They said therefore, What is this that he said, A little while? we cannot tell what he said.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)John 14:19.
Ye shall not see me - That is, he would be concealed from their view in the tomb.
And again a little while - After three days he would rise again and appear to their view.
Because I go ... - Because it is a part of the plan that I should ascend to God, it is necessary that I should rise from the grave, and then you will see me, and have evidence that I am still your Friend. Compare John 7:33. Here are three important events foretold for the consolation of the disciples; yet they were stated in such a manner that, in their circumstances and with their prejudices, it appeared difficult to understand him.
what is this that he saith, a little while? it seems as if this phrase was the most intricate and perplexing to them; for whatever conceptions they might have of not seeing, and seeing him again, as expressive of his going from them, and returning to them, yet had no notion at all what he should mean by "a little while": and therefore add,They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. we cannot tell what he saith] More literally, we know not what He speaketh.John 16:18. Ἐλεγον, they were saying) Severally and individually. Inasmuch as they were perplexed when speaking among themselves, John 16:17, they were doubtful when thinking on it separately and apart.—τοῦτο, this) The pronoun in this passage is strongly demonstrative, as if they were to say, this in particular: there is nothing that we have less understood this long time, than this. We truly after the event readily understand: but not so they at that time.—οὐκ ὄιδαμεν, we know not) They lay aside all hope and the attempt to interpret His words.Verse 18. - They said, What is this little while whereof he speaketh? (λέγει; Vulgate, dicit). (The R.T. and Westcott and Hort invert the τοῦτο and τί, and thus greatly increase the simplicity of the passage.) What are these two short periods of which he speaks, so full of mysterious significance? We know not what he saith (λαλεῖ; Vulgate, loquitur). We do not apprehend the wonderful interchange of vision and blank darkness - of presence and absence and presence again!
Emphasizing the purport of the saying.
A little while (τὸ μικρόν)
We cannot tell (οὐκ οἴδαμεν)
Rev., more simply and literally, we know not.
He saith (λαλεῖ)
Emphasizing the form of the saying.
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