John 7

CHAPTER VII.

Jesus continues in Galilee, 1.

He is desired to go to the feast of tabernacles, 2-5.

His answer, 6-9.

He goes up, and the Jews seek him at the feast, 10-13.

He teaches in the temple, 14-24.

The Jews are confounded by his preaching, 25-27.

He continues to teach; they wish to slay him, 28-30.

Many of the people believe on him, 31.

The Pharisees murmur, and our Lord reasons with them, 32-36.

His preaching on the last day of the feast, 37-39.

The people are greatly divided in their opinions concerning

him, 40-44.

The officers, who were sent by the Pharisees to take him,

return, and because they did not bring him, their employers

are offended, 45-49.

Nicodemus reasons with them, 50-53.

NOTES ON CHAP. VII.

Verse 1. After these things] St. John passes from the preceding

discourse of our Lord, which he delivered a little before the

passover, Joh 6:4, to the

Feast of Tabernacles, which happened six months after, and thus

omits many things mentioned by the other evangelists, which our

blessed Lord said and did during that time. He had already gone

over Galilee four or five times; and he continued there, because

he found that the hatred of the Jews was such that they would kill

him if they could meet with him in Judea; and his time to suffer

was not yet come.

For he would not walk in Jewry] Instead of this, some MSS.,

versions, and fathers read, ουγαρειχενεξουσιαν, he had not

authority, or liberty to walk, &c. That is, he was no longer

tolerated, and could not preach publicly in Judea, but at the risk

of his life. He found greater scope for the exercise of his

important ministry in Galilee than in Judea, as the chief priests,

&c., were continually plotting his death.

Verse 2. Feast of tabernacles] This feast was celebrated on the

fifteenth day of the month Tisri, answering to the last half of

our September, and the first half of October. This month was the

seventh of the ecclesiastical, and first of the civil, year.

The feast took its name from the tents which were erected about

the temple, in public places, in courts, and on the flat roofs of

their houses, and in gardens; in which the Jews dwelt for eight

days, in commemoration of the forty years during which their

fathers dwelt in the wilderness. It was one of the three solemn

annual feasts in which all the males were obliged, by the law, to

appear at Jerusalem.

This feast was celebrated in the following manner. All the

people cut down branches of palm trees, willows, and myrtles, (and

tied them together with gold and silver cords, or with ribbons,)

which they carried with them all day, took them into their

synagogues, and kept them by them while at prayers. On the other

days of the feast they carried them with them into the temple and

walked round the altar with them in their hands, singing, Hosanna!

i.e. Save, we beseech thee!-the trumpets sounding on all sides. To

this feast St. John seems to refer, Re 7:9, 10, where he

represents the saints standing before the throne, with palm

branches in their hands, singing, Salvation to God, &c. On the

seventh day of the feast, they went seven times round the altar,

and this was called Hosanna rabba, the great Hosanna.

See Clarke on Mt 21:9.

But the ceremony at which the Jews testified

most joy was that of pouring out the water, which was done on the

eighth day of the feast. A priest drew some water out of the

pool Siloam, in a golden vessel, and brought it into the temple;

and at the time of the morning sacrifice, while the members of the

sacrifice were on the altar, he went up and poured this water

mingled with wine upon it, the people all the while singing, with

transports of joy, Isa. 12, especially Isa 12:6:

With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. To

this part of the ceremony, our Lord appears to allude in ver. 37,

of this chapter. See Clarke on Joh 7:37.

During this feast many sacrifices were offered. On the first

day, besides the ordinary sacrifices, they offered, as a

burnt-offering, thirteen calves, two rams, and fourteen lambs

with the offerings of flour and the libations of wine that were to

accompany them. They offered also a goat for a sin-offering. On

all the succeeding days they offered the same sacrifices, only

abating one of the calves each day, so that when the seventh day

came, they had but seven calves to offer. On the eighth day, which

was kept with greater solemnity than the rest, they offered but

one calf, one ram, and seven lambs, for a burnt-offering, and

one goat for a sin-offering, with the usual offerings and

libations. On this day, they also offered in the temple the first

fruits of their latter crops, or of those things which come latest

to maturity. During the feast, the 113th, 114th, 115th, 116th,

117th, 118th, and 119th Psalms were sung. Leo of Modena says that,

though Moses appointed but eight days, yet custom and the devotion

of the people have added a ninth to it, which is called the joy of

the law, because that on it they complete the reading of the

Pentateuch. See Calmet's Com. and Dict., and father Lamy. For

the law relative to this institution, see Le 23:39, 40, &c., and

the notes there; and Nu 29:16. &c.

Verse 3. His brethren-said] It is generally supposed that these

were the children of the sisters of his mother Mary; but some of

the ancients have stated that Joseph had several children by a

former wife. See the account of the evangelist prefixed to this

Gospel. No solid proof can be alleged against this; nor can we

pretend to say that these were not the children of Joseph and

Mary. Our blessed Lord, it is true, was her first born, while she

was yet a virgin; but no man can prove that he was her last. It is

an article of faith, in the Popish Church, to believe in the

perpetual virginity of Mary; and in this respect, without any

reason, several Protestants seem to be Papists. However this may

be, it is certain that the Hebrews gave the name of brethren to

all the relatives of a particular family. See Ge 31:32, 46.

That thy disciples also may see] That is, the disciples which he

had made two years and six months before, at the Passover:

Joh 2:23.

Verse 4. No man that doeth any thing in secret, &c.] They took

it for granted that Christ was influenced by the same spirit which

themselves felt; and that therefore he should use every

opportunity of exhibiting himself to the public, that he might get

into repute; and they hoped that a part of his honour would be

reflected back upon themselves, as being his near relations. They

seem to have said: "It is too little to employ thyself in working

miracles in Galilee, in the country, and in small villages, among

an ignorant and credulous people, from whom thou canst not get

much credit: go to Jerusalem, the capital, and among the learned

doctors, in the presence of the whole nation assembled at this

feast, work thy miracles, and get thyself a name."

Verse 5. Neither did his brethren believe in him.] They did not

receive him as the promised Messiah; but, having seen so many of

his miracles, they could not but consider him as an eminent

prophet. They supposed that, if he were the Messiah, he would wish

to manifest himself as such to the world; and, because he did not

do so, they did not believe that he was the salvation of Israel.

Verse 6. My time is not yet come] It is probable our Lord meant

no more than this, that he had some business to transact before he

could go to Jerusalem; but his brethren, having nothing to hinder

them might set off immediately. Others think he speaks of his

passion: My time of suffering is not yet come: as ye are still in

friendship with the world, ye need not be under any apprehension

of danger: ye may go when ye please. The first sense I think is

the best.

Verse 7. The world cannot hate you] The Jews will not persecute

you, because ye are in their sentiments and interests. Ye also

expect a worldly Messiah.

But me it hateth] Because I condemn its injustice, its pride,

its ambition, and its maxims, by my life and doctrine. It is very

likely that the term world means here the Jewish people only: this

is an acceptation in which υκοσμος frequently occurs in this

Gospel. See on John 17. Joh 17:1-26.

Verse 8. I go not up yet unto this feast] Porphyry accuses our

blessed Lord of falsehood, because he said here, I will not go to

this feast, and yet afterwards he went; and some interpreters have

made more ado than was necessary, in order to reconcile this

seeming contradiction. To me the whole seems very simple and

plain. Our Lord did not say, I will not go to this feast; but

merely, I go not yet, ουπω, or am not going, i.e. at present;

because, as he said Joh 7:6, and repeats here,

his time was not yet come-he had other business to transact

before he could go. And it is very likely that his business

detained him in Galilee till the feast was half over: for we do

not find him at Jerusalem till the middle of the feast, Joh 7:14,

i.e. till the feast had been begun four days. He might also be

unwilling to go at that time, there being such a great concourse

of people on the road to Jerusalem, and his enemies might say that

he had availed himself of this time and multitude in order to

excite sedition.

Verse 10. But when his brethren were gone up] Having despatched

his business, and the concourse of people being now past, he went

up also.

Verse 11. Then the Jews sought him] By Jews here are to be

understood the scribes, Pharisees, and rulers of the people, and

not the inhabitants of the province of Judea. It appears, from the

following verses, that many of the people were prejudiced in his

favour, but they dared not to own it publicly for fear of the

Jews, i.e. for fear of the rulers of the people.

Verse 12. Some said, He is a good man] The multitude were

divided in their opinions concerning him: those who knew him best

said, He is a good man. Those who spoke according to the character

given him by the priests, &c., said, Nay; but he deceiveth the

people. Those who spoke evil of him spoke out, because they had

the rulers on their side; but those who spoke good of him were

obliged to do it in private, because they feared these rulers.

Calumny and slander are among the privileged orders; they stalk

abroad with their thousand brazen mouths, and blast the reputation

of the followers of God. Benevolence and candour are only on

sufferance; and a whisper in secret is the most they are permitted

to give in behalf of Christ and his followers, whose laws and

maxims condemn a vicious world, and goad it to revenge.

Verse 14. The midst of the feast] Though the canons required him

to be there on the first day, for the performance of a great

variety of rites, yet, as these were in general the invention of

their doctors, he might think it very proper neither to attend nor

perform them.

Verse 15. How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?]

The Jewish learning consisted in the knowledge of their own

scriptures, and the traditions of their elders. In this learning

our blessed Lord excelled. No person ever spoke with more grace

and dignity, or knew better how to make a more proper use, or a

happier application, of Jewish allegories and parables; because

none ever penetrated the sense of the Scriptures as he did; none

ever cited them more successfully, or ever showed their

accomplishment in so complete and satisfactory a manner. As these

branches of learning were taught at the Jewish schools, and our

Lord had never attended there, they were astonished to find him

excelling in that sort of learning, of which they themselves

professed to be the sole teachers.

Verse 16. My doctrine is not mine] Our blessed Lord, in the

character of Messiah, might as well say, My doctrine is not mine,

as an ambassador might say, I speak not my own words, but his who

sent me: and he speaks these words to draw the attention of the

Jews from the teaching of man to the teaching of God; and to show

them that he was the promised Messiah, the very person on whom,

according to the prophet, (Isa 11:2,) the Spirit of Jehovah-the

Spirit of wisdom, counsel, understanding, might, and knowledge,

should rest.

Verse 17. If any man wilt do his will, &c.] I will give you a

sure rule by which ye may judge of my doctrine: If you really wish

to do the will of God, begin the practice of it; and take my

doctrine, and apply it to all that you know God requires of man;

and if you find one of my precepts contrary to the nature,

perfections, and glory of God, or to the present or eternal

welfare of men, then ye shall be at liberty to assert that my

doctrine is human and erroneous, and God has not sent me. But if,

on the contrary, ye find that the sum and substance of my

preaching is, That men shall love God with all their heart, soul,

mind, and strength, and their neighbour as themselves; and that

this doctrine must bring glory to God in the highest, while it

produces peace and good will among men; then acknowledge that God

has visited you, and receive me as the Messiah promised to your

fathers.

Verse 18. He that speaketh of himself, &c.] I will give you

another rule, whereby you shall know whether I am from God or not:

If I speak so as to procure my own glory, to gratify vanity, or to

secure and promote my secular interests, then reject me as a

deceiver and as a false prophet. But if I act only to promote the

glory of God, to induce all men to love and obey him; if I propose

nothing but what leads to the perfection of his law, and the

accomplishment of its ordinances, you cannot help acknowledging me

at least for a true prophet; and, if you add to this the proofs

which I have given of my mission and power, you must acknowledge

me as the mighty power of God, and the promised Messiah.

And no unrighteousness is in him.] Or, there is no falsehood in

him: so the word αδικια should be translated here; and it is

frequently used by the Septuagint for sheker, a lie,

falsehood, &c. See in Ps 52:3; 119:29, 69, 104, 163; 144:8.

This is its meaning in Ro 2:8; where

αδικια, falsehood, is put in opposition to αληθεια, truth.

Verse 19. Did not Moses give you the law, &c.] The scribes and

Pharisees announced our Lord to the multitude as a deceiver; and

they grounded their calumny on this, that he was not an exact

observer of the law, for he had healed a man on the Sabbath day,

Joh 5:9, 10; and consequently must be a false prophet. Now they

insinuated, that the interests of religion required him to be put

to death: 1. As a violator of the law; and, 2. as a false prophet

and deceiver of the people. To destroy this evil reasoning, our

Lord speaks in this wise: If I deserve death for curing a man on

the Sabbath, and desiring him to carry home his bed, which you

consider a violation of the law, you are more culpable than I am,

for you circumcise a child on the Sabbath, which requires much

more bustle, and is of so much less use than what I have done to

the infirm man. But, if you think you do not violate the law by

circumcising a child on the Sabbath, how can you condemn me for

having cured one of yourselves, who has been afflicted thirty and

eight years? If you consider my conduct with the same eye with

which you view your own, far from finding any thing criminal in

it, you will see much reason to give glory to God. Why, therefore,

go ye about to kill me, as a transgressor of the law, when not one

of yourselves keeps it?

Verse 20. Thou hast a devil] The crowd, who made this answer,

were not in the secret of the chief priests. They could not

suppose that any person desired to put him to death for healing a

diseased man; and therefore, in their brutish manner, they say,

Thou hast a demon-thou art beside thyself, and slanderest the

people, for none of them desires to put thee to death. The Codex

Cyprius (K,) four others, and the margin of the later Syriac,

attribute this answer to the Jews, i.e. those who were seeking his

life. If the reading, therefore, of οιιουδαιοι, the Jews, be

received instead of οοχλος, the multitude, it serves to show the

malice of his enemies in a still stronger light: for, fearing lest

their wish to put him to death might not be gratified, and that

his teaching should prevail among the common people; to ruin his

credit, and prevent his usefulness, they give out that he was

possessed by a demon; and that, though he might be pitied as a

miserable man, yet he must not be attended to as a teacher of

righteousness. Malice and envy are ever active and indefatigable,

leaving no stone unturned, no mean unused, that they may win the

object of their resentment. See Clarke on Joh 7:26.

Verse 21. I have done one work] That of curing the impotent man,

already referred to. See Joh 5:9.

And ye all marvel.] or, ye all marvel because of this. Some have

διατουτο, in connection with θαυμαζετε, which the common pointing

makes the beginning of the next verse, and which, in our common

version, is translated therefore; but this word conveys no meaning

at all, in the connection in which it is thus placed. Proof of

this construction Kypke gives from Themistius, Strabo, and

AElian. All the eminent critics are on the side of this

arrangement of the words.

Verse 22. But of the fathers] That is, it came from the

patriarchs. Circumcision was not, properly speaking, one of the

laws of the Mosaic institution, it having been given at first to

Abraham, and continued among his posterity till the giving of the

law: Ge 17:9, 10, &c.

Ye-circumcise a man.] That is, a male child: for every male

child was circumcised when eight days old; and if the eighth day

after its birth happened to be a Sabbath, it was nevertheless

circumcised, that the law might not be broken, which had enjoined

the circumcision to take place at that time, Le 12:3. From this

and several other circumstances it is evident that the keeping of

the Sabbath, even in the strictest sense of the word, ever

admitted of the works of necessity and mercy to be done on it; and

that those who did not perform such works on that day, when they

had opportunity, were properly violators of every law founded on

the principles of mercy and justice. If the Jews had said, Why

didst thou not defer the healing of the sick man till the ensuing

day? He might have well answered, Why do ye not defer the

circumcising of your children to the ensuing day, when the eighth

day happens to be a Sabbath?-which is a matter of infinitely less

consequence than the restoration of this long-afflicted man.

Verse 23. Every whit whole] The law of circumcision required the

removal of a small portion of flesh, which was considered a blot

and reproach among the Hebrews, because it confounded them with

the nations who were not in covenant with God. Christ, to this,

opposes the complete cure of the infirm man, who was diseased

throughout his whole body: if the one was permitted on the Sabbath

day, for the reason already alleged, surely the other had stronger

reasons to recommend it.

Some think that the original words, ολονανθρπον, should be

translated, the whole man; and that the meaning is, that the

blessed Saviour made him whole both in body and soul. This makes

the miracle the greater, and shows still more forcibly the

necessity of doing it without delay.

Battier ap. Wets. supposes that, instead of ολονχωλον should

be read-I have made a MAIMED man whole; but there is no

countenance for this reading in any of the MSS;, versions, or

fathers.

Verse 24. Judge not according to the appearance] Attend to the

law, not merely in the letter, but in its spirit and design.

Learn that the law which commands men to rest on the Sabbath day

is subordinate to the law of mercy and love, which requires them

to be ever active to promote God's glory in the comfort and

salvation of their fellow creatures; and endeavour to judge of the

merit or demerit of an action, not from the first impression it

may make upon your prejudices but from its tendency, and the

motives of the person, as far as it is possible for you to

acquaint yourselves with them; still believing the best, where you

have no certain proof to the contrary.

Verse 26. That this is the very Christ?] In most of the common

printed editions αληθως is found, the VERY Christ; but the word is

wanting in BDKLTX, twenty-two others, several editions; all the

Arabic, Wheelock's Persic, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian,

Slavonic, Vulgate, and all the Itala but one, Origen, Epiphanius,

Cyril, Isidore, Pelusian, and Nonnus. Grotius, Mill, Bengel, and

Griesbach, decide against it. Bishop Pearce says, I am of

opinion that this second αληθως, in this verse, should be omitted,

it seeming quite unnecessary, if not inaccurate, when the words

αληθωςεγνωσαν, had just preceded it.

Calmet observes that the multitude which heard our Lord at this

time was composed of three different classes of persons: 1. The

rulers, priests, and Pharisees, declared enemies of Christ. 2. The

inhabitants of Jerusalem, who knew the sentiments of their rulers

concerning him. 3. The strangers, who from different quarters had

come up to Jerusalem to the feast, and who heard Christ

attentively, being ignorant of the designs of the rulers, &c.,

against him.

Our Lord addresses himself in this discourse principally to his

enemies. The strange Jews were those who were astonished when

Christ said, Joh 7:20,

that they sought to kill him, having no such design themselves,

and not knowing that others had. And the Jews of Jerusalem were

those who, knowing the disposition of the rulers, and seeing

Christ speak openly, no man attempting to seize him, addressed

each other in the foregoing words, Do the rulers know indeed that

this is the Christ? imagining that the chief priests, &c., had at

last been convinced that Jesus was the MESSIAH.

Verse 27. No man knoweth whence he is.] The generality of the

people knew very well that the Messiah was to be born in

Bethlehem, in the city, and of the family, of David; see

Joh 7:42. But, from Isaiah Isa 53:8,

Who shall declare his generation? they probably thought that

there should be something so peculiarly mysterious in his birth,

or in the manner of his appearing, that no person could fully

understand. Had they considered his miraculous conception, they

would have felt their minds relieved on this point. The Jews

thought that the Messiah, after his birth, would hide himself for

some considerable time; and that when he began to preach no man

should know where he had been hidden, and whence he had come. The

rabbins have the following proverb: Three things come

unexpectedly: 1. A thing found by chance. 2. The sting of a

scorpion: and, 3. The Messiah. It was probably in reference to the

above that the people said, No man knoweth whence he is. However,

they might have spoken this of his parents. We know that the

Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, of the family of David; but

no man can know his parents: therefore they rejected him:

Joh 6:42, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose

father and mother we know?

Verse 28. Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am] Perhaps they

should be read interrogatively: Do ye both know me, and know

whence I am? Our Lord takes them up on their own profession, and

argues from it. Since you have got so much information concerning

me, add this to it, to make it complete; viz. that I am not come

of myself; am no self-created or self-authorized prophet; I came

from God:-the testimony of John the Baptist, the descent of the

Holy Ghost, the voice from heaven, the purity and excellence of my

doctrine, and the multitude of my miracles, sufficiently attest

this. Now, God is true who has borne testimony to me; but ye know

him not, therefore it is that this testimony is disregarded.

Verse 29. But I know him: for I am from him] Instead of ειμ, I

am, some editions, the Syriac Hieros. read ειμι, I came,

according to the Attics. Nonnus confirms this reading by

paraphrasing the word by εληλυθα, I came. As the difference

between the two words lies only in the accents, and as these are

not found in ancient MSS., it is uncertain which way the word was

understood by them: nor is the matter of much moment; both words

amount nearly to the same meaning and ειμι, I came, seems too

refined.

Verse 31. Will he do more miracles] It was the belief of the

Jews, and they founded it upon Isa 35:5, that, when the Messiah

came, he would do all kinds of miracles; and, in order that they

might have the fullest proof of the Divine mission of Christ, it

had pleased God to cause miracles to cease for between four and

five hundred years, and that John the Baptist himself had not

wrought any. His miracles, therefore, were a full proof of his

Divine mission.

Verse 32. The people murmured such things] The people began to

be convinced that he was the Messiah; and this being generally

whispered about, the Pharisees, &c., thought it high time to put

him to death, lest the people should believe on him; therefore

they sent officers to take him.

Verse 33. Yet a little while am I with you] As he knew that the

Pharisees had designed to take and put him to death, and that in

about six months from this time, as some conjecture, he should be

crucified, he took the present opportunity of giving this

information to the common people, who were best disposed towards

him, that they might lay their hearts to his teaching, and profit

by it, while they had the privilege of enjoying it.

The word αυτοις, to them, in the beginning of this verse, is

wanting in BDEGHLMS, more than eighty others, both the Syriac,

later Persic, Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Gothic, Slavonic, Saxon,

most copies of the Vulgate and the Itala. It is omitted also by

Euthymius, Theophylact, Augustin, and Bede. Our Lord did not

speak these words to the officers who came to apprehend him, as

αυτοις here implies, but to the common people, merely to show

that he was not ignorant of the designs of the Pharisees, though

they had not yet been able to put them into practice.

Verse 34. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me] When the

Roman armies come against you, you will vainly seek for a

deliverer. But ye shall be cut off in your sins, because ye did

not believe in me; and where I am-in the kingdom of glory, ye

cannot come; for nothing that is unholy shall enter into the new

Jerusalem. In this, and the thirty-sixth verse, ειμ, I am, is

read by several ειμι, I came, as in the twenty-ninth verse; and in

these two last places the AEthiopic, Arabic, three copies of the

Itala, Nonnus, and Theophylact, agree.

See Clarke on Joh 7:29.

Verse 35. The dispersed among the Gentiles] Or Greeks. By the

dispersed, are meant here the Jews who were scattered through

various parts of that empire which Alexander the Great had

founded, in Greece, Syria, Egypt, and Asia Minor, where the Greek

language was used, and where the Jewish Scriptures in the Greek

version of the Septuagint were read. Others suppose that the

Gentiles themselves are meant-others, that the ten tribes which

had been long lost are here intended.

Verse 37. In the last day, that great day of the feast] This was

the eighth day, and was called the great day, because of certain

traditional observances, and not on account of any excellence

which it derived from the original institution. On the seven days

they professed to offer sacrifices for the seventy nations of the

earth, but on the eighth day they offered sacrifices for Israel;

therefore the eighth day was more highly esteemed than any of the

others. It is probably to this that the evangelist refers when he

calls the last day the great day of the feast. See the account of

the feast of tabernacles, in the note on Joh 7:2. It was probably

when they went to draw water from the pool Siloam, and while they

were pouring it out at the foot of the altar, that our Lord spoke

these words; for, as that ceremony pointed out the gracious

influences of the Holy Spirit, our Lord, who was the fountain

whence it was to proceed, called the people to himself, that, by

believing on him, they might be made partakers of that inestimable

benefit.

Verse 38. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said]

He who receives me as the Messiah, according to what the Scripture

has said concerning me; my person, birth, conduct, preaching, and

miracles, being compared with what is written there as

ascertaining the true Messiah. Out of his belly-from his heart and

soul; for in his soul shall this Spirit dwell.

Living water.] As a true spring is ever supplied with water from

the great deep, with which it has communication, so shall the soul

of the genuine believer be supplied with light, life, love, and

liberty, and all the other graces of the indwelling Spirit, from

the indwelling Christ. The Jews frequently compare the gifts and

influences of the Holy Spirit to water in general-to rain,

fountains, wells, rivers, &c., &c. The Scriptures abound in this

metaphor. Ps 36:8, 9; Isa 44:3, 4; Joe 2:23.

Verse 39. Was not yet given] δεδομενον, given is added by the

Codex Vaticanus, (B.) the Syriac, all the Persic, later Syriac

with an asterisk, three copies of the Slavonic, Vulgate, and all

the Itala but three; and several of the primitive fathers. The

word seems necessary to the completion of the sense.

Certain measures of the Holy Spirit had been vouchsafed from the

beginning of the world to believers and unbelievers: but that

abundant effusion of his graces spoken of by Joel, Joe 2:28,

which peculiarly characterized the Gospel times, was not granted

till after the ascension of Christ: 1. Because this Spirit in its

plenitude was to come in consequence of his atonement; and

therefore could not come till after his crucifixion. 2. It was to

supply the place of Christ to his disciples and to all true

believers; and therefore it was not necessary till after the

removal of his bodily presence from among them. See our Lord's own

words, Joh 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15.

Verse 40. Of a truth this is the Prophet.] The great prophet, or

teacher, spoken of by Moses, De 18:15, which they improperly

distinguished from the Messiah, Joh 7:41. Some no doubt knew that

by the prophet, the Messiah was meant; but others seem to have

thought that one of the ancient prophets should be raised from the

dead, and precede the appearing of the Messiah.

Verse 41. Shalt Christ come out of Galilee?] As the prophets had

declared that the Messiah was to come from the tribe of Judah, and

from the family of David, and should be born in the city of

Bethlehem, these Jews, imagining that Christ had been born in

Galilee, concluded that he could not be the Messiah. Had they

examined the matter a little farther, they would have found that

he had his birth exactly as the prophets had foretold; but, for

want of this necessary examination, they continued in unbelief,

and rejected the Lord that bought them. Many still lose their

souls nearly in the same way. They suffer themselves to be led

away by common report, and become prejudiced against the truth,

refuse to give it a fair hearing, or to examine for themselves. It

is on this ground that deign and irreligion have established

themselves, and still maintain their posts.

Verse 42. Where David was?] That is, where he was born,

1Sa 16:1, 4, and where he was before he became king in Israel.

Verse 43. There was a division] σχισμα, a schism; they were

divided in sentiment, and separated into parties. This is the true

notion of schism.

Verse 44. Would have taken him] Or, they wished to seize him.

And this they would have done, and destroyed him too at that time,

had they been unanimous; but their being divided in opinion,

Joh 7:43, was the cause, under God, why his life was at that

time preserved. How true are the words of the prophet: The wrath

of man shall praise thee; and the remainder thereof thou wilt

restrain! Ps 76:10.

Verse 45. Then came the officers] They had followed him for

several days, seeking for a proper opportunity to seize on him,

when they might fix some charge of sedition, &c., upon him; but

the more they listened, the more they were convinced of his

innocence, purity, and consummate wisdom.

Verse 46. Never man spake like this man.] Though these officers

had gone on the errand of their masters, they had not entered into

their spirit. They were sent to apprehend a seditious man, and a

false prophet. They came where Jesus taught; they found him to be

a different person to the description they received from their

masters, and therefore did not attempt to touch or molest him. No

doubt they expected when they told their employers the truth, that

they would have commended them, and acknowledged their own

mistake: but these simple people were not in the secret of their

masters' malice. They heard, they felt, that no man ever spoke

with so much grace, power, majesty, and eloquence. They had never

heard a discourse so affecting and persuasive. So Jesus still

speaks to all who are simple of heart. He speaks pardon-he speaks

holiness-he speaks salvation to all who have ears to hear. No man

ever did or can speak as he does. He teaches THE TRUTH, the whole

TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH.

Verse 48. Have any of the rulers-believed on him?] Very few. But

is this a proof that he is not of God? No, truly. If he were of

the world, the world would love its own. The religion of Christ

has been in general rejected by the rulers of this world. A life

of mortification, self-denial, and humility, does not comport with

the views of those who will have their portion in this life. It

has ever been a mark of the truth of God that the great, the

mighty, and the wise have in general rejected it. They are too

much occupied with this world to attend to the concerns of the

next.

Verse 49. This people] οοχλος, This rabble. The common

people were treated by the Pharisees with the most sovereign

contempt: they were termed am ha-arets, people of the

earth; and were not thought worthy to have a resurrection to

eternal life. Wagenseil and Schoettgen have given many proofs of

the contempt in which the common people were held by the

Pharisees. Those who were disciples of any of the rabbins were

considered as being in a much better state. When they paid well,

they purchased their masters' good opinion.

Verse 50. Nicodemus-being one of them] That is, a Pharisee, and

a ruler of the Jews: See Clarke on Joh 3:1.

Verse 51. Doth our law judge any man] τονανθρωπον, the man,

i.e. who is accused. Perhaps Nicodemus did not refer so much to

any thing in the law of Moses, as to what was commonly practiced

among them. Josephus says, Ant. b. xiv. c. 9. s. 3, That the law

has forbidden any man to be put to death, though wicked, unless he

be first condemned to die by the Sanhedrin. It was probably to

this law, which is not expressly mentioned in the five books of

Moses, that Nicodemus here alludes. See laws relative to this

point, De 17:8, &c.; De 19:15.

Verse 52. Art thou also of Galilee?] They knew very well that he

was not; but they spoke this by way of reproach. As if they had

said, thou art no better than he is, as thou takest his part. Many

of the Galileans had believed on him, Which the Jews considered to

be a reproach. Art thou his disciple, as the Galileans are?

Search, and look] Examine the Scriptures, search the public

registers, and thou wilt see that out of Galilee there ariseth no

prophet. Neither the Messiah, nor any other prophet, has ever

proceeded from Galilee, nor ever can. This conclusion, says

Calmet, was false and impertinent: false, because Jonah was of

Gathheper, in Galilee: see 2Ki 14:25, compared with Jos 19:13.

The Prophet Nahum was also a Galilean, for he was of the tribe of

Simeon; and some suppose that Malachi was of the same place. The

conclusion was false, because there not having been a prophet from

any particular place was no argument that there never could be

one, as the place had not been proscribed.

Verse 53. And every man went, &c.] The authority and influence

of Nicodemus, in this case, was so great that the Sanhedrin broke

up without being able to conclude any thing. As the feast was now

ended, they were not obliged to continue any longer in or about

Jerusalem; and therefore all returned to their respective

dwellings.

This verse and the first eleven verses of the following chapter

are wanting in several MSS. Some of those which retain the

paragraph mark it with obelisks, as a proof of spuriousness. Those

which do retain it have it with such a variety of reading as is no

where else found in the sacred writings. Professor Griesbach

leaves the whole paragraph in the text with notes of doubtfulness.

Most of the modern critics consider it as resting on no solid

authority.

The following in the left-hand column, is a literal translation

of the whole as it stands in the Codex Bezae. That on the right is

a connected view of it from other manuscripts.

Joh 7:53; 8:1-11.

From the Codex Bezae. From other MSS.

Joh 7:53. And 53. And every one went

every one went to his away to his own people.

own house. (ταιδιααυτου) Al. place.

Joh 8:1. And Jesus 1. And Jesus went out

went to the mount of to the mount of Olives.

Olives.

2. But he came again 2. But very early in the

early into-the temple, and morning Jesus came again

all the people came unto into the temple, and all

him. the people came; and

having sat down he taught

them.

3. And the scribes and 3. And the chief priests

Pharisees brought a woman and the Pharisees bring

unto him, taken in unto him a woman taken

sin; and, setting her in in adultery; and, having

the midst, set her in the midst,

4. The priests say unto 4. They spoke, tempting

him, tempting him, that him, Teacher, we

they might have an accusation found this one committing

against him, Teacher, adultery, in the very

this woman was taken act:

committing adultery, in

the very act:

5. Now Moses, in the 5. And in the law Moses

law, gave orders to stone commanded us to stone

such: but what dost thou such: What dost thou

say now? say concerning her?

6. But Jesus, having 6. But this they spoke

stooped down, wrote with tempting him, that they

his finger upon the ground. might find an accusation

against him: but he,

knowing it, stooped down,

(Al. bowed down,) and

wrote with his finger upon

the ground, seeming as if

he did not hear.

(Al. pretending.)

7. But as they continued 7. But as they continued

asking he lifted up asking him, having

himself, and said unto looked up, he saith, Let

them, Let him who is him who is without sin

without sin among you among you, first cast a

first cast a stone at her. stone at her.

8. And stooping down 8. And stooping down

again, he wrote with his again, he wrote with his

finger upon the ground. finger upon the ground

(the sins of every one of

them.)

9. And each of the 9. And each one of

Jews went out, beginning them went out, (Al.

from the oldest, so that and hearing these things

all went out: and he was they departed one by one,)

left alone, the woman beginning from the oldest;

being in the midst. and Jesus was left alone,

and the woman in the

midst of them.

10. And Jesus lifting 10. Jesus therefore looking

up himself, said to the up, saw her, and said,

woman, Where are they? Woman, where are thy

Hath no one condemned accusers? Hath no one

thee? condemned thee?

11. Then she said unto 11. Then she said, No

him, No one, sir. Then one, sir. And Jesus said,

he said, Neither do I Neither will I judge thee;

condemn thee; go, and from go away, and henceforth

this time sin no more. sin no more.

See the notes on this account in the following chapter.

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