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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
John 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

John 4:1. ἔγνω, knew) even though none told Him the fact.—(70) ἤκουσαν, heard) Comp. ch. John 3:25-26.— οἱ φαρισαῖοι, the Pharisees) who were likely to be displeased at it: ch. John 1:24, “They which were sent to John, were of the Pharisees:” for the Pharisees’ wish was, that disciples should join themselves: Matthew 23:15, “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte.”— πλείονας, more) See again, ch. John 3:26, “All men come to Him.”


Verse 2

John 4:2. ἰησοῦς, Jesus) So the [Vulg.] Lat. ἰησοῦς αὐτός is the reading of the Greeks [B: also of the old Lat. ab: αὐτὸς ἰης. is that of AD: and K inserts ]; αὐτὸς ἰησοῦς, Chrysost.— οὐκ ἐβάπτιζεν, did not baptize) To baptize, a ministerial action: Acts 10:48, “He, Peter, commanded them to be baptized” [sc. by subordinate ministers]; 1 Corinthians 1:17, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” John, being a minister [subordinate to Him], baptized with his own hand; his [Johns] disciples, as it seems, baptized none. But Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit.(71)


Verse 3

Ver. 3. ἀφῆκε, He left) for the purpose of fortifying the disciples, as yet weak, against the stumbling-block [to their faith] about to arise from the opposition of the Pharisees.—V. g.


Verse 4

John 4:4. διέρχεσθαι) In the very passing through He did great things.— διὰ τῆς σαμαρείας, through Samaria) An admirable arrangement [economy], especially at that early period. What Jesus afterwards forbade the disciples, Matthew 10:5, “Into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not,” He Himself avoided in this place. The Samaritans went out to Him, John 4:30; nor, except when besought, did He give them two days, John 4:40. Nay, even He so guided His conference with the Samaritan woman, that it was only at her earnest request He imparted His grace to her; John 4:15, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not.” [He adopted a similar method towards the Gentiles: Matthew 15:21, etc. (The woman of Canaan); Mark 7:24, etc. [The same woman, termed a Greek (or marg., a Gentile), a Syro-Phenician].—Harm., p. 171.]


Verse 5

John 4:5. συχάρ) Formerly called Sichem; subsequently, by the change of a single letter, Sichar, שכר (according to Hiller’s Onomasticon) reward [wages], namely, that of Jacob’s expedition: Genesis 48:22, “I have given to thee (Joseph) one portion, which I (Jacob) took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword.” On this account Jacob was able to bequeath to Joseph this region, in respect to the land divinely promised [to his seed. See Joshua 17:14]. To this derivation, John 4:36 seems to allude, μισθόν, [He that reapeth, receiveth] wages. For neither is such an allusion to a derivation despised elsewhere: ch. John 9:7, “Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent.”— ἔδωκεν, gave) Jacob had dwelt there, John 4:12 : and had given it as an estate to Joseph, owing to his special love for him.


Verse 6

John 4:6. ἐκ τῆς ὁδοιπορίας, owing to the journey) He had made a long journey on foot.— οὕτως) So, as the convenience of the place, such as it was, admitted of, without pomp, alone, as one who was not ostensibly showing an expectation of the Samaritan woman, but was wishing, on account of mere weariness, to take rest. The popular character of Jesus’ life is worthy of all admiration, as also His fellowship [with humanity in all points]: the very feature in Him which the early Christians imitated. See Macar. Apophth., pp. 247, 248, concerning the simplicity [openness] of Macarius in his daily intercourse with others. It was also fitting that at that time, not more openly, but as it were by chance, Christ should present Himself to foreigners [i.e. those not Jews]; Matthew 10:5, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not;” John 15:23, etc. [the woman of Canaan]. οὕτως, so, to be explained by the word to which it is attached, as ch. John 8:59, “Going through the midst of them, and so passed by” [in the Rec. Text. But Vulg. (72)(73)(74)(75)(76) Orig. omit all these words. (77)(78)(79)(80) have them]; Acts 27:17, “They strake sail, and so were driven;” οὒωτς ἐφέροντο: 2 Peter 3:4, “All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation;” οὒτως δια΄ένει: Sirach 32:1, καὶ οὒτω κάθισον· sit so at the banquet, as to be engaged about nothing else. So in this passage, He sat so, as He sat. Chrysostom explains it, ἁ̔ πλῶς καὶ ὡς ἔτυχε, simply as it comes to pass.— ἐπί) upon (the well was enclosed with a wall or bank); or at least, near: as Mark 13:29, ἐπί θύραις, [nigh, even] at the doors.— ὡσεὶ ἓκτη, about the sixth) Mid-day [This was] the cause why Jesus was wearied; and why the woman was seeking water, the disciples bread.


Verse 7

John 4:7.(81) ἐκ τῆς, of) Construe with γυνή, a woman.— δός μοι πιεῖν, give Me to drink) At precisely the seventh subsequent alternation [vicissitudine] in the conference, until the disciples come, reckoning from this address, which would seem to be indifferent, Jesus wonderfully brings on the matter to that crowning point, I am the Messiah, John 4:26; a point, to learn which the apostles required so long a time [ch. John 16:31, “Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?”] In fact the tree takes longer to grow than the ear of corn. So also He led on the nobleman to faith by but two utterances; John 4:48; John 4:50, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe:” and, “Go thy way, thy son liveth.”


Verse 8

John 4:8. γάρ, for) Had the disciples been present to have drawn for Him, Jesus would not have asked the woman.—(82) ἵνα) That they might buy food. When afterwards sent to teach, for the sake of teaching, they did not enter the Samaritan towns.


Verse 9

John 4:9. πῶς, how is it) Her manifest simplicity shines forth from the very first words of the Samaritan woman.— ἰουδαῖος, a Jew) From His dress or His dialect she inferred that He was a Jew.— οὐ γάρ, for not) A parenthesis of the Evangelist, expressing the cause why it seemed strange to the Samaritan woman. The Rabbinical maxim accords with this: To eat the bread of a Samaritan man, and to drink his wine, is unlawful.— συγχρῶνται, use together [have friendly dealings with]) What is denied is, not all intercourse between the Jews and Samaritans (comp. the previous verse; “His disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat”), but intimacy.


Verse 10

John 4:10. εἰ ἤδεις, if thou hadst known) Ignorance is a hindrance; but the disclosure of her ignorance shows the compassion of the Lord, and kindled a longing desire in the woman’s heart.— τὴν δωρεάν, the gift) The gift is the living water.— τίς ἐστιν, who it is) He speaks in the third person, modestly. It is the prerogative of Him, who saith this, to give the living water. Subsequently He discloses, who it is; John 4:26.— σὺ ἂν ἤτησαςκαὶ ἔδωκεν ἄν) thou wouldest ask—and He would give: or rather, thou wouldest have asked, and He would have given, i.e., not only would you not wonder at my asking, but even you of your own accord would have asked of Me. The pronoun σὺ, thou, employed in this place in particular, rather than with the verb ᾐδεις, hadst known, forms an emphatic opposition to that αἰτεῖς, dost thou ask? [John 4:9]. John is wont to put the imperfect tense with the particle ἄν, where the sentence requires that very time: ἐπιστεύετε ἄν, ἠγαπᾶτε ἄν, οὐκ ἂν εἴχετε, ἐφίλει ἄν, ἠγωνίζοντο ἄν, ch. John 5:46, John 8:42, John 9:41, John 15:19, John 18:36. But the Aorist has the same force as the Pluperfect, οὐκ ἂν ἐτεθνήκει, οὐκ ἂν ἀπέθανε, ch. John 11:21; John 11:32; though in Eph. 1 Chronicles 2:19, he employs the Pluperfect itself, μεμενήκεισαν ἄν. The passages therefore may possibly seem doubtful in meaning ch. John 14:2; John 14:28, and here, ch. John 4:10 : εἶπον ἄν: εἶπον ἄν, I would say, or I would have said; ἐχάρητε ἄν, ye would rejoice, or ye would have rejoiced; ᾔτησας ἄν, ἔδωκεν ἄν, thou wouldest seek, and He would give; or, thou wouldest have sought, and He would have given. But, however, since he might have written, and yet he does not write ἔλεγον, ἐχαίρετε, ᾔτεις, ἐδίδου; we understand the Aorist as a Pluperfect, as also at ch, John 18:30, [ εἰ μὴ ἦν οὗτος κακοποιὸς, οὐκ ἄν σοι παρεδώκαμεν αὐτόν], we would not have delivered Him up: Galatians 4:15; ἐδώκατε ἄν, ye would have given. The Lord then saith, Thou wouldest have asked from Me, before that I said to thee, Give Me to drink. And, He had said, Give Me to drink, that, conversely, the woman might learn to ask from Himself the living water.— ἔδωκεν ἄν) This ἄν depends on the former particle ἄν being previously brought into action.— ὓδωρ, water) In a similar way Jesus takes an allegory from bread, ch. John 6:27, etc. [Having fed 5000 with a few loaves, and being therefore followed by the crowd, He proceeds, “Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat, which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you,”] etc.: and from light, ch. John 8:12 “I am the light of the world:” [an image suggested perhaps by the sun then rising: comp. John 4:2], “early in the morning”: which things are in nature the first, the most elementary, necessary, common to all and salutary.— ζῶν) which is living, and thence life-imparting; John 4:14; “The water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life:” ch. John 7:38; “He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of water.” The expression living water, is here used in a more exalted sense, than at Leviticus 14:5, מים חיים, ὓδωρ ζῶν, [the priest commanding the bird to be killed “over running water”].


Verse 11

John 4:11. κύριε, Lord) Previously she had not called Him Lord: now she so calls Him, inasmuch as speaking piously about God, though as yet unknown to her, John 4:15, “Lord, give me this water: [Engl. Ver. of κύριε is ‘Sir’] 19 “Lord, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” So ch. John 5:7 [The impotent man], a man, who knew not Jesus, calls Him Lord. They had a feeling in some way or other of His dignity.


Verse 12

John 4:12. ΄είζων, greater) as being one, who demandest, or can make good greater things. Comp. ch. John 8:53 “Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? Whom makest Thou Thyself?”— πατρὸς ἡμῶν ιἀκώβ, than our Father Jacob) So the Samaritans had persuaded themselves: but falsely, Matthew 10:5, “Into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”— ἰακώβ, Jacob) who was most thoroughly skilled in the things of pastoral life and the procuring of water, and was most successful in the concerns of his household [in managing his property].— ἡμῖν, to us) in the person of Joseph; John 4:5, “the parcel of ground, that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.” She speaks thus on that false hypothesis [prevailing among the Samaritans] as to Jacob being their father.— ἔπιε, he drank) The patriarchs used water rather than wine. The woman means this: The patriarch himself was content with this water, nor did he ask for better water.— καὶ τὰ θρέμματα, and his cattle) oxen and sheep. Of course the men-servants and maid-servants, who generally feed the cattle, also drank of it. The well therefore was abundantly supplied and of ancient date.


Verse 14

John 4:14. οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, to all eternity shall not thirst) Is then he, who once has drunk the water, which Christ gives, free from all thirst? Truly that water, as far as it depends on itself, has in it an everlasting virtue; and when thirst returns, the defect is on the part of the man, not of the water. But the drinking of elementary water is able to allay thirst subsequently, only for some hours.— ἀλλά, but) Comp. ch. John 6:27, “that meat, which endureth unto everlasting life.”— γενήσεται) from being water shall become a fountain, as a tree from a sucker. The fountain has no thirst.— πηγή, fountain) The antithesis to πηγή is φρέαρ [an antithesis lost by the Eng. Vers. translating both well] the well, John 4:11. In believers there is a spring: the Roman Pontiff is not that spring, from whom in particular is to be derived faith, holiness, blessedness, and the ratification [validity] of every function in the Church.— ὓδατος ἁλλομένου, of springing water) The abounding fruitfulness of believers. ἅλλεσθαι, to spring up, said of water, a delightful expression.— εἰς, to) All things [come] from God, [and tend] to God— ζωήν, life) Life eternal (concerning which comp. John 4:36, “He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal,” the confluence of such fountains; nay, the ocean. May I attain unto it!


Verse 15

John 4:15. δός μοι, give me) The woman asks for the water, as the Jews asked bread, ch. John 6:34, “Lord evermore give us this bread,” for the support of the body. By this time the matter is come to that point, that the woman says, give; to whom before the same word had been addressed [by Jesus] “Give Me to drink,” John 4:7.— ἔνθαδε, hither) with toil. She wishes to have at home that fountain.


Verse 16

John 4:16. λέγει, He saith) Now He makes an avenue for giving to the woman, who begs for water, a better kind of it, than that which she had begged for.— ἄνδρα, husband) The woman seems to have supposed, that the reason why she is desired to call her husband is, in order that he may help her in taking up and carrying home the water, John 4:15, promised [by Jesus], John 4:14. But Jesus by this address throws open the inmost conscience of the woman, and causes repentance, and elicits confession, John 4:29.(83) Nor does He say that “Go, call thy husband,” altogether abruptly; but those words, and that I come not hither, John 4:15, and the words here, John 4:16, Come hither, correspond to one another. In that place, which the woman thinks to avoid hereafter, there is given to her the living water.


Verse 17

John 4:17. καλῶς) well, i.e. truly. There is the utmost gravity in the Lord’s speech combined with the utmost courtesy. This plain assertion altogether convicted the Samaritan woman.


Verse 18

John 4:18. πεντε, five) Five marriage connexions embraced almost the whole life of the woman; and by the mention of them He clearly recalled to the recollection of the woman her whole life.— ἄνδρας) He means husbands, as is evident from the subsequent antithesis. Whether they all died, or whether the woman lost some of them by other ways also, her own conscience, stirred up by the Lord, was suggesting.— οὐκ ἐστι, is not) This sixth marriage was not a lawful one, or else not consummated; either desertion, or some other impediment, arising from one or other of the two parties, had occurred to prevent it. The woman is not at all said to have renounced the man, at John 4:28.


Verse 19

John 4:19. θεωρῶ, I perceive) from Thy knowledge about the most secret things.


Verse 20

John 4:20. οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν, our fathers) The woman forthwith brings forward on this occasion a difficulty, which she seems to have felt somewhile before on a religious point, and is eagerly desirous to be instructed by the prophet. The Lord meets such minds [with light and encouragement]. A desultory question is not always to be censured. By our fathers, the woman means not merely nearer ancestors, but even the patriarchs. For even against the Jews themselves the Samaritans relied on antiquity. Again in their turn the Jews were wont to appeal to the Fathers, ch. John 6:31, “our Fathers did eat manna in the desert.”— τούτῳ, in this) The woman [in saying this] was pointing to Mount Gerizim.— προσεκύνησαν, adored [worshipped]) The whole of religion can be reduced to adoration.


Verse 21

John 4:21. πίστευσόν μοι, believe Me) Christ often said to the Jews and His disciples, I say unto you, John 4:35. In this passage alone, to the Samaritan woman, He says, Believe Me, They were more bound to believe than she. The formulæ employed follow this proportion [i.e. are proportioned to their degree of religious privileges respectively].— ὥρα) It is called the hour, not because that whole time is short, but because its beginning is nigh: ch. John 5:25, “The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God,” John 16:2, “The hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”— οὔτε, οὔτε, neither, nor) He does not say, both there, and here; but, neither there, nor here. The Samaritans were not compelled to go to Jerusalem, Acts 8:14, “When the apostles at Jerusalem had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:” and what need was there subsequently of the Cruciati?(84) What need is there of pilgrimages? Here all distinction of places is clearly abolished—a distinction which the ancients had strictly observed: Numbers 23:27, “Balak said unto Balaam, Come I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence;” 1 Timothy 2:8, “I will therefore that men pray everywhere lifting up holy hands,” etc. If distinction there still be, these words intimate that our worship ought to be anywhere else rather than at Jerusalem.— προσχυιήσετε, ye shall worship) ye Samaritans and Jews. He fittingly speaks in the second person, not in the first; and there is a προθεραπεία [anticipatory caution], and, as it were, correction of His subsequent speech, which is framed in the first person, in order to suit the apprehension of the woman.— τῷ πατρί, the Father) He admits the woman most familiarly into the stronghold of the faith. Comp. Matthew 6:9, “After this manner pray ye, Our Father which art in heaven.” The antithesis to this is John 4:20-21, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain: Art thou greater than our father Jacob?”


Verse 22

John 4:22. οὐκ οἴδατε) Ye know not what. He shows under how great ignorance they labour; wherefore He also adds, τῷ πατρί, the Father, which the woman had not added. Although , what, inasmuch as it is not repeated in the subsequent member of the sentence, does not seem to denote the object of worship, but the form; in this sense, Ye know not what worship ye practise; we know, what is our worship.— ἡμεῖς, we) He speaks as an ordinary Jew; inasmuch as not being yet known to the Samaritan woman.— σωτηρία, Salvation) Truly so! The very derivation of the name Jesus, whom the woman calls a Jew, John 4:9. Comp. John 4:42, [The Samaritans] “We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”— ἔστιν, is) For such was the promise: that the Saviour and the knowledge of Him would originate from the Jews, and that from the Jews that knowledge would be extended to others. [Jesus speaks of the Jews in more glorifying terms when addressing foreigners than when addressing Jews.—V. g.]


Verse 23

John 4:23. ἀλλʼ, but) Jesus does not account it enough to have preferred the Jewish worship, knowledge, and religion, to Samaritanism, but further He shows this, that a worship superior not merely to that which was practised on that mountain, but even to that which was practised at Jerusalem, is at hand.— καὶ νῦν ἐστίν, and now is) This [which was not added at John 4:21] “The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain,” etc. is now added, lest the woman should think that in the meantime she must seek a settlement in Judea. It was presently afterwards fulfilled, John 4:39; John 4:41, “Many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, etc.: many more believed because of His own word.”— οἱ ἀληθινοὶ προσκυνηταί, the true worshippers) For instance, the Samaritans, John 4:41.— ἐν πνεύματι, καὶ ἀληθείᾳ, in spirit and in truth) There is contained herein a testimony as to the Holy Trinity. The Father is worshipped in the Holy Spirit, and in the Truth accomplished through Jesus Christ. They who worship the Father, as sons, in Spirit and Truth, these are placed above mere considerations of localities, and of all circumstances of that kind.— ζητεῖ, seeks) for they are rare to be met with. The same word occurs, Ezekiel 22:30, “I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge,” etc., ἐζήτουν ἐξ αὐτῶν ἄνδρα.


Verse 24

John 4:24. πνεῦμα, a Spirit) When God is called a Spirit, we must not merely think of a Being separate from body and place, but also one having spiritual qualities, truth, wisdom, holiness, power, etc. To this nature of God ought to correspond our worship: and to the living God living gifts ought to be offered: Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, etc., purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Romans 12:1, “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” He holds a profound and striking conversation with an ordinary woman, whom He had scarcely seen. He did not commit to His disciples more lofty truths.


Verse 25

John 4:25. λέγει, [the woman] saith) with joy at the truth which she had come to know, and with earnestness and hope of coming to the full knowledge, concerning Messiah Himself.— λεγόμενος χριστός, who is called Christ) The evangelist adds this, as an interpretation. Chrysost. on the passage, Whence was it, that the Samaritans were expecting the Christ, seeing that they admitted the authority of Moses alone? It was from Moses himself.


Verse 26

John 4:26. λέγει, saith) He hastened to say the whole before the coming of His disciples. John did not hear the conversation. But afterwards, at the dictation of the Spirit, he wrote it out, ch. John 14:26, “The Comforter, the Holy Ghost, shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”— ἐγώ, I) Nowhere did He speak of Himself more directly, even to the disciples themselves.


Verse 27

John 4:27. ἐπὶ τούτῳ, upon this) Most opportunely there was time sufficient for the colloquy.— ἐθαύμασαν, wondered) Wonder whets [sharpens, tends to promote] progress.— μετὰ γυναικός) with the woman in that place.— τὶ ζητεῖς, what seekest thou?) They could not easily suppose that Jesus had conferred a spiritual benefit on a Samaritan woman.


Verse 28

John 4:28. ἀφῆκεν, left) either about to fill her water-vessel afterwards, or forgetful of lesser things, through joy; also being thus about to run the less encumbered. The woman treats the water as Jesus treated bread, as a secondary consideration, John 4:32, [To His disciples, urging Him to eat] “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” [Without delay, and by a spontaneous effort, faith, and the joy and certainty of it, are brought to hear in leading others also to the chief good, when once discovered.—V. g.]


Verse 29

John 4:29. πάντα, all things) These, no doubt, the woman explained to her fellow-citizens with a candid confession, although most of them were even known to them previously.— μή τι, is not) She herself has no doubt; but she invites the citizens to make acquaintance with Him, until [they also at last] say, [this is] indeed [ ἀληθῶς, the Christ], John 4:42.


Verse 30

John 4:30. ἐξῆλθον, they went out) They readily assented to the woman, or [some perhaps] even left their dinner. Others might have thought it beneath them, so readily to go forth from their home and their city gate. [And they would have had many objections which, not without show of reason, they might have started; Was it to be thought likely, that precisely at that point of time, and in that very place, the Messiah, so long expected, has appeared to such a woman?—V. g.]


Verse 31

John 4:31. ἐν τῷ μεταξύ, meanwhile) Between the departure of the woman and the arrival of the Samaritans.


Verse 32

John 4:32. δέ, but He) He therefore dispensed with dinner, His spiritual ardour taking away hunger.— οὐκ οἴδατε, ye know not of) This tended to increase their wonder and eagerness to learn. A most sweet enigma!


Verse 34

John 4:34. βρώμα, the meat) with which my appetite is satisfied.— τελειώσω, that I may finish) Not yet had Jesus reached the middle of His time of action, and yet now He is thinking of the end [the finishing work]: so earnestly did He act throughout. The same verb occurs, ch. John 5:36, “The works which My Father hath given Me to finish.” Concerning the thing meant, comp. ch. John 6:38-39, at the end: “I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me; and this is the Father’s will,” etc., “that of all which He hath given Me, I should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day.”— τὸ ἔργον, work) a work, one, great, and which embraces Israelites, Samaritans, and all nations.


Verse 35

John 4:35. τετράμηνος, four months) Very few copies have τετράμηνον.(85) τετράμηνος is used in the common gender, as δίμηνος, ἓκμηνος, ἑξάμηνος; see Scapula on μήν. Also Glassius in this passage so reads. ΄ετὰ τὴν τετραήμερον, Arist. 3 polit. ii., p. 214.— ἔτι τετράμηνός ἐστι, καὶ θερισμὸς ἔρχεται, as yet there are four months, and the harvest cometh) καὶ, and, is equivalent to until: as ch. John 7:33, “Yet a little while I am with you, and I go unto Him that sent Me;” John 14:19, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more;” Genesis 40:13, ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι, καὶ μνησθήσεται φαραώ, etc.; Jonah 3:4 “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” These are the four months, Nisan in its latter part, the whole of Ijar, the whole of Sivan, and Thammuz in its earlier part. [Coresponding to our April, May, June, and July.—V. g.] The wheat harvest, which is called actually the harvest, differs from the barley harvest. The beginning of the one was about the time of Passover: that of the other was considerably subsequent; Exodus 9:25; Exodus 9:31-32, “The barley was smitten, for the barley was in the ear; but the wheat and the rye were not smitten; for they were not grown up;” to wit, in Palestine, about the time of Pentecost, Exodus 34:22, “Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat-harvest.” Moreover, the harvest was later in Galilee than in Judea. And so the feast ordained by Jeroboam was later [than that in Judea], 1 Kings 12:32, “Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah;” comp. Leviticus 23:34, “The fifteenth day of the seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles.” And they were generally Galileans, to whom the words were addressed, Do ye not say! Finally, in that year in which these words were spoken, the first day of Thammuz was the 13th of June, which was very speedily [early], for on the following year, the 6th day of June had Pentecost itself in fine [i.e. Pentecost was not till the 6th of June], the time when wheat harvest commences.(86) In fact, therefore, the wheat harvest of the Galileans, in the fourth month after this discourse, began quickly enough [to meet the requirements of the case] in the month Thammuz. Read in addition, Harmon. Evang. § 27.(87))— λέγω ὑμῖν, I say to you) This formula indicates in this passage, that His speech is figurative. The antithesis to the words here is, ὑμεῖς λέγετε, ye say, who look more to external things. So John 4:32, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.”— τὰς χώρας, the regions [fields]) The Samaritans are described as ripe for believing, John 4:39, “Many of the Samaritans believed on Him, for the saying of the woman,” etc., who were at the time being seen on the plain [sc. coming towards Him]; John 4:30, “Then they went out of the city, and came unto Him.” The natural, though in progress, is at a greater distance than the Gospel harvest.


Verse 36

John 4:36. καί) and now accordingly. The time of the New Testament is the harvest.— θερίζων, he who reapeth) The harvest itself follows at a very brief interval the whitening of the fields.— μισθόν, reward [wages]) namely, the fruit itself: great compensation for one’s trouble, great gain: Matthew 18:15, “If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”— λαμβάνει, receiveth) already, at the present time.— καροπόν, fruit) many souls.— σπείρων, the sower) The sowing in Israel drew after it a harvest in Judea, in Samaria, and over the whole earth.— ὁμοῦ, together) in the same life eternal: not the one without the other: Hebrews 11:40, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”


Verse 37

John 4:37. λόγος, the saying) The Subject is, The true saying: the Predicate, ἐστὶν, There is extant [or is apparent], A proverb which also was current among the Greeks.— ἄλλος, one) Most wisely a succession has been instituted in the Divine economy: sowing time in each case is [comes] first, in relation to the harvest that is to follow. Often the sower and reaper are one and the same person. But by reason of the period that intervenes, the same person becomes in some measure distinct from himself. Certainly each one is a sower in relation to his successors, and a reaper in relation to his predecessors; but the distinction chiefly referred to here is that between ministers of the Old and of the New Testament.— ἄλλος, another) Do not ask, why Messiah did not come sooner. The reply is ready at hand. The sowing time goes before by a long interval: the harvest quickly gathers [the fruit]. The Divine economy has its delays exactly answering the end contemplated. Comp. Romans 5:6,—“When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly,”—notes.


Verse 38

John 4:38. ἐγώ, I) The Lord of the whole harvest.— ἀπέστειλα, I sent) I have begun to send (John 4:2) you to the Jews, intending hereafter to send you through the whole earth.— ἄλλοι, others) the prophets.— ὑμεῖς) He does not say, we, but you. Christ is the Lord.— κόπον, their labour) the results obtained by their labours: Nehemiah 5:13, “I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour (the fruit of it), that performeth not this promise.”


Verse 39

John 4:39. ἐπίστευσαν, believed) Wonderful openness to conviction! They had not yet seen Jesus; comp. John 4:40, “So when the Samaritans were come to Him.” Her testimony must have been given by the woman with great efficacy and power [among those souls, which were athirst, and had never before experienced such things.—V. g.]


Verse 40

John 4:40. ΄εῖναι, to abide [to tarry]) always, or at least a long time.— ἔμεινεν, He abode) We do not read that the Samaritans were then baptized. Nor was then the time as yet for the Church being regularly and permanently established outside of Judea. It is probable that many of them were subsequently baptized; Acts 8:16, [under Philip’s preaching] “They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus”.— δύο ἡμέρας, two days) He once therefore passed the night there. They were supplied with one draught of the living water unto everlasting life; John 4:14, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.” The same was the case with the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8.


Verse 41

John 4:41. αὐτοῦ) Of Himself.


Verse 42

John 4:42. οὐκ ἔτι, now no longer) The true progress of faith is here evinced.— αὐτοί, ourselves) Augustine admirably remarks on this passage: At first it was by the report of others, afterwards by His own presence [the men were led to believe]. This is the way in which those who are abroad, and are not yet Christians, are dealt with in the present day. Christ is announced as having come, through Christian friends; that woman as it were, that is, the Church, announcing the tidings. Men come to Christ, and believe, through that report. He remains with them two days, i.e. He gives them the two precepts of charity:(88) and far more persons, and more firmly too, believe in Him, that He is indeed Himself the Saviour of the world. Hence it is evident in what sense that hackneyed quotation ought to be understood: I indeed would not believe the Gospel, did not the authority of the Catholic Church admonish (others read, move) me to do so: Contra Ep. fundamenti, Chap. v.(89) Inasmuch as in this passage Augustine is not teaching, but is opposing the Manicheans.(90)τοῦ κόσμου, of the world) not merely of the Jews. Faith frees from party zeal: they believe in Jesus, since He is the Saviour of the world, having laid aside their boasting of their fathers,(91), John 4:12, “Art Thou greater than owe father Jacob,” etc.


Verse 43

John 4:43. ἐξῆλθεν, He departed) The departure of Jesus was useful to the Samaritans, considering what were their customs, inasmuch as in many respects they were alien to those of the Jews.


Verse 44

John 4:44. πατρίδι, His own country) John presupposes it as a fact known, from ch. John 1:46, [Nathanael] “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 19:19, [the inscription over the cross, which would be well known] “Jesus of Nazareth,” etc., and from the other evangelists, that Nazareth was the country of Jesus; and hence he infers, from the testimony of Jesus, the reason why He went into Galilee at large, and not to His own country, Nazareth.


Verse 46

John 4:46. (93) ὅπου, where) By that very miracle the flame of faith was kindled in the nobleman; [else courtier. One either of royal descent, or having obtained some rank, from which he was called βασιλικός, or as being attendant of a king.—Euthym. and Chrys. Probably the sense of the word in Josephus is the one here. He uses the term to distinguish the courtiers, and other officers of the kings, from those of Rome, B. J. vii, 5, 2; Ant. xv. 8, 4. So this man would be an officer in the court of Herod Antipas.]— οὗ υἱός, whose son) His only son, as the article seems to imply.


Verse 47

John 4:47. ἐκ τῆς ἰουδαίας, out of Judea) The nobleman also, without doubt, had seen or heard the things that Jesus had done at Jerusalem: John 4:45, “The Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did at Jerusalem at the feast.”— καταβῇ, that He would come down) Cana was situated in a higher position.


Verse 48

John 4:48. ἐὰν μή, unless) Jesus implies, that He can give life to the nobleman’s son, even though the patient be absent: and He requires the nobleman to believe it, and not to require that Jesus should set out with him, as being himself about to see at the bedside of the sufferer the cure wrought on him.— ἴδητε, ye see) ch. John 20:29, [Jesus to Thomas] “Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”— οὐ μὴ πιστεύσητε, ye will not believe) i.e. A disease has fallen upon thy son, that an opportunity might be afforded Me for rendering miraculous aid, which, as ye have not seen, ye do not believe: comp. ch. John 11:4, [Jesus as to Lazarus] “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby,” wherein the address, ch. John 11:40, is given, somewhat in inverse order, as compared with that to the nobleman, [Jesus to Martha] “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” There was something of the Judaic feeling, which was eagerly intent on miracles, in the nobleman, who seems to have been a Jew. This is marked by the use of the second person plural. But at the same time a miracle is promised, and faith is also first required on the nobleman’s part; and whilst it is being required, it is awakened by Jesus: comp. ch. John 10:37, “If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not.” The reply, compounded of a kind of outward appearance of repulse, and a tacit promise of aid, is in consonance with the feeling of the suppliant, compounded as it was of faith and weakness.


Verse 49

John 4:49. κατάβηθι, come down) The weakness of the suppliant is twofold, as though the Lord had need to he present, and could not equally revive the dead. And yet even before that the parent went down, his son was restored to life.


Verse 50

John 4:50. ζῇ, liveth) In antithesis to, before that he die, John 4:49.


Verse 51

John 4:51. ἤδη, now) He was therefore hastening, in order that he might see those things which he believed: yet the trial of his faith lasted till the following day. He believes even his servants before that he sees.— οἱ δοῦλοι, servants) who themselves also subsequently believed.— ἀπήνησαν, met) Because the patient had so quickly become convalescent, they were desirous of knowing what had happened, and of gladdening their master by the tidings of his son’s recovery. Their joy was mutual. Without doubt the servants said, At this very seventh hour our master spake with Jesus [and so inferred, the cure was due to His miraculous power].— ζῇ, liveth) They announce the fact in the same words which Jesus had spoken [John 4:50].


Verse 52

John 4:52. τὴν ὤραν, hour) The more carefully the Divine works and benefits are considered, the more nourishment faith acquires.— πυρετός, the fever) This disease, under ordinary circumstances, is slow in its retiring.— κομψότερον, better) [lit. more adorned] A delightful word to use of one becoming convalescent, especially a boy. He was supposing that it was only the risk of death that had been overcome; but there follows an account of the fever having been entirely removed [lit. quenched].


Verse 54

John 4:54. (95) (96) δεύτερον, the second) He had wrought miracles at Jerusalem, ch. John 2:23. This, therefore, is the second, which was wrought in Galilee, when He had come thither out of Judea. [This it seems is the method of John, that he moves in a ternary way [selecting incidents by threes]. He relates three miracles accomplished in Galilee: first, at the marriage, ch. 2; the second, on the nobleman’s son, in this passage; the third, in feeding five thousand men, ch. 6. Three also in Judea: the first at the feast of Pentecost, on the impotent man at Bethesda, ch. 5; the second, after the feast of tabernacles, on the blind man, ch. 9; the third, on the dead man Lazarus, before the Passover, ch. 11. So also after the Ascension, he has described in all three appearances, in which the Saviour exhibited Himself to the disciples: ch. John 21:14, “This is now the third time, that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead.”—Harm., p. 174, etc.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 4:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-4.html. 1897.

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