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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
John 7

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-9

IV

Approach Of The Feast Of Tabernacles, And Offence Of Even The Brethren Of Jesus At His Refusal To Go To It. Christ’s Time And The Time Of The Worldly Mind. Christ The Object Of The World’s Hatred

John 7:1-9

1[And][FN1] After these things[FN2] Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry[FN3] [Judæa], because the Jews sought to kill him 2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles 3 was at hand. His brethren [brothers][FN4] therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also [thine adherents in that country, 4especially in Jerusalem] may see the [thy] works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself [For no one doeth anything in secret and yet himself] seeketh to be known openly. If thou do [doest] these things, shew thyself to the world. (5For neither did his brethren believe in him.) [For even 6 his brothers did not believe in him.] Then[FN5] Jesus said [saith] unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto 8 this[FN6] [the] feast; I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet[FN7] full [fully] come 9 When he had said these words unto them[FN8] he abode still [remained] in Galilee.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

“According to Baur this seventh chapter goes to show how the dialectics (criticism?) into which unbelief enters, is only its own dialectical (critical?) refutation.” Meyer.

John 7:1. And after these things Jesus walked.—After the occurrences and discourses in Galilee in John 6; a new general date succeeding the μετὰ ταῦτα of John 6:1. The festival caravan had proposed to take possession of Him and make Him a king. But He had completely delivered Himself from them, and went not with them the Passover. Nor did He join the next train, which went up to the feast of tabernacles. The words “walked in Galilee,” therefore, mean, as their primary antithesis, that He went not up with the caravan to the feast [passover, John 6:4] next following. John mentions only the second antithesis: that He could not walk in Judea, without peril of death. If He had now at once gone about publicly in Judea, and remained there, He would have too seriously embarrassed His exit. In Judea, the main theatre of His ministry, He no longer had room to work; He still had room in Galilee. And His isolated and sudden appearance and His ministry in Judea hereafter take place only under the protection of secresy, or of Galilean and Perean friends and adherents, as well as individual disciples in Judea. The proximate period of the walking in Galilee is from the feast of Purim to the feast of tabernacles of the year782 (A. D29), from the month Adar to the month Tisri. (Wieseler: from the 19 th March to about the 12 th October.)

In this period of Galilean itinerancy fall the charges of heresy against Jesus in Galilee and His contests with the hostile Pharisees there, Matthew 12; most of His parables or sermons on the sea, Matthew 13 ( Matthew 14dates the beginning); His interview with the deputation from Jerusalem, and the great gathering on the mountain, which followed, Matthew 15; the last contest with Pharisean power in Galilee, the retirement of the Lord and His transfiguration, Matthew 16 and Matthew 17:21 (not John 15-18, as Meyer gives it.)

John 7:2. The feast … was at hand.—The second occasion and demand to go with a festival caravan, which Jesus declined. Though He went to Jerusalem, He did so not in the full publicity of the festival pilgrimage, nor in the capacity of a festival pilgrim.

Feast of tabernacles.—חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת, σκηνοπηγία in Josephus, σκηναί in Philo.[FN9] The third of the great festivals of the Jews (Passover, Pentecost or Weeks, Tabernacles); celebrated in the seventh month or Tisri (in October), for seven days from the 15 th, in memory of the dwelling of the Israelites in tabernacles or tents on their journey through the wilderness, and in thanksgiving for the harvest now, with the fruit and grape gathering, entirely finished. Thus: Passover: deliverance from the destroying angel and from Egypt, beginning of harvest; Pentecost: completion of grain-harvest, thanksgiving feast of first-fruits, no doubt also in celebration of some point of the theocratic history (Maimonides: the giving of the law on Sinai); Tabernacles: feast of the wandering and of vintage. It is to be remembered that the eighth day of this feast (23d Tisri) was kept by the Jews as the feast of the joy of the law. The feast of tabernacles formed at the same time the counterpart to the great penitential feast of the day of atonement which occurred five days before, as a sort of preparation for the feast of joy. The feast was distinguished by its grand offerings, as well as its joyful tone; so that it was called by Josephus “the holiest and greatest of the feasts.” [Antiqu. VIII:4, John 1 : ἑορτὴ ἁγιωτάτη καὶ μεγίστη).—P. S.] People lived in tents formed of live branches of trees, on roofs, in streets, on open grounds; they carried boughs of fruit, noble, handsome fruits, especially branches of palms and citrons, in their hands, and had merry banquets. The feast of tabernacles had so joyous an appearance that Plutarch could think it a feast of Bacchus. But it is a mistake to try to trace the Israelitish festivals of events of theocratic history to original festivals of nature. As Israelitish feasts they must be primarily historical. They may have attached themselves, however, to existing popular feasts of Asia, absorbing and spiritualizing them, as was confessedly done by Christian festivals [Christmas, Easter, etc.] in reference to existing feasts of heathenism (comp. Leben Jesu, II. p941). Attendance on these festivals in Jerusalem was binding upon the male portion of Israel ( Deuteronomy 16:16). Respecting the particular practices of the feast of tabernacles, see below.

John 7:3. His brothers therefore said unto him.—According to Matthew 13:55 these were James, Joses, Simon and Judas. A disposition on their part to act as guardians and advisers to Jesus appears again, and prominently in Mark 3:21. But they as surely mean well with their counsel here, as they meant in that other case to act in faithful solicitude for Him. Euthymius Zigabenus [also Luther], attributed to them a malicious design (to draw Him into the hands of the Jews), because their unbelief is afterwards mentioned. The speech of His brethren refers to the fact that Jesus did not go to the late passover that in general he seems to wish to avoid Judea, and that, by going about on the mountains and the sea, He makes even His residence in Galilee a half-concealed one. They propose that He should appear publicly in judea and accredit Himself as the Messiah before His adherents there. Evidently the echo of the spirit of John 6:15. They were right in assuming that a Messiah could not complete His legitimation of Himself and His work outside of Judea and Jerusalem; they were wrong and frivolous (1) in beginning to think lightly of His quiet ministry in Galilee; (2) in still hoping that by a public appearance in Jerusalem, He might carry the nation with Him, and become a Messiah glorious after an Old Testament sort; (3) in not submitting themselves to His wisdom and His self-determining course of action. And herein chiefly lay their unbelief.

John 7:3-4. How important the brothers of Jesus thought it, that He should change His field, appears from the twofold expression: Depart hence and go into Judæa, that thy disciples also may see thy works, etc. μετάβηθι ἐντεῦθεν, καὶ ὕπαγε, κ. τ. λ. In this view we are to understand by the disciples who were to see His works, all His adherents in the land of Judea; chiefly the influential ones in Jerusalem, but not these alone. In contrast with such an appearance His Galilean work, particularly His quiet itinerancy and His withdrawal to the Phenician borders, to the highlands of the Jordan, and across the sea, seems to them an incongruous working in secret ( John 7:4). And it presents to them the contradiction of His proposing to be a public personage with a secret ministry. (On the misinterpretations of ἐνκρυπτῷ, by Baumgarten-Crusius, Brückner, and Luthardt, see Meyer.) Not the least thing which pertains to the authentication of a public character, does such an one perform in secret; much less does he waste such (great) works (ταῦτα) on an obscure region. The εἰ [“if Thou doest these things”] is not intended to throw doubt on the works; it denotes the logical premise. (Meyer, against Lücke, etc.)

John 7:5. Then when John remarks: For even his brothers did not believe in him, it is entirely gratuitous to make of this, as has been done, a disbelief of His Messiahship itself common to all the brothers, and to infer that the brothers of the Lord, James, Judas and Simon, must be distinguished from the apostles of the Lord, James, Judas and Simon, whom He had chosen before the feast of Purim.( Matthew 10) See Com. on Matthew on Matthew 10 and Matthew 12:46 ff, (comp. Mark, at John 3:30; Matthew 13:55).; Leben Jesu, II, p139 sqq, and926; Herzog’s Real-Encyklop., Art. Jakobus, der Bruder des Herrn. It is plain from the connection that the unbelief of these brothers of the Lord was a want of confidence in Him of the same sort, at the worst, as that of Mary in Mark 3:31, of Peter in Matthew 16:22, and of Thomas in John 20:25; that Isaiah, while believing in His Messiahship, they lacked in the perfect yielding of a believing obedience, and assumed to prescribe to Him from their own judgment; but they were not unbelieving in the sense in which Caiaphas and the Jewish people were. Tenaciously as the Ebionistic Clementine tradition, distinguishing between the three apostolic brothers of the Lord and the three apostles, James, the son of Alpheus, Judas, and Simon, endeavors to maintain itself, it will not ultimately withstand, with its half-dogmatical, half critical prejudice, the sense of Scripture and the primitive church tradition. [I dissent from this view. See my remarks below on John 7:9, p241. The theory here opposed is certainly older and exegetically more natural, than the cousin-theory, which cannot be traced beyond Jerome in the fourth century,[FN10] and which owes its popularity far more to an ascetic over-estimate of the perpetual virginity of Mary (and Joseph) than to exegetical or critical arguments. It is clearly irreconcilable with the whole tenor of this passage, as I shall presently show.—P. S.]

John 7:6. My time is not yet come.—Interpretations: 1. The time for Me to go to the feast (Jansen, et al.); 2. The time to show Myself openly to the world (as they had demanded in John 7:4, Lücke, et al.); 3. The time of my passion (Chrysostom, et al.). The first interpretation is connected with the second, the second with the third. His first public entrance into Jerusalem was the entrance in the procession with palms; by that He showed Himself publicly to the world, and by that also He brought on His own death. Hence: My time for going to the feast to manifest Myself to the world. His words, therefore, referred primarily to the time of journeying, but in connection with the deeper meaning. The connection lies in the fact that His fixed time (καιρός), like His hour ( John 2:4), denotes the time ordained and appointed to Him by God for His public appearance, in distinction from the hours arbitrarily chosen by other men.

Hence the other words: But your time is always ready; describing the free, arbitrary disposal of times which sinful men make; with primary reference to their travelling, but with respect also to the safety with which they may show themselves to the world, with which they do not yet stand, like Him, in full and pure antagonism, John 7:7. An intimation of their want of decided faith.

John 7:7. The world cannot hate you.—The world considered as unbelieving, in its antagonism to the Lord. It can no more take the internally complete attitude of mortal enmity towards you, than ye have thus far taken this attitude toward its spirit. All chiliastic kinds of faith, (e.g. in the church of the middle ages) have an element akin to the world and open to its sympathy. But me it hateth.—The entire antagonism brought into play by His testimony against the world.

John 7:8. Go ye up unto this feast.—This Isaiah, after the ritual manner of the Israelitish law, as pilgrims in the festival caravan, to participate in the exercises of the feast.

I go not up (yet) unto this feast.—Interpretations with reference to John 7:10 : [omitting the “yet.”]

1. The hostile interpretation of Porphyry, that Jesus proved Himself fickle (Jerome, Contra Pel.)

2. Bruno Bauer’s modification: The Evangelist entangles himself in contradiction in his narrative (see Lücke, p193; kindred constructions by F. Chr. Baur, etc., see in Meyer.)

3. Meyer: “Jesus might alter His plan without being inconsistent, especially since the motive of this change of purpose is not patent. He also changed His purpose with the Canaanitish woman ( Matthew 15:26 sqq.).” But He no more changed it there, than here. The entrance of a new motive, must at least have been intimated.

4. The reading οὔπω [which is omitted by some of the oldest MSS, but inserted by others and by the early Versions.—P. S.] or to the same purpose, the emphasizing of the present ἀναβαίνω, inserting a νῦν in thought (Chrysostom, Lücke, and others). Of the same class is the restricting of the οὐκ by the οὕπω following (De Wette and others).

5. Emphasizing of feast, ἑορτή; Cyril: οὐκ οὕτως ἑορτάζων. He took no part ritually in the festal train or the festal scenes, (Leben Jesu, II. p927; Ebrard and others). In favor of this is the ensuing: οὐ φανερῶς, ἀλλ’ ὡς ἐν κρυπτῷ.

6. The explanation: Not with the caravan (Bengel, Ewald, Luthardt), is properly only one part of the preceding interpretation. It is emphatically said, moreover: “unto this feast;” Jesus thus already announcing in a manner His intended decisive observance of the next passover. A glance at that last feast we see in the words: “For my time,” &c.

John 7:9. He remained in Galilee.—That Isaiah, He let the train pass on, and perhaps His brothers with it.

[Remarks on the Brothers of Jesus.—The family dispute which John relates in this section from personal knowledge, with the simplicity and frankness of a genuine historian, gives us an insight into the domestic trials of our Saviour. The unbelief of His brothers need not surprise us any more than the unbelief of the Nazarenes generally, according to the sentence: “A prophet has no honor in his own country” (comp. note on John 4:44). Not unfrequently the nearest relatives throw more obstacles in the way to God’s children than strangers. Christ entered into the condition of fallen humanity with all its daily troubles, temptations and miseries. The unbelief and misconduct of His brothers must have been to Him a deep source of grief and a school of patience and forbearance in order that, being tempted even as we are in all things, He might become a merciful High Priest able and willing to sympathize with His followers in passing through similar experiences. ( Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 5:7-8).

But the full significance of this passage depends upon the proper view of the brothers of Jesus. And here I must again dissent from the cousin-theory of Jerome, advocated in a modified form by Dr. Lange, which assumes that these brothers were only distant relatives of Jesus, and that three of them, James, Simon and Jude (i.e., all but Joses or Joseph), were identical with the three apostles of that name. I regard this passage (with Meyer, Godet, Alford, Lightfoot) as one of the strongest arguments in favor of the more natural view that the brothers of Jesus were really members of the holy family and under the care of Joseph and Mary in whose company they constantly appear.[FN11]

1. It is perfectly plain that John here, as in John 2:12 and in harmony with the Synoptists, also with Acts 1:13-14, and 1 Corinthians 9:5, distinguishes the brothers of Christ from the apostles. The brothers themselves make this distinction in John 7:3, “That thy disciples also,” etc., on which Bengel remarks: Eo ipso ostendunt se non esse discipulos.

2. But what is more conclusive, John represents here the brothers as unbelievers, and as using irreverent, presumptuous and ironical language against our Lord. This is absolutely incompatible with the assumption that they were apostles, especially after the sifting process described in John 6, and the noble confession of Peter in the name of all ( John 6:67-68). I readily admit that the brothers were not unbelievers in the sense of the hostile Jews or indifferent pagans, but they certainly were not believers in a sense in which we must suppose all apostles (with the exception perhaps of Judas Iscariot) to have been almost from their first acquaintance with Jesus, and as John expressly says that they were even as early as the miracle at Cana, John 2:11; comp. John 7:22; John 16:17; John 17:8. How, in the name of consistency, could he say that the apostles believed in Him (ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτόν), and afterwards, that His brothers, including at least three of the apostles, did not believe in him, οὐδὲ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπίστευον—mark the imperfect which denotes continued and habitual unbelief, in distinction from a momentary act as expressed by the aorist—(ἐπίστευσαν)? Why did he not avoid such flat contradiction by the qualifying words: some of His brothers, or by using a milder term than unbelief?[FN12] John recognizes indeed different degrees of belief (comp. John 2:23; John 4:39; John 8:31; John 12:42), and different degrees of unbelief, but he never confounds the sharp lines which, in his system especially, distinguish belief from unbelief, light from darkness, truth from falsehood. Moreover the language used by the brothers on this occasion, however mildly we may explain it, is very unbecoming, and strongly contrasts with the profound reverence shown by the apostles to our Lord on every occasion, even where they could not understand or appreciate His conduct (comp. John 4:27).

3. Finally our Lord Himself here characterizes His brothers as men of the world whom the world cannot hate ( John 7:7); while He says the very reverse of His apostles, John 15:18 f. comp. Matthew 10:5 ff, Matthew 10:22; Matthew 10:40 ff.

We infer then that all the four brothers of Jesus were distinct from the apostles, and were not converted till after the resurrection. James, it would seem, became a believer in consequence of a special manifestation of the risen Lord, 1 Corinthians 15:7. They first appear among the disciples, Acts 1:14.

As to the other question, whether the brothers of Jesus were older brothers of Jesus from a former, otherwise unknown marriage of Joseph (the old Greek tradition defended by Epiphanius), or younger children of Mary and Joseph (the view held by Tertullian and Helvidius, and denounced first by Jerome as heretical and profane because of its conflict with the prevalent ascetic belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary), our passage gives no decisive answer. The patronizing tone assumed by the brothers towards Jesus on this occasion seems to favor the former view, but may be found also with younger brothers. Comp. the fuller discussion of this whole question in my notes on Matthew, pp256–260, also on Matthew 1:25 and John 2:12. (p115 of this vol.)—P. S.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The heavenly precaution with which Jesus guarded His life from a premature end, that He might sacrifice it with full effect at the right hour, forms a contrast with the heedless boldness with which His brothers would push Him upon the stage of the most glaring publicity; and a contrast with the many premature sacrifices which occur in the lives of worldly heroes and even of Christian missionaries and martyrs. The life of the believer must be in spirit offered up to God at all times; but the actual sacrifice of it must be put with all decision under the law of Christian wisdom. No one should prematurely squander his life; every one should, in the holiest sense, “sell it at the highest possible price.” But for His wise reserve, the life of the Lord would perhaps have fallen before the hatred of Judaism in the very first year of His ministry; certainly at the feast of Purim in the spring of the second year. A ministry of about three years in the midst of Pharisaic Judea could be secured to Jesus only by His heavenly wisdom.

2. The subsequent appearance of Christ at the feast of tabernacles does not contradict this caution. It is an act of consummate psychological mastery. By this oft-repeated sudden appearance, He places Himself as an astounding wonder before His enemies; they themselves are restrained by fear, or at least their servants, and they do not venture to seize Him. They are disarmed not only by the personal impression of Jesus, but also by fear of the powerful popular following which He had, particularly of the fighting Galileans. Not till the continuous stay of Christ among them at the last passover could they carry out a definite plan against Him.

3. It agrees with the nature of human restlessness that the same brothers of the Lord, who with His mother sought to rescue Him some time before from the press of Galilean enemies through fear ( Mark 3; Matthew 12), now sought in recklessness to press Him upon the theatre of decision. Apart from the fact that such extremes beget and account for each other, the experience which the brothers of Jesus had had of the uselessness of their fear and of the security of Jesus amidst the strongest probabilities of danger, might urge them now to the utmost risk in His behalf.

4. Jesus, in respect to His time and place is subject to the individual direction (ἐντολή) of His Father. Thus His time at every point is a point of eternity, and His being in every place is a being in heaven. The contrast between the Divine discernment of His time and His hour [in the life of Jesus] and the arbitrary caprice of men in the use of times and hours.

5. The notion of the world which the brothers of Jesus express, differs greatly from the notion expressed by Christ. Judas Lebbæus recurs to this favorable idea of the world in John 14:22. The brothers of Jesus vaguely see a world ready to receive Christ with open arms; Christ sees through a world disposed to kill Him. Undoubtedly Christ Himself also distinguishes between the world as the object of the Divine love ( John 3:16), and the world in its decided ungodliness and unbelief.

6. Christ’s word: The world cannot hate you, expresses the truth that there is no deeper, more incisive opposition than that between a godly mind and a worldly mind, faith and unbelief. The world’s hatred comes out completely only in opposition to that which is divine.

7. There is an infinite difference between the delicate precision of the Lord’s form of expression and a made-up reservatio mentalis. But for this reason the words of Christ, and especially His expression here: I go not up to this feast, are also exposed to the ready abuse of men. The abuse is not due to ambiguities on His part, but to the want of discrimination on the part of His expounders. Else it would have been easily seen that between a public Messianic progress of Jesus to the ceremonial observance of a feast, and an incidental appearance of the anonymous prophet at the feast, the difference is wide.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

See under the previous head.

The quiet walking of Jesus in Galilee a token also of His glory.—A token of His prudence, His foresight, His Wisdom of Solomon, in His spirit of self-sacrifice.—How Jesus by wisdom preserved and spared His official life till the right, decisive moment, though it was forfeited to death from the first.—The most splendid and joyous feast of the Jews no allurement to the Lord, but an object of holy solicitude and dread.—The want of the obedience of faith in the enthusiastic zeal of faith in the brothers of Jesus.—The contrast between Christ’s knowledge of the world and His brothers’ knowledge of it.—Marks of the worldly element in the belief of the Messiah.—The word of Jesus to His brothers: John 7:6-8.—The declaration in John 7:6-7;—the several words of John 7:6-8.—“No guile found in His mouth,” or, Jesus, even in the pure and precise form of His words, hard to understand by the ordinary way of thinking.—The sharp precision of the words of Jesus a reflection of the perfect clearness of His mind.—The lesson of the divine peace in the Lord’s quiet tarrying at home while His brothers go to the brilliant feast.—We also must be able to slay at home.—With what a different eye from that of His brothers did Christ look upon the glories of the world and even of the Jewish people of God (or “church”).

Starke: Hasten not after suffering: it will come soon enough.—Cramer: Let every one look well to himself in his office that he may long serve the church of God.—Christians still celebrate their feast of tabernacles when they heartily praise God for His shelter and defence.—Hedinger: Let no one lord it over the wisdom of God.—Canstein: Follow not the voice which urges thee to seek a great name and become renowned in the world. The sole voice of self-love often leads a minister to leave a place where he may do much good, and move to another where he can do none.—Kindred are most commonly the ones who obstruct the godly.—Bibl. Wirt.: A true Christian heart desires not to distinguish itself; the more secret, the happier.—God does everything exactly at the right time, but men do much out of season.—One hawk does not pick out another’s eyes; he who accommodates himself to the world, will be loved by it.—The friendship of the world, James 4:4.—Canstein: It bespeaks humility and prudence for a man to wait God’s time, keeping himself quiet till it come; this does not conflict with the joyousness of faith, which afterwards goes joyfully forward when it perceives its time.—Gossner: I guide myself by the hour-glass of my Father; ye can go according to your pleasure; ye may say what ye will, ye will never be arraigned for it; but I must walk cautiously, that I may not wantonly encounter my suffering. He who follows his own will, who does everything out of his own head, and never consults the divine moment,—his time is always ready. But he who loves God, lets all his moments depend on the will and indication of God.—Braune: Even though they (the brothers) hastened forward to the feast, they after all remained behind.—They who are forward with outward worship, do not therefore worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. With the boisterous ( Isaiah 5:19) the Redeemer can have no fellowship.—It is trying indeed to be left alone with one’s Christianity in a good cause, but it is better to be alone than to burden one’s self with precarious companions who rather corrupt than improve. (Rieger).—Circumspection and prudence best become the boldest.—Gerlach: Such an appearance as ye demand would draw upon me not splendor and honor, but death and ruin.

Heubner: The world is still challenging: Show thyself, come out, make thyself known to the great rulers, recommend thyself by writings and the like.—Besser: Their time did not coincide with His time. It is the peculiar glory of believers, that in all their actions, God’s time is also theirs.—The more one sees the extraordinary mind develop itself under the common limitations of life, the harder he finds the acknowledgment of it.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - John 7:1.—καί is omitted by א* and אcb C2 D. text. rec. Tisch. (ed. VIII.), inserted by אca (but erased). B. C.* L. X. and other uncial MSS. Lachm. Treg. Alf. Westcott & Hort.—P. S.]

FN#2 - John 7:1.—The μετὰ ταῦτα immediately follows the καί in [א.] B. C. D. G. K, etc. [In the text. rec. it follows after Ἰησοῦς—P. S.]

FN#3 - John 7:1.—[Jewry is antiquated. The E. V. uses it twice in the N. T. ( Luke 23:5), in all other passages Judæa.—P. S.]

FN#4 - John 7:3.—[On the meaning of ἀδελφοί, see Text. Notes on II:12, p114.—P. S].

FN#5 - John 7:6.—[Οὖν, therefore, is wanting in א.* D. and omitted by Tischend, but retained with א.c B. L. etc., by Lachm. Alf, etc.—P. S.]

FN#6 - John 7:8.—This first ταύτην is wanting in B. D, etc., and is omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf.

FN#7 - John 7:8.—“Elz, Lachmann: οὕπω, not yet; supported, too, by the preponderance of Codd. (only D. K. M. [א] and three minuscules have οὐκ); but against the weight of versions, most of which, including Vulgata and Itala, read οὐκ. Of the fathers, Epiphanius, Cyril, Chrysostom, and many others, have οὐκ. Porphyry found οὐκ in Jerome, and drew from it the charge of fickleness against Jesus. Just to avoid this offence οὔπω was introduced.” Meyer. [Lange adopts, with Meyer, ούκ, (not, instead of οὔπω, not yet. So also Cod. Sin, Tischend. ed. VIII.) Alf, Treg, while Lachm. and Westcott and Hort retain οὔπω.—P. S.]

FN#8 - John 7:9.—Tischendorf reads αὐτός instead of αὐτο͂ς after some undecisive Codd. [The Cod. Sin. D. Vulg. (ipse) support αὐτός.—P. S.]

FN#9 - On the σκηνοπηγία or ἐοπτὴ τῶν σκηνῶν (from σκηνή and πήγνυμι, lit. a booth-pitching, tent-pitching) comp. Leviticus 23; Deuteronomy 16; Josephus, Antiqu., III:10, 4; IV:8, 12; VIII:4, 1; Ewald, Jewish Archœol., p481 f.; Keil, Arch. I, § 85, and the respective articles in Winer, Smith, Kitto, Fairbairn.—P.S.]

FN#10 - The passage of Papias about the four Marys, published by Grabe and Routh from a Bodleian MS, (No2397), which Mill, Wordsworth, and two writers in Smith’s Dictionary (sub. Brothers and James) have uncritically quoted in favor of the cousin-theory, is not from the Papias of the second century, but from a mediæval namesake of the bishop of Hierapolis and author of a dictionary. Comp. Lightfoot Com. on Galatians, 2 d ed, 1866, p265 f. Lightfoot asserts and proves that the Hieronymian hypothesis is a pure conjecture unsupported by any previous traditional sanction.—P. S.]

FN#11 - This was my conviction nearly thirty years ago when I first carefully examined this vexed question in my German treatise on James the Brother of the Lord. Berlin, 1842.]

FN#12 - For a refutation of the various attempts to weaken the force of οὐκ ἐπίστευον, see my treatise on James, etc. pp 51 ff. In John 6:64, the μαθηταί οί πιστεύουσι are clearly distinguished from the twelve, and they forsook the Lord (66), while the apostles remained (68). In Luke 12:23, the disciples are called “men of little faith,” but this is very different from unbelief. The γενεά ἅπιστος, Matthew 17:17, refers to a particular fact and a single Acts, not to a state of mind or tendency. The question, John 16:31, ἅρτι πιστεύετε (if it be a question), can in no way contradict the πεπιστεύκατε in John 7:27 and the ἐπίστευσαν John 17:8.]


Verses 10-36

THIRD SECTION

Ferment in the Contest between the Elements of Light and Darkness. Formation of Parties, as a Prelude to the full Opposition between the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness

John 7:10 to John 10:21

I

Fermentation And Party Division Among The People In General

(A) Christ, The Teacher And The One Sent From Cod, In Opposition To The Human Rabbinical Office, And In Agreement With Moses. His Earthly Descent In Opposition To Descent From Heaven. His Opponents, Who Wished To Kill Him, In Contradiction With Moses, The Prophet Of God, Intending To Return To God

John 7:10-36

10But when his brethren [brothers] were [had] gone up [to the feast][FN13] then went he also [he also went] up unto the feast, not openly [as a festal pilgrim], but as it were in secret [as a private person, a non-participant spectator]. 11Then the Jews [The Jews therefore] sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he [that Prayer of Manasseh, ἐκεῖνος]? 12And there was much murmuring among the people [the multitudes, ἐν τοῖς ὄχλοις] concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: [but][FN14] others said, Nay; but Hebrews 13deceiveth the people [the multitude, τὸν ὄχλον]. Howbeit, no man spake [Yet no one spoke] openly of him, for fear of the Jews.

14Now about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught 15 And [Then][FN15] the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned [been schooled as a Rabbi].

16Jesus [therefore][FN16] answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his thatsent me 17 If any man [one] will do his will [is willing, desirous, anxious to do his will, θέλῃ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ],[FN17] he shall know of [concerning] the doctrine, whether it be of [is from] God, or whether I [in my doctrine] speak [make words, λαλῶ]of18[from] myself. He that speaketh of [from] himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory [the glory of Him] that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness [i.e. no transgression of the law, see John 7:21] is in him 19 Did not Moses give you the law, [?] and yet none of you keepeth the law? [!][FN18] Why go ye about [Why do you seek] to kill me?

20The people [multitude—not the rulers] answered and said, Thou hast a devil [a demon, δαιμόνιον, a spirit of melancholy]: who goeth about [seeketh] to kill thee?

21Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel22[on account of it].[FN19] Moses therefore [on this account, for this cause, see note7] gave unto you [the] circumcision (not because [that] it is of [from] Moses, but of23[from] the fathers;) and ye on the Sabbath-day [omit day] circumcise a man. If a man on the Sabbath-day [omit day] receive circumcision that the law of Moses should [may] not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath-day [because I have made sound, or, restored to health a whole Prayer of Manasseh, ὅλον ἄνθρωπον (i.e. the entire body of a Prayer of Manasseh, not only a single member as in circumcision) on a Sabbath]? 24Judge not according to the [omit the] appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

25Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he whom they seek to kill? 26But [And] lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers 27 know indeed[FN20] that this is the very [omit very, see note8] Christ. Howbeit, we know this man [Still, as to this Prayer of Manasseh, we know], whence he is: but when [the] Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.

28Then [Therefore] cried Jesus in the temple, as he taught, saying [teaching in the temple and saying], Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I Amos 29not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But[FN21]I know him; for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

30Then [Therefore] they sought to take [seize] him: but [and yet][FN22] no man [one] laid hands on him, because his hour was [had] not yet come 31 And many of the people [But of the multitude many][FN23] believed on him, and said,[FN24] When Christ cometh, will he do[FN25] more miracles [signs] than these[FN26] which this man hath done? 32The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things [heard the multitude murmuring these things] concerning him: and the Pharisees and the chief priests [the chief priests and the Pharisees][FN27] sent officers to take [seize] him.

33Then said Jesus [Jesus therefore said] unto them, Yet a little while am I with 34 you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall [will] seek me, and shall [will] not find me [me]:[FN28] and where I [then] Amos, thither [omit thither] ye cannot come.

35Then said the Jews [The Jews therefore said] among themselves, Whither will he [this man] go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed [the 36 Diaspora] among the Gentiles [Greeks] and teach the Gentiles [Greeks]? What manner of saying is this [What is this word] that he said, Ye shall [will] seek me, and shall [will] not find me [me]:16 and where I Amos, thither [omit thither] ye cannot come.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

John 7:10. Had gone up.—The ἀνέβησαν is pluperfect.

Ibid. Not openly.—That Isaiah, not in the festal train, not as a festal pilgrim; but not: by another road, De Wette, etc. (On the Docetism which Baur and Hilgenfeld would find in the words, see Meyer)—But as it were in secret.—This expression denotes a solitary journey, a quiet stay near Jerusalem (perhaps in Bethany), and a subsequent appearance at the feast not incognito, and not in the character of a festal pilgrim, but in the capacity of a prophet coming forth out of concealment to the feast, to point out the insufficiency of the festal symbols in contrast with their real fulfilment in His person. And because He did so appear it is said ὡςas it were in secret.” This was the character in which He went up, not in which He continued. Meyer is incorrect in saying that this was the final departure of Jesus from Galilee. The present departure of Jesus from Galilee was entirely private; the final departure took place under a great convoy ( Matthew 19:1-2; Mark 10:1; Leben Jesu, p928). More below, at John 10:22.

John 7:11. The Jews therefore sought him at the feast.—According to John 7:13 the hostile Jews are, of course, primarily intended here. They thought to continue unto death the persecution opened against Jesus in John 5. Hence also the expression ἐκεῖνος, “Where is that man?”

John 7:12-13. And there was much murmuring.—An expressive designation of the ferment in the popular mass, and the powerful working of the hostile rulers upon the sentiment of the people. In the division of opinion the friends of Jesus express themselves with timid reserve: He is a good man (ἀγαθός), kind, benevolent. According to the New Testament usage (see Matthew 20:15; Romans 5:7), the term no doubt means something more than “honest, a man of honor” (Meyer); though the attenuation of the confession of Jesus in the period of rationalism could go so far that some one wrote a pamphlet: Jesus and His Disciples were honest People. The confession is evidently suppressed also here. The others more boldly speak out their opposite opinion: He deceiveth the people.

But that the more favorable public opinion concerning Him was already under the terrorism of the hostile party spirit, is told us by the addition: Yet no one [i. e. of the friendly part] spoke openly of him, for fear of the Jews—According to Meyer this last verse includes literally all. “Even the hostile ones were afraid, because, so long as those (the hierarchy) had not yet officially decided, a reversion of their sentiment was conceivable. A faithful picture of bad, Jesuitical domination of the people”. The οὐδείς μέντοι will certainly have a meaning; though the opinion, “He deceiveth the people,” was open enough. The distinction between λέγειν and λαλεῖν must be observed here. Persons on both sides were expressing themselves in a scanty λέγειν; yet did not come to a λαλεῖν παῤῥησίᾳ a full, free talk, concerning Him, because any expression of acknowledgment could easily be communicated by heresy-hunters, and because an unfavorable opinion also might easily have something contrary to form. The bondage of conscience was such that no one ventured to utter fully the thoughts of his heart, before the hierarchy had spoken.

John 7:14. The midst of the feast.—In a seven or eight days’ feast three or four days were now past, and it became clear that He did not intend this time to take part in the observance. If Jesus had come earlier to the place, it is more probable that He lodged in the vicinity than in Jerusalem itself. See above, on John 7:10.

Up into the temple.—It might seem as if by this step He passed from extreme caution to extreme boldness. But even by this new manner of appearance He proves Himself the great Master in the knowledge of men. From this time forth He could safely appear in Judea and Galilee only by suddenly entering a great assembly of the people, and working there. The spirit of reverence for Him, which animated the people, still for a time shielded Him in these situations from His enemies. Thus He made the crown or halo of the popular assembly His faithful guard, so long as the better Messianic spirit of the people recognized in Him the Son of David. He was adorned in the presence of His enemies with the wreath of popular veneration, till this wreath too was torn and withered by the poisonous breath of their enmity. (Leben Jesu, II, p932).

And taught.—From the subsequent narrative we may suppose that His teaching related to the feast of tabernacles. Song of Solomon, in John 2, His teaching connected itself with the symbolical import of the temple, which He was then for the first time officially visiting; His conversation with the theocratic Nicodemus on the need of real regeneration in order to pass from the old theocracy to the new kingdom of heaven connected itself with the proselyte baptism; His conversation with the Samaritan woman took its turn from the holy wells in Israel; His discourse in John 5, from the medicinal spring and the healing; and even in His Galilean discourse in John 6 there is a manifest reference to the approaching passover in Jerusalem.

John 7:15. How knoweth this man letters [γράμματαοἶδεν].—First are heard the voices of the adversaries of Jesus. Their first objection is founded on the fact that He is not a promoted Rabbi; the second ( John 7:27) on His origin.—The Jews here are evidently the Judaists, and probably, judging from their expressions, scribes, Rabbis. They [the hierarchical opponents, probably members of the Sanhedrin, as in John 11:13.—P. S.] marvelled; they cannot deny that He knows the books and has the gift of teaching; but, full of envy, school-bigotry and statutory zeal, they fall upon the circumstance that He has not studied [μὴ μεμαθηκώς], and is not a regular graduate of the Rabbinical schools. The γράμματα without ἱερά ( 2 Timothy 3:15) denotes not the Holy Scriptures ( γραφή, according to the Peshito, Luther, Grotius), but literature, the field of learning (in the Vulgate, litteræ, see Acts 26:24).[FN29] The passage is “important against the attempts, ancient and modern, to trace the wisdom of Jesus to human education” (Meyer). The words evidently grope in confusion half way between acknowledgment and denial of His wisdom. But the stress lies not on the concession, but on the questioning. Though He seems to know books, yet there must be some deception about it, since He has not, studied and advanced in the regular prescribed way. A young school-enthusiast trusts not his eyes, trusts not his cars, trusts not even his enthusiasm and his intellectual gain, when he meets a teacher who has the prejudice of the school against him; the old school-enthusiast is at once fully decided in his prejudice by the absence of school-endorsement. The point at which the teaching of Jesus came most in contact with Jewish learning, was the relation of His symbolical interpretation to the Jewish allegorizing (of the Old Testament and its types). It was indeed a relation as between a melon and a gourd; but the appearance of similarity must have struck the eyes of these people more than the difference. Yet, after their manner, regardless of the actual teaching of Jesus, they fell upon His want of legitimation. His doctrine is not delivered as the sacred tradition of the schools, not systematized according to the rules and practice of the school, not legalized as the production of a graduate.

[This testimony of enemies to a fact well known to them, strongly confirms what we otherwise know or must conjecture concerning Christ’s education, or rather the absence in His case of the ordinary ways and means by which other men receive their knowledge. He was neither school-taught [ἀλλο-δίδακτος), nor self-taught (αὐτο-δίδακτος), nor even God-taught (θεο-δίδακτος like inspired prophets) in the usual sense of these terms. No doubt He learned from His mother, He went to the Synagogue, He heard and read the Scriptures, He studied nature and Prayer of Manasseh, and the Holy Ghost descended upon Him at the baptism in Jordan; yet the secret fountain of His knowledge of God and man must be found in His mysterious and unique relation to the Father and derived from direct intuition into the living fountain of truth in God. He was and continued to be the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father who explained Him to us as no philosopher or prophet could do. I quote an appropriate passage from my book on the Person of Christ, p 34 ff.: “Christ spent His youth in poverty and manual labor, in the obscurity of a carpenter’s shop; far away from universities, academies, libraries, and literary or polished society; without any help, as far as we know, except the parental care, the daily wonders of nature, the Old Testament Scriptures, the weekly Sabbath services of the Synagogue at Nazareth ( Luke 4:16), the annual festivals in the Temple of Jerusalem ( Luke 2:42 ff.) and the secret intercourse of His soul with God, His heavenly Father … Christ can be ranked neither with the school-trained, nor with the self-trained or self-made men; if by the latter we understand, as we must, those who, without the regular aid of living teachers, yet with the same educational means, such as books, the observation of men and things, and the intense application of their mental faculties attained to vigor of intellect, and wealth of scholarship,—like Shakspeare, Jacob Bœhme, Benjamin Franklin, and others. All the attempts to bring Jesus into contact with Egyptian Wisdom of Solomon, or the Essenic theosophy, or other sources of learning, are without a shadow of proof, and explain nothing after all. He never quotes from books, except the Old Testament. He never refers to secular history, poetry, rhetoric, mathematics, astronomy, foreign languages, natural sciences, or any of those branches of knowledge which make up human learning and literature. He confined Himself strictly to religion. But, from that centre, He shed light over the whole world of man and nature. In this department, unlike all other great men, even the prophets and the apostles, He was absolutely original and independent. He taught the world as one who had learned nothing from it, and was under no obligation to it. He speaks from divine intuition, as one who not only knows the truth, but is the truth; and with an authority that commands absolute submission, or provokes rebellion, but can never be passed by with contempt or indifference.”—P. S.]

John 7:16. My doctrine (or, teaching) is not mine.—That Isaiah, I am no self-taught man in such a sense as to be an upstart and pretender; there is another in whose school I have regularly advanced. With cutting irony He off-sets His teaching against their Rabbinical teaching (both as to form and matter); His authority, the Father, against their authorities, the old Rabbinical masters. The first “My” therefore denotes His discourse (His system, the school He teaches); the second, His authority (the school He has learned in). Meyer: “Οὐκ—ἁλλά here also is not equivalent to tam—quam (Wolf, etc.), but is absolutely exclusive.” Hardly “absolutely,” but only so far as His person is regarded in its human aspect. Tholuck: “His human personality is viewed abstractly by itself, as in John 5:31; John 8:16.” The primary distinction is between the Son sent, who both in word and act executes the ἐντολή of the Father, who speaks what He hears of the Father, and does what the Father shows Him,—between this person and the Father Himself. And He so far views His personality abstractly by itself as He yields to their idea of an independent human person distinct from God.

But his that sent me.—That Isaiah, it is not only directly the doctrine of God, but also more than doctrine, the direct message of God to you, a doctrine of the most decisive words of life.

John 7:17. If any one is willing to do his will [ἐάντιςθέλῃτὸθέλημααὐτοῦποιεῖν].—The indispensable condition for understanding the doctrine of Christ. We must be truly turned towards God, in order to recognize the divine, which proceeds from God, as divine. And more particularly, we must be earnestly bent upon the divine in practice, if we would know it in theory as doctrine. Man’s moral θέλειν of the moral θέλημα of God is the condition of man’s intellectual γινώσκειν of the intelligible διδαχή of God. Without the earnestness of doing there is no truth in our knowing; and like cannot know like without a like bent of soul. Plato, Lys.: “Ὅτι τὸ ὅμοιον τῷ ὁμοίῳ ἀνάγκη ἀεὶ φίλον εἶναι. Comp. Matthew 10:40-42. This condition of willingness to do, that Isaiah, of practical effort, has its root in the doing of the truth, or moral sincerity ( John 3:21), and develops into the love of God ( John 5:42). The point cannot be the doing of the will of God, as against sinners and beginners in knowledge; it is only the θέλειν (which, of course, is the beginning of the doing according to the best of one’s knowledge and conscience, in the form of trying; Romans 7). Meyer: “The θέλῃ is not redundant (Wolf, Lösner, and many others), but is the very nerve of the matter; in θέλῃ—θέλημα the suavis harmonia (Bengel) has been noticed.”

His will: 1. The Old Testament revelation (Chrysostom, et al.). 2. The demand of faith in Christ (Augustine, Luther, etc.); or at least3. In His doctrine (Semler, etc.). 4. Tholuck: “Still further from the truth is the interpretation which makes it even a requirement of faith for proof.” 5. Willing obedience to God in general (Lücke, Meyer).

It is a proposition which, in its universality, certainly refers not merely to believers of revelation; but which, on the other hand, has in view a universal revelation of the divine will. Therefore: He who strives to do the will of God according to the best knowledge he can get on his level of knowledge. This holds even for the heathen; but for the Jews it has special regard to the Old Testament revelation of the will of God (see John 5:38), and now for Christians to the fully developed Christian principles of life; always, however, putting the chief stress on full inward earnestness of moral endeavor (θέλῃ). Meyer: “This passage accordingly contains undoubtedly the testimonium internum, but not in the ordinary theological sense, as applying to persons already believers, but as applying to persons not yet believers, when the divine doctrine addresses them.” The testimonium internum, upon candid consideration, leads on from the subjective testimonium of calm conviction, as well as of unsatisfied doubt and longing, into the objective testimonium Spiritus Sancti, which by all means is promised in the γν̓ώσεται περί, κ. τ. λ. It is false to ask whether, in the conflict in Romans 7:7, the unconverted Prayer of Manasseh, abstractly viewed, or the converted, is the subject; and it is equally false to introduce this division here. The subject is the actual living elect in their motion towards God under the drawing of His grace.[FN30]

He shall know concerning the doctrine, etc.—The γνώσεται is emphatic. He shall have not only assurance of faith, but living certainty of discernment. And if the demand was universal, so is the promise in the first instance: “He shall know concerning the doctrine,” indefinitely, of every sort of religious doctrine, whether, and how far, it be from God. But from this the other thing immediately follows: He shall know whether Jesus only speaks (λαλῶ) on His own authority (as an uncalled, self-taught individual), or whether, on the contrary, His word be not absolutely the doctrine (from God). Cameron is right, therefore, in making a distinction here between the moral demand and the theoretical doctrine (which Tholuck disputes); only the theoretical doctrine of Christ is as far from being merely theoretical, as an inward ethical bent or nisus is from being merely practical or in the ordinary sense moral. See John 3:12.

John 7:18. He that speaketh from himself seeketh his own glory, etc.—The proof that He does not speak from Himself. The mark of one who speaks from himself is ambition; ho would glorify himself. Hebrews, therefore, who would not glorify himself, but God, speaks not from himself; ho is true. The direct applying of the proof Christ leaves to themselves. The argument, however, has not an abstract, syllogistic form; it is enriched by a term of life. In the first place a second proof is inserted into the first. If the person sent seeks only the honor of the prince or lord who sends him, his message is to be trusted; he is true. And he is true, because no unrighteousness, no unfaithful conduct appears in his message. It may be depended upon, that what he says his master has said to him. Freedom from all assumption bespeaks the real teacher; if he had received nothing to teach, he could not possibly have taught. Personal disinterestedness bespeaks the commissioned agent; if he had received nothing to deliver, he would not have appeared. And freedom from all assumption and self-interest evince themselves in the undivided energy with which the one sent seeks the honor of the master who sends him. This therefore constitutes the difference between a false Messiah and the true. The motive and the centre of gravity of the false Messiah lie in self-glorification; those of Christ lie in the glorification of the Father, to whom He attributes everything He says and does.

Thus He has proved that He is true in His doctrine; even intellectually true, because there is no moral obliquity in Him, no self-seeking or unfaithfulness to the throne which sends Him. As in men the intellectual knowing of the truth comes as the reward of moral endeavor, so in Christ the truth of His doctrine is founded in the righteousness of His life. Ἀδικία therefore, is not. equivalent here to ψεῦδος (Grotius, et al.); though connected with it, inasmuch as ἀδικία would produce ψεῦδος. Self-seeking darkens knowledge.

John 7:19. Did not Moses give you the law?—The sudden transition of Jesus here from the defensive to the offensive has led to the hypothesis of an intermediate conversation (Kuinoel) or act between John 7:18-19; for which there is really no ground at all. We must remember: 1. That since the feast of Purim, at which “the Jews” had already begun capital process against Him, Jesus had not met them, but had on their account avoided Judea, and now Revelation -encountered them for the first time2. That all their “assaults and negations” (Meyer), including their last attack on His right to teach, covered the design of bringing Him to a capital conviction3. That it perfectly accorded with the openness and wisdom of Jesus to draw out their hidden plan, and to make it a subject of talk before all the people in the temple. The only protection against secret adversaries is to expose their designs with the most relentless publicity. 4. That Christ has already in fact introduced the offensive by the last words of the defensive: “There is no unrighteousness in him” (as they had charged on the ground of the Sabbath cure).—Moses, quoting their highest authority.—Give you the law.—Of course the law in general; for he who breaks one commandment transgresses the whole law. It is not specifically the prohibition of murder (Nonnus), nor Sabbath law (Kuinoel), which is intended here by “the law.” But that the rebuke does particularly refer to the prohibition of killing, is shown by what follows.

And yet none of you keepeth the law.—A general address. Because there is in you no true striving to do the will of God, ye cannot know My divine mission. And how truly this is the case with you in general (the “none” representing the spirit of the people and its general aim) appears from the fact that ye (the [hierarchical] Judaists in the first instance) seek to kill Me. Yet the people are unconsciously implicated and included in this charge, because the highhanded conduct of the hierarchs has its occasion in the mental indolence of the laity. The people must know that they hate Him and “persecute Him without cause.”

John 7:20. The multitude answered and said, etc.—The [hierarchical] Judaists are speechless under the charge of Christ, because they consider it dangerous to have their plan so soon canvassed before the people. Their silence is a malicious reserve, like that of Judas in John 6:70. The people, however, take the accusation to themselves, thinking it wholly unfounded. As “they of Jerusalem,” who speak in John 7:25, very well knew of the project, which had already become notorious in Jerusalem, it must be the festal pilgrims who speak here, who were still far not only from the design announced, but even from any knowledge of it.

Thou hast a demon [δαιμόνιον.]—The term here is figurative, drawn from the belief in demoniacal possession. It was probably a proverbial expression in this general sense, especially to denote gloominess, melancholy, laboring under jealous, brooding suspicions. So it was compassionately said of John the Baptist: “He hath a demon” ( Matthew 11:18). Men pitied a man otherwise so able and devout. Here also the reply seems to be not malicious [Hengstenberg and older commentators], but rather sympathizing. “Not an expression of malice, but of surprise that a man who could teach so finely, could think of a thing which they considered morally impossible and a mere hallucination” (Meyer). But the same expression in John 8:48; John 10:20 is shown by the connection to be evil-minded. Chrysostom and others take the ὁχλος to be the rulers, and their question to be a dissimulation. This obliterates the true sense of the transaction.

John 7:21. And said unto them, I have done one work.—Jesus, continuing His train of thought, advances as clearly beyond the reply of the people as He did in John 6:70 beyond the answer of Peter. His piercing and foreseeing knowledge contrasts with a stupidity which sets up against it, and which considers Jesus in this case even smitten with a pitiable delusion. It is not an inaccuracy (Tholuck) that John represents the ὄχλος [the multitude] as answering the Lord. Christ intends to bring before the ὄχλος the malicious inquisitorial conduct of the hierarchy. The ὄχλος must be made privy to the secret affair and shown their unconscious complicity in the wickedness.

The one work is the healing on the Sabbath, John 5:2. (Olshausen needlessly inserts here the subsequent murderous designs). The Lord cannot here mean that He has done only one miracle in Jerusalem (see John 3:1). The antithesis lies in the καὶ πάντες θαυμ. It is not the miracle, but the work that here bears the stress; and it is not wonder at a miracle that is meant, but surprise at one work, though not terror, as Chrysostom and others have it. And in the surprise of all an indignation (Grotius) on the part of many is also unquestionably implied. Offence at that work had therefore spread at least very generally in Jerusalem and among the people. And their morbid condition was manifest in the very fact that they all stared and made an ado over one act of a man who abounded with divine works. The supposed spot upon the one work threatens to eclipse in their view all that has ever filled them with wonder. And even this spot is only in their own vision.

Ye all marvel.—The διὰ τοῦτο is referred by Theophylact, etc., Lücke, [Olsh, De Wette, Stier, Hengstenberg, Ewald, Godet] etc., to the clause preceding (θαυμ.); by Chrysostom, Luther [Grot, Bengel, Luthardt, Meyer, Alford] and others to the clause following.[FN31] But in the latter connection it has been considered by some redundant, by others elliptical (ye ought therefore to know). Meyer has attempted another explanation, which Tholuck considers “tortured.”[FN32]

John 7:22. (For this cause) Moses gave unto you the (rite of) circumcision, etc.—Jesus now proves to them from their own law that it is good to heal a sick man on the Sabbath. Moses ordained circumcision for you. Parenthesis: Yet he did not introduce it as strictly a Mosaic law, but confirmed it as a patriarchal law (coming down from the fathers, that is to say, a fundamental religious law of the Abrahamic covenant of promise, Genesis 17.) And this patriarchal Mosaic law so outweighs the mere Sabbath-law, that ye not only may, but must circumcise a man on the Sabbath, when the prescribed day (the eighth day, Luke 2:21; Rabbinical passages in Lightfoot; Rabbinical maxim: Circumcisio pellit Sabbatum) falls on a Sabbath. The reason of this higher superiority of the patriarchal law lies in the design of circumcision, to make the man partially (in a symbolical sense) whole. But if this is Song of Solomon, how much more is the Sabbath-law suspended (in the legal point of view suspended, in the higher view fulfilled) by the eternal law of God which enjoins the healing of a man wholly diseased; enjoins it even in legal form in the commandment: Thou shalt not kill.

Christ thus sets forth three sorts of laws: (1) Eternal principles of humanity, as enacted formally in the decalogue; among which is the law not to destroy life, but to preserve it, to heal. (2) Patriarchal fundamental laws of theocratic civilization; among which belongs circumcision. (3) Mosaic law in the narrower sense.

To this last class belongs, not indeed that Sabbath-law which is the safe-guard of human nature with its need of rest (the humane and moral Sabbath [grounded in the very constitution of Prayer of Manasseh, and hence dating from creation]), yet doubtless the symbolical and ritual Sabbath with its prohibition of every kind of work as a symbol of the legal theocracy. If, therefore, these Mosaic ordinances must be suspended by patriarchal practice, how much more by the primal laws of God. But just so far as they are suspended in the spirit of the law, they are only raised out of a prescribed symbolical meaning to their real truth; they are fulfilled. The Sabbath is fulfilled by doing good, by healing men ( Matthew 12:12); circumcision is fulfilled by regeneration, according to the commandment: “Thou shalt not covet,” as it is written on the heart by faith as a law of the Spirit.

The observation that circumcision “is of the fathers,” has been interpreted by Euthymius Zig. and others as depreciating circumcision by showing it to be not a Mosaic institution. “It might rather express the superiority of circumcision, by virtue of its higher antiquity (and by virtue of its more fundamental character). Then the gradation is very piquantly expressed by Bucer: ‘Ye rank the fathers above the law, I the Father’ ” (Tholuck).—Circumcision had its origin not in Moses (ἐκ τοῦ Μ.), but in the fathers (ἐκ τῶν πατ).

John 7:23. If a man on the Sabbath receive circumcision, that, etc.—Circumcision is emphatic, in antithesis with the healing of the whole man in the next clause; hence placed [in the Greek] at the beginning of the sentence.—It is wrong to weaken the ἵνα μή so as to read: without breaking the law (Bengel, et al.). It is just by circumcising a man on the Sabbath, if that be the eighth day, that violation or nullification of the law is to be prevented. The idea in the prescription of the eighth day is that the circumcision should be performed as early as possible, the earlier the better. The higher import of the patriarchal ordinance appears also in the fact that what are called the Noachic commandments continued for a time to be morally binding in the Christian church, while the specifically Mosaic law, even in regard to circumcision, became extinct as a religious statute ( Acts 15.) Hence, too, the parallel cited by Luthardt from Galatians 3:17, which subordinates the law to the promise, is not without force. Meyer thinks it is; and Tholuck (p216) here again fails to see the precedence given to the patriarchal dispensation, as brought out even by Lampe. He thinks that if that had been intended, the words would have been: ἵνα μὴ λυθῇ ἐντολὴ τῶν πατέρων that the statement is therefore inserted simply as matter of history. But the law of Moses had sanctioned anew even the usage of the patriarchs, and had soared above specific camp regulations.

Are ye angry at me because I have restored a whole man to health?—The ὅλος is emphatic in antithesis with περιτομή, which was the healing of a single member. Purport of the antithesis:

1. Wounding and healing (Kling, Stud. u. Kritik., 1836). This is against the notion of the particular healing, or of an argument a minori ad majus. Likewise unsuitable is the reference, by Lampe, etc., to the subsequent healing of the wound of circumcision.

2. The legal observance of circumcision, and the real mercy of the miraculous cure (Grotius).

3. “Circumcision was a sanitary measure, purifying and securing against disease. If ye perform on a Sabbath the wholesome act of circumcision, which after all pertains only to one member, I will have a still better right to heal an entire man on a Sabbath. (Philo De circumcisione, ed. Mangey, Tom. II. Michaelis Mos. Recht, 4, § 186, particularly the article ‘Beschneidung’ [Circumcision] in Winer).” Lücke.[FN33]

4. Meyer: The sanitary purpose did not lie in the law, but in the religious notion of the people; the circumcision was performed only with a view to making the person pure and holy.[FN34] (Tholuck also is of Meyer’s opinion. But of a “sacramental healing of the single member” one can hardly form an idea, though Kurtz is for it. Sensual lust has its seat in the heart. Of more account, is the argument of the Rabbi Eliezer quoted by Tholuck, and similar to the reasoning here in question). In support of this Meyer quotes the later sentiment from Bammidbar: “Præputium est vitium in corpore;” vitium in corpora, however, is put away, not by purification, but by a surgical or medical operation; i.e., the removal of it is an act of healing. And this must be intended; for circumcision in the symbolical sense also made the whole man pure and holy. The literal surgical healing of a part, therefore, which symbolically purified the whole Prayer of Manasseh, is the thing intended. It is manifest that a symbolical act performed on a man in this form must be founded in a presumed need of physical healing, however temporary, local, or peculiar to antiquity this might be (the Lord puts Himself at His adversaries’ point of view, as in the Synoptical Gospels, Matthew 12:12, etc.); which is also true of the Jewish “laws of purity and purification.”

5. We have still to mention the antithesis of a healing performed only on the flesh (σάρξ), and a healing extending to the whole Prayer of Manasseh, body and soul (Euthymius, Bengel, Stier, etc.). This antithesis does not come into view here, although the miraculous cures of the Lord did extend even to the soul. In truth the bodily circumcision also was intended to be the means of circumcision of the heart.

John 7:24. Judge not according to appearance [κατ’ ὄψιν]—1. Augustine, etc.: Not according to the person, but according to the fact2. Melanchthon, etc.: Not according to the outward form of the work, but according to its motives3. Not according to the startling appearance of things, but with a righteous and true judgment, which is expressed in the gradations of the ordinances, and executed in the actual healing of that sufferer.

John 7:25-26. Some of them of Jerusalem.—These are better instructed than the ὄχλος; they openly avow that the rulers have laid a plan to kill Jesus; yet cautiously, without directly naming them. The repetition of ἀληθῶς shows that they demanded in the Messiah qualifications which they did not find in Jesus. They seem, as an ultra party, to be solicitous even over the circumspection of the rulers, and to treat it with irony. They follow their ironical expression with their own judgment, which breathes the haughtiness of the citizens of a hierarchical capital. As the Rabbis reproach the Lord with His lack of a regular education and graduation, these Jerusalemites cast up against Him His mean extraction.

John 7:27. Whence he is.—This, no doubt, refers both to the despised town of Nazareth and to the family of the carpenter; not, however, by contrast with Bethlehem, as in John 7:42, but by contrast with the purely supramundane or mysterious origin which was claimed for the Messiah. Meyer’s restriction of the “whence” to the father and mother is arbitrary, and proceeds from a confounding of the different views here expressed.

As to the origin of the view that men should not know whence the Messiah Isaiah, there are different opinions.

1. Lücke [Alford] and others, referring to Justin Martyr (Dialog. cum Tryph.): According to the Jewish view the Messiah should be ἄγνωστος, even unknown to Himself, until Elijah should have anointed Him. Against this Tholuck, after Meyer: In that case the earthly πόθεν of Christ would doubtless be known, but not His Messiah-ship. This dismisses the passage in question too cheaply; for a man who does not himself know whence he is till he is anointed, must have something mysterious about his origin.

2. Tholuck: From Daniel 7:13 they expected a sudden heavenly manifestation of the Messiah who, according to one of the various popular notions, lived in a secret place or in paradise (Targum Jonathan, Micah 4:8; Gfrörer, Jahrh. des Heils, II, p223). It must be remembered that Daniel’s doctrine of the Son of Man was but little known. On the contrary educated people in Jerusalem might very easily be familiar with Alexandrian ideas (as in cultivated regions gleanings of spiritualistic and rationalistic literature combine in various ways with reigning orthodoxy), and Philo taught (De exsecrat. 8) that the Messiah in the restoration of the people would appear and go before them as an ὄψις. Such people, too, can make up a view ex tempore, for the sake of an impudent denial; and the demand that for every opinion a previous origin must be shown, refutes itself as a scholastic pedantry. At all events these Jerusalemites think that Jesus ought to have at least as noble an extraction as themselves.

John 7:28. Therefore Jesus cried, teaching in the temple, and saying.—We do not think, with Meyer, that He raised His voice to a shout. The upstart loses confidence, when His origin is spoken of; Jesus purposely enters very emphatically into what they say of His origin. Even in the temple among the throng of people He makes no reserve. It is not without an ironical accordance that He takes up their own arrogant word (τοῦτον οἴδαμεν, which is with them quite equivalent to knowing πόθεν ἔστιν).

Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am.—He makes a difference, however, between Himself and His origin, because the latter implied in their view the utmost meanness, in His view His supreme dignity.

Different interpretations:

1. Grotius, Lampe, and others take the words interrogatively (know ye me? etc.).

2. Calvin, Lücke, etc, ironically.

3. Chrysostom and others, as charging them that they did certainly know His divine person and origin, but denied them.

4. Meyer (after De Wette), as a concession: “The people really had this knowledge.” But that they had with it nothing, and less than nothing, even an obstacle towards the knowledge of Himself, Christ asserts by the ironical tone of His words, when He says: Ye both know Me (by rote) and ye know (by rote) whence I am.[FN35]

And yet I am not come from myself.—Καί is emphatic and adversative: And yet I am not come, etc. These words briefly designate His higher nature, which these adversaries do not know. An ordinary extraction elevates itself only by ambition, which comes from itself and has no higher descent at all; Christ Isaiah, in the first place, simply come, and in the second place not from Himself. This introduces the declaration of His descent from God.

But he that sent me is true.—The ἀληθινός is variously explained1. In the sense of ἀληθής, a true person, verus, one who speaks the truth (Luther, Grotius). 2. A reliable person, firmus, verax (Chrysostom, Lampe), John 8:26. 3. A real, genuine person, fulfilling the idea (Lücke, Tholuck, 7th ed.). 4. As used absolutely, for the true, essential God (Olshausen, Kling); against which Meyer observes that ἀληθινός, without a particular subject, forms no definite idea. But certainly we have a particular subject in πέμψας με. Still we stop with the idea of the real, the living One. The Jews, in their legalistic spirit, live only in symbols, figures, marks of distinction; the Jews of Jerusalem, doubly so: they have a typical, painted religion, painted sins, painted forgiveness, a painted nobility of lineage, a painted God. The real, living God, who has sent the real living Christ, they do not know.[FN36]

John 7:29. But I know him.—Intensely significant contrast to their ignorance. Founded both on (1) real, ideal descent from Him, and on (2) formal, historical commission from Him.

John 7:30. Then they sought to seize him.—As the Jerusalemites previously named show themselves Judaists in the strictest sense, it is unnecessary here to think of Jews distinct from them. Because his hour had not yet come.—John gives the ultimate and highest reason why they could not take Him, passing over secondary causes, like fear of the people and political considerations.

John 7:31. And many of the people believed in him.—A mark of the increasing ferment in the people, working towards separation. This believing in Him undoubtedly means faith in the Messiah, not merely in a prophet or a messenger of God; yet we must distinguish between their faith and their timid confession. Hence the words: “When Christ cometh, will He do,” etc.—are to be taken not simply as referring to the doubt of the opposing party (Meyer), but as double-minded. Hence the mention of a “murmuring” further on. That the people regard the miracles as Messianic credentials, accords with the expectation of the Messiah.

John 7:32. The Pharisees heard.—Pharisees by themselves alone hear the sly murmuring of the people, which betrays an inclination to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. They then get the chief priests to join with them in ordering the official arrest of Jesus. The officers who are sent to take Jesus are to be distinguished from the Jerusalemite Judaists before mentioned as wishing to take Him. Under a despotic system the absolutist party of the people are always in advance of the absolutist government: more royalist than the absolute king, more papist than the pope. There was no need of the Sanhedrin being just now assembled (as at the moment at which the chapter closes). An acting authority which could issue hierarchical warrants, was permanent in the chief priests; and the process for the healing at the pool of Bethesda was here still pending.

John 7:33. Jesus therefore said unto them, yet a little while, etc.—To whom? 1. Euthymius Zig.: To the officers2. Tholuck: To those Pharisees who gave the information3. Meyer: To the whole assembly, but with the chief priests mainly in view. As the officers at first enter the assembly of hearers clandestinely, waiting the proper moment to secure Jesus, and Jesus knows their design, He speaks these words primarily to them; for He fixes them, and they feel themselves hit; while the multitude take His words to themselves. The sentence has evidently a more special and a more general sense. The words: “Yet a little while I am with you,”—uttered with majestic emphasis, mean primarily to the officers: Ye must let Me freely speak a little longer here! (see Luke 13:32-33); and then also to the assembly: My work among you draws to a close. The words “And then I go to Him that sent Me,” mean primarily: I then withdraw into the protection of a mightier One, who has sent Me in a power different from that in which ye are sent; in the more general sense: I go home to God. The words “Ye will seek Me, and not find Me” ( John 7:24), were likewise capable of a special and a general interpretation, but in all these cases the two meanings lay in the same line, so that the more general included the special. This explains the conduct of the officers, and their expression, in John 7:46.

I go unto him that sent me.—According to Paulus and Meyer this would be an addition of John’s because according to John 7:35 Jesus could not have said definitely whither He was going. But His first expression was made enigmatical to the Jews by the second. To go to God does not necessarily mean to them to die; still less, more definitely, to go to heaven. The Christian heaven of the blessed is first disclosed by the parting discourses of Christ and His ascension. It would have been most natural to them to think of the paradise in Sheol. But if they did suspect this, they did not dwell upon it, because they could not themselves renounce the hope of going into Abraham’s bosom. And hence perhaps the remote evasive conjecture: “Will He go … among the Greeks,” etc. This explanation is confirmed by John 8:22, where the evasion is still more malicious than here. The expression of Christ, therefore, is a dark hint of an unknown ποῦ (Lücke), the import of which they might feel, but not understand (Luthardt).

John 7:34. Ye will seek me, and not End (me).—Comp. John 8:21; John 13:33. Interpretations:

1. A hostile seeking (Origen, Grotius, etc.) This applies only in the immediate reference of the words to the officers.

2. A seeking of the Redeemer for redemption, too late. Two sorts of turning to Him: (a) After the terminus peremptorius gratiæ (Augustine, et al.); which, however, can be known in fact only by the cessation of that seeking, (b) With a false, Esau-like repentance, which only trembles before the damnum peccati (Calvin).

3. A seeking for the saving Messiah, whom in My person ye have rejected, especially in the catastrophe of Jerusalem [ Luke 20:16 ff; Luke 19:43] (Chrysostom, Lampe [Hengstenberg] etc.).

4. “And that, Himself, the rejected Jesus, not the Messiah in general.” Meyer.[FN37]

Jesus, however, is found of those who seek. When it is said; “Seek, and ye shall find,” it is implied that seeking without finding proves a vitium in the seeking; though we cannot, with Maldonatus and others, consider the seeking to be placed here merely for an aggravation of the not finding, as if the Lord would say, by a Hebraism: Ye shall be utterly unable to find Me, Psalm 10:15; Psalm 37:10; Isaiah 41:12. The mere inability to find itself points back to a kind of seeking; and seeking is the emphatic thing in John 8:21; John 13:33; but a false seeking, in which Israel has continued through all the centuries since. Of the mass the word is spoken, and to the mass Jesus speaks; individuals, therefore, who turned, even though in a mass, to Jesus after the destruction of Jerusalem, are exceptions, and do not here come into view. That mass of the Jews has incessantly sought its delivering Messiah, but (1) in another person, (2) in a secular majesty, (3) in the spirit of legal religion, and (4) with earthly, political, revolutionary prospects.

And where I am.—“To explain the present εἰμί, metaphysically, like Augustine: Nec dicit, ubi ero, sed ubi sum; semper enim erat, quo fuerat rediturus ( John 3:13),—there is no reason; like ὑπάγω, it is the present of vivid representation.” Tholuck. The thought that His heaven is not merely local, but also inward, and that He therefore is always at His goal, is not entirely out of sight, though undoubtedly His estate of glory is chiefly in view.

John 7:35. The Jews therefore said among themselves.—The mocking malice of their reply (in vain questioned by Meyer) rises in a climax of three clauses: 1. Whither will He go, that we might not follow Him? (into Paradise?) 2. Will He seek His fortune among the Jewish dispersion among the Gentiles, with the less orthodox, less respectable and intelligent Jews? 3. Or will He even teach the Greeks (to whom, indeed, judging from His conduct towards the law and His liberal utterance, He seems rather to belong than to us)? But what they say in mockery, must fulfil itself in truth; they prophesy like Caiaphas ( John 11:50-51) and Pilate ( John 19:19).—Unto the dispersed among the Greeks.—The διασπορὰ (dispersion, abstract, pro concret.) τῶνἙλλήνων (genitive of remoter relation), not the dispersed Gentiles (Chrysostom), or Hellenists or Greek Jews (Scaliger), but, according to specific usage ( James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1), the Jews dispersed in the Gentile world.

John 7:36. What is this saying that he said?—Indicating that they cannot get away from this saying. They seem to feel the dark, fearful mystery in the words, but are inclined to persuade themselves that it is sheer nonsense.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. See the preceding exegesis.

2. The whispering concerning Jesus from fear of the Jews is a type of the whole spirit of hierarchy in the Church, and absolutism in the State, with its tyranny over opinion and conscience, its censorship, heresy-hunting, and inquisition; and an example of the fact that under such systems the enemies of the truth always venture to speak rather more boldly than its friends.

3. The appearance of Jesus at the first feast of the Jews (the passover of781) was a reformation of it. His appearance at the second (Purim of782) was a completing of it. His appearance at the third (the feast of tabernacles of782) was a contrast or counterpart to it. (Even His being sent to the people and His going forth to the Father seem to allude to the sending of Moses to their fathers and the pilgrimage of those fathers through the wilderness to Canaan, which they were celebrating.) His appearance at the fourth (feast of the dedication, 782) is the following up of this contrast. His appearance at the last passover (783) was the fulfilling of the typical feast of the passover with the reality, the abolition of it thereby.

4. The two reproaches which the Jews cast upon the Lord, and His answers, in their permanent import. The reproach of Rabbinism that He was not regularly educated, and His answer that He was not self-taught, but taught of God. The reproach of the court aristocracy that He was of mean birth, and His appeal to the fact that His person and His mission are a mystery of heavenly descent; carrying with it the intimation that, as the Messenger of God, He bears the dignity of God Himself.

5. The test of true doctrine, of the true course of study in order to come to the knowledge of the truth, and of the true capacity to judge of doctrine, John 7:16-18. Tradition and originality. The tracing of the wisdom of Christ to the schools of the Essenes or other educational institutions, is also a soulless Rabbinism, which is perfectly blinded to the original resources of His mind.

6. The public appearance of Christ and the unveiling of the secret designs of His hierarchical adversaries before the people, a parallel to His turning to the people in Galilee ( Matthew 15:10), a permanent type and a spiritual rule, followed in appeals from the pope to a general council, from the general council under trammels to the Christian people; and yet especially different from all democratic solicitation of the people, Christ treats the laity as accomplices of the hierarchy. The mental indolence of the former supports the mental tyranny of the latter.

7. Heubner: “How is it possible that after so strong and plain a declaration of Jesus, men should continually persist in thrusting human means of education upon Him, as Ammon, for example, does (Fortbildung des Christenthums zur Weltreligion, I. p220). Comp. Storr’s explanation in Flatt’s Magazin, I. p107 sqq.; IV. p220; Süsskind: In welchem Sinn hat Jesus die Göttlichkeit seiner Lehre behauptet? p25–47; Weber’s Programme: Interpretatio judicii, quod Jesus John 7:14-18 de sua ipsius doctrina tulisse legitur, Wittenb, 1797.”

8. Circumcision as healing; or, the symbolical ordinances in Israel founded on real conditions of life at the time. Gradation of ordinances. Jewish fundamental articles. A hint of the eternal fundamental laws of religious and moral life.

9. Earthly, historical descent and heavenly, personal originality. Contrast of a polite world lost in symbolical mummery, usage, conventionalism, titles, and privileges, and a real, personal life coming from God and standing in God’s word and Spirit, John 7:27; John 7:29.

10. The Jews of Jerusalem sought to take Jesus,—the ultra-hierarchical and ultra-imperial party, which always in its fanatical zeal outdoes the hierarchical and absolutist government.

11. The various Christological systems of the Jews in this chapter ( John 7:15; John 7:27; John 7:42), a type of the deep and confused divisions of opinion under an apparently uniting constitution.

12. The officers and their arrest by the word of Jesus, a single point in the line of Christ’s ethico-psychological miracles. See John 2. Discussion of the miracles.

13. The expression of Christ concerning His going to Him that sent Him, the first gleam of the Christian doctrine of heaven.

14. Ye will seek Me and will not find Me. A great prophecy of Christ respecting the tragic retribution of the Jewish people. Seek and not find. To seek salvation and not find it, is the lot of a world lost in vanity; to seek and not find the Messiah, the lot of wretched Israel sunk in the vanity of the letter and of chiliastic worldliness. An ultimate rectification of the false seeking into the true seeking and finding, is not forbidden. See Rom. chs 9,11.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

See the previous heads.

Even in the Lord’s wise distinction between His brethren’s legal observance of the feast and His own voluntary appearance at the feast (as the personal truth of the feast), no guile is found in His mouth, 1 Peter 2:22.—The wonderful wisdom with which Christ prolonged His life more than a year (from the feast of Purim in John 5) after it had fallen under the deadly hostility of the Jews.—The ferment of popular opinion concerning the Lord in Jerusalem, a token of the approaching separation between His friends and enemies.—Fear of the Jews, or of the despotism of the letter an ancient and modern hindrance to faith and knowledge.—The gospel’s victorious piercing of the old Jewish hierarchy, a presage of its ever fresh piercing of all hierarchical incrustations.—The fear of man in the adherents of Jesus, over against the fearlessness in Himself.—The example of Jesus in relying on the utmost publicity against the secret plottings of a wicked party spirit.—In the midst of the feast, in the midst of the temple, the Lord appears—appears yet for a long while, though both seem already fallen into the possession of His enemies.—The lion-like spirit of the Lord, in which He seeks His lion enemy in His den: 1. Proved (a) by this incident; (b) by His previous going into the wilderness; (c) by His subsequent surrender to the judgment of the high council2. Again proved in the life of His apostles and in the course of the Church (the apostles in Jerusalem, Peter in Babylon, Paul in Rome, missions to the heathen).—The wisdom of the Lord in bringing before the people the secret design of the Jewish court to kill Him.—The offence of Jewish pride at the Lord’s call to teach: 1. The phases of it; (a) Rabbinical offence at His want of a Rabbinical education; (b) Offence of metropolitan people at His obscure birth2. Its self-contradiction in its expression: (a) He knows letters; (b) He speaks boldly, though they seek to kill Him3. Christ’s declaration in the face of it; (a) As to His school and His doctrine; (b) As to His origin.—The alliance of ecclesiastical and secular party spirit against the Lord.[FN38]—The fanaticism of the hierarchical party, always in excess of the fanaticism of the hierarchical authorities.—The words of Jesus concerning the heavenly tradition of His doctrine1. It, is not a word of man (of human invention), but a message of God, of eternal and heavenly origin2. It attests itself by the fact that whosoever desires to do the will of God must find in this doctrine the goal of his effort3. It attests the Lord who teaches it, by its looking solely to the glorifying of God, and thereby proving the freedom of Jesus from human ambition and human self-deception.—If any man will do His will, etc.; or: Christ the goal of all really sincere, devout striving.—Sincerity of will, the first and last condition of true knowledge.—The mark of a genuine witness of God, John 7:18.—The true purity of doctrine dependent on the purity of the mind in its endeavors; or, the word of truth dependent on the truth of the word.—Why go ye about to kill Me? So Christ ever turns His defence into attack.—How He unveils to the people the fearful thought of murder against the Messiah, which is germinating in them while yet they themselves think not of it.—“Thou hast a devil (demon);” so unbelief has at all times represented the Lord’s stern, cutting insight into human corruption as a morbid, melancholy conceit of His own mind.—They charge Him now with bright heedlessness, now with gloomy, demoniacal despondency or madness, because they understand not His holy mind.—Jesus often taken for crazy.—How far are the words of Jesus in John 7:21 an answer to the charge in John 7:20? They had taken offence at His work; that is the beginning of the hatred of Christ, which afterwards developed into the murder of Christ.—Christ’s vindication of His healing on the Sabbath by appeal to the circumcision which was lawful on the Sabbath.—They condemned themselves in their judgment of Jesus: 1. They vexed themselves over one work of the Lord on the Sabbath, while in circumcision they continually performed works on the Sabbath2. They broke the Sabbath for the sake of a slight necessity, while they charged the Lord’s healing of a whole sufferer as a transgression.—Law contends with law, knowledge with knowledge, letter with letter, when they are not interpreted and reconciled by the Spirit.—Christ, like Paul, overpowered the Jews with their own weapons, with their own art of Rabbinical logic.—Why Jesus did not openly reveal to the people who were troubled over His descent, the mystery of His miraculous human birth and His eternal divine nature.—How He represents the law of circumcision as a law of healing.—How He discloses as the kernel of it, a law of love, of mercy, of liberty.—“Judge not according to appearance;” or, judging according to the letter a judging according to exterior looks.—The proud contempt with which the people of quality in Jerusalem express themselves respecting the Lord, in its spiritual imbecility: (1) More fanatical than the Jewish authorities; (2) more ignorant in regard to Christ’s descent than the people; (3) wholly incapable of appreciating His spiritual greatness.—The mocking wit of the polite adversaries of the Lord in union with gross ignorance.—The testimony of Christ concerning His heavenly origin hardens the proud.—The divine origin of the doctrine of Christ in its connection with the divine origin of His being.—How imagined greatness is embittered and enraged before the evidences of true greatness.—They sought to take Him: but no Prayer of Manasseh, etc.—Impotence of the adversary against the Lord: 1. His impotence in the most diverse designs (they sought to take Him themselves, they sought to take Him through instruments). 2. Its impotence in the presence of true power: (a) of the faithful adherents of Christ; (b) of the Lord Himself; (c) of the overruling of God (His hour not yet come). 3. His impotence fully displayed just when His hour is come, when it seems almighty.—With the enmity of unbelief ripens also the heroism of faith, John 7:30-31.—The first decided attempt of the Jewish rulers upon the life of the Lord, brought on by the whispering of the people that He was the Christ.—This first attempt at the feast of tabernacles in the autumn related to the last attempt at the passover of the next year. The exalted words of Christ to the people, addressed to the servants of the chief priests in particular, John 7:33–35:1. An expression of His security in the full presentiment of His insecurity2. The language of simplicity, and yet of double meaning3. To the Jews an occasion of mockery, and yet at the same time a momentous riddle.

Yet a little while am I with you ( John 7:33): the great importance of the little while: 1. The period of grace2. The year of grace3. The day of grace4. The hour of grace.—The death of the Lord and of His people, a voluntary going home.—Killed at last, and yet even thereby escaped from His murderers.—How the Jews cannot get away from the word of Jesus: “Ye shall seek Me,” etc.—The divergent paths which separate the Lord from His despisers: 1. The path upward2. The path downward.—Christ perfectly inaccessible to His adversaries: 1. They seek Him and do not find Him2. They find Him, and bind Him, and have Him not3. They nail Him up, and bury Him, and seal the stone, and keep Him not.— Acts 26:7. The tragical hope of Israel for the Messiah: 1. How noble in its truth2. How vain in its perversion3. How prophetic in spite of its delusion.

Starke: God knows the true and better time to appear and help.—That neither He nor His apostles were instructed by men, shows the heavenly origin of His doctrine.—Cramer: In Christ are hidden all treasures of wisdom; but we must go the ordinary way, go to school, study, ask, etc., that we also may be wise.—His that sent me: 1. Because it [His doctrine] contains the whole counsel and pleasure of the Father, John 6:39-40. 2. Because it was in substance one with Moses and the prophets, through whom the Father had spoken, Hebrews 1:1. 3. Because Christ was filled with the Spirit of the Father, John 17:8. 4. Because His doctrine aimed at the glory of the Father.—Zeisius: The test of orthodox and righteous teachers: 1. Their being able to say with Christ in some measure and truth: My doctrine is not mine, but, etc.; taking their doctrine not from their own reason, but from the holy, revealed word of God2. Their seeking therein not their own glory, but the glory of God and of Christ, and directing everything towards this purpose of glorifying the name of God. Hearers also are bound on their part to obey them, on peril of their salvation.—If any man will, etc. As much as to say: I appeal to the experience of all the devout.—Majus: He who uses not the word of God with the true purpose of learning and doing it, will not be sure of its divinity.—In divine and spiritual things we must believe no one absolutely (blindly), but try every one’s doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether the man speak of himself.—Hedinger: Many are ever learning, and yet cannot come to the knowledge of the truth. Why? They hear much, and do it not.—Quesnel: A preacher must seek not his own glory, but only God’s.—Majus: He whose words and works aim only to honor God, is faithful and true, and worthy to be believed.—It is good to remind people of their evil deeds, and convince them of them: perchance some will lay it to heart and be converted, Mark 2:27.—Nova Bibl. Tab.: It is a sure mark of envy and malice, when a man censures in others, and condemns others for, what he does himself.—Ibid.: Whence come so many uncharitable, false judgments of our neighbor’s conduct? From our not seeing to the bottom of the heart, etc.—Zeisius: How can preconceived opinions but blind us, and prevent our true understanding of the Scriptures?—To the pretentious and fine-talking, who boast so much of their knowledge, we must show that they lack the best.—Ibid.: Satan with his tools cannot hurt a hair, without the will of God.—Quesnel: Simplicity and humility open the heart to divine truth, but pride and boastfulness close it.—When Christians are persecuted, openhearted confessors are commonly very few; men keep themselves so concealed, that the confession of Christ is rather a murmuring than a true confessing.—Shame, that in spiritual things carnal means are thought of, and the power of the Spirit is opposed by the arm of secular authority.—Hedinger: The season of grace lasts not forever: follow its drawing!—Canstein: It is but a little while that the pious are in the world; afterwards they will be forever separated from it by death. Therefore they can for the little time bear a little from the wicked world.—Quesnel: The death of believers is a return to their Father.—Majus: In heaven there is peace for all trouble and rest from all labor.—What the world says in mockery will often prove true to its hurt.

Von Gerlach: A sublime disposition would enable them to know divine things.—This is still the proper way to attain to the knowledge of the divine origin and matter of Christianity; to follow with the heart all traces of the divine, and thus with honest purpose to endeavor to do what God requires.—Jesus implicated the whole people, because Ho made all responsible for these purposes and acts of the rulers; without the consent of the people, the rulers, even afterwards, could not have put Jesus to death.—Penetrate to the spirit of my words, and contradictions resolve themselves!

Lisco: Obedience to Jesus leads to experience of the divine virtues of His doctrine and His gospel ( Romans 1:16), of which there are three, corresponding to the three principal faculties of the human spirit: power to enlighten (mind), to sanctify (will), to bless (heart). (From Pascal). Human things we must know in order to love (only conditionally true), divine we must love in order to know.—The Jews know indeed the true God, but they knew Him not as the true and real (they knew Him not truly in His true nature).—The lost opportunity of grace cannot be regained.—Braune: Therefore not the doing of the will of God, but even before that, the will to do the will of God, enables one to experience the truth of Christ’s assertion that His doctrine is of God. If thou only hast the will, art decided in thy wish, to do the will of God as thou know-est it from conscience, nature, education, Scripture,—this leaning of will and heart to the will of God gives (as a condition) the knowledge of the truth.—Ambition makes a man dull and unsusceptible to knowledge.

Gossner: Where is He? might one often ask in bustling church-solemnities, or in learned, flowery sermons. Where is He, the chief person?—There was much murmuring among the people concerning Him.—So Christ and His truth must be canvassed by perverse opinions. This is so to this day.—How men must avoid speaking evil of any other, but speak as much evil as possible of Jesus.—Christ comes forth at the right moment.—The world calls it learning and education, only when one has passed through many classes in a school; of another way of learning it knows nothing.—The doctrine of Jesus puts us already in heaven, and thereby evinces clearly and visibly enough its divine origin.—Those who would banish the Spirit from it, most sadly break the law and the form.

Heubner: Humanly speaking, Jesus was an uneducated Prayer of Manasseh, but He towers infinitely above all the educated.—If any man will, etc. Without religious need, without longing for God and salvation, no conviction of the truth of Christianity, no faith in Christ, is possible. To the conscience all proofs must appeal.—And it follows—which few think of—that this declaration of Jesus contains rebuke and condemnation of the strongest kind: He who cannot be convinced of the divinity of the doctrine of Jesus, etc., has no earnestness in regard to his salvation. The proposition of Christ is universal; here the universio logica holds.—Ambition is a betrayer of a calling not divine, of a self-commissioned prophet, Deuteronomy 18:15.—Thou hast a devil. How those who now so impudently clear themselves, soon after convict themselves of falsehood; for the people loudly demanded His death.—Wickedness, enmity, always judges according to appearances. Righteous judgment is only with the friends of God.—All religion is indifferentism, when men govern themselves in it by the authority of rulers; this is contrary to the principle of Protestantism.—But I know Him. The heart of the believer is an inaccessible sanctuary, from which the world cannot tear out the consciousness of salvation.—Schleiermacher: Having never learned. Literally taken, this is certainly false; for from the beginning of our Lord’s life the history informs us that He increased in Wisdom of Solomon, which means that He learned. They think there were at that time particular institutions, etc. In such a school the Lord had not learned.—We also can make a distinction between what is brought into our souls by others and developed from their own power, and what in them is the gift of the Spirit of God.—Unless man hears the voice of the divine will, he cannot know whether the doctrine of Christ is of God or not.—There is no more dangerous enemy of the true welfare of Prayer of Manasseh, of the pure salvation which we have in Christ, than spiritual pride.

Footnotes:

FN#13 - John 7:10.—[The text. rec. transfers εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν after ἀνέβη. But the position indicated in brackets is maintained by א. B. K. L, etc., and the best critics.—P. S.]

FN#14 - John 7:12.—Δέ after ἅλλοι is wanting in [א] D. G. F, etc., and in Tischendorf. [Inserted in B. L, Alf, W. and H.—P. S.]

FN#15 - John 7:15.—Lachmann and Tischendorf: οὖν instead of καί, after many authorities. Also after ἀπεκρ., John 7:16.

FN#16 - John 7:16.—[The οὖν which is wanting in the text. rec. and ignored by Lange, is well supported by א. B. T, etc. Alf, W. and H, etc.—P. S.]

FN#17 - John 7:17.—[The E. V. disregards the θέλῃ and the implied harmony of man’s will with God’s will, and might convey the idea that the mere performance of God’s commandments will lead men to a knowledge of Christ, which is not necessarily the case. Comp. Alf. in loc.—P. S.]

FN#18 - John 7:19.—[The interrogation mark should be put after the first τὸν νόμον. The question is followed by a categorical charge. So Lachm, Tischend, Meyer, Lange.—P. S.]

FN#19 - Vera21,22.—[Dr. Lange not only connects the διὰ τοῦτο with θαυμάζετε instead of δὲδωκεν, but divides the verses between τοῦτο and Μωϋσ. The latter is not done even by some editors who connect the διὰ τοῦτο grammatically with the preceding verse; but of course it should be done. The Cod. Sin. lacks the δ.τ. altogether, and reads: θαυμάζετε Μωϋσ—E. D. Y.]

FN#20 - John 7:26.—Ἀληθῶς in most MSS, B. D. K. L, etc., occurs only once, and that before ἕγνωσαν Tischendorf. Yet it is probable that the second ἀληθ has been dropped on account of the striking repetition, which, however, is very expressive and significant.

FN#21 - John 7:29.—[Text. rec. with א. D. insert δέ after ἐγώ, B. T, Vulg, Tert, Orig, Alf, W. and H. omit it.—P. S.]

FN#22 - John 7:30.—[Καί here, as in John 7:13; John 7:28 and often in John, adds an opposite thought=atque, und doch, and yet. Comp. Hartung, Partikellehre, I. p147 f. Meyer on John 7:28 : “Pronounce and emphatically, and imagine a dash after it.”—P. S.]

FN#23 - John 7:31—Ἐκ τοῦ ὅχλου δέ πολλοί Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Alf, W. and H, with B. K. L, etc. This position puts the ὅχλος in stronger contrast to the subject of ἐζήτουν, John 7:30, and is preferable to the πολ. δ. ἐκ. τ. ὅχλ. of the Rec, which is backed here by א. D.—P. S.]

FN#24 - Ibid.—Ὄτι [after ἔλέγον] before Χρ.ὅταν, is lacking in B. D. L. etc., and Lachmann [and Cod. Sin.]

FN#25 - Ibid—Instead of μήτι [text. rec.] Lachmann and Tischendorf [Alf, W. and H.] read μή [doch nicht].

FN#26 - Ibid.—The τούτων must be considered an explanatory addition. [Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, etc, omit it on the authority of the uncial MSS.—P. S.]

FN#27 - John 7:32.—[Οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καί οί φαρισαῖοι is sustained by the uncial MSS. against the reverse order of the text. rec.—P. S.]

FN#28 - John 7:34.—[The second με here and John 7:36 is omitted by the text. rec. and hence italicised in the E. V, but sustained by B. T. X.—P. S.]

FN#29 - As in the English phrase: A man of letters. Yet here it means chiefly Scripture-learning, almost the only kind of learning known among the Jews.—P. S.]

FN#30 - Just the position denoted by the covenant. The historical covenant, the field of the gratia præveniens.—E. D. Y.]

FN#31 - Cod. Sin.* omits διὰ τοῦτο altogether, and so does Tischendorf in the 8 th ed. He reads Μωϋστῆς with the article. The phrase διὰ τοῦτο in John usually stands at the beginning, not at the close of a sentence, comp. John 5:16; John 5:18; John 6:65; John 8:47; John 10:17; Revelation 17:7.—P. S.]

FN#32 - In ed5 (p301) Meyer connects διὰ τοῦτο with the following οὐχ ὅτι (as Bengel), and explains: Moses on this account gave yon circumcision, not because it is from Moses but because it is from the father’s (the patriarchs). Similarly Alford in the 6 th ed.—P. S.]

FN#33 - Similarly Alford: The distinction is between circumcision which purified only part of a Prayer of Manasseh, and that perfect and entire healing which the Lord bestowed on the cripple.—P. S.]

FN#34 - According to Meyer (5th ed. p303] the antithesis is between the healing of a single member of the body, and the whole body (but not body and soul).—P. S.]

FN#35 - Alford: “It has been questioned whether these words are to be taken ironically, interrogatively, or affirmatively. I incline to the last view for this reason: obviously no very high degree of knowledge whence He was, is implied, for they knew not Him that sent Him; see also John 8:14; John 8:19, and therefore could not know whence He was, in this sense. The answer is made in their own sense:—they knew that He was from Nazareth in Galilee, see John 7:41,—and probably that lie was called the son of Joseph. In this sense they knew whence He was, but further than this they knew not.”—P. S.]

FN#36 - Alford: “The matter here impressed on them is the genuineness, the reality of the fact: that Jesus was sent, and there was one who sent Him, though they know Him not, and consequently knew not πόθεν ἐστίν. The nearest English word would be real: but this would not convey the meaning perspicuously to the ordinary mind;—perhaps the E. V. true is better, provided it be explained to mean objectively, not subjectively, true: really existent, not ‘truthful’ which it may be questioned whether the word ἀληθίνος will bear, although it is so maintained by Euthym, Cyril, Chrys, Theophylact, Lampe, Baumgarten-Crusius, Tholuck, and many others.”—P. S.]

FN#37 - Still others: My bodily presence will be withdrawn from you; I shall be personally in a place inaccessible to you. So Alford.—P. S.]

FN#38 - A recent example: Napoleon III. and Pope Pius IX.—P. S.]


Verses 37-44

(b) Christ as the dispenser of the spirit, the real, siloam with its water of life. increasing ferment in the people

John 7:37-44

37[Now][FN39] In the last day, that [the] great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man [any one] thirst, let him come unto me, and drink 38 He that believeth on [in] me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly [body][FN40] shall flow rivers of living water39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe[FN41] on [in] him should [were about to] receive, for the Holy Ghost [the Spirit] was 40 not yet given, [omit given][FN42] because that [omit that] Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Many[FN43] [some] of the people [multitude] therefore, when they heard this saying41[these words],[FN44] said, Of a truth this is the Prophet [This is truly the Prophet.] Others said, This is the Christ. But [omit But] some [Others][FN45] said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee [Doth the Christ then come from Galilee]? 42Hath not the Scripture said, That [the] Christ cometh of [from] the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem [from Bethlehem, the town][FN46] where David was?

43So there was a division among the people [the multitude] because of him. And 44 some of them would have taken him [wished to seize him]; but no man [one] laid hands on him.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

John 7:37. In the last day.—Meyer: “As the eighth day (the 22 d Tisri according to Leviticus 23:34; Numbers 29:35; Nehemiah 8:18) was reckoned in with the seven days of the feast proper, and as, Succah, fol48, 1, the last day (אַחֲרוֹן) of the feast is the eighth, John certainly meant this day and not the seventh (Theoph, Buxtorf, Bengel, Roland, Paulus, Amnion); especially as it was customary at a later period to speak of an eight days’ celebration of the feast of tabernacles ( 2 Maccabees 10:6; Joseph. Ant. III:10, 4; Gem. Eruvin. 40, 2; Midr. Kohel. 118, 3). To this corresponds, too, the translation ἐξόδιον (finale of the feast), by which the Septuagint expresses the designation of the eighth day, עֲצֶרֶת [solemn assembly] in Leviticus 23:36; Numbers 29:35; Nehemiah 8:18. Comp. Ewald, Alterthümer, p481.” Tholuck: “A general jubilee (Plutarch calls it a Bacchanal) and splendid ceremonies of many kinds took place at this feast, so that the Rabbis were accustomed to say: He who has not seen these festivities, knows not what jubilee is. See H. Majus: Diss. de haustu aquarum.”

[Alford takes the same view as to the day, and then tries to solve the difficulty which attaches to it. “The eighth day seems here to be meant, and the last of the feast to be popularly used. But a difficulty attends this view. Our Lord certainly seems to allude here to the custom which prevailed during the seven days of the feast, of a priest bringing water in a golden vessel from the pool of Siloam with a jubilant procession to the temple, standing on the altar and pouring it. out there, together with wine, while meantime the Hallel ( Psalm 113-118) was sung. This practice was by some supposed—as the dwelling in tabernacles represented their life in the desert of old—to refer to the striking of the rock by Moses:—by others, to the rain, for which they then prayed, for the seed of the ensuing year:—by the elder Rabbis (Maimonides, cited by Stier, iv331, ed2), to Isaiah 12:3, and the effusion of the Holy Spirit in the days of the Messiah. But it was universally agreed (with the single exception of the testimony of R. Juda Hakkadosh, quoted in the tract Succa, which itself distinctly asserts the contrary), that on the eighth day this ceremony did not take place. Now, out of this difficulty I would extract what I believe to be the right interpretation. It was the eighth day, and the pouring of water did not take place. But is therefore (as Lücke will have it) all allusion to the ceremony excluded? I think not: nay, I believe it is the more natural. For seven days the ceremony had been performed, and the Hallel sung. On the eighth day the Hallel was sung, but the outpouring of the water did not take place: ‘desidcraverunt aliquid.’ ‘Then Jesus stood and cried,’ etc. Was not this the most natural time? Was it not probable that He would have said it at a time, rather even than while the ceremony itself was going on?” This accords with the view taken by Lange (see below and Doctr. and Ethical No1), but Wordsworth, Owen and others defend the usual opinion that on the eighth day as well as on those preceding, and with louder and more general expressions of joy, the priest brought forth, in a golden vessel, water from the spring of Siloam, and poured it upon the altar, and that Jesus at that very time proffered the water of life to all who would come unto Him and drink.—P. S.]

The last day of the feast of tabernacles was an especially high day, being the close of the feast (as well as of the festal season of the year), and being a Sabbath, a day on which the congregation assembled according to the law ( Leviticus 23:36), and which was therefore distinguished by a special sacrificial ritual. But one thing the day lacked, which distinguished the other days. On each of the seven preceding days, in the morning, occurred the festal water-drawing. A priest drew water daily with a large golden pitcher (holding about two pints and a half) from the spring of Siloam on the temple hill, brought it into the temple, and poured it out mingled with sacrificial wine, into two perforated dishes at the altar. The ceremony was accompanied with the sound of cymbals and trumpets, and the singing of the words of Isaiah 12:3, which Rabbi Jonathan paraphrased: “With joy shall ye receive the new doctrine from the chosen righteous.” This was the celebration of the miraculous springs which God opened for the people on their pilgrimage through the wilderness. But because the eighth day marked the entrance into Canaan, the water-drawing ceased. On this day the springs of the promised land gave their waters to the people; an emblem of the streams of spiritual blessing which Jehovah had promised to His people. To this symbolical performance the words of Jesus on the last day of the feast evidently refer (Leben Jesu, III. p619). It is of no account that, according to Rabbi Juda, the pouring out of the water took place on the eighth day also. This was probably a later supplement, if the statement is not an error.

The great day [τῇ μεγάλῃ].—That Isaiah, especially great in comparison with the other days.[FN47] See the preceding remarks. Philo also [De Septenaris II:298] observes that it was the close of the yearly feasts; i.e. of the three great feasts, not of all.

Cried, saying.—Jesus had not hitherto so openly presented Himself as the personal object of a saving faith.

If any one thirst [i.e. whosoever thirsts] let him come to me and drink.—See the observations on John 7:37. The reference of this preaching of salvation under the promise of a miraculous draught and fountain of water to the water-drawing is groundlessly considered by Meyer to be dubious. It agrees entirely with the character of the fourth Gospel, in which Jesus presents Himself in the most varied ways as the fulfilment of the Old Testament symbols. The spiritual import of the water-drawing appears in Isaiah 12:3 [“with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”]. This water-drawing must be distinguished from the devotional water-drawing on days of humiliation and fasting, 1 Samuel 7:6.

[The invitation first given to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, is here extended to all the people on the great feast in Jerusalem. The N. T. closes with a similar offer of the water of life ( Revelation 22:17). There is an inner thirst as there is an inner Prayer of Manasseh, and the former is deeper and stronger than the thirst of the body, and can only be satisfied from the fountain of life in Christ. “Under the imagery of one thirsting for water, which everywhere, and especially in countries like Palestine where the want of water is so frequently experienced, would be well understood, our Lord proffers to all such persons that which will forever satisfy the longings of the soul and give it permanent rest.” Owen. “An allusion to the water drawn in a golden vase from the pool of Siloam and poured on the altar in the temple… as a memorial of the water from the rock smitten in the wilderness, and typical of the living water of the Spirit from the true Rock ( 1 Corinthians 10:4).” Wordsworth.—P. S.]

John 7:38. He that believeth[FN48] in me, etc.—Explaining the expression: “Come unto me and drink.”—As the scripture hath said.—These words are not to be connected with πιστεύων, as if the meaning were: “He who according to the scripture believeth in Me” (Chrysostom, Calovius, and others). An ἔστι may be understood. Meyer: πιστεύων is nominat. absol. The question then Isaiah, what words of Scripture the Lord means. The expression [which follows: “out of his body shall flow rivers of living water”] does not occur literally in the Old Testament; so that Whiston and others took up the idea that it was from some canonical or apocryphal sources now lost. Against this are (1) the usage of the New Testament, (2) the general reference to “the scripture,” which, as such, seems to be intended to point rather to a promise running through the Old Testament than to any particular passage (see Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 55:1; especially Isaiah 58:11; Ezekiel 47:1 ff.; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8). Olshausen fixes particularly on those passages which promise a flowing forth of living water from the temple, the believer being considered as a living temple.[FN49] And undoubtedly Christ at least would as surely have Himself considered the true temple-fountain, as He in John 2presented Himself as the true temple. The notions of the temple ( John 2) and the fountain ( John 4) here run together. The question is whether the believer also will himself be a temple-spring. See the next paragraph.

Out of his belly (body)—Ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ. That κοιλία (בֶּטֶן) may denote in Hebrew usage the inward part, the heart, is proved by [Augustine: the inner Prayer of Manasseh, the heart’s conscience.—P. S.] The only question Isaiah, why the Lord chose the strong term. Meyer [p312] thinks it should be strictly understood of the abdomen [Bauchhöhle, as the receptacle of water taken into a man], and then this should be taken figuratively. His body shall give forth living water as a stream of a fountain (through the mouth!); without the figure, the divine grace and truth which the believer has taken from the fulness of Christ into his inner life, remains not shut up within himself, but imparts itself in overflowing abundance to others. This rendering accounts for the striking expression κοιλία no better than that of Chrysostom. Κοιλία, in the wider sense denotes any belly-like cavity [the belly of the sea, of a mountain, of a large vessel, etc.]. If we keep in view the symbolical reference to the “water-feast,” we may refer the expression to the belly of the temple hill (Gieseler [in the Studien und Kritiken, 1829, p138 f.]; see Lücke, II. p229), and also to the body of the great golden pitcher with which the priest drew the water (Bengel). We have previously (Leben Jesu, II, p945) given the former interpretation.[FN50] But as Christ Himself is the parallel of the temple hill with the spring of Siloam, so the believing Christian is well represented by the golden pitcher with which the priest drew the water; at least this enters into the choice of the expression.[FN51] The meaning is: The whole Christian is a vessel of grace emptied of vanity, filled with the Spirit. Of course the pitcher of itself yields no stream of living water; but this is just the miracle of the true life, that, being drunk ( John 4:10) or drawn in faith (as in our passage), it becomes a flowing fountain of living water. To refer the ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ to Christ (Hahn: Theologie des Neuen Testaments, I. p229 [and Gess: Person Christi, p166]), jars with the context, especially John 7:39. The living water is explained below.

[Shall flow rivers of living water.—Ποταμοί is put first in the original to emphasize the abundance. Chrysostom comments on the plural: “Rivers, not river, to show the copious and overflowing power of grace: and living water, i.e. always moving; for when the grace of the Spirit has entered into and settled in the mind, it flows freer than any fountain, and neither fails, nor empties, nor stagnates. The wisdom of Stephen, the tongue of Peter, the strength of Paul, are evidences of this. Nothing hindered them; but, like impetuous torrents, they went on, carrying everything along with them.”—P. S.]

John 7:39. But this spoke he of the Spirit which they that believe in him were about to receive.—[An explanatory remark of the Evangelist similar to the one in John 2:21. Important for apostolic exegesis. Otherwise the Evangelists never insert their own views or feelings to interrupt the flow of the objective narration which speaks best for itself.—P. S.].—According to Lightfoot the Rabbins also considered the water-pouring or libation of the feast of tabernacles as the outpouring of the divine Spirit (haustio Spiritus Sancti). [Comp. the prophetic predictions of the Messianic outpouring of the Spirit, Joel 3:1; Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:25; Ezekiel 39:29].

According to Lücke (II. p230) the “living water” is intended to mean as much as “eternal life” [ John 4:10; John 4:14], but not the Holy Spirit; and John’s exposition may be indeed “epexegetically correct, but is not exegetically accurate.”[FN52] His arguments are: (1) “The outflowing, ῥεύσουσιν ἐκ, is not a receiving (λαμβάνειν).” But the receiving is everywhere identical with faith, and the Spirit, which the believers received, also in fact flowed forth. (2) “The ῥεύσουσιν cannot be an absolute future, excluding the present.” But neither has the gospel history made the outpouring of the Holy Ghost so; for before this, in fact, a certain miraculous power already flowed forth from the apostles [comp. also John 20:22]. (3) “Olshausen, it is true, observes that even in the New Testament the Spirit is conceived under the figure of water, as the description of the Spirit as ‘poured out,’ Acts 10:45, Titus 3:6, clearly shows. But how comes it, that the corresponding emblem of water is never expressly used in the New Testament for the Holy Ghost. We have ὕδωρ τῆς ζωῆς, but never ὕδωρ τοῦ πνεύματος.” This is accounted for by the fact that the symbol arose from the contrast, so vivid to Palestinians, between the stagnant water of cisterns and the living water of springs. The legal system gave a certain measure of life, like cistern water, which did not propagate itself, and easily corrupted. The gospel dispensation of faith gave the water of life, which like a fountain replenished itself, increased, and was always fresh. And this was the Spirit. Lücke says: “The essential affinity of the expressions ζωὴ αἰώνιος and πνεῦμα is undeniable.” Here, however, is more than affinity; the two expressions denote the same life of the Spirit, only under different aspects.

Meyer rightly adduces for the correctness of the Evangelist’s explanation the strength of the term ποταμοί (to which ῥεύσουσι may be added). But when he goes on to remark, that John does not consider the Holy Ghost Himself to be meant by the living water, but only says of the whole declaration, that Jesus meant it of the Holy Ghost, leaving the Christian mind to conceive the Spirit as the Agens, as the impelling power of the stream of living water,—he runs substantially into Lücke’s interpretation.

We have only to distinguish between the Spirit of the life, as the cause, and the life of the Spirit, as the effect; carefully remembering that the cause and the effect are here not physically separate, but penetrate each other. Assuredly the words of Jesus speak directly of the operation of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit is a self-supplying spring.

On the doctrine of the Spirit of God in the Old Testament and of the Holy Ghost in the New, comp. the biblical and dogmatic theologies; Spirit is the uniting formative principle of visible life. So the air, the symbolical spirit of the earth; so the spirit in man. And the Spirit of God Isaiah, in the first place, the uniting life and formative principle of the creation ( Genesis 1:2; Psalm 33:6); then, of the life of the creature, and in particular of man ( Genesis 6:3; Psalm 104:29-30); then, of the theocracy ( Numbers 11:25, etc.). Subsequently the promise of a new kingdom (see the Prophets). So in the New Testament, the one life and formative principle of the life of Jesus, of the body of disciples, of the New Testament Church, of the new world.

For the (Holy) Ghost was not yet [οὔπωγάρἦνπνεῦμα (ἄγιον).[FN53]—For the reasons above given we keep the ἅγιον. The Spirit was already always present; the Spirit of God had evidenced Himself even in the Old Testament; but the revelation of God as Holy Ghost was not yet given. In the glorification of Christ the Spirit of God first came to view as the Holy in the specific New Testament sense. The ἦν is therefore emphatic; He was not yet present and manifest upon earth to men. The addition [δεδομένον, given, in the E. V.] in cod. B. (Lachmann) seems to be a gloss explanatory of the difficult term. Christ was conceived, in deed, by the Holy Ghost, and anointed with the fulness of the Spirit; but this was as yet a mystery to the world; the Holy Ghost could not come into the world till after the ascension of Christ, John 16:7. Hofmann (Schriftbeweis I, p196): “The outpouring of the Spirit was the demonstration of His super-mundane nature”—and of His intra-mundane existence; the appropriation of His perfect form of life and vital operation to the world (comp. Acts 19:2).—“The Macedonians were unwarranted in applying this passage against the personality of the Holy Ghost. It is metonymia causæ pro effectu.” Heubner. (Or also: metonymia existentiæ pro revelatione),

[Because Jesus was not yet glorified (ἐδοξάσθη).—By the atoning death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God the Father, from whence He promised to send and did send the Spirit, as the Spirit of the gospel redemption. In promising this Spirit, Christ expressly said that He must withdraw His visible presence from the disciples and return to the Father before the Comforter could come ( John 16:7). The previous working of the Spirit under the old dispensation was preparatory, prophetic, fragmentary and transitory, like the manifestations of the Logos before the Incarnation. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit took up His abode in the Church and in individual believers, as an immanent and permanent principle, as the Spirit of the God-Man and Saviour, as the Spirit of adoption, as the Spirit of truth and holiness, who reveals and glorifies Christ in the hearts of believers, as Christ revealed and glorified the Father, and abides with them forever.—P. S.]

John 7:40-41. When they heard the sayings [instead of this saying].—The reading: “heard the sayings,” has the weight of authorities. The total impression of Christ’s utterances at the feast is therefore intended. The “heard” is emphatic: those of the people who listened to Him with earnestness (ἀκούσαντες τῶν λόγων), said, etc.Of a truth this is the Prophet.—Meyer groundlessly says, this means the prophet who was to precede the Messiah, not the Messiah Himself; and yet it means the person promised in Deuteronomy 18:15. That Isaiah, these people are all agreed that Jesus is the Prophet in general. After this, however, they divide. Some are decided, others are not. The ἀκούσαντες separate into ἄλλοι, ἄλλοι. The former declare outright, that He is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15; He is the Messiah. The latter, who would admit Him to be the Prophet, the forerunner of the Messiah according to the Jewish theology, have a difficulty—the supposed Galilean origin of Christ. The birth of Christ in Bethlehem was unknown to them. John considers it superfluous to show up their error, and hence De Wette has gratuitously inferred that John himself did not know that Christ was born in Bethlehem.[FN54] John well knew that the conditions of faith had to lie higher and deeper than such a circumstance. Minds which sincerely yield themselves to the impression of Christ, could easily learn His origin, and so be delivered from their error.

John 7:42. Hath not the scripture.— Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Micah 5:1.—Where David was.— 1 Samuel 16.

John 7:43. So there was a division.—This division or violent split among those who accorded recognition to the Lord in different degrees, must be distinguished from the division between all those who were friendly to Him and the enemies, of whom John 7:44 at once goes on to speak, or the analogous divisions in John 9:16; John 10:18. There were at first but a few among the people, who made common cause with the hostile Pharisees. See below.

John 7:44. And some of them.—That Isaiah, not of the two preceding classes, but of the people who heard His words. As ἐξ αὐτῶν stands after ἔθελον, it is even a question whether the words should not be ἐξ ἑαυτῶν: would have taken Him of themselves, on their own responsibility. De Wette thinks they might have wished to rally the intimidated officers. But the probability is that the officers, as a secret police, as under-sheriffs, had mingled with the people; for no point is mentioned, at which they showed themselves openly; and such an arrangement would correspond with the scrupulous caution of the Sanhedrists. These hostile people, therefore, felt an impulse to open the summary process of zealotism against Jesus.—But no man laid hands on him.—They were still fettered by the counsel of God, on the one hand, the fear of the adherents of Jesus, on the other, an involuntary awe. And that the servants of the Sanhedrin did not venture to seize the Lord, we first learn in the next section.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. It yields an incongruous conception, to suppose (with Tholuck and the older expositors,) that Jesus stood and proclaimed aloud the words of John 7:37-38, while the priest was carrying that holy water through the fore-court, and the people were giving themselves up entirely to their jubilations over this symbol. Just then He would have announced that in Him was offered in reality what was there signified in symbol. So public an assault upon the temple-worship, as should assume even the appearance of a vehement rivalry, cannot be expected of the Lord. On the contrary, the eighth day, with its lack of the festal water-drawing, must have brought with it to the attendant people a sense of want, to which Jesus addressed His call with good effect. At that moment, when the symbolical lights of a legally inefficient religion were burning low and going out, the evangelical substance of the symbols appears. The points which determine the symbolical utterance of the Lord are these: (1) The water-drawing was a symbol of spiritual blessing. The redeemed of Israel, on their second return to Canaan, were to draw water on the way with joy out of the wells of salvation, Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 12:3. (2) Siloam was situated, indeed, on the temple-hill, but it rose not in the temple itself, but outside of it, at the foot of the holy mountain. So the true spirit of life was lacking in the sacerdotal worship of the temple; it appeared most in the prophetic office, symbolized by the fountain of Siloam in Isaiah 8:6. (3) Hence the prophets foretold the future priest-hood and worship of the Spirit under the figure of a stream issuing from the temple, Ezekiel 47; Joel 3:18. All Jerusalem was to become full of fountains, Zechariah 14:8; in fact the whole people was to be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, Isaiah 58:11. (4) The eighth day of the feast of tabernacles, in its symbolical place, denoted the time of this gushing life of the Spirit; hence it was primarily a day of expectation, of longing, of prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost (see Leben Jesu, II. p942). This is the Lord’s opportunity. In Him the miraculous fountain of the eighth day, for the breaking forth of which from the temple they hoped, was given to the people.

2. Out of his belly. Tholuck: “Luthardt’s observation, that ‘even the corporeal nature was to be an abode of the Holy Ghost,’—is irrelevant.” Yet this Isaiah, in fact, involved in the idea of regeneration, of the inner Prayer of Manasseh, of the members made instruments of righteousness (see Leben Jesu, II. John 945: “Their new human nature itself will become the ground whence these springs of water shall issue”). Rivers of living water. While in John 4:14, the self-replenishing of the inner life is promised, here the impartation of new life appears in its tendency to issue into the world as a stream for the refreshing of others. Comp. Tholuck, p224.

3. On the relation between the Holy Ghost and eternal life, comp. the Exegetical and Critical remarks on John 7:39.

4. For the Holy Ghost was not yet (given). In what sense? since even in the Old Testament the Spirit of God, as the Holy Spirit, inspired the prophets, 2 Peter 1:21, and was the principle of life in the devout, Isaiah 63:10-11; Psalm 51:12; Psalm 143:10. That the prophets of the Old Testament were conscious of a difference between the measure of the Spirit vouchsafed to them and the New Testament revelation of the Spirit, is shown just by the Old Testament predictions of the streams of living water (see above); of the effusion of the Spirit ( Joel 3:1); of the anointing of the Messiah with the sevenfold Spirit of God ( Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 61:1); and of the Spirit of the inward law, or of regeneration ( Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26). Tholuck: “The majority of ancient and modern commentators consider the difference only quantitative (one of degree). Chrysostom: Ἤμελλε τὸ πνεῦμα ἐκχεῖσθαι δαψιλῶς, etc. Chrysostom, however, gives a qualitative difference (difference in kind(?) not in the πνεῦμα itself, but in the aim of its operations: Εἶ χον μὲν οἱ παλαιοὶ πνεῦμα αὐτοί, ἄλλοις δὲ οὐ παρεῖχον. Such a difference in the πνεῦμα itself Augustine points out, in the fact that the Christian impartation of the Spirit was connected with miraculous gifts; so Maldonatus, the Lutheran expositors Tarnow, Hunnius, Gerhard, Loci, I, 308, Lyser, Calovius, Meyer.” Evidently this would not prove much; for the Old Testament prophets also wrought miracles. Brenz, in singularly arbitrary style: “Not till after Pentecost did the preaching de remissione peccatorum go forth, which was in the strict sense the opus Spiritus.”—This Isaiah, after all, of the centre of the thing, though not the whole thing. On the contrary Luthardt regards as the qualitative difference that which is indicated in Romans 8:15 and 2 Timothy 1:7 : “The Holy Ghost was not yet in His office; the old preaching and law were still in force.” That Isaiah, correctly, it was not yet the economy of the Holy Ghost. “Cocceius also, in opposition to the identification of the economies which was current in his time, presses this distinction of the tempus promissionis et consummationis. Equidem puto, hic evidentissime dici, adeo multum interesse inter tempus, quod antecessit glorificationem Christi et id, quod consecutum Esther,” etc. P226.—The complete exhibition of Christ and His work in history was the objective condition precedent of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost; the complete spiritual susceptibility of the disciples, as matter of history, and in them the susceptibility of the world, was the subjective condition.” Not until all the elements of the life of Christ and of His redeeming agency had appeared in objective and subjective reality, could the Spirit of the life of Christ enter into believers, and become the Spirit of believers. And not till then could it become manifest and begin an economy of its own as the Holy Ghost, who has His life personally in Himself (Leben Jesu, II:2, 946). The absolute exaltation of Christ above the world was the condition of His absolute sinking within the world, which made Him the principle of the new life in believers; this first brought into full manifestation that glory of the Holy Ghost which is a new form, and the third form of the personality of God, and at the same time a wholly gracious operation (gratia applicatrix). Yet this blessing of the life of Jesus must be distinguished from His personality itself, and the Spirit imparted to believers is not to be considered, as it is by Tholuck, “the Son of man Himself transfigured into Spirit.”

5. Important as it is that the dispensation of the Spirit he duly appreciated, it is wrong to talk, as the Montanists, the Franciscan Spiritualists, the Anabaptists, and Hegel do, of a separate age or kingdom of the Holy Ghost, supposed to lie beyond the kingdom of the Son.

6. The divisions among the disciples of Jesus themselves, of which the Evangelist tells us, are intimated also in Matthew ( John 16:14). In them is reflected the much larger division which was germinating between the friends and the enemies of Christ, and which is the main thing in the section before us. Lücke’s supposition that the ostensible objection that Jesus was not from Bethlehem, whence the Messiah ought to come, was made in particular by the scribes among the people, is gratuitous. But it could not enter into the Lord’s plan, to work upon the people with the testimony of His birth in Bethlehem; because His way was, to leave the popular notion of the Messiah quite aside, and to have His Messiahship recognized from His spirit and His work.

7. Here at last a knot of fanatical enemies of Jesus, who would fain seize Him, comes to light in a marked manner among the people themselves. It was the murderous intent of which Jesus had before testified: “Ye seek to kill Me.” They fain would, they well might; but involuntary reverence for the Lord, fear from above, and fear of the people, still restrained them.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Jesus at the feast of His people: 1. At the beginning: staying out of sight2. In the middle: appearing and teaching3. At the close: standing and calling aloud.—The last day of the feast, the most glorious.—As the hours of grace decline, Christ sounds His gracious call the louder.—How majestically Christ will stand at the last day of the feast of the world, and how loud His call will be then.—Christ the true end of all feasts.—Christ the truth and substance of every sacred feast.—Even of that feast.—As the need of salvation is a thirst, so faith is a drinking (a refreshment) in the highest and holiest sense.—Thirst, as a prophetical pointing: (1) to spiritual thirst; (2) to the spiritual refreshment of salvation; (3) to the destination of the man to be a fountain of life to others.—The call of Christ at the feast of water-pouring: 1. His invitation2. His promise.—The measure of the supply which Christ gives to the believer’s thirst: 1. The believer himself shall drink2. Out of his belly shall flow streams of living water (he shall give drink to many).—As Christians are to be lights through the light of Christ, and shepherds through the staff of Christ, so they are to be fountains of life through Christ, the fountain of salvation.—“Out of his belly (body):” Even our bodily nature is to be sanctified as a vessel of the Spirit (from mouth and hand, eye and footsteps, it should trickle and stream with blessing).—The promise of the new life a promise of the Spirit.—“The Holy Ghost was not yet:” 1. The declaration2. Its import for us.—How the outpouring of the Holy Ghost was dependent on the exaltation of Christ: 1. The world must first be perfectly reconciled, before it can be sanctified2. Christ must first transcend sensuous limitation in time and space, before He can communicate Himself to all everywhere according to His essential life3. Christ must first be fully the Lord of glory, before He can glorify Himself through the Spirit in all hearts.—In Him the world was offered up to God; therefore through Him God could enter into the world.—All parts of His redemptive manifestation were completed; therefore the Spirit of the whole could come forth.—When the manifestation of the Father was completed, it was followed by the manifestation of the Son. “When the manifestation of the Son was finished, it was followed by the manifestation of the Holy Ghost; while yet this itself was a glorifying of the Song of Solomon, and of the Father through the Son.—The glory of the dispensation of the Holy Ghost.—The different effects of the words of Christ.—The division over the words of Christ.—The division between the friends and enemies of Christ shades off among His adherents themselves ( John 7:41), and among His enemies ( John 7:44).—The hand of God overruling the hands of the enemies of Christ: 1. A hand of omnipotence (they can do nothing, so long as He restrains). 2. A hand of wisdom (they can do no harm, when He lets them loose). 3. A hand of faithfulness (they must serve His people, when He lets them prevail). 4. A hand of triumph (they must destroy their own work, and judge themselves).

Starke: What it is to thirst. To long after righteousness and salvation, Matthew 5:3; Revelation 22:17, etc.Nova Bibl. Tub.: We can most nobly keep our feast-days by coming to Jesus.—Majus: The wells of salvation are open to all men who are like dry ground.—Quesnel: In vain do we seek to satisfy our desires and quench our thirst among created things; we only thirst the more, with a thirst unquenchable, till we come to Christ.—According to the breadth and depth of the vessel of our faith will be our portion of the water.—“Rivers,” a type of overflow, Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 66:12.—Majus: True faith is like a copious fountain; it cannot restrain itself from gushing forth in holy love.—Hedinger: Christianity spreads; it is fain to communicate itself by holy conversation, testimonies of disapproval, patience, etc.—Cramer: The world will never be of one mind concerning Christ; and yet amid a multitude of divisions the true church and the true

religion can easily be maintained.—He who loves and seeks the truth, finds it. But he who contemptuously asks, What is truth? falls into error.—Quesnel: We have not so much to fear from the evil will of men, as from our own.—Ibid.: Blessed is he who is in the hand of God, whom no fleshly arm of man can hurt.—It is the method of antichrist always to use force.—Osiander: God upholds those who follow their calling in spite of all the rage and bluster of enemies, till they have finished their course.

Braune: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Faith has three constituents: Longing for the satisfaction of the most stringent wants; turning of the heart to the Saviour who helps; and reception of that which He offers, and which exactly meets the longing.—From Him, from His personality as sanctified by faith, rivers of living water, active, vigorous quickenings in rich abundance overflow to others. The believer came with thirst, with the feeling of want; and he sends forth rivers.

Gerlach: While John records the grand words of the yearning invitation and mighty promise, he feels how far they were from being fulfilled to any disciple who came to the Lord at he time he spoke them; and that the day of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost was but the beginning of their true fulfilment.

Heubner: Pfenninger: Every good thing in the world must be longed for, thirsted for; else it is not a good.—Bengel: Nothing but thirst, yet sincere thirst, is needed. To him who has a true thirst, nothing is of so great account as the satisfaction of it. Without Christ everything is dry and barren: everything should drive and draw us to Him.—The believer is not only to receive vital force for himself, but also to become a fountain of life for others.—The Spirit of God is a fulness, out of which we are to impart to others.—When Christians can give but little, they prove thereby that they themselves have not much of the Spirit.—What comes from the Spirit tastes, so to speak, like fresh spring-water, not flat like water which has grown stale in a vessel.—We lack in faith, therefore lack in the spirit.—Discord commonly arises wherever Jesus and the gospel attack men.—Thorough inquiry and thorough knowledge would have solved the doubt and discord. The authors of divisions and schisms are swelling smatterers, who have no true knowledge of the Scriptures.

Schleiermacher: We see everywhere, that the Redeemer of the old, to which His people ever persist in adhering, points them at every opportunity to the new.—But what else was the fruit which the life of the Lord was to bring forth, than just this: that the fulness of the Godhead which dwelt in Him, should pass thence to the community of believers, the whole congregation of the Lord.—Besser: There is a doubleness in the nature of the church [and of every believer]: like Abraham, she is blessed and she is a blessing ( Genesis 12:2).—She is both at once: a garden and a “fountain of gardens” ( Song of Solomon 4:15-16).

Footnotes:

FN#39 - John 7:37.—[The δέ after ἐν is not without force, and should not have been omitted in the E. V.—P. S.]

FN#40 - John 7:38.—[ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ. Alford and Conant retain the strong term of the A. V. Noyes translates: from within him; Luther and Lange: body. Κοιλιά properly means belly, abdomen, bowels, stomach, as the receptacle of food, but tropically also, in Hellenistic usage, the inward parts, the inner man, the heart (καρδία comp. the Lat. viscera), and so it is taken here by Chrysostom and others. The LXX. often interchange κοιλία and καρδία. See the Exeg.—P. S.]

FN#41 - John 7:39.—Lachmann [Alford] reads πιστεύσαντες [those who believed] instead of πιστεύοντες on the authority of B. L. T. [א. D. rel. Tischend.: πιστεύοντες.—P. S.]

FN#42 - John 7:39.—Ἄγιον [Holy before Spirit] is omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf, after the Vulgate, Itala, most versions K. T. As B. D. and others have the word, we may suppose the omission of ἅγιον to have been occasioned by doctrinal considerations, which, however, have rather made the passage more difficult than easier. Δεδομένον [given] which Lachmann, after Cod. B, retains, stands less firm. [Both ἅγιον and δεδομένον are wanting in Cod. Sin. which simply reads οὕπω γᾶρ ἥν πνεῦμα (without the article). So Tischendorf in the 8 th ed. Alford omits δεδομένον and retains ἅγιον, but puts it in brackets. Westcott and Hort put [ἅγιον] δεδομένον on the margin.—P. S.]

FN#43 - John 7:40.—Ἐκ τοῦ ὅχλου ἁκουσαντες. The πολλοί [text. rec.] or τινὲς [explanatory] are dropped, according to B. D. L. T. &c.

FN#44 - John 7:40.—Τῶν λόγων Lachmann, Tischendorf, according to [א] B. D. E. G. &c. [Cod. Sin, Tischend, Alf.: τῶν λόγων τούτων, Lat. hos sermones, verba illa, hæc verba. The text. rec. reads τὸν λόγον—P. S.]

FN#45 - John 7:41.—Instead of ἅλλοι δὲ Lachmann has οἱ δέ after B. L, etc. [Tischend. after Cod. Sin.: ἄλλοι—ἄλλοι without δέ—P. S.]

FN#46 - John 7:42.—[This is the position of the Greek, ἀπὸ Βηθλ. τῆς κώμης ὅπου—P. S.]

FN#47 - Meyer: The μεγαλότης of the eighth day consisted just in this, that it brought the great feast to a solemn close.]

FN#48 - πιστεύ ων is an emphatic absolute nominative. The predicate is not expressed, but implied in the words ποταμοίῥεύσουσιν. Such irregularity is not unfrequent in the best Greek classics. It is intended to give greater prominence to the noun, hence to the necessity of faith. Similar instances John 6:39 (πᾶν); John 17:2; Acts 7:40; Revelation 2:26 ( νικῶν–δώσω αὐτῷ); John 3:12; John 3:21; comp. Buttmann, Neutestamentl. Grammatik, p325.—P. S.]

FN#49 - The most remarkable and appropriate of these passages are Ezekiel 47:1-12, where rivers are prophetically described as issuing from under the threshold of the temple eastward ( John 7:1), and making alive and healing all that is touched by them ( John 7:9); Zechariah 14:8 : “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem” (ἐξελεύσεται ὕδωρ ζῶν ἐξ Ἰερουσαλήμ); and Isaiah 58:11, where Jehovah promises the thirsty to satisfy his soul in drought and to make him “like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” To these prophetic words the quotation applies in a free and comprehensive way, and the characteristic ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ is an interpretation in application to the individual believer. Compare here also the remarks on p 182 in regard to the fact made almost certain by recent researches that there was a living spring beneath the altar of the temple, from which all the fountains of Jerusalem were fed, the source of the “Brook that flowed hard by the oracles of God,”—the “perennial river the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God” ( Psalm 46:1).—P. S.]

FN#50 - So also Olshausen: The believer is here represented as a living temple. Alford: The temple was symbolic of the Body of the Lord (see John 2:21); and the Spirit which dwells in and flows forth from His people also, who are made like unto Him, Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:6.—P. S.]

FN#51 - This interpretation seems rather far-fetched. The cavity of a small vessel is hardly designated by belly. Besides the Christian is not only an instrument, but a living member, of Christ, and Christ Himself is in him. Godet’s reference to the rock in the wilderness, which Moses smote, so that ἐκ τ. κοιλί ας αὐτοῦ corresponds to מִמֶּנּוּ, Exodus 17:6, is still mere artificial.—P. S.]

FN#52 - Alford justly remarks that it is lamentable to see such an able and generally right-minded commentator as Lücke carping at the interpretation of an apostle, especially John, who of all men bad the deepest insight into the wonderful analogies of spiritual things. The difficulties raised by Lücke rest in his own misapprehension. John does not say that the promise of our Lord was a prophecy of what happened on the day of Pentecost, but of the Spirit which the believers were about to receive. The water of life after all is the life of the Spirit, for the “Spirit is life” and “the mind of the Spirit is life.” Romans 8:6; Romans 8:10. The communication of eternal life always implies the gift of the Spirit of Christ.—P. S.]

FN#53 - The ἦν can, of course, not refer to the essential or personal existence and previous operation of the Spirit, who is coëternal with the Father and the Song of Solomon, who manifested Himself in the creation ( Genesis 1:3; Psalm 33:6) and through the whole O. T. economy, as the organizing, preserving, enlightening, regenerating and sanctifying principle ( Genesis 6:3; Exodus 31:3; Psalm 51; Psalm 104, etc.), who inspired Moses and the prophets ( Numbers 11:25; 1 Samuel 10:19; 1 Samuel 10:26; Isaiah 61:1; 2 Peter 1:21), who overshadowed Mary at the conception of Christ ( Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35), who descended upon Him without measure at the baptism in Jordan ( John 1:32-33; John 3:35), but to the presence and working of the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ with the fulness of the accomplished redemption in the Christian Church, or to the dispensation of the Spirit, which, according to the promise of Christ ( John 14-16), commenced after His resurrection and ascension, on the day of Pentecost.

The readings δεδομένον, δοθέν, ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς, are all superfluous glosses to guard against a misunderstanding. If anything is to be supplied to ἦν, it should rather be present (aderat), or working (ἐνεργοῦν), or in the believers (ἐν πιστεύουσι) from the preceding.—P. S.]

FN#54 - Alford: “The mention of the question about Bethlehem seems to me rather to corroborate our belief that the Evangelist was well aware how the fact stood, than (De Wette) to ismply that he was ignorant of it. That no more remarks are appended, is natural. John had one great design in writing his Gospel, and does not allow it to be interfered with by explanations of matters otherwise known. Besides… if John knew nothing of the birth at Bethlehem, and yet the mother of the Lord lived with him, the inference must be that she knew nothing of it,—in other words, that it never happened.” Owen argues from this passage in favor of the importance of the genealogical tables of Matthew and Luke to answer Jewish objections like these against the acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah.—P. S.]


Verses 45-53

II

Fermentation And Pmarties In The High Council

John 7:45-53

45Then came the officers [The officers therefore came] to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought [did ye not bring] 46, 47him? The officers answered, Never man spake [spoke] like this man.[FN55] Then[FN56] answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived [led astray]? 48Have any of the rulers, or of the Pharisees believed on [in] him?[FN57] 49But this people [this multitude, rabble][FN58] who knoweth not the law[FN59] are cursed.[FN60]

50Nicodemus saith unto them (he that [formerly][FN61] came to Jesus by night [omit by night],[FN62] being one of them,) 51Doth our law judge any [a] man before it hear him [unless it first hear from him], and know [learn] what he doeth? 52They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of [from] Galilee? Search, and look [see]: for out of Galilee ariseth[FN63] no prophet.

53And every man went[FN64] unto his own house.[FN65]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

John 7:45. Then came the officers, [οἱὑπηρέται].—The inference is: As, in general, no one ventured to lay hands on Jesus, Song of Solomon, in particular, the officers did not.

To the chief priests and Pharisees.—The latter without the article. The two are here viewed in the Sanhedrin as a unit.

John 7:46. Like this man.—A well-founded addition, expressive of surprise and astonishment. Augustine: “Cujus vita est fulgur, ejus verba tonitrua.”

John 7:47. Are ye also deceived?—Even ye officers of the supreme spiritual college?

John 7:48. In this view the continuation is characteristic: Have any of the rulers, etc.—For them the authority and example of the rulers must be everything. We should not fail to notice that the testimony of the officers makes not the slightest wholesome impression upon the rulers; or rather, it extremely disturbs and excites them.

Or of the Pharisees.—As if they added this out of an evil conscience. Lest ye should not trust your governors alone, see how the whole great orthodox, aristocratic Jewish party is against Him! How inaccurate they are in both points, is immediately afterwards proved by the example of Nicodemus.

John 7:49. But this multitude.—As heroes let themselves out before their valets, so the hierarchical rulers with their ecclesiastical servants. The venerable fathers give themselves up to a fit of rage, and curse. They curse the people intrusted to them; they curse the devout among the people. But their curse is at the same time a threat of excommunication. This Isaiah, however, a cunning means of intimidating the officers, and of seducing them to exalt themselves likewise in hierarchical haughtiness above the people.

Who knoweth not the law.—What genuine hierarchs always think, Judges, and in fact expect of the people in all cases—a laic ignorance—that in special cases they cast up against them as a reproach. These are here on the way to put Christ to death, as they pretend according to law, as a false prophet, while the people are on the way to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah.

Are cursed.—Not a formula of excommunication (Kuinoel), but an intimation that the ban is impending, which in John 9:22 is hypothetically decreed against the followers of Jesus. The threat is intentionally equivocal. The emphasis assists in this: The people who know nothing, i.e., so far as they know nothing, of the law; or, what is the same, who acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah. To put the people in general under the ban, could not enter the mind of the chief priests. “The hierarchical insolence and theological self-conceit here bears a genuine historical character (comp. Gförer, Das Jahrhundert des Heils, 1Abthlg. p240). The Sanhedrists and the bigoted party of the Pharisees would pass for the supreme authority as to the truth. The common people were called even עַם הָאָרֶץ, even שֶׁקֶץ, vermin; even among the nobler sentences in Pirke Aboth, 2, 5, it is said. ‘The illiterate man is not godly.’ ” Tholuck. The Talmudists went so far in their folly as to assert that none but the learned would rise from the dead. See Lücke II. p339.

[The aristocratic contempt of the people is found everywhere in Church and State. The pride of priestcraft, kingcraft, and schoolcraft is deeply seated in the human heart. The rabies theologorum also reappears in all Christian churches and sects in times of heated controversy (e.g., the trinitarian, Christological, and sacramentarian controversies in the fourth, fifth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). Theological passions are the deepest and strongest, as religious wars (think of the Thirty Years’ War) are the fiercest.—P. S.]

John 7:50-51. Nicodemus saith unto them.—The ground seems more and more to sway under their feet. First the officers spoke in favor of Jesus. Now a colleague does so. It is noted that he had come to Jesus, though he was a member of their Christ-hating body. His words are the first public utterance of his courage to testify, though couched only in an impartial admonition from a judicial point of view. Yet they are not without an edge. The other members had cast up to the people their want of knowledge of the law; Nicodemus reminds their fanatical zeal, that it is conducting itself illegally in condemning the accused under passionate prejudice without a hearing. This was contrary to the law, Exodus 23:1 (against false accusation); Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 19:15 (the insufficiency of a single witness). They have assured the officers that no one of the rulers or Pharisees believes in Jesus; he intimates the possibility of this being untrue, at least as concerns himself.—Doth our law judge a Prayer of Manasseh, unless, etc.—Does the law do as ye do? This is an ordinance of the law: First hearing, then judgment. The law itself is here designated as the authority which is to hear the case; and probably with a purpose. Nicodemus wishes to bring out the objective nature of a pure judgment.

John 7:52. Art thou also from Galilee?—A contemptuous designation of the followers of Jesus; for most of them were from Galilee.[FN66] The angry humor of the council is not calmed but only further inflamed. A striking picture of fanaticism. Calmness and gentleness, admonition of truth and righteousness, admonition of the word of God itself,—all inflame it, because its zeal (being carnal) includes just the suppression of the sense of truth, the sense of justice, and reverence for the word of God, and is on the path of a wilful diabolical blindness and hardness.—From Galilee.—Mockery and threat combined: We should take thee for a countryman and follower of the Galilean, and not for our honorable colleague. “Galilee was despised for its remoteness from the centre of Jewish culture—‘The Galilean is a blockhead,’ says the Talmud authority—and for its mixture of heathen population.”

Search, and see: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.—These words again are characteristic of the blind, rushing unconscionable zeal, which despises everything divine and human [and does violence to history]. Not only Jonah, but Elijah of This be also, and [perhaps] Hosea and Nahum were of Galilee. Tholuck: “It is possible, however, that they followed a divergent tradition respecting the origin of the former two prophets.” [Comp. Winer, Herzog, Smith, etc. sub Elias and Jonas.] Heubner: “According to the tradition Elijah and Elisha, Hosea and Amos were Galileans; it is certain that Nahum and Jonah were. In Tiberias even a seminary was (afterwards) founded, in which were renowned Rabbins like Hakkadosh, etc. The Talmud also came from that quarter, so that the Jews now are ashamed of this proverb (see Olearius: Jesus the true Messiah, p223).”

This gross error, the modern skeptical criticism (since the time of Bretschneider) has absurdly endeavored to use as a mark of the spuriousness of the fourth Gospel. How could the Sanhedrists, with their Scriptural learning, blunder in such fashion? But how often has this criticism held the Gospels responsible for the violent blindness of fanaticism, for the mistakes of Herod, for the stupidity of the devil himself. We must not fail to notice, besides this feature of unconscious or intentional falsification of history in the mouth of the Sanhedrists, the other fact that they make an utterly irreligious point when they say: “Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” They deny, in the first place, the Galilean Israel, and in the second place, the freedom of God; and in particular the promise in Isaiah 9:1-2. To these add the third reproach, that they take not the slightest pains to ascertain the real origin of Jesus.

John 7:53. And every man went, etc.—This is usually connected with the first section of John 8. But it is a closing word, of great significance, intended to say that the Sanhedrin, after an unsuccessful attempt against the life of Jesus, found themselves compelled to separate and go home, without having accomplished their purpose. For the idea that the words refer to the return of the festal pilgrims, is unworthy of notice. Probably the Sanhedrists were in full session, expecting that Jesus would be brought before them for their condemnation. If this was Song of Solomon, this breaking up of their session was the more mortifying.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The two methods which the members of the council adopted with their officers and with their colleague Nicodemus, a type of obdurate hierarchical fanaticism in its fundamental features: (1) Perfect insensibility to the voice of truth and the dictates of conscience, and a corresponding perfectly fixed prejudice. (2) Haughtiness, rising even to crazy contempt of the people and of an entire division of the country, joined with crafty fawning upon subordinates. (3) Abusive vulgarity, arraying itself in the robe of sacerdotal and judicial dignity in execution of the judgment of God (cursing excommunicators). (4) Browbeating rejection and derision of impartial judgment, joined with impudent, intentional, or half-intentional perversion and falsification of historical fact. Bringing the voice of justice under suspicion of being a prejudiced partisan voice inflamed by partisan hatred. (5) Perpetual frustrations alternating with orders of arrogance.

2. Even in a circle so degenerate as this the Lord has His witnesses. The officers shame their superiors. The minority of one or two voices (Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea) outweighs the large majority of fanatical prejudice, and yet a while delays the judgment of God over the high council.

3. Nicodemus. The voice of impartiality and justice in defence of Christ, a prelude of the act and confession of faith.

4. As the Sanhedrin appeals to the Pharisean party as an authority, so the officers refer to their experience, and Nicodemus appeals to the law.

5. “Never man spake like this man:” the testimony of the bailiffs to the superhuman power of the word of Jesus. The victory of His word over the official order of His enemies.[FN67]

6. After victoriously withstanding the Jewish taunt, that the Christians were Galileans, and Christ was a Nazarene, Christianity afterwards again triumphs over the heathen taunt (of Celsus), that it was a vulgar religion.

7. The falsification of fact by the chief priests, continued in Matthew 28:13. The Talmudic imitation of this example. Similar frauds of the mediæval hierarchy [e.g. the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals].

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

An hour of helplessness, as an hour of visitation: 1. In itself considered: (a) The helplessness. Unmanageable officers. Opposing colleagues. Impotent adjournment, (b) The call to repentance in this situation. The officers: “Never man spake,” etc. Even ye yourselves and the Pharisees speak not like Him. His word is mightier than your order over us. Nicodemus: Ye condemn the people as not knowing the law, and ye yourselves despise the precepts of the law. (c) The impenitency in the helplessness: in the utterance to the officers, in the utterance to Nicodemus. By these their helplessness becomes a deeper inquisition and advising with hell2. As a historical type. Similar occurrences in the history of Christian martyrdom, and in the persecution of the Reformation.—The portrait of fanaticism. Contemptuous and fawning towards men. Hypocritical and cursing. Casting suspicion and lying. Threatening and taking cowardly refuge. Helpless and obstinate to the last.—Carnal zeal degenerates. It sinks gradually from intentional ignoring and falsification into actual ignorance. It condemns itself with every word: “Are ye also deceived?” etc.—They went home to their houses, but Christ went to the Mount of Olives. They went, to recover themselves in the selfish comfort of their estates; He prepared Himself for self-sacrifice.—Witnesses of the truth in the camp of Christ’s enemies.—The testimony of the officers concerning the words of Christ: 1. As their own excuse2. As an accusation against their superiors3. As a glorification of the superhuman innocence of Jesus.—According to the divine appointment, spiritual and temporal despots in the end fail of instruments.—The passive resistance of the officers.—The double measure of the Jewish rulers: 1. To the sound popular judgment of the officers they oppose the authority of their party faith2. To the sound regard of Nicodemus for authority, appealing to law, they oppose the grossest popular judgment.—“Have any of the Pharisees believed on Him?” A despotic ecclesiastical government supports itself upon a despotic party.—“Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” Falsifications of sacred history: (a) The Talmud. (b) The mediæval tradition (Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, etc.).

Nicodemus: the silent, sure advances of a true disciple of Jesus: 1. A timid but honest inquirer after truth ( John 3). 2. A calm but decided advocate of justice ( John 7). 3. A heroic confessor of the Lord, bringing his grateful offerings ( John 19).—How Nicodemus meets their boastful bluster with the words of calmness and justice: (1) The boast, that no ruler believes in Jesus. (2) The beast, that they were zealous for the law.—Carnal zeal runs deeper and deeper into blindness and obduracy: 1. To shameless reviling of the justice it professes to administer. (2) To shameless denial of the truth and history, for which it imagines itself contending.—“And every man went unto his own house.” Most of them went from a wandering assembly to a wandering house and a wandering heart, not to commune with the Lord upon their beds.—How differently they went home: 1. The enemies2. Nicodemus.—They went home, but Christ went unto the Mount of Olives.

Starke: Canstein: So the wise God deals with His enemies in the dispensation of grace: He often makes friends among their own people, children, households and servants; and therein the masters may see and should see the finger of God.—Zeisius: No Prayer of Manasseh, however great he may be in the world, is to be obeyed contrary to the word of God and a good conscience.—Quesnel: Those who issue unjust commands from the necessity and demand of their office, without knowing the unrighteousness which pervades them, are not so far from the kingdom of God as those who issue the same from envy, hatred, or other wicked affections.—Zeisius: Unlettered, honest simplicity is much better fitted to know the truth of God, than the swelling, conceited wisdom of the schools.—Hedinger: O wonderful power of a word, which can stop deluded hearts in the current of their wickedness, and convert them. Acts 9:5-6.—Even the means which are intended for an utterly base end, God can turn to the wholesome use of souls.—Bibl. Wirt.: How strangely God works with His enemies; how He makes their schemes miscarry, and confuses the game so curiously that often those who are commissioned to do evil, are compelled to do well to a good man. Numbers 23:11; Proverbs 16:7.—Masters ought to set their servants a good example for imitation, but they are often so ungodly that they rather lead them astray than aright. O what will become of them!—Majus: True conversion and confession of the truth the world calls delusion. Matthew 27:63; 2 Corinthians 6:8.—Quesnel: The world is so corrupt that it even hates those who will not join with it in persecuting the good.—Hedinger: Diabolical pride! Fear of men is less than nothing in matters of faith. Poor souls, which have no other rule of faith than the decrees of blind bishops, etc. The worst is when the state policy prescribes rules of faith.—Shame on the teachers of the law that they have left the people in such ignorance.—Lampe: It is a very small thing to be cursed by men who are themselves under the curse, when God blesses.—Majus: One man may set himself against a whole wicked assembly if only he is equipped with the whole word and Spirit of God.—Zeisius: God still always has His own even among apostate masses.

Braune: Have any of the rulers believed on Him? In the haughty exaltation of their own persons there lies a frightful contempt of others.—This is Pharisaism, which holds the external knowledge of the letter and the law of the Scripture, or theology, above religion.—Art thou also of Galilee? As a disgrace they add the falsehood: Search, and look, etc.—The fiendish joy that no ruler or Pharisee had believed in Jesus, here comes to nought.

Heubner: The humblest servants shame their masters. Those who are sent to take Jesus are themselves taken. The rulers could here see the finger of God. The Lord reigned in the midst of His enemies. To be deceived here means, to give honor to the truth. So living, simple Christians are always considered deceived.—The judgment of men is set up as the rule of faith: Courts, colleges are to decide concerning the truth. But the truth has not always been laid down by them, as we have seen in the councils.—The first trace of the gentle and timid announcement of adhesion to Jesus. Nicodemus merely insists on fair dealing with Jesus: It is unjust to begin the Processus ab exsecutione.—The opponents of revelation act substantially like these Pharisees. They begin with this: There is no Revelation, and can be none; whereas they ought to suppose and investigate at least the possibility of a true revelation.—No tribunals have proceeded more unrighteously than spiritual tribunals.

Gossner: They freely confess against their masters, in whose pay they were and whose song therefore (according to the way of the world) they should have sung—it was not the sound which so struck the people, as if He spoke vehemently, thundered and lightened; but a divine authority always lay in His gentle address. His word, in fact His very presence, struck as lightning to the heart. In this no man could speak like Him.

Schleiermacher (the officers): This is the first beginning. The ground must first be laid in the soul in a holy awe before the doctrine and the person of the Lord.

[The preaching of the gospel sometimes restrains the violence of the hand when it works no change in the heart.—When Christ appeared, the great ones of the world not only refused to believe in Him, but boasted of their unbelief as an argument of their wisdom.—Great in honor and wise in understanding, are a sweet couple, but seldom seen together.—There is no Wisdom of Solomon, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord. (From Burkitt.)—Nicodemus an example of the slow but sure work of grace, from the timid seeking of the Lord by night to this manly confession, Different ways to the same Christ, short and long direct and circuitous—Even in high places Christ may have friends of whom we know nothing.—Majorities in counsel may be wrong as well as minorities.—One man with God on his side is stronger than any majority.—One little word spoken in season may avert a persecution.—P. S.]

Footnotes:

FN#55 - John 7:46.—[Codd. א.3 a B. L. T, etc., Origen, etc., Lachmann, Tischendorf (in former edd.), Westcott and Hort. read only: ἐλάλ. οὕτως ἅνθρωπος, never man spoke thus, omitting ὡς οὖτος ἀνθρ., like this man. Tregelles and Alford retain the last words, but in brackets. Tischendorf, in his eighth ed, adopts the reading of א.* in this form: ὡς οὖτος λαλεῖὁ ἅνθρωπος. Omission is more easily accounted for (by homœotel.) than insertion. Meyer and Lange retain the clause.—P. S.]

FN#56 - John 7:47.—[The οὖν of the text. rec. after ἀπεκρίθησαν is sustained by B. T. Vulg, but omitted by א.D. Alf. Tischend.—P. S]

FN#57 - John 7:48.—[According to the more lively order of the Greek: Hath any of the rulers believed in Him, or of the Pharisees ?—P. S.]

FN#58 - John 7:49.—[Ὄχλος, multitude (Pöbelhaufe), is here used evidently with great contempt, not only to designate the persons, but to indicate their character.—P. S.]

FN#59 - Ibid.—[Some put a comma after νόμον, some a semicolon, the English V. has no stop. Dr. Lange, in his rendering of the text, adopts the semicolon, and construes thus: “But only this rabble who know nothing of the law (believe in Him); cursed are they!]” Meyer also makes ἐπάρατοί είσι ! an exclamation. The whole sentence is certainly a passionate outburst of the rabbinical rabies theologica, but no decree of excommunication (Kuinoel) which was inapplicable to the mass of the people.—P. S.]

FN#60 - Ibid.—Instead of ἐπικατάρατοι, Lachmann and Tischendorf, after [א.] B. T, Origen, etc., read ἐπάρατοι.

FN#61 - John 7:50.—[ΙΙρότερον, according to B. L. T. and others, Lachmann, Alford. But Tischendorf, ed8, with Cod. Sin.* (prima manu) omits the clause ἐλθὼν νυκτὸς πρὸς αὐτὸν πρότερον, and reads simply: Αέγει Νικόδημος πρὸς αὑτοὐς. Lachm, Alf, Mey. retain the clause with the exception of νυκτό ς; comp. John 19:39.—P. S.]

FN#62 - Ibid.—Νυκτός is only in minuscules [and in א.*]; supplied from John 3.

FN#63 - John 7:52.—Codd. B. D. K. S. [א. Vulg.] read ἐγεί ρεται. So Lachmann, Tischendorf [Alford]. The Coptic and Sahidic Versions have even the future. Meyer: “An inverted attempt to correct a historical error.” Yet ἐγήγερται [text. reel.] seems not sufficiently accredited. It makes no material difference in the sense of the passage; because the word “search” points to the past.

FN#64 - John 7:53.—The reading ἐπορεύθη is preferable to the reading ἐπορεύθησαν in D. M. S.

FN#65 - John 7:53.—[This verse is usually connected with the following section, John 8:1-11, and subject to the same critical doubts (see Text. and Gram. in John 8); hence I have italicized it.—P. S]

FN#66 - Julian the Apostate, in the fourth century, contemptuously called Christ “the Galilean,” and the Christian “Galileans.”—P. S.]

FN#67 - Involuntary witnesses of the innocence or even divinity of Christ, and the truth of the Gospel: Pontius Pilate and his wife, the centurion under the cross, Judas the traitor, Tacitus (in his account of the Neronian persecution), Celsus, Lucian, Porphyry, J. J. Rousseau, Napoleon, Strauss, Renan, etc. A collection of such testimonies to the character of Christ from the mouth or pen of enemies or skeptics see in the Appendix to my book on the Person of Christ, Boston and New York, 1865.—P. S.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on John 7:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/john-7.html. 1857-84.

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