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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
John 6

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

John 6:1. ΄ετὰ ταῦτα, after these things) John intimates, that here the history of many months is to be sought from the other Evangelists. [The feeding of 5000 men is the only miracle between the baptism and passion of Christ, which John describes in common with the other Evangelists; by this very fact confirming their narrative. However he presents to our view some things, not noticed by the rest, ch. John 6:22-70; and indeed, especially, the intimation of the intervening Passover (John 6:4), which if neglected, the leap from the preceding Pentecost to the following Feast of Tabernacles would have been too great (namely, it would have flown over an interval of a year and a half), nor would the possibility have been given of any harmony of the Evangelists being constructed. This is the one and only feast of the Passover, between the Lord’s baptism and His passion, in which He did not go up to Jerusalem, John 7:1-2, etc.—Harm., p. 331.]— τῆς) The Sea of Galilee, expresses the whole sea: the Sea of Tiberias, a part.


Verse 3

John 6:3. ἀνῆλθε, went up) Not after the arrival of the people, but in the meantime, whilst the people were approaching.— ἐκάθητο, He was sitting) He did not desire the people to come to Him; but He graciously received them [when they came].


Verse 4

John 6:4. ἐγγύς, nigh) There was a great concourse of men at that time of the year: ch. John 11:55, “Many went out of the country up to Jerusalem, before the Passover, to purify themselves.”


Verse 5

John 6:5. (114) ἔρχεται, cometh) Whilst the people were coming, Jesus already provided the food for them: comp. John 6:6, “He Himself knew what He would do:” moreover He fed the people, immediately before sending them away: Matthew 14:15, “The disciples came to Him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away.”— φιλιππόν, Philip) It is the part of a good teacher at times to appeal to some one, who needs it, out of the whole band of His disciples. Perhaps also Philip was the one among the disciples who had the care of the supply of provisions.


Verse 7

John 6:7. βραχύ τι, a little) Septuag. βραχὺ μέλι, 1 Samuel 14:43.


Verse 8

John 6:8. ἀδελφός, brother) Peter, therefore, at that time and place in which John wrote, had been better known than Andrew, either because he was older, or because he survived Andrew.


Verse 9

John 6:9. παιδάριον, a lad) Therefore the load was not a heavy one, consisting of five loaves, especially as there were fishes in addition.— ἕν, one [So (115)(116) Vulg. But (117)(118)(119)(120)(121) omit ἓν]) There was no other source of supply.— κριθίνους) Barley loaves seem to have been smaller than wheaten loaves. Judges 7:13, [The Midianite’s dream] “A cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian,” etc. There is no doubt but that the taste of barley bread was perceived by all who then were eating.— τί ἐστιν, what are they) A form of depreciating.— τίνες ἐστέ; who are ye? [The evil spirit addressing the sons of Sceva] Acts 19:15.


Verse 10

John 6:10. ποιήσατε ἀναπεσεῖν, make to sit down) The faith of the disciples and of the people is put to trial.— χόρτος, grass) A convenience for sitting down.— οἱ ἄνδρες, the men) The number of them was counted, without the women and children.— διέδωκε, distributed) by the hand of the disciples.— ὅσον, as much as) This refers to the loaves and to the fishes.— ἤθελον, they were wishing) Comp. Psalms 145:16, “Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”


Verse 12

John 6:12. ἵνα μή τι ἀπόληται, that nothing be lost) The Lord easily makes; but yet He does not will it, that the things He made should go to loss without cause.


Verse 13

John 6:13. κλασμάτων) fragments.


Verse 14

John 6:14. σημεῖον προφήτης, miracle—the Prophet) Ch. John 3:2, [Nicodemus to Jesus] “No man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him;” John 9:17, [The restored blind man to the Jews] “He is a prophet.”


Verse 15

John 6:15.(122) ἁρπάζειν, to carry off) by force.— βασιλέα, a king) To make Him a king, was the prerogative of the Father, not of the people; nor was it as yet the tune. [And this very circumstance is perhaps the cause, that nowhere do we read that Jesus, whilst He teas sojourning on the earth, entered Bethlehem, the native town of David, even though that town was very close to Jerusalem.—Harm., p. 333.] Jesus, in order to avoid the people, already at that time often changed from place to place.— πάλιν, again) Comp. John 6:3, “Jesus went up into a mountain.”— αὐτὸς μόνος, Himself alone) having desired the disciples to cross over. αὐτός is elegantly redundant, παρέλκει. Ch. John 12:24, κόκκος τοῦ σίτου,— αὐτὸς ΄όνος ΄ένει.


Verse 19

John 6:19. , or) The Holy Spirit knew, and could have told John, how many furlongs precisely there were; but in Scripture He imitates popular modes of expression.


Verse 21

John 6:21. (124) ἤθελον λαβεῖν, they were willing to receive [they willingly received]) A concise mode of expression: there is to be understood, and received.— εὐθέως, immediately) A new miracle.


Verse 22

John 6:22. ἰδών, having seen) This is repeated with some slight change of the words, after John 6:23 (which does not depend on ὅτι, but forms a parenthesis), at John 6:24, and is connected with the word ἐνέβησαν, they embarked in.


Verse 23

John 6:23. ἐγγὺς τοῦ τόπου) nigh unto the place.


Verse 24

John 6:24. αὐτοί, themselves) In antithesis to Jesus, whose route the people observed directly; that of the disciples indirectly.(125)πλοῖα, ships) These same just before the apostle termed, πλοιάρια, small vessels [boats, John 6:23]. Both appellations are true.— καπερναούμ, Capernaum) John 6:17 [whither the disciples had sailed].


Verse 25

John 6:25. πότε, when) [They ask in astonishment, How could He accomplish] in so short a time, so long a way? The question as to time includes the question as to the manner.


Verse 26

John 6:26. λέγω, I say) The people themselves did not know their own true character so well as Jesus now exhibits it to them. Up to this time Jesus had collected mere hearers; now, in the midst of the time of His ministry, He begins to make a selection, by means of His figurative discourse concerning His passion, and the benefit to be derived from it through faith.— οὐκ ὅτι εἴδετε σημεῖα, not because ye saw the miracles) They had not as yet been led by the miracles to faith: John 6:29, etc.: otherwise faith, and not the desire of food, would have prompted them to seek Jesus.— σημεῖα, miracles) in the case of the sick, as also in the case of the loaves: John 6:2; John 6:14, “A great multitude followed Him, because they saw His miracles on them that were diseased;—Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did—(in feeding the 5000)—they said, This is of a truth that prophet.”— ἐφάγετε, ye did eat) The people, anxious about food, were wishing that they might daily receive it in the same way; and they were now no longer, as before, John 6:2, attracted to Him by the mere sight of His miracles, but rather by the desire of being fed. Comp. Matthew 14:20, note [the fragments were on that occasion gathered up for future use as food, not, as the manna, merely for a memorial: the people were not to carry any away as a curiosity]. The barley harvest was immediately after the Passover; and immediately before the harvest, the price of provisions is usually dearer. Therefore, at that season of the year, His benefit conferred on the five thousand had been especially appropriate.


Verse 27

John 6:27. ἐργάζεσθε, [tractate] trade in) So τὴν θάλασσαν ἐργάζεσθαι, Revelation 18:17. Devote your exertions [labour for, Engl. Vers.], saith He, to the everlasting food: just as you are now seeking Me with great earnestness for the sake of bread. Jesus gives no reply to the When? of the Jews [John 6:25, When earnest Thou hither?]: and so often in His discourses He has regard rather to those things which the series of circumstances and the state of souls require, than to the unseasonable interruptions of the speakers.— μή, not) Very similar things are opposed to one another: ch. John 4:10, [Jesus to the woman of Samaria] “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.”— τὴν ἀπολλυμένην, that perisheth) John 6:12, “Gather up the fragments—that nothing be lost; ἀπόληται:” 1 Corinthians 6:13, “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and them.” The food of the body perisheth; therefore it confers not immortality.— ἥν) βρῶσιν. Ye ought not, saith He, ask from Me nutriment for the body, but for the soul. First it is set before us as food [meat], John 6:27; next as bread, John 6:32, “The true bread from heaven;” then in express terms, the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, John 6:51; John 6:53, “The bread that [will give, is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world:—Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.”— δώσει, will give) John 6:51.— γάρ, for) This Ætiology [enunciating not merely the proposition, but also, at the same time, the reason and cause of it] appertains to the μένουσαν, which endureth.— πατὴρ θεός, God the Father) Therefore Jesus Christ is the Son of God.— ἐσφράλισεν, hath sealed) Hath pointed out and distinguished Him by this very miracle, John 6:14 [as the anointed Prophet: “Those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world”]; as also by His whole testimony, which in its turn needed to be sealed by the faith of the hearers: John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent;” ch. John 3:33, “He that hath received His testimony hath set to His seal that God is true.” By a seal, that which is genuine is stamped with commendation, and all that is not genuine is excluded.


Verse 28

John 6:28. τὶ ποιῶμεν) What are we to do; what work do you desire us to work? John 6:27, “Labour—for the meat which endureth to everlasting life.”— τὰ ἔργα τοῦ θεοῦ, the works of God) The works approved by God, and which unite us to God.


Verse 29

John 6:29. τὸ ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ, the work of God) That work which is approved by God: comp. ch. John 4:34, [Jesus said] “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” Jesus opposes the singular number to the plural of the Jews, who had said, the works of God, John 6:28. He retains, however, their term. In another sense, τὸ ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ, the work of God, is used Romans 14:20.(126)πιστεύσητε, that ye believe) The thing is expressed plainly, and afterwards is described successively in metaphorical and in plain language.


Verse 30

John 6:30. σύ, Thou) So they speak in antithesis to Moses, who gave them the manna, and had this sign [to show in proof of his mission]; and they demand from Jesus something greater and more immediately from heaven; which they do not think can be given by Him, nor do they recognise Jesus as one greater than Moses.— σημεῖον, sign) The seal, which is mentioned at verse 27, “Him hath God the Father sealed,” they do not recognise.— ἴδωμεν, we may see) that Thou hast been sent by God. And yet they had seen, John 6:14, “They had seen the miracle that Jesus did” [the feeding of the 5000]; 26, 36, “Ye also have seen Me, and believe not.”— σοί, Thee) Jesus had said, John 6:29, “That ye believe on Him whom God hath sent,” [i.e.] on Me. It is often all the same to say, I believe in Thee, and I believe Thee: but here the Jews lower the sentiment of the Lord.(127)τὶ ἐργάζῃ, what dost Thou work) They reply to the Lord, retorting His own word, to work [ ἐργάζεσθε, John 6:27]. Thou desirest us, say they, to work [labour, John 6:27]: what then dost Thou work Thyself?


Verse 31

John 6:31. ἔφαγον, did eat) They appear to speak more moderately than if they were to say: Moses gave us [a sign], therefore our fathers believed him: do Thou also give, and we will believe Thee: comp. ver. foll.— ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς φαγεῖν) Septuag., Exodus 16:4, ἄρτους ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ; Psalms 78:24, ἄρτον οὐρανοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς; Exod. same ch. John 6:15, ἔδωκε φαγεῖν. If that λεπτόν [Septuag. Exodus 16:14; “a small round thing,” Engl. Vers.], small thing, was true bread, (Numbers 11:7, “The manna was as coriander seed,”) why should not also circular loaves [as the five, with which Jesus fed the 5000] be true bread?— ἐκ τοῦ σὐρανοῦ, from heaven) Heaven, as opposed to the earth, is taken in the widest sense in the psalm; whence manna is also called the bread of angels, or of heavenly beings: but Jesus opposes to the heaven from which the ancient manna came, the highest heaven. It is with reference to this that the Lord Himself seven times saith, that He has come from heaven: John 6:32-33; John 6:38; John 6:50-51; John 6:58; John 6:62.


Verse 32

John 6:32. ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, verily, verily, I say unto you) This assertion has, especially in this passage, great force, when the Jews had objected to Him, that it was written, John 6:31.— οὐ ΄ωσῆς δέδωκεν ὑμῖν τὸν ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, Moses gave you not the bread from heaven) Understand here also τὸν ἀληθινόν, the true. It was not Moses who gave you or your fathers the manna; and the manna was not that true bread from heaven, which is incapable of corruption. Exodus 16:20, “Some left of the manna until the morning, and it bred worms and stank.”— δίδωσιν, giveth) In antithesis to δέδωκεν, gave. Now the bread was present: comp. John 6:33, “The bread of God is He, which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”— τὸν ἀληθινόν, true) which, whosoever tastes, he will no longer seek any-other sign: for the taste in the bread is of itself a sufficient criterion; and the truth of it shall hereafter be made manifest: John 6:39, “This is the Father’s will, that of all which He hath given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” The truth and the life are often here mentioned.


Verse 33

John 6:33. καταβαίνων, which cometh down) Repeat, ἄρτος, the bread: comp. John 6:41, “I am the bread which came down from heaven,” 58.— τῷ κόσμῳ, unto the world) not merely to one people, or to one age, as the manna fed one people of one age: John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”


Verse 34

John 6:34. κύριε, Lord) They speak with some degree of reverence, as at John 6:25 [Rabbi]; and even faith itself might have arisen in them from John 6:35, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst:” but presently they start back again from faith: John 6:36; John 6:42, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He saith, I came down from heaven?” Those declarations are especially to be observed, by the hearing of which the Jews were inclined to believe: ch. John 7:40, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink; he that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “Many of the people, therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet:” John 8:30, “He that sent Me is with Me; the Father hath not left Me alone, for I do always those things that please Him. As He spake these words, many believed on Him.”— πάντοτε, evermore) To this is to be referred the following verse, at its close, “never hunger—never thirst.”— τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον, this bread) They still suppose that His speech is concerning the nutriment of the body; and it is this that they seek: John 6:26, “Ye seek Me—because ye did eat of the loaves.”


Verse 35

John 6:35. ἐγώ εἰμι, I am) To those who seek Him, He offers Himself immediately.— τῆς ζωῆς, of life) Both living, John 6:51, and life-giving, John 6:54, “Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life.”— ἐρχόμενος πρός με, he who cometh to Me) So John 6:37; John 6:44-45; John 6:65. The parallel expression to it follows presently, πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ, he who believes on Me [ch. John 7:37-38, quoted above].— οὐ μὴ πεινάσῃ, shall not hunger) Understand πώποτε, ever, from the end of the verse.— οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ, shall not thirst) He touches on that, which subsequently He handles more fully, as to drink, John 6:53, etc.: “My blood is drink indeed” [John 6:55].


Verse 36

John 6:36. εἶπον ὑμῖν, I said unto you) He said so, John 6:26, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves.” As I said that you were, saith He, such ye still are: Ye [also] both have seen Me, (and have not believed: ye see,) and (yet) believe not. Hereby is refuted what they had said at John 6:30 : Do [some sign] that we may see it, and we will believe.


Verse 37

John 6:37. πᾶν) all. A most weighty word, and, in comparing with it those things which follow, most worthy of consideration; for, in the discourses of Jesus Christ, what the Father hath given to the Son Himself, that is termed, both in the singular number and neuter gender, all [omne]: those who come to the Son Himself, are described in the masculine gender, or even the plural number, every one [omnis], or they [illi]. The Father hath given, as it were, the whole mass, in order that all whom He hath given, may be a unity [unum]: that whole the Son evolves individually [one by one], in the carrying out of the Divine plan. Hence that expression, ch. John 17:2, that ALL which [ πᾶν , omne quod] THOU HAST GIVEN Him, HE SHOULD GIVE THEM [ αὐτοῖς, eis] eternal life. In the Greek style of the New Testament, especially of John, wheresoever fastidious minds would say the construction was a solecism, an elegance truly divine, which to the Hebrews never seemed harsh, is usually found to lie beneath. That remark especially holds good of this passage. It is owing to it that this 37th verse has two members, which are presently handled, the same words being repeated; and indeed the former of the two, at John 6:38-39, where the all [ πᾶν δέδωκε, omne, etc.] is mentioned in conjunction with the Father; the second member, at John 6:40, “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life;” where the every one [ πᾶς, omnis] is mentioned in conjunction with the Son. The former, by means of the ὅτι, for [John 6:38], and the latter, by means of the γάρ, for [John 6:40 : δέ is the common reading; but γάρ, (128)(129)(130)(131)(132)(133)(134) Vulg.], are connected with John 6:37.— δίδωσι μοί, giveth Me) by means of that drawing, John 6:44, “No man can come unto Me, except the Father, which hath sent Me, draw him.” The present tense. Afterwards the past, John 6:39, “This is the Father’s will,—that of all which He hath given Me, I should lose nothing,” with reference to their preservation. The Father giveth to the Son: the Son chooseth, i.e. gives as it were to Himself; John 6:70, “Have I not chosen you twelve?” Believers are given; it is given to believers; John 6:32; John 6:65, “My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.—No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.”— πρὸς ἐμέ) The emphasis rests on this; in other places it is usually written πρός με.— ἥξει) shall come. It is only that all [which the Father giveth Me] which shall come unto Me. Jesus speaks those things, which [such—as] if the Jews would receive, they would be believers in reality: and, after their unbelief has been brought home to them, He now offers them faith: and what He had before spoken under a figure, He now declares plainly.— οὐ μὴ ἐκβάλω ἔξω, I will not cast out) This signifies not merely the first reception, but the lasting preservation, through all changes and progressive steps in their course, even up to the resurrection—that goal, which takes for granted all things anterior to it; John 6:39-40, “This is the Father’s will, that—I should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day;—that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise Him up, etc.;” John 6:44; John 6:54. There is a Litotes [the meaning is stronger than the literal words]: I will not cast him out, but by all means will preserve him; ch. John 10:28, etc., “They shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand:” a passage which closely corresponds to the passage here. Comp. ἔξω, out, ch. John 15:6, “Cast forth as a branch, and is withered;” ἐβλήθη ἔξω.


Verse 38

John 6:38. καταβέβηκα, I came down) This speech in many things flows from His personal union with the Father. For His descent from heaven refers to the nature which He had, prior to His birth from Mary according to the flesh.


Verse 39

John 6:39. δὲ, moreover) The will of the Father, mentioned in John 6:38, is more fully declared in this ver.— τοῦ πέμψαντός με πατρός—40, τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ πέμψαντός με, of Him who hath sent Me, even the Father—of the Father, who hath sent Me) Such is the oldest reading. [(135)(136) Vulg. and Rec. Text read τοῦ πέμψαντός με πατρός, at John 6:39; but (137)(138)(139)(140)(141)(142) Hilar. 238, omit πατρός. At John 6:40, (143)(144)(145)(146)(147) read τοῦ πατρός μου: (148) and Rec. Text read τοῦ πέμψαντός με. Vulg. as Beng. reads both: patris mei, qui misit me.] At John 6:39, mention is made of His being sent; and at John 6:40, the name of the Father is appropriately placed first: for in John 6:39, on comparing it and John 6:38 together, the sending properly corresponds to the will of the Father; but at John 6:40, the name of the Father, and the name of the Son, properly refer to one another. [The correlatives are, at John 6:39, the sending (of the Father), and the care of Christ (to lose nothing of all given to Him); and at John 6:40, the will of the Father, and salvation in the Son.—Not. Crit.] The chief varieties of readings noticed in the introduction do not affect the main argument of this note.—(149) πᾶν, all) See note on John 6:37.— δέδωκέ μοι, hath given Me) They are given to the Son, to whomsoever faith is given. Comp. the following ver., “Every one which seeth the Son and believeth on Him.”— μὴ ἀπολέσω, I should not lose) To this losing [loss of the soul] is opposed everlasting life, John 6:40 : ch. John 3:15, etc., “That, whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.”— ἐξ αὐτοῦ) of it, of all that, which the Father hath given to Me.— ἀναστήσω, raise it up again) to life, John 6:33, “He that—giveth life unto the world.” So John 6:40; John 6:44; John 6:54. This [the resurrection] is the ultimate limit, beyond which there is no danger. The Saviour engages to guarantee all things anterior to it. He gives a sign in this ver. and John 6:62, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?” but a sign that was to be hereafter, whereas the Jews were importuning Him for a present sign; John 6:30. The resurrection, which presupposes death, is often here mentioned, because the Lord Himself was still about to die and rise again: comp. note, ch. John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life,” etc. But afterwards the apostles set before believers rather His glorious coming again.


Verse 40

John 6:40. τοῦτο γάρπατρός, for this—of the Father) See notes on John 6:37; John 6:39.— θεωρῶν καὶ πιστεύων, who seeth and believeth) The Jews were then seeing, but not believing, John 6:36, “Ye also have seen Me, and believe not.” Those who beheld Christ had a great opportunity for believing; and those of them who believed had a pre-eminent degree of blessedness. Matthew 13:16, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see.”— ζωὴν αἰώνιον, everlasting life) even before the last day, of which the mention here follows immediately subsequent: as also at John 6:54, “hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Human reason transposes the order of these two.— ἀναστήσω, I will raise up again) The Future, as at John 6:44, and ch. John 15:8, “bear much fruit: so shall ye be My disciples.”— ἐγώ, I) This pronoun, which was not employed at John 6:39, is now employed: there the preceding verb is also in the first person [that of all—I should lose nothing]; but here, in the third person [that every one which—believeth—may have everlasting life], as John 6:44; John 6:54.


Verse 41

John 6:41. ἐγόγγυζον, began to murmur) Jesus however was aware of it [though not spoken aloud]: John 6:43, “Murmur not among yourselves.”— ἄρτος, the bread) They take hold of the language of His, that was allegorical: they neglect the explanation, which was added in plain words.


Verse 42

John 6:42. οἴδαμεν) we are personally acquainted with [novimus], or rather, we know about [scimus]. Joseph was dead; but the remembrance of him remained.— πῶς, how) So John 6:52, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”— οὖν, then) On this very account they ought to have thought, that there was in Jesus something higher [than what outwardly appeared].


Verse 44

John 6:44. οὐδείς, no man) Jesus is wont, before that He removes error out of minds, to convict the perverse disposition itself of those who so err. This is His aim, John 6:44-46 : and at the same time, after having passed without notice that which was unseasonable in the interruption on the part of the Jews, and having stilled their murmuring John 6:43, He in continuation discusses those very truths, which He spake at John 6:40. Nor, however, does He omit to confirm His descent from heaven: He only does not reply to the question, How?— οὐδεὶς δύναται, no man can) The Jews were relying on their own powers: this Jesus refutes, and teaches them of the need of observing the drawing of the Father.— ἐλθεῖν πρός με, come to Me) To come to Christ, is, by faith to attain to and recognise His heavenly mission, and to commit one’s self to Him.— ἐὰν μή, unless [except]) He therefore doeth aright who cometh to Me, saith Jesus: for by the very fact of coming, He is following the drawing of the Father.— ἑλκύσῃ, shall have drawn) The Father hath sent the Son to us; and draws us to the Son, by the power of His love making us hear and see. See following ver., “Every man that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto Me;” and 65, “No man can come unto Me, except it were given him of My Father.” [It is one and the same thing, the expression which is used, to give us to the Son, or to give to us (grace) that we may come to the Son, John 6:39, “All which He hath given Me.”—V. g.] An instance of such a drawing is given in the case of Peter, John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life:” in the case of Paul, Galatians 1:15, “It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace.” The same word occurs in the Septuag., Song of Solomon 1:4, εἵλκυσάν σε, [Engl. Vers.] “Draw me, we will run after Thee;” Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee” [in Septuag. ch. 38:3, εἵλκυσά σε εἰς οἰκτείρημα].


Verse 45

John 6:45. γεγραμμένον, written) He refutes the Jews who abused Scripture, John 6:31, “Our fathers did eat manna, as it is written.” etc.— καὶ ἔσονται πάντες διδακτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ) Isaiah 54:13, Septuag. καὶ πάντας τοὺς υἱούς σου διδακτοὺς θεοῦ: “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord,” [Engl. Vers.]— πάντες, all) Hence is inferred presently after the every oneπᾶς, that hath heard, etc.]— διδακτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ, taught by [of] God) Comp. presently after, παρά, ‘from’ [of]. The correlatives are, every one who hath heard and learned; and [all] taught. The former implies the act [of learning]: the latter, the habitual state resulting from the former.— πᾶς, every one) and he alone.— παρά) from [of] the Father, concerning the Son. Matthew 11:27, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.”


Verse 46

John 6:46. οὐκ ὅτι, not that) By the addition of this declaration it is intimated, that the Father is heard then only, when the Son is heard; and that He is seen then only, when the Son is discerned: ch. John 14:9, [Jesus to Philip] “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.”— ἐώρακεν, hath seen) Understand, and hath heard. Comp. the preceding verse, who hath heard (and hath seen). But because to see is a more intimate perception than to hear, the seeing is with elegant propriety ascribed to the Son, the hearing to the believers. Comp. ch. John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, etc., hath declared Him.”— ὢν παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, He who is from God) So ch. John 7:29, “I know Him, for I am from Him, and He hath sent Me.”


Verse 47

John 6:47. ἔχει) hath. Present. Where the bread of life is, there life is; even before the last day, John 6:40.


Verse 49

John 6:49. οἱ πατέρες, your fathers) concerning whom ye have spoken, John 6:31, “Our fathers did eat manna,” etc.— ὑμῶν, your) Your, He saith, not our: by which very expression He shows, that He has a higher descent than they had supposed; John 6:42, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph?”— ἔφαγον τὸ μάννα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, did eat manna in the wilderness) Their own very words are retorted on the Jews; see John 6:31.— καὶ ἀπέθανον) and yet they died, and that by a terrible death.


Verse 50

John 6:50. οὗτος, this) namely, bread.— τίς, a man) any one who pleases.— καὶ μὴ ἀποθάνῃ, and may not die) namely, in a spiritual sense, as this food refers to spiritual life: there being attached thereto also the resurrection of the body.


Verse 51

John 6:51. ζῶν, the living) This participle acts both as a means of giving increased weight to His speech, and as a declaration, by which it is shown that His speech is not concerning ordinary bread.— δώσω, I will give(150)) ought to be read.— σάρξ μου, My flesh) A new step in the discourse. The δὲ ἐπιτατικόν [intensive], indeed, and the I will give in the Future, are in accordance with this: for heretofore there had been no mention made in this discourse of flesh; then at John 6:53, also of blood. The Father giveth the true bread, John 6:32, which is Christ Himself: John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” Christ giveth the living bread, His own flesh. The portion of the discourse concerning the bread is rather allegorical, in accommodation to the miracle that precedes it: that concerning the flesh and blood is literal.— ὑπὲρ τῆς τοῦ κόσμου ζωῆς, for the life of the world) and so, for many, Mark 14:24, “This is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many.” Jesus framed His words so skilfully, that immediately at the time, and at all times subsequently, they would indeed apply in their strict literal sense to the spiritual enjoyment of Himself: and yet that afterwards the same words should by consequence be appropriate to express the most august mystery of the Holy Supper, when that should be instituted. For He applied to the Holy Supper(151) the thing itself which is set forth in this discourse; and of so great moment is this sacrament, that it may readily be thought possible that Jesus, as He foretold the treachery of Judas at John 6:71, and His own death in this ver., so also foretold, one year before, the institution of the Holy Supper, concerning which He most surely thought within Himself whilst speaking these words: and with this object, in order that the disciples might afterwards remember His prediction. The whole of these words concerning His flesh and blood have in view the passion of Jesus Christ, and along with it the Holy Supper. Hence arises the separate mention of the flesh and of the blood so invariably: for in His passion the blood was drawn out of His body, and the Lamb was thus slain.


Verse 52

John 6:52. ἐμάχοντο, began to strive) They now did not merely murmur, as at John 6:41.— οἱ ἰουδαῖοι, the Jews) The successive steps are to be observed: the Jews, in this place; the disciples, John 6:60; John 6:66, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?—Many—went back and walked no more with Him;” the apostles, John 6:67, [Jesus to the Twelve] “Will ye also go away?”— πῶς, how) The How they repeat here again: comp. John 6:42, “How is it that He saith, I came down from heaven?” To neither the one nor the other how does Jesus reply, but proceeds with His own discourse, and saith, Thus it must be: John 6:53, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, etc., ye have no life in you.”— τὴν σάρκα, the flesh) Again they fasten on that statement, as being the one which seemed to them especially hard.


Verse 53

John 6:53. ἐὰν μή, if you do not) The Jews were questioning as to the possibility: Jesus replies as to the necessity: for in fact the latter infers the former.


Verse 55

John 6:55. ἀληθῶς, truly) This affirmation is opposed to the doubt of the Jews.— βρῶσις· πόσις) Food, drink, by which the believer is as truly fed, as food and drink feed the bodies of men, John 6:56, at its close, “He that eateth My flesh, etc., dwelleth in Me, and I in him.”


Verse 56

John 6:56. τρώγων, he who eateth) He who eateth, and that which is eaten, in very deed are intimately joined together.


Verse 57

John 6:57. ἀπέστειλέ με, hath sent Me) To this is to be referred the [corresponding clause in the Apodosis] καὶ τρώγων με, so also he who eateth Me, through faith. The meat of Jesus was to do the will of Him by whom He was sent, ch. John 4:34; the meat of the believer is, to eat Christ, and to feed on Him, by the will of the Father.— κἀγώ, and I) The as has its Apodosis in that clause, so also He who eateth Me.— διὰ τὸν πατέρα, on account of the Father [Engl. Vers. ‘by,’ not so correctly]) For I am in the Father.— καί) So also.— τρώγων με) He who eateth Me, who live [ ζῶ]; [this he does] through faith: John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent;” 35, “He that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me,” etc.; 40, 64. In this point of view, inasmuch as the Father hath sent His Son, we eat His flesh and believe in Him.


Verse 58

John 6:58. οὗτος, this) that is, I Myself, John 6:57.— ἄρτος, the bread) His discourse goes back to those things which were set forth in John 6:32, “My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.”


Verse 59

John 6:59. εἶπενδιδάσκων, He spake—teaching) Comp. ch. John 8:20, “These words spake Jesus, as He taught in the temple” [as here in the synagogue]; John 7:28.


Verse 60

John 6:60. σκληρός, hard) There are no doubt many things which the carnal nature cannot but shrink from in this discourse, which is, if considered by itself, a most delightful one. His discourse is difficult, not hard [harsh]: whereby the evil are deterred; but genuine disciples are proved, disciplined, and established. Hardly anywhere can you see a passage where the Lord spake more sublimely, even when apart from the multitude with His apostles. Let us receive it with pious admiration!— τὶς δύναται, who can) Very differently Peter thought, John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”— αὐτοῦ, Him [Engl. Vers. it]) They seem to mean this: who can hear Jesus? Comp. ch. John 10:20, “He hath a devil, and is mad. Why hear ye Him?” This is the head and crowning point of their misery, to refuse to hear.


Verse 61

John 6:61. ἐν ἑαυτῷ, in Himself) without any external informant.— τοῦτο ὑμᾶς σκανδαλίζει; does this offend you?) Enallage [change of form of expression]: that is [He means], whether are ye offended at this truth? The passion of Christ was “to the Jews a stumbling-block.”


Verse 62

John 6:62. ἐὰν οὖν, if then) ἐάν, if, has as the Apodosis to be understood, what shall be? [Engl. Vers. what and if, etc.] That is, there are far greater things, which will follow: if ye do not believe this, how would you believe those things, if I were to tell you them? (A similar passage occurs, ch. John 3:12, “If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?”) And yet, when ye shall see that, ye will acknowledge that the things which I have spoken are true; and ye will wonder, not at My doctrine, but at your own slowness of comprehension: ch. John 8:28, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things;” Matthew 26:64, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”— ἀναβαίνοντα, ascending) See on ch. John 3:13, note, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven.”— τὸ πρότερον, previously) before that He descended.


Verse 63

John 6:63. τὸ πνεῦμα, the spirit) It is not the Godhead alone of Christ, nor the Holy Spirit alone, which is meant, but universally the Spirit, in contradistinction to the flesh. That, which is spirit, is life-giving.— σάρξ, the flesh) His speech is not in this passage concerning the corrupt flesh, concerning which no one doubts, but that it profits nothing: nor yet does Jesus take away from His own flesh the power of giving life; otherwise He would set aside His whole discourse, just delivered, which for certain refers to His flesh, John 6:51; John 6:53-56, as also the whole mystery of the incarnation: but the sense is, mere flesh profiteth nothing, namely, such as the Jews were supposing that flesh to be, of which Jesus was speaking. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:16, “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.” He speaks supposing a condition, and that supposed condition an impossible one, if He were mere flesh; as also He speaks [supposing a contingency impossible to arise], John 6:38, as to His own will, “I came not to do Mine own will, but,” etc. Comp. note on ch. John 5:31; John 5:19; John 5:22. The flesh is the vehicle of all Divine life-giving virtue, in the case of Christ and of believers; and Christ, after He was put to death in the flesh, and quickened in the Spirit, especially put forth His efficacious power; 1 Peter 3:18, “Christ suffered for sins—that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit;” John 12:24, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit;” John 16:7, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.”— οὐκ ὠφελεῖ οὐδέν, profiteth nothing) for quickening. Where the life is not from God, there no real profit is derived.— τὰ ῥήματα) הדברים, the words, and the things comprehended in them. The correlatives are, the words and to believe: John 6:64, “Some of you—believe not.”— λελαληκα, I have spoken) He does not say, I speak, but I have spoken [Engl. Vers. loses this, “I speak”]. For already they were disaffected towards [turned away from] Him, John 6:60-61.— πνεῦμα, spirit) although they [the words] speak of the flesh.— καί, and) and so therefore.


Verse 64

John 6:64. ἀλλʼ εἰσίν, but there are) With yourselves rests the blame.— τινές, some) who also disturb the faith of others.— οὐ πιστεύουσιν, do not believe) and so therefore distort into a carnal sense what has been spoken in a spiritual sense.— ἐξ ἀρχῆς, from the beginning) The very time of this discourse is marked, although Jesus, even before that time, had always known what was about to be. This discourse was delivered a year before His passion; but the choice of the twelve apostles did not precede this discourse by a whole year. Therefore it was at that time a beginning.— τίνες, who in particular) out of the larger number of His disciples.— καὶ τίς, and who) out of the twelve disciples. Judas therefore was then already cherishing that unnatural feeling, from which subsequently his treachery took its rise. Even then he did not believe, and, along with many other disciples, took offence at the discourse of Jesus. The bad are soon bad; the good are soon good.(152) John has diligently marked the successive steps in the deadly wickedness of Judas, ch. John 12:4 [His covetous objection made to the pouring out of the ointment on the Lord by Mary]; John 13:2; John 13:27, “Satan entered into him;” John 14:22; and entertained an especial antipathy towards him.


Verse 65

John 6:65. δεδομένον, given) by the drawing of grace.


Verse 66

John 6:66. πολλοί, many) By this means their number was cleared of the unworthy, and made the more select [and this, in the very place (Capernaum we may suppose) in which He had sojourned previously for the longest time.—Harm., p. 337]. A promiscuous multitude is not of so much consequence as is sincerity. [This was a most severe purification.—V. g.]


Verse 67

John 6:67. τοῖς δώδεκα, to the twelve) John takes for granted their names, and the very appellation Apostles, as known from the other evangelists.— μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς, whether will ye also) It was not far from being so. It was well that it [the decision] rested on [was confined to] this point of time. Otherwise Judas might have carried away the rest with him.— ζέλετε, will ye?) Jesus compels no man, and by this very circumstance attaches His own the more closely to Him.


Verse 68

John 6:68.(153) ῥήματα, the words) The disciples, even though as yet they do not comprehend the special principles of the discourses of Christ, yet hold the general foundation. A most noble instance of implicit faith, involved in the explicit faith [faith involved in the faith evolved].(154) The whole of the phraseology, the words of eternal life—we have believed—the Son of God, is repeated from John 6:63-65.(155) So Martha, ch. John 11:27, upholds her faith in Jesus Christ, although she did not as yet perceive the grounds and bearings of the resurrection. [In answer to Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life,” etc., she replies, “I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”]


Verse 69

John 6:69. ἡμεῖς, we) whatsoever others may determine on.— πεπιστεύκαμεν καὶ ἐγνώκαμεν, we have believed and known [“are sure,” Engl. Vers.]) From the words of Jesus, knowledge follows faith: 2 Peter 1:5, “Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge.” They are astray who demand knowledge first: it follows faith and obedience: ch. John 7:17, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” We have known, that is, we have it as a sure and certain truth.


Verse 70

John 6:70. τοὺς δώδεκα) The article has great force.— ἐξελεξάμην, I have chosen) There is therefore a kind of election, from which one can fall away.— ἐξ ὑμῶν, of you) from among so few.— εἷς, one) This indefinite disclosure excited all the others, and proved the truth of their confession, as made by Peter, but excluded Judas, although not contradicting that confession. Here was the point where Judas ought to have repented. [The wretched man had been offended, John 6:61, (Jesus had said to the murmuring disciples) “Doth this offend you?” Wherefore that exclamation of Peter, “To whom shall we go?” did not after this square with his views. He did no doubt go, but it was to the chief priests.—V. g.]— διάβολος, the devil) not merely evil to himself, but even dangerous to others.


Verse 71

John 6:71. σίμωνος, of Simon) The other evangelists are silent as to what name the father of the traitor bore: John supplies it. The article is opposed to the reading, ἰσκαριώτην: for in that case it would be ἰούδαν σίμωνος τὸν ἰσκαριώτην, not τὸν ἰούδαν σίμωνος ἰσκαριώτην. The article is placed between the name and surname. I have mentioned at Matthew 10:4, but not approved of, the derivation given by Ludovicus de Dieu. Both Judas and his father had the surname of Iscariot, (156)(157)(158) read τὸν ἰούδαν σί΄ωνος ἰσκαριωτου: Rec. Text, ἰσκαριώτην. (159)(160)(161) has σκαριωθ.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 6:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-6.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, August 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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