Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 9:6

When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blindness;   Clay;   Sabbath;   Siloam;   Thompson Chain Reference - Disease;   Healed, Disease;   Heals, Christ;   Health-Disease;   Sickness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Miracles of Christ, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Blindness;   Siloam;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - John, gospel of;   Work;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Heal, Health;   Touch;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Clay;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Anoint;   Clay;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Blindness;   Diseases;   Healing, Divine;   Incarnation;   John, the Gospel of;   Sign;   Spit, Spittle;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Medicine;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Anointing;   Anointing (2);   Attributes of Christ;   Beggar;   Cures;   Error;   Exorcism;   Eye (2);   Gestures;   Metaphors;   Miracles;   Physician (2);   Sabbath ;   Spitting, Spittle ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Silence;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Clay;   Ointment;   Sabbath;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Clay;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cistern;   Clay;   John, Gospel of;   Plagues of Egypt;   Spit;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   Saliva;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Anointed the eyes of the blind man - It would be difficult to find out the reason which induced our Lord to act thus. It is certain, this procedure can never be supposed to have been any likely medical means to restore sight to a man who was born blind; this action, therefore, had no tendency to assist the miracle. If his eye-lids had been only so gummed together that they needed nothing but to be suppled and well washed, it is not likely that this could possibly have been omitted from his birth until now. The Jews believed that there was some virtue in spittle to cure the diseases of the eye; but then they always accompanied this with some charm. Our Lord might make clay with the spittle to show that no charms or spells were used, and to draw their attention more particularly to the miracle which he was about to work. Perhaps the best lesson we can learn from this is: That God will do his own work in his own way; and, to hide pride from man, will often accomplish the most beneficial ends by means not only simple or despicable in themselves, but by such also as appear entirely contrary, in their nature and operation, to the end proposed to be effected by them.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 9:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-9.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And made clay … - Two reasons may be assigned for making this clay, and anointing the eyes with it. One is, that the Jews regarded spittle as medicinal to the eyes when diseased, and that they forbade the use of medicines on the Sabbath. They regarded the Sabbath so strictly that they considered the preparation and use of medicines as contrary to the law. Especially it was particularly forbidden among them to use spittle on that day to heal diseased eyes. See instances in Lightfoot. Jesus, therefore, by making this spittle, showed them that their manner of keeping the day was superstitious, and that he dared to do a thing which they esteemed unlawful. He showed that their interpretation of the law of the Sabbath was contrary to the intention of God, and that his disciples were not bound by their notions of the sacredness of that day. Another reason may have been that it was common for prophets to use some symbolical or expressive action in working miracles. Thus, Elisha commanded his staff to be laid on the face of the child that he was about to restore to life, 2 Kings 4:29. Compare the notes at Isaiah 8:18. In such instances the prophet showed that the miracle was performed by power communicated through him; so, in this case, Jesus by this act showed to the blind man that the power of healing came from him who anointed his eyes. He could not see him, and the act of anointing convinced him of what might have been known without such an act, could he have seen him that Jesus had power to give sight to the blind.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-9.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 9:6

He spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and He anointed the eyes

The blind made to see, and the seeing made blind

I.
We have here OUR LORD UNVEILING HIS DEEPEST MOTIVES FOR BESTOWING AN UNSOUGHT BLESSING. It is remarkable that out of the eight miracles recorded in this Gospel, there is only one in which our Lord responds to a request to manifest His miraculous power; the others are all spontaneous. In the other Gospels He heals sometimes because of the pleading of the sufferer; sometimes because of the request of the compassionate friends or bystanders; sometimes unasked, because His own heart went out to those that were in pain and sickness. But in John’s Gospel, predominantly we have the Son of God, who acts throughout as moved by His own deep heart. That view of Christ reaches its climax in His own profound words about His own laying down of His life: “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go unto the Father.” So, not so much influenced by others as deriving motive and impulse and law from Himself, He moves upon earth a fountain and not a reservoir, the Originator and Beginner of the blessings that He bears. Thus, moved by sorrow, recognizing in man’s misery the dumb cry for help, seeing in it the opportunity for the manifestation of the higher mercy of God; taking all evil to be the occasion for a brighter display of the love and the good which are Divine; feeling that His one purpose on earth was to crowd the moments with obedience to the will, and with the doing of the works of Him that sent Him; and possessing the sole and strange consciousness that from His person streams out all the light which illuminates the world--the Christ pauses before the unconscious blind man, and looking upon the poor, useless eyeballs, unaware how near light and sight stood, obeys the impulse that shapes His whole life. “And when He had spoken thus” proceeds to the strange cure.

II. So we come, in the next place, to consider CHRIST AS VEILING HIS POWER UNDER MATERIAL MEANS. This healing by material means in order to accommodate Himself to the weak faith which He seeks to evoke, and to strengthen thereby, is parallel, in principles, to His own incarnation, and to His appointment of external rites and ordinances. Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, a visible Church, outward means of worship, and so on, all these come under the same category. There is no life nor power in them except His will works through them, but they are crutches and helps for a weak and sense-bound faith to climb to the apprehension of the spiritual reality. It is not the clay, it is not the water, it is not the Church, the ordinances, the outward worship, the form of prayer, the Sacrament--it is none of these things that have the healing and the grace in them. They are only ladders by which we may ascend to Him.

III. Then, still farther, WE HAVE HERE OUR LORD SUSPENDING HEALING ON OBEDIENCE. “Go and wash.” As He said to the impotent man: “Stretch forth thine hand”; as He said to the paralytic in this Gospel: “Take up thy bed and walk”; so here He says, “Go and wash.” And some friendly hand being stretched out to the blind man, or he himself feeling his way over the familiar path, he comes to the pool and washes, and returns seeing. There is, first, the general truth that healing is suspended by Christ on the compliance with His conditions. He does not simply say to any man, Be whole. He could and did say so sometimes in regard to bodily healing. But He cannot do so as regards the cure of our blind souls. To the sin-sick and sin-blinded man He says, “Thou shalt be whole, if”--or “I will make thee whole, provided that”--what?--provided that thou goest to the fountain where He has lodged the healing power. The condition on which sight comes to the blind is compliance with Christ’s invitation, “Come to Me; trust in Me; and thou shalt be whole.” Then there is a second lesson here, and that is, Obedience brings sight. “If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine.” Are there any of you groping in darkness, compassed about with theological perplexities and religious doubts? Bow your wills to the recognized truth. He who has made all his knowledge into action will get more knowledge as soon as he needs it. “Go and wash; and he went, and came seeing.”

IV. And now, lastly, we have here our LORD SHADOWING HIS HIGHEST WORK AS THE HEALER OF BLIND SOULS. The blind man stands for an example of honest ignorance, knowing itself ignorant, and not to be coaxed or frightened or in any way provoked to pretending to knowledge which it does not possess, firmly holding by what it does know, and because conscious of its little knowledge, therefore waiting for light and willing to be led. Hence he is at once humble and sturdy, docile and independent, ready to listen to any voice which can really teach, and formidably quick to prick with wholesome sarcasm the inflated claims of mere official pretenders. The Pharisees, on the other hand, are sure that they know everything that can be known about anything in the region of religion and morality, and in their absolute confidence in their absolute possession of the truth, in their blank unconsciousness that it was more than their official property and stock-in-trade, in their complete incapacity to discern the glory of a miracle which contravened ecclesiastical proprieties and conventionalities, in their contempt for the ignorance which they were responsible for and never thought of enlightening, in their cruel taunt directed against the man’s calamity, and in their swift resort to the weapon of excommunication of one whom it was much easier to cast out than to answer, are but too plain a type of a character which is as ready to corrupt the teachers of the Church as of the synagogue. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

The use of means

Our Lord would teach us, by His peculiar mode of proceeding here, that He is not tied to any one means of doing good, and that we may expect to find variety in His methods of dealing with souls as well as with bodies. May He not also wish to teach us that He can, when He thinks fit, invest material things with an efficacy which is not inherent in them? We are not to despise Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, because water, bread, and wine are mere material elements. To many who use them, no doubt they are nothing more than mere material things, and never do them the slightest good. But to those who use the sacraments rightly, worthily, and with faith, Christ can make water, bread, and wine, instruments of doing real good. He that was pleased to use clay in healing a blind man may surely use material things, if He thinks fit, in His own ordinances. The water in Baptism, and the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, while they are not to be treated as idols, ought not to be treated with irreverence and contempt. It was, of course, not the clay that healed the blind man, but Christ’s word and power. Nevertheless the clay was used. So the brazen serpent in itself had no medicinal power to cure the bitten Israelites. But without it they were not cured. The selection of clay for anointing the blind man’s eyes is thought by some to be significant, and to contain a possible reference to the original formation of man out of the dust. He that formed man with all his bodily faculties out of the dust could easily restore one of those lost faculties, even sight, when He thought fit. He that healed these blind eyes with clay was the same Being who originally formed man out of the clay. (Bp. Ryle.)

The use of common agencies

This cure is distinguished from most others by the careful use in it of intermediate agencies. Christ does not merely speak the word; there is a process of healing, and the use of these agencies is part of the sign to which St. John wishes to draw our attention. If the other signs testified that there is an invisible power at work in all the springs of our life--that there is a Fountain of life from which these springs are continually renewed--did not this testify that there is a potency and virtue in the commonest things; that God has stored all nature with instruments for the blessing and healing of His creatures? The mere miracle worker who draws glory to himself wishes to dispense with these things lest he should be confounded with the ordinary physician. The Great Physician, who works because His Father works, puts an honour on earth and water as well as upon all art which has true observation and knowledge for its basis. He only distinguishes Himself from other healers by showing that the source of their healing and renovating power is in Him. We have put our faith and our science at an immeasurable distance from each other. May not the separation lead to the ruin of both. (F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

The meaning of Christ’s action

Jesus would not try weak faith too sternly. Just as you would not give a little child the moral law in all its baldness and harshness to keep, but first sweeten the way of obedience by little rewards and promises which become helps to the doing of right, so the kindly Healer of all deals with the people, who were as little children in faith and spiritual insight. He knew a medicinal value was attributed to saliva for diseases of the eye. It was a little harmless giving way to superstition to let the man have the help of his old belief, such as it was. If you could heal a child’s hurt by the magic of a word, the child would not feel half as cured as if you had applied some salve. Jesus applies harmless salve that the man might be helped to believe by having something external done to him. Your straitlaced dogmatists will never see the kindly spirit of such action as this. They would see the man blind all his days before they would “pander” to such notions. Theirs are the unkindly hands which try to make the child climb to heaven by, first of all knocking down the ladders of childish fancy which its untaught thinking has reared, instead of fixing their ladder to the end of the child’s. Jesus is more kindly reasonable. He does not attempt to argue the notion out of the man’s mind. He simply lets it alone, and helps the man through his grandmotherly beliefs to healing, and finally to a strong faith in the Divine power. If my child believed that the Heavenly Father came down to the park every night to wrap up the birds in their nests I would not destroy that idea of Providence till I could graft a richer one upon it. Let us learn the Christlike lesson of being weak to the weak and ignorant to the ignorant. (E. H. Higgins.)

The way of faith criticised by the world

It meets with many modern criticisms. In the first place, the mode of cure seems very eccentric. Spat and made clay with the spittle and the dust! Very singular! Very odd! Thus odd and singular is the gospel in the judgment of the worldly wise. “Why,” saith one, “it seems such a strange thing that we are to be saved by believing.” Men think it so odd that fifty other ways are invented straightway. Though the new methods are not one of them worth describing, yet everybody seems to think that the old-fashioned way of “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” might have been greatly improved upon. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The way of faith glorifies Christ

Suppose, instead thereof, He had put His hand into His pocket and had taken out a gold or ivory box, and out of this box He had taken a little crystal bottle. Suppose He had taken out the stopper, and then had poured a drop on each of those blind eyes, and they had been opened, what would have been the result? Everybody would have said, “What a wonderful medicine! I wonder what it was! How was it compounded? Who wrote the prescription? Perhaps He found the charm in the writings of Solomon, and so He learned to distil the matchless drops.” Thus you see the attention would have been fixed on the means used, and the cure would have been ascribed to the medicine rather than to God. Our Saviour used no such rare oils or choice spirits, but simply spat and made clay of the spittle; for He knew that nobody would say, “The spittle did it,” or “It was the clay that did it.” No, if our Lord seems to be eccentric in the choice of means, yet is He eminently prudent. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 9:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-9.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and anointed his eyes with the clay.

Why did Jesus do this? We may never know, but it might have been to emphasize his humility. He did not affect any professional airs, mutter mysterious words, or pass his hands over the man's eyes; and, by the use of a means so simple, he forever removed the idea that he might have used some powerful medicine. The anointing with clay also had the function of emphasizing the blind man's condition. Even a casual glance at his mud-anointed eyes would eloquently reveal his handicap to any who chanced to see him. All so-called rationalization of this miracle based on the alleged efficacy of certain kinds of clay should be rejected. If there had been any curative powers in Jerusalem dirt, a market would have been established for it, and it would have been exported all over the world.

Copyright Statement
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 9:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when he had thus spoken,.... In answer to the disciples' question, and declaring his own work and office in the world, and the necessity he was under of performing it:

he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle; the Misnic doctors speakF3Misn. Mikvaot, c. 7. sect. 1. of טיט נרוק, "clay that is spitted", or "spittle clay", which their commentators sayF4Jarchi, Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. was a weak, thin clay, like spittle or water; but this here was properly spittle clay, or clay made of spittle, for want of water; or it may be rather, through choice Christ spat upon the dust of the earth, and worked it together into a consistence, like clay:

and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay; however, spittle, especially fasting spittle, might be thought proper in some disorder of the eyes, to be used, as it was by the Jews; See Gill on John 9:16; yet clay was a most unlikely means of restoring sight to a man that was born blind, which might be thought rather a means of making a man blind that could see. This may be an emblem of the word of God, the eye salve of the Gospel; which is a very unlikely means in the opinion of a natural man, who counts it foolishness, of enlightening and saving sinners; and yet by this foolishness of preaching God does save those that believe.

Copyright Statement
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 9:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

(3) Christ healing the man born blind by taking the symbol of clay, and afterward the symbol of the fountain of Siloam (which signifies "sent") shows that as he at the beginning made man, so does he again restore both his body and soul: and yet in such a way that he himself comes first of his own accord to heal us.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 9:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-9.html. 1599-1645.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

6. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

[He spat on the ground, &c.] I. How far spittle was accounted wholesome for weak eyes, we may learn from this ridiculous tale:

"R. Meir sat, and was teaching in the evening of the sabbath day. There was a woman stood by hearing him preach; after he had done she went home and found her candle gone out. Her husband saith to her, 'Where hast thou been?' 'I have been,' saith she, 'standing and hearing the voice of a preacher.' Her husband saith to her, 'Thou shalt not enter in till thou hast gone and spat in the face of him that taught.' After three weeks, her neighbouring women persuading and heartening her to it, she goes to the chapel. Now the whole matter was already made known to R. Meir. He saith therefore to them, 'Is there ever a woman among you skilled in muttering charms over eyes?' [for he feigned a grievous ailment in his eyes:] The woman said, 'R., I am skilled': 'However,' saith he, 'do you spit seven times upon my eyes, and I shall be healed'; which she did." Gloss: "Whenever they muttered any charms over the eyes, it was necessary that they should spit upon them."

II. It was prohibited amongst them to besmear the eyes with spittle upon the sabbath day upon any medicinal account, although it was esteemed so very wholesome for them.

"They do not squirt wine into the eyes on the sabbath day, but they may wash the eyebrows with it: but as to fasting spittle" [which was esteemed exceedingly wholesome], "it is not lawful to put it so much as upon the eyelids." "One saith, that wine is prohibited so far that it may not be injected into the middle of the eyes; upon the eyebrows it may. Another saith that spittle is forbidden so much as upon the eyelids."

So that in this action of our Saviour's we may observe,

I. That he does not heal this sick man with a word, as he did others; but chooseth to do a thing which was against their canonical observation of the sabbath; designing thereby to make a trial of the man, whether he was so superstitious, that he would not admit such things to be done upon him on the sabbath day. He made an experiment not much unlike this upon the man at Bethesda, as we have before observed.

II. Whiles he mingles spittle with dust, and of that makes a clay to anoint the eyes of the blind man, he thereby avoideth the suspicion of using any kind of charm, and gives rather a demonstration of his own divine power, when he heals by a method contrary to nature; for clay laid upon the eyes, we might believe, should rather put out the eyes of one that sees, than restore sight to one that had been blind. Yea and further, he gave demonstration of the divine authority he himself had over the sabbath, when he heals upon that day by the use of means which had been peculiarly prohibited to be used in it.

The connexion of this chapter with the former is such, that the stories in both seem to have been acted on one and the same day. [Going through the midst of them, and so passed by. And as he passed by, he saw a man which was blind.] If it be so, (which I will not much contend about,) then do they bring the adulterous woman before Christ, yea, and attempt to stone him too, on the sabbath day. Jesus hid himself; or perhaps the sense is, he was hidden; that is, by the multitude that had a favour for him, and compassed him about, lest his enemies should have wreaked their malice and displeasure against him.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 9:6". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-9.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

He spat on the ground (επτυσεν χαμαιeptusen chamai). First aorist active indicative of the old verb πτυωptuō for which see Mark 7:33. ΧαμαιChamai is an old adverb either in the dative or locative (sense suits locative), in N.T. only here and John 18:6. Jesus was not asked to cure this man. The curative effects of saliva are held in many places. The Jews held saliva efficacious for eye-trouble, but it was forbidden on the Sabbath. “That Jesus supposed some virtue lay in the application of the clay is contradicted by the fact that in other cases of blindness He did not use it” (Dods). Cf. Mark 8:23. Why he here accommodated himself to current belief we do not know unless it was to encourage the man to believe.

He made clay (εποιησεν πηλονepoiēsen pēlon). Only use of πηλοςpēlos old word for clay, in N.T. in this chapter and Romans 9:21. The kneading of the clay and spittle added another offense against the Sabbath rules of the rabbis.

Anointed his eyes with the clay
(επεχρισεν αυτου τον πηλον επι τους οπταλμουςepechrisen autou ton pēlon epi tous ophthalmous). First aorist active indicative of επιχριωepichriō old verb, to spread on, anoint, here only and John 9:11 in N.T. “He spread the clay upon his eyes.” B C read επετηκενepethēken (first aorist active indicative of επιτιτημιepitithēmi to put on).

Copyright Statement
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 9:6". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-9.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

On the ground ( χαμαὶ )

Only here and John 18:6.

Anointed ( ἐπέχρισε )

Only here and John 9:11. The spittle was regarded as having a peculiar virtue, not only as a remedy for diseases of the eye, but generally as a charm, so that it was employed in incantations. Persius, describing an old crone handling an infant, says: “She takes the babe from the cradle, and with her middle finger moistens its forehead and lips with spittle to keep away the evil eye” (“Sat.,” ii., 32,33). Tacitus relates how one of the common people of Alexandria importuned Vespasian for a remedy for his blindness, and prayed him to sprinkle his cheeks and the balls of his eyes with the secretion of his mouth (“History,” iv., 81). Pliny says: “We are to believe that by continually anointing each morning with fasting saliva (i.e., before eating), inflammations of the eyes are prevented” (“Natural History,” xxviii., 7). Some editors read here ἐπέθηκεν , put upon, for ἐπέχρισεν , anointed.

Of the blind man

Omit, and read as Rev., his eyes.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-9.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay — This might almost have blinded a man that had sight. But what could it do toward curing the blind? It reminds us that God is no farther from the event, when he works either with, or without means, and that all the creatures are only that which his almighty operation makes them.

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.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 9:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-9.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and anointed his eyes with the clay1,

  1. He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and anointed his eyes with the clay. Jesus probably used the clay to aid the man's faith. His so doing gave the Pharisees a chance to cavil at Jesus for breaking the Sabbath. If later rabbis report correctly, the traditions of that day, the clay might be put on the eyes for pleasure on the Sabbath, but not for medicine, nor might the eyes be anointed with spittle on that day.

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 9:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-9.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Плюнул на землю. Намерение Христа состояло в том, чтобы восстановить слепому зрение, но, кажется, Он приступает к этому делу довольно странно. Ибо, помазав глаза брением, Он некоторым образом увеличивает слепоту. Кто не подумал бы, что Он насмехается над бедным человеком, или подобно безумцу делает что-то смешное и напрасное? Однако таким образом Христос хотел испытать веру и послушание больного, дабы он послужил примером для всех. Действительно, необычна была вера слепого. Ведь Он, доверившись одному слову, твердо уповал на то, что к нему вернется зрение. И с этой уверенностью пошел туда, куда ему было велено. Велика похвала того послушания, которое просто повинуется Христу, даже если многое навевает сомнения. И проба истинной веры состоит в следующем: благочестивая душа, довольствуясь простым Словом Божиим, обещает себе то, что иначе кажется невероятным. За верою следует готовность повиноваться, предающая себя в руки Божии и убежденная в Его надежном водительстве. Не подлежит сомнению, что на ум слепому могло придти подозрение в насмешке над собою, однако легко преодолевать все препятствия тому, кто счел безопасным и надежным следовать за Христом. Если кто возразит, что слепой не познал Христа таким, Каков Он есть, и не мог воздать Ему честь как Сыну Божию, то я соглашусь с этим. Но поскольку слепой верил, что Христос послан от Бога, он, подчиняясь Ему и не сомневаясь в Его правдивости, видел в Нем только божественное. Более того, то, что он со столь малым знанием Христа полностью Ему предался, еще больше восхваляет перед нами его веру.

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-9.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

Ver. 6. Made clay] As he did at first in making man (the poets tell us some such thing of their Prometheus), to show that this cure was done by that Almighty power that he put forth in the Creation.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 9:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 9:6. He spat on the ground, &c.— We are not to imagine that he did this, because it any way contributed towards the cure. Like the other external actions which accompanied his miracles, it was designed to signify to the blind man, that his sight was coming to him, not by accident, but by the gift of the Person who spake to him. The general reason which Cyril has assigned for Christ's touching the lepers, his taking hold of the dead, his breathing on the apostles, when he communicated to them the Holy Ghost, and such like bodily actions wherewith he accompanied his miracles, may be mentioned here. He thinks that our Lord's body was, by the inhabitation of the Divinity, endued with a vivifying quality, to shew men in a visible manner, that his human nature was by no means to be excluded from the business of their salvation. See the note on Mark 7:32-33 and the Inferences at the end of this chapter.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 9:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-9.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Two things concurred towards the cure of this blind man, namely, an act of divine power on Christ's part, and an act of faith and obedience on the man's part.

1. An act of divine power on Christ's part, he tempers clay and spittle together, and anoints the man's eyes therewith, and behold he sees.

What an improbable remedy and means was this to human reason! Much fitter to put out a seeing man's eyes than to cure a blind man's. Had Christ pulled out his box, and applied some medicinal ointment to his eyes, then the praise had been ascribed to his kill, not to his power; but now it plainly appeared, that all the virtue was in Christ, not in the means.

Lord! what great things canst thou do by weak and unlikely means; yea, by opposite and contrary means! but it is the praise of Omnipotency to work by probabilities. From the contemptibleness of the means or instrument, always redounds the greater honour to the agent.

Observe, 2. An act of faith and obedience on the man's part; He went away and washed his eyes in the pool of Siloam, and returned seeing.

Where note, 1. How Christ delights to exercise and try the faith of his people, by their subjection and obedience to difficult commands.

2. That true faith, joined with sincere obedience, never faileth the expectation of them that exercise it: especially in obeying the most hard and difficult commands. Therefore the Evangelist added, that the blind man, after washing, returned seeing.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 9:6". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-9.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6.] See reff. Mark. The virtue especially of the saliva jejuna, in cases of disorders of the eyes, was well known to antiquity. Pliny, (143). (144). xxviii. 7, says, “Lippitudines matutina quotidie velut inunctione arceri.” In both accounts (Suet. Vesp. 7: Tacitus, Hist. iv. 8) of the restoring of a blind man to sight attributed to Vespasian, the use of this remedy occurs. See also Wetstein in loc. (Trench, Miracles, 293 note, edn. 2). The use of clay also for healing the eyes was not unknown. Serenus Samonicus (in the time of Caracalla) says: “Si tumor insolitus typho se tollat inani, Turgentes oculos vili circumline cœno.”

No rule can be laid down which our Lord may seem to have observed, as to using, or dispensing with, the ordinary human means of healing. He Himself determined by considerations which are hidden from us. Whatever the means used, the healing was not in them, but in Him alone. The ‘conductor’ of the miraculous power was generally the faith of the recipient: and if such means served to awaken that faith, their use would be accounted for.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 9:6". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-9.html. 1863-1878.

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

John 9:6 f. For what reason Jesus anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay John does not inform us; but this does not justify us in leaving the question unanswered (Brückner). The procedure was certainly not adopted for the purpose of defying the hierarchy (Ewald) because it was the Sabbath, according to which view it would have had nothing to do with the healing itself. At the same time, it was equally far from being of a medicinal nature; for often as spittle was applied in the case of diseases of the eye (see Wetstein and Lightfoot), the means employed bore no proportion to the rapidity with which the cure took place, especially considering that the man was born blind; the same remark applies also to Mark 7:32; Mark 8:23. To treat the anointing with the clay as merely a means of awakening faith (comp. Lücke), or as a test of faith (Calvin), and, consequently, as having a purely psychological effect, is to represent the entire procedure as adopted solely with an eye to appearances, to making an impression on the blind man. On this view, accordingly, the ointment of clay had in itself nothing to do with the cure performed, which is scarcely reconcilable with the truthfulness and dignity of Jesus. Regard for this latter rather compels the assumption that the ointment was the real medium of the cure, and formed an essential part of the act; and that, accordingly, the spittle was the continens of the objective healing virtue, by means of which it came into, and remained actively in contact with, the organism. Comp. Tholuck and Olshausen, who characterize the spittle as the conductor of the healing virtue; Lange also, who, however, conjoins therewith the psychological action referred to above; and even Nonnus, though he draws a very arbitrary distinction, terming the spittle λυσίπονον, and the πηλός, φαεσφόρον. There is nothing against this mode of viewing the matter, in the fact that Jesus used a medium in so few of His miracles of healing, and in so many others employed no medium at all (as also in the case of the blind men of Jericho, Matthew 20:20 ff.; Mark 10:46 ff.); for He must Himself have known when it was necessary and when not, though no clearer insight into the causal connection between the means and the result is vouchsafed to us. We have no authority for attributing to John a view of miracles which regarded them as mysteries, and which prevailed at a later date (De Wette, comp. B. Crusius); for with his christology he, least of all, would find occasion for its adoption; besides, that the procedure followed in the case of this miracle was unique, and thus its speciality was carefully substantiated by the judicial investigation which grew out of the occurrence. According to Baur (comp. Ewald, as above), the miracle was performed in this circumstantial way in order that it might wear the appearance of a work done on the Sabbath; the supposition, however, is incorrect, if for no other reason, because the healing by itself, apart altogether from the circumstances attending it, was a breaking of the Sabbath. Baur, indeed, regards the whole narrative, notwithstanding the remarkable circumstantiality and naive liveliness which mark it, as an invention; so also Strauss, Weiss, comp. the note after John 9:41. In harmony with his view of the figurative design of the entire healing, Luthardt (comp. also Godet) interprets the anointing with clay to mean: “He must become blind who wishes to receive sight” (the sending to the pool of Siloam being intended to typify the ἔρχεσθαι πρὸς αὐτόν, John 3:20 f.). But interpretations of this sort have no warrant in the text, and furnish at the same time unintentional support to the unhistorical view of those who treat the narrative as the mere vehicle of an idea,—a remark which holds good against Hengstenberg, who, like Erasmus(45) and others, regards πηλός, after Genesis 2:7, as the symbol of creative influence, although in this case we have only to do with an opening of the eyes (John 9:10; John 9:14), and that by means of a subsequent washing away of the πηλός.

καὶ ἐπέχρισεν αὐτοῦ τ. πηλὸν ἐπὶ τ. ὀφθ. τ. τυφλοῦ] According to this reading (see the critical note), αὐτοῦ must be referred to the spittle of Jesus; He rubbed the ointment made of it and the clay on the eyes of the blind man.(46)

εἰς τὴν κολυμβ.] not dependent on ὓπαγε (comp. on Matthew 2:23), which is not connected with νίψαι even by a καί (against Lücke and Winer), but: Into the pool of Siloam, so that the πηλός is washed away into the pool by the process of cleansing which takes place on the edge of the basin. Comp. on the pregnancy of this mode of expression, Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 10; Winer, p. 387 [E. T. p. 517]).

On the Pool Siloam (Fountain, Isaiah 8:6; Luke 13:4 : Pool, Nehemiah 3:15) and its doubtful situation,—which, however, Robinson (II. p. 142 ff.), following Josephus, re-discovered at the entrance of the Tyropoeum Valley, on the south-east side of Zion,—see Tobler, d. Siloahquelle u. d. Oelberg, 1852, p. 1 ff.; Rödiger in Gesen. Thes. III. p. 1416; Leyrer in Herzog’s Encykl. XIV. p. 371 ff. The expression κολυμβ. τοῦ σιλ. denotes the pool formed by the fountain Siloam ( σιλ., Luke 13:4; Isaiah 8:6).

The washing in the pool of Siloam is no more to be regarded as a medicinal prescription than the application of the πηλός (the Rabbinical traces of a healing virtue of the water relate to the digestive organs, see Schoettgen), but was required by Jesus for the purpose of allowing the clay the necessary time for producing its effect, and, at the same time, this particular water, the pool of Siloam, was mentioned as being nearest to the scene of the action (in the vicinity of the temple, John 8:59, John 9:1), and as certainly also well known to the blind man. According to Lange, L. J. p. 635, the intention of Jesus, in prescribing the sacred fountain of the temple, was to set manifestly forth the co-operation of Jehovah in this repeated Sabbath act. But neither John nor the discussion that follows in John 9:13 ff.—in the course of which, indeed, the pool is not once mentioned—betray the slightest trace of this supposed mystery. This also in answer to the meaning imported by Godet into the text, that Siloam is represented as the type of all the blessings of which Christ is the reality, so that, in the form of an action, Christ says, “Ce que Siloé est typiquement, je le suis en réalité.” This does not at all harmonize with the narrative; in fact, on such a view, the confused notion would result, that the true Siloam sent the blind man to the typical Siloam in order to the completion of his cure,—that the Antitype, in other words, sent him to the Type!

ἀπεσταλμένος] The name שִׁילוֹחַ (which even the LXX. and Josephus give in Greek as σιλωά΄) denotes originally missio (sc. aquarum), i.e. outflow; but John, adopting a typical etymology, renders it directly שָׁלוּחַ, missus, which in itself was grammatically allowable, either after the analogy of יִלּוֹד (see Hitzig on Isaiah 8:6), so that the word would be a strengthened particip. Kal with a passive signification, or, in virtue of the resolution of the dagesh forte in the particip. Piel into yod (see Tholuck, Beiträge zur Spracherklär. p. 120 ff.; Ewald, Lehrb. d. Hebr. Spr. §156 a.). He thus finds, namely, in the name of the pool, a noteworthy typical reference, not indeed to Christ, the messenger of God, the true Siloam (as Theophylact, Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Corn. a Lapide, and many other earlier commentators, also Schweizer, Ebrard, Luthardt, Hilgenfeld, Lange, Hengstenberg, Brückner, Godet maintain), but to the circumstance that the blind man was sent to this pool by Christ. The pool of שלוח has the “nomen et omen” of this sending away. The context naturally suggests nothing further than this.(47) Nonnus aptly remarks: ὓδωρ στελλο΄ένοιο προώνυ΄ον ἐκ σέο πο΄πῆς. Comp. Euth. Zigabenus: διὰ τὸν ἀπεσταλ΄ένον ἐκεῖ τότε τυφλόν. It is arbitrary with Wassenberg and Kuinoel to pronounce the entire parenthesis spurious (it is absent only in Syr. and Pers. p.), a view to which Lücke also inclined, out of regard for John. But why should a fondness for typical etymologies have been foreign to John? Comp. the much more peculiar example of Paul in Galatians 4:25. Such things leave the pneumatic character of the evangelist unaffected.

ἀπῆλθων] which he, being well acquainted with the neighbourhood, was able to do without any one to take him by the hand, τυφλῷ ποδί (Eur. Hec. 1050), as, indeed, many blind men are able in like manner to find their way about alone.

ἦλθε] namely, to his dwelling, as is indicated by the words οἱ οὖν γείτονες which follow. Jesus did not meet him again till John 9:35.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 9:6". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-9.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 9:6. εἰπών, having spoken) in the hearing of the blind man. Jesus also prayed, John 9:31, “If any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.”— πηλόν, clay) Clean spittle, mixed with clean dust, was a clean medicine. Man was created from the earth: now the creation of sight is taken from the same earth.— ἐπὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς, upon the eyes) It is a poetic fancy of Nonnus, that he has represented that there was not even the trace of eyes on the face of this blind man: John 9:10 disproves it [How were thine eyes opened?]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 9:6". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-9.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Several mysterious allegories are found out by men of luxuriant fancies, with reference to the manner of our Saviour’s curing this blind man; as if our Saviour had made choice of clay, to show, that as he at first made man of the dust of the earth, so he could again cure him with dust; and that his spittle denoted the efficacy of Christ’s humanity, being now personally united to the Divine nature. Others think, he made use of spittle, because the Jews had a great opinion of the medicinal virtue of spittle; and, they say, forbade the medicinal use of it on the sabbath day, on which day this miracle was wrought. But all these things are great uncertainties, for which we want any guidance from holy writ. It is most probable, that our Saviour made use of the spittle in working this miracle because he had no water at hand, for water was a very scarce thing in those hot countries. That which we are chiefly to attend in this great miraculous operation is, Christ’s demonstration of his Divine nature, for the confirmation of the truth of which he doubtless wrought this great work, as well as to show his charity to this poor creature. To this purpose,

1. He maketh choice, not of a blind man only, but one who was born so, and so incurable according to all judgment of human art.

2. He maketh use of no means that had any appearance of a natural virtue in it; nay, which was more likely to put out the eyes of one that saw, than to give sight to one that was blind.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 9:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-9.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

сделал брение из плюновения Подобное тому, что сделал Бог при первоначальном сотворении человека из праха земного (Быт. 2:7). Возможно, Он использовал глину, чтобы вылепить новую пару глаз.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 9:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-9.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.He spat on the ground—The Lord uses instrumentalities for the end, to show that the end was the purposed end, and not mere coincidence or chance. He uses instrumentalities plainly inadequate, to show that the power was miraculous. Both spittle and clay were often used by the ancients as an ointment for the cure of weak eyes; and this again indicates that our Lord purposes, by their use, to show that the cure is the result of his purpose. Yet no one could ever believe that the cure of one born blind could ever be effected naturally by such means. The cure was, therefore, an intended result and a miraculous one.

Made clay—Made a clay mortar or mixture.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-9.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘When he had thus spoken he spat on the ground, made clay with the spittle and anointed the his eyes with clay.’

The fact that Jesus was able to put the clay on the man’s eyes demonstrates that there was already some faith in the man’s heart. The man was willing for Him to do it. He would have been told who this was who wanted to do this thing, and he gave his consent. Then he waited patiently while the process was carried out.

It is true that spittle was looked on as an ancient medicine, and because of this some have suggested that this was an aid to faith for the blind man, but it is evident from previous healings that Jesus did not need to resort to such methods, and it is therefore far more likely that we are to see it as symbolic of His word of power coming from His mouth opening the eyes of the spiritually blind. It also demonstrated that he required active faith from the man. The man could do nothing towards his healing, but he could refuse or show willingness to respond to Jesus’ word. We too can do nothing towards the opening of our spiritual eyes, but whether we respond or not will be determined by whether there is faith in our hearts.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-9.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The healing of the blind man that followed shows the Light of the World dispelling darkness while it was still day. Perhaps Jesus spat on the ground so the blind man would hear what He was doing. Jesus applied His saliva directly when He healed the deaf man with the speech impediment in the Decapolis ( Mark 7:33) and the blind man near Bethsaida ( Mark 8:23). Here He mixed His saliva with clay. Applying the moist clay to the blind man"s eyes would have let him feel that Jesus was working for Him. Jesus may have intended these sensory aids to strengthen the man"s faith. Jesus may have varied His methods of healing so people would not think that the method was more important than the man doing the healing.

Perhaps Jesus also used saliva and clay to associate this act of healing with divine creation ( Genesis 2:7). [Note: Lindars, p343; Blum, p307.] Another suggestion is that by covering the man"s eyes with mud Jesus was making his blindness even more intense to magnify the cure (cf. 1 Kings 18:33-35). [Note: Calvin, 1:241.] Some students of this passage have suggested that Jesus was using something unclean to effect a cure to show His power to overcome evil with good. [Note: D. Smith, "Jesus and the Pharisees in Socio-Anthropological Perspective," Trinity Journal6NS:2 (Autumn1985):151-56; cf. M. Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo.] Another view is that Jesus introduced an irritant so the man would want to irrigate his eyes. [Note: Wiersbe, 1:324.] Compare the Holy Spirit"s ministry of conviction that leads to obedience.

"The blind Prayer of Manasseh, introduced as the theme of a theological debate, becomes the object of divine mercy and a place of revelation." [Note: Barrett, p358.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-9.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 9:6. , i.e., “in this connection,” ’ “He spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle,” “quia aqua ad manum non erat,” says Grotius; but that spittle was considered efficacious Lightfoot proves by an amusing anecdote and Wetstein by several citations. Tacitus (Hist., iv. 81) relates that the blind man who sought a cure from Vespasian begged “ut ’ oculorum orbes dignaretur respergere oris excremento”. Probably the idea was that the saliva was of the very substance of the person. Tylor (Prim. Culture, ii. 400) is of opinion the Roman Catholic priest’s touching with his spittle the ears and nostrils of the infant at baptism is a survival of the custom in Pagan Rome in accordance with which the nurse touched with spittle the lips and forehead of the week-old child. Virtue was also attributed to clay in diseases of the eye. A physician of the time of Caracalla prescribes “turgentes oculos vili circumline coeno”. That Jesus supposed some virtue lay in the application of the clay is contradicted by the fact that in other cases of blindness He did not use it. See Mark 10:46. But if He applied the clay to encourage the man to believe, as is the likely solution, the question of accommodation arises (see Lücke). The whole process of which the man was the subject was apparently intended to deepen his faith.

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 9:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-9.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

He spat on the ground. With clay and spittle he cured the blind man, to make the miracle more visible. (Witham) --- From the example of Jesus Christ, religious ceremonies are introduced in the administration of the sacraments; and can the Church be blamed for copying her divine Founder? (Haydock)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 9:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

spat, &c. For the signification, see App-176.

ground. Greek. chamai. Occurs only here and in John 18:6.

clay. Greek. pelos. Occurs only here and in verses: John 9:11, John 9:14, John 9:15, and Romans 9:21.

anointed the eyes, &c = applied the clay to (Greek. epi. App-104.) the eyes. Occurs only here and in John 9:11.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 9:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-9.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) And he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.—The words “blind man” are omitted in some of the older MSS. The marginal rendering, and He spread the clay upon the eyes of the blind man (or, upon his eyes), is to be preferred.

The details given in this and the next verse are evidently to be regarded as part of the sign. They impressed themselves as such upon the eye-witnesses, and they have been recorded as such for us. We have then to seek their interpretation. At the outset we are met by the undoubted fact that our Lord here made use of means which, in part at least, were natural, and found their place in the ordinary prescriptions of the day. We know from the pages of Pliny, and Tacitus, and Suetonius, that the saliva jejuna was held to be a remedy in cases of blindness, and that the same remedy was used by the Jews is established by the writings of the Rabbis. That clay was so used is not equally certain, but this may be regarded as the vehicle by means of which the saliva was applied. Here, then, as elsewhere, we may recognise the Divine manifested by means of the human, and see the ordinary remedy of every-day life blessed to meet a case that was beyond human power. Physicians had applied such means commonly to cases of post-natal blindness, but congenital blindness had always been regarded as incurable, and no instance to the contrary had ever been heard of (John 9:32). The Great Physician, then, by using the ordinary means, will teach men that the healing powers of nature are His gracious gift, and that they are increased at the Giver’s will. Our daily sustenance in health and strength, our restored power after sickness or accident, the whole of ordinary life, which we too commonly connect only with ordinary means, is lifted to the higher region of union with Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being.

Another interpretation sees in the use of clay a symbolism which is to be traced to the first Creation, when man was formed from the dust of the earth. We find this as early as Irenaeus, and it may well, therefore, represent an oral explanation, going back to the days of the Evangelist himself. The thought would be that our Lord will here exercise the same creative power as that which made man, and will complete, by the gift of sight, this man, who had hitherto been maimed and without the chief organ of sense.

The use of means by which the healing power is conveyed is common to this instance with that of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26), and that of the deaf and dumb man in Decapolis (Mark 7:32-37); while the two blind men in the house (Matthew 9:27-31), and the two blind men at Jericho (Matthew 20:29-34), are touched and receive their sight. The reader is referred to the Notes on these passages of St. Matthew and St. Mark. Here it will be enough to observe that in each case the loss of a channel of communication between the individual man and the outer world is compensated by some special means which may help to assure him of the presence of the true Healer, and may furnish a foundation for his faith and hope. The deaf man cannot hear the tones of a voice that tells of mercy and love, but the touch applied to the ear may in part convey the same gracious truths. The blind man cannot see the look of compassion which others can see, but the saliva or the clay applied to the eye gives force to the word which is heard by the ear. In every case we should remember that the means is chiefly moral, preparing in the sufferer a mental condition which can receive the gift of healing, and that the physical gift is itself regarded as a stage in the spiritual education. The wisest physicians of the body, and the wisest physicians of the soul, have alike sought to follow in the steps of Him who is their common Master. There are conditions of physical disease for which the truest medicines would be faith, and love, and hope—a mind at peace with itself and with God. There are morbid states of spiritual life that have their cause in physical derangement, and would find their truest remedy in the healthy tone of a restored and vigorous body.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
he spat
Mark 7:33; 8:23; Revelation 3:18
anointed the eyes of the blind with the clay
or, spread the clay upon the eyes of the blind man.
Reciprocal: Joshua 6:12 - the priests;  2 Samuel 5:23 - fetch;  2 Kings 2:21 - cast;  2 Kings 4:41 - he cast;  2 Kings 6:6 - he cut down;  1 Chronicles 14:14 - turn away;  Isaiah 38:21 - For Isaiah;  Matthew 9:29 - touched;  Matthew 20:34 - touched;  John 9:11 - A man;  John 10:21 - Can;  John 11:37 - Could

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 9:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-9.html.

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

Ver. 6. "When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle: He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay."

The blind man, doubtless, knew that it was Jesus with whom he had to do, and that this Jesus had already miraculously healed many, else he would not have suffered the clay to be put on his eyes, or have followed the direction to go to the pool of Siloam, without uttering some objection like that which Naaman, 2 Kings 5:11, expressed under similar circumstances. In ver. 11 he answers the question, How were thine eyes opened? by saying, that a man called Jesus had made clay, etc. Doubtless the bystanders were very diligent in setting him right. The spitting occurs elsewhere in connection with other healing acts of Jesus, Mark 7:33; Mark 8:23. It signified, just like the touching of Matthew 20:34, and the placing the finger in the ear, Mark 7:33, the going forth of healing power from the person of the Lord. That it was not the real conductor of this power, but must be understood symbolically, is plain, from the fact that it was not always applied; for example, not in the case of the blind men at Jericho, Matthew 20:29; Mark 10:46. But this present instance differs from all others in which the spittle occurs. Christ does not spit upon the eye of the blind man, but upon the earth, thus preparing a clay for His purpose. There must have been a special reason for this; and we are the rather led to regard this as a symbolical act, because the second circumstance, the sending to the pool of Siloam, bears so evidently a symbolical character. Genesis 2:7 gives us the key: "And the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." The allusion to that passage pointed out the great fact, that the creating work of God (ver. 3) was here renewed; and that the same creating energy which first called man into being, was manifested in this healing act. In the present case, the spitting—which has this in common with the spitting in the other cases, that it was the symbolical conductor of the quickening power of the Healer—corresponds to the in-breathing of the breath of life at the creation. As by means of this the dust became a living being, so by means of the spittle the dust received a healing and quickening power.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 9:6". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-9.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.He spat on the ground. The intention of Christ was, to restore sight to the blind man, but he commences the operation in a way which appears to be highly absurd; for, by anointing his eyes with clay, he in some respects doubles the blindness Who would not have thought either that he was mocking the wretched man, or that he was practising senseless and absurd fooleries? But in this way he intended to try the faith and obedience of the blind man, that he might be an example to all. It certainly was no ordinary proof of faith, that the blind man, relying on a bare word, is fully convinced that his sight will be restored to him, and with this conviction hastens to go to the place where he was commanded. It is an illustrious commendation of his obedience, that he simply obeys Christ, though there are many inducements to an opposite course. And this is the trial of true faith, when the devout mind, satisfied with the simple word of God, promises what otherwise appears incredible. Faith is instantly followed by a readiness to obey, so that he who is convinced that God will be his faithful guide calmly yields himself to the direction of God. There can be no doubt that some suspicion and fear that he was mocked came into the mind of the blind man; but he found it easy to break through every obstruction, when he arrived at the conclusion that it was safe to follow Christ. It may be objected that the blind man did not know Christ; and, therefore, could not render the honor which was due to him as the Son of God. I acknowledge this to be true; but as he believed that Christ had been sent by God, he submits to him, and not doubting that he speaks the truth, he beholds in him nothing but what is Divine; and, in addition to all this, his faith is entitled to the greater commendation, because, while his knowledge was so small, he devoted himself wholly to Christ.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 9:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-9.html. 1840-57.