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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

John 7

Verse 2

The Jews' feast of tabernacles

The Rev. brings out the defining force of the two articles: the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles. This feast occurred in the early autumn (September or early October), and lasted for seven days. Its observance is commanded in Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:39, Leviticus 23:42, Leviticus 23:43; Deuteronomy 16:13. Its significance was twofold. It was a harvest-home festival, and hence was called the Feast of Ingathering, and it comememorated the dwelling of Israel in tents or booths in the wilderness. Hence the name Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. The association of the latter event with harvest was designed to remind the people in their prosperity of the days of their homeless wandering, that their hearts might not be lifted up and forget God, who delivered them from bondage (Deuteronomy 8:12-17). Therefore they were commanded to quit their permanent homes and to dwell in booths at the time of harvest. The festival was also known as the Feast of Jehovah, or simply the Festival (Leviticus 23:39; 1 Kings 8:2), because of its importance, and of being the most joyful of all festivals. At the celebration of the feast at Jerusalem booths were erected in the streets and squares and on the housetops. The Greek word for this feast, σκηνοπηγία , construction of tabernacles, occurs only here in the New Testament.

Verse 3

Thy disciples

Both those who had been gained by former teaching in Judaea and Jerusalem, and others from other parts.

Verse 4

Openly ( ἐν παῤῥησίᾳ )

Literally, in boldness. The reasoning is: no man can assert the position which Christ claims, and at the same time keep secret the works which go to vindicate it.

Verse 5

Neither ( οὐδὲ )

Better, as Rev., not even.

Did believe ( ἐπίστευον )

The imperfect, were believing; referring not to a single act of faith, but to faith as habitual and controlling.

Verse 6

Time ( καιρὸς )

See on Matthew 12:1; see on Luke 1:20; see on Acts 12:1. The appropriate season or juncture.

Alway ready

The disciples might at any time associate with the world, with which they were still in sympathy. Not so Jesus, who was in essential antagonism to the world.

Verse 7


Frequent in John, and expressing an inherent impossibility. See John 3:3, John 3:5; John 5:19; John 6:44; John 7:34, John 7:36; John 8:21, John 8:43; John 12:39; John 14:17, etc.

Evil ( πονηρά )

See on Luke 3:19; see on Luke 7:21.

Verse 8

This feast

For this, read the, the first time, but not the second.

Full come ( πεπλήρωται )

Literally, has been fulfilled. So Rev., is not yet fulfilled.

Verse 11

Then ( οὖν )

Better, therefore; because He did not come up with the Galilaeans.

Sought ( ἐζήτουν )

The imperfect: kept seeking; persistently sought for Him.

He ( ἐκεῖνος )

Emphatic: that one of whom we have heard, and whom we once saw.

Verse 12


See on John 6:41.

The people ( τοῖς ὄχλοις )

See on John 1:19.

Said ( ἔλεγον )

Imperfect: were saying.

Deceiveth ( πλανᾷ )

Rev., better, leadeth astray. See on Mark 12:24; see on Judges 1:13.

Verse 13

Openly ( παῤῥησίᾳ )

The word may mean either without reserve (John 10:24; John 11:14), or without fear (John 11:54).

Verse 14

About the midst of the feast ( τῆς ἑορτῆς μεσούσης )

A peculiar form of expression found only here. The midst is expressed by a participle from the verb μεσόω , to be in the middle. Literally, the feast being midway.

Taught ( ἐδίδασκεν )

Or began to teach. Imperfect tense.

Verse 15

Letters ( γράμματα )

See on John 5:47.

Verse 16

Doctrine ( διδαχὴ )

Better, teaching, as Rev. Doctrine has acquired a conventional sense which might mislead.

Verse 17

Will do his will ( θέλῃ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ ποιεῖν )

This is a notable illustration of the frequent blunder of the A.V. in rendering θέλειν , to will or determine, as a mere auxiliary verb. By overlooking the distinct meaning of the verb to will, and resolving willeth to do into will do, it sacrifices the real force of the passage. Jesus says, if it be one's will to do; if his moral purpose is in sympathy with the divine will.

He shall know

Sympathy with the will of God is a condition of understanding it.

Of God ( ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ )

Better, from; proceeding out of.

Of myself ( ἀπ ' ἐμαυτοῦ )

Of myself is misleading, being commonly understood to mean concerning myself. Rev., correctly, from myself; without union with the Father. Compare John 5:30.

Verse 18

His own glory ( τὴν δόξαν τὴν ἰδίαν )

Literally, the glow which is His own; the second article throwing His own into sharp contrast with His that sent Him. On His own, see on Acts 1:7; see on Matthew 22:5; see on Matthew 25:15.

The same ( οὖτος )

Notice the characteristic use of the pronoun taking up and emphasizing the principal subject of the sentence.

Unrighteousness ( ἀδικία )

See on 2 Peter 2:13.

Verse 19

Did - give ( δέδωκεν )

Some texts read the aorist tense ἔδωκεν , in which case this rendering is correct. If with others we read the perfect, we should render hath not Moses given you the law, which you still profess to observe.

Keepeth ( ποιεῖ )

Rev., rightly, doeth. Compare do in John 7:17.

Go ye about ( ζητεῖτε )

Properly, seek ye. So Rev.

Verse 20

A devil ( δαιμόνιον )

Or more correctly, a demon. See on Mark 1:34. The name was applied to Jesus by the multitude ( ὄχλος ) and not by those whom He was addressing in John 7:19, because of the gloomy suspicions which they thought He entertained, and in entire ignorance of the design of the Jews which Jesus had penetrated. The same term was applied to John the Baptist, the ascetic, as one who withdrew from social intercourse (Matthew 11:18).

Verse 21

One work ( ἓν ἔργον )

The healing on the Sabbath (John 5:1-8).

Verse 23

Are ye angry ( χολᾶτε )

Only here in the New Testament. From χολή , gall. Strictly, the verb means to be full of bile, hence to be melancholy mad.

Every whit whole ( ὅλον ὑγιῆ )

Strictly, I made a whole man sound, in contrast with the rite of circumcision which affects only a single member, but which, nevertheless, they practice on the Sabbath.

Verse 24

Appearance ( ὄψιν )

Primarily, seeing or sight. In John 11:44; Revelation 1:16, face, and hence external appearance. The word occurs only in the three passages cited.

Righteous judgment ( τὴν δικαίαν κρίσιν )

Properly, the righteous judgment; that which is appropriate to the case in hand.

Verse 25

Them of Jerusalem ( Ἱεροσολυμιτῶν )

Literally, of the Jerusalemites, who knew better than the multitude the designs of the priesthood. The word occurs only here and Mark 1:5.

Verse 26

Do the rulers know indeed?

The interrogative particle μήποτε may be rendered by the familiar expression they do not, do they? Rev., can it be that the rulers, etc. Indeed ( ἀληθῶς ); literally, truly.

The very ( ἀληθῶς )


Verse 27

Howbeit ( ἀλλὰ )

But, it cannot be that the rulers have made such a discovery, for we know whence this man is.

We know ( οἴδαμεν )

The knowing of the rulers is expressed by ἔγνωσαν ; have they ascertained by searching and watching. The people's knowledge, οἴδαμεν , is that of settled conviction.

Whence ( πόθεν )

Referring to His parentage and family.

No one knoweth whence He is

Opinions differ as to the precise reference of these words. Some explain by a popular idea that the Messiah would not be known until anointed by Elias, when he would suddenly appear. Others refer to Isaiah 53:8; or to Daniel 7:13. Meyer says that while the popular belief that the immediate ancestry of the Messiah would be unknown when He came cannot further be historically proved, it is credible, partly from the belief in His divine origin, and partly from the obscurity into which the Davidic family had sunk.

Verse 28

Then ( οὗν )

Rev., rightly, therefore, giving the reason for the succeeding words in Jesus' emotion awakened by the misconceptions of the people.

Cried ( ἔκραξεν )

See on Mark 5:5; see on Mark 9:24.

As He taught ( διδάσκων )

Better, Rev., teaching. The expression cried teaching implies speaking in a peculiarly solemn manner and with an elevation of voice.

Me - whence I am

Conceding the truth of the people's statement in John 7:27, we know this man whence he is, so far as His outward person and His earthly origin were concerned. He goes on to show that they are ignorant of His divine relationship.

True ( ἀληθινὸς )

True to the ideal of a sender: a genuine sender in the highest sense of the term. See on John 1:9.

Verse 29

From him ( παρ ' αὐτοῦ )

See on John 6:46.

Verse 30


Another of the frequent instances in which the A.V. of this Gospel renders the logical particle as a particle of time. Translate as Rev., therefore; because of His claim to be sent from God.

To take ( πιάσαι )

See on Acts 3:7.

Verse 31

Will he do ( μήτι ποιήσει )

Literally, surely he will not at all do.

Verse 32

Officers ( ὑπηρέτας )

See on Matthew 5:25; see on Luke 1:2.

Verse 33

Unto them


I go ( ὑπάγω )

I withdraw. See on John 6:21.

Verse 34

Ye shall seek me

Not as now, for disputation or violence, but for help.

Where I am

In absolute, eternal being and fellowship with the Father. I am ( ἐγω εἰμι ) is the formula of the divine existence (John 8:58). The phrase carries a hint of the essential nature of Jesus, and thus prepares the way for ye cannot come (see on John 7:7). The difference in character will make it essentially impossible.

Verse 35

Will He go ( οὗτος μέλλει πορεύεσθαι )

Literally, whither does this man intend to go, or whither is He thinking of going? The A.V. misses the contemptuous insinuation in this man (Rev.).

We shall not find him ( ἡμεῖς )

The pronoun is emphatic; we, the religious leaders, the wise men, who scrutinize the claims of all professed teachers and keep a watchful eye on all impostors.

The dispersed among the Gentiles ( τὴν διασπορὰν τῶν Ἑλλήνων ).

Literally, the dispersion of the Greeks. The Jews who remained in foreign lands after the return from the Captivity were called by two names: 1. The Captivity, which was expressed in Greek by three words, viz., ἀποικία , a settlement far from home, which does not occur in the New Testament; μετοικεσία , change of abode, which is found in Matthew 1:11, Matthew 1:12, Matthew 1:17, and always of the carrying into Babylon; αἰχμαλωσία , a taking at the point of the spear; Ephesians 4:8; Revelation 13:10. 2. The Dispersion ( διασπορά ). See on 1 Peter 1:1; see on James 1:1. The first name marks their relation to their own land; the second to the strange lands.

The Gentiles ( Ἕλληνας )

Literally, the Greeks. So Rev. See on Acts 6:1.

Verse 36

What manner of saying is this ( τίς ἐστιν ουτος ὁ λόγος )?

Rev., more simply and literally, what is this word?

Verse 37

The last day

The eighth, the close of the whole festival, and kept as a Sabbath (Leviticus 23:36). It was called the Day of the Great Hosanna, because a circuit was made seven times round the altar with “Hosanna;” also the Day of Willows, and the Day of Beating the Branches, because all the leaves were shaken off the willow-boughs, and the palm branches beaten in pieces by the side of the altar. Every morning, after the sacrifice, the people, led by a priest, repaired to the Fountain of Siloam, where the priest filled a golden pitcher, and brought it back to the temple amid music and joyful shouts. Advancing to the altar of burnt-offering, at the cry of the people, “Lift up thy hand!” he emptied the pitcher toward the west, and toward the east a cup of wine, while the people chanted, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” It is not certain that this libation was made on the eighth day, but there can be no doubt that the following words of the Lord had reference to that ceremony.

Stood ( εἱστήκει )

The imperfect, was standing; watching the ceremonies. Both A.V. and Rev. miss this graphic touch.

Verse 38

The scripture hath said

There is no exactly corresponding passage, but the quotation harmonizes with the general tenor of several passages, as Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1; Joel 3:18.

Belly ( κοιλίας )

The word is often used in the Old Testament for the innermost part of a man, the soul or heart. See Job 15:35; Job 32:19; Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 20:27, Proverbs 20:30. The rite of drawing and pouring out the water pointed back to the smitten rock in the desert. In Exodus 17:6, “there shall come water out of it,” is literally, “there shall come water from within him.” The word belly here means the inmost heart of the believer, which pours forth spiritual refreshment. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:4; John 4:14.

Shall flow ( ῥεύσουσιν )

The word occurs only here in the New Testament.


A type of abundance. Compare Numbers 20:11.

Living water

Compare John 4:10.

Verse 39

The Spirit

The Holy Spirit, personally.

The Holy Ghost ( πνεῦμα ἅγιον )

The best texts omit ἅγιον , holy, and the definite article is not in the text, so that the strict rendering is simply spirit. Literally, spirit was not yet. Given, in A.V. and Rev., is added to guard against a possible misconception, which, as Alford observes, “no intelligent reader could fall into.” The word spirit, standing thus alone, marks, not the personal Spirit, but His operation or gift or manifestation. Canon Westcott aptly says: “It is impossible not to contrast the mysteriousness of this utterance with the clear teaching of St. John himself on the 'unction' of believers (1 John 2:20sqq.), which forms a commentary, gained by later experience, upon the words of the Lord.”

Was glorified ( ἐδοξάσθη )

We have here one of John's characteristic terms, even as the idea is central to his Gospel - to show forth Jesus as the manifested glory of God (John 1:14). The beginning of our Lord's miracles was a manifestation of His glory (John 2:11). His glory was the expression of the Father's will (John 8:54). By His work He glorified the Father upon earth (John 12:28; John 17:4), and in this was Himself glorified (John 17:10). The sickness and resurrection of Lazarus were for the glory of God (John 11:4). The consummation of His work was marked by the words, “Now was the Son of man glorified, and God was glorified in Him” (John 13:31). His glory He had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5). It is consummated at His ascension (John 7:39; John 12:16). The passion is the way to glory (John 12:23, John 12:24; John 13:31). The fruitfulness of believers in Him is for the glory of God (John 15:8), and the office of the Spirit is to glorify Christ (John 16:14).


Verse 40


The best texts omit. Read as Rev., some.

This saying ( τὸν λόγον )

The best texts substitute τῶ λόγων τούτων , these words. So Rev.

The prophet

See on John 1:21.

Verse 41

Shall Christ, etc. ( μὴ γὰρ ὁ Χριστός )

The Rev. gives better the force of the interrogative particle with γὰρ , for: What, doth the Christ come, etc. The idea in full is, “you cannot ( μὴ ) say that, for ( γὰρ ) doth the Christ, etc.”

Shall - come ( ἔρχεται )

The present tense. Rev., rightly, doth - come.

Verse 43

There was a division ( σχίσμα ἐγένετο )

More correctly, as Rev., “there arose a division.” See on John 1:3.

Verse 44

Would have taken ( ἤθελον πιάσαι )

See on John 7:17. Rather, were disposed: or wished to take him.

Verse 46

Like this man

Some of the best texts omit.

Deceived ( πεπλάνησθε )

Rev., led astray. See on John 7:12.

Verse 48

Of the rulers or of the Pharisees

The Greek order, as followed by Rev., is more suggestive: Hath any of the rulers believed on Him, or (to appeal to a larger circle) of the Pharisees?

Verse 49

This people ( ὁ ὄχλος οὗτος )

Better, multitude, as contrasted with the orthodox Jews. See on John 1:19.


As specimens of Rabbinical utterances concerning this class may be cited the expressions vermin, people of the earth, and the saying, “the ignorant is impious; only the learned shall have part in the resurrection.” Even more abusive and abominable is this: “He shall not take a daughter of the people of the earth, because they are an abomination, and their wives are an abomination, and concerning their daughters it is said, Deuteronomy 27:21” -!

Verse 50

He that came to Him by night ( ὁ ἐλθὼν νυκτὸς πρὸς αὐτὸν )

The texts vary, either substituting πρότερον , before, for νυκτὸς , by night, or omitting the whole clause, and reading, Nicodemus saith unto them, being one of them.

Verse 51

Any man ( τὸν ἄνθρωπον )

Literally, the man, whoever he may be, that comes before them.

Before it hear him ( ἐὰν μὴ ἀκούσῃ παρ ' αὐτοῦ )

Rev., more correctly, except it first hear. Hear him, is an inadequate rendering of παρ ' αὐτοῦ , which is, as Rev., from himself; παρά , implying from beside, i.e., from his side of the case.

Verse 52


Compare John 5:39.

Look ( ἴδε )

Some render see, and translate the following ὅτι , that, instead of for. So Rev. The difference is unimportant.

Verse 53

This verse, and the portion of Chapter 8, as far as John 8:12, are generally pronounced by the best critical authorities not to belong to John's Gospel.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 7". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.