John 2:8
And he said to them, Draw out now, and bear to the governor of the feast. And they bore it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.—A vessel was let down into the pitcher, and was then carried to the ruler of the feast, who would distribute the wine in it to the guests. Ruler rather than “governor.” The same English word should be used throughout the two verses. What exact office is denoted by the Greek word is uncertain, as it occurs nowhere else in the Bible, and is very rare in the classical authors. The chief English commentators (Alford, Wordsworth, Trench) are agreed that he was chosen by the guests from among their own number, but this opinion has not commanded the general assent of scholars; and there seems more reason to think that the person intended is what we should call the “head-waiter,” whose duty it was to taste the viands and wines, to arrange the tables and couches, and to be generally responsible for the feast.

2:1-11 It is very desirable when there is a marriage, to have Christ own and bless it. Those that would have Christ with them at their marriage, must invite him by prayer, and he will come. While in this world we sometimes find ourselves in straits, even when we think ourselves in fulness. There was want at a marriage feast. Those who are come to care for the things of the world, must look for trouble, and count upon disappointment. In our addresses to Christ, we must humbly spread our case before him, and then refer ourselves to him to do as he pleases. In Christ's reply to his mother there was no disrespect. He used the same word when speaking to her with affection from the cross; yet it is a standing testimony against the idolatry of after-ages, in giving undue honours to his mother. His hour is come when we know not what to do. Delays of mercy are not denials of prayer. Those that expect Christ's favours, must observe his orders with ready obedience. The way of duty is the way to mercy; and Christ's methods must not be objected against. The beginning of Moses' miracles was turning water into blood, Ex 7:20; the beginning of Christ's miracles was turning water into wine; which may remind us of the difference between the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ. He showed that he improves creature-comforts to all true believers, and make them comforts indeed. And Christ's works are all for use. Has he turned thy water into wine, given thee knowledge and grace? it is to profit withal; therefore draw out now, and use it. It was the best wine. Christ's works commend themselves even to those who know not their Author. What was produced by miracles, always was the best in its kind. Though Christ hereby allows a right use of wine, he does not in the least do away his own caution, which is, that our hearts be not at any time overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, Lu 21:34. Though we need not scruple to feast with our friends on proper occasions, yet every social interview should be so conducted, that we might invite the Redeemer to join with us, if he were now on earth; and all levity, luxury, and excess offend him.Draw out now - This command was given to the servants. It showed that the miracle had been performed immediately. As soon as they were filled the servants were directed to take to the governor of the feast. Jesus made no parade about it, and it does not even appear that he approached the waterpots. He willed it, and it was done. This was a clear exertion of divine power, and made in such a manner as to leave no doubt of its reality.

The governor - One who presided on the occasion. The one who stood at the "head" or upper end of the table. He had the charge of the entertainment, provided the food, gave directions to the servants, etc.

7, 8. Fill … draw … bear—directing all, but Himself touching nothing, to prevent all appearance of collusion. The Jews had one who was to order the affairs of their feast, and who is upon that account called the master, or

governor, of it; to whom our Saviour directs, that some of this newly made wine should be carried; either that they might not suspect it was by some art provided by him, or because he was of the best judgment in those affairs. The servants yield the same ready obedience to his commands which they had before yielded. And he saith unto them, draw out now,.... As soon as ever the vessels were filled with water, without any more delay, he ordered the servants to draw out of those larger, into lesser vessels; he does not say what, water or wine:

and bear unto the governor of the feast; who either had the ordering and management of the feast, and the command of the whole affair; hence the Ethiopic version calls him, "the master of the waiters", or servants: or he was the chief guest, as the word seems to import, who sat, or rather lay, on the chief couch at the table; and so a proper person to begin with, and put the cup round: or else he might be doctor or chaplain: for such an one was necessary at a marriage; since there were six or seven benedictions to be pronounced; and particularly a blessing was said over the cup of wine; for if there was any wine, a cup of it was brought, and he blessed over it first, and ordered every thing concerning the cup: and this made up seven blessings at such a time (y); and therefore was a very fit person to bear the wine to first:

and they bore it; the servants having drawn out of the stone vessels, by cocks, into smaller ones, carried the liquor, as they were ordered, to the above person.

(y) Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 10. sect. 3, 4.

And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 2:8. The second order might stagger them more, Ἀντλήσατε νῦν, καὶ φέρετε τῷ ἀρχιτρικλίνῳ. The ἀρχιτρίκλινος was originally the person who had charge of the triclinium or triple couch set round a dining table: “praefectus cui instruendi ornandique triclinii cura incumbit”; a butler or head waiter whose duty it was to arrange the table and taste the food and wine. Petron. Arb. 22, “Jam et Tricliniarches experrectus lucernis occidentibus oleum infuderat”. But apparently the person indicated in this verse is rather the συμποσιάρχης or συμποσίαρχος, the chairman elected by the company from among the guests, sometimes by lot. Cf. Horace’s “Arbiter bibendi,” Od., ii., 7. The requirements in such an official are described in Sir 32:1; Plato, Laws, p. 640; see also Reid’s edition of Cicero, De Senect., p. 131. In general he regulated the course of the feast and the conduct of the guests. [Holtzmann and Weiss both retain the proper meaning of ἀρχιτρίκλινος.] Westcott suggests that the ἀντλήσατε νῦν may refer to drawing from the well, and that “the change in the water was determined by its destination for use at the feast”. “That which remained water when kept for a ceremonial use became wine when borne in faith to minister to the needs, even to the superfluous requirements of life,” a suggestive interpretation, but it evacuates of all significance the clause “they filled them up to the brim”. The servants obeyed, possibly encouraged by seeing that what they had poured in as water flowed out as wine; although if the words in the end of the ninth verse are to be taken strictly, it was still water when drawn from the water jars. But some refer the οἱ ἠντληκότες to drawing from the well. It is, however, more natural to refer it to the ἀντλήσατε νῦν of the eighth verse. Besides, drawing water from the well would be the business rather of the women than of the διάκονοι.John 2:8. Ἤνεγκαν, They bare) i.e. They drew and bare. [They exhibited a] beautiful obedience [to His directions].Verse 8. - Draw forth (the object of the verb is not in the sentence. He did not say the "water" which you placed there, nor the "wine" into which it has been transformed, but simply, "Draw forth"), and bear to the governor of the feast. The traditional interpretation, that the water jars were the source of the unwonted supply, and the measure of it, strongly commends itself in preference to the suggestions of Westcott, Moulton, as well as Barnes, Olshausen, and others. The ἀρχιτρίκλινος, the "master of the table," is the chief servant presiding over the arrangements of the feast. This was an Attic official, referred to by Athenaeus (4, 100, 70) as τραπεζοποιός (cf. Heliodor., 7:27). The "symposiarch," arbiter bibendi, is not to be confounded with him. The latter was one of the guests chosen to taste the wine, etc. (see Ecclus. 32:1, where he is called ἡγούμενος). The "governor" is one who occupies a still higher position of importance in Greek feasts. There is no other trace of the Attic usage among the Jews. As the passage in Ecclesiasticus indicates a different custom, and the references to something similar describe the officer by different names, no very sure conclusion can be drawn. Wunsche says that, ordinarily, the master of the house was bound to serve his guests, and preside over the distribution of food and presents. Thus, at the marriage of his son, Rabbi Gamaliel served all his invited guests. Trench, Alford, and Wordsworth think that the governor here was one of the invited guests, from the freedom with which he addressed the bridegroom. Meyer, Godet, take the view that he was not. And they bear it, conscious of a wondrous fact, which must have filled them with consternation. At first the order must have seemed like folly, as when Moses called on Israel to "go forward" into the Red Sea, or as when Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take up thy bed, and walk." "They bear it." Draw out (ἀντλήσατε)

From ἄντλος, the hold of a ship where the bilge-water settles, and hence, the bilge-water itself. The verb, therefore, originally, means to bale out bilge-water; thence, generally, to draw, as from a well (John 4:15). Canon Westcott thinks that the water which was changed into wine was not taken from the vessels of purification, but that the servants were bidden, after they had filled the vessels with water, to continue drawing from the well or spring.

Ruler of the feast (ἀρχιτρικλίνῳ)

From ἄρχω, to be chief, and τρίκλινον, Latin, triclinium, a banqueting-hall with three couches (see on Mark 6:39). Some explain the word as meaning the superintendent of the banqueting-chamber, a servant whose duty it was to arrange the table-furniture and the courses, and to taste the food beforehand. Others as meaning one of the guests selected to preside at the banquet according to the Greek and Roman usage. This latter view seems to be supported by a passage in Ecclesiasticus (35:1, 2): "If thou be made the master of a feast, lift not thyself up, but be among them as one of the rest; take diligent care for them, and so sit down. And when thou hast done all thy office, take thy place, that thou mayst be merry with them, and receive a crown for thy well ordering of the feast." According to the Greek and Roman custom, the ruler of the feast was chosen by throwing the dice. Thus Horace, in his ode to his friend Sestius, says, moralizing on the brevity of life: "Soon the home of Pluto will be thine, nor wilt thou cast lots with the dice for the presidency over the wine." He prescribed the proportions of wine and water, and could also impose fines for failures to guess riddles, etc. As the success of the feast depended largely upon him, his selection was a matter of some delicacy. Plato says, "Must we not appoint a sober man and a wise to be our master of the revels? For if the ruler of drinkers be himself young and drunken, and not over-wise, only by some special good fortune will he be saved from doing some great evil" ("Laws," 640). The word occurs only here and John 2:9. Wyc. simply transcribes: architriclyn.

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