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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
John 19

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 19

John 19:3. καὶ ἔλεγον] B. L. U. X. λ. π. א. Curss., most Verss. Cyr. Nom. Aug.: καὶ ἤρχοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ ἔλεγον. Rightly adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. The Recepta originated in a mechanical way, just as readily through an erroneous transition from the first αὐτόν to the second, as through the apparently unnecessary, indeed unsuitable, character which ἤρχ. πρ. αὐτ. might possess.

ἐδίδουν] Lachm. and Tisch.: ἐδίδοσαν. But see on John 15:22.

John 19:4. Elz. Scholz: ἐξῆλθεν οὖν. Lachm.: καὶ ἐξῆλθεν. The witnesses are very much divided, but there is preponderant testimony in favour of καὶ ἐξῆλθ. (A. B. K. L. X. π. Curss. Syr. Aeth. Cyr.). Nevertheless, considering the frequency of such insertions, the omission of the particle (Griesb. Tisch.) is sufficiently justified by D. γ. א. Curss. Verss.

ἐν αὐτ. οὐδ. αἰτ. εὑρ.] Very many variations, amongst which the simple αἰτ. οὐχ εὐρ. would, with Tisch., be preferable, if it were not that it has only א.* in its favour.

John 19:6. αὐτόν] is omitted after the second σταύρ. in Elz. Tisch., but has the preponderance of testimony in its favour, for amongst the Uncials only B. L. omit it. Nevertheless, the addition was so easily suggested of itself, and through Luke 23:21, Mark 15:13, John 19:15, that it is to be regarded as a supplement.

John 19:7. ἡμῶν] is wanting in B. D. L. δ. א. Vulg. It. Or. Hil. Aug. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. But how easily might its omission have been caused, partly by the preceding syllable MON, partly by its being apparently superfluous!

John 19:10. After λέγει, Elz. Lachm. have οὖν, which, indeed, is wanting only in A. א. Curss. Syr. Perss. Copt. Arm. Slav. Cyr. (deleted by Tisch.); considering, however, the appropriateness of the connection which it expresses, it would hardly have been omitted had it been genuine. The copyists can scarcely have felt that there was anything cumbrous (in answer to Lücke, De Wette) in the expression.

John 19:11. εἶχες] A. D. L. X. Y. λ. π. א. Curss.: ἔχες. Defended by Buttmann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 485 ff., adopted by Tisch. An old copyist’s mistake, which is supported by none of the Verss. except Copt., and by none of the Fathers, which, however, crept in readily enough after the shortly preceding ἔχω.

John 19:12. ἔχραζον] Lachm. Tisch.: ἐχραύγαζον, according to important witnesses, indeed, but derived from John 19:6; John 19:18; John 19:40, whence B. D. Curss. have directly repeated ἐκραύγασαν.

John 19:13. τοῦτον τὸν λόγον] The genit. plur., and that either τούτων τῶν λόγων, or, more strongly still, τῶν λόγων τούτων, is so decisively attested, that the latter, with Lachm. and Tisch., is to be adopted. The Recepta is derived from John 19:8.

John 19:14. Instead of δέ after ὥρα, Lachm. and Tisch. have ἦν, on decisive testimony; δέ is a stylistic correction.

ἕκτη] D. L. X. δ א.** Curss. Chronic, alex. (the latter appealing to the ἀκριβῆ ἀντίγραφα, nay, even to the ἰδιόχειρον of John!) Nonn. Sev. ant. (appealing to Euseb.) Ammon. Theophyl.: τρίτη. An old harmonistic alteration in conformity with Mark 15:25 (comp. Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44).

John 19:16-17. Instead of ἤγαγον, Elz. has ἀπήγαγον, against decisive testimony. But B. L. X. Curss. Codd. N. Copt. Cyr. entirely omit καὶ ἤγαγον. So Lachm. and Tisch. But if the continuation had here been supplied from the parallel passages, not ἤγαγον, but ἀπήγαγον (comp. Matthew 27:31; Luke 23:26), would have the preponderance of testimony. καὶ ἤγαγον, however, might easily have disappeared in the course of transcription, owing to a transition having been at once made from the first καί to the second.

τὸν σταυρ. αὑτοῦ] Lachm.: αὐτῷ τ. στ. (B. X.); ἑαυτῷ τ. στ. (L. א. Or.). The latter, in favour of which D. also testifies with ἐαυτοῦ, is to be preferred. The reflexive pronoun was frequently neglected. The Recepta is an alteration in conformity with the most current mode of expression.

John 19:20. The order of the words ἐβρ., ῥωμ., ἐλλ. (so Tisch., according to B. L. X. א. Curss. Copt. Sah. Aeth. Cyr.) has probability, considering the standpoint of Pilate, in its favour.

John 19:26-27. Instead of ἰδού, we should, in conformity with important testimony, read both times with Lachm. and Tisch. ἴδε, frequent in John (he has ἰδού only in John 4:35, John 16:32, and from the LXX. John 12:15), though we are not to assume any difference of meaning between the two forms.

John 19:29. οὖν] is wanting in A. B. L. X. Codd. It., whilst a few other witnesses (including א.) have δέ. Rightly deleted by Lachm. Tisch.

οἱ δὲ πλήσ. σπόγγ. ὀξ. καί] Lachm.: σπόγγ. οὖν μεστὸν τοῦ ὅξους, according to B. L. X. א. Curss. Verss. Cyr. Hilar. So also Tisch., but without τοῦ, which X. א. do not contain. The Recepta is shaped in conformity with Matthew 27:48, Mark 15:36, where οἱ δέ was readily suggested as an insertion on account of the change of persons.

John 19:31. Instead of ἐκείνου, Elz. has ἐκείνη, against decisive testimony.

John 19:35. καὶ ὑμεῖς] Elz. has merely ὑμεῖς. But καί is so strongly attested, and might be so readily omitted as being without reference, that it must be preserved.

John 19:40. ἐν ὀθον.] The mere ὀθον. (Elz. Lachm.) is very strongly attested (B. K. L. X. Y. π. א.), but the superfluous ἐν might readily be passed over, comp. John 12:44, especially as the preponderance of parallel passages present the mere dative.


Verses 1-3

John 19:1-3. οὖν] After the miscarriage of this attempt at deliverance, Pilate will at least make this further venture to see whether the compassion of the Jews is not to be awakened. Hence he causes the scourging to be carried out on Jesus’ person, to which punishment He in any case, if He were to be crucified, must be subjected; and hopes, in the folly of his moral vacillation, by means of such maltreatment, although inflicted without sentence and legality, to satisfy the Jews, and avert something worse. Comp. on Matthew 27:26. With a like purpose in view, he also gives Him up to the contumelious treatment of the soldiers, who deck Him out as king (John 18:39) with a crown of thorns (see on Matthew 27:29) and a purple mantle (comp. on Matthew 27:28; Mark 15:17).

ἔλαβεν] shows the simple style of the narrative.

κ. ἤρχ. πρ. αὐτ.] See the critical notes. It is a pictorial trait. He stands arrayed before them; they go up to Him and do obeisance to Him!

ῥαπίσματα] As in John 18:22. Codd. of It. add in faciem.


Verse 4-5

John 19:4-5. πάλιν] For, according to John 18:40, Pilate has returned into the praetorium, and has caused Jesus to be scourged, John 19:1. The scourging was certainly carried out so that the Jews could see it. The prisoner, scourged and arrayed like the caricature of a king, he causes to be led forth in his train.

ὑμῖν] Vobis; what follows gives the more exact explanation of this reference.

ἵνα γνῶτε, κ. τ. λ.] For had he found Him guilty, he would certainly not make the repeated attempt, implied in this leading forth and presentation of Jesus to them, to change the mind of the Jews, but would dispose of the matter by ordering execution.

John 19:5. ἐξῆλθενἱμάτιον is not a parenthesis, but the narrative, according to which Jesus comes forth in the train of Pilate, proceeds without interruption, in such a manner, however, that with λέγει (Pilate) the subject suddenly changes; see Heindorf, ad Plat. Euthyd. p. 275 B Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 8.

φορῶν] Not φέρων; for the kingly attire is now to the close of the proceedings His permanent garb (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 585).

The short significant ecce homo! behold the man, whose case we are condemning! has its eloquent commentary in the entire manifestation of suffering in which the ill-treated and derided one was set forth. This suffering form cannot be the usurper of a throne! The words are gently and compassionately spoken, and ought to excite compassion (comp. already Chrysostom); it is in John 19:14 that he first says with bitterness: ἴδε βασιλεὺς ὑμῶν.


Verses 6-8

John 19:6-8. Of the presence of the people (who perhaps kept silence, Lücke thinks; comp. Luthardt, according to whom the high priests desired to forestall any possible expressions of compassion on the part of the people) the text says nothing; the ἰουδαῖοι, John 18:31; John 18:38, were just pre-eminently the ἀρχιερεῖς of the present passage.

ὅτε οὖν εἶδον] The spectacle, instead of calming their bitterness, goads them on.

λάβετε αὐτὸν ὑμεῖς, κ. τ. λ.] A paradox, amounting to a peevish and irritated refusal, since the Jews did not possess the right of execution, and crucifixion was certainly not a Jewish capital punishment. Crucify him yourselves, if you will have him crucified!

Now, however, they introduce the authority of their law, according to which Jesus (as being a blasphemer, namely, of God, Leviticus 24:16; Matthew 26:63-64) must die. They thus prudently give to their demand another legal basis, to be respected by the procurator in conformity with Roman policy, and to the accusation the corresponding religious sanction. An admission, however, that their political suspicion of Jesus had only been a pretext (Steinmeyer), is not contained in this; it is only another turn given to the charge.

ἡμεῖς] With haughty emphasis, opposed to the preceding ἐγὼαἰτίαν. On ὅτι υἱὸν, κ. τ. λ., comp. John 5:18, John 10:33.

μᾶλλον ἐφοβ.] His fear only became the greater ( μᾶλλ., see John 5:18), namely, of suffering Jesus to be executed. To the previous fear of conscience was now, in truth, added the fear of the vengeance of a God, namely, of Jehovah, the God of the Jews, in case the assertion mentioned should turn out to be true. He explained to himself the υἱὸς θεοῦ after the analogy of pagan heroes, like the centurion, Matthew 27:54. That he was moved by the idea of the unity of God (Hengstenberg) has nothing to support it; nay, viewed in the light of the wanton words, John 18:38, very improbable.


Verse 9-10

John 19:9-10. He therefore took Jesus again away with him into the praetorium for a private audience.

πόθεν] asks after His origin, but not in the sense of the place of birth (Paulus), but in the sense occasioned by υἱὸν θεοῦ, John 19:7, in order to obtain a declaration from Jesus on this point, whether He were of human or divine origin. Comp. on John 8:14; Matthew 21:25.

ἀπόκρ. οὐκ ἔδωκ. αὐτῷ] Both this observation, as well as the peculiarity of Pilate’s question, betraying a certain timidity, πόθεν εἶ σύ (how entirely different is his question, John 18:33; while here he shrinks from asking directly), has the stamp of originality. Jesus is silent; for what He would have had to say would only have been misunderstood by Pilate, or not understood at all (John 17:25; Matthew 7:6). Moreover, He had already in truth sufficiently indicated His heavenly origin, John 18:36-37, had Pilate only possessed susceptibility for the truth. But as it was, he was unworthy of further discussion, and in the silence of Jesus it is precisely the self-assurance and greatness of the Son of God which are implied. Luthardt explains it from the assumption that Jesus will not give Pilate occasion to release Him from motives of fear, and thereby to interfere with the will of God. But on that supposition He must also have withheld the great and bold words, John 19:11. A resolute opposition on the part of the sceptical man of the world to the desire of the Jews, Jesus assuredly neither hoped nor feared.

John 19:10. καὶ φοβεῖται καὶ φοβεῖ, Euth. Zigabenus.

ἐμοὶ οὐ λαλεῖς;] ἐμοί bears the emphasis of mortified power, which then also attempts alike to terrify and to entice. To mention at first the σταυρῶσαί σε, and then, not before, the ἀπολῦσαί σε, corresponded to the state of the procedure. But A. B. E. א. Lachm. Tisch. have the converse order, which would, however, more readily suggest itself to the mechanical copyist. The repetition of ἐξουσ. ἔχω is solemn.


Verse 11

John 19:11. With a clear and holy defiance, to defend against this expression of personal power at least, the supremacy of the Father, Jesus now speaks His last word to Pilate. He points the latter, with his ἐξουσία which he has put forward, by the reference σταυρῶσαί σε, to the highest authority which has invested him with that ἐξουσία, but at the same time, with conciliatory mildness, deduces from it a standard to diminish the guilt of the judge. The saying breathes truth and grace.

οὐκ εἶχες] Thou wouldst not have.(235) “Indicativus imperfecti sine ἄν h. l. in firmissima asseveratione longe est aptissimus,” Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. vii. 6. 21. See also Stallbaum, ad Plat. Sympos. p. 190 C Bremi, ad Lys. Exc. IV. p. 438 ff.; Winer, p. 286 [E. T. p. 383].

δεδομένον] Namely, the ἐξουσιάζειν κατʼ ἐμοῦ. See Kühner, II. sec. 421; Bernhardy, p. 335. Not: the definite act of condemnation (Steinmeyer).

ἄνωθεν] i.e. from God, John 3:3; John 3:31. That even the heathen could understand. Had Jesus said ἐκ τοῦ πατρός μου, he would not have understood it. Pilate stands before Jesus with the ἐξουσία to destroy Him; but he has this power from God, and he would not possess it if God had not appointed him for the fulfilment of His destiny concerning Jesus. For this reason, however ( διὰ τοῦτο), that is, because he here acts not in independent self-determination, but as the divinely-ordained organ of the procedure which is pending against Him, he is not indeed free from sin, since he condemns Jesus contrary to his own conviction of His innocence; but greater is the guilt of him who delivered Jesus into Pilate’s hands, since that divinely-bestowed ἐξουσία is wanting to the latter. The logical connection of the διὰ τοῦτο rests on the fact that the παραδιδούς μέ σοι is the high priest, to whom, consequently, no power is given by God over Him, the Messiah, who in truth is higher than the high priest; to Pilate, on the other hand, the Roman potentate, this power is lent, because, as bearer of the highest magisterial authority, he derives his warrant from God (comp. Romans 13:1), to decide concerning every one who is brought before his court, and therefore also concerning the Messiah, who has been accused and delivered up as a pretender to a crown. This power Pilate possessed simply as a Roman potentate; hence this point of view does not confuse the matter (Luthardt), but makes it clear. As δεδομ. is not to be transmuted into the notion of permission (Chrysostom), so also there is nothing to be found in διὰ τοῦτο which is not yielded by the immediate context. Hence we are not to understand with Euth. Zigabenus (comp. Theophylact): διότι ἐξουσίαν ἔχεις καὶ οὐκ ἀπολύεις με, so that the lesser degree of guilt rests on the weakness and timidity of Pilate (comp. Luther); nor with Grotius (comp. Bengel, Baeumlein, and already Ruperti): because thou canst not know so well as the Jews (to whom παραδ. is referred) who I am; nor even with Lampe: because the Jews have received no such power from God, have rather assumed it to themselves (Luthardt); but solely in harmony with the context: because thou hast the disposal of me, not from thy proper sovereignty, but from having been divinely empowered thereto.

παραδιδούς] he who delivers me up to thee; the affair is still in actu, those who deliver Him up stand without; hence the pres. The expression itself, however, cannot, as elsewhere in John (John 18:2, John 13:2, John 11:21, John 12:4, John 6:64; John 6:71; comp. Mark 14:21), mean Judas, who here lies entirely remote from the comparison, especially since σοι is used with it, nor even (so most interpreters) be understood collectively of the Jews. It is rather the chief of the Jews, the high priest Caiaphas, who is meant (so also Bengel, and now Ewald; comp. Luthardt, Baumgarten, p. 388, Hengstenberg), who ought to have recognised the Messiah, and not to have assumed to himself any power over Him.

μείζονα] compares the sin of the παραδιδούς with that of Pilate, not with itself, so that its guilt is designated as aggravated by the misuse of the ἐξουσία of Pilate (Calvin, Wetstein, Godet, also Baur).(236) The guilt which belonged to the παραδιδούς in and by himself, was in truth not aggravated by the delivering over into the hands of the regular magistracy, which was rather the orderly mode of procedure.(237)


Verse 12

John 19:12. ʼεκ τούτου] Not: from this time forward (so usually); for ἐζήτει, κ. τ. λ., is a particular act, which is immediately answered by the Jews with loud outcries; but: on this ground, as John 6:66, occasioned by this speech of Jesus (so also Luthardt and Lange).

ἐξήτει, κ. τ. λ., he sought to release Him (John 10:30; Luke 5:18; Luke 13:24; Luke 19:3; Acts 27:30, et al.). In what this attempt, which, though made, yet remained unaccomplished (hence imperf.), may more definitely have consisted, John does not say, and therefore it was, probably, only in renewed representations which he made. That which is usually supplied, as though μᾶλλον, as in John 15:18, were expressed therewith: he sought still more, he sought most earnestly (“previously he appears to John rather to have played with the matter,” Lücke), and the like, is capriciously imported, as also the rendering: now he demanded peremptorily, etc. (Steinmeyer).

With ἐὰν τοῦτον, κ. τ. λ., the Jews cunningly enough again return to and fasten upon the political side of the accusation, ὡς οὐ παροπτέον τῷ πιλάτῳ διὰ τὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ καίσαρος φόβον, Euth. Zigabenus. How greatly must he, who in so many features of his administration had anything but clean hands (Josephus, Antt. xviii. 3. 1 ff.; Philo, de legat. ad Caj. p. 1033), have desired to see avoided an accusation before Tiberius, so suspicious and jealous of his authority! (Suetonius, Tib. 58; Tacitus, Ann. iii. 38.) Comp. Hausrath, Christl. Zeitgesch. I. p. 312 ff.

φίλος τοῦ καίσ.] Not in the titular sense of amicus Cacsaris, as high officials bore this title (see Wetstein; Grimm on 1 Maccabees 2:18), in which, however, the sense of confidant (counsellor) of Caesar exists; but faithful to the emperor, friendly to him, and readily devoted to his interests (Xen. Anab. iii. 2. 5).

He who makes himself a king, by the fact, that is, of declaring himself to be such (comp. John 10:33), thereby declares himself ( ἀντιλέγει) against the emperor. Accordingly, ἀντιλέγει is not generally: he opposes (Grotius, De Wette, Maier); but the emphasis lies upon the correlates βασιλέα and καίσαρι.


Verse 13

John 19:13. These speeches penetrate the mind of Pilate, dismayed at the thought of Rome and the emperor. He will now, formally and solemnly, deliver the final sentence, which must be done, not in the praetorium, but outside in the open air (see Josephus, Bell. ii. 9. 3, ii. 14. 8); he therefore causes Jesus to be brought out, and seats himself, taking his place on the judicial seat, at the place which is called Lithostroton, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος] Modal definition of ἐκάθ. εἰς τόπον.

Since τόπος here denotes a definite and distinguished place, the article is as little required as with πόλις, ἀγρός, and the like in such cases. Comp. Matthew 27:33; Kühner, II. p. 129.

The place where the tribunal stood, before the praetorium in Jerusalem, bore the Greek name, derived from its Mosaic floor (see Wetstein and Krebs, p. 158 f.) of λιθόστρωτον, i.e. stone-joining, but in the Aramaic dialect that of גּבְּתָא, arising from its elevated position; two different names, therefore, derived from different properties(238) of the same place. Further, this place is mentioned neither in Josephus nor in the Rabbins. The name γαββ. is not to be derived from גִּבְעָה, hill (Hengstenberg), against which would be the double β (comp. γαβαθᾶ, Josephus, Antt. v. 1. 29, vi. 4. 2), but from גַּב, ridge, hump. See generally Fritzsche, Verdienste Tholuck’s, p. 102; Tholuck, Beitr. p. 119 ff.


Verse 14

John 19:14. Day and hour of the decisive moment, after which the narrative then proceeds with καὶ λέγει, κ. τ. λ., without the necessity of placing ἦν δὲἔκτη in a parenthesis (rather, with Lachm. and Tisch., between two points).

παρασκ. τοῦ πάσχα] That the παρασκευή may not be understood of the weekly one, referable to the Sabbath (John 19:31; John 19:42; Luke 23:54; Mark 15:42; Matthew 27:62; Josephus, Antt. xvi. 6. 2, et al.), but may be referred to the Passover feast-day, of which it was the preparation-day, John expressly subjoins τοῦ πάσχα. It was certainly a Friday, consequently also a preparation-day before the Sabbath; but it is not this reference which is here to be remarked, but the reference to the paschal feast beginning on the evening of the day, the first feast-day of which fell, according to John, on the Sabbath. The expression corresponds to the Hebr. עֶרֶב הַפֶּסַח, not indeed verbally (for παρασκευή = ערובתא), but as to the thing. Those expositors who do not recognise the deviation of John from the Synoptics in respect of the day of Jesus’ death (see on John 18:28), explain it as: the Friday in the Passover week (see especially Wieseler, p. 336 f.; Wichelhaus, p. 209 f., and Hengstenberg in loc., also Riggenbach). But it is in the later ecclesiastical language that παρασκ. first denotes directly Friday (see Suicer, Thesaur.), as frequently also in the Constitt. ap., and that in virtue of the reference to be therewith supplied to the Sabbath; which, however, cannot be here supplied, since another genitival reference is expressly given. An appeal is erroneously made to the analogy of Ignat. Phil. 13. interpol., where it is said that one should not fast on the Sunday or Sabbath, πλὴν ἑνὸς σαββάτου τοῦ πάσχα; for (1) σάββατου in and of itself is a complete designation of a day; (2) σάββ. τοῦ πάσχα here denotes by no means the Sabbath in the Easter-tide, but the Sabbath of the Easter-day, i.e. the Saturday which precedes Easter-day, Easter Saturday. All the more decidedly, however, is this harmonistic and forced solution to be rejected, since, further, all the remaining statements of time in John place the death of Jesus before the first feast-day (see on John 13:1, John 18:28); and since John, if he had had the first feast-day before him as the day of death, would not have designated the latter (subtle evasions in Hengstenberg), with such a want of distinctness and definiteness, as “the Friday in Passover” (which in truth might have also been any other of the seven feast-days), especially here, where he wishes to proceed with such precision that he states even the hour. Comp. further Bleek, Beitr. p. 114 f.; Rückert, Abendm. p. 31 ff.; Hilgenfeld, Paschastr. p. 149 f., and in his Zeitschr. 1867, p. 190. Against Schneckenburger, Beitr. p. 1 ff., who, by referring παρασκ. to the feast of harvest, likewise brings out the 15th Nisan as the day of death, but makes it a Wednesday, see Wieseler, p. 338 f.

ἕκτη] According to the Jewish reckoning of hours, therefore twelve o’clock at noon,—again a deviation from the Synoptics, according to whom (see Mark 15:25, with which also Matthew 27:45, Luke 23:44 agree) Jesus is crucified as early as nine o’clock in the morning, which variation in the determination of this great point of time includes much too large a space of time to allow us to resolve it into a mere indefiniteness in the statement of the hour, and, with Godet, following Lange, to say lightly: “the apostles had no watch in hand,” especially as according to Matt. and Luke the darkening of the earth is already expressly ascribed to the sixth hour. Since, however, with Hofmann,(239) with whom Lichtenstein agrees, we cannot divide the words: ἦν δὲ παρασκευή, τοῦ πάσχα ὥρα ἦν ὡς ἕκτη, but it was preparation-day, it was about the sixth hour of the paschal feast (reckoned, namely, from midnight forwards), which forced and artificial explanation would absolutely set aside παρασκευή, in spite of τοῦ πάσχα therewith expressed, and would yield an unexampled mode of computation of hours, namely, of the feast, not of the day (against John 1:40, John 4:6; John 4:52); since, further, the reading in our present passage is, both externally and internally, certain, and the already ancient assumption of a copyist’s mistake (Eusebius, Beza, ed. 5, Bengel; according to Ammonius, Severinus, τινὲς in Theophylact, Petavius: an interchange of the numeral signs γ and ς) is purely arbitrary; since, further, as generally in John (comp. on John 1:40, John 4:6; John 4:52), the assumption is groundless,(240) that he is reckoning according to the Roman enumeration of hours (Rettig, Tholuck, Olshausen, Krabbe, Hug, Maier, Ewald, Isenberg; substantially so Wieseler, p. 414, who calls to his aid the first feast-day, Exodus 12:29, which begins precisely at midnight); since, finally, the quarter of a day beginning with this hour cannot be made out of the third hour of Mark (Calvin, Grotius, Jansen, Wetstein, and others, comp. Krafft, p. 147; see in opposition, Mark 15:33-34), and just as little (Hengstenberg, comp. Godet) can the sixth hour of John (comp. John 4:6) be taken into consideration only as the time of day in question;(241)—the variation must thus be left as it is, and the preference must be given to the disciple who stood under the cross. The Johannean statement of the hour is not, however, in itself improbable, since the various proceedings in and near the praetorium, in which also the sending to Herod, Luke 23:7 ff., is to be included (see on John 18:38), may probably have extended from πρωΐ, John 18:28, until noon (in answer to Brückner); while the execution, on the adjacent place of execution, quickly followed the judicial sentence, and without any intermediate occurrence, and the death of Jesus must have taken place unusually early, not to take into account the space which ὡσεί leaves open. Comp. Marcus Gnost. in Irenaeus, Haer. i. 14. 6 : τὴν ἕκτην ὥραν, ἐν προσηλώθη τῷ ξύλῳ. For the way, however, in which even this statement of time is deduced from the representation of the paschal lamb (the writer desired to bring out the בין הערבים, Exodus 12:6; Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 9:3), see in Weisse, Evangelienfrage, p. 131.

ἴδε βασιλ. ὑ΄ῶν!] Pilate is indeed determined, on ascending his judicial seat, to overcome his sentiment of right; but, notwithstanding, in this decisive moment, with his moral weakness between the twofold fear of the Son of God and of the Caesar, he still, before actually yielding, makes the bitter remark against the Jews: see, there is your king! imprudently, without effect, but at least satisfying in some degree the irony of the situation, into the pinch of which he sees himself brought.


Verse 15-16

John 19:15-16. The bitterness is still further embittered. To the impetuous clamour which demands crucifixion, the question of Pilate: your king shall I crucify? is only the feeble echo of ἴδε βασ. ὑμ., whereupon, with the decisive οὐκ ἔχομεν βασιλέα, κ. τ. λ., although it perfidiously denied the sense of the hierarchy, the again awakened fear of the emperor at last completely disarms the procurator, so that now then ( τότε οὖν) the tragic and ignominious final result of his judicial action comes out: χριστὸν ἑκὼν ἀέκων ἀδίκῳ παρέδωκεν ὀλέθρῳ, Nonnus.

αὐτοῖς] to the chief priests, John 19:15. To these Jesus was given over, and that, as a matter of fact, not merely by the sentence of itself (Hengstenberg), that He might be crucified under their direction by Roman soldiers (John 19:23, comp. Matthew 27:26-27). Comp. John 8:28; Acts 2:23; Acts 3:15. παρέδ. does not signify to yield to their desire (Grotius, B. Crusius, Baeumlein).

On crucifixion in general, see on Matthew 27:35.


Verse 17-18

John 19:17-18. The subject of παρέλαβον, which is correlative to παρέδωκεν, John 19:16, and of ἤγαγον, is necessarily, according to John 19:16, the ἀρχιερεῖς, not the soldiers (De Wette, B. Crusius, Hengstenberg, Baeumlein, and older expositors). The former are the persons(242) who act, which does not exclude the service and co-operation of the soldiers (John 19:23).

βαστ. ἑαυτῷ τὸν σταυρ. (see critical notes): Himself bearing the cross.(243) See on Matthew 26:32, and Charit. iv. 2; and on Golgotha, on Matthew 27:33.

ἐντεῦθ. κ. ἐντεῦθ.] Comp. LXX. Daniel 12:5; ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν, Herod. iv. 175; Soph. Aj. 725; Xen. Cyr. vi. 3. 3; 1 Maccabees 6:38; 1 Maccabees 9:45; 3 Maccabees 2:22, not Revelation 22:2. On the thing itself, comp. Luke 23:33. John gives peculiar prominence to the circumstance, adding further, μέσον δὲ τ. ἰησ. Whether, and how far, the Jews thus acted intentionally, is undetermined. That, perhaps, they scornfully assign to their “king” the place of honour! That Pilate desired thereby to deride them, in allusion to 1 Kings 22:19 (B. Crusius, Brückner, Lange), we are not to suppose, since the subject of ἐσταύρ. is the Jews, under whose direction the crucifixion of the principal person takes place, and, at the same time, the two subordinate individuals are put to death along with Him. Pilate first appears, John 19:19. Of special divine conceptions in the intermediate position assigned to the cross of Christ (see Steinmeyer, p. 176), John gives no indication.


Verse 19-20

John 19:19-20. ἔγραψε] Not a supplemental statement: he had written (De Wette, Tholuck), but: he wrote (caused to be written), whilst the crucifixion took place without; and when it had taken place, he caused the τίτλος (solemn Roman expression for a public inscription, particularly for the tablets, naming the criminal and his offence, see Lipsius, de cruce, p. 101, and Wetstein) to be placed on the cross. He himself was not present at the crucifixion, Mark 15:43-44.

βασιλ. τῶν ἰουδ.] Consistent bitterness in the designation of Jesus. John 19:20. τῶν ἰουδαίων] of the hierarchic party.

ἐγγὺς ἦν κ. τ. λ.] See on Matthew 27:33.

καὶ ἦν γεγραμμ., κ. τ. λ.] No longer dependent on ὅτι, since τῶν ἰουδαίων, John 19:20, unlike John 19:19, is not to be taken in a general sense. It rather attaches to the first circumstance, on account of which the ἀρχιερεῖς made their proposal, John 19:21, to Pilate ( τοῦτονἰουδαίων, John 19:20), a second assigning a reason therefor, namely: it (that which ran on the τίτλος) was written in three languages, so that it could be read by everybody, including foreigners. For an inscription, even in four languages, on the tomb of Gordian, see in Jul. Capitolin. 24.


Verse 21-22

John 19:21-22. The Jewish opponents of Christ have, with hierarchic tact, deciphered the resentful bitterness in the τίτλος, hence the chief priests among them suggest to Pilate, etc. The expression οἱ ἀρχιερ. τ. ἰουδ. does not stand in contrast to the βασιλεὺς τ. ἰουδ. (Hengstenberg, Godet), but the high clerus of the opposition desired not to see the ancient sacred designation of Messiah profaned.

μὴ γράφε] The writing, because still capable of being altered, is conceived as not yet concluded.

γέγραφα, γέγραφα] Formal way of designating that with what is written the matter is unalterably to rest. Analogous formulae from the Rabbins, see in Lightfoot. Comp. also 1 Maccabees 13:38; ὅσα ἑστήκαμενἕστηκε. Now, too late, he who was previously so weak in character stands firm. In this subordinate point at least he will have his own opinion, and not expose his weak side!


Verse 23-24

John 19:23-24. οὖν] again connects the history, after the intermediate narrative respecting the superscription, with John 19:18.

ἐσταύρωσαν] For they were the executioners of the crucifixion.

τὰ ἱμάτ. αὐτοῦ] His garments, with the exception, however, of the χιτών, which is afterwards specially mentioned, the shirt-like under-garment. The account of John is more exact and complete than that of the Synoptics (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34).

τέσσαρα] There were accordingly four soldiers, the ordinary τετράδιον στρατιωτῶν (Acts 12:4).

ἐκ τῶν ἄνωθεν ὑφαντὸς διʼ ὅλου] From the top (where the button-hole was, ἀπʼ αὐχένος, Nonnus) woven quite through, throughout, so that thus the garment was a single texture, woven from above entirely throughout, without seam, similar to the priestly vestment in Joseph. Antt. iii. 7. 4. See Braun, de vestitu Hebr. p. 342 ff.; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. V. p. 273 f. On the adverbial διʼ ὅλου, comp. Asclep. 16; Nicand. 1; Plut. Mor. p. 695 f.; Bernhardy, p. 235, also διʼ ὅλων, Plat. Soph. p. 253 C.

ἵνα γραφὴ, κ. τ. λ.] This casting of lots for the χιτών, after the division of the ἱμάτια, was not an accidental occurrence, but was in connection with the divine determination for the fulfilment of Scripture, which says, etc. The passage is Psalms 22:19, closely following the LXX. The suffering of the theocratic sufferer, in this psalm, is the prophetic type of the suffering of the Messiah. “They have divided my garments amongst one another ( ἑαυτ. = ἀλλήλους, comp. Luke 22:17), and cast lots over my raiment,”—this complaint of the Psalmist, who sees himself as being already subjected to the death of a criminal, and the division of his garments among his executioners therewith connected, has found its Messianic fulfilment in the corresponding treatment of Christ, in so far as lots have also been cast over His raiment (in reality, over His under-garment). In this fulfilment the χιτών was that portion of His clothing on which the ἐπὶ τὸν ἱματισμόν μου ἔβαλον κλῆρους was historically carried out; but we are not, for this reason, to say that John took τὸν ἱματισμόν as equivalent to τ. χιτῶνα (Lücke, De Wette.

οἱ μὲν οὖν στρατ. τ. ἐποί] Simple (reminding one of Herod., Xen., and others) concluding formula for this scene of the soldiers’ proceedings. On μὲν οὖν, see on Luke 3:18.

ταῦτα] That related in John 19:23-24. A secret allusion,(244) in these closing words (Hengstenberg, Godet), is arbitrarily forced upon them.


Verses 25-27

John 19:25-27. Another narrative, selected by John, and peculiar to him, as elevated and striking in its contents as it is simple and tender in form, and all the more unjustly relegated to the inventions made (Strauss, Baur, Schenkel) in the interest of John, although in the Synoptics (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40) the women mentioned stand afar off, which standing afar off is to be placed after the present scene, not before, as Lücke and Olshausen, in opposition to the synoptical account, are of opinion.

μήτηρ αὐτοῦ΄αγδαληνή] Are only three women here named (usual opinion), so that ΄αρία τοῦ κλωπᾶ is in apposition to ἀδελφὴ, κ. τ. λ.; or are there four (Wieseler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1840, p. 648 ff., Lücke, Lange, Ewald, Laurent, Neut. Stud. p. 170 f.), so that ΄αρία τοῦ κλωπᾶ is to be taken by itself, and the women are brought forward in two pairs? The Syr. already interpreted in the latter mode, and hence inserted a καί before ΄αρία (as also Aeth. and Pers.); so also have Lachm. (ed. min., not in the large edition) and Tisch. interpunctuated (without a comma after κλωπᾶ). As it is highly improbable of itself, and established by no instance, that two sisters bore the same name,—as, further, it is in keeping with the peculiarity of John not to mention his own name, if he also does not mention his mother,(245) or even his brother James, by name (see on John 1:42), and as, according to Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, Salome was also amongst the above-named women, Wieseler’s view, which is not throughout opposed by any well-founded doubts,(246) is to be deemed not “a mere learned refinement” (Hengstenberg), but correct, so that thus the unnamed ἀδελφὴ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ is Salome, the mother of John.

τοῦ κλωπᾶ] The wife of Klopas, according to Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, Luke 24:10, mother of the younger James, hence Klopas is to be taken as Alphaeus, הלפי, Matthew 10:3. According to Ewald, on the other hand, the mother of Kleopas, Luke 24:18, and according to Beza: the wife of this Kleopas.

΄αγδαλ.] See on Matthew 27:56.

That Jesus enjoins on John to care for Mary, although the latter had several sons of her own, is not sufficiently explained by the unbelief of the brothers (John 7:5), for His speedy triumph over this (Acts 1:14) could not be hidden from Him (John 2:24-25); but it presupposes the certainty in His mind that generally to no other’s hand could this dear legacy(247) be so well entrusted. That Mary had no other sons (see in opposition to this John 7:3, and on Matthew 1:25) is, indeed, still inferred by Hengstenberg. For γύναι, comp. on John 2:4.

The words to the disciple, behold thy mother, meet no stumbling-block in the fact that he had his own actual mother, nay, that she herself was also present (see on John 19:25), but leave his relation to the latter untouched, and form with the ἴδε υἱός σου a parallelism, which expresses the filial care and protection which Mary, on the one hand, was to expect from John; which John, on the other hand, was to exercise towards Mary.

καὶ ἀπʼ ἐκείνης τῆς ὥρας, κ. τ. λ.] Not to be regarded as a parenthesis; to be taken with strict literality, that John forthwith, after Jesus had accomplished His end upon the cross, entered on his charge. Whether and where he possessed a property of his own is matter of conjecture. If he received Mary into his dwelling, into his family circle, formed by Salome, and perhaps by his brother, then εἰς τὰ ἴδια (comp. John 16:32) was a correct expression. Ewald well remarks on such traits of individual significance in the Gospel of John: “it was for him at a late period of life a sweet reward to call up reminiscences of all that was most vivid, but for the readers it is also, without his will, a token that only he could have written all this.” If, indeed, the designation of the disciple beloved by Jesus as a self-designation were a vanity (Scholten), nay, an arrogant and scornful self-exaltation (Weisse), then it could not have been he who wrote all this. But the consciousness of pre-eminent love on the part of the Lord, true, clear, and still glowing with all intensity and strength, in the heart of the old man, is inconceivable without the deepest humility, and this humility, which has long since ceased to have anything in common with the feeling evinced in Mark 10:35 ff., Luke 9:54, has precisely in that most simple of all expressions, ὃν ἠγάπα, its most correspondent expression and its necessary and sacred justification, which is as little to be passed over in silence, or to be denied, as is the consciousness of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:10.


Verse 28

John 19:28. ΄ετὰ τοῦτο] Not indefinitely later, but after this scene with Mary and John.

εἰδὼς, κ. τ. λ.] as He was aware (John 13:1) that His death was already at hand, that consequently all was already accomplished, in order to bring the Scripture to fulfilment, in respect of the accomplishment of its predictions concerning His earthly work, He now still desires, at this goal of accomplishment, a refreshment, and says: I thirst. Accordingly, ἵνα τελ. γράφη is to be referred to πάντα ἤδη τετέλ., as Cyril (?), Bengel, Michaelis, Semler, Thalem., van Hengel (Annot. p. 62 ff.), Paulus, Tholuck, Hofmann,(248) Luthardt, Lange, Baeumlein, Scholten, Steinmeyer, have connected it, This is the correct construction, because πάντα ἤδη τετέλ. leaves us no room to think of a fulfilment of Scripture still remaining behind, and consequently excludes the connection of ἵνα τελ. γρ. with λέγει; because, further, τελειώθη is selected simply for the sake of its reference to τετέλ. (it is the πλήρωσις of Scripture, to which now nothing more is wanting), and because John never makes the statement of purpose, “that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” precede the moment of fulfilment, and even where a single definite fact is the fulfilling element, always actually adduces the passage of Scripture in question (John 17:12 is a retrospective indication of a passage already before adduced). Hence the ordinary interpretation must be given up (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Ruperti, and many others, including Lücke, De Wette, Brückner, Strauss, B. Crusius, Baur, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Godet), that ἵνα τελ., κ. τ. λ. refers to λέγει· διψῶ, so that it contains the scriptural ground of the thirst, to which Jesus gave expression, and of the drinking of the vinegar which was given to Him, and Psalms 69:22 is the passage intended; where, however, the drinking of vinegar is the work of scorn and of malice, which would not be at all appropriate here, since it is simply the quenching of thirst immediately before death that is in question, without other and further background.

πάντα ἤδη τετέλ.] τουτέστιν ὅτι οὑδὲν λείπει τῇ οἰκονομίᾳ, Chrysostom; ἤδη (already) points to the very early occurrence of His death (Nonnus: θοῶς).


Verse 29-30

John 19:29-30. ἔκειτο] as in John 2:6. The vessel was in readiness for the purpose of quenching the thirst of those crucified (who had always to suffer much therefrom), with sponge and stalk of hyssop, which were to serve for handing it up.

ὄξους] vinegar, i.e. small sour wine (from the skins of grapes already pressed), which served as a drink for labourers and soldiers; Wetstein on Matthew 27:34; Hermann, Privatalterth. § 26. 10. Of the bitter stupifying drink, which Jesus had disdained to receive (Matthew 27:34-35; Mark 15:23-24), John says nothing. On the drink tendered to him, Luke 23:36, see in loc.

The subject of σπόγγον, κ. τ. λ. is not named; yet there can be no doubt about who are meant, the soldiers.

ὑσσώπῷ] More exactly than in Matthew 27:48, and since the hyssop grows stalks from 1 to 1½ feet high (Bochart, Hieroz. I. 2. 50; Celsius, Hierobot I. p. 407 f.), such an one was fully sufficient to reach to the mouth of Jesus on the not lofty (Salmasius, de cruce, p. 284) cross.(249)

αὐτοῦ τῷ στόματι] to His mouth. That the stalk was precisely of hyssop, is accidental; as hyssop of scorning, in opposition to the hyssop of reconciliation, Psalms 51. (Hengstenberg), it is not to be thought of, since the tender of the drink in the present passage is certainly not an act of scorn. Moreover, it is precisely such non-essential special statements as these which have flowed from the most vivid recollection of an eye-witness.

τετέλεσται] Quite as in John 19:28, to be referred to the work of Jesus. Comp. John 17:4. It is by Him brought to completion with this act of the last death-suffering. Further, Bengel aptly remarks: “hoc verbum in corde Jesu erat, John 19:28, nunc ore profertur.”

παρέδ. τὸ πν.] He gave over (to God) His spirit, characteristic designation of dying, in conformity with that which dying was in Jesus’ case. It is the actual surrender of His self-conscious Ego on the decease of the body; the verbal surrender, Luke 23:46,(250) appears, since John has, instead of it, the simply grand concluding word τετέλεσται, to belong to the enlarging representations of tradition, but, after the bowing of the head, would be no longer suitable, and hence must be assumed as taking place after τετέλεσται.

Note further, that the εἶναι εἰς τ. κόλπον τοῦ πατρός meant in John 1:18 did not now take place, but first by means of the ascension (John 20:17).


Verse 31

John 19:31. οὖν] Therefore, since Jesus was already dead. Their object was already attained; so now the Sabbath also should still have its rights. “Magnifici honoratores Dei, cum in conscientia mala reposuissent sanguinem justi,” Ruperti.

ἵνα μὴ μείνῃ, κ. τ. λ.] Contrary to the Roman custom, of leaving the corpse to putrefy on the cross (comp. on Matthew 27:58), on the part of the Jews, the injunction has to be applied respecting the removal of the hanged person, Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (comp. Joseph. Bell. iv. 5. 2), especially in the present case where with sunset the Sabbath began, and this a great Sabbath, and therewith a wish was expressed to see the crucified ones removed and interred in the interval before the beginning of the holy day.

παρασκευή] Because it was the day of preparation, namely, τοῦ σαββάτου, for the Sabbath. This reference of παρασκ. necessarily follows from ἐν τῷ σαββάτῳ. But the parenthesis ἦν γὰρ μεγάλη, κ. τ. λ. indicates why they wished not to have the Sabbath, especially on that occasion, desecrated by the bodies remaining on the cross; because great, i.e. pre-eminently holy (comp. John 7:37; Isaiah 1:13), was the day of that Sabbath, because, that is, it was (not merely generally a Sabbath in the Passover feast time, but) at the same time the first day of Passover, the 15th Nisan. It was thus a Sabbath with twofold authority, since the first feast-day also had the character of a Sabbath (Leviticus 23:7-15). With a Quartodeciman usage of speech (Hilgenfeld) the designation of the Sabbath in the present passage has nothing to do. See Steitz in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1861, p. 113 ff. As the second feast-day, however, which is the day that results from the attempts at harmonizing (see on John 18:28), it could only be termed μεγάλη, for the reason that on this day, i.e. the 16th Nisan, the feast of Sheaves took place, Leviticus 23:10 ff. (see especially Wieseler, p. 385 f., 344). But how could John have presupposed, in his readers, without any indication, a reference to this? These could explain to themselves the μεγαλότης of that Sabbath only from John 19:14, from the fact, namely, that the παρασκευὴ τοῦ σαββάτου of which John speaks was at the same time, according to John 19:14, παρασκευὴ τοῦ πάσχα.

ἵνα κατεαγῶσιν κ. τ. λ.] For two were, indeed, still living, and also with respect to Jesus they had at least no certainty that He was actually dead. On the apparent contradiction with Mark 15:44, see on John 19:38. The crushing of the legs with clubs (crucifragium, σκελοκοπία) was to accelerate death (as John also manifestly views it, comp. John 19:33), and that in a barbarous manner, in order to take nothing from the severity of the punishment. See Lactantius, Instit. div. iv. 26; Lipsius, de cruce, ii. 14. It also appears as a punishment by itself, Suetonius, Aug. 67; Seneca, de ira, iii. 32; and see generally Wetstein, also Lipsius, ad Plaut. Asin. ii. 4. 68. The addition of a finishing blow, by which (therefore not by the crucifragium in itself) death was brought about, cannot be shown, least of all, from John 19:34, against Michaelis, Sender, Kuinoel, Hug. On the aorist form with syllabic augment from κατάγνυμι, see Winer, p. 68 [E. T. p. 85].


Verse 32-33

John 19:32-33. To assume, on account of Mark 15:39 (Comp. Matthew 27:54), that these soldiers were others (sent out by Pilate) than those who had crucified Jesus (Storr, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Maier, Lange), is indicated by nothing in the text, where rather οἱ στρατιῶται are those already known. The ἦλθον is only pictorial, and the centurion does not come into consideration with John.

Since they came to Jesus last, we must suppose that two each began on the two sides of the three crosses.


Verse 34

John 19:34. The soldiers, when they saw, etc. The death of Jesus, in keeping with their attitude of indifference in the matter, had therefore been unobserved by them (in answer to Hengstenberg); they now omitted the leg-breaking in His case, as aimless in the case of one already dead. But one pierced Him with a lance in the side. Wherefore? Not in order to ascertain whether He was actually dead; for, according to the context, the thrust took the place of breaking the legs. Hence it must be assumed, according to the analogy of the latter, that the object of the thrust was to make quite sure of the death of Jesus, i.e. in case He should not yet be altogether dead, to put Him completely to death.

αὐτοῦ τ. πλευράν] His side. Which? is not clear; but the left, if he who dealt the thrust stood before the cross, was most naturally at hand.

ἔνυξε] Neither the word itself (since νύσσειν ordinarily denotes violent thrusting or stabbing; especially frequent in Homer, see Duncan, ed. Rost, p. 796), nor the person of the rude soldier, nor the weapon (lance, belonging to the heavy armour, Ephesians 6:11), nor the purpose of the thrust, nor the palpable nature of the opening of the wound, to be assumed, according to John 20:27, nor ἐξεκέντησαν, John 19:37, admit the interpretation, which is implied in the interest of an apparent death, of a superficial scratch (Paulus).

αἷμα κ. ὕδωρ] is, considering the difference and significance of the two substances, certainly not to be taken as a hendiadys (“a reddish lymph,” Paulus(251)). Whether the blood and water issued forth contemporaneously or after one another, does not appear from the words. In the natural(252) mode of regarding this twofold issue, it is thought either (1) that Jesus was not yet dead, but simply died in consequence of the thrust, which pierced the pericardium with its watery lymph, and at the same time the chamber of the heart, from which the blood welled (so the two physicians Gruner in the Commentat. de Jesu Chr. morte vera non simulata, etc., Halle 1805), to which, however, the mode of contemplation of the entire apostolical church is opposed, which was certain, and had the personal testimonies of Christ Himself to the fact that in His crucifixion itself the putting to death was accomplished. Or (2) it is assumed that the blood had been decomposed in the corpse (Hase, Krabbe, and several others), so that serum, bloody water, and placenta, clots of blood, separately issued forth; which separate outflow, however, of the constituent parts of blood cannot, in the case of a fresh body that had been healthy, be anatomically established. Or (3) the heart is considered, just as the Gruners suppose, as having been pierced through, though the death of Jesus is assumed to have already previously taken place (Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Wetstein, and several others), as also Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 584 (the death of Jesus was a sudden breaking of the heart), holds to be most probable. Not substantially different is the view of the English physician William Stroud, A Treatise on the physical cause of the death of Christ, London 1847, comp. Tholuck, who, besides the cavity of the heart, brings into consideration also the two bags of the diaphragm, with the fact of their fluidity in corpses. This mode of regarding the matter renders unnecessary the entirely arbitrary theory of Ebrard, p. 563 ff., of extravasations and sugillations which the thrust occasioned,(253) and would be quite satisfactory if John had desired to give an account generally of a natural, physiological effect of the lance-thrust. But irrespective of the fact that he adduces nothing which would allow us to think in ὕδωρ not of actual water, but of lymph ( ἰχώρ), he desires to set forth the phenomenon manifestly as something entirely unexpected (note also the εὐθύς), extraordinary, marvellous. Only thus is his solemn asseveration in John 19:35, and the power of conviction for the Messiahship of Jesus, which he finds in the truth of the ἐξῆλθεν, κ. τ. λ., to be comprehended. To him it was not a subsidiary circumstance (Ebrard, comp. Lücke on John 19:35, and Baeumlein), which convinced the soldier who gave the thrust of the death of the Crucified One, but a miraculous σημεῖον, which further set forth that the corpse was that of the divine Messiah ( τρανῶς διδάσκον, ὅτι ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον νυγείς, Euth. Zigabenus), of whose specific calling and work, blood and water are the speaking symbols, in so far, that is, as He has by blood brought the redemptive work to completion, and by means of water (i.e. by means of the birth from above, which takes place through baptism, John 3:5) has appropriated it; a significance which Tholuck also esteems probable in the sense of the Gospel. Comp. also Steinmeyer, who, however, ascribes to the water only the subordinate purpose, to place the blood under the point of view of the definite (purifying) operation. Luther: “our redemption is concealed in the miraculous work.” Comp. 1 John 5:6, where, however, τὸ ὕδωρ, agreeably to the standard of the historical point of view ( ἐλθών), stands first. See also Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 255. We must abide by this exegetical conclusion(254) (comp. Hengstenberg on John 19:37), and must renounce the demonstration of natural connection not less than in other miraculous appearances of the evangelical history.(255) The figurative interpretation or explaining away of the fact itself (Baur, p. 217 ff.: by reference to John 7:38-39 : it is the representation, contemplated by the writer in a spiritual manner, of the idea that with the death of Jesus there immediately begins the fulness of spiritual life, which was to proceed from Him on behalf of the world) is only possible on the assumption that neither John nor He gave an historical account, as further Baur (see p. 272 ff.), whom Scholten follows, refers the entire narrative of the omission to break the legs, and of the side-thrust, simply to the dogmatic interest of representing Jesus as the true Paschal lamb, and thereby the turning-point at which the O. T. economy of religion ceased to exist, and the new began, the essence of which is contemplated in the blood and water that flowed out. See in opposition to Baur: Grimm in the Stud. u. Krit. 1847, p. 181 ff., and 1849, p. 285 ff.


Verse 35

John 19:35. After μαρτυρία a comma only should be placed, and nothing should be put within a parenthesis, neither καὶ ἀληθινὴλέγει (van Hengel), nor κ. ἀληθινὴοἶδεν (Schulz), since the discourse progresses simply and without interruption by καί.

ἑωρακ.] placed first with great emphasis; the correlate κἀκεῖνος has subsequently the like emphasis. He who has seen it, not heard only from others, but himself has been an eye-witness, has testified it (herewith, John 19:34), namely, this outflow of blood and water. This was indeed the apparently so incredible thing, not also the omission of the leg-breaking. When in the third person, in which John here speaks of himself while passing over His name, commentators have found the diversity of the writer and the witness betrayed (Weisse, Schweizer, Köstlin, Hilgenfeld, Tobler, Weizsäcker), this was simply a misapprehension, running counter to κἀκεῖνος οἶδεν, κ. τ. λ., of the circumstantially solemn style which fully corresponds to the quite extraordinary importance which John attributes to the phenomenon. The ἐκεῖνος, that is to say, is the speaking subject himself presented objectively, identical therefore with the ἑωρακώς, which clearly appears from the context by the pres. λέγει, and the final clause ἵνα κ. ὑμ. πιστ., especially also by the correlation of καὶ ὑμεῖς with the subject. Comp. on John 9:37. Hence we are by no means to assume that the secretary of the apostle speaks of him by ἐκεῖνος as of a third person (Ewald, Jahrb. 10, p. 88), but the apostle himself presents himself objectively as the ille, like a third person; he may at the same time have employed another as amanuensis (which does not follow even from chap. 21) or not; comp. John 21:24.

ἀληθνή] placed with emphasis at the head of the clause ( αὐτοῦ has then the next emphasis); not, however, equivalent to ἀληθής, as is usually assumed, contrary to the constant usage of John (and the moment of ἀλήθεια first follows afterwards), but: a true testimony is his witness, which corresponds in reality to the idea of a μαρτυρία—namely, for the very reason that he himself has seen what he testifies. Comp. on John 8:16.

ἵνα] Neither to be taken as dependent on ἑωρ. μεμαρτ. (Lücke), nor as independently: “and therefore should,” etc. (De Wette), but, as the position of the words requires, stating the purpose of λέγει: he knows that he says true, says that you also (his readers) may believe, as he himself has believed through means of that miraculous appearance, namely, on Jesus the Son of God. As frequently in John (comp. on John 2:11), πιστεύειν is also here not first the entrance into faith, but a higher and stronger degree of faith, which one experiences, the πιστεύειν in a new and exalted potency. Comp. John 21:2. Others, as Baeumlein, still have incorrectly referred πιστ. merely to what was last mentioned as object, whereby in truth the comparison with John himself, which lies in καὶ ὑμεῖς, would not be at all appropriate, because John has seen (not merely believed) what took place. The solemn absolute πιστεύειν, with its destination of purpose, makes the assumption of special designs in view, which have been ascribed to John in his testimony of the outflow of blood and water, appear unwarranted, namely, that he desired to prove the actual death of Jesus (Beza, Grotius, and many others), especially in opposition to docetic error, Hammond, Paulus, Olshausen, Ammonius, Maier, and several others. Doubts of a naturalistic and docetic kind might rather have derived support than have been precluded by the enigmatic outflow, which excited the derision of Celsus, in Or. 2:36. The Valentinians maintained: ἐξεκέντησαν δὲ τὸ φαινόμενον, ἦν σὰρξ τοῦ ψυχικοῦ, Exc. ex Theod. 62.


Verse 36-37

John 19:36-37. Not without scriptural ground do I say: ἵνα κ. ὑμεῖς πιστεύσητε; for that is accomplished, which I have just testified, John 19:33-34, concerning the lance-thrust, which took the place of the omitted leg-breaking, in the connection of the divine determination for the fulfilment of the scriptural saying ( γραφή as in John 13:18): a bone of Him shall not be broken (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12).(256) To John as to Paul (1 Corinthians 5:7) Christ is the antitype of the paschal lamb intended in the historical sense of that passage, in which Baur and Hilgenfeld of course find the formative factor of the history. Psalms 34:21 (Grotius, Brückner), because the passage speaks of the protection of life, cannot here be thought of.

The second passage of Scripture, to which, moreover, the reader himself is left to supply the same telic connection, which was previously expressed by ἵνα γρ. πληρ., contains the O. T. prediction of the lance-thrust which has been narrated, so far as it concerned precisely the Messiah: they will look on Him whom they have pierced,—an expression of the future, repentant, believing recognition of and longing for Him who previously was so hostilely murdered. The subject of both verbs is the Jews (not the Gentiles), whose work the entire crucifixion generally (comp. Acts 2:23; Acts 2:36), and consequently mediately, the ἐκκέντησις also is. The passage is Zechariah 12:10, where the language is used of a martyr, who at a later time is repentantly mourned for. The citation is freely made from the original (so also Revelation 1:7), not from the LXX., who take דָֽקְרוּ improperly: κατωρχήσαντο, have insulted (Aquinas, Theodotus, and Symmachus have also ἐξεκέντησαν, and rightly). John also follows the reading אליו, אֲשִׁר; he is followed by Luthardt: “They will longingly look up to me, after Him (i.e. expect, entreat of me Him) whom they,” etc.">(257) which Ewald also prefers.

εἰς ὅν] Attraction = εἰς ἑκεῖνον ὅν, comp. John 6:29. To make εἰς ὅν dependent on ἐξεκέντ. (Luther, after the Vulgate: “they will see into whom they have pierced;” Baur: “that they have, namely, pierced into Him from whose side blood and water flowed”) corresponds neither to the original, nor to the Greek construction, according to which not ʼκκεντεῖν εἴς τινα, but ἐκκ. τινα is said (Revelation 1:7; Judges 9:54; 1 Chronicles 10:4; Isaiah 14:19; 2 Maccabees 12:6; Polyb. v. 56. 12, xv. 33. 4, xxv. 8. 6). It always denotes pierce, stab. So also here Jesus was not indeed first killed by the lance-thrust, but this thrust formed, as its conclusion, a part of the whole act of putting to death, and formed, therefore, the Messianic fulfilment of the prophetic word. On ὁράω εἰς, look upon, in the sense of regard, desire, hope, etc., comp. Xen. Cyr. iv. 1. 20; Soph. El. 913; Stanley, ad. Aesch. Sept. 109. Just so ἀποβλέπειν εἰς or πρός: Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iv. 2. 2. The LXX. have ἐπιβλέψονται πρός. The time of the fulfilment of this prophetic ὄψονται, κ. τ. λ., is, as also in the original, that of the beginning of repentance and conversion; comp. John 8:28, John 12:32; not the day of judgment (Euth. Zigabenus, Grotius, and several others, comp. already Barnab. 7), to which ὄψονται, with the mere accus., as in Revelation 1:7, not with εἰς, would be appropriate.

A word of Scripture, speaking specially of the outflow of blood and water, does not, indeed, stand at the command of John; but if the facts themselves, with which this outflow was connected, namely, the negative one of the non-breaking of the legs (John 19:36), and the positive one of the lance-thrust (John 19:37), are predicted, so also in the miraculous ση΄εῖον, by which the thrust was accompanied, is justly, and on the ground of Scripture ( γάρ, John 19:36), a special awakening of faith (John 19:35) to be found.

Schweizer, without reason, considers John 19:35-37 as spurious.


Verse 38-39

John 19:38-39. ΄ετὰ ταῦτα] John 19:32-34. The request of Joseph of Arimathaea (see on Matthew 27:57), that he might take away ( ᾄρῃ) the corpse, does not conflict with John 19:31. For let it be noted that the expression in John 19:31 is passive, not stating the subject who takes away. The Jews, who make the request, presume that it would be the soldiers. Pilate had granted the request in John 19:31, and had charged the soldiers with its execution, consequently with the breaking of the legs, and removal. The breaking of the legs they have in fact executed on the two who were crucified with Him, and omit it in the case of Jesus; and as Joseph requests from the procurator that he may take away the body of Jesus, and obtains permission, the order for removal given to the soldiers was now recalled in reference to Jesus, and they had to remove only the other two. It is, however, very conceivable that Joseph had still time, after John 19:32; John 19:34, for his request, since the soldiers after the crucifragium must certainly first await the complete decease of the shattered bodies, because it was permitted to remove only bodies actually dead from the cross. Thus there is neither here, and in John 19:31, a contradiction with Mark 15:44 (Strauss); nor does μετὰ ταῦτα form, as De Wette finds, “a great and hitherto unnoticed difficulty;” nor are we, with Lücke, to understand ᾄρῃ and ἦρε of the fetching away of the bodies (which the soldiers had removed), with which a groundless departure is made from the definition of the sense given in John 19:31, and a variation is made in an unauthorized way from Luke 23:56; Mark 15:46.

τὸ πρῶτον] The first time, John 3:2. Comp. John 10:40. It does not exactly presuppose a subsequent still more frequent coming (in John 7:50 also there is only a retrospective reference to what is related in chap. 3), but may also be said simply with reference to the present public coming to the dead person, so that only the death of Jesus had overcome the previous fear of men on the part of Nicodemus. Myrrh-resin and aloe-wood, these fragrant materials (Psalms 45:9) were placed in a pulverized condition between the bandages (John 19:40); but the surprising quantity (comp. John 12:3) is here explained from the fact that superabundant reverence in its sorrowful excitement does not easily satisfy itself; we may also assume that a portion of the spices was to be designed for the couch of the body in the grave, 2 Chronicles 16:14.


Verses 40-42

John 19:40-42. ʼεν ὀθονίοις] In bandages, so that He was enveloped therein, Plato, Legg. ix. p. 882 B Pol. viii. p. 567 C Judith 16:8.

καθὼς ἔθος, κ. τ. λ.] The custom of the Egyptians (Herod. ii. 86 ff.), e.g., was different; amongst them the practice was to take out the brain and the intestines, or at least to deposit the body in nitre for seventy days.

ἐν τῷ τόπῳ] in the district, in the place. On ἐτέθη, used of the interment of bodies, comp. Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 469 B.

The garden with the new grave, which as yet had been used for no other burial (and thereby worthy of the Messiah, comp. Luke 23:53; Luke 19:30; Mark 11:2), must have belonged to a proprietor, who permitted, or himself put it to this use. According to Matthew 27:60, it belonged to Joseph himself; but see in loc.

διὰ τὴν παρασκ.] On account of the haste, then, which the nearness of the commencing Sabbath enjoined. Retrospect of John 19:31.

On the relation of the Johannean account of the ἐνταφιασμός of Jesus to Matthew 27:59, and parallel(258) passages, see on Matt.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 19:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-19.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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