Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 2:6

Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
  2. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  3. Coffman Commentaries on the Bible
  4. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
  5. Geneva Study Bible
  6. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  7. John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels
  8. People's New Testament
  9. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
  10. Vincent's Word Studies
  11. Wesley's Explanatory Notes
  12. The Fourfold Gospel
  13. Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
  14. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
  15. Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books
  16. John Trapp Complete Commentary
  17. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
  18. Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
  19. Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
  20. Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
  21. Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
  22. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible
  23. Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture
  24. Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament
  25. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
  26. Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
  27. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  28. Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament
  29. The Expositor's Greek Testament
  30. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
  31. George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
  32. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  33. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
  34. The Bible Study New Testament
  35. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  36. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  37. Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms
  38. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Cana;   Firkin;   Jesus, the Christ;   Mary;   Measure;   Miracles;   Water;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Resurrection;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Life, Natural;   Marriage;   Measures;   Miracles of Christ, the;   Purifications or Baptisms;   Water;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Cana;   Feasts;   Firkin;   Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Galilee;   Grapes;   John, gospel of;   Marriage;   Miracles;   Palestine;   Uncleanness;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Clean, Unclean;   Joy;   Miracle;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Marriage;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cana;   Firkin;   Marriage-Feasts;   Wine;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Purification;   Weights and Measures;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Banquet;   Firkin;   Fulfill;   Gallon;   John, the Gospel of;   Mary;   Sign;   Vessels and Utensils;   Water;   Waterpot;   Weights and Measures;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - House;   John, Gospel of;   Joy;   Marriage;   Mary;   Meals;   Stone;   Weights and Measures;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Announcements of Death;   Baptism;   Brotherhood (2);   Celibacy (2);   Common Life;   Dates (2);   Firkin ;   Happiness;   House;   Jews;   John (the Apostle);   John the Baptist;   Law (2);   Numbers (2);   Pleasure;   Possession (2);   Purification (2);   Reality;   Sea of Galilee;   Stone;   Toleration, Tolerance;   Waterpot ;   Wealth (2);   Weights and Measures;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Marriage;   Melchisedec, Melchizedek ;   Miracles;   New Testament;   Numbers as Symbols;   Weights and Measures;   Wine;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Bottle;   Cana;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Measures;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Weights and Measures;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Pot;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Pharisees;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Firkin;   Heavenly;   John, Gospel of;   Mary;   Uncleanness;   Waterpot;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

After the manner of the purifying of the Jews - Or, for the purpose of the purifying of the Jews. The preposition κατα, which I have translated, for the purpose, often denotes in the best Greek writers the final cause of a thing. See several examples produced by Raphelius, from Arrian and Herodotus. These six vessels were set in a convenient place, for the purpose of the Jews washing their hands before they sat down to meat, and probably for other purposes of purification. See this custom referred to in Matthew 15:2; (note). As to the number six, we need seek for no mystery in it; the number of pots was proportioned to the number of the guests.

Containing two or three firkins apiece - Measures or metretes, μετρητας . Bishop Cumberland supposes that the Syrian metretes is here meant, which he computes to have held seven pints and one eighth of a pint; and, if this computation be right, the whole six water pots might have contained about fourteen gallons and a quart. Others make each metretes to contain ten gallons and two pints: see Arbuthnot. But the contents of the measures of the ancients are so very uncertain that it is best, in this and numberless other cases, to attempt to determine nothing.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 2:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Six water-pots of stone - Made of stone; or, as we should say, stoneware.

After the manner - After the usual custom.

Of the purifying - Of the “washings” or ablutions of the Jews. They were for the purpose of washing the hands before and after eating Matthew 15:2, and for the formal washing of vessels, and even articles of furniture, Luke 11:39; Mark 7:3-4.

Two or three firkins - It is not quite certain what is meant here by the word “firkins.” It is probable that the measure intended is the Hebrew “bath,” containing about 7 12 gallons.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Now there were six water-pots of stone set there after the Jews' manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Here is the vivid description of an eye-witness who, after so many years, could still see the six great water-pots sitting there, precisely in a certain place; nor is the indefinite capacity of the water-pots (two or three firkins) a contradiction of this. After the custom of the times, those water-pots were hand-made of stone; and there is hardly any possibility that they were of any precise capacity in each case. Containers sold in markets today are required by governments to be of an exact capacity, but that was not the case with these water-pots. One can only be astonished at the conclusion of a scholar like Richardson who said:

In view of the vague "two or three" ... this consideration alone is enough to convince us that the story is a parable, not an actual historical event.[4]

How strange that a certain school of interpreters can make so much of the indefinite capacity of the pots and so little of their exact number! No eye-witness could have told by looking at them exactly how much water they held; and, therefore, an indefinite statement of their capacity was strictly proper and correct. The parable theory regarding this sign is really hard-pressed for evidence to support it when its advocate will seize upon something like this.

After the manner of the Jews' purifying ... In Mark 7:3,4 is a reference to the extensive washings of hands, cups, pots, and brazen vessels; and the observance of such ceremonies by the Jews required a bountiful supply of water-pots.

Two or three firkins apiece ... A firkin was not an exact measurement, being about seven or eight gallons; and thus the capacity of the six water-pots was something between eighty and one hundred and fifty gallons. Again, the water-pots of that day were not precisely machined and uniformly crafted containers with exactly equal capacities, but they were made by hand in diverse patterns and varying sizes.

ENDNOTE:

[4] Alan Richardson, op. cit., p. 61.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 2:6". "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

And there were set six water pots of stone,.... To distinguish them from other vessels made of different matter: for the Jews had

"vessels made of dust, and the dung of beasts, כלי אבנים, "vessels of stone", vessels of earth, vessels made of shells, vessels of nitre, vessels made of the bones and skins of fishesF20Misn. Celim, c. 10. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. .'

And as these vessels were very likely for washing of hands, such were used for that purpose: their rule isF21Misn. Yadaim, c. 1. sect. 2. ,

"they may put water for the hands in all sorts of vessels; in vessels of dung, in stone vessels, and in vessels of earth.'

At a wedding were set vessels of various sizes to wash hands and feet in; there was one vessel called משיכלא, which the gloss says was a large pitcher, or basin, out of which the whole company washed their hands and their feet; and there was another called משיכלתא, which was a lesser and beautiful basin, which was set alone for the more honourable persons, as for the bride, and for any gentlewomanF23Gloss in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 77. 2. ; and such might be these six stone jars, or pots:

after the manner of the purifying of the Jews; or "for the purifying either Jews", as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it; that is, for the washing of them, their hands and feet, and their vessels, pots, and cups, according to the traditions of the elders; see Mark 7:2;

containing two or three firkins apiece. The Ethiopic version reads, "some held two measures, and some three"; how large the "metreta", or "measure" was, which we render a "firkin", is not certain; it is most likely it answered to the "Hebrew bath", which was a common measure of liquids with the Jews, and held four gallons and a half, or more; See Gill on Luke 16:6; so that such of these vessels, that held two of these measures, contained nine gallons, and such as held three of them, thirteen gallons and a half; and six of these contained a large quantity of wine, one with another: and which makes the following miracle the greater; and shows the liberality of Christ the more, in providing for the following days of the feast, for a marriage was kept seven daysF24Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 10. sect. 12, 13. ; and for the family, some time after it was over.

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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
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 2:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And there were set there six c waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three d firkins apiece.

(c) These were vessels made for the use of water, in which they washed themselves.

(d) Every firkin contained one hundred pounds, at twelve ounces a pound: By this we gather that Christ helps them with one thousand and eight hundred pounds of wine. (about 135 imperial gallons or 600 litres Ed.)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 2:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

firkins — about seven and a half gallons in Jewish, or nine in Attic measure; each of these huge water jars, therefore, holding some twenty or more gallons, for washings at such feasts (Mark 7:4).

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:6". "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

6. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

[Six waterpots.] Gloss, "If any one have water fit to drink, and that water by chance contract any uncleanness, let him fill the stone vessel with it."

The number of the six waterpots, I suppose, needs not be ascribed to any custom of the nation, but rather to the multitude then present. It is true indeed that at nuptials and other feasts, there were waterpots always set for the guests to wash their hands at; but the number of the vessels and the quantity of water was always proportioned according to the number of the guests; for both the hands and vessels, and perhaps the feet of some of them, were wont to be washed.

Mashicala mashi culla, the greater vessel out of which all wash; maschilta mashia callatha, the lesser vessel in which the bride washes, and (saith the Gloss) the better sort of the guests.

[Firkins.] The Greek version thus expresseth the measure of a bath, 2 Chronicles 4:5: so Haggai 2:16, where the same measure of a bath is to be understood. Now if every one of these waterpots in our story contained two or three baths apiece, how great a quantity of wine must that be which all that water was changed into!

The waterpots of Lydda and Bethlehem: where the Gloss, "They were wont to make pots in Lydda from the measure of the seah to that of the log; and in Bethlehem from the measure of two seahs to that of one." How big were these pots that contained six or nine seahs: for every bath contained three seahs.

As to the washing of the hands, we have this in Jadaim; "they allot a fourth part of a log for the washing of one person's hands, it may be of two; half a log for three or four; a whole log to five or ten, nay, to a hundred; with this provision, saith R. Jose, that the last that washeth hath no less than a fourth part of a log for himself."

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 2:6". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-2.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

There were set there six water-pots of stone. These water-pots were to supply water for the washings usual at feasts (see Mark 7:4). The Jews were regarded ceremonially {unclean} if they did not wash both before and after eating. See notes on Matthew 15:2. The pots each held about twenty gallons.

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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.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 2:6". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-2.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Waterpots (υδριαιhudriai). Old word from υδωρhudōr (water) and used in papyri for pots or pans for holding money or bread as well as water. These stone (λιτιναιlithinai as in 2 Corinthians 3:3) jars full of water were kept handy (set there, κειμεναιkeimenai present middle participle of κειμαιkeimai) at a feast for ceremonial cleansing of the hands (2 Kings 3:11; Mark 7:3), “after the Jews‘ manner of purifying” (κατα τον καταρισμον των Ιουδαιωνkata ton katharismon tōn Ioudaiōn). See Mark 1:44; Luke 2:22 for the word καταρισμοςkatharismos (from καταριζωkatharizō) which fact also raised a controversy with disciples of John because of his baptizing (John 3:25).

Containing (χωρουσαιchōrousai). Present active participle feminine plural of χωρεωchōreō old verb from χωροςchōros place, space, having space or room for.

Two or three firkins apiece
(ανα μετρητας δυο η τρειςana metrētas duo ē treis). The word μετρητηςmetrētēs from μετρεωmetreō to measure, simply means “measurer,” an amphora for measuring liquids (in Demosthenes, Aristotle, Polybius), the Hebrew υδριαbath (2 Chronicles 4:5), here only in N.T., about 8-1/2 English gallons. Each αναhudria thus held about 20 gallons. This common distributive use of υδριαana occurs here only in this Gospel, but is in Revelation 4:8. In John 4:28 a much smaller hudria was used for carrying water.

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 2:6". "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

Water-pots ( ὑδρίαι )

Used by John only, and only in the Gospel, John 2:7; John 4:28. Water -pots is literally correct, as the word is from ὕδωρ , water.

Of stone

Because less liable to impurity, and therefore prescribed by the Jewish authorities for washing before and after meals.

After the manner of the purifying, etc.

That is, for the purifications customary among the Jews.

Containing ( χωροῦσαι )

From χῶρος , a place or space. Hence, to make room or give place, and so, to have space or room for holding something.

Firkins ( μετρητὰς )

Only here in the New Testament. From μετρέω , to measure; and therefore, properly, a measurer. A liquid measure containing nearly nine gallons.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 2:6". "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

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

The purifying of the Jews — Who purified themselves by frequent washings particularly before eating.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 2:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-2.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Now there were six waterpots of stone set there1 after the Jews' manner of purifying2, containing two or three firkins apiece3.

  1. Now there were six waterpots of stone set there. The details of the account suggest that John was an eyewitness.

  2. After the Jews' manner of purifying. The Jews regarded themselves as ceremonially unclean if they did not wash their hands before eating (Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:3,4).

  3. Containing two or three firkins apiece. At Kefr-Kenna an old, one-story house near the lower edge of the village is regarded by the Greeks as the one in which this wedding feast was held. The room is a rude chapel, and at one side stand two old stone mortars, one holding about eight gallons and the other about ten, now used for immersing infants, but said by the attending priest to be two of the identical waterpots here mentioned. The simple-minded old man was not aware that the six waterpots held each two or three firkins apiece--between eighteen and twenty-seven gallons, a firkin being nine gallons--or double the quantity of his mortars. If he had known this, he might have chiseled out his mortars a little deeper!

Copyright Statement
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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 2:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-2.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

After the manner, &c. The ceremonial ablutions enjoined by Jewish laws and usages, required, in an entertainment to which many guests were invited, a large quantity of water. These vases seem to have been used as reservoirs, furnishing, when filled, a sufficient supply at hand. Clauses of explanation, like this, occurring frequently in John's Gospel, corroborate the supposition that it was written, or at least intended to be read, beyond the limits of Judea.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-2.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Было же тут шесть каменных водоносов. Из вычислений Будея мы заключаем, что эти водоносы были весьма вместительны. Ведь, поскольку мера вмещает двадцать конгиев, отдельные меры заключают в себе как минимум секстарий. Итак, Христос обильно одарил присутствующих вином. Его было бы достаточно, чтобы напоить сто пятьдесят человек. Учти также, что как число сосудов, так и сам образ действий Христа подтверждают подлинность Его чуда. Если бы он наполнил лишь два или три конгия, многие могли бы заподозрить, что их принесли откуда-то еще. Если бы лишь в одном сосуде вода превратилась в вино, уверенность в чуде не была бы такой полной. Итак, не напрасно Евангелист упоминает о числе сосудов, не напрасно говорит о том, сколько они вмещали. Далее, то, что на пиршестве стояло столько вместительных сосудов, было вызвано суеверием. Закон Божий повелевал иудеям совершать обряды омовения. Но, подобно тому как сегодня мир чрезмерно увлекается внешними вещами, иудеи, не довольствуясь простотой божественных заповедей, взяли в привычку постоянно окроплять себя водою. И суеверие сие, отличаясь напыщенностью, без сомнения служило той напускной торжественности, которую мы сегодня наблюдаем в папстве. Там все, относящееся к богопочитанию, делается только для внешней помпы. Итак, здесь виден двойной порок. То, что иудеи без заповеди Божией занимали себя излишними и вымышленными обрядами, и то, что под предлогом религии они потакали своему самомнению.

Удивительна глупость некоторых папистских болтунов, посмевших утверждать, что водоносы были, во-первых, небольшой вместимости, во-вторых, не равны друг другу. Даже сегодня, при толиком евангельском свете, они не стыдятся продавать свою поддельную стряпню. Это не обман глупцов, а скорее наглое насмехательство над слепыми. Мир воистину ослеплен сатаною, ежели не чувствует столь грубых насмешек над собой.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:6". "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. 6. "Now there were there six water-pots of stone, according to the usual manner of purifying among the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece."

᾿εκεῖ, there, denotes, according to Meyer, the banqueting room itself. Is it not more natural to imagine these urns placed in the court or in the vestibule at the entrance of the hall? The ninth verse proves that all this occurred out of the bridegroom"s sight, who was himself in the room. These vases were designed for the purification either of persons or utensils, such as was usual among pious Jews, especially before or after meals (Matthew 15:2; Luke 11:38; particularly, Mark 7:1-4.)— κατά, not with a view to, but according to its natural sense, in conformity with. This preposition has reference to the complement τῶν᾿ιουδαίων: conformably to the mode of purification customary among the Jews. John expresses himself thus because he is writing among Gentiles and as no longer belonging to the Jewish community. ᾿ανά has evidently, considering the very precise number six, the distributive sense (singulae), not the approximative meaning (about). The measure which is spoken of was of considerable size; its capacity was 27 litres (Rilliet) or even 38 (Keil) or 39 (Arnaud). The entire contents might, therefore, reach even to about 500 litres. [The litre is a measure nearly corresponding with the English quart.]

This quantity has seemed too considerable, it has even scandalized certain critics (Strauss, Schweizer), who have found here an indication of the falsity of the account.Lucke replies that all the water was not necessarily changed into wine. This supposition is contrary to the natural meaning of the text; the exact indication of the capacity of the vessels certainly implies the contrary.

Let us rather say that when once Jesus yields to the desire of His mother, he yields with all His heart, as a son, a friend, a man, with an inward joy. It is His first miraculous sign; it must give high testimony of His wealth, of His munificence, of the happiness which He has in relieving, even in giving gladness; it must become the type of the fullness of grace, of joy and of strength which the only-begotten Son brings to the earth. There is, moreover, nothing in the text to lead us to suppose that all the wine must have been consumed at this feast. It was the rich wedding gift by which the Lord honored this house where He with his attendants had just been hospitably received.

Perhaps the number six was expressly called to mind, because it corresponded precisely with the number of persons who accompanied Jesus. This gift was thus, as it were, a testimony of the gratitude on the part of the disciples themselves to their host; it was, at all events, the enduring monument of the Master"s benediction upon the youthful household formed under His auspices. How can criticism put itself in collision with everything that is most truly human in the Gospel? Moreover, what a feeling of lively pleasure is expressed in the following words! Jesus foresees the joyous surprise of His host:

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-2.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Ver. 6. After the manner of the purifying, &c.] But who required these things at their hands? Men are apt to over do in externals. The devil strove to bring this superstition into the Christian Church by the heretic Ebion, and hath done it by the pseudo-Catholics, with their lustral water and sprinkling of sepulchres, for the rise whereof Baronius refers us, not to the Jews, but to Juvenal’s sixth satire.

Containing two or three firkius] For ostentation’ sake. Superstition is pompous and ambitious.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 2:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 2:6. After the manner of the purifying of the Jews, Besides the purifications appointed by the law of God, there were a multitude of others then practised, in compliance with the tradition of the elders. Possibly this clause is thrown in by St. John, by way of explanation, as he wrote this gospel for the use of the Gentiles, who might be strangers to the Jewish customs. These water-pots are said to contain two or three firkins a-piece. Now the measures of the ancients are so very uncertain, that it is hardly possible to determine the exact contents of these vessels: some have computed them to contain about two or three hogsheads; and the Greek is so rendered in our translation, as to make them contain above one hundred gallons; but it is hardly probable the vessels were so large; and as the original word μετρητας signifies no more than measures, it is much better that we should leave it as we find it, unless the quantity could be determined with more certainty. It seems most probable that as the Jewish bath was the most common measure used in liquids, this is the quantity designed, where measuresare expressed without any limitation; and as the Jewish bath is reckoned to contain four gallons and a half, the contents of these vessels, if they are computed only at two measures each, will amount to no less than fifty-four gallons.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 2:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-2.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In this miracle of our Saviour's turning water into wine, Observe, 1. The reality of the miracle, and the sincerity of Christ in the working of it. The evidencce there was no deceit in the miracle, not wine-casks, but water-pots, are called for; wine-vessels, in which some lees were remaining might have given both a vinous colour and taste to the water; but stonepots could contribute nothing of this nature; and being open pots, there was not stealing wine into them without observation.

Again, our Saviour's employing the servants, and not his disciples, takes off any suspicion of collusion; and his sending it to the ruler or governor of the feast, was an evidence that the miracle would bear examination. Our Saviour's miracles were real and beneficial; they were obvious to sense, not lying wonders, nor fictitious miracles, which the jugglers in the church of Rome cheat the people with. The greatest miracle which they boast of, transubstantiation, is so far from being obvious to sense, that it conrtradicts the sense and reason of mankind, and is the greatest affront to human nature that ever the world was acquainted with.

Observe, 2. Though Christ wrought a real miracle, yet he would not work more of miracle than needed; he would not create wine out of nothing, but turned water into wine. Thus he multiplied the bread, changed the water, restored withered limbs, raised dead bodies, still working upon that which was, and not creating that which was not: Christ never wrought a miracle but when needful, and then wrought no more of miracles than he needed.

Observe, 3. The liberality and bounty of Christ in the miracle here wrought; six water-pots are filled with wine! Enough, says some writers, for an hundred and fifty men; had he turned but one of those large vessels into wine, it had been a sufficient proof of his power; but to fill so many, was an instance both of his power and mercy.

The Lord of the family furnishes his household not barely for necessity, but for delight, giving richly all things to enjoy. And as the bounty of Christ appeared in quantity, so in the excellency, of the wine; Thou hast kept the best wine until now, says the governor of the feast. It was fit that Christ's miraculous wine should be more perfect than the natural.

But, O blessed Saviour, how delicate and delicious shall that wine be, which we shall drink ere long, with thee in thy Father's kingdom! Let thy Holy Spirit fill the vessel of my heart with water, with godly sorrow and contrition, and thou wilt turn it into wine. For blessed are they that mourn, they shall be comforted.

Observe, 4. The double effects of this miracle; Christ hereby manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him.

1. He manifested forth his glory; that is, the glory of his godhead, as doing this by his own power. Here shined forth his omnipotence, his bounty and liberality, every thing that might bespeak him both a great and good God.

The second effect of this miracle was, that the disciples believed on him. The great end of miracles is the confirmation of faith; God never sets the seals of his omnipotence to a lie; all the miracles then that Christ and his apostles did, were as so many seals that the doctrine of the gospel is true. If you believe not me, says Christ, believe the works which I do, for they bear witness of me, John 5:36

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 2:6". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-2.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6.] These vessels were for the washings usual at feasts: see Mark 7:4. There could be no collusion or imposture here, as they were water-vessels, and could have no remnants of wine in them (see also John 2:10). And the large quantity which they held could not have been brought in unobserved. The μετρητής is probably = the Jewish נַּח (which, Jos. Antt. viii. 2. 9, held 72 ξέσται = the Attic μετρητής = 8 gallons 7·4 pints), and stands for it in the LXX, ref. 2 Chron. According to this, the quantity of wine thus created would = 6 × (2 or 3) × (8 gallons 7·4 pints) = 6 × (between 17 and 25 gallons) = say, 6 × 21 gallons = 126 gallons. The large quantity thus created has been cavilled at by unbelievers. We may leave them to their cavils with just one remark,—that He who creates abundance enough in this earth to “put temptation in men’s way,” acted on this occasion analogously with His known method of dealing. We may answer an error on the other side (if it be on the other side), by saying, that the Lord here most effectually and once for all stamps with His condemnation that false system of moral reformation, which would commence by pledges to abstain from intoxicating liquors. He pours out His bounty for all, and He vouchsafes His grace to each for guidance; and to endeavour to evade the work which He has appointed for each man,—by refusing the bounty, to save the trouble of seeking the grace, is an attempt which must ever end in degradation of the individual motives, and in social demoralization,—whatever present apparent effects may follow its first promulgation. One visible sign of this degradation, in its intellectual form, is the miserable attempt made by some of the advocates of this movement, to shew that the wine here and in other places of Scripture is unfermented wine, not possessing the power of intoxication.

The filling with water, and drawing out wine, is all that is related. “The moment of the miracle,” says Lücke, “is rather understood than expressed. It seems to lie between vv.7 and 8” (i. 471). The process of it is wholly out of the region of our imagination. In order for wine to be produced, we have the growth and ripening of the grape; the crushing of it in proper vessels; the fermentation;—but here all these are in a moment brought about in their results, by the same Power which made the laws of nature, and created and unfolded the capacities of man. See below on John 2:11.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 2:6". 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 2:6. ἐκεῖ] Whether in the feast chamber, or possibly in the vestibule, we are not told.

ὑδρίαι] water-pitchers for carrying water, John 4:28; often in the LXX.; Dem. 1155. 6; Arist. Vesp. 926; Lysistr. 327, 358; Lucian, Dem. enc. 29.

ἕξ] Not stated as explanatory of the Jewish custom, but as vividly describing the exact circumstances, yet not with any symbolic significance (six, Lange thinks, was the number of poverty and labour).

κείμεναι] positae, set down, placed there. Comp. John 19:29; Jeremiah 24:1; Xen. Oec. viii. 19 : χύτραςεὐκρινῶς κειμένας.

κατὰ τὸν καθαρ. τῶν ἰουδ.] i.e. for the sake of cleansing (the hands and vessels, Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:3 ff.; Luke 11:39; Lightfoot, p. 974), which the Jews practised before and after meals. On κατὰ, in which, as in 2 Timothy 1:1, “notio secundum facile transit in notionem propter” (Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 3. 12). Comp. Winer, p. 376 [E. T. p. 602].

μετρητάς] In conformity with his Hellenic tendency, John gives the Attic measure, which, however, is equal to the Hebrew בַּת (Josephus, Antt. viii. 2. 9). The Attic metretes contained 12 χόες or 144 κοτύλαι, 1½ Roman amphorae, i.e. about 21 Würtemburg measures (see Wurm, de ponderum etc. rationib. 126), and about 33 Berlin quarts, in weight eighty pounds of water [about 87/8 gallons] (Bertheau, Gesch. d. Israel, p. 77). Comp. Böckh, Staatshaush. I. 127; Hermann, Privatalterth. § 46. 10. Each pitcher contained two or three metretae (which are not, with Ammon, to be referred to a smaller measure, nor even, with Ebrard, to that of an amphora); for as a row of six pitchers is named, ἀνά can, consistently with the context, only be taken in a distributive sense, not in the signification—which is, besides, linguistically untenable (see Winer, p. 372 [E. T. pp. 496–7])—of circiter, according to which all six must have held only about two or three metretae (Paulus, Hug). The great quantity of water thus turned into wine (252–378 Würtemburg measures, 106–160 gallons) seems out of all proportion, and is used by Strauss and Schweizer to impugn the historic character of the narrative; but it is conceivable if we consider the character of the miracle as one of blessing (compare the miraculous Feedings), and that we are to suppose that what was left over may have been intended by Jesus as a present for the married pair, while the possible abuse of it during the feast itself was prevented by the presence of the Giver. We must also bear in mind that the quantity was suggested to Him by the six pitchers standing there; and therefore, if the blessed Wonder worker had not merely to measure the amount of the need, He had occasion all the more not to keep within the exact quantity which the circumstances demanded, by changing the contents of only one or two pitchers into wine, and omitting the rest. The blessing conferred by the Wonderworker has also, considering the circumstances, its appropriateness and decorum, in keeping with which He was not to act in a spirit of calculation, but, on the contrary, to give plentifully, especially when, as was here the case, this abundance was suggested by the vessels which were standing there.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 2:6". 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 2:6. ὑδρίαι) water-pots, rather more broad in shape, than high: for they were lying [ κείμεναι]; and they were capacious, long, broad, and deep, out of which draughts might be drawn, John 2:8.— κατὰ) for [Engl. Vers., after the manner of].— τῶν ἰουδαίων, of the Jews) who used to have frequent washings. The Evangelist did not write among the Jews, [as] John 2:13; John 5:1 [prove].— μετρητάς, metretæ [firkins, three-fourths of the Attic medium, about nine gallons Engl.]) 2 Chronicles 4:5, Septuag. χωροῦσα ( בתים) μετρητὰς [baths] πρισχιλίους. Hist. Bel, John 2:2, σεμιδάλεως ἀρτάβαι δώδεκα καὶ πρόβατα τεσσαράκοντα καὶ οἴνου μετρηταὶ ἓξ. With these seventy priests were filled, besides women and children. See the same passage, John 2:9. Nor is there any doubt but that the remains left over were large. On this analogy the 15 metretæ in Cana could have sufficed for the giving drink to more than 175 men, besides women and children, certainly not fewer; for giving food to whom, 30 artabæ (a Persian measure = 1 medimnus + 2 chœnices) or 1530 chœnices, and 100 sheep, would be needed. I say purposely, on this analogy; and also, presently after, I refer the words, for giving food to whom, to the words, more than 175, not to 175; and thereby the word more itself is much enlarged in its meaning. Comp. 1 Esdras 8:22 (20). Matt. Hostus shows that 12 metretæ (at Frankfort on the Oder) are 7773/5 nossellæ; but that 18 metretæ are 11662/5 nossellæ: thus the mean between for 15 metret145 will be 972 nossellæ.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 2:6". 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 were wont in their dining rooms to have waterpots standing; whether one for every guest (upon which account some think here were six) doth not appear. For the contents of these vessels, it is uncertain; the reason is, because the Jewish measures, both for things dry and liquid, are much unknown to us, most countries varying in their measures. According to our measures, these vessels should contain three hogsheads, or near it; but it is not probable that so great vessels of stone should stand in a room: the end of their standing there was for the people to wash in, before they did eat, Matthew 15:2 Mark 7:3, and to wash their vessels in, Mark 7:4. We are certain of the number of the vessels, but not of the contents of them. Some say, they held so much water as, being turned into wine, was enough for one hundred and fifty persons; but we can make no certain judgment of it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 2:6". 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

очищения Иудейского Шесть кувшинов для воды были сделаны из камня, потому что каменные кувшины были более прочными, чем глиняные, и не пропускали нечистоту. Это делало их более пригодными для церемониального очищения (ср. Мк. 7:3, 4).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 2:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Six water-pots of stone; it was the custom of the Jews to have such vessels for water, for purposes of purification.

Firkins; the Greek word rendered firkins is supposed to denote the same measure as the Hebrew word bath, containing about 8 7/8 gallons.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.Six waterpots of stone—Used for the washings and purifications described in Mark 7:3, etc. The firkin is equal probably to the Jewish bath, which contained 8 gallons, 7.4 pints. According to this, the quantity of wine thus created would be two or three times 8 gallons 7.4 pints, multiplied by 6. This would be between 17 and 25 gallons, multiplied by 6. Taking the medium between 17 and 25, say 21 gallons, multiply by 6, and we have 126 gallons. So great, similarly, was the miraculous draught of fishes as almost to submerge two fishermen’s boats. Twelve baskets full remain at the end of the meal, where there were but seven loaves at the beginning. The wine, the very fresh blood, shed through the vine, from the rich heart of nature—the ruddy image of the saving blood of nature’s Lord—is here poured forth with a profusion that richly symbolizes the freeness and intrinsic boundlessness of his salvation. And no doubt Jesus, like the God of nature, created not the alcohol, which is the poison produced by the putrefying corpse of the dead grape, but the fresh, living, innocent fluid. The fact of their being waterpots was proof against any charge of fraud.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-2.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Now there were six water pots of stone set there in accordance with the Jewish custom of purifying, each containing two or three metretes.’

Nearby Jesus sees six very large jars which were there for the purpose of Jewish cleansing rituals (compare Mark 7:3). The writer remembers clearly the number of the jars. Perhaps he sees it as indicating intensified three (twice three) signifying total completeness. Interestingly five disciples have been mentioned and with Jesus Himself this would make six, which would tie in with the number of water pots, but that is to assume that they were all still with Him which may well not have been so. Peter and Andrew for example may have returned home and back to their fishing. On the other hand John, looking back, may have seen some significance in the number. From them and from Himself Jesus would produce new wine and they would take God’s wine to the world. Much of the water would have been used already as the wedding feast was well under way, so He tells the servers to refill the jars. All this detail indicates an eyewitness. It is significant that John mentions the use of the water pots and describes their significance. He wants to draw the attention of his readers to the source of the water, that it is connected with the old religious rites. Once again we recognise a genuine Jewish background.

‘Metretes’ is a measure containing about thirty nine and a half litres. Thus each jar contains on average about a hundred litres, (about 26 US gallons), making 600 litres in all, illustrating the fact that Jesus gives good measure and running over. It may, however, only have been the water that was drawn out that became wine.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-2.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Jews washed before eating to cleanse themselves from the defilement of contact with Gentiles and other ritually defiling things more than from germs. They needed much water since they washed often (cf. Matthew 15:1-2; Mark 7:3-4). Each pot held two or three measures (Gr. metretes), namely, between20,30 gallons. Their combined capacity would have been between120,180 gallons of liquid. Stone pots did not absorb moisture and uncleanness as earthenware vessels did, so they were better containers for water used in ceremonial washings.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-2.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 2:6. And there were there six waterpots of stone, placed after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. The waterpots were near at hand,-in the court or at the entrance to the house, not in the house itself. Considering the many washings and purifyings of the Jews, there is nothing to surprise us in the number or in the size of the waterpots. Even a small family might easily possess six, and when the number of guests was large, each of them would naturally be in use. There is much uncertainty as to the value of Hebrew measures, whether of length or of capacity. Most probably the measure here mentioned was equivalent to between eight and nine of our imperial gallons, so that the ‘firkin’ of our version is not far wrong. If each waterpot contained two ‘firkins’ and a half, the whole quantity of water would be about 130 gallons.

On the words, ‘of the Jews,’ see the note on chap. John 1:19. Even here the phrase is not without significance. When we have set ourselves free from our prevailing habit of using this term simply as a national designation, we cannot but feel that the Evangelist is writing of that with which he has entirely broken, and is characterizing the ordinary religion of his day as one that consisted in ceremonies and external purifications.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 2:6". "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 2:6. There were there, hard by or in the feast-room, there were , “six stone water jars standing”. Stone was believed to preserve the purity and coolness of the water. [According to Plutarch, Tib. Gracchus, these jars were sometimes used for drawing lots, wooden tablets being put in the jars and shaken.] Similar stone jars are still used in Cana and elsewhere. They were , set; “in purely classical Greek is the recognised passive perfect of ” (Holden, Plutarch’s Themist., p. 121).— . For the washing of hands and vessels. Cf. Mark 7. “Abluendi quidem ritum habebant ex Lege Dei, sed ut mundus semper nimius est in rebus externis, Judaei praescriptâ a Deo simplicitate non contenti continuis aspersionibus ludebant: atque ut ambitiosa est superstitio, non dubium est quin hoc etiam pompae serviret, quemadmodum hodie in Papatu videmus, quaecunque ad Dei cultum pertinere dicuntur, ad meram ostentationem esse composita,” Calvin. The number and size are given that the dimensions of the miracle may appear. There were six , “holding two or three firkins each”.— is here distributive, a classical use; cf. also Matthew 20:9-10, Mark 6:40. Accordingly the Vulgate translates “capientes singulae metretas binas”. The Attic held about nine gallons, so that averaging the jars at twenty gallons the six would together contain 120 gallons. The English translation has firkin, that is, vierkin, the fourth of a barrel, a barrel being thirty imperial gallons. It is difficult to assign any reason for giving the number and capacity of these jars, except that the writer wished to convey the idea that their entire contents were changed into wine. This prodigality would bring the miracle into closer resemblance to the gifts of nature. Also it would furnish proof, after the marriage was over, that the transformation had been actual. The wedding guests had not dreamt it. There was the wine. It was no mesmeric trick. Holtzmann, in a superior manner, smiles at the prosaic interpreters who strive to reduce the statement to matter of fact.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 2:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-2.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

John 2:6. There were six water-pots of stone — Which were placed there, some of them for the cleansing of cups and tables, &c., and others for such purifications as required the immersion of the whole body; after the manner of the purifying of the Jews — Who were accustomed to purify themselves by frequent washings, particularly before eating; containing two or three firkins apiece — A large quantity, but exactly how much, is not now easy to be ascertained. The original word, μετρητας, here used, is translated by Dr. Campbell baths, because the Hebrew measure, bath, is thus rendered in the Septuagint, 2 Chronicles 4:5. He acknowledges, however, that this is not a decisive proof that it ought to be so rendered: but says, “I have not found any thing better in support of a different opinion. Some think, that as μετρητης was also the name of an Attic measure, the evangelist (most of whose readers were probably Greeks) must have referred to it, as best known in that country. There are other suppositions made, but hardly any thing more than conjecture has been advanced in favour of any of them. It ought not to be dissembled, that in most of the explanations which have been given of the passage, the quantity of liquor appears so great as to reflect an improbability on the interpretation.” The doctor observes, however, that the English translation is more liable to this objection than his version, the firkin containing nine gallons, whereas the bath is commonly rated at seven and a half, and, according to some, but four and a half; in which case the amount of the whole is but half of what the English translation makes it. The quantity thus reduced, he thinks, will not be thought so enormous, considering 1st, The length of time, commonly a week, spent in feasting on such occasions, and the great concourse of people which they were wont to assemble. To this may be added, that whatever the quantity of water contained in these water-pots might be, there is no proof that our Lord turned the whole of it into wine, or that he turned into wine any of it, any otherwise than as it was drawn out.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on John 2:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/john-2.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

===============================

[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Metretas binas vel ternas, Greek: ana metretas duo e treis. See Walton's preface to his first volume, p. 42, and others, de ponderibus et mensuris.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 2:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

six waterpots. See App-176.

waterpots = jars. Occurs only here, John 2:7, and John 4:28.

after the manner, &c. Proportioned to the number of the guests.

after = according to. Greek kata. App-104. the Jews. See note on John 1:19.

firkins. See App-51.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 2:6". "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

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

And [or, 'Now' de (G1161)] there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. The "firkin" here mentioned [ metreetees (Greek #3355)], when it stands for the Jewish "bath," is a measure containing about seven and a half gallons; in Attic measure it held nine and a half gallons. Each of these huge water-jars, then, must have held some 20 gallons; designed for "the purifying" of the Jews (see Mark 7:4).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-2.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

6. Six stone water jars were there. On the “religious rules,” see note on Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:4.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 2:6". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Waterpots, or pitchers, like to but larger than the vessels used for carrying water, as in John 4:28. These were placed in the outer court, away from the guest-chamber, for the governor of the feast is ignorant of the circumstances (John 2:9). It is natural that an eyewitness should remember the number and know roughly their size. There were six of them, containing about twenty gallons apiece; but hidden meanings referring to the number or the quantity are brought to the text, not derived from it. The measure rendered “firkin” is metretes, which is used for the Hebrew, “bath” in 2 Chronicles 4:5. This (Jos. Ant. viii. 2, § 9) gives nearly nine gallons as the value of the “firkin,” which multiplied by two or three gives the contents of each pitcher as from about eighteen to twenty-seven gallons; or, approximately, from 100 to 150 gallons for the whole. Our own word “firkin” is probably “a little fourth,” and equal to nine gallons, or the fourth of a barrel (comp. Tierce, which is one-third). It is used only here in the Bible.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
after
3:25; Mark 7:2-5; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 6:2; 9:10,19; 10:22
Reciprocal: Psalm 9:13 - thou;  Mark 7:4 - except;  John 4:46 - Cana;  John 11:55 - to purify

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 2:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-2.html.

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

Ver. 6. "And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece."— κεῖσθαι is also used, where we say stand. Cf. John 19:29; Jeremiah 24:1, LXX.; Odyss. 17, 331. The κατά—after the manner of, or according to—designates the object served by these water-pots. The purifications were very various, and had reference not only to the body, but also to vessels. ἀνά is commonly used in the New Testament as a distributive particle: cf. Revelation 4:8. The Attic metretes contained about thirty-three Berlin quarts. The aggregate waterpots contained, therefore, twelve to eighteen ankers [ninety to one hundred and thirty-five English gallons]. This is too much, according to many expositors, and has given the enemies of the Gospel occasions for attack. We may not remark, with Lücke, that it is not said that the whole of the contents was made wine. For why should Jesus have had all the vessels filled with water, if the miracle was not to have such extensive dimensions? How, then, could Jesus have left it to the servants to draw where they would? Nor shall we, with some, lay the chief emphasis on the fact, that the suspicion of deception would have been at hand in the case of a smaller quantity. The principal reason is far rather this, that the revelation of the glory of the Lord, which is designated in ver. 11 as the object of the act, would have been an incomplete one, if the miracle had borne a more diminutive character. As it is said of God in Psalms 65:9, "Thou, visitest the earth, and givest it superfluity; Thou greatly enrichest it; the river of God is full of water,"—so it became Jesus to prove Himself the rich Son of this rich Father. For the same reason, in feeding the multitudes, the miracle goes beyond the need. When objection is raised, that the quantity of wine would give an impulse to the luxuriousness of the guests, it might just as well be desired that on account of the drunkard God should not vouchsafe a good harvest-time. The abuse of it was least of all to be feared in this circle, in the presence of Jesus, and in view of the miracle, which would fill their minds with sacred awe.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 2:6". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-2.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.And there were there six water-pots of stone. According to the computation of Budaeus, we infer that these water-pots were very large; for as the metreta (48) ( μετρητὴς) contains twenty congii, each contained, at least, a Sextier of this country. (49) Christ supplied them, therefore, with a great abundance of wine, as much as would be sufficient for a banquet to a hundred and fifty men. Besides, both the number and the size of the water-pots serve to prove the truth of the miracle. If there had been only two or three jars, many might have suspected that they had been brought from some other place. If in one vessel only the water had been changed into wine, the certainty of the miracle would not have been so obvious, or so well ascertained. It is not, therefore, without a good reason that the Evangelist mentions the number of the water-pots, and states how much they contained.

It arose from superstition that vessels so numerous and so large were placed there. They had the ceremony of washing, indeed, prescribed to them by the Law of God; but as the world is prone to excess in outward matters, the Jews, not satisfied with the simplicity which God had enjoined, amused themselves with continual washings; and as superstition is ambitious, they undoubtedly served the purpose of display, as we see at the present day in Popery, that every thing which is said to belong to the worship of God is arranged for pure display. There was, then, a twofold error: that without the command of God, they engaged in a superfluous ceremony of their own invention; and next, that, under the pretense of religion, ambition reigned amidst that display. Some Popish scoundrels have manifested an amazing degree of wickedness, when they had the effrontery to say that they had among their relics those water-pots with which Christ performed this miracle in Cana, and exhibited some of them, (50) which, first, are of small size, and, next, are unequal in size. And in the present day, when the light of the Gospel shines so clearly around us, they are not ashamed to practice those tricks, which certainly is not to deceive by enchantments, but daringly to mock men as if they were blind; and the world, which does not perceive such gross mockery, is evidently bewitched by Satan.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-2.html. 1840-57.