Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 18:4

So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, "Whom do you seek?"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Judas (Jude);   Prisoners;   Prophecy;   Traitor;   Thompson Chain Reference - Christ;   Divinity;   Divinity-Humanity;   Foreknowledge;   The Topic Concordance - Judas Iscariot;   Knowledge;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gethsemane;   Jesus christ;   Judas;   Messiah;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gethsemane;   John, the Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Arrest ;   Attributes of Christ;   Endurance;   Foresight;   Gethsemane ;   Judas Iscariot (2);   Malchus ;   Mount of Olives ;   Questions and Answers;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Judas Iscariot ;   Officer;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Judas Iscariot;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Jesus knowing all things, etc. - He had gone through all his preaching, working of miracles, and passion, and had nothing to do now but to offer up himself on the cross; he therefore went forth to meet them, to deliver himself up to death.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 18:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-18.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Jesus therefore, knowing the things that were coming upon him, went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye?

Large as that company of his apprehenders was, Jesus, and not they, had complete control of the sequence of events; and Jesus at once moved effectively to prevent the arrest of any of his disciples. If he had not done so, it seems certain that the apostles also would have been arrested.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Jesus therefore knowing all things,.... As being the omniscient God, so his knowledge reaches to all persons and things, without any limitation, and restriction; though here it has a regard to all the things,

that should come upon him; even all the sufferings he should endure, which were all determined by God; agreed to by him, in the covenant of grace; predicted in the Old Testament, and foretold by himself: he knew all the circumstances that would attend his sufferings, as that he should be betrayed by Judas; be forsaken by the rest of his disciples; that the Jews would give him gall and vinegar in his thirst; and the soldiers part his garments among them: he knew the time of his sufferings; and that it was now at hand; and that Judas and his company were not far off: and therefore, went forth out of the garden, or at least from that part of it where he was, and his disciples with him: this was done to show his willingness to suffer; he

went forth of his own accord; he did not hide himself in the garden, as the first Adam did: he did not stay till those that sought his life came up to him: he went forth, not to make his escape from them, but to meet them, and make himself known unto them;

and said unto them; whom seek ye? this question was put, not out of ignorance; for he knew full well who they were seeking after: nor with a design to deceive them, and make his escape; but to show that he was not afraid of them, and that they could not have known him, nor have taken him, had he not made himself known; and offered himself to them; and which makes it appear, that he was willingly apprehended by them, and voluntarily suffered.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
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Gill, John. "Commentary on John 18:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

(3) Christ's person (but not his power) was bound by his adversaries, but only when and how he desired.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 18:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-18.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Knowing all the things that were coming upon him (ειδως παντα τα ερχομενα επ αυτονeidōs panta ta erchomena ep' auton). Mentioned already in John 13:1. He was not taken by surprise. The surrender and death of Jesus were voluntary acts, though the guilt of Judas and the rest remains.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-18.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

That should come ( τὰ ἐρχόμενα )

Literally, that are coming. The details in John 18:4-9are peculiar to John.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-18.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Иисус же, зная. Евангелист подчеркивает, что Христос с готовностью пошел на смерть. Одновременно он рассказывает, какая сила содержалась в одном лишь звуке Его голоса, дабы мы знали: нечестивые могут делать с Ним лишь то, что Он им позволяет. Он кротко отвечает, что является именно Тем, Кого они ищут. И словно порывом бури и ударом молнии простирает их ниц. Итак, у Него хватало сил связать им руки, если бы это было Ему угодно. Однако Он желал повиноваться Отцу, по установлению Которого, как Он знал, надлежало Ему умереть. Кроме того, отсюда можно вывести, сколь ужасным и страшным будет для нечестивых голос Христа, когда Он вернется для суда над миром. Тогда Он стоял как агнец, готовый к закланию, Его величие не было заметно во внешнем виде. И все же одним словом Он бросает наземь вооруженных и смелых врагов. И этим словом Он возглашает им не страшную анафему, но лишь отвечает: это Я. Что же будет, когда Он придет не для того, чтобы быть судимым людьми, но для суда над живыми и мертвыми? Не в этом презренном и отверженном виде, но в небесной славе со Своими ангелами? Кроме того, Христос хотел явить пример той силы, которую приписывает Его слову Исаия (11:4). Пророк в одиннадцатой главе среди прочих способностей Христа упоминает о том, что Он потрясет землю жезлом уст Своих и Духом уст Своих убьет нечестивого. Исполнение же этого пророчества Павел откладывает до самых последних времен (2Фес.2:8). Мы каждый день видим, как нечестивые падают от гласа Христова со всей своей гордыней и яростью. Тогда же пали ниц те, кто пришел, чтобы связать Христа. И это видимый символ того страха, который волей-неволей чувствуют все нечестивые, когда проповедуют служители Христовы. Впрочем, поскольку это качество привходяще для гласа Христова, который обычно воскрешает несчастных и погибших людей, его сила прежде всего предназначена нам, дабы вознести нас на небеса.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-18.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

Ver. 4. Went forth and said unto them] Met his enemy in the face, after he had prayed; whereas, till then, he feared. See the power of prayer. So Esther, when she had fasted and prayed, found her heart fortified against the fear of man; and putting her life in her hand, went boldly to the king. So Hudson the martyr, of whom before.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 18:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-18.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 18:4. Jesus knowing all things that should come, &c.— That were coming. Our Lord not only knew in general, that he should suffer death, but of course, as the God-man, was acquainted with all the particular circumstances of ignominy and horror that should attend his sufferings; which accordingly he largely foretold; (See Matthew 20:18-19 and the parallel places;) though many of these circumstances were as contingent as can well be imagined. It is impossible to enter aright into the heroic behaviour of our Lord Jesus, without carrying this circumstance along with us. The critics are in raptures at the gallantry of Achilles, in going to the Trojan war, when he knew, according to Homer, that he should fall there. But he must have a very low way of thinking, who does not see infinitely more fortitude in our Lord's conduct on this great occasion, when the present circumstance, so judiciously, though so modestly suggested by St. John, is duly attended to.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 18:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-18.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. How our Lord's sufferings were all foreknown to himself, before they came upon himself, before they came upon him, and yet how willingly and cheerfully did he go forth to meet them.

Should our sufferings be known unto us before they come upon us, how would it disquiet and disturb us! yea, not only discompose us, but distract us! In great wisdom, therefore, and in tender mercy, has God concealed future events from us.

But it was otherwise with Christ; he had an exact knowledge of those bitter sufferings which he was to undergo, and yet with a composed mind he goes forth to meet them: Jesus knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth.

Lord! how endearing are our obligations to thyself, that when thou knewest before-hand the bitterness of that cup, which the justice of God was about to put into thy hand, thou didst not decline to drink it off for our sakes!

Observe, 2. That it was not man's power, but Christ's own permission, which brought his sufferings upon him. How easily could Christ have delivered himself out of his enemies' hands, who with a word from his mouth caused them to go backward and fall to the ground!

Christ in speaking those words did let out a little ray or beam of his deity, and this struck them down. Mark what a strange power was here in the word of Christ, and that not an angry word neither. He did not chide them, and say, "You wretches, how dare you lay hands on me, and carry me to judgment who shall one day be your judge!" Christ only said, I am he, and down they fell.

O what fear will Christ send out when he cometh to judge the world, who could send forth such a fear when he yielded up himself to be judged and condemned in the world! If there was so much majesty in the voice of Christ, in one of the lowest acts of his humiliation, what will the voice of a glorified Christ be to sinners, when he shall come as a judge to condemn the world.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 18:4". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-18.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

4.] On εἰδὼς πάντα τὰ ἐρχ. see Matthew 26:45.

ἐξῆλθεν—probably, from the shade of the trees into the moonlight;—hardly, as De Wette and Lücke suggest, from some building in the garden.

τίνα ζητ., spoken,—as was the saying ἐφʼ ὃ πάρει, Matthew 26:50,—to carry reproof to the conscience of those addressed: and also to obtain for so solemn an act as the delivering Himself up to them, the formal declaration of their intention to take Him. “When men sought Him to make Him a king, He fled: now that they seek Him to put Him to death, He goes forth to meet them.” Stier, vi. 252, edn. 2.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 18:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-18.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 18:4. ἐξελθὼν, having gone forth) Therefore He might even still have departed.— εἶπεν, said) in order that He might turn aside the violence of the cohort (band) from the disciples: John 18:8.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 18:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-18.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This evangelist saith nothing of what the other evangelists mention, of the sign that Judas had given them, by which they should know him; nor of Judas’s kissing of him, or our Saviour’s reply to him. (John, all along his Gospel, mentions very little of what is recorded by the other evangelists). It must be supposed, that after Judas had kissed our Saviour, our Saviour himself came forth and asked him whom they looked for; hereby showing that he laid down his life, and no man took it from him: he could easily have delivered himself out of their hands, (though I think they are too charitable to Judas, who think that it was that which made Judas discover him; not that he designed his death), he had once and again before so escaped them; but now his hour was come, he freely offers himself unto his enemies, and asketh whom they looked for.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 18:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-18.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The sufferings and death of Christ were all foreseen by him, and were perfectly voluntary. He carefully avoided committing himself to his enemies, or suffering them to take him before his time had come; but then he made no attempt to escape. He even went forth and met them, and committed himself to their disposal. He went as a lamb to the slaughter; as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah 53:7-8; Acts 8:32; Acts 8:35.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-18.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.Knowing all’ that should come—John leaves to the other Evangelists to describe the humiliations of the garden and of the Judas kiss, and seizes those points in which the foreknowledge and majesty of Jesus appear rising above the inflictions he suffered. It is the same upper tone of triumph as reigns through the previous discourses, heightened to sublimity by the recollection of the degradations which the previous Gospels disclose.

John’s Gospel is therefore a supplement, not merely in external facts, but in grand views and sublime truths.

Went forth—After the traitor’s kiss, the traitor himself retreats among the band that follow him, who stand in hesitation. Jesus steps forward in firm majesty to meet the men, who appear more like culprits to be arraigned than like officers coming to arrest him.

Whom seek ye?—Not that he did not know whom they sought. Not that their leaders did not know him by the traitor’s signal. He speaks to make them confess their object, and then to show that they can attain it only by his actual permission. It is the word by which he commences the display of power exhibited in John 18:6.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-18.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John noted that when Jesus approached the leaders of the soldiers He knew their intentions (cf. John 10:14; John 10:17-18). He consistently presented Jesus" death as a voluntary self-sacrifice. Earlier in His ministry Jesus had withdrawn from conflict with officials because His hour had not yet come ( John 10:40; John 11:54), but now His hour had arrived ( John 17:1).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-18.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 18:4. Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, went forth. It is in the full knowledge of all that was about to happen that Jesus speaks and acts. In this knowledge He ‘went forth,’ not merely out of the garden, or out of the shade of the trees into the moonlight, or out of the circle of the disciples, but (taking up again the ‘went forth’ of John 18:1) to the fulfilment of the Divine purpose. At this instant the kiss of Judas mentioned by the first two Evangelists was given (Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45).

And saith unto them, Whom seek ye? The object in all probability was partly to allow them to take Him, His hour being now come; partly to direct attention to Himself, so that the disciples might escape.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-18.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 18:4. Jesus, then, not with the boldness of ignorance, but knowing , “all that was coming upon Him,” cf.Luke 14:31, , “went out” from the garden, or more probably, John 18:26, from the group of disciples, “and says, Whom seek ye?” to concentrate attention on Himself and prevent a general attack.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 18:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-18.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

upon. Greek. epi. App-101.

unto = to.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 18:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

Jesus therefore knowing all things that should come (or 'were coming') upon him went forth from the Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come (or 'were coming') upon him, went forth - from the shade of the trees, probably, into open view, indicating His sublime preparedness to meet His captors,

And said unto them, Whom seek ye? - partly to prevent a rush of the soldiery upon the disciples, as Bengel thinks (see Mark 14:51-52, which may lend some countenance to this), but still more in the exercise of that courage and majesty which so overawed them: He would not wait to be taken.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come (better, were coming) upon him.—Comp. Matthew 26:45.

Went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?—i.e., probably, went forth from the garden itself. (Comp. Note on John 18:26.) Other possible interpretations are, “went forth from the depth of the garden;” or, “went forth from the circle of the disciples standing round;” or, “went forth from the shade of the tree into the moonlight.” For the word, comp. John 18:1, and Matthew 14:14). The kiss of Judas, mentioned in all the earlier Gospels, must be placed here between “went forth” and “said unto them.”

For the question, comp. Matthew 26:50. Jesus will boldly face the danger, and direct it upon Himself, that the disciples may be saved from it (John 18:8).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
knowing
10:17,18; 13:1; 19:28; Matthew 16:21; 17:22,23; 20:18,19; 26:2,21,31; Mark 10:33,34; Luke 18:31-33; 24:6,7,44; Acts 2:28; 4:24-28; 20:22-23
Whom
1 Kings 18:10,14-18; Nehemiah 6:11; Psalms 3:6; 27:3; Proverbs 28:1; 1 Peter 4:1
Reciprocal: Genesis 37:15 - What;  2 Samuel 17:2 - I will smite;  Jeremiah 20:11 - my;  John 1:38 - What;  John 6:24 - seeking;  John 20:15 - whom;  John 21:17 - Lord;  Acts 10:21 - Behold

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 18:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-18.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 4. "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?"— εἰδὼς is used here as in ch. John 13:1 : "as He knew," or "although He knew." That Jesus, notwithstanding this knowledge, presented Himself to His enemies, is made prominent to His honour. Humanly speaking, it was to Jesus perfectly impossible to evade His capture. This is quite obvious. But the Evangelist proceeds from the assumption that supernatural means were at His disposal; and it was to His glory that He did not use these supernatural resources: comp. Matthew 26:53, where our Lord Himself says, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve lesions of angels? ἐξελθών: this must refer only to our Lord's advancing beyond the circle of the disciples, or out of His concealment. For that Jesus did not withdraw from Gethsemane, is evident from ver. 3, according to which Judas with his band entered into the garden; as also from ver. 26, where one of the servants of the high priest says to Peter, "Did not I see thee in the garden with him?" Therefore the band must have penetrated, just as here the word ἐξελθών is used also in Matthew 14:14, Mark 6:34 (comp. on John 6:3).

The question, "Whom seek ye?" is uttered on account of the answer; and to that answer was to be appended the command of Christ to let His disciples go,—a command enforced by the previous miracle of Christ's power. The express commission of the band went not beyond the taking Christ prisoner. This appeared to the high priests something so great, that they seem not to have spent a thought on the disciples. But it was obvious that the multitude, when their special duty was discharged, went beyond the letter of their function, and, in order to act in the spirit of the rulers and to deserve their thanks, laid their hands on the Apostles also." The "rulers of the Temple" who were with them were justified by their position in acting independently thus. Jesus would now suppress that desire, the presence of which the soldiers' treatment of the young man also reveals. The same narrative of the young man shows that it was only our Lord's interference that saved the Apostles from imprisonment. The Apostles they durst not touch; so they would at least lay hands on one belonging to the wider circle of the Lord's dependants.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 18:4". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-18.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4.Jesus therefore, hnowing. The Evangelist states more clearly with what readiness Christ went forward to death, but, at the same time, describes the great power which he exercised by a single word, in order to inform us that wicked men had no power over him, except so far as he gave permission.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-18.html. 1840-57.