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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
John 10

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 10

John 10:3. καλεῖ] A. B. D. L. X. א. Curss. Cyr.: φωνεῖ. Recommended by Griesb., accepted by Lachm. and Tisch. Correct; the following κατʼ ὄνομα was the occasion of writing the more definite word alongside, whence it was then introduced into the text.

John 10:4. τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα] Lachm. and Tisch.: τὰ ἴδια πάντα, after B. D. L. X. א.** Cursives, Copt. Sahid. Cyr. Lucif. Cant. πάντα, after the preceding occurrence of the word, passed mechanically over into πρόβατα.

John 10:5. ἀκολουθήσωσιν] Lachm. and Tisch.: ἀκολουθήσουσιν, after preponderating testimony; the Indicat. was displaced by the usual conjunct.

John 10:8. πάντες] is omitted in D. Cant. 10 :Foss. Didym., and πρὸ ἐμοῦ is absent from E. F. G. M. S. U. δ. א.* Cursives, Verss. the Fathers. The omission of πάντες is to be explained from its being superfluous; and that of πρὸ ἐμοῦ, which Tisch. has deleted, from the Gnostic and Manichaean misuse of the passage in opposition to the Old Testament.

The place of πρὸ ἐμοῦ after ἦλθον is decisively attested (Elz., Scholz.: before ἦλθον).

Instead of τίθησιν, John 10:11, διδωσιν (Tisch.) is too feebly attested. So also δίδωμι, John 10:15.

John 10:12. τὰ πρόβατα after σκορπ. is wanting in B. D. L. א. Cursives, Verss. Lucif.; bracketed by Lachm. and suppressed by Tisch. But why should it have been added? Appearing as it would altogether superfluous, it might easily be passed over.

John 10:13. δὲ μισθωτ. φεύγει] wanting in B. D. L. א. Cursives, Verss. Lucif.; bracketed by Lachm., rejected even by Rinck, and deleted by Tisch. But how easily might the eye of a copyist pass at once from δὲ μισθ. to ὅτι μισθ., so that δὲ μισθ. φεύγει was omitted. This explanation is suggested further by A.*, which omits μισθ. φεύγει ὅτι.

John 10:14. γινώσκομαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἐμῶν] B. D. L. א., most of the Verss. Cyr. Epiph. Nonn.: γινώσκουσίν με τὰ ἐμά. Recommended by Griesbach, accepted by Lachm. and Tisch. This active turn is a transformation in harmony with the following verse, in which also there is no passive expression.

John 10:16. The position δεῖ με (Lachm. and Tisch.) is strongly supported, but would easily suggest itself as the more usual instead of με δεῖ.

γενήσεται] B.D.L.X. and some Verss.: γενήσονται. Mechanically introduced after the preceding plural form.

John 10:18. αἴρει] Tisch.: ἦρεν, only after B. א.*

John 10:26. Instead of οὐ γάρ we must read, with Tisch., ὅτι οὐκ, after B. D. L. X. א. Curss. Or. Cyr. Chrys.

καθὼς εἶπον ὑμῖν] wanting in B. K. L. M.* א. Curss. Verss. and Fathers. Bracketed by Lachm. The apparent incongruity caused the omission.

John 10:29. ὅς δέδωκε] D.: δεδωκώς. A stylistic alteration. B. L. א.* Copt. Sahid. Vulg. It. Goth. Tert. Hil.: δέδωκεν. A. B. X. It. Vulg. read μεῖζον afterwards. The latter is to be regarded as original, and because the neuter was not understood relatively to πατήρ as the source of the alteration, δέδωκεν

John 10:33. λέγοντες] is, with Lachm. and Tisch., after preponderating testimony, to be deleted.

John 10:38. πιστεύητε] Tisch.: πιστεύετε, after inadequate evidence for this irregularity, especially as πιστεύετε precedes and follows; for instead of the following πιστεύσατε, decisive evidence renders it necessary, with Tisch., to read πιστεύετε.

ἵνα γνῶτε καὶ πιστεύσητε] Lachm. and Tisch.: ἵνα γνῶτε κ. γινώσκητε, after B. L. X. Curss. Copt. Sahid. Arm. Aeth. and some Fathers. Correctly; not being understood after γνῶτε, γινώσκ. was altered into πιστεύσ.

αὐτῷ] B. D. L. X. א. Curss. and most of the Verss., also Or. Athan. and others, have τῷ πατρί. Recommended by Griesbach, accepted by Lachm. and Tisch. With such decided witnesses in its favour, justly; for the emphasis lying in the repetition of the word might easily escape the copyists.

John 10:42. ἐκεῖ] Decisive evidence assigns it its place after αὐτόν. So also Lachm. and Tisch.


Verse 1

John 10:1.(58) The new chapter ought to have begun with John 9:35; for John 10:1-21 constitute one act with John 9:35-41, as is evident both from the circumstance that John 10:1 ff. follow immediately without the slightest indication of a change having taken place, and also from John 10:6 (comp. John 9:41). The parable is therefore still addressed to the Pharisees of chap. 9; as John 10:21 also shows by the reference which it contains to the healing of the blind man.

ἀμὴν ἀμὴν, etc.] After the punitive words of John 9:41, Jesus now, with solemn earnestness, and through the medium of a parable, unveils to them how their hostile relation to Him, in rejecting Him, whilst at the same time regarding themselves as the leaders of the people of God, necessarily made them the corrupters of the nation. His discourse proceeds, however, without any objection or contradiction being raised by His opponents; for they did not understand the figure, John 10:6; many also fail to understand the explanation, and despise the speaker as crazy (John 10:20); whilst others, again, yield to the impression made by the penetrating truth of His words (John 10:21). It happened, accordingly, that Jesus was able to carry out the beautiful allegory (John 10:6) in all its detail, without interruption, as it were in one breath; and had therefore, at its close, nothing further to do than to let the words spoken produce their natural impression. Their primary effect was a division among His hearers (John 10:19), in accordance with John 9:39; such as had already showed itself in John 9:16.

μὴ εἰσερχόμενος, etc.] The flocks of sheep spent the night in a fold ( αὐλή, גְּדֵרָה) surrounded by a wall, at whose gate an under-shepherd ( θυρωρός, John 10:3) kept watch during the night. See especially Bochart, Hieroz. I. p. 482, ed. Rosenm. Opposed to the εἰσερχό΄. διὰ τ. θύρας (the emphasis lies on the last word) is the ἀναβαίνων ἀλλαχόθεν, who gets up (on to the wall, for the purpose of coming into the αὐλή, over it) from elsewhere, i.e. from another direction than that indicated by the gate. There is only one gate. On ἀλλαχόθεν, which is equivalent to the old classical ἄλλοθεν, see Ael. H. A. 7. 10; V. H. 6. 2; 4 Maccabees 1:7.

κλέπτ. κ. λῃστής] Thief and robber; a climactic strengthening of the idea (Bornemann, Scholia in Lucam, p. xxx.; Lobeck, Paralip. p. 60 f.); the individual features, however, of the soul-destroying, selfish procedure thus indicated (Ezekiel 34:8; Malachi 2:8; Jeremiah 23:1) are not to be dissevered.

For the explanation of the figure we must note,—(1) The αὐλὴ τῶν προβάτων is the Church of the people of God, whose members are the πρόβατα (comp. Psalms 23, Ps. 77:21, Psalms 95:7, Psalms 100:3), conceived in their totality as the future community of the Messianic kingdom (John 21:16 f.); comp. Matthew 25:32, consequently as to their theocratic destination (ideally). It is in itself correct, indeed, as to substance, to assume a reference to the predestinated (Augustine, Lampe) (though not in the Augustinian sense); but in form it introduces something foreign to the context. (2) The θύρα is not to be left without its proper signification (Lücke, De Wette); nor to be taken as denoting in general the legitimus ordo, the divine calling, the approach ordained by God, and the like (Maldonatus, Tholuck, Luthardt, Brückner, Hengstenberg, Godet, and several others); but Christ Himself is the door; indeed, He Himself in John 10:7 expressly thus interprets the point, because His hearers had failed to understand it.(59) The true leaders of the theocratic people can enter on their vocation in no other way than through Him; He must qualify and commission them; He must be the mediator of their relation to the sheep. Quite a different position was taken up by the Pharisees; independently of Him, and in an unbelieving and hostile spirit towards Him, they arrogated to themselves the position of the leaders of the people of God. It is thoroughly arbitrary to assume that Jesus did not here intend by the figure of the gate to denote Himself, notwithstanding the distinct declaration contained in John 10:9. Chrysostom, Ammonius, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, and several others, have perversely interpreted the doors of the Holy Scriptures. “Ipse textus addit imagini interpretationem qua contenti simus,” Melancthon.


Verse 2-3

John 10:2-3. ποιμήν] Shepherd, without article qualitatively; it characterizes such a one, not specially as the owner (the antithesis to the hireling first appears in John 10:12), but in general, in opposition to the robber.

θυρωρὸς ἀνοίγει] belongs to the description of the legitimate mode of entering, and is not intended to have any special explanation; for which reason also no further notice is taken of it in John 10:7-8. It must not, therefore, be explained either of God (Calvin, Maldonatus, Bengel, Tholuck, Ewald, Hengstenberg, following John 6:44 f.); or of the Holy Spirit, Acts 13:2 (Theodoret, Heracleon, Ruperti, Aretius, Corn. a Lapide, and several others, also Lange); or of Christ (Cyril, Augustine); or of Moses (Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Euth. Zigabenus, Luther, following Deuteronomy 18:15); or of John the Baptist (Godet, after John 1:7). He enters into the fold, and the sheep hear His voice (His call, His address, His appeal); they listen to it as to the voice which is known to them (comp. John 10:4). Comp. the shepherd’s cry to his flock, “ σίττα,” in Theocr. iv. 46, viii. 69.

τὰ πρόβατα] are the sheep in the fold generally. It was common for several flocks to pass the night in one fold; and their shepherds, because they come every morning to lead out the individual flocks, are known to all the sheep in the fold. On the contrary, τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα are the sheep which belong to the special flock of him who has entered;(60) these he calls κατʼ ὄνομα, i.e. not merely ὀνομαστί (that would be merely ὄνομα, or ὀνόματι, or ἐπʼ ὀνόματος, Polyb. 5. 35. 2, 11. 15. 1), but distributively—by their names, each by its name, ἐκ τῆς εἰς ἕκαστον ἄκρας φροντίδος, Euth. Zigabenus. To give to the individual animals of their flock a name was not an unusual custom among the shepherds of ancient times. See Interpp. ad Theocr. 5. 101; Pricaeus on the passage. In Lange’s view (Leben Jesu, II. p. 955) the ἴδια πρόβ. are the favourite sheep (image of the elect), the bellwethers, which are followed by the whole flock ( τὰ πρόβατα, John 10:4). This is incorrect; for, on the one hand, ἴδια alone would not sufficiently support this notion (comp. John 10:12); and on the other, ἔμπροσθεν πορεύεται and ἀκολουθεῖ, John 10:4, are so completely correlate, that αὐτῶν and τὰ πρόβατα must necessarily be the same: at all events, αὐτοῖς must otherwise have been used instead of αὐτῷ, John 10:4.

ἐξάγει] to pasture, John 10:9-10. Looking back to John 9:34; John 9:22, Godet imports into the words the idea of separation from the old theocracy, which is devoted to ruin.(61) Such a thought is contained neither in the words (Pollux, i. 250) nor in the context.


Verse 4

John 10:4. And when he has brought out all his own sheep (those belonging to his flock), and so forth. He leaves none behind ( πάντα, see the critical note). ἐκβάλῃ pictures forth the manner of the ἐξάγειν. He lays hold on the sheep which he has called to him, and brings them out to the door.

The idea, which is symbolically set forth in John 10:3-4, is that of the living, loving fellowship which subsists between the leaders of the people of God, whom Christ has appointed, and Christ Himself, for the satisfaction of the spiritual needs of the Church, both in general and in particular.


Verse 5

John 10:5. ἀλλοτρίῳ δὲ, etc.] A stranger, however, who does not belong to them as their shepherd. It is not exclusively the ἀναβαίνοντες ἀλλαχ. of John 10:1 who are here intended, but every other one in general who is not their shepherd. The fellowship referred to in John 10:3-4 is portrayed according to its exclusive nature.

οὐ μὴ ἀκολουθήσουσιν] future (see the critical note), as in John 8:12. It is not prophetical (Lampe: of the “cathedra Mosis plane deserenda,” comp. Luthardt), but describes what will be the result of the intervention of a stranger. The sheep will certainly not follow, but flee from him.


Verse 6-7

John 10:6-7. παροιμία] Every species of discourse that deviates from the common course ( οἶμος); hence in the classical writers especially—proverb (Plat. Soph. p. 261 B Soph. Aj. 649; Ael. N. H. 12. 22; Lucian, Nigr. 1. 37; comp. 2 Peter 2:22). It denotes here, as corresponding to the Hebrew משׁל, if we define the conception more exactly, not parable (because it is not a history), but allegory (see Wilke, Rhetor. p. 109). Suidas: παροιμία ἐστὶ λόγος ἀπόκρυφος διʼ ἑτέρου προδήλου σημαινόμενος.

The Pharisees do not understand the meaning of what He thus allegorically delivered to them, and therefore ( οὖν, John 10:7) Jesus sees Himself compelled to begin again ( πάλιν), and to explain to them, first of all, the main point on which the understanding of the whole depended, namely, how the door in John 10:1 is to be understood. It is incorrect, accordingly, with most recent commentators (also Hengstenberg and Godet), to say that we have a second parable with a different turn; if Christ had not intended even in John 10:1 to describe Himself as the θύρα, He would only have confused His hearers in John 10:7, instead of clearing matters up.

ἐγώ] with great emphasis.

τῶν προβάτων] to the sheep, as is required by John 10:1; not, through which the sheep enter into the fold (Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Wolf, Lampe, Fritzsche, Ebrard, Hengstenberg, Baeumlein, Godet, and others), so that Jesus characterizes Himself as the tutorem ac nutritorem of the sheep (Fritzsche). Christ, however, is the door to the sheep, so far as the true spiritual leaders of the people of God receive through Him the qualification and appointment to their vocation. See on John 10:1.


Verse 8

John 10:8. See Ewald, Jahrb. ix. p. 40 ff. The actual antithesis to the ἐγώ εἰμι θύρα is formed by the many who had come forward to be the teachers and leaders of the people of God, without connecting their working with Christ. He describes them from the point of view of the time at which they came forward before me; they came forward before Christ had appeared as the door to the sheep; they had developed their power and activity since the time of the second temple, in a way that gradually grew more and more pernicious, and they formed now the party of hierarchical, specially Pharisaical, antagonists of Christ. The members of this hierarchical caste are intended; the expression used by Christ, however, is popular, and not to be pressed as hard and unhistorical (Hase); the use of the present εἰσί, moreover, gives it a living relation to the leaders of the people, as they then actually were before his eyes. On the other hand, passages like John 7:19, John 5:39; John 5:45, John 4:22, exclude even the possibility of a reference to Moses and the prophets; hence the inadmissibility of Hilgenfeld’s idea that the saying is “very harshly anti-Judaistic,” as also that it refers to the entire Old Testament past, i.e. to all the pre-Christian leaders of the people of God,—an application which he tries to justify by bringing in the Gnostic dualism. It is also inadmissible to set aside in any way the temporal meaning of πρό, whether it be made to mean, with Calovius: in advance of me (antequam mitterentur); or, with Brückner (after Stier): before they have sought and found me as the door; or, with Wolf, to convert it into χωρίς,—a view which comes substantially to that of Olshausen (“without connection with the Logos”); or, with Tittmann and Schleusner, to take it for ὑπέρ, loco, and with Lange to import into this view, “instead of me,” the further notion of absolute pre-eminence, as though the one who advances forward designed completely to set aside the one who was put in the background. πρό, in the sense of instead, is foreign to the New Testament, and rare also in Greek writers. But when ἦλθον, with a view to the removal of everything objectionable, is taken pregnantly, making it express an arbitrary or unauthorized(62) coming forward (Hieronymus, Augustine, Isidore, Heracleon, Euth. Zigabenus, Luther, Melancthon, Jansen, and several others; also Luthardt, Ebrard), a meaning is imported into the word, which in itself, indeed, may be regarded as a matter of course, but which, at the same time, must have been distinctly expressed (say, as in John 10:42), if it were to be emphatical.(63) This also against B. Crusius, who lays the stress on the intention expressed in ἦλθον (“in order to give the people a new time”). The explanation, finally, of false Messiahs (Chrysostom, Cyril, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Euth. Zigabenus, Theophylact, Grotius, Maldonatus, Hammond, Tittmann, Schleusner, Klee, Weizsäcker, and several others), is unhistorical, as they first began to come forward after Christ’s day; a circumstance on which B. Bauer, however, grounds a charge of anachronism against John. De Wette considers the discourse to be out of harmony with the wisdom and gentleness of Jesus. But the worthless men, to whose entire class He alludes, stood actually in His presence, and had surely done enough to call forth His severity and wrath.

κλέπται εἰσὶ κ. λῃσταί] namely, of the sheep, John 10:1. Comp. the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Instead of πάντες ὅσοι, ἅπαντες ὅσοι would have been still stronger, Strabo, p. 18, 1. 11, Isocr. Loch. 12.

ἀλλά]. The want of success which attends this predatory (soul-destroying) procedure.

οὐκ ἤκουσαν] did not listen to them. For their adherents did not belong to the true people of God ( τὰ πρόβατα).


Verse 9

John 10:9. ἐγώ εἰμι θύρα] τῷ διπλασιασμῷ τοῦ ῥητοῦ βεβαιοῖ τὸν λόγον, Euth. Zigabenus.

διʼ ἐμοῦ] emphatically occupying the front place, excluding every other mediation.

εἰσέλθῃ] namely, to the sheep in the fold. Comp. John 10:1; John 10:7. The subject is therefore a shepherd ( τὶς), who goes in to the sheep through the door. Others, on the contrary (Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Maldonatus, Bengel, and several others; also Fritzsche, Tholuck, De Wette, B. Crusius, Maier, Baeumlein, Hengstenberg, Godet, and several others), regard the sheep as the subject, and the θύρα as the gate for the sheep. But there is no ground for such a change of figure, seeing that both the word εἰσέρχεσθαι in itself after John 10:1-2, and also the singular and masculine τὶς, can only refer to the shepherd; besides, another mode of entrance than through the door is for the sheep quite inconceivable; consequently the emphatic words διʼ ἐμοῦ, so far as the ἐγώ is the door, would be without any possible antithesis.

σωθήσεται] is not to be understood directly of the attainment of the Messianic redemption (compare especially 1 Corinthians 3:15), as Luthardt and older commentators suppose, after 1 Timothy 4:16, for that would be foreign to the context (see what follows); but means: he will be delivered, i.e. he will be set free from all dangers by the protecting door;—the interpretation of the figure intended by Jesus does undoubtedly signify safety from the Messianic ἀπώλεια, and the guarantee of future eternal redemption. This happy σωθήσεται is then followed by unrestrained and blessed service, which is graphically set forth by means of the words εἰσελ. κ. ἐξελ., as in Numbers 27:17, as an unhindered entering in and going out of the fold, at the head of the flock, whilst engaged in the daily duty of tending it; and by νομὴν εὑρήσει, as the finding of pasture for the flock ( ποιμνίων νομάς, Soph. O. R. 760; compare Plat. Legg. iii. p. 679 A: νομῆς γὰρ οὐκ ἦν σπάνις). That this νομή in the interpretation of the allegory is ψυχῆς νομή (Plat. Phaedr. p. 248 B), which works for the eternal life of those who are fed through the evangelical grace and truth which they appropriate (comp. John 10:10), does not need further urging.


Verse 10

John 10:10. The opposite of such a one as entered διʼ ἐμοῦ, is the thief to whom allusion was made in John 10:1; when he comes to the sheep, he has only selfish and destructive ends in view. Comp. Dem. 782. 9 : φησι φυλάττειν πρόβατα, αὐτὸς κατεσθίων.

ἐγὼ ἦλθον, etc.] Quite otherwise I! I have come (to the sheep), etc. By this new antithesis, in which Christ contrasts Himself, and not again the shepherd appointed through Him, with the thief, the way is prepared for a transition to another use of the figure which represents Him no longer as the door (from John 10:11 onwards), but as the true Shepherd Himself (Matthew 26:31; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:23). Compare the promise in Exodus 34:23; Exodus 37:24, in contrast to the false shepherds in Ezekiel 34:2 ff.

ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσι]. The opposite of θύσῃ κ. ἀπολ.; the sheep are not to be slaughtered and perish, but are to have life; and as the nature of the reality set forth requires, it is the Messianic life in its temporal development and eternal perfection that is meant.

καὶ περισσὸν ἔχ.] and have it abundantly (over-flowingly), i.e. in the figure: rich fulness of nourishment (comp. Psalms 23); as to the thing, abundance of spiritual possessions (grace and truth, John 1:14; John 1:17), in which the ζωή consists. Incorrectly Vulgate, Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Grotius, and many others, compare also Ewald, who interpret the passage as though περισσότερον were used, more than ζωή, wherewith is meant—the kingdom of heaven; or, according to Ewald, “Joy, and besides, constantly increasing blessing.” The repetition of ἔχωσιν gives the second point a more independent position than it would have had if καί alone had been used. Comp. John 10:18; Xen. Anab. i. 10. 3 : καὶ ταύτην ἔσωσαν καὶ ἄλλα

ἔσωσαν.


Verse 11

John 10:11. ἐγώ] Repeated again with lively emphasis. It is no other.

ποιμὴν καλός] the good, the excellent shepherd, conceived absolutely as He ought to be: hence the article and the emphatic position of the adjective. In Christ is realized the ideal of the shepherd, as it lives in the Old Testament (Psalms 23; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34; Jeremiah 23; Zechariah 11; also Micah 5:3). With the conception of καλός compare the Attic καλὸς κἀγαθός (also Tobit 7:7; 2 Maccabees 15:12), and the contrary: πονηρός, κακός, ἄδικος.

In the following specification of the things in which the good shepherd proves himself to correspond to his idea, ποιμ. καλός is solemnly repeated.

τιθέναι τ. ψυχήν] As to substance, though not as to the meaning of the words, equivalent to δοῦναι τ. ψ. (Matthew 20:28). It is a Johannean expression (John 13:37 f., John 15:13; 1 John 3:16), without corresponding examples in Greek classical writers (against Kypke, I. p. 388); and must be explained, neither from the simple שׂוּם, Isaiah 53:10 (Hengstenberg), nor from שׂוּם נֶפֶשׁ בְּכַף (Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5), where בכף is essential; but from the idea of the sacrificial death as a ransom that has been paid (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). Its import accordingly is: to pay down one’s soul, impendere, in harmony with the use of τιθέναι in the classics, according to which it denotes to pay (so frequently in Demosthenes and others; see Reiske, Ind. Dem. p. 495, ed. Schaef.; Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 271). Compare Nonnus: καὶ ψυχῆς ἰδίης οὐ φείδεται, ἀλλὰ ἑθήσει λύτρον ἑῶν ὀΐων.

ὑπέρ] for the good of, in order to turn aside destruction from them by his own self-sacrifice. Compare John 11:50 f. It is less in harmony with this specific point of view, from which the sacrifice of the life of Jesus is regarded throughout the entire New Testament, to take τιθέναι, with De Wette, Ebrard, Godet, as denoting merely lay down (as in John 13:4); or to assume the idea which is foreign to the passage, “to offer as a prize for competition” (Ewald).


Verse 12

John 10:12 f. In opposition to the idea of the good shepherd, we have here that of the hireling. The term μισθωτός must not be taken to refer to the conduct of the Pharisees in their leadership of the people (Baeumlein and older writers, also my own view previously), as these hierarchs are included in the characteristic designation of Thieves and Robbers (John 10:8; John 10:2), with which the description of the hireling, who is cowardly, and careth not for the sheep, would not harmonize. Nor can it be directed against the mode in which the legitimate priesthood lead the people, as Godet thinks; for the priesthood consisted to a large extent of Pharisees, and formed with these latter, as far as antagonism to Christ was concerned, one great party (John 7:32; John 7:45; John 11:47; John 11:57; John 18:3). The expression μισθωτός rather represents those leading teachers of the people of God, who, instead of being ready to sacrifice their lives for the community, flee from danger, and forsake, with feelings of indifference and disregard, their charge. Under the figure of the μισθωτός, there rise to the view of Christ the many cross-forsaking teachers, who would arise even in the apostolic age (Galatians 6:12; Philippians 3:18), and to whom the Apostle Paul forms the most brilliant historical contrast. The question by whom the μισθωτός is to be regarded as hired, leads beyond the purpose of the allegory, which is to set forth, in contrast to the good shepherd, the idea of a shepherd who, influenced solely by self-interest, takes charge of a flock, which is not his own property.

καὶ οὐκ ὢν ποιμήν] is closely connected with μισθ. δέ: he, however, who is a hireling (hired for wage) and is not a shepherd,—shepherd in the sense of being owner of the sheep which he leads out to pasture; hence the words οὗ οὐκ εἰσὶ, etc., are added for the purpose of more emphatically expressing the meaning. Note that Christ possesses a Church (flock) even before His death; partly, according to the old theocratic idea, namely, that of the old people of God as His ἴδιοι, John 1:11; partly in reality, namely, the totality of those who believed on Him, whom the Father has given Him (John 6:37); partly proleptically (John 10:16); though, as far as He is concerned, they are first purchased (compare Acts 20:28; Titus 2:14) by Him through His death, after which event began the extension of His shepherd’s functions to all, by the drawing of His Holy Spirit (John 12:32).

There is no justification for interpreting the wolf specially, either of the devil (Euth. Zigabenus, Aretius, Olshausen, and several others; admitted even by Chrysostom); or of heretics, after Acts 20:20 (Augustine, Jansen, and several others). It is a general image of every sort of power, opposed to the Messiah, and bent on destroying the kingdom of God, which may make its appearance; this power, however, as such, has its causal and ruling principle in the devil, John 12:31; John 14:30; Matthew 10:16.

ἁρπάζει αὐτὰ κ. σκορπίζει τὰ πρόβ.] he snatches them (namely, the individuals on which he falls), and scatters the sheep, i.e. the mass of them, the flock; hence the word πρόβατα is neither superfluous nor harsh (De Wette).

ὅτι μισθωτ. ἐστι] nothing else. This and what follows supplies the ethical key to the behaviour described.

Notice further, that whilst in verse 12 we read μισθ. δέ, here we have δὲ μισθ.; because the antithesis of the hireling was first brought forward in John 10:12, and greater emphasis was secured by the immediate connection of μισθ. with . Comp. Klotz, ad Devar. p. 378.


Verse 14

John 10:14 f. After the description of the hireling, there now follows again that of the opposite,—the characterization of Himself as the good shepherd, first specifying His intimate acquaintance with His sheep, and then repeating His readiness to sacrifice Himself on their behalf. The latter point constitutes the refrain of the characterization (John 10:17-18), being here concretely expressed (it is different in John 10:11, where it was predicated of the good shepherd in abstracto).

καθὼς γινώσκει με, etc.] The nature and mode, the holy nature of that reciprocal acquaintanceship. Compare John 14:20, John 15:10, John 17:8; John 17:21. As between God and Christ, so also between Christ and His people, the reciprocal knowledge is a knowledge growing out of the most intimate fellowship of love and life,—that fellowship which directly involves γινώσκειν; comp. on Matthew 7:23.

τίθημι] near and certain future. The clause κ. τ. ψ. is not dependent on καθώς.


Verse 16

John 10:16. The repeated mention of His sacrificial death, by which the union of Jews and heathen into one community of believers was to be effected (see on Ephesians 2:14), raises His look to the future when He (as the good shepherd lifted up on high, compare Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25) shall be the guide also of the heathen, who have become believers, and whom he now prophetically terms His sheep. Compare John 11:52, John 12:32,(64) and prophetic utterances, such as Micah 4:2; Isaiah 49:1 ff; Isaiah 52:13 ff; Isaiah 53:10 ff. But the thought that He does not need the faith of the Jews (Hengstenberg after Ruperti) is arbitrarily imported into the passage as an intervening link of logical connection. The Jews outside Palestine (Paulus) are not intended, as they form part of the fold of the Jewish theocracy, to which the words ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης refer, and within which Jesus Himself lived and spake; hence also the demonstrative ταύτης.

ἔχω] He is their owner. Comp. Acts 18:10. “Hoc verbum habet magnam potestatem,” Bengel.

οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης] which are not out of this fold, which are not derived from it. This expression, however, does not imply that Jesus conceived the heathen as also in an αὐλή (in answer to De Wette); for the emphasis rests not on ταύτης, but on τῆς αὐλῆς, and the characteristic feature of the heathen is the διασπορά (John 7:35, John 11:52);(65) whilst the thought of a divine leading of the heathen (Acts 14:17; Acts 17:27) does not correspond at all to the figure of an αὐλή, of which the conception of theocratic fellowship constitutes an essential feature. Compare the figure of the olive tree in Romans 11:17; Ephesians 2:12; Matthew 8:11.

δεῖ] according to the divine decree.

ἀγαγεῖν] neither adducere, fetch (Vulgate, Luther, Beza, and many others; also Tholuck, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, Godet); nor συναγαγεῖν, John 11:52 (Nonnus, Euth. Zigabenus, Theophylact, Casaubon); but lead, as shepherd, who goes before the sheep, and whom they follow, John 10:4. Bengel’s remark is appropriate: “Non opus est illis solum mutare;” for the shepherd who leads also the heathen is the exalted Christ, πάντων κύριος, Acts 10:36.

καὶ γενήσεται, etc.] and will become, inasmuch as I lead, besides my sheep out of the Jewish αὐλή, those other sheep of mine, also, one flock (consisting of the two parts, ἀμφοτέρωθεν, Nonnus), one shepherd. This is the happy issue; by the asyndetic collocation, all the conception of unity ( μία, εἷς) is made to appear with more marked prominence. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 4:5. On εἷς ποι΄ήν, observe in reference to γενήσεται: “de jure Jesus semper unicus est pastor; de jure et facto igitur unus fict,” Bengel. The fulfilment of His declaration, which began with the conversion of the heathen by the apostles, is still advancing, and will be first completed with the realization of what is spoken of in Romans 11:25 f. The Stoic dream of the union of all men ὥσπερ ἀγέλης συννόμα νόμῳ κοινῷ συντρεφομένης (Plut. de fort. Alex. 6) has been dispelled; the idea, however, considered in itself, goes on realizing itself in Christ till the judgment day.


Verse 17-18

John 10:17-18. Christ’s self-delineation as the Good Shepherd is finished. Jesus now further bears testimony to that which filled His heart, while setting forth this great vocation, which was only to be fulfilled by dying and rising again, namely, the love of His Father, which rests upon Him just because of that which He has declared concerning Himself as the good shepherd.

διὰ τοῦτοὅτι] is to be taken as in all the passages where it occurs in John (John 5:16; John 5:18, John 8:47, John 12:18; John 12:39; 1 John 3:1): thereforebecause, namely, διὰ τοῦτο referring to what had preceded, and ὅτι introducing a more precise explication of διὰ τοῦτο. The sense consequently is: therefore, because of this my relationship as Shepherd, of which I have spoken down to John 10:16, my Father loves me, because, namely, I ( ἐγώ; no other does so or can do so) lay down my life, in order to take it again. Note in particular: (1) The explanation ὅτιμου is pragmatically correct, because it is just the readiness to sacrifice His life which is the main characteristic of the good shepherd (John 10:11; John 10:15). (2) ἵνα πάλ. λάβω αὐτήν do not belong to ἀγαπ., but express the intention or design of τίθ. τ. ψ. μου (not merely its result, as Theodore of Mopsuestia, Euth. Zigabenus, Grotius, and many suppose; or its condition, as Calvin, De Wette, and several others maintain); for the ground of the love of God lies not merely in the sacrifice considered by itself, but in the fact that the Good Shepherd, when He gives up His life, is resolved to take it again, in order that He may continue to fulfil His pastoral office till the final goal is reached, when all mankind shall constitute His flock. Indeed, only on the condition of His taking His life again, could He fulfil the office of Shepherd unto the final completion contemplated in the divine decree, and referred to in John 10:16. For this reason, also, ἵνα cannot be regarded as introducing the divine intention (Tholuck), because the ground of the Father’s love must lie in the volition of Jesus,—which volition, it is true, corresponds to the Father’s will, though this is not here expressly declared, but first in John 10:18.

John 10:18. It must be, however, not an unwilling, but a voluntary self-sacrifice, if it is to form the ground of the love of the Father to Him; hence the words οὐδεὶςἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ (mea ipsius sponte). Nor must He proceed to effect this voluntary sacrifice of His own authority; but must receive a warrant thereto, as also for that which He had in view in so doing, viz. the resumption of His life; hence the words: ἐξουσίανλαβεῖν αὐτήν. Nay, more; even this very thing which He purposed to do, namely, the surrender and resumption of His life, must have come to Him as a commission from God; hence the expression: ταύτην τ. ἐντολὴνπατρός μου, in which ταύτην (this and not something different) is emphatic, and τὴν ἐντολὴν is correlate to the idea of ἐξουσία, as this latter is grounded in the divine mandate. Notice further: (1) The ἐξουσία, the power conferred (so also in John 19:10 f., not power generally), lies in the relation of subordination to God, of whom the Son is the commissioned representative, and to whom He submits Himself voluntarily, i.e. from no compulsion exerted by a power outside of Himself, but with self-determined obedience to the Father (John 14:30 f.; Matthew 26:53). Equality of nature (Olshausen) is the presupposition of this moral harmony. (2) The view which pervades the New Testament, that Christ did not raise Himself from the dead, but was raised by the Father, is not affected by this passage, inasmuch as the taking again of His life, for which the divine-human Christ had received authorization, implies the giving again of the life, to wit, the re-awakening activity of the Father. This giving again on the part of God, by which Christ becomes ζωοποιηθεὶς πνεύματι (see 1 Peter 3:19, and Huther on the passage), and that ἐξουσία, which Christ receives from God, are the two factors of the resurrection—the former being the causa efficiens, whilst the latter, the ἐξουσία of Christ, is the causa apprehendens. Compare Constitutiones Apostol. 5. 7. 8 : ἑαυτὸν προστάγματι τοῦ πατρὸς διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἀνεγείρας.—(3) ταύτην τὴν ἐντολ. embraces the aforementioned twofold ἐξουσία; justly so, inasmuch as the authorization to die and to rise again was only formally divided according to its two aspects. Chrysostom and several others erroneously refer ταύτην to the dying alone.


Verses 19-21

John 10:19-21. πάλιν] see John 9:16.

ἐν τοῖς ἰουδαίοις.] These words refer to the Pharisees (John 9:40) who, in keeping with their relationship to Jesus (against De Wette), are designated according to the class to which they belonged (as the Jewish hierarchical opposition). The majority of them clung to the hostile judgment (compare John 8:48), which they had contemptuously expressed; some of them, however, felt themselves impressed, and deny the assertion of the rest. Comp. John 9:16.

τί αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε] i.e. of what use is it to you to listen to His discourses?

καὶ μαίνεται] in consequence of being possessed by a demon.

μὴ δαιμόνιον, etc.] surely a demon cannot, etc.; a confirmation of that denial from the miracle which had given rise to the entire discussion. We see from this that these ἄλλοι belonged to the more unprejudiced and conscientious class which had given expression to its feelings in John 9:16. At the same time, the conclusion must not be drawn that they would have refused to recognise any demoniacal miracles (were they even in themselves beneficent),

Matthew 12:24 is opposed to this view; but they believed it impossible to attribute a miracle of so great a kind to a demon, who must have been working through the medium of Jesus. Note, moreover, that even here they do not get further than a negative judgment.


Verse 22-23

John 10:22-23. A new section; the proceedings at the feast of the Dedication of the Temple.

As there is not the least hint of a return journey to Galilee or Peraea, and as John 10:26 ff. point back to the discourse concerning the Good Shepherd, we must needs suppose that Jesus remained in Jerusalem and the neighbourhood between the feast of Tabernacles and the feast of Dedication (about two months), and did not labour outside of Judaea; He first leaves Judaea in John 10:30. Compare also Wieseler, p. 318; Ewald, Gesch. Christi, p. 471. The insertion here of a journey to Galilee or Peraea (as recently proposed, especially by Ebrard, Neander, Lange L. J. II. p. 1004 f., Riggenbach, Luthardt, Godet) is dictated by harmonistic presuppositions and clumsy combinations (suggested especially by the narrative of the journey in Luke 9:51 ff.), and not by the requirements of exegesis; for πάλιν in John 10:40 cannot be reckoned among such requirements.

τὰ ἐγκαίνια] the feast of Renewal, founded by Judas Maccabaeus, to commemorate the purification and consecration anew of the temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, celebrated for eight days every year, from the 25th Kislev onwards (the middle of December), and especially distinguished by the illumination of the houses; hence also termed τὰ φῶτα. See 1 Maccabees 4:50 ff.; 2 Maccabees 1:18; 2 Maccabees 10:6 ff.; Joseph. Antiq. 12:7. 7. From this festival ( הַנוּכָה) sprang the Christian Church Dedication Festival, and its name ἐγκαίνια. See Augusti, Denkw. III. p. 316.

ἐν ἱερουσ.] The celebration was not restricted to Jerusalem, but was universal (see Lightfoot, p. 1063 f.); the words ἐν ἱερουσ. are added because Jesus was still there.

κ. χειμὼν ἦν] a remark added for the sake of John’s Gentile Christian readers, for whom the statement that it was winter when the festival occurred, would be sufficient to explain why Jesus walked about in Solomon’s porch and not in the open air; hence the explanation, stormy weather (Matthew 16:3, so Er. Schmid, Clericus, Lampe, Semler, Kuinoel, Lange), is not in harmony with the context.

The στοὰ σολομῶνος (comp. Acts 3:11) was a portico on the eastern side of the temple buildings (hence denominated στ. ἀνατολική by Josephus in his Antt. 20:9. 7), which, according to Josephus, was a relic from Solomon’s days which had remained intact during the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar. The mention of this particular part of the temple is one of the traces of the writer having himself been an eye-witness; events like this no doubt impressed themselves on the memory so as never to be forgotten (comp. John 8:20). Any reason for Jesus being in the porch, beyond the one given in the words καὶ χειμὼν ἦν (Luthardt, after Thiersch, Apost. Zeitalter, p. 73: “for the purpose of expressing in a figurative way the unity of the Old and New Covenants”), must be rejected as arbitrary, seeing that John himself gives no hint to that effect.


Verse 24

John 10:24. οἱ ἰουδαῖοι] Here too the standing party of opposition.

ἐκύκλωσαν] encircled Him. The word graphically sets forth the urgency and obtrusiveness of the Jews; but neither implies that Jesus had been deserted by His followers (Lange), nor represents the ἰουδαῖοι as pushing in between Him and His disciples, and so enclosing Him in their midst (Godet).

ἔλεγον αὐτῷ] “This speak they out of a false heart, with a view to accusing and destroying Him,” Luther. According to Hengstenberg, they really vacillated between an inclination and disinclination to believe. But see John 10:26; John 10:31. They desire an express and thoroughly direct declaration, though not as if making a last attempt to induce Jesus to take up the rôle of a political Messiah (Lange).

τ. ψυχ. ἡμ. αἴρεις] αἴρειν not in the sense of take away (Nonnus: ὑποκλέπτεις φρένα; Elsner: enecas); but in that of lift up. It denotes to excite the soul, which, according to the connection, may be due to very different mental influences (Eur. Ion. 928; Hec. 69; Aesch. Sept. 198; Soph. O. R. 914; Proverbs 19:18; Philo, de Monarch. I. p. 218; Joseph. Antt. 3:2. 3; 3:5. 1); in this case, by strained expectation, which thou causest us. The explanation: ἀναρτᾷς μεταξὺ πίστεως κ. ἀπιστίας (Euth. Zigabenus, and many others), is an approximation to the sense, but is not the precise signification of the words.

εἰ σὺ εἶ, etc.] if thou, and so forth, as in Luke 22:67.


Verse 25-26

John 10:25-26. Jesus had not only told them (on many occasions, if not always so directly as, for example, to the woman of Samaria, or the man born blind) that He was the Messiah, but had also testified to the fact by His Messianic works (v. 36). But they do not believe. The actual proof of their unbelief is first subjoined in the second clause: for ye belong not to my sheep; otherwise ye would stand in a totally different relation to me than that of unbelief; ye would hear my voice, and know me, and follow me, John 10:4; John 10:14; John 10:27.

ἐγὼὑμεῖς] Reproachful antithesis.

καθὼς εἶπον ὑμῖν] belong, as both Lachmann and Tischendorf also punctuate, to what precedes (comp. John 1:33); but not, however, in such a way that Jesus merely makes a retrospective reference to the figure of the πρόβατα (Fritzsche: “ut similitudine utar, quam supra posui”), which would render this repulse very meaningless; but in such a way that Jesus recalls to their recollection the negative declaration itself as having been already uttered. It is true, indeed, that He had not given direct expression to the words ὅτι οὐκ ἐστὲ, etc. in the preceding allegory; indirectly, however, He had done so, namely, by a description of His sheep, which necessarily involved the denial that the ἰουδαῖοι belonged to them. That this is the force of καθʼ εἶπ. ὑμ., He Himself declares by the exhibition of the relation of His sheep that follows. We are precluded from regarding it as an introduction to what follows (Curss., Cant., Corb., Arr., Euth. Zigabenus, Tholuck, Godet), in which case a comma ought to be placed before καθώς, and a colon after ὑμῖν, by the circumstance that Jesus nowhere else quotes and (in the form of a summary) repeats a longer discourse of His own. In keeping with the style of the Gospels, only a brief, sententious saying, such as John 13:33, would be fitted for such self-quotation. In this case, however, the quotation would embrace at least John 10:27-28.

The circumstance that Jesus should refer to this allegory about two months after the date of John 10:1-21, which has been erroneously used as an argument against the originality of the discourse (Strauss, Baur), may be simply accounted for by the assumption that during the interval He had had no further discussions with His hierarchical opponents,—a supposition which is justified by its accounting for the silence observed by John relatively to that period. The presupposition involved in the words καθὼς εἶπον ὑμῖν, that Jesus here has in the main the same persons before Him as during the delivery of His discourse regarding the shepherd, has nothing against it; and there is no necessity even for the assumption that John and Jesus conceived the discourses to be directed against the ἰουδαῖοι as a whole (Brückner).


Verse 27-28

John 10:27-28. Description of the relation of the πρόβατα to Him (comp. John 10:4; John 10:14), which brings clearly to view that the ἰουδαῖοι cannot belong to them. Notice in John 10:27 the climactic parallelism of the two halves of the verse as far as δίδωμι αὐτοῖς (John 10:28), after which, commencing with καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπόλ., etc., the discourse goes on to express in a double form the inseparableness of the blessed relationship. On the emphatic polysyndeton, compare John 10:3; John 10:12.

τὰ πρόβ. τὰ ἐμά] the sheep which belong to me.

ζωὴν αἰών.] also conceived already in its temporal development, John 3:15, John 5:24, and repeatedly.

καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπόλ.] The negation belongs to the verb; this declaration: “they shall certainly not perish,” will be accomplished in eternity. The lost sheep, i.e. the sheep which has been separated, and wandered away from the flock (Matthew 10:6; Luke 15:4), typifies him who is separated from the protection and gracious leading of Christ, who has fallen into unbelief. Compare the following καὶ οὐχ ἁρπάσει, etc., where this protection and gracious leading is set forth with still more concrete tenderness by the words ἐκ τῆς χειρός μου. His hand protects, bears, cherishes, leads them. Liberty and the possibility of apostasy are not thus excluded (in answer to Augustine and the teaching of the Reformed Church); he who has fallen away is no longer a πρόβατον, but on the part of Christ everything is promised by which preserving grace is secured, and this is the ground of the Certitudo salutis.


Verse 29-30

John 10:29-30. Explanation of the assertion just made, οὐχ ἁρπάσει, etc. If in my hand, they are also in the hand of my Father, who is greater than all, so that an ἁρπάζειν, etc. is impossible; I am one with Him.

ὃς δέδωκέ μοι] sc. αὐτά. On the import of the words, compare on John 6:37. In characterizing God as the giver of the sheep, Jesus enables us to see how fully He is justified in appealing, as He here does, to the Father.

μεῖζον (see the critical note): something greater, a greater potence. On the neuter here employed, compare Matthew 12:6 (Lachmann). See Bernhardy, p. 335; Kühner II. p. 45; Dissen ad Dem. de Cor. p. 396 ( πονηρὸν συκοφάντης).

πάντων] Masculine. Compare τίς, John 10:28, and οὐδείς, John 10:29. Without any limitation: all besides God.

καὶ οὐδεὶς δύναται, etc.] Necessary consequence of the μεῖζον πάντων, but not setting aside the possibility of losing the grace by one’s own fault, John 6:66.

ἐκ τ. χειρ. τοῦ πατρ. μου]. This expression, τοῦ πατρ. μ., is due to the presupposition, flowing out of ὃς δέδωκέ μοι, that God did not let the sheep out of His hand, i.e. out of His protection and guidance, when He gave them to Christ. But this continued divine protection is really nothing else than the protection of Christ, so far, that is, as the Father is in the Son and works in Him (see John 10:37-38); hence the latter, as the organ and vehicle of the divine activity in carrying out the Messianic work, is not separated from God, is not a second some one outside and alongside of God; but, by the very nature of the fellowship referred to, one with God (compare Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 205 f.). Compare on ἕν ἐσμεν, 1 Corinthians 3:8. God’s hand is therefore His hand in the accomplishment of the work, during the performance of which He administers and carries into execution the power, love, and so forth of God. The unity, therefore, is one of dynamic fellowship, i.e. a unity of action for the realization of the divine decree of redemption; according to which, the Father is in the Son, and moves in Him, so that the Father acts in the things which are done by the Son, and yet is greater than the Son (John 14:28), because He has commissioned, consecrated, and sent Him. The Arian idea of ethical agreement is insufficient; the reasoning would miss its mark unless unity of power be understood (on which Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, and many others, also Lücke, justly lay emphasis). The orthodox interpretation, which makes it denote unity of essence (Nonnus: ἓν γένος ἐσμεν; Augustine: unum, delivers us from Charybdis, that is, from Arius, and sumus from Scylla, that is, from Sabellius), specially defended by Hengstenberg, though rejected even by Calvin as a misuse of the passage, goes beyond the argumentation; at the same time, in view of the metaphysical character of the relation of the Son to the Father, clearly taught elsewhere, and especially in John, the Homoousia, as the essential foundation, must be regarded as presupposed in the fellowship here denoted by ἕν ἐσμεν.


Verse 31-32

John 10:31-32. The Jews understood the expression in John 10:30 to refer to essential unity, and in their tumultuous and angry excitement would even stone (Leviticus 24:10 f.) the blasphemer; the overawing impression, however, produced by Christ’s reply was powerful enough to restrain them.

ἐβάστασαν] sustulerunt (Vulgate), ἀνηέρταζον (Nonnus) they lifted up stones, with the intention of throwing them at Him. The word is more characteristic than αἴρειν in John 8:59, though on account of πάλιν the two must have the same import; hence the interpretation: they fetched (Hengstenberg, Godet, and others), is less exact. Compare Hom. Od. λ. 594; Soph. Aj. 814; Polyb. 15. 26. 3.

πάλιν] John 8:59.

καλὰ ἔργα] not specially: works of love (Kuinoel, B. Crusius), but in general: praeclara opera, distinguished works.(66)

ἔδειξα ὑμῖν] have I showed you, John 5:20. Comp. John 2:18; Psalms 78:11; Plat. Crat. p. 430 E: τὸ δεῖξαι λέγω εἰς τὴν τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αἴσθησιν καταστῆσαι.

ἐκ τοῦ πατρός ΄ου] from my Father, who is in me, and from whom, therefore, they go out through me. Compare John 10:37-38.

διὰ ποῖον, etc.] propter quale, etc. Not without the irony of profound indignation (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:13) does Jesus ask, What, then, is the character of that one of His works, on account of which they are about to stone Him? ( λιθάζετε, see Bernhardy, p. 370; Buttm. Neut. Gr. p. 178 [E. T. p. 205]). Not as though He did not know why they were intending to stone Him, but probably in the consciousness of having actually shown Himself by His works to be something totally different from a blasphemer.

περὶ βλασφημ. καὶ ὅτι] for blasphemy, and, indeed, because. The reproach: “thou makest thyself God” (comp. John 5:18), i.e. a divine being (John 1:1), was a consequence of the mistaken view taken of John 10:30, which they had interpreted of essential unity. καί connects with the general charge a more exact definition of that on which it was based.


Verses 34-36

John 10:34-36. In Psalms 82:6, unrighteous authorities of the theocratic people—not angels (Bleek), nor yet heathen princes (De Wette, Hitzig)—whose approaching destruction, in contrast to their high dignity, is intended to stand out, are called gods, agreeably to the old sacred view of rulers as the representatives of God, which was entertained in the theocratic nation. Compare Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8; Exodus 22:28. From this, Jesus draws the conclusion a minori ad majus, that He might call Himself God’s Son without blasphemy. He is surely far more exalted than they ( ὃν πατὴρ ἡγίασε, etc.); and nevertheless had designated Himself, not θεός, as though wishing to make a God of Himself, but merely υἱὸς τ. θεοῦ.(67)

ἐν τῷ νόμῳ] Spoken of the Old Testament generally, of which the law was the fundamental and authoritative portion. Comp. John 12:34, John 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21.

ὑμῶν] as in John 8:17.

ἐκείνους] whom? Jesus takes for granted as known.

εἶπε] namely, νόμος (compare afterwards γραφή), not God (Hengstenberg).

πρὸς οὕς] to whom, not adversus quos (Heinsius, Stolz), which does not follow from the context. There is nothing to warrant the supposition that the prophets are also referred to (Olshausen).

λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ] Neither the λόγος ἄσαρκος (Cyril), nor the revelations of God (Olshausen, comp. Godet), but the saying of God just mentioned: ἐγὼ εἶπα, etc. This saying belongs, not to the time when the Psalm was written, but to that earlier period (the period of the induction of the authorities into their office, comp. Psalms 2:7), to which God, the speaker, points back.

καὶ οὐ δύναται, etc.] This clause, though containing only an auxiliary thought, and not a main point of the argumentation (Godet), has been without reason treated as a parenthesis; whereas both in point of structure and sense it is dependent on εἰ: and it is impossible, etc. So also Ewald, Godet, Hengstenberg.

λυθῆναι] The Scripture (consequently, also, that saying of the. Psalms) cannot be loosened, i.e. cannot be deprived of its validity. Comp. Matthew 5:19; John 5:18; John 7:23; Herod. 3. 82; Plat. Phaedr. p. 256 D Gorg. p. 509 A Dem. 31. 12, 700, 13. The auctoritas normativa et judicialis of the Scriptures must remain unbroken. Note, in connection herewith, the idea of the unity of the Scriptures as such, as also the presupposition of their theopneustia.

ὃν πατὴρ ἡγ, etc.] That is surely something still greater than the λόγος τ. θεοῦ, addressed to authorities when they were installed in their offices. In this question, which is placed in the apodosis, and which expresses surprise, the object, which is correlate to the ἐκείνους of John 10:35, is very emphatically placed at the commencement; and ὑμεῖς (you people) is placed over against the inviolable authority of the Scripture.

ἡγίασε] hath consecrated, a higher analogue of the consecration to the office of prophet (Jeremiah 1:5; Sirach 45:4; Sirach 49:7), denoting the divine consecration to the office of Messiah, who is the ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ (John 6:69; Luke 4:34). This consecration took place on His being sent from heaven, and immediately before His departure (hence ἡγίασε καὶ ἀπέστ.), in that the Father not merely “set apart” the Son to the work (as though the word ἐξελέξατο had been used; Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 86; comp. Euth. Zigabenus, Hengstenberg, and Brückner), but also conferred on Him the Messianic ἐντολή and ἐξουσία, with the fulness of the Spirit appertaining thereunto (John 3:34), and the power of life (John 5:26), and the πλήρωμα of grace and truth (John 1:14).

ὅτι βλασφημεῖς] The reply which, in view of ὃν, etc., we should have expected to be in the oblique construction ( βλασφημεῖν or ὅτι βλασφημεῖ, comp. John 9:19), passes over with the increasing vivacity of the discourse into the direct construction; compare John 8:54, and see Buttm. Neuf. Gr. p. 234 [E. T. p. 272].

ὅτι εἶπον] because I said. He had said it indirectly in John 10:29-30.


Verses 34-38

John 10:34-38. Jesus justifies Himself from the reproach of blasphemy by defending His assertion that He was the Son of God—the words of John 10:30 which had excited the opposition amounted to this—from the Scriptures (John 10:34-36); He then sets forth the unity affirmed in John 10:30 as credibly attested by His works (John 10:37-38).


Verses 37-39

John 10:37-39. Your unbelief, which lies at the foundation of the judgment ὅτι βλασφημεῖς, would then be justifiable, if I were not, etc. In the other case, however, you ought to believe, if not me, at all events my works, in order that you, etc.

εἰ οὐ ποιῶ] if I leave them undone. Comp. Buttm. Neut. Gr. p. 297 [E. T. p. 346]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 278.

τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πατρ. μ.] which my Father works; compare on John 9:3, John 14:10, also John 10:23.

μὴ πιστ. μοι] not merely permissive, but an actual command, as in the case of the following πιστεύετε (see the critical note). The alternative is decided: they ought not to believe Him, if, etc.

ἐμοί] My person in and by itself, apart from the actual testimony borne to it by the ἔργα.

To believe the works, is to hold for true the testimony which is contained in them (John 5:36). The object of faith is that which Jesus declares concerning Himself, and what, in agreement therewith (comp. John 14:11), the works prove concerning Him. According to the reading ἵνα γνῶτε κ. γινώσκητε (see the critical note), which Hengstenberg, notwithstanding, rejects as giving an unbearable meaning, Jesus describes this as the end to be attained by His prescription: in order that ye may attain to knowledge, and may (permanently) know, etc.—drawing a distinction between the act and the state of knowledge. Compare ἐπιμεληθῆναι καὶ ἐπιμελεῖσθαι, Plat. Legg. viii. p. 849 B.

ὅτι ʼν ἐμοὶ πατ. κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ] This now is the unity which He meant in John 10:30; not essential unity (old orthodox explanation of the περιχώρησις essentialis patris in filio et filii in patre, see Calovius), although it is metaphysically the fundamental condition, but dynamic unity: the Father lives and moves in Christ, who is His active organ, and again Christ is in the Father, so far as Christ in God is the power which determines the execution of the divine ἔργον. The thought that Christ has in God “the ground of His existence and working” (De Wette), lies far remote from the words κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ, because the relation of the clauses of the proposition must be equal. But this relation is nothing else than that of inner, active, reciprocal fellowship. In accordance therewith, the Father is in the Son, as in the executor of His work, as the Son is also in the Father, because Christ is the regulative and determining agens et movens of the work of redemption in the Father. Comp. the many Pauline passages which represent all the divine redemptive activity as taking place in Christ; e.g. Romans 8:39; Ephesians 1:3 ff.

John 10:39. οὖν] In consequence of this defence, which averted the threatened tumultuous stoning, for which the Jews had begun to prepare themselves. The supposition that πιάσαι denotes laying hold of with a view to carrying out the stoning, is opposed by the πάλιν, which refers back to John 7:30; John 7:32; John 7:44 (against Calvin, Luthardt, Hengstenberg).

καὶ ἐξῆλθεν, etc.] And yet they were unable to carry their plan into execution; He escaped out of their hands, which are conceived as already stretched out after Him. How this deliverance was effected must be left undetermined. (Kuinoel: by the arrival of His adherents; Hengstenberg: by the indecision of His enemies); of any miraculous element (e.g. becoming invisible) in His escape, although assumed by many early commentators, and even yet by B. Crusius and Luthardt, John gives no hint. Comp. on John 8:59. Euth. Zigabenus: ἀναχωρεῖ διὰ τὸν θυμὸν τῶν φθονερῶν, ἐνδιδοὺς αὐτῷ λωφῆσαι καὶ λῆξαι τῇ ἀπουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ.


Verses 40-42

John 10:40-42. πάλιν.] John 1:28.

πέραν τ. ἰορδ.] He went away from Jerusalem, beyond the Jordan (as in John 6:1, John 18:1) to Peraea, and, indeed, to the place, etc. Instead of allowing themselves to be won over to faith and redemption, the ἰουδαῖοι had grown ever more hardened and decided in their hostility, till it had reached the extreme; the Lord then finally gives them up, and knowing that His hour was near, though not yet fully come, He withdraws for a calm and undisturbed, although brief, season of activity to Peraea, where He was safer from the hierarchs (comp. John 11:54); and in the place where John was when he baptized for the first time (namely, John 1:28; later, in Salim, John 3:23), there could be as little lack of susceptible hearts as of quiet, elevating, and sacred memories for Himself.

ἔμεινεν ἐκεῖ] How long, we cannot precisely ascertain, as He spent also some time in Ephraim before the feast of the Passover (John 11:54 f.). In any case, however, the ἔμεινεν ἐκεῖ lasted but for a very short period, as is evident also from the word νῦν in John 11:8.

καὶ πολλοὶ, etc.] “Fructus posthumus officii Johannis,” Bengel.

ἔλεγον] not αὐτῷ, but a bearing of testimony in general.

ἰωάννης μὲν, etc.] Logically we should expect μέν after σημεῖον; but even classical writers frequently disregard logical precision in their mode of placing μέν and δέ. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 6. 11; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 168.

σημεῖον ἐποίησεν οὐδέν] A characteristic feature of the history of John, which in this respect also has remained free from fanciful additions; the people, however, referred to the circumstance in view of the σημεῖα which Jesus had wrought, as they had been informed, elsewhere, and probably here also, before their own eyes. In this way we may also account for μέν not occupying its strictly logical position.

The repetition of ἰωάννης in John 10:42 is part of the simplicity of the style, which is here faithfully reflected, and is further in harmony with the feeling of reverence entertained by the people for the holy man whose memory still lived among them.

ἀληθῆ ἦν] As was actually shown by the works of Jesus. In this way, their experience of the truth of the testimony of John became the ground of faith in Christ. What a contrast to the experiences which Jesus had just had to pass through among the ἰουδαῖοι! The ray of light thus vouchsafed to Him in the place where He first commenced His labours, is here set forth in all historical simplicity. Baur, however (p. 182 f., and Theol. Jahrb. 1854, p. 280 f.), maintains that the people are merely represented as speaking these words in order that the entire preceding description of the life and works of Jesus may be surveyed from the point of view of the σημεῖα. John himself gives a comprehensive retrospect, but in the right place, namely, at the close of the activity of Jesus in John 12:37 ff., and in how different a manner!

ἐκεῖ (see the critical note), placed emphatically at the end of the verse.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 10:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-10.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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