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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
John 13

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 13

John 13:1. ἐλήλυθεν] Lachm. and Tisch.: ἤλθεν, according to preponderating evidence. The perfect arose from John 12:23.

John 13:2. γενομένου] B. L. X. א. Cant. Or.: γινομένου (but Or. has once γενομ.). So Tisch. The aorist was introduced through the non-observance of the point of time, as being the more current form in the narrative.

ἰούδα σίμ. ἰσκ., ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ] B. L. M. X. א. Copt. Arm. Vulg. Codd. It. Or.: ἵνα παραδῷ αὐτὸν ἰούδας σίμωνος ἰσκαριώτης. So Lachm. on the margin, and Tisch. (both, however, reading παραδοῖ, according to B. D.* א. only). This reading, considering the important witnesses by which it is attested, is the more to be preferred, as it was very early misunderstood, because it was supposed that the seduction of Judas by the devil was here related (so already Origen). The Recepta is an alteration in consequence of this misunderstanding. The conjunctive form παραδοῖ, however, remains generally doubtful in the N. T.

John 13:3. ἰησοῦς] is wanting in B. D. L. X. Cursives, Vulg. It. Or. Bracketed by Lachm., omitted by Tisch. It was mechanically repeated from John 13:1.

John 13:10. The position of the words οὐκ ἔχει χρείαν is decisively attested.

Instead of , important witnesses have εἰ μή (so Lachm.), which, however, is an attempt at explanation or correction. Tisch. has deleted τ πόδας, but only after א. Or. one Cod. of It. and Vulg. mss. An old omission, occasioned by the following καθαρ ὅλος.

John 13:12. ἀναπεσών] Lachm.: καὶ ἀναπ. according to A. L. Verss. Chrys. In favour of καί, witness also B. C.* א. Or., which have καί ἀνέπεσεν (so Tisch.). The καί before ἔγαβ. is omitted by Lachm. after A. L. Verss. Since καί before ἀναπ. is in any case decisively accredited; since, further, the witnesses for ἀνέπεσεν are more important than for ἀναπεσών; and since, had ἀναπεσών been the original reading, it would not have been resolved into καὶ ἀνέπεσεν, but into ἀνέπεσεν καί,—we must read with Tisch. καὶ ἀνέπεσεν, so that the apodosis first begins with εἶπεν. This was not observed, and it was made to commence either after πόδας. αὐτῶν (thus arose the reading in Lachm.), or after ἱμάτ αὐτοῦ (hence the Recepta).

John 13:22. οὖν] is wanting in B. C. and certain Verss.; deleted by Tisch. Was easily passed over after the last syllable of ἔβλεπον.

John 13:23. ἐκ τῶν (Elz.: τῶν) is decisively attested.

John 13:24. πυθέσαι, τἰς ἄν εἴη] B. C. L. X. 33. Aeth. 13 :Rd. Vulg. Or.: καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· εἰπὲ τίς ἐστιν. So Lachm. and Tisch. Rightly: the Recepta is added, as a gloss, after what John does in John 13:25. א. has the gloss alongside of the original reading in the text.

John 13:25. ἐπιπεσών] B. C.* K. L. X. π.* א.** Cursives, Or.: ἀναπεσών (so Lachm.). But ἐπιπίπτειν does not occur elsewhere in John; and how readily would the familiar expression of lying at table suggest itself to mechanical copyists!

Instead of οὖν, Elz. and Lachm. have δέ. Witnesses are much divided. Originally, no particle at all appears to have been found; so B. C. Or. Griesb.

After ἐχεῖνος, important witnesses (including B. C. L.) have οὕτως, which, however, although defended by Ewald, very readily arose from οὗτος, which was added to ἐκεῖνος in explanation, as it is still found in K. S. U. λ.

John 13:26. βάψας τὸ ψωμίον ἑπιδώσω] Tisch.: βάψω τ. ψ. καἱ δώσω αὐτῷ, after B. C. L. Copt. Aeth. Or. But ἐπιδιδόναι, which is not elsewhere found in John, does not betray the hand of an interpreter, and therefore the reading of Tisch. is rather to be considered as the usual resolution of the participle, with neglect of the compound.

Instead of βάψας, as above, Lachm. has ἐμβάψ., following A. D. K. π. Theodoret. Although these witnesses form the preponderance among those which read the participle, yet ἐμβάψ. might be very readily introduced from the parallels, Matthew 26:23, Mark 14:20; and for the originality of the simple form, the weighty witnesses (B. C. L. etc.) who have βάψω (not ἐμβάψω) are accordingly all the more to be taken into account. Therefore, too, below, instead of καὶ ἐμβάψας (so also Lachm.), with B. C. L. X. א. 33. Or. Cyr., βάψας οὖν (so Tisch.) ought to be read (D. has καὶ βάψας).

After ψωμίον, Tisch. has, moreover, λαμβάνει καί, following B. C. L. M. X. א.** Aeth. Or. Rightly: it was, through misapprehension, omitted as irrelevant.

Instead of ἰσκαριώτῃ, Lachm. should consistently, following B. C. L. M. X. א. Cursives, Codd. It. Or., here also (see on John 6:71) have read ἰσκαριώτου (as Tisch. has).

John 13:30. Instead of εὐθέως ἐξῆλθ., read with Lachm. and Tisch. ἐξῆλθ. εὐθύς.

John 13:31. After ὄτε, Elz. Lachm. and Tisch. have οὗν; rightly, since B. C. D. L. X. א. Cursives, Verss. Or. Cyr., turn the scale in favour of οὖν, while the omission (Griesb. Scholz) was the more readily suggested, as there was an inclination to begin the new sentence with ἦν δὲ νύξ.

John 13:32. εἰ θ. ἐδοξ. ἑν αὐτῷ] is rejected by Scholz as “inepta iteratio,” and bracketed by Lachm. The words are wanting in B. C.* D. L. X. π. א.* Cursives, Verss. Tert. Ambr. But the very repetition and the homoeoteleuton would so readily occasion the omission, that these adverse witnesses cannot overthrow the reading.

John 13:33. The order ἐγὼ ὑπάγω (Lachm. Tisch.) is too decisively attested to admit of its being derived from John 8:21.

John 13:36. The order ἀκολ. δἐ ὕστερον (without μοι) is to be adopted, with Lachm. and Tisch; so also in John 13:38, ἀποκρίνεται (instead of ἀπεκρίθη).

John 13:38. The form φωνήσῃ (Lachm. Tisch.) is decisively accredited; and instead of ἀπαρνήσῃ, ἀρνήσῃ is, with Lachm. and Tisch., following B. D. L. X. 1. Or., to be read, in place of which the compound was introduced from Matthew 26:34 and the parallel passages.


Verse 1

John 13:1. πρὸ δὲ τ. ἑορτ. τ. πάσχα] πρό is emphasized by means of the intervening δέ. Jesus had arrived at Bethany six days before the Passover, on the following day (John 12:1; John 12:12) had entered Jerusalem, and had then, John 12:36, withdrawn Himself into concealment. But yet before the paschal feast began,(122) there followed the closing manifestation of love before His death, which John intends to relate. How long before the feast, our passage does not state; but it is clear from John 13:29; John 18:28; John 19:14; John 19:31, that it was not first on the 14th Nisan, as the harmonists have frequently maintained (see, however, on John 18:28), but(123) on the 13th Nisan, Thursday evening, at the Supper. On the 14th Nisan, in the evening, the festival commenced with the paschal meal, after Jesus had been crucified on the afternoon of the same day. Such is the view of John; see on John 18:28.

εἰδὼς, κ. τ. λ.] Not, “although He knew” (this is unpsychological, Hengstenberg), but because He knew. He gives expression to that which inwardly drew and impelled Him to display towards His own a further and a last token of love; He knew, indeed, that for Him the hour was come, to pass onward, etc. ( ἵνα, comp. John 12:23). On ΄εταβῇ, comp. John 5:24; 1 John 3:14.

ἀγαπήσας, κ. τ. λ.] is regarded by interpreters as co-ordinated with εἰδὼς, κ. τ. λ., according to the well-known usage, which rests on a logical basis, of the asyndetic connection of several participles (Voigtler, ad Luc. D. M. xii. p. 67 ff.; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 1. 7); so that the meaning would be: As He had (ever) loved His own, so also at the very last He gave them a true proof of love. But opposed to this is the absence of an ἀεί, which Nonnus supplies, or of ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, or πάλαι or the like, along with ἀγαπήσας, whereby a correlation with εἰς τέλος would have been established. In addition to this, the clause τοὺς ἐν τῷ κόσ΄ῳ, not in itself indispensable, but expressive of sorrow, is manifestly added in reference to the preceding ἐκ οῦ κόσ΄ου τ., and thereby betrays the connection of ἀγαπήσας κόσ΄ῳ with the final clause ἵνα μεταβῇ, κ. τ. λ. Hence: “in order to pass to the Father, after He should have (not had) loved,” etc. This, “after He should have loved,” etc., is a testimony which His conscience yielded Him with that εἰδὼς, κ. τ. λ.

τυὸς ἰδίους] This relationship—the N. T. fulfilment of the old theocratic, John 1:11—had its fullest representation in the circle of apostles, so that the apostles were pre-eminently the ἴδιοι of Jesus.

εἰς τέλος ἠγάπ. αὐτούς] to be connected with πρὸ δὲ τῆς ἑορτ. τ. π.: at last ( εἰς τέλος is emphatic) He loved them, i.e. showed them the last proof of love before His death.(124) How, the καὶ δείπνου, κ. τ. λ., which immediately follows, expresses, namely, by means of the washing of the feet, hence it cannot be understood of the whole work of love in suffering (Graf). εἰς τέλος denotes at the end, finally, at last. Luke 18:5 (see commentary in loc.); Hdt. iii. 40; Xen. Oec. xvii. 10; Soph. Phil. 407 (and Hermann’s note). So also 1 Thessalonians 2:16. It may also denote fully, in the highest degree (Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 817 Schweighäuser, Lex. Polyb. p. 616; Grimm on 2 Maccabees 8:29); but this yields here an inappropriate gradation, as though Jesus had now exercised His love to the utmost (in answer to Godet). It was the like love with the preceding ἀγαπήσας, only the last proof before departure; for His hour was come.

On ἠγάπησεν, of actually manifested love, comp. John 13:34; 1 John 4:10; 1 John 4:19; Ephesians 2:4; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:25.

NOTE.

From the present passage—since πρὸ τῆς ἑορτῆς gives the chronological measure for the following supper, and therewith for the whole history of the passion—already appears the irreconcilable variance in which John stands towards the Synoptics in respect of the day of Jesus’ death. See details on John 18:28. Even if πρὸ τῆς ἑορτ. were to be connected with εἰδώς, this statement of time would nevertheless only be historically explicable from the fact that Jesus, conformably to the certainty which entered His mind before the feast—“my hour is come”—did what follows not first at the feast, i.e. after the beginning of the feast on the evening of the 14th Nisan, but just before the feast (i.e. at least on the evening of the 13th Nisan), in the consciousness that now His time was fulfilled, satisfying His love for the last time. Luthardt incorrectly concludes that, if Jesus knew already before the feast, etc., He must have died at the feast. Of such an antithesis the text contains in truth not the slightest indication. Bather, if Jesus knew before the feast, etc., and acted in this consciousness, we are not at liberty to move forward the δεῖπνον, and that which is connected therewith, to the feast. The matter lies simply thus: If the supper were that of the 14th Nisan, then John could not say πρὸ τῆς ἐορτῆς, but only either πρὸ τοῦ δείπνου τοῦ πάσχα (which sense is imported by Hengstenberg); or, on the other hand, like the Synoptics, τῇ πρώτῃ τῶν ἀζύμων (Matthew 26:17), or τ. πρώτῃ τῆς ἑορτῆς. The 15th Nisan was already ἑπαύριον τοῦ πάσχα (LXX. Numbers 33:3 : מְמָּחֳרַת הַפֶּסח, comp. Joshua 5:11); but the 14th was פֶּסַח לַיהֹוָה, Numbers 28:16, et at., ἡμέρα τοῦ πάσχα. Comp. Introd. § 2.


Verses 1-5

John 13:1-5. On the construction, note: (1) John 13:1-5 are not to be taken together as a single period (Griesbach, Matthaei, Schulz, Scholz, Bleek, Ebrard, and several others); as Paul also (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1866, p. 362 ff., 1867, p. 524 ff.) defines the connection: “He stands up before the Passover feast at the meal then taking place,” which latter would be a collateral definition of πρὸ τ. ἑορτ. τ. π. To take the whole thus together will not do, because εἰς τέλος ἠγάπ. αὐτοὺς being connected with πρὸ δὲ ἑορτ. τ. π. gives an orderly finish to the construction of John 13:1, and with καὶ δείπνου γιν. a new period begins; consequently (this also in answer to Knapp, Lücke, Ebrard, and several others) εἰδώς, John 13:3, cannot be the resumption of εἰδώς, John 13:1. Rightly have Lachmann and Tischendorf closed John 13:1 with a full stop. Comp. Hengstenberg and Godet, also Ewald. (2) It is not correct to join πρὸ τῆς ἑορτ. τ. πάσχα to εἰδώς (Kling, Luthardt, Riggenbach, Graf in the Stud. u. Krit. 1867, p. 741 ff.; before him also Baeumlein in the Stud. u. Krit. 1846, p. 397), because the expression would be too vague and indefinite as a statement of the point of time in which the definite consciousness of His hour had entered the mind of Jesus; the definite day before the feast would be designated as such (perhaps by πρὸ μιᾶς ἡμέρας τοῦ πάσχα, comp. John 12:1; Plut. Sull. 37). But that πρὸ τῆς ἑορτῆς—comp. with John 12:1—must denote this very day before the feast, namely, the 14th Nisan (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 295, Lange, Baeumlein, and several others, including Paul and Hengstenberg), is an altogether arbitrary assumption. Just as incorrect is it (3) to refer it to ἀγαπήσας (Wieseler, Tholuck, see in opposition Ewald, Jahrb. IX. p. 203), so that the love entertained before the feast stands over against the love entertained until the end,—which assumption is extorted simply by an attempt at harmonizing, is opposed to the order of the words ( ἀγαπήσαςκόσμῳ must in that case have stood before εἰδὼς, κ. τ. λ.), and—through the division which is then made to appear of the love of Jesus (the love before the feast, and the love from the feast onwards)—is in contradiction with John’s more reflective and spiritual manner; while it leaves, moreover, the participial clause εἰδὼςπατέρα without appropriate significance. The simple literal mode of connection is rather: Before the feast, Jesus gave, as He knew, etc., to His own the closing proof of love. Whilst, then, a meal is being observed, as the devil already, etc., He arises from the meal, although He knew that the Father, etc. There is thus nothing to place in a parenthesis.


Verses 2-5

John 13:2-5. And (et quidem) this εἰς τέλος ἠγάπησεν αὐτούς He fulfilled at the supper by the washing of the feet.

δείπνου γινομ.] Note the present standing in relation to the present ἐγείρεται, John 13:4 (see critical notes). Whilst it is becoming supper-time, i.e. whilst supper-time is on the point of being kept. They had already reclined for the purpose, John 13:4; John 13:12. According to the Recepta, γενομ., the meal was not yet over (Luther and several others, including Klee and Hofmann, p. 207, who explains as though μετὰ τὸ δεῖπνον were expressed), but already in progress,—supper had begun. This itself was, according to John 13:1, not the paschal supper, but (hence also without the article(125)) an ordinary evening meal on the 13th Nisan (in opposition to the synoptical account) in Jerusalem (not in Bethany, see on John 14:31), the last repast of Jesus before His death, at which He founded the Lord’s Supper (John 13:21 ff., John 13:38, John 18:1). The institution of the Supper is not mentioned by John,—not as though he were unacquainted with it (Strauss), or had perceived no ecclesiastical rite at all involved in it (Scholten), but because it was universally known (1 Corinthians 11), and the practice itself was in daily use (Acts 2:46). Accordingly, not repeating the account of this, because known to all, he rather selected from the abundance of that last night what he found, over and above, to be most in harmony with his peculiar object, the making known the δόξα of the λόγος in the flesh,—in the washing of the feet χάρις, in the discourses χάρις and ἀλήθεια. According to Schenkel, John desired by his silence to preclude the notions of a magical effect resulting from the Lord’s Supper, and the later controversies concerning it. As though such a purpose would not have required the very opposite procedure, viz. distinct instruction! Baur’s assumption, p. 264, is, that the evangelist has dated back the importance of the Supper to the second Passover, chap. 6, because he did not wish to allow the last meal of Jesus to pass for the same as that in the Synoptics, namely, as a paschal meal. Comp. also Scholten, p. 289 ff. But for this purpose such an inversion of the synoptical material would not have been at all necessary. He could have mentioned the institution of the Supper at the last meal in such a way that this would nevertheless not have been a paschal meal.

τοῦ διαβόλου ἤδη, κ. τ. λ.] cannot serve merely as a prelude to the subsequent and more frequent mention of the relation of Jesus to the traitor (John 13:10; John 13:18; John 13:21; John 13:26-27; John 13:30), as Godet maintains, which would be only a formal purpose, and one not in correspondence with the tragically solemn emphasis. Again, it is not even intended to make us sensible of the forbearance of Jesus, who Himself washed the feet of Judas(126) (Euth. Zigabenus, comp. Chrysostom, Calvin, and several others), nor generally, as it were, the mere nearness ( ἤδη) in point of time of the last destiny, which He yet employed in such a work of love (this, indeed, was already contained in εἰδὼς, κ. τ. λ.), but—to what the ἤδη points—the undisturbed dear elevation of this His might of love over the outbreak, already so near, of the tragic devilish treachery, which could not even now, immediately before its occurrence, confuse His mind. According to the reading ἰούδας σιμ. ἰσκαριώτης (see the critical notes), we must explain: the devil having already formed the design that Judas should deliver Him up, so that the καρδία is not that of Judas (Luthardt, Baeumlein), as in the Recepta, but that of the devil (comp. Vulgate); as also in the classics βάλλειν or βάλλεσθαι εἰς νοῦν, εἰς θυ΄όν, ἐν φρεσίν, very frequently denotes in animum inducere, statuere, deliberare. See Wetstein in loc.; Kypke, II. p. 399; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 294. The more current this mode of speech was, the less can we be surprised in an anthropomorphic representation of the devil at the mention of his heart (in answer to Lücke, Godet, and others), in which he has his ἐπιθυμίας (John 8:44), ΄εθοδείας (Ephesians 6:11), νοή΄ατα (2 Corinthians 2:11), etc. As the heart of God may be spoken of (Acts 13:22), so also the heart of the devil.

ἰούδας σίμ. ἰσκαρ.] The full name, and at the close contains a shuddering emphasis.

The participial clause, further, is not to be placed in a parenthesis; it is co-ordinated with δείπνου γινο΄.

εἰδὼς, κ. τ. λ.] Although He knew ( ὅμως εἰς ἄκραν συγκατεβη ταπείνωσιν, Euth. Zigabenus). The consciousness of His divine elevation rested, while on this threshold of death, in the fact that now, being on the point of entering, by stepping over this threshold, upon His glorification, the Messianic fulness of power, which had formerly been bestowed upon Him on the occasion of His mission (Matthew 11:27), which extended over all things, and was limited by nothing, was given into His hands for complete exercise (comp. on John 17:2, Matthew 28:18); and that God; as He was the source of His coming (comp. on John 8:42), so is the goal of His present departure.

On πάντα δέδωκεν αὐτῶ comp. 1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 2:22; Philippians 2:9-11, et. al.

John 13:4. ἐγείρεται, κ. τ. λ.] Note how the whole representation regards things as present; to the historic present correspond the present and perfect participles γινομ., βεβληκ., εἰδώς, John 13:2-3. On τίθ. τὰ ἱ΄άτ. comp. Plut. Alc. 8.

The washing of the feet was wont to take place before the beginning of the meal, by the ministry of slaves (see Dougt. Anal. II. p. 50; Stuck, Antt. conviv. p. 217); it was not, however, always observed; see on Luke 7:44. Hence we cannot argue, from the omission of it up to this point at this meal (for the guests had already reclined at table), either against (Wichelhaus) or in favour of (Lange: the host was bound to eat with his family) the supposition that the meal was the Passover meal.

Any peculiar cause for the extraordinary procedure of Jesus is not intimated by John; and to drag in such from the dispute among the disciples about rank, mentioned in Luke 22:24 ff. (so, following the older commentators, Ebrard, Hengstenberg, Godet, with various representations of the scenic associations; also Baur, who, however, regards the narrative only as the exposition, given in a historical form, of Matthew 20:26-27, and Luke 22:26-28, after Strauss had maintained it to be a mythical rendering of a synoptical discourse on humility), is arbitrary in itself, since John, fully as he introduces his narrative in John 13:1-2, gives not the slightest indication of the above, while it is appropriate neither to the position nor to the validity of the account of Luke (see on Luke 22:24). The symbolical act of departing love must, especially since Jesus had already reclined at table, have been the outcome of the moment, arising from His own urgent consideration of that which was needful for the disciples and for His work. Comp. Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 542.

διέζωσεν ἑαυτ.] setting forth the personal performance more than the means (comp. John 21:18). He is, in truth, entirely a servant, πάντα μετὰ πάσης προθυμίας αὐτουργήσας (Euth. Zigabenus).

βάλλει ὓδωρ] He pours water. Comp. Planudius in Bachmann, Anal. 2. p. 90, 18.

εἰς τ. νιπτ.] into the wash basin standing by. “Nihil ministerii omittit,” Grotius.

ἤρξατο] for the act commenced was interrupted when Peter’s turn came, and not till after John 13:10 was it continued and finished. John employs the ἤρξατο, so common in the other evangelists, here only in this minute description.

] with which (Hom. Il. x. 77, Od. xviii. 66; Athen. x. p. 443 B), or instead of , by attraction (Revelation 1:13; Revelation 15:6), as in John 17:5; John 17:11.


Verses 6-9

John 13:6-9. ἔρχεται οὖν] So that He then made a commencement with another disciple, not with Peter himself (so Augustine, Beda, Nonnus, Rupertius, Cornelius a Lapide, Maldonatus, Jansen, and other Catholics in the Romish interest; but also Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald, Hengstenberg). With whom (Chrysostom and Euth. Zigabenus point to Judas Iscariot, whom, however, Nonnus makes to be last) is left altogether undetermined.

σύ μου, κ. τ. λ.] ἐκπλαγεὶς εἶπε τοῦτο καὶ σφόδρα εὐλαβηθείς, Euth. Zigabenus. The emphasis lies, in the first instance, upon σύ; not afterwards, however, on μου, as if ἐμοῦ had been used, but on τ. πόδας: Dost Thou wash my feet? The present νίπτεις, like λιθαζέτε, John 10:32, and ποιεῖς, John 13:27.

John 13:7. Note the antithesis of ἐγὼσύ. What He did was not the external work of washing (so Peter took it), but that which this washing signified in the mind of Jesus, namely, the σημεῖον of the morally purifying, ministering love.

μετὰ ταῦτα] namely, through the instruction, John 13:13-17. To refer this to the later apostolic enlightenment and experience (Chrysostom, Grotius, Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Ewald, and several others) is not justified by the text (comp. γινώσκετε, John 13:12), and would have been expressed, as in John 13:36, by the antithesis of νῦν and ὕστερον.

John 13:8. Peter, instead of now complying, as became him, refuses with definite and vehement decision. But Jesus puts before him a threat connected with the necessity of this feet-washing, which could only have its ground and justification in the higher moral meaning of which the act was to be the quiet symbolic language. Thus He intends what He now says not of the external performance as such in and by itself, but of the ethical contents which it is symbolically to set forth, after He had already indicated, John 13:7, that something higher lay in this act. It is precisely John who has apprehended and reported in the most faithful and delicate manner how Jesus knew to employ the sensuous as a foil to the spiritual, and thus to ascend, first enigmatically, then more clearly, and ever higher, towards the very highest. He says: If I shall not have washed thee, thou hast no part with me. Thereby He undoubtedly means the feet-washing which He intended to perform ( τοὺς πόδας σου was to be understood as a matter of course, according to the connection,—against Hofmann, II. 2, p. 323), yet according to the ethical sense, which it was to set forth symbolically, and impress in a way not to be forgotten. Washing is the old sacred picture of moral purification. Hence the thought of Jesus divested of this symbolical wrapping is: If I shall not have purified thee, just as I now would wash thy feet, from the sinful nature still adhering to thee, thou hast no share with me (in the eternal possession of salvation). When Hengstenberg here takes the washing as the symbol of the forgiveness of sins (according to Psalms 51:4), this is opposed to John 13:12 ff.

Peter, as John 13:9 shows, did not yet understand the higher meaning of the Lord’s words; he could but take His answer in the external sense that immediately offered itself (if, in disobedience to me, thou dost not suffer thyself to be washed by me, thou hast, etc.). The thought, however, of being a man separated, by further resistance, from Jesus and His salvation, was sufficiently overpowering for His ardent love to make him offer forthwith not merely His feet, but also the remaining unclothed parts of His body, His hands and His head, to be washed; καὶ ἐν τῇ παραιτήσει καὶ ἐν τῇ συγχωρήσει σφοδρότερος, ἑκάτερα γὰρ ἐξ ἀγάπης, Cyril.

εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα] while eternity lasts, spoken with passion. Comp. 1 Corinthians 8:13.

μέρος ἔχειν μετά τινος] denotes the participation in the same relation, in the like situation with any one, Matthew 24:51, Luke 12:46, after the Hebrew תֵלֶק אֶת (Deuteronomy 12:12), and תֵלֶק עַם (Deuteronomy 10:9; Deuteronomy 14:27; Psalms 50:18). The expression in the classics would be οὐκ ἔχεις or μετέχεις μέρος μου. It is the denial of the συγκληρονόμον εἶναι χριστοῦ, and thus the threatening of exclusion from the ζωή and δόξα of the Lord.


Verse 10-11

John 13:10-11. Jesus sets the disciple right, and that by proceeding to speak of the washing in question according to the spiritual sense of which it is to be taken as the symbol, in order thereby to lead the disciple, who had misunderstood Him, to the true comprehension of the matter. According to the mere verbal sense, He says: “He who has bathed needs nothing further than to wash his feet (which have been soiled again by the road); rather is he (except as to this necessary cleansing of the feet) clean in his entire body.” But this statement, derived from experience of the sensuous province of life, serves as a symbolical wrapping of the ethical thought which Jesus desires to set forth: “He who has already experienced moral purification in general and on the whole in fellowship with me, like him who has cleansed his whole body in the bath, requires only to be freed from the sinful defilement in individual things which has been again contracted in the intercourse of life; as one who has bathed only requires again the washing of his feet, but in other respects he is clean as to his whole moral personality.” This necessity of individual purification demanding daily penitence, which Jesus here sets forth in the λελουμένος by τοὺς πόδας νίψασθαι, how manifest it became in the very case of Peter! E.g., after he denied his Lord, and after the hypocrisy exhibited at Antioch, Galatians 2. To illustrate the entire spiritual purification(127) by λελου΄ένος, however, suggested itself so very naturally through the very feet-washing, which was just about to be undertaken as its correlate, that an allusion to baptism (Theodore of Mopsuestia, Augustine, Ruperti, Erasmus, Jansen, Zeger, Cornelius a Lapide, Schoettgen, Wetstein, and many others, including Olshausen, B. Crusius, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Godet), perhaps after 1 Corinthians 6:11, cannot be made good, while it is not even requisite to assume a reference to the by no means universal custom of bathing before meals. The word is to be thought of as the purifying element represented in λελουμένος; as also in the simile of the vine, which is analogous in regard to the matter of fact depicted, the καθαροί ἐστε, John 15:3, is referred back only to the word of Christ as the ground thereof. But the notion of ethical purification must, in the connection of the entire symbolism of the passage, be also strictly and firmly maintained in οὐ χρείαννίψασθαι; so that the latter is not, as Linder, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1867, p. 512 ff., thinks, intended to suggest that the clean man even may undergo the feet-washing,—not, however, for the object of purification, but as a token of love or humble subjection.

καὶ ὑμεῖς καθαραί ἐστε] Hereby Jesus now makes the application to Peter and his fellow-disciples of what was previously said in the form of a general proposition: “Ye also are clean,” as I, namely, have just expressed it of the λελουμένος; you also have attained in your living fellowship with me through my word to this moral purity of your entire personality; but—so He subjoins with deep grief, having Judas Iscariot in view—but not all! One there is amongst you who has frustrated in his own case the purifying influence of this union with me! Had Peter hitherto not yet seized the symbolical significance of the discourse of Jesus, yet now, on this application καὶ ὑμεῖς, κ. τ. λ., and on this tragical addition ἀλλʼ οὐχὶ πάντες, its meaning must have dawned upon his understanding.

] gives a comparative reference to the absolute expression οὐκ ἔχει χρ.: has no need (further) than. Comp. Xen. Mem. iv. 3. 9; Herod. vi. 52: οὐ δυναμένους δὲ γνῶναι καὶ πρὸ τούτου (better than even formerly); Soph. Trach. 1016; Winer, p. 473 [E. T. p. 638].

τὸν παραδίδ. αὐτόν] His betrayer, Matthew 26:48; John 18:2.

Further, what has been said of an anti-Petrine aim in this passage, in spite of John 1:43, John 6:68-69 (Strauss, Schwegler, Baur, Hilgenfeld), by which the desire for an Ebionitic lavation of the whole body has actually been ascribed to Peter (Hilgenfeld), is altogether imaginary.


Verse 12-13

John 13:12-13. γινώσκετε, κ. τ. λ.] know ye, etc.; ἐρωτᾷ ἀγνοοῦντας, ἵνα διεγείρῃ εἰς προσοχήν, Euth. Zigabenus. Comp. Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 186.

τί] namely, according to the spiritual contents whose symbolical representation was the act that was presented to the senses.

John 13:13. Ye call me Teacher and Lord. It was in this way that the pupils of the Rabbins addressed their teachers, רבי and מר; and so also did the disciples address Jesus as the Messiah, whose pupils (Matthew 23:8) and δοῦλοι (John 13:16) they were. Comp. on διδάσκ., John 11:28. On the nominativus tituli, see Buttmann, N. T. Gramm. p. 132 [E. T. p. 151]. φωνεῖν does not signify to name; but in the article lies the σύ present to the mind in the act of calling upon (Krüger, § 45. 2. 6).


Verse 14-15

John 13:14-15. It is not the act itself, but its moral essence, which, after His example, He enjoins upon them to exercise. This moral essence, however, consists not in lowly and ministering love generally, in which Jesus, by washing the feet of His disciples, desired to give them an example, but, as John 13:10 proves, in the ministering love which, in all self-denial and humility, is active for the moral purification and cleansing of others. As Jesus had just set forth this ministering love by His own example, when He, although their Lord and Master, performed on the persons of His disciples the servile duty of washing their feet,—as an emblem, however, of the efficacy of His love to purify them spiritually,—so ought they to wash one another’s feet; i.e. with the same self-denying love to be reciprocally serviceable to one another with a view to moral purification. The interpretation of the prescription ὀφείλετε, κ. τ. λ., in the proper sense was not that of the apostolical age, but first arose at a later time, and was followed (first in the fourth century, comp. Ambrose, de sacram. John 3:1; Augustine, ad Januar. cp. 119) by the introduction of the washing of the feet of the baptized on Maundy Thursday, and other symbolical feet-washings (later also amongst the Mennonites and in the community of Brothers). 1 Timothy 5:10 contains the non-ritualistic reference to hospitality. The feet-washing by the Pope on Maundy Thursday is a result of the pretension to represent Christ, and as such, also, was strongly condemned by the Reformers. Justly, however, the church has not adopted the feet-washing into the number of the sacraments; for it is not the practice itself, but only the spiritual action, which it thoughtfully represents, that Jesus enjoined upon the disciples. And it is solely to this moral meaning that the promise in John 13:17 is attached; and hence the essential marks of the specific sacramental idea, corresponding to the essence of baptism and of the Supper—sacramental institution, promise, and collative force—are wanting to it. This in answer to Böhmer, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1850, p. 829 ff., who designates it an offence against Holy Scripture, that the Protestant church has not recognised the feet-washing as a sacrament, which, outside the Greek church,(128) it was explained to be by Bernard of Clairvaux (“Sacramentum remissionis peccatorum quotidianorwn”), without any permanent result. Baeumlein also expresses himself in favour of the maintenance of the practice as a legacy of Christ. But its essence is preserved, where the love, from which the practice flowed, abides. Nonnus aptly designates the καθὼς ἐγὼ, κ. τ. λ. as ἰσοφυὲς ΄ί΄η΄α. The practice itself, moreover, cannot in truth be carried out either everywhere, or at all times, or by all, or on all.

ἐγὼ καὶ ὑ΄εῖς] Argumentum a majori ad minus. The majus implied in ἐγώ is further, by means of the subjoined κύριος κ. διδιάσκ., brought home with special force to the mind, and therefore, also, the principal moment, κύριος (comp. John 13:16), is here moved forward.

ὑπόδειγμα] Later expression, instead of the old παράδειγ΄α. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 12.

ἵνα, κ. τ. λ.] Design in setting the example: that, as I have done to you (“in genere actus,” Grotius), you also may do, namely, in ministering to one another in self-denying love for the removal of all sinful contamination, as I, for my part, have just figuratively fulfilled in your case, in the symbol of the feet-washing, this very ministering love directed to your moral purification.


Verse 16-17

John 13:16-17. Truly you, the lesser ( ἀπόστολος: one sent), may not dispense with the performance of that which I, the greater, have here performed. Comp. John 15:20; Matthew 10:24; Luke 6:40.

ταῦτα] That which I have set forth to you in accordance with the above (John 13:13-16) by my ὑπόδειγμα, by means of the feet-washing, and have made an obligation.

εἰ expresses the general, and ἐάν the particular, additional condition. Comp. on the twofold protasis, Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 67 E, Apol. p. 20 C Klotz, ad Devar. p. 512; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 493. The εἰ makes a definite supposition ( οἴδατε δὲ αὐτὰ παρʼ ἐμοῦ μαθόντες, Euth. Zigabenus); ἐάν is in case you, etc. The knowing is objectively granted, the doing subjectively conditioned.

μακαρ.] said in reference to the happiness of the present and future Messianic ζωή. Comp. on John 19:29.


Verse 18-19

John 13:18-19. οὐ περὶ πάντ. ὑμῶν λέγω] Namely, this that ye μακάριοι ἐστε, κ. τ. λ. “Est inter vos, qui non erit beatus neque faciet ea,” Augustine. Unnecessarily and inappropriately, Tholuck refers back to John 13:10.

ἐγώ] I for my part, opposed to the divine determination ( ἀλλʼ ἵνα, κ. τ. λ.), according to which, however, the selection of apostles must take place in such a way that the traitor entered into the number of the chosen. In a very arbitrary manner Tholuck gives the pregnant meaning to ἐξελεξ.: whom I peculiarly have chosen.

οἶδα] I know of what character they are, so that I do not therefore deceive myself, if I do not say of you all, etc.

ἀλλʼ] is ordinarily taken as the antithesis of οὐ περὶ π. ὑμ. λ., and is supplemented by τοῦτο γέγονεν (namely, that I cannot affirm, John 13:17, of you all); whilst others connect it with τρώγων, κ. τ. λ., and ἵνα γρ. κλ. is taken as an intermediate sentence (Semler, Kuinoel; admitted also by Lücke). The former view has no justification in the context, which suggests a τοῦτο γέγονεν just as little as in 1 Corinthians 2:9; the latter does not correspond to the importance which this very sentence of purpose has in the connection. The only supplement in accordance with the text is (comp. John 9:3, John 1:8): ἐξελεξάμην αὐτούς: But I made the choice in obedience to the divine destiny, in accordance with which the Scripture (that which stands written, comp. John 19:37; Mark 12:10; Luke 14:21) could not but be fulfilled, etc. Comp. John 6:70-71. The passage, freely cited from the original, is Psalms 41:13, where the theocratic sufferer (who is unknown; not David, whom the superscription names) utters a saying which, according to divine determination, was to find its Messianic historical fulfilment in the treason of Judas.

τρώγ. μετʼ ἐμοῦ τ. ἄρτ.] Deviating from the original ( אוֹכֵל לַחְמִי), and from the LXX., yet without substantial alteration of the sense (intimacy of table-companionship, which, according to Hellenic views also, aggravated the detestable character of the crime; see Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 793), and involuntarily suggesting itself, since Judas actually ate with Jesus ( τρώγ., John 6:56-58).

ἐπῇρεν] has lifted up. Note the preterite; Judas, so near to an act of treason, is like him who has already lifted up his heel, in order to administer a kick to another. To explain the figure from the tripping of the foot in wrestling ( πτερνίζειν), in the sense of overreaching, is less appropriate both to the words and to the facts (Jesus was not overreached).

John 13:19. ἀπʼ ἄρτι] not now, but as always in the N. T. (John 1:51, John 14:7; Matthew 23:39; Matthew 26:29; Matthew 26:64; Revelation 14:13): from this time forward. Previously, He has not yet definitely disclosed it.

πιστεύσητε, κ. τ. λ.] Ye believe that I am He (the Messiah), and that no other is to be expected; see on John 8:24. How easily might the disciples have come to vacillate in their faith through the success of the treason of Judas, if He had not foreseen and foretold it as lying in the connection of the divine destiny! Comp. John 14:29. But by means of this predictive declaration, what might have become ground of doubt becomes ground for faith.


Verse 20

John 13:20. And for the furtherance and confirmation of this your fidelity in the faith, which, in spite of the treason arising from your midst, must not vacillate, I say to you, that ye may confidently go forward to meet your calling as my ambassadors (John 20:21). The high and blessed position of my ambassadors remains so unimpaired, that whoever accepts them accepts me, etc. The more, however, that Jesus could not but apprehend a disheartening impression from the treason on the rest of the disciples, the more earnestly ( ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμ.) does He introduce this encouragement. Comp. Calvin: Christ would “offendiculo mederi;” and Grotius: “ostendit ministeria ipsis injuncta non caritura suis solatiis.” The antithesis of the treason to the dignity of the apostolic circle (Hilgenfeld) He certainly does not mean to assert, so self-evident was this antithesis. But neither do the words serve to confirm the πιστεύσ., ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι (Ebrard); to this the first half of the verse is not appropriate, in which, indeed, Godet, without any justification, would wish to give to the simple ἐάν τινα the limiting sense: He among you, who is really my ambassador. Further: to join John 13:20 with John 13:16-17 (Lampe, Storr, Klee, Maier, Hengstenberg, comp. Brückner) is an arbitrary construction, which Kuinoel aggravates by explaining the words as a gloss from Matthew 10:40, added to John 13:16, and which subsequently entered the text in the wrong place, as Lücke also has revived the suspicion of a gloss (from Luke 9:48). The absence of connection, employed by Strauss as an argument against the originality, is external, but not in the sequence of the thought itself; and besides, the emotion and agitation of Jesus are here to be taken into consideration. Only in view of the manifest identity of the saying with that of Matthew 10:40, we are not to explain it in an essentially different sense (Luthardt explains of the sending of those needing the ministry of love to the disciples). But to drag in here the dispute about rank, which Luke 22:24 ff. places after the supper (Baeumlein), is groundless, and of no use in the way of explanation.

NOTE.

The story of the feet-washing, John 13:1-20,—after 13 retschneider, Fritzsche, and Strauss had rejected it as a mythical invention, whilst Weisse had recognised only individual portions in it as genuine,—has been justly defended by Schweizer, p. 164 ff., in conformity with its stamp of truth and originality, which throughout indicates the eye-witness; in opposition to which, Baur can only recognise a free formation out of synoptical material (see on John 13:2-5) in the service of the idea, as also Hilgenfeld, comp. Scholten. The non-mention of the occurrence in the Synoptics is explained from the fact that with them the situation is quite different, and the main point is the institution of the Supper.


Verse 21-22

John 13:21-22. The thought of Jesus recurs in deep excitement and agitation—owing to which, probably, an interrupting pause occurred—back to the traitor;(129) it constrains Him now to testify with the most straightforward definiteness what He knows, but at which He had previously only hinted: One of you will betray me! Comp. Matthew 26:21-22, in comparison with whose representation that of John is to be preferred.

τῷ πνεύματι] in His Spirit (John 11:33), not: through the divine Spirit (Hilgenfeld).

ἔβλεπον οὖν, κ. τ. λ.] “perculsi rei atrocitate vix credibili animis probis minimeque suspicacibus,” Grotius. Judas may likewise have dissembled.


Verse 23-24

John 13:23-24. There was, however, reclining at table, one of the disciples, etc., so that ἦν belongs to ἐν τῷ κόλπῳ (Luke 16:23). The custom was to lie with the left arm supported on the cushion, and the feet stretched out behind, so that the right hand remained free for eating. The one who lay next reached, with the back of his head, to the sinus of the girdle ( κόλπος, Luke 6:38; Plin. ep. iv. 22) of the first, and had the feet of the first at his back; in like manner, the third in the κόλπος of the second. See Lightfoot, p. 1095 f.

ὃν ἠγαπ. .] κατʼ ἐξοχήν. Comp. John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7; John 21:20. It serves to explain the fact that he was Jesus’ nearest table-companion. And here, out of the recollection of that sacred, and by him never to be forgotten moment, there first breaks from his lips this nameless, and yet so expressive designation of himself. It is very arbitrary, however, to take this as a circumlocution for his name (Gotthold, Bengel, Hengstenberg, Godet); such a view should have been precluded already by the circumstance that ὃν ἠγ. κύριος is never employed (but always ἰησοῦς).

According to the reading κ. λέγει αὐτῷ· εἰπὲ τίς ἐστιν (see critical notes), Peter supposes, with the hasty temperament which marked him, that John, as the confidant of Jesus, would know whom the latter meant.(130) The λέγει is to be imagined as spoken in a whisper, to which also the νεύει, depicting the occurrence in a lively manner, points. Should εἰπέ be taken as: “say to Jesus” (Ewald), either περὶ οὗ λέγει would be omitted, or instead of λέγει, λέγεις would be expressed.


Verse 25-26

John 13:25-26. Graphic representation. Raising himself from the κόλπος of Jesus to His breast, nearer to His ear, he draws close to Him, and asks (in a whisper).

ἐγώ] I, for my part.

τὸ ψωμ.] which he meanwhile took into His hand.

ἐπιδώσω] shall give away. The morsel is to be thought of as a piece of bread or meat, which Jesus dips into a broth on the table (not into the Charoseth, see on Matthew 26:23, since the meal, according to John, was not the paschal meal).

The closing words of John 13:26 contain something of tragic solemnity.(131) By the designation of the traitor, it was not the curiosity of John, but his own love, which Jesus satisfied, and this by means of a token not of apparent, but of real and sorrowful goodwill towards Judas, in whom even now conscience might have been awakened and touched, by means of a token at the same time, such as most naturally suggested itself at table to the Lord as the head of the family, expressive of forbearance towards the traitor. This in answer to Weisse, who psychologically mishandles the entire representation as a fiction derived from John 13:18, and finds the true occurrence only in Mark, whilst Strauss gives the relative preference to Luke (Luke 22:21).


Verse 27-28

John 13:27-28. καὶ μετὰ τὸ ψωμ.] and after the morsel, i.e. after Jesus had given him the morsel, John 13:26. So frequently also in the classics a single word only is used with μετά, which, according to the context, represents an entire sentence. See Ast, ad Plat. Leg. p. 273 f., Lex. Plat. II. p. 311; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XIII. p. 82.

τότε] then, at that moment, intentionally bringing into relief the horribly tragic moment.

εἰσῆλθεν, κ. τ. λ.] so that he was therefore from henceforward a man possessed by the devil, Mark 5:12-13; Mark 9:25; Luke 8:30; Matthew 12:45. The expression (comp. Luke 22:3) forbids a figurative interpretation (that Judas completely hardened himself after this discovery was understood by him to have been made), which is already to be found in Theodore of Mopsuestia. The complete hardening, in consequence of which he could no more retrace his steps, was simply the immediate consequence of this possession by the devil. But against a magical causal connection, as it were, of the entrance of the devil along with the morsel, Cyril already justly declared himself. The representation rather is, that now, just when Judas had taken the morsel without inward compunction, he was given up by Christ, and therewith is laid open to the unhindered entrance of the devil ( καθάπερ τινὰ πύλην τὴν τοῦ φυλάττοντος ἐρήμην, Cyril), and experiences this entrance. John did not see this (in the external bearing of Judas, as Godet supposes); but it is with him a psychological certainty.

ποιεῖς, ποίησον τάχιον] What thou purposest to do (comp. John 13:6; Winer, p. 249 [E. T. p. 304]), do more quickly. In the comparative lies the notion: hasten it. So very frequently in Homer θᾶσσον. See Duncan, Lex. ed. Rost, p. 524, and generally Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, p. 21, 314, ed. 3; on the graecism of τάχιον, Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 77. The imperative, however, is not permissive (Grotius, Kuinoel, and several others); but Jesus actually wishes to surmount as soon as possible the last crisis (His ὥρα), now determined for Him in the connection of the divine destiny. The resigned, characteristic decision of mind brooks no delay. To suggest the intention, on the part of Jesus, that He wished to be rid of the oppressive proximity of the traitor (Ambrose: “ut a consortio suo recederet,” comp. Lücke, B. Crusius, Tholuck), is to anticipate what follows.


Verse 28-29

John 13:28-29. οὐδείς] Even John not excepted (against Bengel, Kuinoel, Lange, Hengstenberg, Godet), from whom the thought was remote, that now already was the treason to be accomplished.

πρὸς τί] for behoof of what.

John 13:29. γάρ] Proof, by way of example, of this non-comprehension. Some of the disciples had taken those words as an order, to hasten a matter of business known to Judas, the bearer of the chest. They had therefore two more definite suppositions between which they wavered, both produced by a helpless state of mind, but not irrational, since it is not said that they meant instantaneous attention to the command, even in the course of the night.

εἰς τ. ἑορτ.] belongs to ὧν χρ. ἔχ. There was therefore as yet no matter needful for the feast purchased. This, following as it does the statement of time already adduced in John 13:1, presupposes that the present meal was not the festal meal, for the latter belonged to the feast itself, which, according to John 13:1, was still impending (against Wieseler, pp. 366, 381, Tholuck, Lange, Luthardt, Baeumlein, Hengstenberg, Paul in the Stud. u. Krit. 1866, p. 366 f., and several others). See also Bleek, p. 129 f.; Rückert, Abendm. p. 27 f.; Hilgenfeld, Paschastr. p. 147; Isenberg, p. 10 f.

τοῖς πτωχοῖς] placed first as the other subject referred to in this second supposition. Comp. Galatians 2:10. This giving to the poor is likewise thought of as designed for the approaching celebration, because they attempted thereby to explain the present order to the purveyor.

In the transition into the indirect form of speech, , κ. τ. λ. must be supplied; or that He said that to him, in order that he, etc.


Verse 30-31

John 13:30-31. λαβὼν οὖν] connecting with John 13:27. With ἐξῆλθεν εὐθύς begins the fulfilment of the command of Christ, given in John 13:27. How erroneous therefore is Hengstenberg’s statement, in spite of the εὐθύς: he went away first at the close of the meal! Before the ἐξῆλθεν the supper, indeed, is said to have its place, and Judas to have taken part in it!

ἦν δὲ νύξ] The meal had begun in the evening, and—when one considers also the time consumed in the feet-washing—had already advanced into the night. This conclusion of the narrative respecting Judas presents, unsought, something full of horror, and precisely in this simplest brevity of expression something that profoundly lays hold of the imagination. Comp. Luke 22:53. With ὅτε οὖν ἐξῆλθε begins a fresh break in the narrative. To omit οὖν (see critical notes), and to connect these words with ἦν δὲ νύξ (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, and several others, including Bengel, Paulus, Ewald), has against it, apart from the critically certified οὖν, the considerations that the following λέγει would stand very abruptly,(132) ὅτε ἐξῆλθε itself would be very superfluous, and the deeper emphasis of the mere ἦν δὲ νύξ at the close would be lost.


Verse 31-32

John 13:31-32. νῦν ἐδοξάσθη, κ. τ. λ.] The traitor is gone, and thereupon the heart of the Lord, which has become freer and more at ease, outflows first as in an anticipation of triumph. In view, namely, of the near and certain end, He sees in His death, as though He had already undergone it, His life-work as accomplished, and Himself thereby glorified, and in this His glorification the glory of God, who completes His work in the work of the Son. The δόξα intended by Jesus is accordingly not that which is contained for Him in the feet-washing and in the departure of Judas, which would not correspond to the sublime and victorious nature of this moment (against Godet). But neither, again, is it the heavenly glory (Luthardt); for to this the future δοξάσει, John 13:32, first refers, and this change of tense possesses a determinative force. Rather does the ἐδοξάσθη denote the actual δόξα, which lies in the fact, and of which the manifestation has begun, that now at length His earthly work of salvation is brought to a state of completion, the task appointed to the Son by the Father is discharged. It is the glory of His death, the splendour of His τετέλεσται, which He contemplates, feels, declares as already begun.

ἐν αὐτῷ] in Him, in His person, so far as it has been glorified.

John 13:32 has a climactic relation to John 13:31, passing from the δόξα, which He has on the threshold of death, to the heavenly glory, which from this time God will secure to Him (hence the future δοξάσει).

εἰ θεὸς ἐδοξ. ἐν ἑαυτῷ] Solemn repetition, in order to subjoin a further thought.

ἐν ἑαυτῷ] To be referred to the subject, not, with Ewald, to Christ: in Himself, corresponding, as recompense, to the ἐν αὐτῷ. He will be so glorified by God, that His heavenly glory will be contained in God’s own peculiar δόξα; His glory will be none other than the divine glory itself, completed in God Himself (comp. Colossians 3:3) through the return into the fellowship of God out of which He had come forth, and had been made man. Comp. John 17:4-5.

The first καί, John 13:32, is the also of the corresponding relation (on the other hand, again); and the second: and that (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 145). On the idea of the recompense, comp. John 17:4-5; Philippians 2:9.

εὐθύς] straightway; for how immediately near is this blessed goal towards which my death is the departure!


Verse 33

John 13:33. The εὐθύς changes—when He glances at His loved ones, whom He is to leave behind

His mood, which but now was that of victory, again into one of softness and emotion. Here, in the first place, the tender τεκνία (comp. John 21:5) with all the intensity of departing love.

μικρόν] Accusat. neut. Comp. John 14:16, John 16:19; Hebrews 10:37; LXX. Job 36:2; Sap. John 15:8, et al.

ζητήσετε] the seeking of faith and love in distress, in temptation, etc.

καὶ καθὼς, κ. τ. λ.] and as I have said, … say I now also to you.(133)

τ. ἰουδ.] to these, however, with a penal reference, John 7:34, John 8:21; John 8:24, and with the threatening addition, κ. οὐχ εὑρήσετε. And for the disciples the οὐ δύνασθε ἐλθεῖν is intended only of the temporal impossibility. See John 14:2-3.

ἄρτι] emphatically at the end, as in John 13:7; John 13:37; John 16:12. He could no longer spare them the announcement.


Verse 34

John 13:34. Commandment now of the departing Lord for those who, according to John 13:33, are to be left behind, which He calls a new one, i.e. one not yet given either in the Decalogue or otherwise, in order the more deeply to impress it upon them as the specific rule of their conduct. The novelty lies not in the commandment of love in itself (for see Leviticus 19:18, comp. Matthew 5:43 ff; Matthew 19:19; Matthew 22:37-38), nor yet in the higher degree of love found in καθὼς ἠγάπ. ὑμ., so that the requirement would be, that one should love one’s neighbour not merely ὡς ἑαυτόν, but ὑπὲρ ἑαυτόν (Cyril, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, and many, including especially Knapp, Scr. var. arg. p. 369 ff.), since καθώς does not indicate the degree or the type (see below), and since, moreover, the O. T. ὡς ἑαυτόν does not exclude, but includes the self-sacrifice of love. The novelty lies rather in the motive power of the love, which must be the love of Christ which one has experienced. Comp. 1 John 3:16. Thereby the commandment, in itself old, receives the new definiteness ( αὐτὸς αὐτὴν ἐποίησε καινὴν τῷ τρόπῳ, Chrysostom), the definiteness of loving ἐν χριστῷ, and therewith the new moral absolute character and contents, and is given forth with this specifically N. T. definition, founded on faith in Christ, a new commandment. Comp. Luthardt, Ebrard, Brückner; also Baeumlein, Hengstenberg, and Godet, who, however, take along with this the circle of Christian love ( ἀλλήλους) as a point of novelty. Grotius treats this in a similar way to these last-named commentators, when he, as also Kölbing (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1845, p. 685 ff.), regards Christian brotherly love, in its distinction from the general love of one’s neighbours, as the new commandment which is prescribed. Nevertheless, this distinction rests simply upon the fact that Christian brotherly love must be mutually determined and sustained by the personal experience of the love of Christ, or else it is destitute of its peculiarly Christian character; hence it is always this point alone which forms the substantial contents and the distinguishing moment of the new commandment as such, as none could be more intensely and truly conscious of it than John himself, especially whilst he wrote the καίνην and the καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς. Opposed to the sense of the word are the interpretations: a commandment which contains all laws of the N. T., in opposition to the many laws of the O. T. (Luther); praeceptum illustre (Hackspan, Hammond, Wolf), mandatum ultimum = Testament (Heumann); further: ὁπλοτέρην ἐν ἅπασιν, a youngest commandment (Nonnus); further: a commandment that never grows old, with ever youthful freshness, as though ἀεὶ καινήν were expressed (Olshausen(134)); further, a renewed commandment (Calvin, Jansen, Maldonatus, Schoettgen, Raphel, and already Irenaeus), or even one that renews the old man (Augustine); further: a commandment unexpected by you (Semler, on the presumption of the dispute about precedence which had just taken place, Luke 22:24 ff.). According to De Wette, καινήν refers to the fact, that in the commandment lies the principle of the new life brought by Christ. Thus, therefore, καινὴ ἐντολή would be here a new moral principle (comp. Galatians 6:2), opposed to the O. T. principle of righteousness. That that is the new ἐντολή (comp. already Melanchthon) is, however, not expressed by these simple words. Against the sense, finally, and without any indication in the text, is Lange’s view: a new διαθήκη which is the institution of the Supper which Christ here founded. This, besides, is opposed to the obvious parallel passages, 1 John 2:8.

ἵνα ἀγαπ. ἀλλ.] The contents of the commandment are set forth as the purpose of the ἐντ. καιν. διδ. ὑμ.

καθὼς ἠγάπ. ὑμ.] is to be separated only by a comma from ἀλλήλ., containing the agens(135) of the ἀγαπ. ἀλλ., and then, by means of ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς, κ. τ. λ., the ethical purpose of the ἠγάπ. ὑμ. which belongs here is added; the emphasis, however, lies on ἀγαπᾶτε ὑμᾶς, καὶ ὑμεῖς. Hence: that ye may love one another, in conformity with the fact that I have loved you, and, indeed, have loved you with the design that you also, on your part, etc. That here καθώς, however, does not express the degree, but the corresponding relation, which constrains to the ἀγαπ. ἀλλ., appears with logical necessity from the subjoined sentence denoting purpose ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κ. τ. λ. (without an οὕτως, which Ewald interpolates in his explanation). It is similar to our wie denn (as then) (comp. on John 12:35; 1 Corinthians 1:6; Ephesians 1:4; Matthew 6:12), stating the ground, as ὡς also is very frequently used in the classics (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 766; Ast, Lex. Plat. iii. p. 584). To take the sentence καθὼςἀλλήλους as a parallel to the preceding ἵνα ἀγαπ. ἀλλ., whereby καθὼς ἠγ. ὑμ. is emphatically placed first (so many commentators, from Beza to Hengstenberg and Godet), would cause no difficulty in the case of Paul, but does not correspond to the simple style of John elsewhere.

ἠγάπησα] Aorist; for Jesus sees Himself already at the end of the work of His loving self-devotion. Comp. John 13:1. Further, John 13:34 is not to be explained in such a manner that Christ imparts a new legislation, in opposition to the Mosaic (Hilgenfeld, comp. above, Luther). He, indeed, does not say νόμον καινόν. The ἐντολὴ καινή belongs rather to His πλήρωσις of the law (Matthew 5:17), especially in respect of Leviticus 19:18, and does not exclude, but includes, the other moral precepts of the law.(136)


Verse 35

John 13:35. ʼεν τούτῳ] in that, with ἐάν following; comp. 1 John 2:3.

ἐμοί] not dative, but mei, with emphasis, however, as in John 15:8, comp. John 18:36.

How greatly love was really the Gnorisma of the Christians (1 John 3:10 ff.), see e.g. Tertullian, Apol. 39.


Verses 36-38

John 13:36-38. The words spoken in John 13:33 are still in Peter’s mind; he has not understood them, but can the less therefore get quit of them, and hence asks: ποῦ ὑπάγεις; Jesus does not directly answer this, but points him to the personal experience of a later future, in which he (on the way to a martyr’s death) will follow after Him (comp. John 21:18-19), which at present is not possible. The latter statement surprises the fiery disciple, since he already feels that he is ready to sacrifice his very life for Him. Jesus then quenches this fire, John 13:38. οὐ δύνασαι] not meant of moral ability (against Tholuck, Hengstenberg), as Peter took it, but of objective possibility as in John 13:33. The disciple also has “his hour,” and Peter had first a great calling before him, John 21:15 ff.; Matthew 16:18.

τ. ψυχ. θήσω] See on John 10:11. In the zeal of love he mistakes the measure of his moral strength.

On the discrepancy, that Matthew and Mark place the prediction of the denial on the way to Gethsemane (Luke 22:23 agrees substantially with John), see on Luke 22:31. The declaration of John 13:38 itself is certainly more original in John and Matthew 26:34, Luke 22:34 (without δίς), than in Mark 14:30.

NOTE.

The question, to what place in John’s narrative the celebration of the Supper belongs, is not to be more precisely determined on the ground of Matthew 26:23-25 (against Luke 22:21), than that the Supper finds its place, not before the departure of Judas,(137) consequently first after John 13:30. Nothing more definite can be said (Paulus, B. Crusius, Kahnis, place it immediately after. John 13:30, against which, however, is the reading οὖν before ἐξῆλθε in John 13:30; Lücke, Maier, and several others, between John 13:33-34, opposed to which is the question of Peter, John 13:36, which looks back to John 13:33; Neander, Ammon, and Ebrard, after John 13:32; Tholuck, in John 13:34; Lange, indeed, says: the ἐντολὴ καινή, John 13:34, is the ordainment of the Supper itself; Olshausen, after John 13:38), since the entire arrangement of John in these chapters leaves the Supper completely out of consideration, and, what is to be particularly noted here in John 13:30; John 14:1 ff., is so inseparably connected together, that, in reality, there remains nowhere in his representation an opening for its insertion. This betrays, indeed, the free concatenation of the discourses on the part of John, but not his non-acquaintance with the institution (Strauss), and cannot justify the extreme assumptions, that it is to be placed, in spite of the periodic-structure of John 13:1-4, already before the feet-washing (Sieffert, Godet), or first after John 14:31 (Kern). So also Bengel, Wichelhaus, and Röpe, in so far as they make Jesus, in John 14:31, to be setting out for the Paschal Supper to Jerusalem. See on John 14:31. According to Schenkel, the feet-washing does not fall within the last hours of Jesus, but at an earlier period, whereby, of course, all difficulty would be removed.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 13:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-13.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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