Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 2:20

The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Temple;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Resurrection;   Thompson Chain Reference - Discernment-Dullness;   Misunderstood Truth;   Temple;   Truth;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Power of Christ, the;   Resurrection of Christ, the;   Temple, the Second;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Herod;   Jerusalem;   Resurrection;   Signs;   Temple;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Jesus Christ;   Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Marriage;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Herod the Great;   Palestine;   Resurrection of Christ;   Temple, Herod's;   Woman;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Chronology;   Jerusalem;   Jesus Christ;   Jordan;   Miracles;   Temple;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Herod;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Jews in the New Testament;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Chronology of the New Testament;   Faith;   Jesus Christ;   Marriage;   Mary;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Dates (2);   Herod ;   Impotence;   Jerusalem (2);   Luke, Gospel According to;   Manliness;   Mission;   Nation (2);   Temple (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Edification;   New Testament;   Temple, the;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cana;   Christ;   Passover;   Resurrection;   Temple;   Veil;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Herod;   Temple;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Her'od;   Temple;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Chronology of the New Testament;   Herod;   Jesus Christ (Part 1 of 2);   John the Baptist;   Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Temple of Herod;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for June 2;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Forty and six years was this temple in building - The temple of which the Jews spake was begun to be rebuilt by Herod the Great, in the 18th year of his reign: Josephus. Ant. b. xv. c. 11, s. 1; and xx. c. 9, s. 5, 7. But though he finished the main work in nine years and a half, yet some additional buildings or repairs were constantly carried on for many years afterwards. Herod began the work sixteen years before the birth of our Lord: the transactions which are here related took place in the thirtieth year of our Lord, which make the term exactly forty-six years. Rosenmuller. Josephus, Ant. b. xx. c. 8, s. 5, 7, has told us that the whole of the buildings belonging to the temple were not finished till Nero's reign, when Albinus, the governor of Judea, was succeeded by Gessius Florus, which was eighty years after the eighteenth year of Herod's reign. See Bp. Pearce.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 2:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Then said the Jews … - The Jews, either from the ambiguity of his language, or more probably from a design to cavil, understood him as speaking of the temple at Jerusalem. What he said here is all the evidence that they could adduce on his trial Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58, and they reproached him with it when on the cross, Matthew 27:40. The Jews frequently perverted our Saviour‘s meaning. The language which he used was often that of parables or metaphor; and as they Sought to misunderstand him and pervert his language, so he often left them to their own delusions, as he himself says, “that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand,” Matthew 13:13. This was a case which they “might,” if they had been disposed, have easily understood. They were in the temple; the conversation was about the temple; and though he probably pointed to his body, or designated it in some plain way, yet they chose to understand him as referring to the temple itself; and as it appeared so improbable that he could raise up that in three days, they sought to pervert his words and pour ridicule on his pretensions.

Forty and six years … - The temple in which they then were was that which was commonly called “the second temple,” built after the return of the Jews from Babylon. See the notes at Matthew 21:12. This temple Herod the Great commenced repairing, or began to rebuild, in the eighteenth year of his reign - that is, sixteen years before the birth of Christ (Jos. ‹Ant.,‘ b. xv. Section 1). The main body of the temple he completed in “nine years and a half” (Jos. ‹Ant.,‘ xv. 5,6), yet the temple, with its outbuildings, was not entirely complete in the time of our Saviour. Herod continued to ornament it and to perfect it even until the time of Agrippa (Jos. ‹Ant.,‘ b. xx. chapter viii. Section 11). As Herod began to rebuild the temple sixteen years before the birth of Jesus, and as what is here mentioned happened in the thirtieth year of the age of Jesus, so the time which had been occupied in it was “forty-six years.” This circumstance is one of the many in the New Testament which show the accuracy of the evangelists, and which prove that they were well acquainted with what they recorded. It demonstrates that their narration is true. Impostors do not trouble themselves to be very accurate about names and dates, and there is nothing in which they are more liable to make mistakes.

Wilt thou … - This is an expression of contempt. Herod, with all his wealth and power, had been engaged in this work almost half a century. Can you, an obscure and unknown Galilean, accomplish it in three days? The thing, in their judgment, was ridiculous, and showed, as “they” supposed, that he had no authority to do what he had done in the temple.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up, in three days?

At this point, it is possible to check the historicity of John's Gospel; and it is no surprise to find it exactly accurate. Herod the Great began building the temple in 20-19 B.C.[19] Adding 46 years to that date brings the time of this first cleansing to 27-28 A.D. and adds strong evidence for the early date of this cleansing. Of course, the Jews construed Jesus' words in the most literal fashion possible, and with such a lack of perception that they naturally considered his claim ridiculous. At the time of the trials before his crucifixion, Jesus' enemies presented a garbled version of his words here as "evidence"! It is clear enough why those men could not understand Jesus, but it is disconcerting that some Christians cannot seem to understand him.

ENDNOTE:

[19] Ibid.

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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 2:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then said the Jews,.... Unto him, as read the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions:

forty and six years was this temple in building; which cannot be understood of the temple as built by Solomon, for that was but seven years in building, 1 Kings 6:37. But rather of the temple, as built by Zorobabel, commonly called the second temple, and might be more properly said to be "this temple"; the calculations of this made by learned men, are various and endless to recite. Daniel's seven weeks, or forty nine days, which are so many years, can have nothing to do with this account; since they regard not the building of the temple, but the city of Jerusalem; though from the second year of Cyrus, in which the temple began to be built, to the thirty second of Darius exclusive, were just forty six years; Cyrus reigning three years, Artaxerxes Ahasuerus fourteen years, and Artaxerxes Darius thirty two; but their account is more likely, which begins at the first of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who reigned forty years, and ends in the sixth year of Darius, his successor, in which year the temple was finished, Ezra 6:15. But to me it seems rather, that Herod's temple, or the temple as rebuilt, or repaired by Herod, is here meant; and which the Jews call, בניין הורודוס, "the building of Herod"F7T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 4. 1. ; and say of it, that

"he who has not seen Herod's building, never saw a beautiful building.'

And this, according to JosephusF8Antiqu. Jud. l. 15. c. 14. , was begun in the "eighteenth" year of his reign, in the "thirty fifth" of which Christ was born, who was now "thirty" years of age: so that reckoning either the eighteenth year of Herod, or the thirtieth of Christ, the present year exclusively, just forty six years had run out, since the rebuilding or reparations were first begun; and which were not yet finished; for some years after this, the above writer observesF9Antiqu. Jud. l. 20. c. 8. , the temple was finished, even in the times of Nero and Agrippa: and agreeably to this, the words may be rendered, "forty six years has this temple been building"; and which still adds more force to the following reasoning of the Jews:

and wilt thou rear it up in three days? the thing is impossible and impracticable; it is madness to the last degree, to talk at this rate: thus from the length of time which had run out from Herod's first beginning to repair and beautify the temple, till now, and yet not finished, they argue the absurdity of his pretending to raise up such a fabric, should it be demolished, in three days time; they understanding him either ignorantly or wilfully, to speak of the material temple, when his sense was otherwise, as appears from the words of the evangelist, in the next verse. The JewF11R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 43. p. 434. objects to this account, of the temple being forty six years in building; he observes, that

"according to the sense of the Nazarenes, this was the building of king Herod, that was in the time of Jesus; and the whole time of his reign were but seven and thirty years, as is manifest from the book of Joseph ben Gorion, c. 65. Besides, that which Herod built, was built in eight years, as is evident from the same author, c. 55, wherefore the number of forty six years, in the words of the writer, (the evangelist,) is, a palpable error.'

To which may be replied, that admitting there is an error in this number, it is not the error of the evangelist, but of the Jews, whose words the evangelist relates; and supposing this was a mistake of theirs, either ignorantly or wilfully made, to aggravate the absurdity and impossibility of Christ's rebuilding the temple; and that even the evangelist knew it to be a mistake; yet he acts the most faithful and upright part, in repeating the words of the Jews, as they delivered them; and it lies upon the Jew to prove, that these words were not said by them, or that it is not credible that they should: that this was the building of Herod which is here referred to; and that he reigned but thirty seven years, will be granted; but this is no objection to its being forty six years in building, since in this account it is not said that it was forty six years in building by Herod; the sense is only, that such a number of years had passed, since it first began to be built by him: as for what Joseph ben Gorion says, of its being built by him in the space of eight years, it is not to be depended upon, since he is not the true Josephus, that wrote the history of the Jews, and is to be corrected by the genuine historian; and from what has been before observed, from the time which, according to the true Josephus, this building was begun, to this present year of Christ, when this discourse was had, were just forty six years; and admitting, that the main of the building was finished in eight years time, yet additions were continually made to it, so that it was not finished entirely, until many years after.

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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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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 2:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Forty and six years — From the eighteenth year of Herod till then was just forty-six years [Josephus, Antiquities, 15.11.1].

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-2.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

20. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

[Forty-and-six years.] I. That this was spoken of the Temple as beautified and repaired by Herod, not as built by Zorobabel, these reasons seem to sway with me:

1. That these things were done and discoursed betwixt Christ and the Jews in Herod's Temple.

2. That the account, if meant of the Temple of Zorobabel, will not fall in either with the years of the kings of Persia; or those seven weeks mentioned Daniel 9:25, in which Jerusalem was to be built, "even in troublous times." For whoever reckons by the kings of Persia, he must necessarily attribute at least thirty years to Cyrus; which they willingly do that are fond of this account: which thirty years too, if they do not reckon to him after the time that he had taken Babylon, and subverted that monarchy, they prove nothing as to this computation at all.

"Cyrus destroyed the empire of the Medes, and reigned over Persia, having overthrown Astyages, the king of the Medes": and from thence Eusebius reckons to Cyrus thirty years. But by what authority he ascribes the Jews' being set at liberty from their captivity to that very same year, I cannot tell. For Cyrus could not release the Jews from their captivity in Babylon before he had conquered Babylon for himself; and this was a great while after he had subdued the Medes, as appears from all that have treated upon the subversion of that empire: which how they agree with Xenophon, I shall not inquire at this time: content at present with this, that it doth not appear amongst any historians that have committed the acts of Cyrus to memory, that they have given thirty or twenty, no, not ten years to him after he had taken Babylon. Leunclavius gives him but eight years; and Xenophon himself seems to have given him but seven. So that this account of forty-and-six years falls plainly to the ground, as not being able to stand, but with the whole thirty years of Cyrus included into the number.

Their opinion is more probable who make these forty-and-six years parallel with the seven weeks in Daniel 9:25. But the building of the Temple ceased for more years than wherein it was built; and, in truth, if we compute the times wherein any work was done upon the Temple, it was really built within the space of ten years.

II. This number of forty-six years fits well enough with Herod's Temple; for Josephus tells us, that Herod began the work in the eighteenth year of his reign; nor does he contradict himself when he tells us, in the fifteenth year of his reign he repaired the Temple; because the fifteenth year of his reign alone, after he had conquered Antigonus, was the eighteenth year from the time wherein he had been declared king by the Romans. Now Herod (as the same Josephus relates) lived thirty-seven years from the time that the Romans had declared him king; and in his thirty-fifth year Christ was born; and he was now thirty years old when he had this discourse with the Jews. So that between the eighteenth of Herod and the thirtieth of Christ exclusively there were just forty-six years complete.

III. The words of our evangelist therefore may be thus rendered in English: "Forty-and-six years hath this Temple been in building": and this version seems warranted by Josephus, who, beginning the history of G. Florus, the procurator of Judea, about the 11th of Nero, hath this passage; From that time particularly our city began to languish, all things growing worse and worse. He tells us further, that Albinus, when he went off from his government, set open all the gaols and dismissed the prisoners, and so filled the whole province with thieves and robberies. He tells withal, that king Agrippa permitted the Levite singing-men to go about as they pleased in their linen garments: and at length concludes, "And now was the Temple finished [note that]; wherefore the people, seeing the workmen, to the number of eighteen thousand, were at a stand, having nothing to do...besought the king that he would repair the porch upon the east," &c. If therefore the Temple was not finished till that time, then much less was it so when Christ was in it. Whence we may properly enough render those words of the Jews into such a kind of sense as this: "It is forty-and-six years since the repairing of the Temple was first undertook, and indeed to this day is not quite perfected; and wilt thou pretend to build a new one in three days?"

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 2:20". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-2.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Forty and six years was this temple in building (Τεσσερακοντα και εχ ετεσιν οικοδομητη ο ναος ουτοςTesserakonta kai hex etesin oikodomēthē ho naos houtos). “Within forty and six years (associative instrumental case) was built (first aorist passive indicative, constative or summary use of the aorist, of οικοδομεωoikodomeō without augment) this temple.” As a matter of fact, it was not yet finished, so distrustful had the Jews been of Herod.

And wilt thou? (και συkai su). An evident sneer in the use of συsu (thou, an unknown upstart from Galilee, of the peasant class, not one of the Sanhedrin, not one of the ecclesiastics or even architects).

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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 2:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Forty and six years was this temple in building ( τεσσαράκοντα καὶ ἓξ ἔτεσιν ῷκοδομήθη ὁ ναὸς οὗτος )

Literally, In forty and six years was this temple built. It was spoken of as completed, although not finished until thirty-six years later.

Thou

The position of the Greek pronoun makes it emphatic.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

Forty and six years — Just so many years before the time of this conversation, Herod the Great had begun his most magnificent reparation of the temple, (one part after another,) which he continued all his life, and which was now going on, and was continued thirty-six years longer, till within six or seven years of the destruction of the state, city, and temple by the Romans.

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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 2:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-2.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building1, and wilt thou raise it up in three days2?

  1. Forty and six years was this temple in building. The temple which then stood upon Mt. Moriah was the third structure which had occupied that site. The first temple, built by Solomon (B.C. 1012-1005), was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The second temple, built by Zerubbabel and Jeshua (B.C. 520), had been torn down and rebuilt by Herod the Great, but in such a manner as not to interfere with the temple service. The sanctuary was completed in one year and a half, while the courts required eight years. Josephus says 18,000 workmen were employed in its erection. Additional outbuildings and other work was not completed until A.D. 64).

  2. And wilt thou raise it up in three days? To put before him the difficulty of what he apparently proposed to do, they merely mention one item--time. They say nothing of the army of workmen, nothing of a variety and cost of material, nothing of the skill required in the process of construction. How impossible seemed his offer! Yet by no means so impossible as that real offer which they misunderstood. A man might rear a temple in three days, but, apart from Christ Jesus, self- resurrection is unknown to history.

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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 2:20". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-2.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Some have supposed that Jesus indicated by a gesture that he referred to his own body, and that the Jews wilfully perverted his meaning. But this is a conjecture, which, instead of improving, destroys the force and beauty of the reply. It was undoubtedly intended as an enigma which time was to explain; for it is clear, from John 2:22, that even his disciples did not understand him.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-2.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Сорок шесть лет. Это согласуется с подсчетом Даниила (9:25). Ибо он говорит о семи седмицах, равных сорока девяти годам. Но храм был построен еще до окончания этого срока. То же, что в рассказе Ездры упоминается менее продолжительное время, хотя и кажется противоречием, никак не опровергает слова пророка. Ибо жертвы стали приноситься по воздвижении святилища, прежде чем здание храма было сооружено полностью. Потом строительство было отложено на долгое время по причине народной лени, как явствует из сетований пророка Аггея (1:4). Он сурово винит иудеев в том, что, будучи весьма проворными в постройке собственных жилищ, они оставили храм Божий недостроенным. Но ведь иудеи спрашивали Христа о храме, построенном царем Иродом приблизительно за сорок лет до этих событий? Ибо, как повествует Иосиф в последней главе пятнадцатой книги «Иудейских Древностей», Ирод паче всех чаяний отстроил тогдашний храм за восемь лет, хотя постройка была весьма величественной и затратной. Мне кажется правдоподобным, что к новому строительству храма иудеи относились так, словно старый храм продолжал пребывать незыблемым, в чем проявляется великое почтение к этому зданию. Таким образом, иудеи говорили по обычаю того времени, утверждая, что храм с большим трудом был построен отцами за сорок шесть лет.

Кроме того, это ясно показывает, с каким настроем они добивались чуда. Ведь если бы они готовы были повиноваться посланному Богом пророку, то не отвергли бы с такой надменностью сказанное Им в доказательство Своей миссии. Они желали иметь свидетельство божественной силы, и между тем не обращали внимания на то, что Христос говорил с ними не как обычный человек. Так и сегодня паписты требует от нас чудес (ибо у них вошло в твердую привычку предпочитать людей Богу, и ни на йоту не отходить от принятых ранее традиций). И чтобы не казаться воителями против Бога, они этим предлогом оправдывают свое упорство. Так и души неверующих слепотствуют и возмущаются, желая, чтобы им была явлена десница Божия, но не хотят при этом признавать ее божественной.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-2.html. 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 20. "The Jews said, therefore: Forty-six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?"

The restoration of the temple by Herod had begun in the eighteenth year of his reign, according to Josephus (Antiqq. 15.11, 1). In the Jewish War, the same historian, by an error, mentions the fifteenth. The first year of the reign of this prince was that from the first of Nisan 717 U. C. to the first of Nisan 718; the eighteenth would consequently be the year included between the first of Nisan 734 and the first of Nisan 735: it was about the autumn of that year that the work began (Jos. Ant. 15.11, 1).

The time indicated, forty-six full years ( ᾠκοδομήθη), brings us, therefore, as far as to the autumn of the year 780. The present Passover, consequently, must be that of the year 781, and as it was divided from the year in which Jesus died by the one alluded to in John 6:4, it follows therefrom, that Jesus died in 783. Now for many other reasons, that year seems really to have been the year of His death. Weiss objects that the expression: was built, does not necessarily imply that it was still in the course of building at that moment. But the work continued still for many years, until in 64 it was finished under Agrippa II. What reason could there be to suppose an interruption at the time in which our narrative places us?

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-2.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

Ver. 20. Forty and six years] All, save what lacks; for it was six years’ work only, but they reckon the interim of interruption, Ezra 3:1-13; Ezra 4:1-24; Ezra 5:1-17; Ezra 6:1-22; Ezra 7:1-28, to aggravate the matter. So they are not only blinded, but hardened.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 2:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 2:20. Forty and six years was this temple, &c.— Hath this temple been in building. Heylin. Though Herod finished what he proposed in eight or nine years, yet the Jews continued to beautify and adorn the temple for many years afterwards, even to the year 65.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 2:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-2.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

20.] The building of the temple by Herod the Great is stated by Josephus, in Antt. xv. 11. 1, to have been begun in the eighteenth year of his reign; in B. J. i. 21. 1, in the fifteenth: the difference being made by counting his reign from the death of Antigonus, or from his appointment by the Romans, see Antt. xvii. 8. 1. Reckoning from this latter, we shall have twenty years till the birth of Christ, and thirty years since that event, from which fifty, however, four must be taken, since our era is four years too late. This gives forty-six. The temple was not completed till A.D. 64, under Herod Agrippa II., and the procurator Albinus; so that ᾠκοδομήθη, was in building, must refer to the greater part of the work now completed. The sense of this aor. is curiously illustrated by a passage in Ezra 5:16, τότε σαβανασὰρ ἐκεῖνος ἧλθε καὶ ἔδωκε θεμελίους τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν ἱερουσαλήμ, καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἕως τοῦ νῦν ᾠκοδομήθη καὶ οὐκ ἐτελέσθη.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 2:20". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-2.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 2:20. An intended deductio ad ahsurdum. τεσσαράκ. κ. ἓξ ἔτεσιν] length of time named without ἐν. Bernhardy, p. 81; Winer, p. 205 [E. T. p. 273]. The great number of years stands emphatically first.

ᾠκοδομήθη] i.e. so far as it was already complete. The proposed enlargement and renewal of the temple of Zerubbabel was begun in the 18th year of Herod the Great’s reign (autumn of 734–5; see Joseph. Antt. xv.11. 1), and was first completed, according to Josephus, Antt. xx. 9. 7, under Herod Agrippa II., A.D. 64. How the 46 years named here prove that the passover then being held was that of the year 782 (A.D. 29), corresponding with the year of the Baptist’s appearance according to Luke 3:1 (August 781–2), see on Acts, Introd. § 4. Wieseler, p. 166, reckoning onwards from Nisan 735, places the end of the 46th year exactly in Nisan 781;(146) comp. also Wieseler in Herzog’s Encykl. XXI. 546.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 2:20". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-2.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 2:20. ὠκοδομήθη, was built [was in building]) by Herod the Great, and subsequently. See, besides others, Witsius in Misc. T. ii. p. 311.— καὶ σύ, and wilt thou) For this reason, the more they seem to have taken Jesus’ words literally, because He was called a workman. Mark 6:3, “Is not this the carpenter?” comp. Matthew 26:61; Matthew 27:63, [The Pharisees, after the crucifixion, to Pilate] “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.” Stupidity often, in the case of malice, is of advantage [proficit, prevails, makes progress, i.e. as to its own wicked purpose].

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 2:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The Jews understood his words of that material temple in which they at this time were, which the best interpreters think was the temple built by Ezra and Zerubbabel; but how to make it out that it was forty six years building, they are not well agreed. Some say, Cyrus reigned thirty, Cambyses eight, Darius six; these added together make forty four. Others say that the Magi reigned two years more. Some reckon to Cyrus thirty one, to his son Cambyses nine, Darius six. Others say that the years wherein the building was hindered during Artaxerxes’s time, Ezra 4:21, added to the two years of Darius, Ezra 4:24, in whose sixth year it was finished, are reckoned together. The Jews thought it strange that our Saviour should undertake in three days to rear a building which had cost their forefathers so many years.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 2:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

строился сорок шесть лет Это не было ссылкой на храм Соломона, поскольку он был разрушен во время Вавилонского завоевания в 586 г. до Р.Х. Когда пленники вернулись из Вавилона, Зоровавель и Иисус начали восстановление храма (Езд. 1–4). Вдохновленные пророками Аггеем и Захарией (Езд. 5:1–6:18), иудеи завершили работу в 516 г. до Р.Х. А в 20/19 г. до Р.Х. Ирод Великий начал реконструкцию и расширение. Через 10 лет рабочие закончили основную часть объекта, но другие части еще строились даже во время очищения храма Иисусом. Интересно, что последние штрихи в его оформлении производились вплоть до его разрушения римлянами вместе с Иерусалимом в 70 г. по Р.Х. Знаменитая «стена плача» построена на части основания храма Ирода.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 2:20". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Forty and six years; it was so many years since Herod the Great had commenced repairing, or, more properly, rebuilding the temple, sixteen years before the Saviour’s birth. During this period additions, more or less, had been from time to time made to it. To this temple they wrongly applied the Saviour’s words. The same misapplication of his words they made when they accused him before Pilate. Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Forty and six years—The first temple was built by Solomon in seven years. The second temple was originally built by Zerubbabel; but when Herod assumed the government he proposed to build it anew. Such, however, was the jealousy of the Jews that Herod dare only repair and replace parts at a time, so that the rebuilding was a much longer work than the building, and Herod had a harder task than Solomon. Herod began his repairs about sixteen years before Christ; and as Jesus was now about thirty years of age, the reckoning seems to be exact. The work was not finished until the time of Nero. Nor was it, nevertheless, considered a third temple. Josephus, for instance, says the temple was destroyed twice; once by the Chaldeans, and once by Titus.

Wilt thou rear it up in three days?Accepting the outermost meaning of his words, (which was the true one for them,) the Jews rightly understood our Lord’s announcement. His I will proclaimed him infinitely higher than Herod, than Zerubbabel, than Solomon. For surely the power that could rebuild the temple in three days, could rebuild it in three seconds of time.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-2.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty six years to build this Temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ ”

The Judaisers were naturally taken aback. Did He really mean that if they destroyed the Temple He would be able to rebuild it in three days? The building of Herod’s Temple had commenced around 20 BC and was still in process of being completed. Such completion would not occur until many years after, in 63 AD, just in time for its destruction. In view of the fact, therefore, that it had been in process of building most of their lives it is not surprising that they found His statement about its destruction difficult to comprehend. And especially His claim to be able to rebuild it in three days. They were stunned.

This time note is especially interesting because it would not have been known to anyone at a much later time how many years there were between the commencement of the building of the Temple and the commencement of Jesus’ ministry. And yet it is strictly accurate. Once more we have evidence that the writer is someone who was there, and who heard and remembered correctly.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-2.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 2:20. The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? They answer only by another question,—not an inquiry, but really an indignant and scornful rejection of His words. It was at the close of the year 20 B.C. or the beginning of 19 B.C. that Herod the Great began the rebuilding of the temple. The temple itself was completed in eighteen months; the extensive buildings round it required eight years more. So many additions, however, proved necessary before the work could be regarded as finished, that the final completion is assigned by Josephus to the year 50 A.D., seventy years after the commencement of the undertaking, and but twenty years before Jerusalem was destroyed. The ‘forty and six years’ bring us to the year 28 A.D. It is perhaps strange that the Jews should associate the long term of years with the rebuilding of the sanctuary and not the temple as a whole; it is, however, very likely that, at all events, the ornamentation of this building might still be incomplete. Moreover, in their indignant rejoinder to the saying of Jesus, they not unnaturally take up the very term which He had used, even though it applied in strictness only to the most sacred portion of the structure.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-2.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 2:20. The Jews naturally saw no reference to His own body or to its resurrection, and replied to the letter of His words, .’ The Temple was begun to be rebuilt in the eighteenth year of Herod’s reign that is the autumn of 734–735. Jewish reckoning the beginning of a year was reckoned one year. Thus forty-six years might bring us to the autumn of 779 and the Passover of 780, i.e., 27 A.D. would be regarded as forty-six years from the rebuilding; and this is Edersheim’s calculation. But several accurate chronologists think the following year is meant.

The Synoptical Gospels insert a similar incident at the close of Christ’s ministry, and there alone. Harmonists accordingly understand that the Temple was twice cleansed by Him. “Bis ergo Christus templum ’ purgavit” (Calvin). It is easy to find reasons for such action either at the beginning or at the close of the ministry. On the whole it seems more appropriate at the beginning. The Messiah might be expected to manifest Himself at the Temple.

The next paragraph extends from John 2:23 to John 3:21, and contains (1) a brief description of the general result of Christ’s manifestation in Jerusalem (John 2:23-25), and (2) a longer description of an instance of the kind of faith and inquiry which were produced by this manifestation and of the manner in which Christ met it.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 2:20". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-2.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Six and forty years, &c. This many understand of the time the second temple was building, from the edict of Cyrus to the sixth year of Darius Hystaspes. Others, of the enlarging and beautifying the temple, which was begun by Herod the great, forty-six years before the Jews spoke this to our Saviour. (Witham) --- Interpreters are much embarrassed by these words; as the building of the temple, which then existed, had been finished in much less than 46 years. Herod renewed the temple from the foundations, and spent in that work only nine years and a half. It was begun 46 years before the first Pasch at which our Saviour appeared. (Usher, ad an. Mundi 3987.) --- But this prince, according to Josephus, continued to make new building and embellishments to the very time in which the Jews uttered these words: it is now 46 years, &c.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 2:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Forty and six years. Begun B.C. 20. See Josephus, Wars, I. xxi. 1.

rear = raise.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 2:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building. From the 18th year of Herod, from which we are to date this building work of his, until this time, was just a period of 46 years (Josephus, Ant.

xv. 11. 1). The word [ oikodomeethee (Greek #3618)] is rightly rendered 'was in building,' by a special application of the tense-the same tense being similarly used by the Septuagint in Ezra 5:16, where the sense is manifestly the same as here.

And wilt thou rear it up in three days?

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) They profess to seek a sign for evidence; they use it for cavil.

Forty and six years was this temple in building.—It is implied that it was not then finished. The date of the completion is given by Josephus (Ant. xx. 9, § 7) as A.D. 64. The same author gives the eighteenth year of the reign of Herod the Great (Nisan 734—Nisan 735, A.U.100) as the commencement of the renewal of the Temple of Zerubbabel (Ant. xv. 11, § 1). This would give A.U.C. 781-782, i.e., A.D. 28-29, as the date of the cleansing. In another passage Josephus gives the month Kislev A.U.C. 734, as the date of the festival connected with the building of the Temple (Ant. xiv. 16, § 4). This would fix our present date as the Passover of A.U.C. 781, i.e., A.D. 28. St. Luke furnishes us with an independent date for the commencement of the ministry of John the Baptist. If we count the “fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius (comp. Note on Luke 3:1) from the commencement of his first reign with Augustus (A.U.C. 765, i.e., A.D. 12), this date will be A.U.C. 780, i.e., A.D. 27. The present Passover was in the following year, i.e., as before, A.D. 28. The sole reign of Tiberius commenced two years later (A.D. 14), so that while we have certainly no discrepancy between these independent dates, we have probably a very striking coincidence. Its bearing upon the authenticity of the present Gospel is evident.

Rear it up represents the same Greek word as “raise up,” in the previous verse; but the word fits the double meaning. It is the regular term for raising from the dead; but it is also used of rearing up a building, as, e.g., in 3 Ezra ; Sirach 49:11.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-2.html. 1905.

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

Ver. 20. "Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days?"

It is generally acknowledged that the temple here meant, is that of Herod, which was a complete renovation of the former, extending even to the foundations; but was undertaken gradually and in portions, so that this temple is represented generally, not as a third, but only as a glorification of the second. Herod conceived the plan of this renovation in the eighteenth year of his reign, and finished it, according to the statement of Josephus, in Book 15, 11, 5, 6 of his Antiquities, in nine and a half years. But, doubtless, new embellishments were continually being added afterwards, so that the building of the temple never entirely ceased. This is sufficient to explain the assertion of the Jews here; which is, of course, not to be considered as a strictly historical account. It was their interest to make the time as long as possible.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 2:20". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-2.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

20.Forty and six years. The computation of Daniel agrees with this passage, (Daniel 9:25;) for he reckons seven weeks, which make Forty-nine years; but, before the last of these weeks had ended, the temple was finished. The time described in the history of Ezra is much shorter; but, though it has some appearance of contradiction, it is not at all at variance with the words of the Prophet. For, when the sanctuary had been reared, before the building of the temple was completed, they began to offer sacrifices. The work was afterwards stopped for a long time through the indolence of the people, as plainly appears from the complaints of the Prophet Haggai 1:4; for he severely reproves the Jews for being too earnestly engaged in building their private dwellings, while they left the Temple of God in an unfinished state.

But why does he mention thattemple which had been destroyed by Herod about forty years before that time? For thetemple which they had at that time, though it had been built with great magnificence and at a vast expense, had been completed by Herod, contrary to the expectation of men, as is related by Josephus, (Ant. Book 15. chapter 11.) I think it probable that this new building of the temple was reckoned as if the ancient temple had always remained in its original condition, that it might be regarded with greater veneration; and that they spoke in the usual and ordinary manner, that their fathers, with the greatest difficulty, had scarcely built the temple in Forty-six, years

This reply shows plainly enough what was their intention in asking a sign; for if they had been ready to obey, with reverence, a Prophet sent by God, they would not have so disdainfully rejected what he had said to them about the confirmation of his office. They wish to have some testimony of divine power, and yet they receive nothing which does not correspond to the feeble capacity of man. Thus the Papists in the present day demand miracles, not that they would give way to the power of God, (for it is a settled principle with them to prefer men to God, and not to move a hair’s breadth from what they have received by custom and usage;) but that they may not appear to have no reason for rebelling against God, they hold out this excuse as a cloak for their obstinacy. In such a manner do the minds of unbelievers storm in them with blind impetuosity, that they desire to have the hand of God exhibited to them and yet do not wish that it should be divine.

When therefore he was risen from the dead. This recollection was similar to the former, which the Evangelist lately mentioned, (verse 17.) The Evangelist did not understand Christ when he said this; but the doctrine, which appeared to have been useless, and to have vanished into air, afterwards produced fruit in its own time. Although, therefore, many of the actions and sayings of our Lord are obscure for a time, we must not give them up in despair, or despise that which we do not all at once understand. (52) We ought to observe the connection of the words, thatthey believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken; for the Evangelist means that, by comparing the Scripture with the word of Christ, they were aided in making progress in faith.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-2.html. 1840-57.