Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 19:29

A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Death;   Hyssop;   Jesus, the Christ;   Prophecy;   Salvation;   Sponge;   Vinegar;   Wine;   Thompson Chain Reference - Hyssop;   Vinegar;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Hyssop;   Reed;   Vinegar;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Grapes;   Hyssop;   Quotations;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Persecution;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Christianity;   Humiliation of Christ;   Jesus Christ;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Crucifixion;   Hyssop;   Reed;   Sponge;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Hyssop;   Sponge;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hyssop;   John, the Gospel of;   Sponge;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Hyssop;   Medicine;   Sponge;   Vinegar;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Appreciation (of Christ);   Crucifixion;   Hyssop (2);   Psalms (2);   Septuagint;   Soldiers;   Spear;   Vinegar ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hyssop;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Sponge,;   Vinegar;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Cross;   Hyssop;   Vinegar;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Hyssop;   Sponge;   Vinegar;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Crucifixion;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for November 13;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A vessel full of vinegar - This was probably that tart small wine which we are assured was the common drink of the Roman soldiers. Our word vinegar comes from the French vin aigre, sour or tart wine; and, although it is probable that it was brought at this time for the use of the four Roman soldiers who were employed in the crucifixion of our Lord, yet it is as probable that it might have been furnished for the use of the persons crucified; who, in that lingering kind of death, must necessarily be grievously tormented with thirst. This vinegar must not be confounded with the vinegar and gall mentioned Matthew 27:34, and Mark 15:23. That, being a stupifying potion, intended to alleviate his pain, he refused to drink; but of this he took a little, and then expired, John 19:30.

And put it upon hyssop - Or, according to others, putting hyssop about it. A great variety of conjectures have been produced to solve the difficulty in this text, which is occasioned by supposing that the sponge was put on a stalk of hyssop, and that this is the reed mentioned by Matthew and Mark. It is possible that the hyssop might grow to such a size in Judea as that a stalk of it might answer the end of a reed or cane in the case mentioned here; but still it appears to me more natural to suppose that the reed was a distinct thing and that the hyssop was used only to bind the sponge fast to the reed; unless we may suppose it was added for some mystical purpose, as we find it frequently used in the Old Testament in rites of purification. The various conjectures on this point may be seen in Bowyer's Conject. and in Calmet.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 19:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-19.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

There was set there a vessel full of vinegar; so they put a sponge full of vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.

There is no way that any person, except an eyewitness, would have filled this account with so many specific details. The words before us are clearly the result of a vivid menial picture in the mind of the narrator of what he had seen. The vessel full of vinegar, the sponge, the very kind of stick used to lift it to the Lord's mouth. No forger would have dared to piece together such a narrative as this; and, besides that, there could not possibly have been any motive for doing such a thing. Matthew and Mark mention the "reed" that bore the sponge, but there are many kinds of reeds; John here spontaneously described it as "hyssop," identified with the caper plant, and usually some three or four feet long. These are the words of an eyewitness.

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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 19:29". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-19.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar,.... In a place near at hand, as Nonnus observes; not on purpose, for the sake of them that were crucified, either to refresh their spirits, or stop a too great effusion of blood, that they might continue the longer in their misery; but for the use of the soldiers who crucified Christ, vinegar being part of the allowance of Roman soldiersF13Julian. Imperator. Epist. 27. p. 161. Vid. Lydium de re militari, l. 6. c. 7. p. 245. , and what they used to drink: sometimes it was mixed with water; which mixed liquor they called "Posca"F14Salmuth. in Panciroll. rerum memorab. par. 1. Tit. 53. p. 274. , and was what even their generals sometimes used; as Scipio, Metellus, Trajan, Adrian, and others: vinegar was also used by the Jews for drink, as appears from 2:14 and "dip thy morsel in the vinegar", which Boaz's reapers had with them in the field; "because of heat", as the commentators sayF15Jarchi & Aben Ezra in loc. ; that being good to cool, and to extinguish thirst; for which reason the soldiers here offer it to Christ; though the Chaldee paraphrase of the above place makes it to be a kind of sauce or pap boiled in vinegar; and such an "Embamma" made of vinegar the Romans had, in which they dipped their foodF16Salmuth. ib. par. 2. Tit. 2. p. 83. ; but this here seems to be pure vinegar, and to be different from that which the other evangelists speak of, which was mingled with gall, or was sour wine with myrrh, Matthew 27:34. Vinegar indeed is good to revive the spirits, and hyssop, which is after mentioned, is an herb of a sweet smell; and if the reed, which the other evangelists make mention of, was the sweet calamus, as some have thought, they were all of them things of a refreshing nature: vinegar was also used for stopping bloodF17Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 31. c. 11. , when it flowed from wounds in a large quantity; and of the same use were sponges; hence TertullianF18De Spectaculis, c. 25. mentions "spongias retiariorum", the sponges of the fencers, which they had with them to stop any effusion of blood that should be made in their exercises; but then it can hardly be thought that these things should be in common prepared at crucifixions for such ends, on purpose to linger out a miserable life a little longer, which would be shocking barbarity; and especially such a provision would never be, made at this time, on such an account, since the Jews sabbath drew nigh, and they were in haste to have the executions over before that came on, that the bodies might not remain on the cross on that day; for which reason they would do nothing, at this time, however, to prolong the lives of the malefactors; wherefore it is most reasonable, that this vessel of vinegar was not set for any such purpose, but was for the use of the soldiers; and therefore this being at hand when Christ signified his thirst, they offered some of it in the following manner:

and they filled a sponge with vinegar; it being the nature of a sponge (which Nonnus here calls βλαστημα θλασσης, "a branch of the sea", because it grows there) to swallow up anything that is liquid, and which may be again squeezed and sucked out of it; hence the Jews sayF19Maimon. in Misn. Sabbat, c. 21. sect. 3. Misn. Celim, c. 9. sect. 4. of it, ספוג שבלע משקין, "the sponge which swallows up liquids"; and used it for such a purpose; "and put it upon hyssop"; meaning not the juice of hyssop, into which some have thought the sponge with vinegar was put, but the herb, and a stalk of it: the other evangelists say, it was put "upon a reed"; meaning either that the sponge with the hyssop were put about a reed, and so given him; or rather it was a stalk of hyssop, which was like a reed or cane; and in this country of Judea grew very large, sufficient for such a purpose. The hyssop with the Jews was not reckoned among herbs, but trees; see 1 Kings 4:33 and they speakF20Misn. Parah, c. 11. sect. 8. Maimon. Hilch. Parah Adumah, c. 11. sect. 7. of hyssop which they gather לעצים, "for wood"; the stalks of which therefore must be of some size; yea, they callF21Gloss. in T. Bab. Succa, fol. 13. 1. a stalk which has a top to it, קנה, "a reed", or cane; which observation seems to reconcile the other evangelists with this: and they distinguish their hyssop which was right for use from that which had an epithet joined to it; as, Roman hyssop, Grecian hyssop, wild and bastard hyssopF23Misn. Parah, c. 11. sect. 7. Negaim, c. 14. 6. T. Bab. Succa, fol. 13. 1. & Cholin, fol. 62. 2. : and some writersF24Dodonaeus, l. 4. c. 19. observe even of our common hyssop, that it has sometimes stalks of nine inches long, or longer, and hard and woody, nay, even a foot and a half; with one of which a man with his arms stretched out might possibly reach the mouth of a person on a cross: how high crosses usually were is not certain, nor was there any fixed measure for them; sometimes they were higher, and sometimes lower; the cross or gallows made by Haman for Mordecai was very high indeed, and the mouth of a person could not have been reached with an hyssop stalk; but such an one might, as was erected for Saul's sons, whose bodies on it could be reached by the beasts of the field, 2 Samuel 21:10 and so low was the cross on which Blandina the martyr suffered, as the church at Lyons relatesF25Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 1. p. 161. Vid. Lipsium de Cruce, l. 3. c. 11. , when on the cross she was exposed to beasts of prey, and became food for them: so that there is no need to suppose any fault in the text, and that instead of "hyssop" it should be read "hyssos"; which was a kind of javelin the Romans call "Pilum", about five or six foot long, which, it is supposed, one of the soldiers might have, and on it put the hyssop with the sponge and vinegar; but this conjecture is not supported by any copy, or ancient version; the Syriac version, which is a very ancient one, reads "hyssop". The Arabic and Persic versions render it, "a reed", as in the other evangelists; and the Ethiopic version has both, "they filled a sponge with vinegar, and it was set round with hyssop, and they bound it upon a reed"; and so some have thought that a bunch of hyssop was stuck round about the sponge of vinegar, which was fastened to the top of a reed; and the words will bear to be rendered; "setting it about with hyssop": this they might have out of the gardens, which were near this place, or it might grow upon the mountain itself; for we are toldF26Arabes Lexicograph. apud de Dieu in loc. , it grew in great plenty upon the mountains about Jerusalem, and that its branches were almost a cubit long. JosephusF1De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 3. sect. 4. makes mention of a village beyond Jordan called Bethezob, which, as he says, signifies the house of hyssop; perhaps so called from the large quantity of hyssop that grew near it:

and put it to his mouth; whether Christ drank of it or no is not certain; it seems by what follows as if he did; at least he took it, being offered to him: the Jews themselves sayF2Toklos Jesu, p. 17. , that Jesus said, give me a little water to drink, and they gave him חומץ חזק, "sharp vinegar"; which so far confirms the evangelic history.

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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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on John 19:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Now there was set a c vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put [it] upon hyssop, and put [it] to his mouth.

(c) Galatinus witnesses out of the book called Sanhedrin that the Jews often gave those who were executed vinegar mixed with frankincense to drink, to make them somewhat delirious: so the Jews provided charitably for the poor men's conscience who were executed.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 19:29". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-19.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon — a stalk of

hyssop, and put it to his mouth — Though a stalk of this plant does not exceed eighteen inches in length, it would suffice, as the feet of crucified persons were not raised high. “The rest said, Let be” - [that is, as would seem, ‹Stop that officious service‘] “let us see whether Elias will come to save Him” (Matthew 27:49). This was the last cruelty He was to suffer, but it was one of the most unfeeling. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice” (Luke 23:46). This “loud voice,” noticed by three of the Evangelists, does not imply, as some able interpreters contend, that our Lord‘s strength was so far from being exhausted that He needed not to die then, and surrendered up His life sooner than Nature required, merely because it was the appointed time. It was indeed the appointed time, but time that He should be “crucified through weakness” (1 Corinthians 13:4), and Nature was now reaching its utmost exhaustion. But just as even His own dying saints, particularly the martyrs of Jesus, have sometimes had such gleams of coming glory immediately before breathing their last, as to impart to them a strength to utter their feelings which has amazed the by-standers, so this mighty voice of the expiring Redeemer was nothing else but the exultant spirit of the Dying Victor, receiving the fruit of His travail just about to be embraced, and nerving the organs of utterance to an ecstatic expression of its sublime feelings (not so much in the immediately following words of tranquil surrender, in Luke, as in the final shout, recorded only by John): “FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT!” (Luke 23:46). Yes, the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. His soul has emerged from its mysterious horrors; “My God” is heard no more, but in unclouded light He yields sublime into His Father‘s hands the infinitely precious spirit - using here also the words of those matchless Psalms (Psalm 31:5) which were ever on His lips. “As the Father receives the spirit of Jesus, so Jesus receives those of the faithful” (Acts 7:59) [Bengel]. And now comes the expiring mighty shout.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-19.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

[There was set a vessel full of vinegar.] but was not this an unusual and uncustomary thing, that there should be a vessel filled with vinegar? Should it not have been rather with myrrhate wine, or wine mingled with myrrh? as it is Mark 15:23.

It seems evident, from the other evangelists, that our Saviour had the proffer of something to drink at two several times.

I. Before he was nailed to the cross, Matthew 27:33,34, "When they were come unto a place called Golgotha, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall," verse 35, "and they crucified him." It was the custom towards those that were condemned by the Sanhedrim to allow them a cup, but it was of wine mingled with myrrh or frankincense; that by drinking that their brains might intoxicate, and themselves become the more insensible of their torments, and less apprehensive of their death.

When any one was leading out to execution, they gave them to drink a little frankincense in a cup of wine. And they gave it for this reason, as it immediately follows, that their understanding might be disordered. It was a narcotic draught, on purpose to disguise and stupefy the senses.

"Wine mingled with myrrh," saith Mark;--"vinegar mingled with gall," saith Matthew. Perhaps both these were administered; for it follows, in the place above quoted, The women of quality in Jerusalem were wont to bring them this cup of their own accord. And no doubt there were women in Jerusalem enough that would not be wanting in this good office towards Jesus: but he, saith St. Mark, would not receive it. After this, it is probable, the soldiers, or some of the Jews, might, in scorn and derision, offer him a draught of vinegar and gall, of which he also refused to drink. But be it so, that there was but one cup given him, and that of vinegar mingled with gall, yet we have observed, in our notes upon Matthew 27:34, how easily these two evangelists may be reconciled.

II. As to those that were condemned by the Sanhedrim, there was no need that they should have any other drink than the intoxicating wine; for they were quickly dead, and felt no thirst. But the cross kept the wretch a long time in exquisite torment, and those torments provoked a mighty thirst. So that perhaps there might be a vessel, full either of water or something else that was drinkable, placed near the cross, by which he that was crucified might allay his thirst, as need should require. Whether this vinegar might be according to the custom of the Romans, or whether only offered at this time in sport and mockery, I will make no inquiry at present. Christ knew beforehand that vinegar would be given him when he should say, "I thirst"; and therefore did he on purpose say, "I thirst," that vinegar might be given him, and the prophecy fulfilled.

[And they filled a sponge with vinegar.] The sponge which sucks up the drink. "The sponge that drinks up any moisture that is unclean, though it be dry on the outside, yet if it fall into a furnace it defileth it."

[And put it upon hyssop.] Matthew 27:48; put it on a reed. So also St. Mark.

I. If hyssop, as the nearness of sound might persuade us it doth, then there are several kinds of it. Whatever hyssop hath an adjunct [or an epithet] is not fit; that is, to sprinkle the unclean. For there was, as it follows afterward, Grecian hyssop: fucous hyssop, perhaps of the colour of blacklead: Roman hyssop, and wild hyssop.

II. Now, that there was a sort of hyssop that grew into stalks, like canes or reeds, is evident from that which immediately follows in the next halach, where it is thus distinguished; He gathers hyssop for food, and he gathered it for wood. Partly also from Succah, where, amongst the mention that is made of canes and reeds and twigs, wherewith they were wont to cover the booths they made at the feast of Tabernacles, this hyssop is reckoned up for one.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 19:29". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-19.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Was set (εκειτοekeito). Imperfect middle. John, as eyewitness, had noticed it there.

Of vinegar (οχουςoxous). Not vinegar drugged with myrrh (Mark 15:23) and gall (Matthew 27:34) which Jesus had refused just before the crucifixion.

Sponge
(σπογγονspoggon). Old word, in N.T. only here, Mark 15:36; Matthew 27:48, our “sponge.”

They put
(περιτεντεςperithentes). Second aorist active participle of περιτιτημιperitithēmi to place around.

Upon hyssop
(υσσωπωιhussōpōi).

A reed
(καλαμωιkalamōi) as Mark and Matthew have it. The reed of the hyssop bush was only three or four feet long.

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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 19:29". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-19.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Vinegar

See on Matthew 27:48.

Hyssop

Matthew and Mark have καλάμῳ , a reed. Luke says merely that they offered Him vinegar. The vinegar mingled with gall (Matthew 27:34), or the wine mingled with myrrh (Mark 15:23) was offered to Jesus before his crucifixion as a stupefying draught. The hyssop gives a hint of the height of the cross, as the greatest length of the hyssop reed was not more than three or four feet. The vinegar in this case was offered in order to revive Christ. John does not mention the stupefying draught.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-19.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

A stalk of hyssop — Which in those countries grows exceeding large and strong. Psalm 69:21.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 19:29". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-19.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth1.

  1. So they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth. See .

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 19:29". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-19.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

A vessel full of vinegar; for the use of the soldiers, a preparation of vinegar being their common drink.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-19.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Ver. 29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar] Cold comfort: they used to give others wine to comfort them, according to Proverbs 31:6, and mingled myrrh with the wine ( granum thuris in calice vini), that might attenuate their blood, and so help to despatch them; as also to cause a giddiness in them, that they might be the less sensible of their pain. But they dealt much worse with our Saviour, mingling for him, in mockery, vinegar and gall, to add to his other misery. This he drank, that we might drink of the heavenly nepenthes, that torrent of pleasure, Psalms 16:11.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 19:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-19.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

29.] The ὄξος was the posca, the sour wine, or vinegar and water, the common drink of the Roman soldiers.

ὑσσώπῳ—an aromatic plant growing on walls, common in the south of England and on the Continent, with blue or white flowers, and having stalks about 1½ foot long, which would in this case be long enough, the feet of the crucified person not being ordinarily raised above that distance from the ground. It was much used for sprinkling, Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:4 &c.: Psalms 51:7.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 19:29". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-19.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 19:29. ὑσσώπῳ) The hyssop in those regions being larger than that of our country, suitably held with its small branches a sponge full of vinegar.— περιθέντες, putting upon the hyssop) viz. the sponge.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 19:29". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-19.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 29. See Poole on "Jn 19:28".

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 19:29". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-19.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Питье здесь не следует путать с «уксусом, смешанным с желчью», предложенным Ему по дороге на крест (Мф. 27:34), чтобы ослабить боль. Целью же этого напитка (ср. Мк. 15:36) было продлить жизнь и усилить мучение и боль. Это было дешевое, кислое вино, употреблявшееся солдатами. Применение этого слова напоминает о Пс. 68:22, где (в Септуагинте) стоит то же существительное. Иссоп – это небольшое растение, которое идеально подходит для кропления (см. Исх. 12:22).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 19:29". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-19.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

29.Hyssop—It is not well known what plant is here specified. But a sort of hyssop is described with a seedy stalk about a foot and a half long. Such a stalk would have been long enough to reach the mouth of a crucified person, inasmuch as the cross was not usually very elevated.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-19.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘There was set there a vessel full of sour wine. So they put a sponge full of sour wine on hyssop and brought it to his mouth.’

Near the cross was a vessel of sour wine. ‘Sour wine’ was soldiers’ wine and it was natural that the escort would have wine there to satisfy their needs and keep out the cold. It may therefore be that it was one of the soldiers who took pity on Jesus. But what a vivid picture we have here. The Saviour of the world, having died for the redemption of the world, receives from it cheap, sour wine when they should have laid the world at His feet. Yet we must not denigrate the act. It was remembered in Heaven.

‘On hyssop’. Because hyssop as known to us does not have a long stalk it has been suggested that a pike or javelin was used (necessitating a slight change in the Greek). But a long stalk would not be necessary. Jesus would be hung just off the ground and easily reachable. Besides the term hyssop may have been loosely applied to more than one plant, and part of the significance here is what hyssop indicated for it was connected with sacrifice and with the Passover (Exodus 12:22).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-19.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Evidently it was customary to offer wine vinegar (Gr. oxos) to the victims of crucifixion since John described the jar of it as "standing there" or "set there." Only John mentioned that the soldiers put the sponge soaked with wine vinegar on a branch of hyssop that they extended to Jesus. Hyssop was readily available since it grew out of many rocky crevices as a weed. The hyssop reference may simply be a detail in the testimony of an eyewitness to Jesus" crucifixion. However, it may hint at Jesus being the Lamb of God since the Jews used hyssop to sprinkle blood on their doorposts and lintels at Passover (cf. Exodus 12:22; 1 Corinthians 5:7). The sponge was evidently small enough so Jesus could put at least some of it in His mouth. The hyssop branch was obviously strong enough to remain erect under the sponge"s weight. Jesus was probably not extremely high above ground level as He hung on the cross, many famous paintings notwithstanding (cf. John 3:14).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-19.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 19:29. There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: they put therefore a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth. It is possible that the vinegar here referred to may have been the mixture of vinegar and water used by the Roman soldiers to quench their thirst; or it may even have been a vessel of vinegar itself, of which large quantities were used at the Passover. The ‘hyssop’ cannot be equivalent to the ‘reed’ of Matthew 27:48 and Mark 15:36, for the hyssop plant was of too low and bushy a habit to supply a reed. It is simply a small bunch of hyssop, which was most probably attached to the end of a reed. A piece of sponge soaked in vinegar was fastened to the hyssop end of the rod, and the draught was in this way conveyed to the lips of Jesus.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-19.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 19:29. —“There was set a vessel full of vinegar”; the mention of the vessel betrays the eye-witness. “The Synoptists do not mention the , but John had stood beside it.” Plummer. , the vinegar used by soldiers. [Ulpian says: “vinum atque acetum milites nostri solent percipere, uno die vinum, alio die acetum”. Keim, vi. 162.] Here it seems to have been provided for the crucified, for as Weiss and Plummer observe, there were a sponge and a hyssop-reed also at hand. , i.e., the soldiers, but cf.Mark 15:36; ’ They filled a sponge, because a cup was impracticable, and put it round a stalk of hyssop, and thus applied the restorative to His mouth. The plant called “hyssop” has not been identified. All that was requisite was a reed (cf. , Matthew 27:48, Mark 15:36) of two or three feet long, as the crucified was only slightly elevated.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 19:29". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-19.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Now. All the texts omit.

vinegar. See note

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 19:29". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-19.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and, put it to his mouth. The offer of the soldiers' vinegar, on His arriving at Golgotha, might seem to have sufficiently fulfilled the Scripture prediction on this subject already. But our Lord only regards this as properly done when done by "His own," who "received Him not." But in this case it is probable, as in the former, that "when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink it." Though a stalk of hyssop does not exceed 18 inches in length, it would suffice, as the feet of crucified persons were not raised higher. At this time, some said, "Let alone" [ afete (Greek #863)] - that is, probably, 'Stand off,' 'Stop that officious service' - "let us see whether Elias will come to take him down." This was the last cruelty which He was to suffer, and it was one of the most unfeeling.

JESUS UTTERS THE SIXTH OF HIS SEVEN SAYINGS ON THE CROSS

It is remarkable that while we have this glorious Saying only in the fourth Gospel, we have the manner in which it was uttered in the first three, and not in the fourth.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-19.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(29) Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar.—This vessel of the ordinary sour wine drunk by the Roman soldiers, was placed near in order to be given to those who were crucified. Thirst was always an accompaniment of death by crucifixion, and that the vessel of wine was prepared for this purpose is made probable by the mention of the sponge and hyssop (Comp. Note on Matthew 27:48.)

And put it upon hyssop.—This detail is peculiar to St. John. Bochart (Hierozoicon, i. 2, 50) thinks that the plant was marjoram, or some plant like it, and he is borne out by ancient tradition. The stalks, from a foot to a foot and a half high, would be sufficient to reach to the cross. The plant is named in one other passage in the New Testament (Hebrews 9:19), and is frequent in the Greek of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word is çzôv, and the identification must always be uncertain, because we cannot know whether the Greek translation is based upon an identification of the plant, or upon a similarity in the sound of the names.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
was set
Matthew 27:34,48; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36
hyssop
This hyssop is termed a reed by Matthew and Mark; and it appears that a species of hyssop, with a reedy stalk, about two feet long, grew about Jerusalem.
Exodus 12:22; Numbers 19:18; 1 Kings 4:33; Psalms 51:7
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 12:15 - that he might;  Psalm 69:21 - gall for my meat

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 19:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-19.html.

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

Ver. 29. "Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth."

Meyer's remark here is erroneous: " ὄξος is sour soldiers' wine, posca. John says nothing of the stupefying draught which Jesus rejected." It is against the soldiers' wine which expositors have invented, that besides the vessel with vinegar, the sponge also and the reed were in readiness. This shows that the provision was made for malefactors. Of any "stupefying draught" the other three Evangelists are quite unconscious. The potion must have been another and a worse one than mere soldiers' wine, otherwise the design for which our Saviour said "I thirst" would not have been accomplished, and Psalms 69:21 would be quite unsuitable. The necessary consequence of Meyer's view, "In Psalms 69:21 the offering of vinegar is the act of scorn and wickedness, which does not suit here," is sufficient, at the same time, for its refutation.

Instead of the reed, κάλαμος, in Matthew, John mentions specifically the hyssop. This would have been a refinement, if he had not viewed the hyssop with a theological eye. It is striking also, that instead κάλαμος ὑσσώπου, he says barely ὑσσώπος. This of itself gives us reason to suppose that here there is an allusion to a passage of the Old Testament in which hyssop is mentioned, but not the reed of hyssop. The hyssop is in the Mosaic law (comp. Hebrews 9:13), and in Psalms 51:9, which comes strictly into consideration here, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean," the symbol of expiation. (Comp. my Commentary on the Psalms, and Egypt and the Books of Moses.) To the Evangelist the hyssop with the sponge of vinegar, the hyssop of mockery, forms a memorable contrast to the hyssop of atonement; and he regards it as a Divine arrangement that the reed was no other than a branch of hyssop. Celsius gives us the most complete explanations of the natural history of hyssop (Hierobotan. i. 407). In the Talmudic tract Succa, hyssop is mentioned among the branches which were used at the Feast of Tabernacles. Abulfadli (in Celsius) says that it reached nearly the height of an ell. The cross being so low, this was sufficient.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 19:29". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-19.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

29.And, having filled a sponge with vinegar, they fixed it on hyssop. When he says that they fixed the sponge on hyssop, the meaning is, that they fastened it to the end of a bunch of hyssop, that it might be raised to Christ’s mouth; for, in that country, hyssops grow as large as small shrubs, (180)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:29". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.