 in an argumentum ad hominem as here in controversy with the Jews. In John 15:24 to the apostles Jesus even says "in their law" in speaking of the hostile Jews plotting his death. He does not mean in either case to separate himself wholly from the Jews and the law, though in Matthew 5 he does show the superiority of his teaching to that of the law. For the Mosaic regulation about two witnesses see Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15. This combined witness of two is not true just because they agree, unless true in fact separately. But if they disagree, the testimony falls to the ground. In this case the Father confirms the witness of the Son as Jesus had already shown (John 5:37).

Verse 18

The Father (ο πατηρ). Clearly genuine here. So these are the two witnesses that Jesus presents to the Pharisees in defence of his claim to be the Light of the World (verse John 8:12).

Verse 19

Where is thy Father? (που εστιν ο πατηρ σου;). "The testimony of an unseen and unheard witness would not satisfy them" (Vincent). Bernard understands the Pharisees to see that Jesus claims God the Father as his second witness and so ask "where," not "who" he is. Augustine has it: Patrem Christi carnaliter acceperunt, Christ's human father, as if the Pharisees were "misled perhaps by the Lord's use of ανθρωπον (verse John 8:17)" (Dods). Cyril even took it to be a coarse allusion to the birth of Jesus as a bastard according to the Talmud. Perhaps the Pharisees used the question with double entendre, even with all three ideas dancing in their hostile minds.

Ye would know my Father also (κα τον πατερα μου αν ηιδειτε). Conclusion of second-class condition determined as unfulfilled with αν and second perfect active of οιδα used as imperfect in both condition and conclusion. See this same point made to Philip in John 14:9. In John 14:7 Jesus will use γινωσκω in the condition and οιδα in the conclusion. The ignorance of the Pharisees about Jesus proves it and is due to their ignorance of the Father. See this point more fully stated in John 5:36-38 when Jesus had his previous controversy in Jerusalem. In John 7:28 Jesus said that they knew his home in Nazareth, but he denied then that they knew the Father who sent him. Jesus will again on this occasion (John 8:55) deny their knowledge of the Father. Later he will deny their knowledge of the Father and of the Son (John 16:3). The Pharisees are silenced for the moment.

Verse 20

In the treasury (εν τω γαζοφυλακιω). See already Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1 for this word for the treasure-chambers of the temple. "It abutted on the Court of the Women, and against its walls were placed chests, trumpet-like in form, as receptacles for the offerings of the worshippers" (Bernard). The Persian word gaza (treasure) occurs only once in the N.T. (Acts 8:27) and the compound (φυλακη, guard) only here in John. Jesus hardly taught within a treasure-chamber. It probably means "at the treasury in the temple." This court was probably the most public part of the temple (Vincent).

And (κα)="and yet" as in John 1:10, etc.

Because his hour was not yet come (οτ ουπω εληλυθε η ωρα αυτου).

Reason (οτ) given why no one seized (επιασεν, cf. John 7:30) him. Εληλυθε is past perfect active of ερχομα, "had not yet come." This very use of ωρα appears in John 2:4 and the very clause in John 7:30 which see.

Verse 21

Again (παλιν). Probably παλιν (again) in verse John 8:12 refers to a day after the feast is over since the last day is mentioned in John 7:37. So then here again we probably move on to another day still beyond that in verse John 8:12.

And ye shall seek me (κα ζητησετε με). As in John 7:34, "the search of despair" (Bernard), seeking for the Messiah when it is too late, the tragedy of Judaism today (John 1:11).

And ye shall die in your sin (κα εν τη αμαρτια υμων αποθανεισθε). Future middle indicative of αποθνησκω which is the emphatic word here (cf. Ezekiel 3:18; Ezekiel 18:18; Proverbs 24:9). Note singular αμαρτια (sin) here, but plural αμαρτιαις (sins) when the phrase is repeated in verse John 8:24 (sin in its essence, sin in its acts).

Ye cannot come (υμεις ου δυνασθε ελθειν). Precise language of John 7:34 to the Jews and to the apostles in John 13:33.

Verse 22

Will he kill himself? (μητ αποκτενε εαυτον;). Negative answer formally expected, but there is a manifest sneer in the query. "The mockery in these words is alike subtle and bitter" (Vincent). It was a different group of Jews in John 7:31 who cynically suggested that he was going to work among the Greeks in the Dispersion. Here they infer that Jesus refers to the next world. They suggest the depths of Gehenna for him as the abode of suicides (Josephus, War III. viii. 5). Of course the rabbis could not join Jesus there! Edersheim argues against this view.

Verse 23

Ye are from beneath (υμεις εκ των κατω). This language, peculiar to John, could take up the idea in Josephus that these rabbis came from Gehenna whence they will go as children of the devil (John 8:44), but the use of εκ του κοσμου τουτου ("of this world" in origin) as parallel to what we have here seems to prove that the contrast between κατω and ανω here is between the earthly (sensual) and the heavenly as in James 3:15-17. See also Colossians 3:1. This is the only use of κατω in John (except John 8:6). These proud rabbis had their origin in this world of darkness (John 1:9) with all its limitations.

I am from above (εγω εκ των ανω ειμ). The contrast is complete in origin and character, already stated in John 3:31, and calculated to intensify their anger.

Verse 24

For except ye believe (εαν γαρ μη πιστευσητε). Negative condition of third class with εαν μη and ingressive aorist active subjunctive of πιστευω, "For unless ye come to believe."

That I am he (οτ εγω ειμ). Indirect discourse, but with no word in the predicate after the copula ειμ. Jesus can mean either "that I am from above" (verse John 8:23), "that I am the one sent from the Father or the Messiah" (John 7:18; John 7:28), "that I am the Light of the World" (John 8:12), "that I am the Deliverer from the bondage of sin" (John 8:28; John 8:31; John 8:36), "that I am" without supplying a predicate in the absolute sense as the Jews (Deuteronomy 32:39) used the language of Jehovah (cf. Isaiah 43:10 where the very words occur ινα πιστευσητε--οτ εγω ειμ). The phrase εγω ειμ occurs three times here (John 8:24; John 8:28; John 8:58) and also in John 13:19. Jesus seems to claim absolute divine being as in John 8:58.

Verse 25

Who art thou? (Συ τις ει;). Proleptic use of συ before τις, "Thou, who art thou?" Cf. John 1:19. He had virtually claimed to be the Messiah and on a par with God as in John 5:15. They wish to pin him down and to charge him with blasphemy.

Even that which I have also spoken unto you from the beginning (την αρχην οτ κα λαλω υμιν). A difficult sentence. It is not clear whether it is an affirmation or a question. The Latin and Syriac versions treat it as affirmative. Westcott and Hort follow Meyer and take it as interrogative. The Greek fathers take it as an exclamation. It seems clear that the adverbial accusative την αρχην cannot mean "from the beginning" like απ' αρχης (John 15:27) or εξ αρχης (John 16:4). The LXX has την αρχην for "at the beginning" or "at the first" (Genesis 43:20). There are examples in Greek, chiefly negative, where την αρχην means "at all," "essentially," "primarily." Vincent and Bernard so take it here, "Primarily what I am telling you." Jesus avoids the term Messiah with its political connotations. He stands by his high claims already made.

Verse 26

I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you (πολλα εχω περ υμων λαλειν κα κρινειν). Instead of further talk about his own claims (already plain enough) Jesus turns to speak and to judge concerning them and their attitude towards him (cf. verse John 8:16). Whatever they think of Jesus the Father who sent him is true (αληθης). They cannot evade responsibility for the message heard. So Jesus goes on speaking it from the Father.

Verse 27

They perceived not (ουκ εγνωσαν). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω. "Preoccupied as they were with thoughts of an earthly deliverer" (Westcott) and prejudiced against recognizing Jesus as the one sent from God.

That he spake to them of the Father (οτ τον πατερα αυτοις ελεγεν). Indirect assertion, but with the present indicative (λεγε) changed to the imperfect (ελεγεν) as was sometimes done (John 2:25) after a secondary tense.

Verse 28

When ye have lifted up the Son of man (οταν υψωσητε τον υιον του ανθρωπου). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν (οτε + αν) and the first aorist active subjunctive of υψοω, to lift up (Koine verb from υψος, height), used several times in John of the Cross of Christ (John 3:14; John 8:28; John 12:32; John 12:34). It is unnecessary to render the aorist subjunctive as if a future perfect, simply "whenever ye lift up" (actually lift up, ingressive aorist). In Acts 2:33 the verb is used of the Ascension.

Shall ye know (γνωσεσθε). Future (ingressive aoristic) middle of γινωσκω. Cognoscetis ex re quod nunc ex verbo non creditis (Bengel). But the knowledge from the facts like the fall of Jerusalem will come too late and will not bring a change of heart. The Holy Spirit will convict them concerning judgment (John 16:8). For

I am (εγω ειμ) see on verse John 8:24.

As the Father taught me (Καθως εδιδασκεν με ο πατηρ). This claim Jesus repeats (see verse John 8:26) and clearly makes on his arrival at the feast (John 7:16). This fact marks Jesus off from the rabbis.

Verse 29

Is with me (μετ' εμου εστιν). The Incarnation brought separation from the Father in one sense, but in essence there is complete harmony and fellowship as he had already said (John 8:16) and will expand in John 17:21-26.

He hath not left me alone (ουκ αφηκεν με μονον). First aorist active indicative of αφιημ. "He did not leave me alone." However much the crowds and the disciples misunderstood or left Jesus, the Father always comforted and understood him (Mark 6:46; Matthew 14:23; John 6:15).

That are pleasing to him (τα αρεστα αυτω). This old verbal adjective, from αρεσκω, to please, in N.T. only here, Acts 6:2; Acts 12:3; 1 John 3:32. The joy of Jesus was in doing the will of the Father who sent him (John 4:34).

Verse 30

Many believed on him (πολλο επιστευσαν εις αυτον). Ingressive aorist active indicative, came to believe, nominally at any rate, as in John 2:23. But the tension was keen and Jesus proceeded to test the faith of these new believers from among the Pharisees.

Verse 31

Which had believed him (τους πεπιστευκοτας αυτω). Articular perfect active participle of πιστευω with dative αυτω (trusted him) rather than εις αυτον (on him) in verse John 8:30. They believed him (cf. John 6:30) as to his claims to being the Messiah with their own interpretation (John 6:15), but they did not commit themselves to him and may represent only one element of those in verse John 8:30, but see John 2:23 for πιστευω εις there.

If ye abide in my word (εαν υμεις μεινητε εν τω λογω τω εμω). Third-class condition with εαν and first aorist (constative) active subjunctive.

Are ye truly my disciples (αληθως μαθητα μου εστε). Your future loyalty to my teaching will prove the reality of your present profession. So the conclusion of this future condition is put in the present tense. As then, so now. We accept church members on profession of trust in Christ. Continuance in the word (teaching) proves the sincerity or insincerity of the profession. It is the acid test of life.

Verse 32

And ye shall know the truth (κα γνωσεσθε την αληθειαν). Truth is one of the marks of Christ (John 1:14) and Jesus will claim to Thomas to be the personification of truth (John 14:6). But it will be for them knowledge to be learned by doing God's will (John 7:17). The word is from αληθης (α privative and ληθω, to conceal, unsealed, open). See also verses John 8:40; John 8:44; John 8:45.

And the truth shall make you free (κα η αληθεια ελευθερωσε υμας). Future active indicative of ελευθεροω, old verb from ελευθερος (from ερχομα, to go where one wishes and so free). One of Paul's great words for freedom from the bondage of the law (Romans 6:18; Galatians 5:1). The freedom of which Jesus here speaks is freedom from the slavery of sin as Paul in Romans 8:2. See John 8:36. This freedom is won alone by Christ (John 8:36) and we are sanctified in truth (John 17:19). In John 1:17 truth is mentioned with grace as one of the marks of the gospel through Christ. Freedom (intellectual, moral, spiritual) is only attainable when we are set free from darkness, sin, ignorance, superstition and let the Light of the World shine on us and in us.

Verse 33

We be Abraham's seed (Σπερμα Αβρααμ εσμεν). "We are Abraham's seed," the proudest boast of the Jews, of Sarah the freewoman and not of Hagar the bondwoman (Galatians 4:22). Yes, but the Jews came to rely solely on mere physical descent (Matthew 3:9) and so God made Gentiles the spiritual children of Abraham by faith (Matthew 3:7; Matthew 9:6).

And have never yet been in bondage to any man (κα ουδεν δεδουλευκαμεν πωποτε). Perfect active indicative of δουλευω, to be slaves. This was a palpable untruth uttered in the heat of controversy. At that very moment the Jews wore the Roman yoke as they had worn that of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Alexander, the Ptolemies, the Syrian (Seleucid) kings. They had liberty for a while under the Maccabees. "These poor believers soon come to the end of their faith" (Stier). But even so they had completely missed the point in the words of Jesus about freedom by truth.

Verse 34

Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin (πας ο ποιων την αμαρτιαν δουλος εστιν [της αμαρτιασ]). The Western class omits της αμαρτιας (sin), but that is the idea anyhow. Note the use of ποιων (present active participle, continuous habit or practice), not ποιησας (aorist active participle for single act), precisely as in 1 John 3:4-8. Note also John 3:21 for ο ποιων την αληθειαν (the one who practises the truth). Sin, like the worst narcotic, is habit forming. Hence the problem today for criminologists for paroled or pardoned criminals nearly always go back to crime, sink again into sin, the slaves of sin. Xenophon has this notion of the slavery of sin (Memor. IV. 5. 3). So Paul clearly in Romans 6:17; Romans 6:20 "slaves of sin" (δουλο της αμαρτιας).

Verse 35

The bondservant (ο δουλος) ...

the son (ο υιος). There is a change in the metaphor by this contrast between the positions of the son and the slave in the house. The slave has no footing or tenure and may be cast out at any moment while the son is the heir and has a permanent place. Cf. Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21:10) and Paul's use of it in Galatians 4:30. We do not know that there is any reference here to Hagar and Ishmael. See also Hebrews 3:5 (Numbers 12:7) for a like contrast between Moses as servant (θεραπων) in God's house and Christ as Son (υιος) over God's house.

Verse 36

If therefore the son shall make you free (εαν ουν ο υιος υμας ελευθερωση). Condition of third class with εαν and first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive. "If therefore the Son set you free," as he has the power to do.

Ye shall be free indeed (οντως ελευθερο εσεσθε). Old and common adverb from participle οντων, actually, really (cf. Luke 24:34). But this spiritual freedom was beyond the concept or wish of these Jews.

Verse 37

Yet ye seek to kill me (αλλα ζητειτε με αποκτεινα). As at the recent feast (John 7:20; John 7:25; John 7:30; John 7:32; John 8:20). Some of these very professed believers were even now glowering with murderous vengeance.

Hath not free course in you (ου χωρε εν υμιν). Intransitive use of χωρεω, old verb from χωρος (space, place), to have space or room for. They would not abide in Christ's word (verse John 8:31). They had no longer room for his word when once they understood the spiritual aspect of his message. Jerusalem was now just like Galilee once before (John 6:60-66).

Verse 38

With my Father (παρα τω πατρ). Locative case of πατηρ and article used as possessive (common idiom), "by the side of my Father," picture of intimate fellowship like προς τον θεον (face to face with God) in John 1:1.

From your father (παρα του πατρος). Ablative case with παρα (from the side of) and same possessive use of του in each instance, though "the" will really answer both times. But ο πατηρ does not mean the same person. Christ's Father by contrast is not their father.

Verse 39

Our father is Abraham (ο πατηρ ημων Αβρααμ εστιν). They saw the implication and tried to counter it by repeating their claim in verse John 8:33 which was true so far as physical descent went as Jesus had admitted (verse John 8:37).

If ye were (ε εστε). Strictly, "if ye are" as ye claim, a condition of the first class assumed to be true.

Ye would do (εποιειτε αν). Read by C L N and a corrector of Aleph while W omits αν. This makes a mixed condition (protasis of the first class, apodosis of the second. See Robertson, Grammar, p. 1022). But B reads ποιειτε like the Sin. Syriac which has to be treated as imperative (so Westcott and Hort).

Verse 40

But now (νυν δε). Clear statement that they are not doing "the works of Abraham" in seeking to kill him. See this use of νυν δε after a condition of second class without αν in John 16:22; John 16:24.

This did not Abraham (τουτο Αβρααμ ουκ εποιησεν). Blunt and pointed of their unlikeness to Abraham.

A man that hath told you the truth (ανθρωπον ος τεν αληθειαν υμιν λελαληκα). Ανθρωπον (here=person, one) is accusative case in apposition with

me (με) just before. The perfect active indicative λελαληκα from λαλεω is in the first person singular because the relative ος has the person of με, an idiom not retained in the English

that hath (that have or who have) though it is retained in the English of 1 Corinthians 15:9 "that am" for ος ειμ.

Which I heard from God (ην ηκουσα παρα του θεου). Here we have "I" in the English. "God" here is equal to "My Father" in verse John 8:38. The only crime of Jesus is telling the truth directly from God.

Verse 41

Ye do the works of your father (υμεις ποιειτε τα εργα του πατρος υμων). Who is not Abraham and not God as Jesus plainly indicates.

We were not born of fornication (ημεις εκ πορνειας εγεννηθημεν). First aorist passive indicative of γενναω. This they said as a proud boast. Jesus had admitted that they were physical (Deuteronomy 23:2) descendants of Abraham (John 8:37), but now denies that they are spiritual children of Abraham (like Paul in Romans 9:7). Πορνεια is from πορνος (harlot) and that from περνημ, to sell, a woman who sells her body for sexual uses. It is vaguely possible that in this stern denial the Pharisees may have an indirect fling at Jesus as the bastard son of Mary (so Talmud).

We have one Father, even God (ενα πατερα εχομεν τον θεον). No "even" in the Greek, "One Father we have, God." This in direct reply to the implication of Jesus (verse John 8:38) that God was not their spiritual Father.

Verse 42

Ye would love me (ηγαπατε αν εμε). Conclusion of second-class condition with distinct implication that their failure to love Jesus is proof that God is not their Father (protasis).

For I came forth from God (εγω γαρ εκ του θεου εξηλθον). Second aorist active indicative of εξερχομα, definite historical event (the Incarnation). See John 4:30 for εξηλθον εκ. In John 13:3; John 16:30 Jesus is said to have come from (απο) God. The distinction is not to be pressed. Note the definite consciousness of pre-existence with God as in John 17:5.

And am come (κα ηκω). Present active indicative with perfect sense in the verb stem (state of completion) before rise of the tense and here retained. "I am here," Jesus means.

Of myself (απ' εμαυτου). His coming was not self-initiated nor independent of the Father. "But he (εκεινος, emphatic demonstrative pronoun) sent me" and here I am.

Verse 43

My speech (την λαλιαν την εμην) and

my word (τον λογον τον εμον). Perhaps λαλια, old word from λαλος (talk), means here more manner of speech than just story (John 4:42), while λογος refers rather to the subject matter. They will not listen (ου δυνασθε ακουειν) to the substance of Christ's teaching and hence they are impatient with the way that he talks. How often that is true.

Verse 44

Ye are of your father the devil (υμεις εκ του πατρος του διαβολου). Certainly they can "understand" (γινωσκετε in John 8:43) this "talk" (λαλιαν) though they will be greatly angered. But they had to hear it (ακουειν in John 8:43). It was like a bombshell in spite of the preliminary preparation.

Your will to do (θελετε ποιειν). Present active indicative of θελω and present active infinitive, "Ye wish to go on doing." This same idea Jesus presents in Matthew 13:38 (the sons of the evil one, the devil) and John 23:15 (twofold more a son of Gehenna than you). See also 1 John 3:8 for "of the devil" (εκ του διαβολου) for the one who persists in sinning. In Revelation 12:9 the devil is one who leads all the world astray. The Gnostic view that Jesus means "the father of the devil" is grotesque. Jesus does not, of course, here deny that the Jews, like all men, are children of God the Creator, like Paul's offspring of God for all men in Acts 17:28. What he denies to these Pharisees is that they are spiritual children of God who do his will. They do the lusts and will of the devil. The Baptist had denied this same spiritual fatherhood to the merely physical descendants of Abraham (Matthew 3:9). He even called them "broods of vipers" as Jesus did later (Matthew 12:34).

A murderer (ανθρωποκτονος). Old and rare word (Euripides) from ανθρωπος, man, and κτεινω, to kill. In N.T. only here and 1 John 3:15. The Jews were seeking to kill Jesus and so like their father the devil.

Stood not in the truth (εν τη αληθεια ουκ εστηκεν). Since ουκ, not ουχ, is genuine, the form of the verb is εστεκεν the imperfect of the late present stem στηκω (Mark 11:25) from the perfect active εστηκα (intransitive) of ιστημ, to place.

No truth in him (ουκ εστιν αληθεια εν αυτω). Inside him or outside (environment). The devil and truth have no contact.

When he speaketh a lie (οταν λαλη το ψευδος). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν and the present active subjunctive of λαλεω. But note the article το: "Whenever he speaks the lie," as he is sure to do because it is his nature. Hence "he speaks out of his own" (εκ των ιδιων λαλε) like a fountain bubbling up (cf. Matthew 12:34).

For he is a liar (οτ ψευστης εστιν). Old word for the agent in a conscious falsehood (ψευδος). See 1 John 1:10; Romans 3:4. Common word in John because of the emphasis on αληθεια (truth).

And the father thereof (κα ο πατηρ αυτου). Either the father of the lie or of the liar, both of which are true as already shown by Jesus.

Autou in the genitive can be either neuter or masculine. Westcott takes it thus, "because he is a liar and his father (the devil) is a liar," making "one," not the devil, the subject of "whenever he speaks," a very doubtful expression.

Verse 45

Because I speak the truth (εγω δε οτ την αληθειαν λεγω). Proleptic emphatic position of εγω. "Truth is uncongenial to them" (Bernard). See John 3:19 for their picture.

Verse 46

Which of you convicteth me of sin? (Τις εξ υμων ελεγχε με περ αμαριτασ;). See on John 3:20; John 16:8 (the work of the Holy Spirit) for ελεγχω for charge and proof. The use of αμαρτια as in John 1:29 means sin in general, not particular sins. The rhetorical question which receives no answer involves sinlessness (Hebrews 4:15) without specifically saying so. Bernard suggests that Jesus paused after this pungent question before going on.

Why do ye not believe me? (Δια τ υμεις ου πιστευετε μοι;). This question drives home the irrationality of their hostility to Jesus. It was based on prejudice and predilection.

Verse 47

He that is of God (ο ων εκ του θεου). See this use of εκ in John 3:31. "Their not listening proved that they were not of God" (Dods). They were of the earth and the devil, not of God.

Verse 48

Thou art a Samaritan and hast a demon (Σαμαρειτης ε συ κα δαιμονιον εχεις). On the spur of the moment in their rage and fury they can think of no meaner things to say. They know, of course, that Jesus was not a Samaritan, but he had acted like a Samaritan in challenging their peculiar spiritual privileges (John 4:9; John 4:39). The charge of having a demon was an old one by the Pharisees (Matthew 12:24) and it is repeated later (John 10:20).

Verse 49

I have not a demon (εγω δαιμονιον ουκ εχω). This Jesus says calmly, passing by the reference to the Samaritans as beneath notice.

My Father (τον πατερα μου). As in John 2:16. He is not mad in claiming to honour God (cf. John 7:18). They were insulting the Father in insulting him (cf. John 5:23). On ατιμαζω (α privative and τιμαω, to dishonour) see Luke 20:11.

Verse 50

But I seek not mine own glory (εγω δε ου ζητω την δοξαν μου). As they did not seek the glory of God (John 5:44; John 8:4).

And judgeth (κα κρινων). The Father judges between you and me, though the Son is the Judge of mankind (John 5:22). "It is only the δοξα (glory) that comes from God that is worth having" (Bernard).

Verse 51

If a man keep my word (εαν τις τον εμον λογον τηρηση). Condition of third class with εαν and constative aorist active subjunctive of τηρεω. Repeated in verse John 8:52. See verse John 8:43 about hearing the word of Christ. Common phrase in John (John 8:51; John 8:52; John 8:55; John 14:23; John 14:24; John 15:20; John 17:6; 1 John 2:5). Probably the same idea as keeping the commands of Christ (John 14:21).

He shall never see death (θανατον ου μη θεωρηση εις τον αιονα). Spiritual death, of course. Strong double negative ου μη with first aorist active subjunctive of θεωρεω. The phrase "see death" is a Hebraism (Psalms 89:48) and occurs with ιδειν (see) in Luke 2:26; Hebrews 11:5. No essential difference meant between οραω and θεωρεω. See John 14:23 for the blessed fellowship the Father and the Son have with the one who keeps Christ's word.

Verse 52

Now we know (νυν εγνωκαμεν). Perfect active indicative of γινωσκω, state of completion, "Now since such talk we have come to certain knowledge that thou hast a demon" (verse John 8:48).

Is dead (απεθανεν). Second aorist active indicative of αποθνησκω. "Abraham died."

And thou sayest (κα συ λεγεις). Adversative use of κα, "and yet." Emphatic position of συ (thou). Same condition quoted as in verse John 8:51.

He shall never taste of death (ου με γευσητα θανατου εις τον αιονα). Same emphatic negative with subjunctive as in verse John 8:51, but γευσητα (first aorist middle subjunctive of γευω with genitive case θανατου (death). Another Hebraism for dying like θεωρηση (see) in verse John 8:51. Used in Hebrews 2:9 of the death of Jesus and in Synoptics (Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27). It occurs in the Talmud, but not in the O.T. The Pharisees thus did not misquote Jesus, though they misunderstood him.

Verse 53

Art thou greater than our father Abraham? (Μη συ μειζων ε του πατρος ημων Αβρααμ;). Negative answer expected by μη with ablative case of comparison in πατρος after μειζων. The question was designed to put Jesus in a difficult position, for Abraham and the prophets all "died." They do not see that Jesus uses death in a different sense.

Whom makest thou thyself? (τινα σεαυτον ποιεισ;). Σεαυτον is predicate accusative with ποιεις. They suspect that Jesus is guilty of blasphemy as they charged in John 5:18 in making himself equal with God. Later they will make it specifically (John 10:33; John 19:7). They set a trap for Jesus for this purpose.

Verse 54

If I glorify myself (εαν εγω δοξασω εμαυτον). Third-class condition with εαν and first aorist active subjunctive (or future active indicative) of δοξαζω.

It is my Father that glorifieth me (εστιν ο πατηρ μου ο δοξαζων με). The position and accent of εστιν mean: "Actually my Father is the one," etc.

Of whom ye say (ον υμεις λεγετε). The accusative of the person (ον) with λεγετε is regular (cf. John 10:36).

Your God (θεος υμων). So Aleph B D and apparently correct, though A C L W Delta Theta have ημων (our God). The οτ can be taken as recitative (direct quotation, ημων, our) or declarative (indirect, that, and so υμων). The Jews claimed God as their peculiar national God as they had said in John 8:41. So Jesus turns this confession and claim against them.

Verse 55

And ye have not known him (κα ουκ εγνωκατε αυτον). Adversative use again of κα="and yet." Perfect active indicative of γινωσκω, the verb for experiential knowledge. This was true of the κοσμος (John 1:10; John 17:25) and of the hostile Jews (John 16:3). Jesus prays that the world may know (John 17:23) and the handful of disciples had come to know (John 17:25).

But I know him (εγω δε οιδα αυτον). Equipped by eternal fellowship to reveal the Father (John 1:1-18). This peculiar intimate knowledge Jesus had already claimed (John 7:29). Jesus used οιδα (John 8:19; John 15:21) or γινωσκω (John 17:23; John 17:25) for the knowledge of the Father. No undue distinction can be drawn here.

And if I should say (καν ειπω). Third-class condition (concession), "even if I say," with κα εαν (καν) and second aorist active subjunctive. "Suppose I say."

I shall be like you a liar (εσομα ομοιος υμιν ψευστης). Apodosis of the condition. Hομοιος (like) is followed by the associative-instrumental case υμιν. The word ψευστης (liar), in spite of the statement that they are the children of the devil, the father of lying (John 8:44), comes with a sudden jolt because it is a direct charge. This word liar is not considered polite today in public speech when hurled at definite individuals. There is a rather free use of the word in 1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:20; 1 John 5:10. It is not hard to imagine the quick anger of these Pharisees.

Verse 56

Rejoiced (ηγαλλιασατο). First aorist middle indicative of αγαλλιαομα, a word of Hellenistic coinage from αγαλλομα, to rejoice.

To see (ινα ιδη). Sub-final use of ινα and second aorist active subjunctive of οραω. This joy of Abraham is referred to in Hebrews 11:13 (saluting, ασπασαμενο, the promises from afar). There was a Jewish tradition that Abraham saw the whole history of his descendants in the vision of Genesis 15:6, but that is not necessary here. He did look for and welcome the Messianic time, "my day" (την ημεραν την εμην). "He saw it, and was glad" (ειδεν κα εχαρη). Second aorist active indicative of οραω and second aorist passive indicative of χαιρω. Ye see it and are angry!

Verse 57

Thou art not yet fifty years old (πεντηκοντα ετ ουπω εχεις). Literally, "Thou hast not yet fifty years." Not meaning that Jesus was near that age at all. It was the crisis of completed manhood (Numbers 4:3) and a round number. Jesus was about thirty to thirty-three.

And hast thou seen Abraham? (Κα Αβρααμ εωρακασ;). So A C D and B W Theta have εωρακες, both second person singular of the perfect active indicative of οραω. But Aleph, Sin-syr., Coptic versions (accepted by Bernard) have κα Αβρααμ εωρακε σε? "Has Abraam seen thee?" Either makes sense here.

Verse 58

Before Abraham was (πριν Αβρααμ γενεσθα). Usual idiom with πριν in positive sentence with infinitive (second aorist middle of γινομα) and the accusative of general reference, "before coming as to Abraham," "before Abraham came into existence or was born."

I am (εγω ειμ). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between γενεσθα (entrance into existence of Abraham) and ειμ (timeless being) is complete. See the same contrast between εν in John 1:1 and εγενετο in John 1:14. See the contrast also in Psalms 90:2 between God (ε, art) and the mountains (γενηθηνα). See the same use of ειμ in John 6:20; John 9:9; John 8:24; John 8:28; John 18:6.

Verse 59

They took up stones therefore (ηραν ουν λιθους). First aorist active indicative of αιρω, inferential use of ουν. The time for argument had past.

To cast at him (ινα βαλωσιν επ' αυτον). Final clause with ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of βαλλω. Vivid picture of a mob ready to kill Jesus, already beginning to do so.

Hid himself (εκρυβη). Second aorist passive indicative of κρυπτω. He was hidden. No Docetic vanishing, but quietly and boldly Jesus went out of the temple. His hour had not yet come. Once again three months later the Pharisees will try to kill him, but he will pass out of their hands (John 10:39).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/john-8.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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