Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:Chap. 2:1-11.] The miracle of turning water into wine: the first fulfilment of the announcement in ch. 1:51: see ver. 11.
1.] τῇ τρίτῃ—reckoned from the day of Nathanael’s calling. There would thus be but one day between that event and the marriage.
Κανᾷ τ. Γ.] See ch. 4:46;—not far from Capernaum. Josephus (Life, § 16) calls it κώμη τῆς Γαλιλαίας. There is a Kanah in Joshua 19:28, in the tribe of Asher, which must be distinct from this. Jerome however in his Onomasticon believes it to have been the same. It was the residence, and probably birth-place, of Nathanael. If his calling took place in its neighbourhood, our Lord may have gone on and spent the intervening day at Nazareth.
Dr. Robinson, Bib. Res. iii. 204 ff., satisfactorily establishes that Kâna-el-Jelîl, about 3 hours n. ½ e. from Nazareth, is the site of this miracle. The name is identical, and so stands in the Arabic version of the N.T. He shews this to have been recognized in early tradition, and its honour to have been only recently usurped by Kefr Kenna, a village 1½ hour n.e. from Nazareth, on one of the roads to Tiberias. [See a very interesting description of Kâna-el-Jelîl in “The Land and the Book,” pp. 426, 427.]
ἡ μήτηρ τ. Ἰ.] John never names her, as being already well known (Lücke): or perhaps more probably from his own intimate connexion with her, in pursuance of the injunction ch. 19:26, 27. He never names either himself, or his own brother, James.
2.] ἐκλήθη, not for a pluperfect:—was invited: the historical past.
κ. οἱ μαθ. αὐτ.] It does not appear who these were, unless we assume that they were those called in ch. 1., which seems most probable. John himself was most likely present. He does not relate so circumstantially any thing which he had not witnessed.
In this case, there must have been some other reason for the invitation, besides mere previous acquaintance. This would be the probable reason for Jesus Himself being invited; but the disciples, being from various places in the district, can hardly all have been (De Wette) friends of the family. The fact of Jesus having attached disciples to Himself must have been known, and they were doubtless invited from consideration to Him.
Our Lord at once opens His ministry with the character which He gives of himself Matthew 11:18, Matthew 11:19, as distinguished from the asceticism of John. He also, as Trench admirably remarks (Miracles, edn. 2, p. 98, note), gives us his own testimony against the tendency which our indolence ever favours, of giving up those things and occasions to the world and the devil, which we have not Christian boldness to mingle in and purify. Even Cyprian, for instance, proscribes such festivals,—“nuptiarum festa improba et convivia lasciva vitentur, quorum periculosa contagio est.” De Habitu Virginum, ch. 21. p. 460. And such is the general verdict of modern religionism, which would keep the leaven distinct from the lump, for fear it should become unleavened. The especial honour conferred upon marriage by the Lord should also be noticed. “He here adorned and beautified it with his presence, and first miracle that He wrought.”
3.] There is no necessity to suppose that the feast had lasted several days, as De Wette and Lücke do. It has been suggested that the unexpected presence of the disciples may have occasioned a failure in the previously sufficient supply: a gloss in the old latin cod. Rhedigerianus has, “et factum est per multam turbam vocatorum vinum consummari.”
The mother of Jesus evidently is in a position of authority (see ver. 5) in the house, which was probably that of a near relative. The conjectures and traditions on the subject are many, but wholly unsatisfactory.
A graver question arises as to the intent with which this οἶνον οὐκ ἔχ. was said. She cannot have had from experience any reason to suppose that her Son would work a miracle, for this (ver. 11) was His first. Chrysostom suggests (so also Theophyl., , and Neander, L. J. p. 271) that, knowing Him to be Who He was, she had been by the recent divine acknowledgment of Him and His calling disciples to Himself, led to expect the manifestation of his Messianic power about this time; and here seemed an occasion for it. Some of the other explanations are: “that she had always found Him a wise counsellor, and mentioned the want to Him merely that He might suggest some way of remedying it.” Cocceius, cited by Trench. “Velim discedas, ut ceteri item discedant, antequam penuria patefiat.” Bengel. “Ut pia aliqua exhortatione convivis tædium eximeret, ac simul levaret pudorem sponsi.” Calvin, cited by Lücke. “Jesus had wrought miracles, but in secret, before this.” Tholuck.
On the whole, the most probable explanation is that of Lücke, which somewhat modifies the first here mentioned,—that our Lord Himself had recently given some reason to expect that He would shew forth His glory by wonderful works. So, very nearly, Stier, R. J. i. 38, edn. 2.
4.] The answer of our Lord is beyond question one of reproof, and disclaimer of participation in the grounds on which the request was made. See instances, besides reff., in Joshua 22:24: Mark 1:24. And so all the early expositors understood it. Irenæus (iii. 16. 6, p. 206) says, “Dominus repellens ejus intempestivam festinationem, dixit,” &c.;—and Chrysostom, ἐβούλετο.… ἑαυτὴν λαμπροτέραν ποιῆσαι διὰ τοῦ παιδός, and therefore He σφοδρότερον ἀπεκρίνατο. Hom. xxi. in Joh., vol. viii. p. 122. The Romanist expositors mostly endeavour to divest the answer of any aspect of rebuke, and maintain that it was so uttered for our sakes alone, to teach us that He did not perform His miracles from regard to human affinity, but solely from love and His object of manifesting His glory. So Maldonatus. And this is true:—but first among those to be taught this, was she herself, who had tempted Him to work a miracle from that regard.
It has perhaps not been enough noticed, that in this answer the Lord declares His period of subjection to her as His earthly parent to be at an end. Henceforth His thoughts are not her thoughts. At twelve years of age, see Luke 2:49, He answers ‘thy father and I,’ by ‘My Father:’—now, He is to be no longer before the world as Mary’s son, but as sanctified by the Father and sent into the world:—compare Matthew 12:48-50, and Luke 11:27, Luke 11:28, and see Stier’s admirable remarks, R. J. i. 39, edn. 2, also Olshausen’s, ii. 81.
γύναι] There is no reproach in this term: but rather respect. The Lord henceforth uses it towards her, not calling her ‘mother,’ even on the Cross (see ch. 19:26), doubtless for the reason alleged above.
οὔπω ἥκ. ἡ ὥρα μου] This expression is generally used in John of the time of the Death of Christ: see reff. But it is only so used because His death is in those passages the subject naturally underlying the narrative. It is, any fixed or appointed time;—and therefore here, the appointed time of His self-manifestation by miracles. This time was not yet come, but was close at hand. Some have supposed that the wine was not yet wholly exhausted, and that our Lord would wait till the miracle should be undoubted (so Trench, p. 192): but Stier well remarks that the known depth of all His early sayings forbids us from attaching only this meaning to it;—and he sees in it a reference to the great marriage-feast and the new fruit of the vine in the Kingdom of God (i. 41, edn. 2). If this be so, it can be only in the background; the words must have had a present meaning, and I believe it to be, ‘My time, the time at which, from the Father’s appointment and my own concurring will, I am to begin miraculous working, is not yet arrived: forestall it not.’ Very similarly He speaks, ch. 7:6, to His brethren, and yet afterwards goes up to the feast. The notion that ἡ ὥρα μου refers to the hour of our Lord’s human infirmity on the Cross when (ch. 19:27) He “acknowledged her as His mother,” Wordsw., seems wholly unfounded. Where do we find any such special acknowledgment there? And why should we go out of our way for a fanciful sense of words which bear an excellent meaning as referring to circumstances then present?
5.] There certainly seems beneath this narrative to lie some incident which is not told us. For not only is Mary not repelled by the answer just given, but she is convinced that the miracle will be wrought, and she is not without an anticipation of the method of working it: for how should He require the aid of the servants, except the miracle were to take place according to the form here related? I believe we shall find, when all things are opened to us, that there had been a previous hint given her,—where or how I would not presume to say,—by our Lord, of His intention and the manner of performing it, and that her fault was, the too rash hastening on of what had been His fixed purpose.
6.] These vessels were for the washings usual at feasts: see Mark 7:4. There could be no collusion or imposture here, as they were water-vessels, and could have no remnants of wine in them (see also ver. 10). And the large quantity which they held could not have been brought in unobserved. The μετρητής is probably = the Jewish נַּח (which, Jos. Antt. viii. 2. 9, held 72 ξέσται = the Attic μετρητής = 8 gallons 7·4 pints), and stands for it in the LXX, ref. 2 Chron. According to this, the quantity of wine thus created would = 6 × (2 or 3) × (8 gallons 7·4 pints) = 6 × (between 17 and 25 gallons) = say, 6 × 21 gallons = 126 gallons. The large quantity thus created has been cavilled at by unbelievers. We may leave them to their cavils with just one remark,—that He who creates abundance enough in this earth to “put temptation in men’s way,” acted on this occasion analogously with His known method of dealing. We may answer an error on the other side (if it be on the other side), by saying, that the Lord here most effectually and once for all stamps with His condemnation that false system of moral reformation, which would commence by pledges to abstain from intoxicating liquors. He pours out His bounty for all, and He vouchsafes His grace to each for guidance; and to endeavour to evade the work which He has appointed for each man,—by refusing the bounty, to save the trouble of seeking the grace, is an attempt which must ever end in degradation of the individual motives, and in social demoralization,—whatever present apparent effects may follow its first promulgation. One visible sign of this degradation, in its intellectual form, is the miserable attempt made by some of the advocates of this movement, to shew that the wine here and in other places of Scripture is unfermented wine, not possessing the power of intoxication.
The filling with water, and drawing out wine, is all that is related. “The moment of the miracle,” says Lücke, “is rather understood than expressed. It seems to lie between vv.7 and 8” (i. 471). The process of it is wholly out of the region of our imagination. In order for wine to be produced, we have the growth and ripening of the grape; the crushing of it in proper vessels; the fermentation;—but here all these are in a moment brought about in their results, by the same Power which made the laws of nature, and created and unfolded the capacities of man. See below on ver. 11.
8.] The ἀρχιτρίκλινος (συμποσίαρχος, ἐπιμελητὴς τοῦ συμποσίου, Euthym.) seems to be the same with the ἡγούμενος spoken of, Sir. 35 (32:) 1, and with the Latin rex, or magister, convivii. It would seem (from Sir. l. c.) that he was one of the guests raised to the post of presiding over the arrangements of the feast. This is however doubted by the older Commentators (Severus in the Catena, Lücke, i. 472), who make him not one of the guests, but a person holding this especial office, and attending on feasts. Here, he tastes the wine; and therefore probably was a guest himself. Lücke quotes from Petronius “triclinarches.”
9. οἱ ἠντληκότες] This is the participle of the pluperf. (as well as of the perf.), and is here to be so rendered—who had drawn the water.
10.] The saying of the ἀρχ. is a general one, not applicable to the company then present. We may be sure that the Lord would not have sanctioned, nor ministered to, actual drunkenness. Only those who can conceive this, will find any difficulty here; and they will find difficulties every where.
The account of the practice referred to is, that the palates of men become after a while dull, and cannot distinguish between good wine and bad. Pliny (Nat. Hist. xiv. 13) speaks of persons “qui etiam convivis (vina) alia quam sibimetipsis ministrant, aut procedente mensa subjiciunt.” But the practice here described is not precisely that of which Pliny speaks, nor is there any meanness to be charged on it: it is only that, when a man has some kinds of wine choicer than others, he naturally produces the choicest, to suit the most discriminating taste. With regard to the word μεθυσθῶσιν, while there is no reason here to press its ordinary meaning, so neither is there any to shrink from it, as uttered by the ἀρχιτρίκλινος. The safest rendering is that of Tyndall and Cranmer, “when men be dronke;” “cum inebriati fuerint,” Vulg.
11.] Without the article before ἀρχήν (see . in digest) it is This wrought Jesus as the beginning of his miracles:—ἀρχή being the predicate.
This assertion of John excludes all the apocryphal miracles of the Gospel of the Infancy, and such like works, from credit.
σημεῖον, which occasionally occurs in the other Gospels and the Acts in this absolute sense of a miracle (see reff.), is St. John’s ordinary word for it. Cf. Luthardt, p. 62.
τὴν δόξαν αὐτ.] The glory, namely, which is referred to in ch. 1:14, where see note. It was a miracle eminently shewing forth the glory of the λόγος, διʼ οὗ πάντα ἐγένετο, in His state of having become flesh. And this ‘believing on Him,’ here predicated of the disciples, was certainly a higher faith than that which first led them to Him. They obtained new insight into His power;—not yet reflectively, so as to infer what all this implied, but so as to increase their faith and trust in Him. Again and again ‘they believed:’ new degrees of faith being attained; just as this has since been the case, and will continue to be, in the Church, in the continual providential development of the Christian spirit,—the leavening of the whole lump by degrees.
This important miracle, standing as it does at the very entrance of the official life of Christ, has been the subject of many doubts, and attempts to get rid of, or explain away, the power which was here manifested. But never did a narrative present a more stubborn inflexibility to the wresters of Scripture:—never was simple historical veracity more strikingly stamped on any miracle than on this. And doubtless this is providentially so arranged: see the objections to it treated, and some admirable concluding remarks, in Lücke, i. 478.
To those who yet seek some sufficient cause for the miracle being wrought, we may—besides the conclusive answer that we are not in a position to treat this question satisfactorily,—assign the unmistakeable spiritual import of the change here made, as indicating the general nature of the beneficent work which the Lord came on earth to do. So Cornelius a Lapide (Trench, p. 113, edn. 2, note): “Christus initio suæ prædicationis mutans aquam in vinum significabat se legem Mosaicam, instar aquæ insipidam et frigidam, conversurum in Evangelium gratiæ quæ instar vini est, generosa, sapida, ardens, et efficax.” Similarly Eusebius, Augustine, Bernard, and Gregory the Great. Trench, ibid.
12-4:54.] First manifestation of Himself as the Son of God:—and herein, 2:13-3:36, in Jerusalem and Judæa.
12.] κατέβη, because Capernaum lay on the lake,—Cana higher up the country. There is no certainty as to this visit, whether or not it is the same with that hinted at in Luke 4:23: so that no chronological inferences can be built on the hypothesis with any security.
On οἱ ἀδελφοὶ [αὐτοῦ] see Matthew 13:55 and note.
Notice the transition from His private to His public life. His mother and brethren are still with Him, attached merely by nature: His disciples, newly attached by faith. In the next verse He has cast off His mere earthly ties for His work. Also in the οὐ πολλὰς ἡμ., notice less a mere chronological design, than one to shew that He lost no time after His first miracle, in publicly manifesting Himself as the Son of God.
13-22.] The first official visit to Jerusalem, at a Passover: and cleansing of the Temple.
13.] No data are given to determine whether the reason of the short stay at Capernaum was the near approach of the Passover.
Nothing is said of those who accompanied Jesus: but at all events, His already called disciples would be with Him (see ver. 22, and ch. 3:22), and among them in all probability the Evangelist himself:—but not the rest of the Twelve, who were not yet called. Of this visit, the synoptic narrative records nothing.
14.] On the distinctness of this cleansing from that related in Matthew 21:12 ff., see note there.
ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ] In the court of the Gentiles, the ἔξωθεν ἱερόν, as distinguished from the ναός, the inner temple. This market appears to have sprung up since the captivity, with a view to the convenience of those Jews who came from a distance, to provide them with the beasts for offering, and to change their foreign money into the sacred shekel, which alone was allowed to be paid in for the temple capitation-tax (Matthew 17:24 ff.). This tax was sometimes, as in Matt. l. c., paid elsewhere than in Jerusalem; but generally there, and in the temple. The very fact of the market being held there would produce an unseemly mixture of sacred and profane transactions, even setting aside the abuses which would be certain to be mingled with the traffic. It is to the former of these evils that our Lord makes reference in this first cleansing; in the second, to the latter.
15.] The σχοινία were probably the rushes which were littered down for the cattle to lie on. That our Lord used the scourge on the beasts only, not on the sellers of them, is almost necessarily contained in the form of the sentence here: the τά τε πρόβατα κ. τ. βόας being as it stands with τε and καί, merely epexegetical of πάντας, not conveying new particulars. So that it should be rendered as in A.V.R., “He drove all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen.” (ἐξέχεεν is the aor., not the resolved form of the imperfect: cf. Aristoph. Nub. 75, and see Lobeck’s note on Phryn. p. 222.) It has been imagined, that He dealt more mildly with those who sold the doves, which were for the offerings of the poor. But this was not so: He dealt alike with all. No other way was open with regard to them, than to order them to take their birds away.
This cleansing of the temple was in the direct course of His manifestation as the Messiah. Immediately after the prophetic announcement of the Forerunner, Malachi 3:1, is that of the Lord’s coming suddenly to His temple, and purifying it. This act also answers (but like the fulfilment last mentioned, only in an imperfect and still prophetic sense) to the declaration of the Baptist “Whose fan is in His hand,” &c., Matthew 3:12.
His proceeding was not altogether unexampled nor unauthorized, even in an uncommissioned person: for all had the right to reform an abuse of this sort, and the zealots put this right in practice. The disciples by their allusion in ver. 17 seem to refer the action to this latter class.
16. τοῦ πατρός μου] The coincidence with Luke 2:49 is remarkable. By this expression thus publicly used, our Lord openly announces His Messiahship. Nathanael had named Him ‘the Son of God’ with this meaning—see on ch. 1:50,—and these words, coupled with the expectation which the confession of John the Baptist would arouse, could leave no doubt on the minds of the Jews as to their import: see on ch. 3:2.
οἶκ. ἐμπ.] Not yet σπήλαιον λῃστῶν, as at the end of His ministry: see above on ver. 14.
17.] ἐμνήσθησαν, at the time, not afterwards, which would have been expressed, as in ver. 22. But the very remembrance itself was prophetic. The καταφαγεῖν spoken of in that passion-Psalm, was the marring and wasting of the Saviour’s frame by His zeal for God and God’s Church, which resulted in the buffeting, the scourging, the Cross.
καταφάγεται is a well-known future, contracted from καταφαγήσεται: see reff. and cf. the prophecy, 4 Kings 9:36, καταφάγονται οἱ κύνες τὰς σάρκας Ἱεζάβελ.
18.] On the demand of the Jews, see Deuteronomy 13:1-3. It was not only to justify His having driven out the abomination; this any one might have done;—but to justify the mission and the whole course of action which the words τοῦ πατρός μου implied. They used the same expression at the end of His ministry, Matthew 21:23.
19.] This answer of our Lord has been involved in needless difficulty. That [in uttering the words τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον] He pointed to His own Body, is inconceivable;—for thus both the Jews and His own disciples must have understood Him, which (see vv. 20, 22) neither of them did. That He implied [in saying Λύσατε τ. ν. τ.] that their lawless proceedings in the temple would at last bring it to an end, is equally inconceivable; both on account of the latter part of His declaration, which would thus have no meaning,—and because of the use of the word ναός,—which was the holy and the holiest place, the temple itself,—as distinguished from τὸ ἱερόν, the whole enceinte of the sacred buildings. Stier has well remarked (i. 48, 49, edn. 2) that our Lord in this saying comprehended in the reality,—His own Body, its type and symbol,—the temple then before them. That temple, with all its ordinances and holy places, was but the shadow of the Christian Church;—that, the type of the Body of the Lord, represented the Church, which is veritably His Body. And so the saying was fulfilled by the slaying of His actual Body, in which rejection of Him the destruction of the Jewish temple and city was involved,—and the raising of that Body after three days, in which resurrection we, all the members of His new glorified Body, are risen again. It is for want of keeping in mind this width and depth of the Lord’s sayings, that so many Commentators have fallen into error here and elsewhere in interpreting them. Most of the best German expositors, e.g. Lücke, Neander (L. J. 283), and even Olshausen, find insuperable difficulty in the exposition given by the Evangelist of these words, and even contend that it could not have been the right one. But surely those who believe the Apostles to have been under the special influence of the Holy Spirit in their work of witnessing to and bringing out the truth of the sayings and doings of the Lord, cannot take this ground. It is a wholly distinct matter from a chronological inaccuracy, or a report of the same occurrence varying in minor details; such things the Spirit may have, and has as matter of fact, for special reasons permitted in the Evangelists; but we have here,—assumed the genuineness of our Gospel, on which none of these writers have a doubt,—the positive declaration of an Apostle (and what an Apostle) of the meaning of the Lord’s saying;—which I do not think we are at liberty to question, on any, even the most moderate view, of the inspiration of the Scriptures. The difficulties attending the interpretation are,—besides the double meaning which I have treated above,—(1) the use of the imperative, as applied to the death of Christ. Olshausen contends that it must be mandatory, and cannot be hypothetical. But surely Matthew 12:33 is an instance in point, as adduced by De Wette, for the hypothetical meaning: and usages exactly like that in our text are found in the reff. (v): see Winer, Gram. edn. 6, § 43. 2. (2) The words ἐγερῶ αὐτόν,—seeing that the resurrection of the Lord is ever spoken of as the work of the Father. Yes,—but by power committed to Christ Himself: see ch. 10:18, where this is distinctly asserted; and ch. 6:39, 40, 44, where it is implied, for He is the first fruits of them that sleep,—and (though the whole course of His working was after the will of the Father,—and in the Spirit, which wrought in Him) strictly and truly raised Himself from the dead in the sense here intended. (3) The utterance of such a prophecy at so early a period of His official life. But it was not a prophecy known and understood,—but a dark saying, from which no one could then draw an inference as to His death or resurrection. The disciples did not understand it; and I cannot agree with Stier that the Jews could have had any idea of such being His meaning. Chrys. (Hom. xxiii. in Joan. p. 134) says, πολλὰ τοιαῦτα φθέγγεται τοῖς μὲν τότε οὐκ ὄντα δῆλα, τοῖς δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐσόμενα. τίνος δὲ εἵνεκεν τοῦτο ποιεῖ; ἵνα δειχθῇ προειδὼς ἄνωθεν τὰ μετὰ ταῦτα, ὅταν ἐξέλθῃ καὶ τῆς προῤῥήσεως τὸ τέλος, ὃ δὴ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς προφητείας ταύτης γέγονεν. Lücke remarks, that the circumstance of the words being spoken so long before his trial by the Sanhedrim, would make it more easy for the false witnesses to distort them. This they did, but not so as to agree with one another. They reported it, ‘I can destroy,’ &c., which makes a wide difference, and represents our Lord as an enemy of the temple (Matthew 26:61), and some added to τὸν ν. τ.,—τ. χειροποίητον, and that He would raise another ἀχειροποίητον (Mark 14:58).
20.] The building of the temple by Herod the Great is stated by Josephus, in Antt. xv. 11. 1, to have been begun in the eighteenth year of his reign; in B. J. i. 21. 1, in the fifteenth: the difference being made by counting his reign from the death of Antigonus, or from his appointment by the Romans, see Antt. xvii. 8. 1. Reckoning from this latter, we shall have twenty years till the birth of Christ, and thirty years since that event, from which fifty, however, four must be taken, since our era is four years too late. This gives forty-six. The temple was not completed till a.d. 64, under Herod Agrippa II., and the procurator Albinus; so that ᾠκοδομήθη, was in building, must refer to the greater part of the work now completed. The sense of this aor. is curiously illustrated by a passage in Ezra 5:16, τότε Σαβανασὰρ ἐκεῖνος ἧλθε καὶ ἔδωκε θεμελίους τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ, καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἕως τοῦ νῦν ᾠκοδομήθη καὶ οὐκ ἐτελέσθη.
22.] τῇ γραφῇ, by all analogy, must mean the O.T. scriptures. That the resurrection of the Lord is the subject of O.T. prophecy, we find in several passages of the N.T., see ch. 20:9: Luke 24:26, Luke 24:27: 1Corinthians 15:4. At first sight it appears difficult to fix on any passage in which it is directly announced: but with the deeper understanding of the Scriptures which the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles and still gives the Christian Church, such prophecies as that in Psa_16 are recognized as belonging to Him in Whom alone they are properly fulfilled: see also Hosea 6:2.
23-25.] Many believe on Jesus at the Passover: His knowledge of their character, and withholding of Himself from them.
23.] As analogous with ἐν τῷ πάσχα ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, see ch. 6:4.
θεωρ. αὐτ. τὰ σημ. ἅ ἐπ.] ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν, ἀλλʼ οὐ βεβαίως. ἐκεῖνοι γὰρ ἀκριβέστερον ἐπίστευον, ὅσοι μὴ διὰ τὰ σημεῖα μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὴν διδασκαλίαν αὐτοῦ ἐπίστευον. Euthym.
What miracles these were, is not related:—certainly some notable ones, see ch. 3:2.
The mention of them precludes us from understanding ch. 4:54, as indicating that the healing of the ruler’s son was absolutely His second miracle.
24, 25.] The repetition of ἐπίστ. has been regarded (Lücke, De Wette) as a sort of play on the word. But I should rather set it down to the simplicity of John’s style.
The meaning is, He did not trust himself to them,—i.e. treat them as true and earnest disciples: they entered into no spiritual relation with Him, and He in consequence into none with them. The fact of this being narrated shews that it made an impression on the Evangelist, and led him perhaps first to the conclusion which he here expresses, and which higher knowledge enabled him afterwards to place, as he here does, on its right ground:—His knowing what was in man. Nothing less than divine knowledge is here set forth; the words are even stronger than if τῶν ἀνθ. and ἐν τοῖς ἀνθ. had been used. Then some reference might have been imagined to the persons here mentioned; but now, the singular is, and must be on all hands, purely generic,—as in E. V.