John 4
Meyer's NT Commentary

John 4:3. πάλιν] wanting in A. and many other Uncials and Cursives, Syr. p. Pers. p. Or. Chrys. It is found, indeed, in B. (in the margin) C. D. L. M. Tb. א., but was probably added to denote the return.

John 4:5. οὗ] Elz. Tisch. , against C.* D. L. M. S. Curss. Chrys., an inelegant correction.

John 4:6. ὡσεί] Lach. Tisch. read ὡς, for which the testimonies are decisive.

John 4:7-10. For πιεῖν, Tisch. foll. B.* C.* D. א.* reads πεῖν, for which also πῖν occurs. πεῖν is to be adopted on account of the preponderating testimony.

John 4:14. The words οὐ μὴ

δώσω αὐτῷ are wanting in C.* Curss. and some Verss. and Fathers, even Or.; bracketed by Lach. The testimonies are too weak to warrant our striking them out, and how easily might their omission have occurred through ὁμοιοτελεύτ.!

For διψήσῃ Lach. and Tisch. read διψήσει, following preponderating evidence. But the Future seems to be connected with an early omission of μή (which we still find in D.).

John 4:15. ἔρχωμαι] the Indicative ἔρχομαι or διέρχομαι (so Tisch.) is bad Gk., and has witnesses enough against it (A. C. D. U. V. Δ.; even א.*, which has διέρχωμαι) to be regarded as a transcriber’s error; comp. John 17:3.

John 4:16. ὁ Ἰησοῦς is wanting in B. C.* Heracl. Or.; an addition. The position σου τὸν ἄνδρα (Tisch.) is too weakly attested by B. Curss. Or. (three times) Chrys.

John 4:21. γύναι, πίστευσόνμοι] Lach.: γ. πίστευέ μ.; Tisch.: πίστευέ μ. γ. Amid manifold diversities of testimony the last must be adopted as the best authenticated, by B. C.* L. א. 4 :Sahid. Heracl. Or. Ath. Cyr. Chrys. Hilar.

John 4:27. For ἐθαύμαζον Elz. has ἐθαύμασαν, against decisive testimony.

John 4:30. After ἐξῆλθον Elz. has οὖν, against decisive testimony. Added for the purpose of connection, instead of which δὲ also occurs, and C. D. Verss. have καὶ before ἐξῆλθον, and accordingly Lachm. puts this καὶ in brackets.

John 4:34. ποιῶ] B. C. D. K. L. Tb. Π. Cursives, Clem. Heracl. Or. Cyr. Chrys.: ποιήσω; recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm.; a co-ordination with what follows.

John 4:35. For τετράμηνος Elz. has τετράμηνον, against almost all the Uncials. A clumsy emendation. Comp. Hebrews 11:23.

John 4:36. Before ὁ θερίζ. Elz. has καὶ (bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch.), condemned by B. C.* D. L. Tb. א. Cursives, Verss. and Fathers. Through the very ancient variation, which joins ἤδη either with what follows (A. C. D. Cyr.) or with what precedes (Or.), the insertion of καὶ is the result of the latter mode of connection. If καὶ were genuine, neither of the two constructions would have prompted its omission.

John 4:42. After κόσμου Elz. has ὁ Χριστός, which Lachm. Tisch., following important witnesses, have deleted as an exegetical addition.

John 4:43. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν] wanting in B. C. D. Tb. א. Cursives, Codd. It. Copt. Or. Cyr. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch.; supplementing addition after John 4:3, not in keeping with John’s mode of expression.

John 4:45. Instead of we must adopt ὅσα, with Lachm. Tisch., following A. B. C. L. Cursives, Or. Cyr. Chrys. As the conception expressed by ὅσα is already in πάντα, would seem more appropriate, which therefore we find in John 4:29; John 4:39, in Codd.

John 4:46. After οὖν Elz. has ὁ Ἰησοῦς, which is altogether wanting in important witnesses, and in others stands after αὐτόν (so Scholz). A common addition.

John 4:47. αὐτὸν after ἠρ. is wanting in B. C. D. L. Tb. א. Cursives, Verss. Or. Aug. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. Supplementary.

John 4:50. ] Lachm. Tisch., following A. B. C. L. א.**, read ὅν. An unskilful emendation.

John 4:51. ἀπήντησαν] B. C. D. K. L. א. Cursives: ὑπήντησαν. So Lachm. and Tisch.; rightly, for John elsewhere always has ὑπαντ. (John 11:20; John 11:30, John 12:18).

ὁ παῖς σου] Lachm. Tisch.: ὁ π. αὐτοῦ, upon such weighty evidence that the received reading must be regarded as a mechanical alteration in imitation of John 4:50.

John 4:52. Instead of χθές, we must, with Lachm. and Tisch., following the majority of Codd., adopt ἐχθές.

When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
John 4:1-3. Ὡς οὖν ἔγνω, κ.τ.λ.] οὖν, igitur, namely, in consequence of the concourse of people who flocked to Him, and which had been previously mentioned. Considering this concourse, He could not fail to come to know (ἔγνω, not supernatural knowledge, but comp. John 4:53; John 5:6; John 11:57; John 12:9) that it had reached the ears of the Pharisees, how He, etc. This prompted Him, however, to withdraw to Galilee, where their hostility would not be so directly aroused and cherished as in Judaea, the headquarters of the hierarchy. To surrender Himself to them before the time, before His hour arrived, and the vocation of which He was conscious had been fulfilled, was opposed to His consciousness of the divine arrangements and the object of His mission. He contented himself, therefore, for the present with the interest which He had already excited in Jndaea on behalf of His work, and withdrew, for the time being, to His own less esteemed country.[181] As to the date of this return, see John 4:35; it is an arbitrary invention to say (Lange, L. J. II. p. 515), that upon leaving Judaea He gave up baptizing because John’s imprisonment (?) brought a ban of uncleanness upon Israel (515 sq.). The performance of baptism must be supposed as taking place subsequent to this, when conversions are spoken of (e.g. John 4:53), comp. John 3:5; and Matthew 28:19 does not contain a wholly new command to baptize, but its completion and extension to all times and nations.

οἱ Φαρισ.] It is only this party, the most powerful and most dangerous of the Jewish sects, that is still named by John, the evangelist who had become furthest removed from Judaism.

ὅτι Ἰησοῦς, κ.τ.λ.] a verbatim repetition of the report; hence the name (1 Corinthians 11:23), and the present tenses. Comp. Galatians 1:23.

ἢ Ἰωάννης] whom they had moreover less to fear, on account of his legal standpoint, and his declarations in John 1:19 ff., than Jesus, whose appearance was in Jerusalem at once so reformatory, miraculous, and rich in results, and who was so ominously attested by John.

John 4:2 is not to be put in a parenthesis, for the construction is not interrupted.

καίτοι γε] quanquam quidem, and yet; see Baeumlein, Partik. p. 245 ff.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 654 f. The thing is thus expressed, because “semper is dicitur facere, cui praeministratur,” Tertullian. A pretext for this lay in the fact that John did himself baptize. But why did not Jesus Himself baptize? Not because it was incumbent on Him only to preach (1 Corinthians 1:17); there must have been a principle underlying His not baptizing, seeing that John, without limitation, made it so prominent (against Thomas, Lyra, Maldonatus, and most); not, again, because He must have baptized unto Himself (so already Tertull. de bapt. 11), for He could have done this; not even for the clear preservation of the truth: “that it is He who baptizes all down to the present day” (Hengstenberg), an arbitrarily invented abstraction, and quite foreign even to the N. T. Nonnus hits upon the true reason: οὐ γὰρ ἄναξ βάπτιζεν ἐν ὕδατι. Bengel well says: “baptizare actio ministralis, Acts 10:48, 1 Corinthians 1:17; Johannes minister sua manu baptizavit, discipuli ejus ut videtur neminem, at Christus baptizat Spiritu sancto,” which the disciples had not power to do until afterwards (John 7:39). Comp. Ewald. For the rest, John 4:2 does not contain a correction of himself by the evangelist (Hengstenberg and early expositors),—for we must not omit to ask why he should not at once have expressed himself correctly,—but, on the contrary, a correction of the form of the rumour mentioned in John 4:1. Comp. John 3:26. Nonnus: ἐτήτυμος οὐ πέλε φήμη. In this consists the historical interest of the observation (against Baur and Hilgenfeld), which we are not to regard as an unhistorical consequence of transporting Christian baptism back to the time of Jesus.

[181] According to Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 168 f., whom Lichtenstein follows, Jesus withdrew, because He was apprehensive lest what had come to the Pharisees’ ears should be made use of by them to throw suspicion on the Baptist. But this is all the less credible, when we remember that Jesus certainly, as well as John himself (John 3:30), knew it to be a divine necessity that He should increase and the Baptist decrease, and therefore would hardly determine his movements by considerations of the kind supposed. He could more effectually have met any such suspicions, by testifying on behalf of the noble Baptist in the neighbourhood where he was, than by withdrawing from the scene. No; Jesus went out of the way of the danger that threatened Himself, and which He knew it was not yet time for Him to expose Himself to; comp. John 7:1, John 10:40, John 11:54. Nonnus: φεύγων λὐσσαν ἄπιστον ἀκηλήτων Φαρισαίων. Still, however, we must not, with Hengstenberg and most others, suppose that this retirement to Galileo arose from the fact that John had already fallen a prey to pharisaic persecution, and that Jesus had all the more reason to apprehend this persecution. There is no hint whatever of the supposed fact that the Pharisees had delivered John over to Herod. This explanation is based merely upon an attempt at harmonizing, in order to make this journey back to Galilee the same with that named in Matthew 4:12. See on John 3:24.

(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
And he must needs go through Samaria.
John 4:4-5. Ἔδει] from the geographical position; and hence the usual way for Galilaean travellers lay through Samaria (Josephus, Antt. xx. 6. 1), unless one chose to pass through Perea to avoid the hated land, which Jesus has at present no occasion to do. Comp. Luke 9:52.

εἰς πόλιν] towards a city (not into, John 4:28 ff.). Comp. Matthew 21:1; see Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 81.

Συχάρ] (not Σιχάρ, as Elz. has, against the best witnesses) is, according to the usual opinion,—though, indeed, the λεγομένην, comp. John 11:54, pointing to an unknown place, does not tally with it,—the same town as that called שְׁכֶם (LXX. Συχέμ, comp. Acts 7:16; also Σίκιμα, comp. Josephus) in Genesis 33:18, Joshua 20:7, Jdg 9:7, et al.; after the time of Christ, however, called Neapolis (Joseph. Bell. iv. 8. 1), and now Nablus. See Crome, Beschreib. von Pal. I. p. 102 ff.; Robinson, III. 336; Rosen, in the Zeitschr. d. morgenl. Gesellsch. 1860, p. 634 ff. Upon the remnant of the Samaritans still in this town, see Rogers on the Modern Samaritans, London 1855; Barges, les Samaritains de Naplouse, Paris 1855. The name Συχάρ,[182] which Credner quite arbitrarily tries to refer to a mere error in transcription, was accordingly a corruption of the old name, perhaps intentional, though it had come into ordinary use, and signifying drunken town (according to Isaiah 28:1), or town of lies, or heathen town, after Habakkuk 3:18 (שֶׁקֶר). Reland takes the former view, Lightfoot and Hengstenberg the latter, Hengstenberg supposing that John himself made the alteration in order to describe the lying character of the Samaritans—quite against the simplicity of the narrative in general, and the express ΛΕΓΟΜΈΝΗΝ in particular. This ΛΕΓΟΜ., and the difference in the name, as well as the following ΠΛΗΣΊΟΝ, etc., and John 4:7, suggest the opinion that Sychar was a distinct town in the neighbourhood of Sychem (Hug, Luthardt, Lichtenstein, Ewald, Brückner, Baeumlein). See especially Delitzsch, in Guericke’s Luth. Zeitschr. 1856, p. 244 ff.; Ewald, Jahrb. VIII. 255 ff., and in his Johann. Schr. I. 181. The name may still be discovered in the modern al Askar, east of Nablus. Schenkel still sees here an error of a Gentile-Christian author.

The ΧΩΡΊΟΝ belonged to Sychem (Genesis 33:19; Genesis 48:22, LXX. Joshua 24:32),[183] but must have lain in the direction of Sychar.

ΠΛΗΣΊΟΝ] the town lay in the neighbourhood of the field, etc. Here only in the N. T., very often in the classics, as a simple adverb.

[182] Concerning the Talmudic name סוכר, see Wieseler, Synopse, p. 256 ff.

[183] The LXX. in Genesis 48:22 render שְׁבֶם by Σίκιμα, the error being that they took the Hebrew word directly as a name, whereas it is only an allusion to the town Sichem.

Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
John 4:6. Πηγὴ τοῦ Ἰακώβ] a spring-well (John 4:11), the making of which tradition ascribed to Jacob. It is still in existence, and regarded with reverence, though there is no spring-water in it. See Robinson, III. p. 330; Ritter, XVI. 634. The ancient sacredness of the spot made it all the more worthy of being specially noted by John.

οὕτως] thus, without further ado, just as He was, without any ceremony or preparation, “ut locus se obtulerat,” Grotius; ἁπλῶς ὡς ἔτυχε, Chrysostom. See Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 495; Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, p. 63, ed. 3. The rendering “tired as He was” (Erasmus, Beza, Winer, Hengstenberg), so that the preceding participle is repeated in meaning (see Bornemann in Rosenmüller’s Rep. II. p. 246 ff., Ast, l.c.; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Protag. p. 314 C), would require the οὕτως to be placed before, as in Acts 27:17; Acts 20:11.

ἐπὶ τῇ πηγῇ] at the well, denoting immediate proximity to it, John 4:2; Mark 13:29; Exodus 2:15. See Bernhardy, p. 249; Reisig, ad Oed. Col. 281; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. 541.

ὥραἕκτη] noon, mid-day; δίχιος ὥρη, Nonnus. Here again we have not the Roman reckoning (see on John 1:40), though the evening[184] was the more usual time for drawing water. Still we must not suppose that, because the time was unusual, it was intended thereby that Jesus might know, in connection therewith, “that the woman was given Him of the Father” (Luthardt, p. 80). Jesus knew that, independently of the hour. But John could never forget the hour, so important in its issues, of this first preaching to the Samaritan woman, and therefore he names it. Comp. John 1:40.

[184] If it had been six o’clock in the evening (as even Isenberg in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1868, p. 454 ff., maintains, for the sake of John 19:14), how much too short would the remainder of the day he for all that follows down to ver. 40! We must allow a much longer time, in particular, for vv. 28–30, and yet ver. 35 still presupposes bright daylight.

There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
John 4:7-9. Γυνὴ ἐκ τ. Σαμαρ.] to be taken as one designation, a Samaritan-woman. John gives prominence to the country to which she belonged, to prepare the way for the characteristic features of the following interview. It is not the town two miles distant (Sebaste) that is meant, but the country.

ἀντλῆσαι ὕδωρ] The modern Nablus lies half an hour distant from the southern well, and has many wells of its own close by; see Robinson, III. 333. It is therefore all the more probable that Sychar, out of which the woman came,[185] was a separate town. As to the forms πεῖν and ΠῖΝ (so Jacobs, Del. epigr. vi. 78), see Herm. Herodian. § 47; Buttmann, N. T. Gr. p. 58 [E. T. p. 66], who prefers πῖν, though this is regarded by Fritzsche (de conform. Lachm. p. 27) as the mistake of a copyist. As to the phrase δίδωμι πιεῖν, without any object expressed, see Krüger, § 55. 3. 21. It is an arbitrary supposition in itself, to imagine, as Hengstenberg does, that this “Give me to drink” had underlying it “a spiritual sense,” “Give me spiritual refreshment (by thy conversion),” and is opposed to John 4:8, which by no means gives a general reason why Jesus entered into conversation with the woman; for He might have done this in the apostles’ presence, though, according to Hengstenberg, He must have sent them away (all excepting John[186]), on purpose to have an undisturbed interview with the woman. All this is mere imagination.

John 4:8. ΓΆΡ] The reason why he asked the services of the woman; the disciples, whose services he would otherwise have claimed, were absent.

ἵνα τροφὰς ἀγορ.] According to later tradition (“Samaritanis panem comedere aut vinum bibere prohibitum est,” Raschi, ad Sota, 515), this would not have been allowed. But the separation could not have been so distinctly marked at that time, especially as to commercial dealings and intercourse with the Galileans, since their road lay through Samaria. Jesus, moreover, was raised above these hostile divisions which existed among the people (Luke 9:52).

John 4:9. The woman recognised that Jesus was a Jew by His language, and not by His accent merely.

πῶς] qui fit ut. The words of the woman indicate the pert feminine caprice of national feeling. There is no ground whatever for supposing (Hengstenberg) that the woman had at this stage any presentiment that He who addressed her was any other than an ordinary Jew.

οὐ γὰρ, κ.τ.λ.] not a parenthesis, but the words of the evangelist.

Jews with Samaritans, without the article.

[185] That, considering the sacred character of the water, she did not hesitate about the distance of the well from Sychem (Hengstenberg), is without any hint in the text.

[186] Who must, according to Godet also, have remained with Him. A gratuitous addition, made for the purpose of securing a guarantee for the accuracy of the narrative.

(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 4:10. Jesus certainly recognised at once the susceptibility of the woman; allowing, therefore, His own need to stand in abeyance, He began the conversation, which was sufficiently striking to excite at once the full interest of her sanguine temperament, though at the outset this interest was nothing but feminine curiosity.

τὴν δωρ. τ. θεοῦ] the gift of God, which you may now partake of by conversation with me. Not certainly the person of Jesus Himself (the Greek Fathers, Erasmus, Beza, and most others, even Hengstenberg and Godet), to which he refers only as the discourse advances with the καί of closer definition.

σὺ ἂν ᾔτησας ] thou wouldest have prayed Him (i.e. to give you to drink), and He would have, etc. Observe the emphatic σύ (the request would have come from you).

ὕδωρ ζῶν] The woman takes this to mean spring-water, מַיִם חַיִּים, Genesis 26:19, Leviticus 14:5, Jeremiah 2:13, as opposed to water in a cistern. Comp. vivi fontes and the like among the Romans; see Wetstein. Christ does indeed mean spring-water, but, as in John 7:38, in a spiritual sense (comp. John 4:14), namely, God’s grace and truth (John 1:14), which He, who is the possessor of them, communicates by His word out of His fulness, and which in its living, regenerating, and, for the satisfying of spiritual need, ever freshly efficacious power, is typified by water from the spring. Comp. analogous passages, Sir 15:3; Sir 24:21; Bar 3:12; Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 2298. He does not mean Himself, His own life (Olshausen, Godet, following Epiphanius and most others), in the same manner as He speaks of Himself as the bread of life, John 6:35, for this is not indicated in any part of the present colloquy; nor does He mean faith (John 3:15), as Lücke thinks, nor the Spirit (Calovius, Baumgarten Crusius, Luthardt, Hofmann), the gift of which follows the communication of the living water. Any reference to baptism (Justin, Cyprian, Ambrose, and most others) is quite remote from the text. Calvin is substantially right when he sees typified totam renovationis gratiam.

The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
John 4:11-12. “Thou canst not mean the spring-water here in this well; you could not give this to me, for thou hast no bucket,[187] which is needed on account of the depth of the well; whence hast thou, therefore, the spring-water you speak of?

κύριε] The ΤΊς ἘΣΤΙΝ Ὁ ΛΈΓΩΝ ΣΟΙ, etc., John 4:10, has given the woman a momentary feeling of respect, not unmixed with irony.

οὔτε followed by ΚΑῚ is rare, 3 John 1:10; see Winer, p. 460 [E. T. p. 619]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 222; Klotz, ad Devar. 714.

μὴ σὺ μείζων, κ.τ.λ.] Notice the emphatic ΣΎ coming first: “thou surely art not greater,” etc.; “thou dost not look like that!” Comp. John 8:53.

μείζων] i.e. more able, in a position to give what is better. By him was the well given us, and for him it was good enough for him and his to drink from; yet thou speakest as if thou hadst another and a better spring of water! The woman dwells upon the enigmatical word of Christ at first, just as Nicodemus did, John 3:4, but with more cleverness and vivacity, at the same time more pertly, and with feminine loquacity.

τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν] for the Samaritans traced their descent back to Joseph. Josephus, Antt. vii. 7. 3, viii. 14. 3, xi. 8. 6. They certainly were not of purely heathen origin (Hengstenberg); see Keil on 2 Kings 17:24; Petermann in Herzog’s Encykl. XIII. 367.

ὃς ἔδωκεν, κ.τ.λ.] a Samaritan tradition, not derived from the O. T.

ΚΑῚ ΑὐΤῸς, Κ.Τ.Λ.] ΚΑῚ is simply and, neither for καὶ ὅς, nor and indeed. The θρέμματα are the cattle (Plato, Polit. p. 261 A; Xen. Oec. xx. 23; Ages. ix. 6; Herodian. iii. 9. 17; Josephus, Antt. vii. 7. 3), not servants (Majus, Kypke),[188] whom there was no need specially to name; the mention of the herds completes the picture of their nomadic progenitor.

τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν] which thou hast to give; John 4:10.

[187] ἄντλημα, elsewhere the drawing of water, is used in the sense of haustrum. Nonnus explains it κάδον ἑλκυστῆρα (a bucket to draw water).—The woman had with her a ὑδρία, ver. 28 (comp. John 2:6), but she must also have had an ἄντλημα, provided with a long handle or rope to draw the water up, or at least some contrivance for letting down the ὑδρία itself.

[188] The word, the general meaning of which is quicquid enutritur, is found on inscriptions as applied to slaves; it is used of children likewise in the classics (Valck. Diatr. p. 249), as in Soph. Phil. 243; comp; Oed. Rex, 1143. It does not occur in the LXX. or Apocrypha.

Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
John 4:13-14. Not an explanation, but (comp. John 3:5) a carrying out of the metaphor, to lead the woman nearer to its higher import.

τούτου] referring to the well.

οὐ μὴ διψ. εἰς τ. αἰῶνα] “will certainly not thirst for ever,” antithesis to fleeting bodily refreshment, John 4:13. Comp. John 6:34. That heavenly grace and truth which Christ communicates, when received by faith into the inner life, for ever supplies what we need in order to salvation, so that the lack of this satisfaction is never felt, because the supply is always there. Bengel admirably remarks: “Sane aqua illa, quantum in se est, perennem habet virtutem; et ubi sitis recurrit, hominis non aquae defectus est.” The expression in Sir 24:20 : οἱ πίνοντές με (Wisdom) ἔτι διψήσουσι, rests upon a different view of the continuity of enjoyment, namely, that of the individual moments passing in the continual alternation of desire and satisfaction, and not of the unity which they make up, and of their condition as a whole.

γενήσεται ἐν αὐτῷ, κ.τ.λ.] the positive effect following the negative (and hence τὸ ὕδωρ ὃ δώσω αὐτῷ is emphatically repeated): divine grace and truth appropriated by faith will so energetically develope their life in him in inexhaustible fulness, that its full impelling power endures unto eternal Messianic life. Upon his entrance into the Messiah’s kingdom (comp. John 3:3; John 3:5), the man takes along with him this inner living power of divine χάρις καὶ ἀλήθεια, John 6:27.

ἅλλεσθαι εἰς, to spring up into, often also in the classics (Hom. Il. a. 537; Xen. Mem. i. 3. 9), but with reference to water here only. A Greek would say προρεῖν εἰς; still the word in the text is stronger and more vivid. The ζωὴ αἰων. is conceived of locally, in keeping with the comparison of a widespreading spring; to render εἰςreaching to everlasting life” (B. Crusius, Luthardt, Brückner, Ewald), arbitrarily lets go the concrete comparison, one of the main features in which is endless power of springing up. This description of the well springing up into everlasting life is the finishing touch of the picture. On εἰς ζ. αἰ., see John 4:36.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
John 4:15-16. The woman as yet having no apprehension of the higher meaning of the water spoken of (against B. Crusius, Lange), yet being in some degree perplexed, asks, not in irony, as Lightfoot and Tholuck think, but sincerely, for this wonderful water, which at any rate must be of great use to her.

Jesus breaks off suddenly, and commences, by a seemingly unimportant request, “Call thy husband,” to lay hold of the woman in her inner life, so that the beginnings of faith in Him might be connected with His supernatural knowledge of her peculiar moral relations. This process must be accompanied with the awakening in her of a sense of guilt (see John 4:29), and thus pave the way for μετάνοια; and who dare deny that, besides the immediate object, this may have been included in the purposes of Jesus? though He does not directly rebuke, but leaves the feeling to operate of itself (against Strauss and most others).

φώνησ. τ. ἄνδρα σου] We are not to ask here what the husband was to do (Chrysostom, Euthymius Zigabenus: “that he might partake with her of the gift of salvation that was before her;” so also Lücke); because the command was only an apparent one, not seriously intended, for Jesus knew the relations of the woman, and did not merely discover His prophetic gift by the answer she gave, as Lücke and Godet quite gratuitously assume. The τ. ἄνδρα σου was the sore spot where the healing was to begin. According to Lange, L. J. II. p. 530 f., it would have been unseemly if Jesus, now that the woman showed a willingness to become His disciple (?), had continued to converse longer with her in her husband’s absence; His desire, therefore, was in keeping “with the highest and finest sense of social propriety.” But the husband was nothing more than a paramour!

ἐλθέ] in the sense of come back, as the context shows. See Hom. Od. a. 408, β. 30; Xen. Anab. ii. 1. 1, v. 1. 4; Bar 4:37; Tob 1:18; Heind. ad Plat. Prot. p. 310 C. Comp. John 14:18; Luke 19:13.

Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
John 4:17-18. The woman is taken aback; her light, naive, bantering manner is now completely gone, and she quickly seeks to shun the sensitive point with the answer, true only in words, οὐκ ἔχω ἄνδρα; but Jesus goes deeper still.

καλῶς] rightly, truly; John 8:48; Matthew 15:7; Luke 20:39. How far truly, what follows shows,—namely, only relatively, and therefore the approval is only apparent, and in some degree ironical.

ἄνδρα οὐκ ἔχω] “a husband I have not;” as it is the conception of ἀνήρ which Jesus has to emphasize, it stands first.

πέντε γὰρ, κ.τ.λ.] It is doubtful whether she really had five successive husbands, from whom she had been separated either by death or by divorce, or whether Jesus included paramours, using ἄνδρας in a varying sense according to the varying subjects; or whether, again, He meant that all five were scortatores (Chrysostom, Maldonatus, and most others). The first supposition is to be adopted, because the present man, who is not her husband, stands in contrast with the former husbands. She had been therefore five times married (such a history had already seared her conscience, John 4:29; how? is not stated), and now she was either a widow or a divorced wife, and had a paramour (νόθον ἀκοίτην, Nonnus), who lived with her as a husband, but really was not her husband (hence the οὐκ ἔστι is emphatically put first). To interpret the story of the five husbands as a whole as a symbolical history of the Samaritan nation (according to 2 Kings 17:24 ff.; Josephus, Antt. ix. 14. 3 : πέντε ἔθνηἕκαστον ἴδιον θεὸν εἰς Σαμαρ. κομίσαντες), either as a divinely intended coincidence (Hengstenberg, Köstlin, comp. Baumgarten and Scholten), or as a type in the mind of the evangelist (Weizsäcker, p. 387), so that the symbolic meaning excludes any actual fact (Keim, Gesch. J. p. 116), or again as fiction (B. Bauer), whose mythical basis was that history (Strauss), is totally destitute of any historical warrant. For the man whom the woman now had must, symbolically understood, represent Jehovah; and He had been the God of the Samaritans before the introduction of false gods, and therefore it would have been more correct to speak of six husbands (Heracleon actually read ἕξ). But how incredible is it, that Jesus would represent Jehovah under the similitude of a paramour (for the woman was now living in concubinage), and the “fivefold heathenism” of the nation under the type of real marriages!

For the rest, the knowledge which Jesus had of the woman’s circumstances was immediate and supernatural. To assume that He had ascertained her history from others (Paulus, Ammon), is opposed to the Johannean view; while the notion that the disciples introduced into the history what they afterwards discovered (Schweizer, p. 139) is psychologically groundless, if once we admit that Jesus possessed a knowledge of the moral state of others (and here we have not merely a knowledge of outward circumstances,—against De Wette) beyond that attainable by ordinary means.[189] Lange invents the strange and unnecessary (John 2:24 f.) addition, that “the psychical effects produced by the five husbands upon the woman were traceable in her manner and mien, and these were recognised by Jesus.”

ἀληθές] as something true. See Winer, p. 433 [E. T. p. 582]. Comp. Plato, Gorg. p. 493 D: τοῦτʼ ἀληθέστερον εἴρηκας; Soph. Phil. 909; Lucian, D. M. vi. 3; Tim. 20.

[189] We must not therefore suppose, as Ewald does, that Jesus named simply a round number of husbands, which in a wonderful manner turned out to be right.

For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
John 4:19-20. The woman now discerns in Jesus the man of God endowed with higher knowledge, a prophet,[190] and puts to Him accordingly—perhaps also to leave no further room for the unpleasant mention of the circumstances of her life which had been thus unveiled—the national religious question ever in dispute; a question which does not, indeed, imply a presentiment of the superiority of the Jews’ religion (Ewald), but one, the decision of which might be expected from such a prophet as she now deemed Him to be. The great national interest in this question (see Josephus, Antt. xiii. 3. 4) is sufficient to remove any apparent improbability attaching to it as coming from the lips of this morally frivolous woman (against Strauss, B. Bauer). Luthardt thinks that she now wished to go in prayer for the forgiveness of her sins to the holy place appointed, and only desires to know where? on Gerizim or in Jerusalem. But she has not arrived at this stage yet; she does not give any intimation of this, she does not call the place a place of expiation (this also against Lange); and Jesus, in His answer, gives no hint to that effect. Her seeking after religious information is still theoretical merely, laying hold upon a matter of popular controversy, naive, without any depth of personal anxiety, as also without any thought about the fundamental difference between the two nations, which Hengstenberg attributes to her as a representative of the Samaritans, one who first wished to remove the stumbling-block between the nations; see John 4:25.


ΟἹ ΠΑΤΈΡΕς ἩΜ.] As ὙΜΕῖς stands opposed, we must not go back to Abraham and Jacob (according to a tradition based upon Genesis 12:6 ff; Genesis 13:4; Genesis 33:20), as Chrysostom, Euthymius Zigabenus, and many others, even Kuinoel and Baumgarten Crusius, do; we must simply take the reference to be to the ancestors of the Samaritans as far back as the building of the temple on Mount Gerizim in the time of Nehemiah.

ἐν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ] pointing to Gerizim, between which and Ebal the town of Sychem (and Sychar) lay. The temple there had already been destroyed by John Hyrcanus; but the site itself, which Moses had already fixed as that wherein the blessings of the law were to be spoken (Deuteronomy 11:29; Deuteronomy 27:12-13), was still held sacred by the people (comp. Josephus, Antt. xviii. 4. 1; Bell. iii. 7. 32), especially also on account of Deuteronomy 27:4 (where the Samaritan text has גריזים instead of עיבל), and is so even at the present day. See Robinson, III. p. 319 ff.; Ritter, Erdk. XVI. p. 638 ff.; Abulfathi, Annab. Samar. arab. ed., Vilmar, 1865, Proleg. 4. Concerning the ruins on the top of the mountain, see especially Bargès, as before, p. 107 ff.

[190] Comp. 1 Samuel 9:9; in Greek and Latin writers: Hom. Il. i. 70; Hesiod, Theog. 38; Virgil, Georg. iv. 392; Macrobius, Sat. i. 20. 5.

Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
John 4:21. Jesus decides neither for the one place nor for the other; nor, on the other hand, does He pronounce both wrong (B. Crusius); but now that His aim is to give her the living water, divine grace and truth, He rises to the higher point of view of the future, whence both the local centres and limitations of God’s true worship disappear; and the question itself no longer arises, because with the triumph of His work all outward localizing of God’s worship comes to an end, not indeed absolutely, but as fettering the freedom of the outward service.

προσκυνήσ.] As spoken to the woman, this refers not to mankind generally (Godet), nor to the Israelites of both forms of religion (Hilgenfeld, comp. Hengstenberg), but to the future conversion of the Samaritans, who thus would be freed from the ritual on Mount Gerizim (which is therefore named first), but were not to be brought to the ritual in Jerusalem, and therefore ἐν Ἱεροσολ. has its warrant with reference to the Samaritans (against Hilgenfeld in the Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 517; and in his Zeitschr. 1863, p. 103). The divine ordainment of the temple service was educational. Christ was its aim and end, its πλήρωσις; the modern doctrine of the re-establishing of Jerusalem in its grandeur is a chiliastic dream (see Romans 11:27, note).

τῷ πατρί] spoken from the standing-point of the future converts, to whom God, through their faith in the Reconciler, would be Father: “Tacite novi foederis suavitatem innuit,” Grotius.

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
John 4:22. Jesus has answered the question as to the where of worship; He now turns, unasked, to the object of worship, and in this He pronounces in favour of the Jews. The chain of thought is not: “as matters now stand,” and so on (Lücke and most others); such a change of time must have been indicated.

ὃ οὐκ οἴδατε] ye worship what ye know not. God is meant, who is named not personally, but by the neuter, according to His essence and character, not as He who is worshipped, but as that which is worshipped (comp. the neuter, Acts 17:23, according to the more correct reading); and this is simply God Himself, not τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ or τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν (Lücke), which would not be in keeping with the conception expressed in προσκυνεῖν; for what is worshipped is not what pertains to God, but God (comp. John 4:21; John 4:23-24). The οὐκ οἴδατε is to be understood relatively; comp. John 7:28. As the Samaritans received the Pentateuch only, they were without the developed revelation of God contained in the subsequent books of the O. T., particularly in the Prophets, especially the stedfast, pure, and living development of Messianic hope, which the Jews possessed, so also they had lost, with the temple and its sacred shrines, the abiding presence of the Deity (Romans 3:2; Romans 9:4-5). Jesus, therefore, might well speak of their knowledge of God, in comparison with that of the Jews (ἡμεῖς), who possessed the full revelation and promise, as ignorance; and He could regard this great superiority of the Jews as unaffected by the monotheism, however spiritual, of the Samaritans. According to de Wette, whom Ebrard follows, the meaning is: “ye worship, and in so doing, ye do what ye know not,”—which is said to refer to the arbitrary and unhistorical manner in which the Samaritan worship originated. According to this, the would have to be taken as in ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ, Galatians 2:20 (comp. Bengel), so that it would denote the προσκύνησις itself, which is accomplished in the προσκυνεῖν (see Bernhardy, p. 106). But in that case it would have been more logical to write ὃ ὑμεῖς προσκυνεῖτε, οὐκ οἴδατε. Tittmann, Morus, Kuinoel, also erroneously say that stands for καθʼ ὅ, Proverbs vestra ignorantia. It is the accusative of the object, in which is included the dative, or even the accusative of the demonstrative (for προσκύν. is construed in both ways; see Lobeck, ad Phyrn. p. 463).

ἡμεῖς] i.e. Jews, without a conjunction, and hence all the more emphatic. According to the whole connection, it must mean we Jews, not Christians, as if ἡμεῖς were intended in the Gnostic sense to denote, as something altogether new, the distinctively Christian consciousness, as contrasted with the unconscious worship of the Israelitish race in its Samaritan and Jewish branches (Hilgenfeld, comp. his Zeitschr. 1863, p. 213 ff.). That Jesus, being Himself a Jew (Galatians 4:4; John 1:11), should reckon Himself among the Jews, cannot be thought strange in the antithesis of such a passage as this. But in what follows, the Lord rises so high above this antithesis between Samaritan and Jew, that in the future which He opens up to view (John 4:23-24), this national distinctiveness ceases to have any significance. Still, in answer to the woman’s question, He could simply and definitely assign to the Jews that superiority which historically belonged to them before the manifestation of that higher future; but He could not intend “to set her free from the unreality of her national existence” (Luthardt), but rather, considering the occasion which presented itself, could make no concession to the injury of the rights of His patriotism as Messiah, based as this was upon historical fact and upon the divine purpose (Romans 1:16).

ὅτι ἡ σωτ., κ.τ.λ.] because salvation (of course, not without the σωτήρ, though this is not named) proceeds from the Jews (not from the Samaritans),—a general doctrinal statement, incontestably true, based upon the promise to Abraham, Genesis 12 (comp. Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2), concerning the σωτηρία of the Messiah’s kingdom, whose future establishment is represented as present, as is natural in such an axiomatic statement of historic fact. As salvation is of the Jews, this design of their existence in the economy of grace constitutes the reason (ὅτι) why they, as a nation, possessed the true and pure revelation of God, whose highest culmination and consummation is that very σωτηρία; comp. Romans 9:4-5. It must not, indeed, be overlooked that ἡμεῖςοἴδαμεν was not true of every individual of the ἡμεῖς (not of those who rejected the σωτηρία), but refers to the nation as a whole in its ideal existence as the people of God, whose prerogative as such could not be destroyed by empirical exceptions. Thus the invisible church is hidden in the visible.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
John 4:23-24. But[191] this antithesis will also disappear (comp. John 4:21) by the προσκυνεῖν of the true (i.e. answering to the ideal of such, comp. John 1:19) worshippers of God, whose time is coming, yea, already is present (inasmuch as Jesus had already gathered round Him a small band of such worshippers). He could not add καὶ νῦν ἐστιν to the ἜΡΧ. ὭΡΑ of John 4:21.

ἘΝ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ Κ. ἈΛΗΘ.] expresses the element wherein the προσκυνεῖν is carried on in its two closely connected parts, viz.: (1) In spirit; i.e. the worship does not consist in outward acts, gestures, ceremonies, limitations of time and place, or in anything pertaining to the sphere of sense; it has to do with that higher spiritual nature in man which is the substratum of his moral self-consciousness, and the seat of his true moral life, manifesting itself in thoughts, feelings, efforts of will, moods of elevation, excitements, etc.; otherwise the προσκύνησις would belong to the sphere of the ΣΆΡΞ merely, which is the opposite of true worship. Comp. Romans 1:9 : ᾯ ΛΑΤΡΕΎΩ ἘΝ Τῷ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΊ ΜΟΥ. It is self-evident, from both the O. T. and N. T. view, that the ΠΝΕῦΜΑ in which this takes place is influenced by the divine ΠΝΕῦΜΑ (comp. Romans 8:14-16; Romans 8:26); but we must not take ἘΝ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ (John 4:24) to denote objectively the Divine Spirit (Luthardt, Brückner, Bäumlein, following the early expositors). The ΠΡΟΣΚΎΝΗΣΙς ἘΝ ΠΝΕΎΜ. is ΛΟΓΙΚΉ, Romans 12:1; it does not in itself exclude the ritus externos, but it does exclude all mechanical ritualism, and all opus operatum. (2) In truth, not “in sincerity, honesty,” which would be greatly too weak a meaning after οἱ ἀληθινοί, but, so that the worship harmonizes with its object, not contradicting but corresponding with God’s nature and attributes. Otherwise it belongs to the sphere of the ΨΕῦΔΟς, either conscious or unconscious; this ψεῦδος, and not ΣΚΙΆ or ΤΎΠΟΙ, is the antithesis of ἈΛΗΘΕΊΑ.

, save only in Eustathius and Hesychius, occurs only in Inscript. Chandl. p. 91.

καὶ γὰρ, κ.τ.λ.] for the Father also, etc. The καί denotes that what the ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΗΤΑΊ do on their part is also what the Father Himself desires. Luther, B. Crusius, Tholuck, Hengstenberg, and most others, erroneously render it as if it were καὶ γὰρ τοιούτους or ΚΑῚ ΓᾺΡ ΖΗΤΕῖ. The emphasis given by ΚΑῚ in ΚΑῚ ΓᾺΡ always rests upon the word immediately following (even in 1 Corinthians 14:8); Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 467 B. It does not elsewhere occur in John. Usually the καὶ has been overlooked; but the Vulgate rightly renders: “nam et pater.”

ζητεῖ] accordingly He desires. Comp. Herod. i. 94; John 1:39; John 4:27, al. τοιούτους is with marked emphasis put first: of this character He desires His worshippers to be.

πνεῦμα ὁ θεός, κ.τ.λ.] The predicate emphatically stands first (comp. John 1:1 : ΘΕῸς ἮΝ Ὁ ΛΌΓΟς): a Spirit is God, etc. Here God’s nature is added to His will (John 4:23), as a further motive for true worship,[192] to which the nature and manner of the προσκύνησις on man’s part must correspond. How utterly heterogeneous would be a carnal and spurious worship with the perfectly pure and holy nature of God, completely raised above every limit of sense, of place, of particularism, and of all need of gifts, simply because He is Spirit! whereas a spiritual and true worship is θεοπρεπὴς κ. κατάλληλος, Euthymius Zigabenus, and is homogeneous with the idea of God as Spirit.

[191] ἀλλὰ, yet, as contrasted, not with the ἡ σωτηρία ἐκ τ. Ἰουδαίων ἐστίν (Hilgenfeld, as if μὲνδὲ were there), but, as is clear from what follows (the true προσκυνεῖν), with the ὑμεῖςοἴδαμεν. Baeumlein regards it as an intensified addition to ver. 21, “yea, the hour is coming.” But thus ver. 22 would be arbitrarily overleaped.

[192] Πνεῦμα ὁ θεός is not to be conjoined with the assumption of a corporeity belonging to God (in answer to the concessions of Hamberger in the Jahrb. f. D. Th. 1867, p. 421). Jesus might take it for granted that every one who belonged to the O. T. monotheism understood that God is a Spirit, according to Exodus 20:4, Jeremiah 31:3; and it is by no means necessary to refer to the traces of Samaritan spiritualism, in order to make the expression more intelligible as addressed to the woman (Gesenius, de Theol. Sam. p. 12; de Pentat. Sam. Orig. p. 58 ff). Πνεῦμα must not be regarded as indicating something new in comparison with the O. T. (Lutz, bibl. Dogm. p. 45; Köstlin, Lehrbegr. p. 79), but as something known, and emphasized with corresponding impressiveness on account of its importance. Comp. Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. 68 ff.; Weiss, Lehrbegr. pp. 54, 55.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
John 4:25-26. The woman is struck by Christ’s answer, but she does not yet understand it, and she appeals to the Messiah; Χριστῷ Χριστὸν ἔλεξεν, Nonnus. Well says Chrysostom: εἰλιγγίασεν ἡ γυνὴ (she grew dizzy) πρὸς τὰ λεχθέντα, καὶ ἀπηγόρευσε πρὸς τὸ ὕψος τῶν εἰρημένεν, καὶ καμοῦσα ἄκουσον τί φησιν, κ.τ.λ. The presentiment that Jesus Himself was the Messiah is not to be recognised in her words (against Luthardt); yet these are neither evasive nor abrupt (Lücke, de Wette), but the expression of the need of the manifestation of the Messiah, which was deeply felt in this moment of profound impression,—a need which Jesus perceived, and immediately satisfied by the declaration that followed. The Samaritans, sharing the national hope of the Jews, and taking their stand upon the Messianic passages in the Pentateuch (such as Genesis 15; Genesis 49:10, Numbers 24, and especially Deuteronomy 18:15), were expecting the Messiah,[193] whom they called הַשָּׁהֵב or הַתָּהֵב (now el Muhdy; see Robinson, III. 320), whose mission they apprehended less in a political aspect, though also as the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, and the re-establishment of the Gerizim-worship, yet merely as the result of human working. See Gesen. de theol. Sam. p. 41 ff., and ad carmina Sam. p. 75 f.; Bargès, passim; Vilmar, passim. Against B. Bauer’s unhistorical assertion, that at that time the Samaritans had no Messianic belief (Evang. Gesch. Joh. Beil. p. 415 ff.), see B. Crusius. Μεσσίας (without the article, as in John 1:42) is uttered by the woman as a proper name, and thus she adopted the Jewish title, which was doubtless well known in Samaria, and the use of which might be so closely connected with a feeling of respect for the highly gifted Jew with whom she was conversing, that there is no adequate ground for the assumption that the evangelist puts the word into her mouth (Ammon).

ΠΆΝΤΑ] used in a popular indefinite sense.

ἘΓΏ ΕἸΜΙ] I am He, i.e. the Messiah, John 4:25, the simple usual Greek expression, and not in imitation of Deuteronomy 32:39. Observe the plain and direct avowal, in answer to the guilelessness of the Samaritan woman, whose faith was now ready to acknowledge Him (comp. Chrysostom). The consideration of the special circumstances, and of the fact that here there was no danger of a political abuse of the avowal (John 6:15), obviates the seeming contradiction between this early confession and Matthew 8:4; Matthew 16:20.

[193] The Samaritan name השׁהב or התהב is by some rendered the converter (so Gesenius and Ewald), and by others the returning one (Moses), as Sacy, Juynboll (Commentar. in hist. gentis Sam. L. B. 1846), Hengstenberg. Both are linguistically admissible; the latter, considering Deuteronomy 18:15, is the most probable.

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?
John 4:27. Ἐπὶ τούτῳ] Hereupon, while this was going on. See Bernhardy, p. 250; Winer, p. 367 [E. T. p. 489]. Often in Plato.

ἐθαύμαζον] the descriptive imperfect alternates with the simply narrative Aor. See Kühner, II. 74.

μετὰ γυναικὸς] with a woman; for they had yet to learn the fact that Jesus rose above the Rabbinical precepts, teaching that it was beneath the dignity of man to hold converse with women, and the directions of the law upon the subject (see Lightfoot, Schoettgen, and Wetstein).

οὐδεὶς μέντοι, κ.τ.λ.] reverential fear.

τί ζητεῖς] what desirest thou? i.e. what was it that led you to this strange conversation? (John 1:39). There is no reason to warrant our taking μετʼ αὐτῆς as referring by ζεύγμα (παρʼ αὐτῆς) also to ζητεῖς (Lücke, de Wette); and just as little to render ζητεῖν, contrary to its ordinary meaning, to contend, as if the disciples thought there was a discussion prompted by national hostility going on (Ewald).

] or, i.e. if you want nothing.

The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
John 4:28-30. Οὖν] in consequence of the disciples’ coming, which interrupted the interview with Jesus.

ἀφῆκεν, κ.τ.λ.] οὕτως ἀνήφθη τῷ πυρὶ τῶν πνευματικῶν ναμάτων, ὡς καὶ τὸ ἄγγος ἀφεῖναι καὶ τὴν χρείαν, διʼ ἣν παρεγένετο, Euthymius Zigabenus. How great the power of the decisive awakening of the new life in this woman!

πάντα ἅσα] often thus used together in the classics; Xen. Anab. ii. 1. 2; Soph. El. 370, 880, 884; Bornem. ad Anab. i. 10. 3.

ἐποίησα] thus from a sense of guilt she described what Jesus had said to her. His words were therefore the summary of her moral history.

μήτι οὗτος, κ.τ.λ.] not must he not be really the Messiah? as if the question implied an affirmation. So Lücke, but against the constant use of μήτι as simply interrogative, in keeping with which we should rather render the words, yet is not perhaps this man the Messiah? which supposes a negative answer; to be explained, however, as arising psychologically from the fear and bashfulness of surprise at the newly discovered fact, too great for belief. The woman believes it; but startled at the greatness of the discovery, she does not trust herself, and ventures modestly only to ask as one in doubt. See on Matthew 12:23; Baeumlein, Partik. 302. Observe in John 4:30 the change from ἐξῆλθον to the vividly descriptive ἤρχοντο (see on John 4:27; John 20:3). In the latter word the reader sees the crowd coming. Comp. John 4:40, where they arrive.

Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
John 4:31-34. Ἐν τῷ μεταξύ] in the meantime (Xen. Symp. i. 14; Lucian, V. H. i. 22, D. D. x. 1), after the woman had gone, and before the Samaritans came.

John 4:32. Jesus, making the sensuous the clothing of the supersensuous (the pastus animi), speaks from a feeling of inner quickening and satisfaction, which He had just experienced from the change He had wrought in the Samaritan woman,—a feeling which He was to experience still more strongly throughout His divinely appointed work onwards until its completion. This inner satisfaction now prompts Him to refuse bodily sustenance. Observe the emphatic antithesis of ἐγώ and ὑμεῖς.

As to βρῶσις, and βρῶμα, John 4:34, see on Colossians 2:16.

John 4:33. In the question μήτις, κ.τ.λ., prompted by a misunderstanding of His words, the emphasis is upon ἤνεγκεν, “surely no one has brought Him,” etc.

John 4:34. ἐμὸν βρῶμα] i.e. without a figure, “what gives me satisfaction and enjoyment is this: I have to do what God desires of me, and to accomplish that work of redemption which He αὐτοῦ emphatically placed first) has committed to me” (John 17:4). Observe (1) that ἵνα is not the same as ὅτι, which would express objectively the actual subject-matter of ἐμὸν βρ.; it rather indicates the nature of the βρῶμα viewed as to its end, and points to the aim and purpose which Jesus pursues,—a very frequent use of it in John. (2) The present ποιῶ denotes continuous action, the Aor. τελειώσα the Acts of completion, the future goal of the ποιῶ. Comp. John 17:4.

But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
John 4:35. The approaching townspeople now showed how greatly already the ἵνα ποιῶ was in process of accomplishment. They were coming through the corn-field, now tinged with green; and thus they make the fields, which for four months would not yield the harvest, in a higher sense already white harvest-fields. Jesus directs the attention of His disciples to this; and with the beautiful picture thus presented in nature, He connects further appropriate instructions, onwards to John 4:38.

οὐχ ὑμεῖς λέγετε] that is, at the present season of the year (ἔπι). The ὑμεῖς stands contrasted with what Jesus was about to say, though the antithesis is not expressed in what follows by ἐγώ, because the antithesis of the time stands in the foreground.[194] The supposition that the disciples had, during their walk, made an observation of this kind to each other (and this in a theological sense with reference to hoping and waiting), as Hengstenberg suggests, is neither hinted at, nor is in harmony with the Praesens λέγετε.

ὅτι ἔτιἔρχεται] Harvest began in the middle of Nisan (Lightfoot, v. 101), i.e. in April. Consequently the words must have been spoken in December, when Jesus, as the seed-time fell in Marchesvan (the beginning of November), might be surrounded by sown fields already showing tints of green, the harvest of which, however, could not be expected for four months to come. We render therefore: there are still four months (to wait, until) the harvest comes. As to the paratactic expression with καὶ instead of a particle of time, see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 220 C; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. 881. Concerning the bearing of the passage upon the chronology, see Wieseler, Synopse, p. 214 ff. The taking of the words as proverbial (Lightfoot, Grotius, Tittmann, etc., even Lücke, Tholuck, de Wette, Krafft, Chronol. p. 73), as if the saying were a general one: “from seed-time to harvest is four months” (seed-time would thus be made to extend into December; comp. Bava Mezia, f. 106, 2), is forbidden, not only by the fact that such a proverb occurs nowhere else, but by the fact that seed-time is not here mentioned, so that ἔτι (comp. the following ἬΔΗ) does not refer to a point of time to be understood, but to the time then present, and by the fact, likewise, that the emphasized ὙΜΕῖς would be inexplicable and strange in an ordinary proverb (comp. rather Matthew 16:2).[195] It is worth while to notice how long Jesus had been in Judaea (since April).

τετράμηνος] sc. χρόνος; see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 549.

τὰς χώρας] regiones. They had just been sown, and the young seed was now springing up, and yet in another sense they were white for being reaped; for, by the spectacle of the townspeople who were now coming out to Christ across these fields, it appeared in concrete manifestation before the eyes of the disciples (hence ἐπάρατε τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς, κ.τ.λ.), that now for men the time of conversion (of ripeness) was come in the near establishment of the Messiah’s kingdom, into which, like the harvest produce, they might be gathered (comp. Matthew 3:12). Jesus, therefore, here gives a prophetic view, not only of the near conversion of the Samaritans (Acts 8:5 ff.); but, rising above the concrete fact now before them, consequently from the people of Sychar who were flocking through the fields of springing green, His prophetic eye takes in all mankind, whose conversion, begun by Him, would be fully accomplished by His disciples. See especially John 4:38. Godet wrongly denies this wider prophetic reference, and confines the words to the immediate occurrence, as an improvised harvest feast. Such an explanation does not suffice for what follows, John 4:36-38, which was suggested, indeed, by the phenomenon before them, but embraces the whole range of service on the part of Christ’s disciples in their relation to their Lord. If we do not allow this wider reference, John 4:38 especially will be of very strange import.

ὅτι] not for, but according to common attraction (Winer, p. 581 [E. T. p. 781 f.]), that they are, etc.

ἤδη] even now, at this moment, and not after four months; put at the end for emphasis (Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 256 E; ad Menex. p. 235 A). Comp. 1 John 4:3; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 8. 16. Not, therefore, to be joined with what follows (A. C.* D. E. L. א. Codd. It. al., Schulz, Tisch., Ewald, Ebrard, Godet), which would make the correlation with ἜΤΙ inappropriate. For the rest, comp. Ovid, Fast. v. 357: “maturis albescit messis aristis.”

[194] The versatility of thought often in Greek changes the things contrasted as the sentence proceeds. See Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. 163; Schaef. ad Timocr. p. 763, 13.

[195] This also is in answer to Hilgenfeld, who takes ἔτι with reference to the present, and not the future, and interprets it: four months are not yet gone, and yet the harvest is already here. This strange rendering derives no support whatever from John 11:39.

And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
John 4:36. This harvest—how full of recompense for the reapers (i.e. for you, my disciples)! The wages for the reaper’s labour consist in this, that (καὶ explicative) he gathers fruit into life eternal (this is spoken locally, as denoting the granary, as is clear from συνάγει, against Luthardt, who takes εἰς to denote the result); comp. John 4:14, without any figure: “He converts men, and thus secures for them an entrance into the Messiah’s kingdom.” Thereupon, as well the sower (Christ) as the reaper rejoice together, according to God’s ordinance (ἵνα). Chrysostom and many others wrongly take σπείρων to denote the prophets. For ὁμοῦ, with one verb in the singular and two subjects, comp. Hom. Il. . 61: εἰ δὴ ὁμοῦ πόλεμός τε δαμᾷ καὶ λοιμὸς Ἀχαιούς;; Soph. Aj. 1058. Here, however, it certainly signifies the simultaneousness of the joy, not simply joy in common (B. Crusius, Luthardt); for it is the joy of harvest, which the Sower also shares in time of harvest, on account of the blessing with which His toil in sowing is now crowned.

And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
John 4:37-38. “As well the sower as the reaper, I say, for in this case they are different persons.”

ἐν γὰρ τούτῳ, κ.τ.λ.] for herein, in this relation of sowing and reaping, the saying (the proverb of ordinary life, τὸ λεγόμενον, Plato, Gorg. p. 447 A; Phaed. p. 101 D; Pol. x. p. 621 C; comp. ὁ παλαιὸς λόγος, Phaed. p. 240 C; Gorg. p. 499 C; Soph. Trach. i.) has its essential truth, i.e. its proper realization, setting forth its idea. Comp. Plat. Tim. p. 2 6 E: μὴ πλασθέντα μῦθον, ἀλλʼ ἀληθινὸν (i.e. a real) λόγον. The reference of the λόγος to the words of the servant, Matthew 25:24, which Weizsäcker considers probable,[196] would be very far-fetched; the rendering of ἀληθινός, however, as equivalent to ἀληθής, 2 Peter 2:22 (de Wette and many others), is quite opposed to the idiosyncrasy of John (so also John 19:35). The article before ἀληθ., which through want of attention might easily have been omitted (B. C.* K. L. T.b Δ. Or.), marks off the predicate with exclusive definiteness. Comp. Bernhardy, p. 322; Kühner, II. 140. With respect to other relations (not ἐν τουτῷ), the proverb does not express its proper idea.

As to the proverb itself, and its various applications, see Wetstein. The ἀληθινόν of it is explained in John 4:38.

ἐγώ] with emphasis: I, consequently the sower in the proverb.

The preterites ἀπέστειλα and εἰσεληλ. are not prophetic (de Wette, Tholuck), but the mission and calling of the disciples were already practically involved in their reception into the apostolate.[197] Comp. John 17:8.

ἄλλοι and αὐτῶν refer to Jesus (whom Olshausen, indeed, according to Matthew 23:34, even excludes!), not to the prophets and the Baptist, nor to them together with Christ (so the Fathers and most of the early writers, also Lange, Luthardt, Ewald, and most others), nor in a general way to all who were instrumental in advancing the preparatory economy (Tholuck). They are plurals of category (see on Matthew 2:20; John 3:11), representing the work of Christ, into which the disciples entered, as not theirs, but others’ work, i.e. a distinct and different labour. But the fact that Jesus was the labourer, while self-evident from the connection, is not directly expressed, but with intentional self-renunciation, half concealed beneath the plural ἄλλοι. He it was who introduced the conversion of mankind; the disciples were to complete it. He prepared and sowed the field; they were called upon to do what was still further necessary, and to reap. The great toil of the apostles in fulfilling their call is not denied; but, when compared with the work of Jesus Himself, it was the easier, because it was only the carrying on of that work, and was encouragingly represented under the cheerful image of harvesting (comp. Isaiah 9:3; Psalm 126:6). If ἄλλοι is to be taken as referring to Philip’s work in converting the Samaritans, Acts 8:25, upon which Peter and John entered (Baur), or to Paul’s labour among the heathen, the fruit of which is to be attributed to the first apostles (Hilgenfeld), any and every exegetical impossibility may be with equal right allowed by a ὕστερον πρότερον of critical arbitrariness.

[196] Weizsäcker, in his harmony of the words of John with those of the Synoptics, in which the latter are dealt with very freely (p. 282 ff.), brings in general much that is far-fetched into parallelisms which cannot be demonstrated. The intellectual independence of personal recollection and reproduction in John raises him above any such search after supposed borrowings.

[197] According to Godet, ἀπέστ, is to be taken as referring to a summons, discovered by him in ver. 36, to the work of reaping among the approaching Sycharites. He then takes ἄλλοι κεκοπ. to refer to the labour of Jesus in His interview with the woman. The latter words are said to have been spoken to the disciples, who thought He had been resting during their absence, with a “finesse qu’on oserait presque appeller légèrement malicieuse,” and with an “aimable sourire.” Such weighty thoughts as ἀποστολή and κόπος represent are utterly incompatible with such side hints and passing references. And it is a pure invention to find in ver. 36 an “invitation à prendre la faucille.”

I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
John 4:39 ff. Resumption of the historical narrative of John 4:30, which here receives its elucidation, to which then the continuation of the history attaches itself, John 4:40-42. As to the position of the words πολλοὶ ἐπ. εἰς αὐτ. τῶν Σαμ., see Buttmann, N. T. Gr. p. 332 [E. T. p. 388].

ὅτι εἶπέ μοι πάντα, κ.τ.λ.] Indication of conscience ratifying John 4:18.

διὰ τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ] on account of His own word (teaching). No mention is made of miracles, but we must not infer from this that there was no need of miracles among the Samaritans; see, on the other hand, Acts 8:6 ff. Jesus found that in this case His word sufficed, and therefore upon principle (see John 4:48) He forbore to work miracles, and His mighty word was all the mightier among the unprejudiced people.

διὰ τὴν σὴν λαλιὰν] on account of thy discourse. This is the meaning of λαλιά invariably in classical Greek. The term is purposely chosen, as from the standing-point of the speaker; whereas John, as an impartial narrator, with equal appropriateness, writes τὸν λόγον in John 4:39. As to λαλιά in John 8:43, where Jesus thus designates His own discourse, see in loc. Observe, besides, the emphatic σήν as contrasted with the λόγος of Jesus which they themselves (αὐτοί) have now heard.

ἀκηκόαμεν] the following ὅτι refers to both verbs. They have heard that Jesus was the Messiah, for this became evident to them from His words.

ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου] not due to the individuality of John (1 John 4:14), and put into the mouths of the people, as Lücke and Tholuck are inclined to suppose, but a confession quite conceivable as the result of the two days’ ministry of Jesus; universalism, moreover, being more akin to the Messianic faith of the Samaritans (see Gesenius, de Samar. theol. p. 41 ff.) than to that of the Jews, with their definite and energetic feeling of nationality.


The prohibition in Matthew 10:5 militates neither against this narrative of John 4 in general, nor in particular against the promise of John 4:35 ff. It had merely a temporary force, and was abrogated again by Matthew 28:19-20, and Acts 1:8; and, moreover, it presented no insuperable barrier to restrict Jesus in His work (for He did not wholly exclude even Gentiles from His teaching). Acts 8:5 ff. is no proof whatever that this history in John is of mythical origin; it is, on the contrary, the fulfilment of the promise given here. Its several features are so original, and so pyschologically true, and the words of Jesus (see especially John 4:21-24) come so directly from the living depths of His soul, that the exceptions taken against certain particulars (as, for instance, against the misunderstandings on the part of the woman; against the words concerning the food, John 4:32; against the command of Jesus, “Go, call thy husband;” against the woman’s question concerning the place of worship; against the faith of the Samaritans, which is said to contradict Luke 9:53) are of no real weight, and are explicable only by the very authenticity of the narrative, not by the supposition of an intentional poetizing. This is in answer to Strauss, B. Bauer, and partly Weisse; also to Scholten, who considers that the author’s object was to describe in a non-historical picture the spirit which actuated Jesus even towards the Samaritans. As a full guarantee for that part of the narrative, which the disciples, being absent, could not have witnessed, we may, considering the vivid impress of genuineness which marks it, fairly assume that Jesus Himself communicated it to the evangelist, and there is no need for the unfounded supposition that (John 4:8) John was left behind with Jesus (Hengstenberg, Godet). When, finally, Baur (p. 145 ff.; comp. also Hilgenfeld) resolves our history into a typus,—“the Samaritan woman being a figure of heathendom, susceptible, readily opening itself to faith, and presenting a wide harvest field,” a contrast to Nicodemus, the type of unsusceptible Judaism,—with all this arbitrariness on the part of the inventor, it is passing strange, if this were his object, that he did not bring Jesus into contact with a real heathen woman, for this would have been quite as easy to invent; and that he should keep the words of the woman so free from the least tinge of anything of a heathen nature (John 4:20 ff.), and have put into her mouth so clear an expression of Messianic hope (John 4:25; John 4:42),—this bungling is quite out of character on the part of such an inventor.

So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
And many more believed because of his own word;
And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.
John 4:43-44.[198] Τὰς δύο ἡμέρας] The article is to be explained by John 4:40.

αὐτός] ipse, not merely others with reference to Him, but “He Himself did not hesitate to testify,” etc. As to the fact itself, see Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24. When Schenkel concludes from προφήτης that Jesus did not yet regard Himself as the Messiah, this is a misuse of the general term within the category of which the conception of Messiah is embraced.

ἐμαρτύρ.] not in the sense of the Pluperfect (Tholuck, Godet; see on John 18:24), but then, when He returned to Galilee.

γάρ is the ordinary for; and πατρίδι is not the native town, but, as is clear from Γαλιλαίαν, John 4:43; John 4:45, the native country. So also usually in Greek writers, from Homer downwards. The words give the reason why He did not hesitate to return to Galilee. The gist of the reason lies in the antithetical reference of ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ πατρίδι. If, as Jesus Himself testified, a prophet had no honour in his own country, he must seek it abroad. And this Jesus had done. Abroad, in Jerusalem, He had by His mighty works inspired the Galilaeans who were there with that respect which they were accustomed to deny to a prophet at home. Thus He brought the prophet’s honour with Him from abroad.[199] Accordingly (John 4:45) He found a reception among the Galilaeans also, because they had seen His miracles in Jerusalem (John 2:23). It is therefore obviously incorrect to understand Γαλιλαίαν specially of Upper Galilee, as distinct from Lower Galilee, where Nazareth was situated. So Lange, in spite of the fact that Γαλιλ. here must be the universal and popular name for the whole province, as distinct from Samaria (ἐκεῖθεν), whether we retain καὶ ἀπῆλθεν as in the Elzevir or not. It is further incorrect, and an utterly arbitrary gloss, to interpret πατρίς as meaning Nazareth, and γάρ as referring to the fact that He had gone, indeed, to Galilee, but not to Nazareth (Chrysostom and even Euthymius Zigabenus: to Capernaum). So Cyril, Nonnus, Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Aretius, Grotius, Jansen, Bengel, and many; also Kypke, Rosenmüller, Olshausen, Klee, Gemberg in Stud. u. Krit. 1845, I.; Hengstenberg, Bäumlein. It is also incorrect, because not in keeping with the context, nor with the general view, which is also that of John, which regards Galilee as Christ’s home (John 1:46, John 2:1, John 7:3; John 7:41; John 7:52), to take πατρίς as denoting Judea, and γάρ as stating the reason (in the face of the quite different reason already given, John 4:1-3) why Jesus had left Judea (Origen, Maldonatus, B. Bauer, Schwegler, Wieseler, B. Crusius, Schweizer, Köstlin, Baur, Hilgenfeld, and formerly also Ebrard); whence some, e.g. Origen and Baur, take πατρίς in a higher sense, as signifying the native land of the prophets,[200] and therefore of the Messiah also, and most, like Hilgenfeld, as having reference to the birth at Bethlehem. Lücke has rightly, in his 3d ed., abandoned this interpretation; but, on the other hand, he takes γὰρ as equivalent to namely, and explains it as referring not to what precedes, but to what follows (so substantially also Tholuck, Olshausen, Maier, de Wette), so that John 4:44 gives an explanation in passing on the point: “that the Galilaeans on this occasion received Jesus well, but only on account of the miracles which they had seen in Jerusalem” (de Wette). It is against this, however, that though in the classics γὰρ explicative often precedes the sentence to be explained (see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 467; Bäumlein, Partik. p. 75 ff.), especially in parenthesis (see Bremi, ad Lys. p. 66; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. 338), yet this form of expression is quite without precedent in the N. T. (Romans 14:10, Hebrews 2:8, are not instances in point), and especially would be quite foreign to John’s simple progressive style of narration; moreover, the “indeed,—but only,” put into John 4:45, is quite obtruded on the words, inasmuch as John wrote neither μέν after ἐδέξ., nor thereafter a μόνον δέ, nor any such expression.[201] According to Brückner, Jesus came to Galilee because, (but see John 4:1-3) He had supposed that He would find no honour there, and consequently with the intention of undertaking the conflict for the recognition of His person and dignity. According to Luthardt, whom Ebrard now follows (comp. Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. 88, also Schriftbew II. 1, p. 171), the words imply the hope entertained by Jesus of being able to remain in rest and silence in Galilee more easily than anywhere else. But both explanations are incompatible with the following ὅτε οὖν, κ.τ.λ., which certainly means that the Galileans received Him with honour, as He was called immediately thereafter to perform a miracle. We should certainly expect ΔΈ or ἈΛΛΆ (comp. Nonnus) to introduce the statement, and not ΟὖΝ. In what follows, moreover, regarding the residence in Galilee, we are told neither about conflict nor about the repose of Jesus, but simply of the healing at a distance of the nobleman’s son. Lastly, it is contrary to the words (because ὍΤΕ ΟὖΝ ἮΛΘΕΝ in John 4:45 directly resumes the ΕἸς Τ. ΓΑΛ. of John 4:43, and admits of no interval), when Hauff, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1849, p. 117 ff., makes the train of thought to terminate with John 4:44, and takes John 4:44 itself as a general description of the result of Christ’s Galilean ministry. Thus ἐδέξαντο is said to indicate that He did and taught much there; which is clearly a gloss foisted into the text.

[198] See Ewald, Jahrb. X. 1860, p. 108 ff. He agrees for the most part with my rendering; comp. also his Johann. Schr. I. p. 194; in like manner Godet, who, however, without the slightest hint of it in the text, supposes a purpose on the writer’s part, in connection with John 3:24, to correct the synoptical tradition. John wishes “constater l’intervalle considérable qui sépara du baptême de Jésus son retour définitif et son établissement permanent en Galilée.” In John 3:24 he states the fact, and here he gives the motive. Scholten puts the emphasis which prompts the following γὰρ upon ἐκεῖθεν, a word which is quite unessential, and might just as well have been omitted.

[199] Baeumlein urges, against my explanation: “We cannot believe that, after the words ‘He betook Himself to Galilee,’ there should follow the reason why He had before left Galilee.” This, however, is not the logical connection at all.

[200] So also B. Crusius, who compares John 7:52. Quite erroneously, when the general and proverbial character of the statement is considered. After John 4:3, however, the reader can expect no further explanation of the reason why Jesus did not remain in Judea. Schwegler and B. Bauer suppose that here Judea is meant as the native land of Jesus, and make use of this as an argument against the genuineness and historical truth of the Gospel. Comp. also Köstlin in the Theol. Jahrb. 1851, p. 186. Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 266: “a remarkable inversion of the synoptical statement, wherein the Gospel appears as a free compilation by a post-apostolic author” (Zeitschr. 1862, p. 17). Schweizer also finds it such a stumbling-block, that he regards it as proving the following narrative to be a Galilean interpolation. Gfrörer, heil. Sage, II. 289, rightly indeed understands the words as referring to Galilee, but considers that we should supply the following: “save very slowly and reluctantly, for,” etc.

[201] Weizsäcker also, in the Jahrb. F. Deutsche Theol. 1859, p. 695, regards γάρ not as introducing a reason, but as demonstrative. John intimates that he will not narrate much of Christ’s ministry in Galilee; he refers to that saying as if shrinking from unpleasant recollections. But this is not in the text, nor is it compatible with the connection in ver. 45, and the history that follows. Weizsäcker, indeed, thinks (comp. his Unters. üb. d. ev. Gesch. p. 276) that in this synoptic saying John refers to the synoptic account of that Galilean ministry, which he would not himself describe. Who ever could imagine that? especially when John at once goes on to narrate the good reception given to Jesus in Galilee, and His miracle of blessing there. Did the Lord betake Himself to “a voluntary obscurity,” concerning which John wishes to be silent?

For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.
John 4:45-46. Ἐδέξαντο αὐτόν] The reception which He found among them was one of faith, for He now brought with Him from Jerusalem the honour which the prophet had not in his own country; therefore πάντα ἑωρακότες, κ.τ.λ., because they had seen, etc., and in this we have the key to the right understanding of John 4:44.

John 4:46. οὖν] in consequence of this reception, which encouraged Him to go farther into the country. He goes again straight to Cana, because here He had relatives, and might hope in consequence of His first miracle to find the soil prepared for further labour on His part.

κ. ἦν τις βασιλικὸς, κ.τ.λ.] ἐν Καφαρναούμ should be joined to ἦν. Βασιλικός, a royal person, is, according to the frequent use of the word in Josephus (see Krebs, p. 144) and other writers (Plutarch, Polyb., etc.; see Wetstein), not a relation of the king (so Baronius, Bos, and many, also allowed by Chrysostom), but one in the service of the king (Herod Antipas); whether a military man (thus very often in Josephus; Nonnus: ἰθύνων στρατιήν), or civilian, or court retainer, is uncertain.

ὁ υἱίς] according to John 4:49, still young. The article indicates, perhaps, that he was the only one.

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.
When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea 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.
John 4:47-48. Ἀπῆλθε πρὸς αὐτόν] from Capernaum to Cana.

ἵνα] the subject of the request is its purpose.

ἤμελλε] in eo erat, ut. Comp. Luke 7:2; Hemsterhuis, ad Lucian. D. M. II. p. 546.

The man’s prayer is conceivable partly from the first miracle at Cana, and partly from the fame of Jesus which had followed Him from Jerusalem.—“If ye are not witnesses of signs and wonders, ye will certainly not believe,” is spoken in displeasure against the Galileans generally (John 4:45), but including the suppliant; Jesus foreseeing that the healing of his son would make him believe, but at the same time that his faith would not be brought about without a miracle. The Lord’s teaching was in His own view the weightiest ground of faith, especially according to John (comp. John 4:41), though faith based on the miracles was not rejected, but under certain circumstances was even required by Him (John 10:38, John 14:11, John 15:24), though not as the highest, but as of secondary rank, according to the purpose of the miracles, which were intended as a divine confirmation of the teaching. It is incorrect to put the emphasis upon ἴδητε, unless ye see with your own eyes, etc., condemning the prayer following. According to this, not only would ἴδητε have to be put first (against Bengel and Storr), but τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς or the like must be supplied; yet the man saw the miracle, and a greater one than if Jesus had gone with him.

σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα] see on Matthew 24:24; Romans 15:19. As to the reproach itself, comp. 1 Corinthians 1:22.

Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
John 4:49-50. Then follows a still more urgent entreaty of the father’s love, tried by the answer of Jesus; the τὸ παιδίον μου, my child, being in keeping with the father’s tender affection. Comp. Mark 5:23.

Jesus rewards his confidence with the short answer, Go thy way, thy son liveth; thus announcing the deliverance from death accomplished at that very moment by an act of His will through miraculous power operating at a distance (not by magnetic healing power, against Olshausen, Krabbe, Kern, thus resorting to a sphere as foreign to the miracles of healing as it is inadequate by way of an explanation). As little can Christ’s word be regarded as a medical prognosticon (Paulus, comp. Ammon). No more is there any trace in the text of an effect resulting from faith in general, and the spiritual movement of the masses (Weizsäcker). According to the text, Jesus speaks from a conscious knowledge of the crisis of the sickness, effected that moment at a distance by Himself: “Thy son is not dead, but liveth!”

ἐπιστ. τῷ λόγῳ] Thus he now overleaps the limit of faith which supposed Christ’s presence necessary to the working of the cure; he believed the word, i.e. had confidence in its realization.

Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.
John 4:51-54. Αὐτοῦ καταβ.… αὐτῷ] see Buttmann, N. T. Gr. p. 270 [E. T. p. 315].

ἤδη] belongs to καταβ., not to ὑπήντ. (B. Crusius): when he was already going down, and now was no longer in Cana, but upon his journey back.

οἱ δοῦλοι, κ.τ.λ.] to reassure the father, and to prevent the now unnecessary coming of Jesus.

ζῇ] he is not dead, but the sickness has the opposite issue: he lives!

κομψότερον] finer, prettier, as in common life we are wont to say, “he is pretty well.” Exactly so in Arrian. Epict. iii. 10 of the sick: κομψῶς ἔχεις, and its opposite κακῶς ἔχεις. Comp. the Latin belle habere. Here it is an “amoenum verbum” (Bengel) of the father’s heart, which apprehends its good fortune still with feelings of tenderness and anxiety.

ἐχθές] see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 323.

ὥραν ἑβδόμην] He had therefore been on the way since one o’clock the day before, because we must suppose from John 4:50 that he set out immediately after the assurance of Jesus. This also seems strange to us, considering the distance from Cana to Capernaum, not exactly known to us indeed, but hardly three geographical miles. That in his firm faith he travelled “non festinans” (Lampe) is unnatural; the impulse of parental love would hurry him home; and so is also the idea that he stayed the night somewhere on the way, or at Cana (Ewald assumes the latter, making the seventh hour seven in the evening, according to the Roman reckoning). We may suppose some delay not named, on the journey back, or (with Hengstenberg, Brückner, and others) take the to-day in the mind of the Jewish servants as denoting the day which began at six P.M. (sunset). According to Baur and Hilgenfeld, this noting of the time is to be attributed, not to the genuineness and originality of the account, but to the subjective aim of the writer, which was to make the miracle as great and pointed as possible (comp. John 4:54, note).

ἐν ἐκ. τ. ὥρᾳ] sc. ἀφῆκεν αὐτὸν ὁ πυρετός. Observe, with reference to ἐκεῖνος, that it does not mean idem, but is the simple relative ille.

κ. ἐπίστευσεν, κ.τ.λ.] upon Jesus as the Messiah. Καλῶς οὖν καθήψατο αὐτοῦ ὁ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ γινώσκων Χριστὸς, εἰπών· ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ σημεῖα, κ.τ.λ., Euthymius Zigabenus. Observe how faith here attains its realization as to its object, and further, the importance of this καὶ ἡ οἰκία αὐτοῦ (the first household), which now occurs for the first time. Comp. Acts 16:14-15; Acts 16:34; Acts 18:8.

τοῦτο πάλιν δεύτερον, κ.τ.λ.] Referring back to John 2:11. Literally inaccurate, yet true as to its import, is the rendering of Luther: “This is the second miracle that Jesus did;τοῦτο stands by itself, and the following δεύτ. σημ. supplies the place of the predicate (this Jesus did as the second miracle), hence no article follows τοῦτο. See on John 2:11, and Bremi, ad Lys. Exc. II. p. 436 f.; Ast, Lex. Plat. II. 406; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. pp. 18 A, 24 B. Πάλιν, however, must not be overlooked, nor is it to be joined with δεύτερον (so usually) as a current pleonasm (see on Matthew 26:42; comp. John 21:15, Acts 10:15), for δεύτερον is not an adverb, but an adjective. It rather belongs to ἐποίησεν, thus affirming that Jesus now again did this as a second miracle (comp. Beza) upon His return from Judea to Galilee (as in John 2:1). Thus the idea that the miracle was a second time wrought upon His coming out of Judea into Galilee is certainly doubly expressed,—once adverbially with the verb (πάλιν ἐποίησεν), and then adjectivally with the noun (δεύτερονσημ.); both receive their more minute definition by ἐλθὼν, κ.τ.λ. Schweizer (p. 78) quite arbitrarily considers the reference to the first miracle at Cana unjohannean.


The βασιλιχός is not the same with the Centurion of Matthew 8:5 ff.; comp. Luke 7:2 ff. (Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, and most others). On the assumption of their identity (Irenaeus, Eusebius, Semler, Seyffarth, Strauss, Weisse, B. Bauer, Gfrörer, Schweizer, Ammon, Baumgarten Crusius, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Weizsäcker), which thus attributes the greater originality on the one hand to Matthew and Luke (Strauss, B. Bauer, Weisse, Baur, Hilgenfeld), on the other to John (Gfrörer, Ewald), and to the latter an adjusting purpose (Weizsäcker), the discrepancies as to place, time, and even as regards the sick person, constitute lesser difficulties, as well as the entirely different character in which the suppliant appears in John and in the two Synoptics. In these latter he is still a heathen, which, according to John, he cannot be (against Cyril, Jerome, Baur, and Ewald); see John 4:48, which represents him as associated with Galileans, and therefore Jews; and this alone suffices to establish the difference of the two miracles, apart from the fact that there is no more objection against the supposition of two healings wrought at a distance than against one. This is at the same time against Schweizer’s view, that the section in John is an interpolation. Indeed, a single example of healing at a distance, the historical truth of which, moreover, even Ewald maintains, might more easily be resolved by the arbitrariness of criticism into a myth borrowed from the history of Naaman, 2 Kings 9:5; 2 Kings 9:9 ff. (Strauss), or be explained away as a misunderstanding of a parable (Weisse), or be dissolved into a subjective transposition and development of the synoptical materials on John’s part for his own purpose, which would make the belief in miracles plainly pass beyond the Jewish range of view (Hilgenfeld), and appears in its highest form as a πιστεύειν διὰ τὸν λόγον (Baur, p. 152);[202] although πιστεύειν τῷ λόγῳ, John 4:41, is something quite different from πιστεύειν διὰ τὸν λόγον, and the ἐπίστευσεν in John 4:53 took place, not διὰ τὸν λόγον, but διὰ τὸ σημεῖον.

[202] If John had really derived his matter from the Synoptics, it would be quite inconceivable how, according to the design attributed to him by Baur, he could have left unused the statement of Matthew 8:10, especially if the βασιλικός is taken to be a Gentile. See Hase, Tübingen Schule, pp. 32, 33.

Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
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.
This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's NT Commentary

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