ὅτι … ἀπῆλθον, is subordinate to the ἑστηκὼςπέραντ. θαλ., and gives the explanation why the people expected Jesus on the next day still on the east side of the lake. John’s narrative accordingly runs thus: “The next day, the people who were on the other side of the lake, because (on the previous evening, John 6:16 f.) they had seen that no other ship was there save only the one, and that Jesus did not get into the ship with His disciples, but that His disciples only sailed away, [but other ships came from Tiberias near to the place, etc.],—when now the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples,(231) finding themselves mistaken in their expectation of meeting with Him still on the eastern shore, they themselves embarked in the ships,” etc. As to details, observe further, (1) that πέραν τ. θαλ. in John 6:22 means the eastern side of the lake in John 6:1, but in John 6:25 the western; (2) that ἰδών is spoken with reference to the previous day, when the multitude had noticed the departure of the disciples in the evening, so that the conjecture of εἰδώς (Ewald) is unnecessary; that, on the contrary, ὅτι οὖν εἶδεν, John 6:24, indicates that they became aware to-day,—a difference which is the point in the cumbrously constructed sentence that most easily misleads the reader; (3) that the transit of the ships from Tiberias, John 6:23, occurred while the people were still on the eastern shore, and gave them an appropriate opportunity, when they were undeceived in their expectation, of looking for Jesus on the western shore; (4) that αὐτοί, ipsi, indicates that, instead of waiting longer for Jesus to come to them, they themselves set out, and availed themselves of the opportunity presented of looking for Jesus on the other side, by embarking in the ships that had arrived, and sailing across to Capernaum, the well-known place of our Lord’s abode; (5) that the circumstantial character of the description of things throughout indicates the vivid communication of an eye-witness, which John had received, and does not permit of our taking the transit of the people (which, however, must not be pressed as including the whole 5000) as invented to confirm the story of the walking on the sea (Strauss).
John 6:25-26.(232) πέραν τ. θαλάσσ.] in the synagogue at Capernaum, John 6:59. But πέραν τ. θαλ. has importance pragmatically, as showing that it formed a subject of amazement to them to find Him already on the western shore.
πότε] when? for it must have been, at the earliest, after the arrival of the disciples (John 6:22); and in this lay the incomprehensible how? no other boat having crossed, and the journey round by land being too far. They have a dim impression of something miraculous; “quaestio de tempore includit quaestionem de modo,” Bengel. Jesus does not enter upon their question, nor gratify their curiosity, but immediately charges them with the unspiritual motive that prompted them to seek Him, in order to point them to higher spiritual food. For γέγονας, venisti, see on John 1:15.
οὐχ … ἀλλ.] not “non tam … quam” (Kuinoel, etc.); the ὅτι εἴδετε σημ. is absolutely denied. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Marc. Exc. II. p. 773. In the miraculous feeding they should have seen a divinely significant reference to the higher Messianic bread of life, and this ought to have led them to seek Jesus; but it was only the material satisfaction derived from the miraculous feeding that brought them to Him, as they hoped that He would further satisfy their carnal Messianic notions.
σημεῖα] They had seen the outward miracle, the mere event itself, but not the spiritual significance of it,—that wherein the real essence of the σημεῖον, in the true conception of it, consisted. The plural is not intended to include the healings of the sick, John 6:2 (Bengel, Lücke, and most others), against which see John 6:4, but refers only to the feeding, as the antithesis ἀλλʼ ὅτι shows, and it is therefore to be taken generically, as the plural of category.
John 6:27. “Strive to obtain, not the food which perisheth, but the food which endureth unto life eternal.” The activity and labour of acquiring implied in ἐργάζεσθαι (laborando sibi comparare; comp. ἐργάζ. τὰ ἐπιτήδεια, Dem. 1358. 12; ἐργάζ. βρῶμα, Palaeph. xxi. 2; ἐργάζ. θησαυρούς, Theodot. Prov xxi. 6; see especially Stephan. Thes. Ed. Hase, III. p. 1968) consists, when applied to the everlasting food, in striving and struggling after it, without which effort Jesus does not bestow it. We must come believingly to Him, must follow Him, must deny ourselves, and so on. Then we receive from Him, in ever-increasing measure, divine grace and truth, by a spiritual appropriation of Himself; and this is the abiding food, which for ever quickens and feeds the inner man; the thing itself not being really different from the water, which for ever quenches thirst (John 4:14). See on βρῶσις, John 4:32, also, and the οὐράνιος τροφή in Philo, de profug. p. 749; Allegor. p. 92. According to this view, the thought conveyed in ἐργάζεσθαι, as thus contrasted with that of δώσει on the other side, cannot be regarded as strange (against De Wette); both conceptions rather are necessary correlatives. Philippians 2:12-13.
τὴν ἀπολλυμ.] not merely in its power, but in its very nature; it is digested and ceases to be (Matthew 15:17; 1 Corinthians 6:13). On the contrast, τ. μένουσ. εἰς ζ. αἰ., comp. John 4:14, John 12:25.
ἐσφραγ.] sealed, i.e. authenticated (see on John 3:33), namely, as the appointed Giver of this food; in what way? see John 5:36-39.
ὁ θεός] emphatically added at the end to give greater prominence to the highest authority.
John 6:28-29. The people perceive that a moral requirement is signified by τὴν βρῶσιν τ. μένουσαν, etc.; they do not understand what, but they think that Jesus means works, which God requires to be done ( ἔργα τ. θεοῦ, comp. Matthew 6:33; Revelation 2:26; Baruch 2:9; Jeremiah 48:10). Therefore the question, “What are we to do, to work the works required by God?” (which thou seemest to mean). ἐργάζεσθαι ἔργα, “to perform works,” very common in all Greek (see on John 3:21): ἐργάζ. here, therefore, is not to be taken as in John 6:27.
John 6:29. See Luthardt in the Stud. u. Krit. 1852, p. 333 ff. Instead of the many ἔργα θεοῦ which they, agreeably to their legal standing-point, had in view, Jesus mentions only one ἔργον, in which, however, all that God requires of them is contained—the work (the moral act) of faith. Of this one divinely appointed and all-embracing work—the fundamental virtue required by God—the manifold ἔργα τοῦ θεοῦ are only different manifestations.
In the purpose expressed by τοῦτο … ἵνα there lies the idea: “This is the work which God wills, ye must believe.” Comp. John 5:47, John 15:8; John 15:12, John 17:3; 1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:3. See on Philippians 1:9. And this fundamental requirement repeatedly recurs in the following discourses, John 6:35-36; John 6:40; John 6:47, etc.
John 6:30-31. οὖν] What doest thou, therefore, as a sign? for they knew well enough that by ὃν ἀπέστ. ἐκεῖνος He meant Himself, and that, too, as Messiah. Hence also the emphatic σύ, thou, on thy part. The question itself does not imply that it is asked by those who had not seen the miraculous feeding the day before (Grotius), or by prominent Jews in the synagogue (Kuinoel, Klee). Moreover, this demand for a sign after the miracle of the feeding must not be regarded as contradictory and unhistorical (Kern, B. Bauer, Weisse), nor as a proof of the non-Johannine origin (Schweizer), or non-miraculous procedure (Schenkel), in the account of the feeding. For the questioners, in their ἀναίσθησις (Chrysostom), indicate at once (John 6:31), that having been miraculously fed with earthly food, they, in their desire for miracles, require something higher to warrant their putting the required faith in Him, and expect a sign from heaven, heavenly bread, such as God had given by Moses. Thus they explain their own question, which would be strange only if John 6:31did not immediately follow. Their eagerness for Messianic miraculous attestation (John 6:14-15) had grown during the night. This also against De Wette, who, with Weisse, concludes that this discourse was not originally connected with the miraculous feeding; see, on the contrary, Brückner.
τί ἐργάζῃ] a sarcastic retorting of the form of the requirement given, John 6:27; John 6:29. Not to be explained as if it were τί σὺ ἐργ. (De Wette), but what dost thou perform (as σημεῖον)?
γεγραμμ.] a free quotation of Psalms 78:24; comp. Psalms 105:40, Exodus 16:4, where the subject of ἔδωκεν is God, but by the medium of Moses, this being taken for granted as known (John 6:32). The Jews regarded the dispensing of the manna as the greatest miracle (see Lampe). As they now regarded Moses as in general a type of Christ (Schoettgen, Hor. II. p. 475), they also hoped in particular, “Redemtor prior descendere fecit pro iis manna; sic et redemtor posterior descendere faciet manna.” Midrash Coheleth, f. 86. 4.
John 6:32-33. Jesus does not mean to deny the miraculous and heavenly origin of the manna in itself (Paulus), nor to argue polemically concerning the O. T. manna (Schenkel), but He denies its origin as heavenly in the higher ideal sense (comp. τὸν ἀληθινόν). The antithesis is not between the ἀήρ and the κυρίως οὐρανός (Chrysostom, Euthymius Zigabenus, Grotius, and most others), but between the type and the antitype in its full realization.
ὑμῖν] your nation.
ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ] here and in the second half of the verse to be joined to δέδωκεν (and δίδωσιν): “It is not Moses who dispensed to you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who dispenseth to you from heaven that bread which is the true bread.” In John 6:31, too, ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ is to be joined with ἔδωκεν; and observe also, that in Exodus 16:4 מִן הַשָּׁמָיִם belongs not to לֶחֶם, but to מַמְטִיר . The expression ἐκ τοῦ οὐρ. is taken from Exodus 16:4; for, if we follow Psalms 78:24; Psalms 105:40 (where שׁמים is an attribute of bread), we should have ἄρτον οὐρανοῦ. Comp. Targ. Jonath. Deuteronomy 34:6 : “Deus fecit descendere filiis Israel panem de coelo.”
δίδωσιν] continuously; for Jesus means Himself and His work.
τὸν ἀληθινόν] corresponding in reality to the idea. See on John 1:9. ἐκεῖνος γὰρ ὁ ἄρτος τυπικὸς ἦν, προτυπῶν, φησὶν, ἐμὲ τὸν αὐτοαλήθειαν ὄντα, Euthymius Zigabenus. This defining word, placed emphatically at the end, explains at the same time the negative statement at the beginning of the verse.
John 6:33. Proof that it is the Father who gives, etc. (John 6:32); for it is none other than the bread which is being bestowed by God, that comes down from heaven and giveth life to the world. The argument proceeds ab effectu ( ὁ καταβ.… κόσμῳ) ad causam ( ὁ ἄρτος τοῦ θεοῦ).
ὁ καταβαίνων, κ. τ. λ.] refers to ὁ ἄρτος, and states its specific property, both as to its origin and working, both being essentially connected; it does not refer to Jesus (“He who cometh down,” etc.), though, in the personal application of the general affirmation, Jesus, by the bread, represents, and must represent, Himself; and hence the expression “cometh down” (against Grotius, Dav. Schulz, Olshausen, Fritzsche in his Novis opusc. p. 221, Godet, and others). The direct reference to Jesus would anticipate the subsequent advance of the discourse (John 6:35), and would require ὁ καταβάς (John 6:41; comp. John 6:48). See on John 6:50.
ζωήν] life. Without this bread, humanity ( ὁ κόσμος) is dead in the view of Jesus—dead spiritually (John 6:35) and eternally (John 6:39-40).
John 6:34 ff. πάντοτε] emphatically takes the lead.
The request is like that in John 4:15, but here, too, without irony (against Calvin, Bengel, Lampe), which would have implied unbelief in His power to give such bread. To explain the words as prompted by a dim presentiment concerning the higher gift (Lücke, B. Crusius, and most other expositors), is not in keeping with the stiffnecked antagonism of the Jews in the course of the following conversation. There is no trace of a further development of the supposed presentiment, nor of any approval and encouragement of it on the part of Jesus. The Jews, on the contrary, with their carnal minds, are quite indifferent whether anything supersensuous, and if so, what, is meant by that bread. They neither thought of an outward glory, which they ask for (Luthardt),—for they could only understand, from the words of Jesus, something analogous to the manna, though of a higher kind, perhaps “a magic food or means of life from heaven” (Tholuck),—nor had their thoughts risen to the spiritual nature of this mysterious bread. But, at any rate, they think that the higher manna, of which He speaks, would be a welcome gift to them, which they could always use. And they could easily suppose that He was capable of a still more miraculous distribution, who had even now so miraculously fed them with ordinary bread. Their unbelief (John 6:36) referred to Jesus Himself as that personal bread of life, to whom, indeed, as such, their carnal nature was closed.
John 6:35-36. Explanation and censure.
ἐγώ] with powerful emphasis. Comp. John 4:26.
ὁ ἄρτος τ. ζωῆς] ζωὴν διδοὺς τῷ κόσμῳ, John 6:33. Comp. John 6:68.
ὁ ἐρχόμ. πρός με] of a believing coming (John 5:40); comp. John 6:47; John 6:44-45; John 6:65. For ἐρχόμ. and πιστεύων, as also their correlatives οὐ μὴ πειν. and οὐ μὴ διψ., do not differ as antecedent and consequent (Weiss), but are only formally kept apart by means of the parallelism. This parallelism of the discourse, now become more excited, occasioned the addition of the οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ, which is out of keeping with the metaphor hitherto employed, and anticipates the subsequent turn which the discourse takes to the eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood. We must not imagine that by this a superiority to the manna is intended to be expressed, the manna being able to satisfy hunger only (Lücke); for both οὐ μὴ πειν. and οὐ μὴ διψ. signify the same thing—the everlasting satisfaction of the higher spiritual need. Comp. Isaiah 49:10.
ἀλλʼ εἶπον ὑμῖν] But I would have you told that, etc. Notice, therefore, that on ὅτι ἑωράκ., κ. τ. λ., does not refer to a previous declaration, as there is not such a one (Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Olshausen, B. Crusius, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, Baeumlein, Godet, and most others: to John 6:26; Lücke, De Wette: to John 6:37-40; Euthymius Zigabenus: to an unwrittenstatement; Ewald: to one in a supposed fragment, now lost, which preceded chap. 6; Brückner: to a reproof which runs through the whole Gospel); on the contrary, the statement is itself announced by εἶπον (dictum velim). See, for this use of the word, Bernhardy, p. 381; Kühner, II. § 443. 1. In like manner John 11:42. In classical Greek, very common in the Tragedians; see especially Herm. ad Viger. p. 746.
καὶ ἑωράκ. με κ. οὐ πιστ.] ye have even seen me (not simply heard of me, but even are eye-witnesses of my Messianic activity), and believe not. On the first καί, comp. John 9:37, and see generally Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 3. 1; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 149 ff.
John 6:37 ff. Through this culpable οὐ πιστεύετε, they were quite different from those whom the Father gave Him. How entirely different were all these latter; and how blessed through me, according to the Father’s will, must their lot be!
πᾶν] Neuter, of persons as in John 3:6, John 18:2; 1 Corinthians 1:27. It designates them as a “totam, quasi massam,” Bengel.
ὁ δίδ. μοι ὁ πατ.] viz. by the efficacious influence of His grace (John 6:44-45), whereby He inclines them to come, and draws them to me; οὐ τὸ τυχὸν πρᾶγμα ἡ πίστις ἡ εἰς ἐμέ. ἀλλὰ τῆς ἄνωθεν δεῖται ῥοπῆς, Chrysostom. Moral self-determination (John 5:40, John 7:17; Matthew 23:37) may obey this influence (John 6:40), and may withstand it; he who withstands it is not given Him by the Father, Philippians 2:13. “There is implied here a humble, simple, hungering and thirsting soul,” Luther. Explanations resting on dogmatic preconceptions are: of the absolute election of grace (Augustine, Beza, and most others(233)), of the natural pietatis studium (Grotius), and others.
πρὸς ἐμέ] afterwards πρός΄ε. But ἐ΄έ is emphatic. The ἥξει is not more (arrivera jusqu’à moi, Godet) than ἐλεύσεται, as John 6:35 already shows; comp. the following κ. τ. ἐρχό΄ενον, with which ἥξω is again resumed.
οὐ΄ὴἐκβάλωἔξω] I certainly will not cast him out, i.e. will not exclude him from my kingdom on its establishment; comp. John 6:39-40; John 15:6; also Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13. The negative expression is a litotes full of love; Nonnus adds: ἀλλὰ νόῳ χαίροντι δεδέξομαι.
John 6:38-39. “How could I cast them out, seeing that I am come only to fulfil the divine will? and this requires of me, not the rejection of any one, but the blessed opposite.”
οὐχ ἵνα, κ. τ. λ.] Comp. John 5:30.
τοῦτοδὲ … πέ΄ψ. ΄ε] impressive repetition of the same words.
πᾶνὁδέδωκε, κ. τ. λ.] Nominative absolute, unconnected with the following, and significantly put first. Comp. John 8:38, John 15:2, John 17:2; and see on Matthew 7:24; Matthew 10:14; Matthew 10:32; Matthew 12:36; Buttmann, N. T. Gr. p. 325 [E. T. p. 379]. Here the Perfect δέδωκε, because spoken from the standing-point of the future.
μὴ ἀπολ. ἐξ αὐτοῦ] sc. τι; see Fritzsche, Conject. p. 36. The conception of losing (i.e. of letting fall down to eternal death; see the antithesis ἀλλὰ, etc.) is correlative to that of the δέδωκέ΄οι. Comp. John 17:12.
ἀναστήσω, κ. τ. λ.] of the actual resurrection at the last day (comp. John 5:29, John 11:24, John 12:48), which, as a matter of course, includes the transformation of those still living. The designation of the thing is a potiori. It is the first resurrection that is meant (see on Luke 14:14; Luke 20:34; Philippians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 15:23), that to the everlasting life of the Messianic kingdom. See on John 5:29. Bengel well says: “hic finis est, ultra quem periculum nullum.” Comp. the recurrence of this blessed refrain, John 6:40; John 6:44; John 6:54, which, in the face of this solemn recurrence, Scholten regards as a gloss.
John 6:40. Explanation, and consequently an assigning of the reason for the statement of God’s will, John 6:39; the words τοῦτο, etc., being an impressive anaphora, and τοῦ πατρός μου being spoken instead of τοῦ πέμψ. με, because at the close Jesus means to describe Himself, with still more specific definiteness, as the Son.
ὁ θεωρ. τὸν υἱὸν κ. πιστ. εἰς αὐτ.] characterizes those meant by the ὃ δέδωκέ μοι. There is implied in θεωρ. the attenta contemplatio ( τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς τῆς ψυχῆς, Euthymius Zigabenus), the result of which is faith. Observe the carefully chosen word (Tittmann, Synon. p. 121; Grotius, in loc.). The Jews have seen Him, and have not believed, John 6:36. One must contemplate Him, and believe.
ἔχῃ and ἀναστήσω are both dependent upon ἵνα. There is nothing decisive against the rendering of καὶ ἀναστ. independently (Vulgate, Luther, Luthardt, Hengstenberg), but the analogy of John 6:39 does not favour it. Observe the change of tenses. The believer is said to have eternal Messianic life already in its development in time (see on John 3:15), but its perfect completion(234) at the last day by means of the resurrection; therefore ἀναστήσω after the ἔχειν of the ζωὴαἰών.
ἐγώ] from the consciousness of Messianic power. Comp. John 6:44; John 6:54.
John 6:41-42. “They murmured, and this μετʼ ἀλλήλων, John 6:43, against Him with reference to what He had said, viz. that,” etc. Upon all the rest they reflect no further, but this assertion of Jesus impresses them all the more offensively, and among themselves they give expression half aloud to their dissatisfaction. This last thought is not contained in the word itself (comp. John 7:32; John 7:12; according to Pollux, v. 89, it was also used of the cooing of doves), but in the context ( οἱ ἰουδαῖοι). We are not therefore, as De Wette supposes, to think of it merely as a whispering. Comp. rather John 6:61; Matthew 20:11; Luke 5:30; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Numbers 11:1; Numbers 14:27; Sirach 10:24; Judith 5:22; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 358.
οἱ ἰουδαῖοι] The opposition party among the Jews were therefore among the ὄχλος (John 6:5; John 6:22; John 6:24). Even in the congregation of the synagogue itself (John 6:59), though it included many followers of Jesus (John 6:60), there may have been present members of the spiritual aristocracy (see on John 1:19). The assumption that the ὄχλος itself is here called οἱ ἰουδαῖοι, on account of its refusal to recognise Jesus (De Wette, Tholuck, Baur, Brückner, Hengstenberg, Godet, and most others), is more far-fetched, for hitherto the ὄχλος had shown itself sensuously eager indeed after miracles, but not hostile.
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος κ. τ. λ.] compiled from John 6:33; John 6:35; John 6:38.
οὗτος] on both occasions, contemptuously.
ἡμεῖς] we on our part.
οἴδαμεν τ. πατ. κ. τ. μητ.] This human descent which they knew (comp. Matthew 13:55) seemed to them in contradiction with that assertion, and to exclude the possibility of its truth. Hebrews 7:3 ( ἀπάτωρ ἀμήτωρ) does not apply here, because it is not a question of the Messiahship of Jesus, but of His coming down from heaven.
τὸν πατέρα κ. τὴν μητ.] The words, on the face of them, convey the impression that both were still alive; the usual opinion that Joseph (whom subsequent tradition represents as already an old man at the time of his espousal with Mary; see Thilo, ad Cod. Apocr. I. p. 361) was already dead, cannot, to say the least, be certainly proved (comp. also Keim, Gesch. J. I. 426), though in John also he is entirely withdrawn from the history.
John 6:43-44. Jesus does not enter upon a solution of this difficulty, but admonishes them not to trouble themselves with it; they should not dwell upon such questions, but upon something far higher; the “drawing” of the Father is the condition of participation in His salvation.
The ἑλκύειν is not simply a strengthening of the διδόναι in John 6:37-38, but specifies the method of it, an inner drawing and leading to Christ through the working of divine grace (comp. LXX. Jeremiah 31:3), which, however, does not annulhuman freedom, but which, by means of the enlightening, animating, and impelling influence, and of the instruction appropriated by the man, wins him over. Comp. John 12:32. ἑλκύειν (John 6:45) includes the Father’s teaching by His witness to Christ (Weiss), but this is not all that it comprehends; it denotes rather the whole of that divine influence whereby hearts are won to the Son. In the consciousness of those who are thus won, this represents itself as a holy necessity, to which they have yielded. Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 19:4, where the opposite, the attraction of evil, appears as a necessity which draws them along, yet without destroying freedom. See Grimm, Handb. p. 292 f. Comp. also the classical ἕλκομαι ἦτορ (Pind. Nem. iv. 56), ἕλκει τὸ τῆς φύσεως βάρβαρον (Dem. 563, 14), and the like. Augustine already compares from the Latin the “trahit sua quemque voluptas” of Virgil. The word(235)in itself may denote what involves force, and is involuntary (Acts 16:19; 3 Maccabees 4:7; 4 Maccabees 11:9; Homer, Il. xi. 258; xxiv. 52, 417; Soph. O. C. 932; Aristoph. Eq. 710; Plato, Rep. iv. p. 539 B, and often; see Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 682), which is always expressed by σύρειν (comp. Tittm. Syn. p. 56 ff.); but the context itself shows that this is not meant here (in the classics it may even stand for invitare; see Jacobs, ad Anthol. IX. 142). Accordingly it is not, as Calvin judges, false and impious to say: “non nisi volentes trahi;” and Beza’s “Volumus, quia datum est, ut velimus,” is true and pious only in the sense of Philippians 2:13. Comp. Augustine: “non ut homines, quod fieri non potest, nolentes credant, sed ut volentes ex nolentibus fiant.”
ὁ πέμψ. με] a specific relationship with which the saving act of the ἑλκύειν essentially corresponds.