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unto him. 31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him u Job xxiii. 12. ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, "My meat is to
xvii. 4: xix. 30.
u do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and Matt. ix. 37. look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest.
Luke x. 2.
a better, to be doing.
▾ render, that.
31, 32.] The bodily thirst (and hunger probably, from the time of day) which our Lord had felt before, had been and was forgotten in the carrying on of His divine work in the soul of this Samaritan woman. Although I and you are emphatic, the words are not spoken in blame, for none was deserved: but in fulness and earnestness of spirit; in a feeling analogous to that which comes upon us when called from high and holy employment to the supply of the body or to the business of this world. 33.] It is very characteristic of the first part of this Gospel to bring forward instances of unreceptivity of spiritual meaning; compare ver. 11; ch. ii. 20; iii. 4; vi. 42, 52. The disciples probably have the woman in their thoughts. 34.] Christ alone could properly say these words. In the believer on Him, they are partially true, true as far as he has received the Spirit, and entered into the spiritual life;-but in Him they were absolutely and fully true. His whole life was the doing of the Father's will. We can eat and drink, &c. to the glory of God,'-but in Him the hallowing of the Father's name, doing His will, bringing about His Kingdom, was His daily bread, and superseded the thoughts and desires for the other, needful as it was for His humanity.
My meat is to be (better, that I may be) doing, &c.] That is, it was our Lord's continued sustenance, to be ever carrying onward to completion that performance of His Father's will for which He came into the world. In the words finish his work, the way is prepared for the idea introduced in the next verse. These words give an answer to the questioning in the minds of the disciples, and shew that He had been employed in the Father's work during their absence. 35.] The sense of these much-controverted words will be best ascertained by narrowly observing the form of the sentence.
Say not ye surely cannot be the introduction to an observation of what was matter of fact at the time. Had the words been spoken at a time when it wanted four months to the harvest, and had our Lord intended to express this,-is it conceivable that He should have thus introduced the remark? Would not, must not, the question have been a direct one in that case are there not four months?' &c. I know not how to account for this Say not ye that. . . . except that it introduces some common saying which the Jews, or perhaps the people of Galilee only, were in the habit of using. Are not ye accustomed to say, that . . . . ? That we hear of no such proverb elsewhere, is not to the point ;-for such unrecorded sayings are among every people. That we do not know whence to date the four months, is again no objection:-there may have been, in the part where the saying was usual (possibly in the land west of the lake of Tiberias, for those addressed were from thence, and the emphatic "ye" seems to point to some particular locality), some fixed period in the year,-the end of the sowing, or some religious anniversary,— when it was a common saying, that it wanted four months to harvest. And this might have been the first date in the year which had regard to the harvest, and so the best known in connexion with it. If this be so, all that has been built on this saying, as giving a chronological date, must fall to the ground. (Lightfoot, Wieseler, and others, maintain, that since the harvest began on the 16th of Nisan, we must reckon four months back from that time for this journey through Samaria, which would bring it to the middle of Chisleu, i.e. the beginning of December.) To get the meaning of the latter part of the verse, we must endeavour to follow, as far as may be, the train of thought which pervades the discourse. He that soweth the good seed is the Son of
36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He y ver. 20. told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 and said unto the woman, ▾ Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for z we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is zch. xvii. 8. indeed [ the Christ,] the Saviour of the world.
1 John iv. 14
render, is [fulfilled] that true saying.
I render, have bestowed, and have laboured.
▾ render, No longer do we believe because of thy story.
Man: our Lord had now been employed in this His work. But not as in the natural year, so was it to be in the world's lifetime. One-third of the year may elapse, or more, before the sown seed springs up; but the sowing by the Son of Man comes late in time, and the harvest should immediately follow. The fields were whitening for it; these Samaritans (not that I believe He pointed to them approaching, as Chrysostom and most expositors, but had them in his view in what He said), and the multitudes in Galilee, were all nearly ready. In the discourse as far as ver. 38, He is the sower, the disciples (see Acts viii.) were the reapers:He was the one who had laboured, they were the persons who had entered into his labours. The past is used, as descriptive of the office which each held, not of the actual thing done. I cannot also but see an allusion to the words spoken by Joshua (xxiv. 13), on this very spot ;— I have given you a land for which ye did not labour.' Taking this view, I do not believe there was any allusion to the actual state of the fields at that time. The words Lift up your eyes, &c., are of course to be understood literally ;-they were to lift up their eyes and look on the lands around them ;-and then came the assurance; they are whitening already towards the harvest.' And it seems to me that on this view-of the Lord speaking of spiritual things to them, and announcing to them the approach of the spiritual harvest, and none else,—the right under
Jy omit. standing of the following verses depends. It is of course possible that it may have been seed-time ;-possible also, that the fields may have been actually whitening for the harvest;-but to lay down either of these as certain, and build chronological inferences on it, is quite unwarranted.
36.] The wages of the reaper is in the "joy" here implied, in having gathered many into eternal life, just as the meat of the sower was His joy already begun in His heavenly work. See Matt. xx. 1-16 and notes. 38.] Here, as often, our Lords speaks of the office and its work as accomplished, which is but beginning (see Isa. xlvi. 10). By other men here our Lord cannot mean the O. T. prophets as some say, for then His own place would be altogether left out;-and besides, all Scripture analogy is against the idea of the O. T. being the seed of which the N. T. is the fruit ;- -nor can it be right, as Olshausen maintains, to leave Him out, as being the Lord of the Harvest :-for He is certainly elsewhere, and was by the very nature of the case here, the Sower. The plural is I believe merely inserted as the correspondent word to ye in the explanation, as it was one soweth and another reapeth in the proverb. 39-42.] The truth of the saying of ver. 35 begins to be manifested. These Samaritans were the foundation of the church afterwards built up there. It does not seem that any miracle was wrought there: the feeling expressed in the words "we have heard
b ch. ii. 23: fii. 2.
two days he departed thence, and went 44 For a Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. 45 a Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilæans received him, b having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the © Deut. xvi. 16. feast for they also went unto the feast. 46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judæa into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then •1 Cor. 1. 22. said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders,
d ch. ii. 1, 11.
a render, When then.
which they themselves held Him, or value
43 Now after
a Matt. xiii. 57. into Galilee.
Mark vi. 4.
Luke iv. 24.
render, the two days.
Him ourselves" was enough to raise their faith to a point never attained by the Jews, and hardly as yet by the disciples,-that He was the Saviour of the world. Their view scems to have been less clouded by prejudice and narrow-mindedness than that of the Jews; and though the conversion of this people lay not in the plan of the official life of our Lord, or working of His Apostles during it (see Matt. x. 5),-yet we have abundant proof from this history, of His gracious purposes towards them. A trace of this occurrence may be found ch. viii. 48, where see note. Compare throughout Acts viii. 1-25. The word rendered story (literally, "this talking") is one in which it is hardly possible not to see something of allusion to the woman's eager and diffuse report to them.
43-54.] The second miracle of Jesus in Galilee. The healing of the Ruler's son. 43.] after the two days, viz. those mentioned above. We find no mention of the disciples again, till ch. vi. 3. And thus the "therefore" in the next verse will be a word connecting it with this preliminary reason given. The reason (ver. 1) why Jesus left Judæa for Galilee was, because of the publicity which was gathering round Himself and his ministry. He betakes himself to Galilee therefore, to avoid fame, testifying that His own country (Galilee) was that where, as a prophet, He was least likely to be honoured. See on the difficulties which have been found in the connexion of this verse, in my Greek Testament. The above explanation seems to me completely satis factory. 45.] They received Him, but in accordance with the proverbial saying just recorded;-not for any honour in
ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus bhad spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth and himself believed, and his whole house. 5+ d This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judæa into Galilee.
b render, spake.
d render, This again, a second
and wonders heard of, but required to see them for in this case the expression would certainly have been fuller, "see with your eyes," or something similar;-and it would not accord with our Lord's known low estimate of all mere miracle-faith, to find Him making so weighty a difference between faith from miracles seen and faith from miracles heard. The words imply the contrast between the Samaritans, who believed because of His word, and the Jews (the plural reckoning the nobleman among them), who would not believe but through signs and prodigies:- see 1 Cor. i. 22. And observe also that it is not implied that even when they had seen signs and wonders, they would believe:-they required these as a condition of their faith, but even these were rejected by them: see ch. xii. 37. But even with such inadequate conceptions and conditions of faith, our Lord receives the nobleman, and works the sign rather than dismiss him. It was otherwise in Matt. xvi. 1 ff. 49.] Here is the same weakness of faith as there,-but our Lord's last words have made visible impression. It is like the Syrophoenician woman's rejoinder,-Yea, Lord; but...,' only the faith is of a far less noble kind than hers. He seems to believe it necessary that Jesus should be on the spot;-not that there was any thing strange or blameable in this, for Martha and Mary did the same, ch. xi. 21, 32-and to think that it would be too late when his child had expired;-not imagining that He to whom he spoke could raise the dead. 50.] The bringing out and strengthening of the man's faith by these words was almost as great a spiritual miracle, as the material one which VOL. I.
Crender, child. miracle, did Jesus.
they indicated. We may observe the difference between our Lord's dealing here and in the case of the centurion (Matt. viii. 6 ff. and parallel places). There, when from humility the man requests Him to speak the word only, He offers to go to his house: here, when pressed to go down, He speaks the word only. Thus (as Trench observes, after Chrysostom) the weak faith of the nobleman is strengthened, while the humility of the centurion is honoured. 51.] He appears (see below) to have gone leisurely away-for the hour (1 P.M.) was early enough to reach Capernaum the same evening (twenty-five miles)-in confidence that an amendment was taking place, which he at present understood to be only a gradual one. 52, 53. the fever left him] This was probably more than he expected to hear; and the coincidence of so sudden a recovery with the time at which Jesus had spoken the words to him raises his faith at length into a full belief of the Power and Goodness and the Messiahship of Him, who had by a word commanded the disease, and it had obeyed. The word believed, absolutely, implies that in the fullest sense he and all his became disciples of Jesus. It is very different from "believed the word that Jesus spake" in ver. 50-as believing on HIM must be always different from believing on any thing else in the world, be it even His own word or His own ordinances. The cure took place in the afternoon: the nobleman probably set out, as indeed the narrative implies, immediately on hearing our Lord's assurance, and spent the night on the way.
54.] The meaning of the Evangelist clearly is, that this was the second GaliL L
V. 1 After this there was a feast of the Jews: and
e render, these things.
lean miracle (see ch. iii. 2, and ver. 45). But (1) how is that expressed in the words? The miracles which He did at Jerusalem in the feast being omitted, the words naturally carry the thoughts back to a former one related; and the clause added (“when He was come out of Judæa into Galilee") shews, not that a miracle prior to this, during this return visit, has been passed over, but that as the scene of this second was in Galilee, so that former one, to which "second" refers, must be sought in Galilee also. And then (2) why should this so particularly be stated? Certainly, it seems to me, on account of the part which this miracle bore in the calling out and assuring of faith by the manifestation of His glory, as that first one had done before. By that (ch. ii. 11), His disciples had been convinced: by this, one (himself a type of the weak and unworthy in faith) outside the circle of His own. By both, half-belief was strengthened into faith in Him: but in each case it is of a different kind. It is an interesting question, whether or not this miracle be the same as the healing of the centurion's servant (or son, Matthew?) in Matt. viii. 5: Luke vii. 1. Irenæus appears to hold the two narratives to be the same history (appears only; for his words are, "He healed the centurion's servant when absent, saying, Go thy way, thy son liveth :"" which remark may be simply explained by his having cited from memory, and thus either made this nobleman a centurion,or, which is more probable, having understood the word in Matt. viii. to signify a son, and made our Lord there speak very similar words to those really uttered by Him, but which are in reality found here): so Eusebius also in his canons. Chrysostom notices, but opposes the view:-and it has never in modern times gained many advocates, being chiefly held by the interpreters of the Straussian school. Indeed, the internal evidence is all against it not only (Chrys.) "in station, but also in the nature of his faith," does the man in one case differ from the man in the other. The inner kernel of the history is, in our case here,the elevation of a weak and mere wonderseeking faith into a deep conviction of the personal power and love of our Lord; in the other, the commendation of a noble confession of our Lord's divine power, indicating great strength and grasp of faith, and inducing the greatest personal humility. And the external point brought out
in the commendation there, "I have not seen such faith, no, not in Israel," is not only different from, but stands in absolute contrast with, the depreciating charge here, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." Olshausen well remarks, that this narrative may be regarded as a sequel to the foregoing
CHAPP. V.-XII.] Second great division of the Gospel. JESUS IN CONFLICT WITH THE JEWS. V., VI. JESUS THE LIFE. Beginning of the conflict.
V. 1-47.] Healing of a cripple at the pool of Bethesda, during a feast; and the discourse of Jesus occasioned by the persecution of the Jews arising thereupon. 1. After these things] Lücke remarks that when John wishes to indicate immediate succession, he uses "after this" (or "that"), ch. ii. 12; xi. 7, 11; xix. 28; when mediate, after an interval, "after these things," ch. iii. 22; v. 14; vi.1; vii. 1; xix. 38. So that apart from other considerations which would lead us to the same conclusion, we may infer that some interval has elapsed since the last verse of ch. iv. a feast of the Jews] Few points have been more controverted, than the question, what this feast was. I will give the principal views, and then state my own conclusion. (1) Irenæus understands it to be the second Passover of our Lord's ministry. Origen (whose commentary on this chapter is lost) mentions this view, but apparently does not approve it. This is the view of Luther, Grotius, Lightfoot, and others. (2) Cyril of Alexandria, Chrysostom, and others think it to be the Pentecost. This opinion prevailed in the Greek Church; and has found many defenders in modern times. (3) Kepler first suggested the idea that it might be the feast of Purim, (Esth. ix. 21, 26,) almost immediately preceding the Passover (the 14th and 15th of Adar). This has been the general view of the modern chronologists. (4) The feast of Tabernacles has been suggested by Cocceius, and is supported by one of our MSS., but of late date. (5) Kepler and Petavius thought it also possible that the feast of Dedication (see ch. x. 22) might be meant. So that almost every Jewish feast finds some supporters. I believe, with Lücke, De Wette, and Tholuck, that we cannot with any probability gather what feast it was. Seeing as I do no distinct datum given in ch. iv. 35, nor again in ch. vi. 1, and finding no