《Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary – John (Vol. 1)》(Heinrich Meyer) Commentator

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ἐ΄οῦ. The words would thus likewise stand in no relation to the question σὺ τίς εἶ, whereas John’s general manner would lead us to expect an answer which had reference in some significant way or other to the question which had been put. The following are non-interrogative views:—(1) “What I have already said to you at the beginning, that am I!” So Tholuck after Castalio, Beza, Vatablus, Maldonatus, Clericus, Heumann, and several others; also B. Crusius. Jesus would thus be announcing that He had already, from the very beginning in His discourses, made known His higher personality. The Praes. λαλῶ, as expressing that which still continues to be in the present, would not be opposed to this view; but it does not harmonize with the arrangement of the words; and logically, at all events, καί ought to stand before τὴν ἀρχήν (comp. Syriac). (2) “From the very first (before all things), I am what I also speak to you.” So De Wette; comp. Luther (“I am your preacher; if you first believe that, you will then learn what I am, and not otherwise”), Melancthon, Aretius, and several; also Maier, who, however, takes τὴν ἀρχὴν incorrectly as thoroughly (nothing else).(17) On this view Jesus, instead of answering directly: “I am the Messiah,” would have said that He was to be known above all things from His discourses.(18) But τὴν ἀρχὴν does not mean “above all things,” not even in Xen. Cyr. i. 2, 3, where we read: τὴν ἀρχὴν μὴ τοιοῦτοι, at the very outset not such, i.e. not such at all, omnino non tales; just as little too in Herod. i. 9, where also, as frequently in Herodotus, it denotes omnino; comp. Wolf, Dem. Lept. p. 278. And how entirely without any reference would be the words ante omnia (surely some sort of posterius would need to be supplied in thought). Brückner has rightly, therefore, rejected the “above all things” in De Wette’s rendering, though regarding it as the only correct one, and keeping to the interpretation “from the very first” in its temporal sense. One cannot, however, see what is really intended by the words “from the very first, I am, etc.,” especially as placed in such an emphatic position at the commencement of the clause. For Jesus had neither occasion nor ground for giving the assurance that He had been from the beginning of His appearance, and still was, such as He had declared Himself to be in His discourses, and therefore had not since become different. (3) “Undoubtedly (nothing else) am I what I also say to you.” So Kuinoel;—a view which assigns an incorrect meaning to τὴν ἀρχήν, and confounds λαλῶ with λέγω; objections which affect also the similar interpretation of Ebrard: “I am altogether that which I also say to you (that I am He).” (4) “At the very outset I declared of myself what I also explain to you, or what I also now say.” So Starck, Not. sel. p. 106; Bretschneider. But the supplying of λελάληκα from the following λαλῶ (comp. Dissen, Dem. de Cor. p. 359) would only be suggested if we read ὅ, τι καὶ νῦν λαλῶ ὑμῖν. (5) Fritzsche (Lit. Bl. z. allg. Kirchenz. 1843, p. 513, and de conform. Lachmann, p. 53), whom Hengstenberg follows, takes the view: “Sum a rerum primordiis (John 1:1) ea natura, quam me esse vobis etiam profiteor.” Jesus would thus have designated Himself as the primal Logos. Quite unintelligibly for His hearers, who had no occasion for taking τὴν ἀρχήν in the absolute sense, as though reminded of the angel of the Lord in Malachi 3 and Zechariah 11, nor for understanding ὅ, τι κ. λ. ὑμ. as Fritzsche does; at all events, as far as the latter is concerned, λέγω ought to have been used instead of λαλῶ. (6) Some connect τὴν ἀρχήν with πολλὰ ἔχω, etc., John 8:26, and after λαλῶ ὑμῖν place merely a comma. So already Codd., Nonnus, Scaliger, Clarius, Knatchbull, Raphel, Bengel, and, more recently, Olshausen, Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 65, II. p. 178, and Baeumlein. In taking the words thus, ὅ, τι is either written ὅτι, because, with Scaliger and Raphel (so also Bengel: “principio, quum etiam loquor vobis [Dativus commodi: ‘ut credatis et salvemini’] multa habeo de vobis loqui, etc.”(19)), or is taken as a pronoun, id quod. In the latter way, Olshausen explains it, following Clarius: “In the first place, as I also plainly say to you, I have much to blame and punish in you; I am therefore your serious admonisher.” Baeumlein, however, renders: “I have undoubtedly—as I also do—much to speak and to judge concerning you.” But on this view of the words Jesus would have given no answer at all to the question σὺ τίς εἶ; according to Olshausen, τὴν ἀρχήν would have to be transformed into πρῶτον, in the first place; and the middle clause, according to Olshausen and Baeumlein, would give a quite superfluous sense; while, according to the view of Bengel and Hofmann, it would be forced and unnatural. (7) Exegetically impossible is the interpretation of Augustine: “Principium (the very beginning of all things) me credite, quia ( ὅτι) et loquor vobis, i.e. quia humilis propter vos factus ad ista verba descendi;” comp. Gothic, Ambrose, Bede, Ruperti, and several others. Calvin rightly rejects this interpretation, but himself gives one that is impossible. (8) Obscure, and an importation, is Luthardt’s view ( ὅτι, that: “from the beginning am I, that I may also speak to you”), that Jesus describes the act of His speaking, the existence of His word, as His presence for the Jews; that from His first appearance onwards, He who was then present as the Word of God on the earth had been always used to give Himself a presence for men in the Word. If, according to this view, as it would seem, τὴν ἀρχὴν ὅτι denotes: “from the beginning it is my manner, that,” this cannot possibly be in the simple εἰμί, which has to be supplied in thought; besides, how much is forced into the mere λαλῶ ὑ΄ῖν!

Verse 26

John 8:26. The question in John 8:25 was a reproach. To this (not to John 8:24, as Godet maintains) refers the word πολλά, which is placed with full emphasis at the beginning of the verse; the antithetical ἀλλʼ, however, and the excluding word ταῦτα, inform us that He does not say the πολλά which He has to speak and judge of them (and which He has in readiness, in store); but merely that which He has heard from Him who sent Him. Comp. John 16:12; 2 John 1:12. Similarly Euth. Zigabenus, after Chrysostom and B. Crusius. After the question in John 8:25, we must imagine a reproving pause. The paraphrase: “I have very much to speak concerning you, and especially to blame; but I refrain therefrom, and restrict myself to my immediate task, which is to utter forth to the world that which I have heard from God the True, who has sent me (namely, what I heard during my existence with God, before my mission; comp. on John 8:28(20))—in other words, to the communication of divine truth to the world.” For divergent views of the course of thought, see Schott, Opusc. I. p. 94 ff. After the example of older writers, Lücke and De Wette take the view that Jesus meant to say: “But, however much I have to judge concerning you, my κρίσις is still ἀληθής; for I speak to the world only what I have heard from my Father, who is true.” Comp. also Tholuck. In this way, however, the antithesis has to be artificially formed, whilst the expressed antithesis between that which Jesus has to speak ( ἔχω λαλεῖν) and that which He actually says ( λέγω) is neglected. This is in answer to Ewald also, who imports into λλ’ the meaning: “Yet I will not therefore be afraid, like a man;” and against Hengstenberg, who, after πολλὰκρίνειν, supplies in thought: “This is the reason why you will not accept my utterances in relation to my person.”

κἀγώ] and I, for my part, in contrast to God; the word is connected with ταῦτα, etc.

ταῦτα] this and nothing else. As to the main point, Chrysostom aptly says: τὰ πρὸς σωτηρίαν, οὐ τὰ πρὸς ἔλεγχον.

εἰς τ. κόσ΄.] See on Mark 1:39. Comp. Soph. El. 596: κήρυσσέ μʼ εἰς ἅπαντας. Not again λαλᾶ (Lachmann, Tischendorf), but λέγω, because the notion has become by antithesis more definite: what He has heard, that it is which He says; He has something else to say to the world than to speak of the worthlessness of His opponents. The former He does; the latter, much occasion as He has for doing it, He leaves undone.

Verse 27

John 8:27. ὢ τῆς ἀγνοίας! οὐ διέλιπεν αὐτοῖς περὶ αὐτοῦ διαλεγόμενος, καὶ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον, Chrysostom and Euth. Zigabenus calls them φρενοβλαβεῖς. But the surprising, nay more, the very improbable element (De Wette) which has been found in this non-understanding, disappears when it is remembered that at John 8:21 a new section of the discourse commenced, and that we are not obliged to suppose that precisely the same hearers were present in both cases (John 8:16-17). The less, therefore, is it allowable to convert non-understanding into the idea of non-recognition (Lücke); or to regard it as equivalent to obduracy (Tholuck, Brückner); or to explain ὅτι as in which sense (Hofmann, l.c. p. 180); or with Luthardt, to press αὐτοῖς, and to give as the meaning of the simple words: “that in bearing witness to Himself He bears witness to them that the God who sends Him is the Father;” or with Ebrard, to find in ἔλεγεν: “that it is His vocation” to proclaim to them; or, with Hengstenberg, to understand ἔγνωσαν, etc., of the true knowledge, namely, of the deity of Christ. For such interpretations as these there is no foundation in the passage; it simply denotes: they knew not (comp. John 8:28) that in these words ( ὁ πέμψας με, etc.) He spoke to them of the Father. On λέγειν, with the accus. in the sense of λαλ. περί, see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apolog. p. 23 A Phaed. p. 79 C. Comp. on John 1:15.

Verse 28-29

John 8:28-29. οὖν] not merely “a continuation of the narration” (De Wette), but: therefore, in reference to this non-understanding, as is also confirmed by the words τότε γνώσεσθε, which refer to οὐκ ἔγνωσαν in John 8:27, and, indeed, considered as to its matter, logically correct, seeing that if the Jews had recognised the Messiahship of Jesus, they would also have understood what He said to them of the Father.

ὅταν ὑψώσητε, etc.] when ye shall have lifted up, namely, on to the cross. Comp. on John 3:14, John 6:62. The crucifixion is treated as an act of the Jews, who brought it about, as also in Acts 3:14 f.

τότε-g0- γνώσ-g0-.] Comp. John 12:32, John 6:62. Then will the result follow, which till then you reject, that you will know, etc. Reason: because the death of Jesus is the condition of His δόξα, and of the mighty manifestations thereof (the outpouring of the Spirit; miraculous works of the apostles; building up of the Church; punishment of the Jews; second coming to judgment). Then shall your eyes be opened, which will take place partly with your own will, and still in time (as in Acts 2:36 ff; Acts 4:4; Acts 6:7; Romans 11:11 ff.); partly against your will, and too late (comp. on Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:34 f.). Bengel aptly remarks: “cognoscetis ex re, quod nunc ex verbo non creditis.”

καὶ ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ, etc.] still dependent on ὅτι, and, indeed, as far as μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν; so that to the universal ποιῶ, the special λαλῶ and the general μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν (is my helper and support) together correspond. Hence there is no brevity of discourse requiring to be completed by supplying in thought λαλῶ to ποιῶ, and ποιῶ along with λαλῶ (De Wette, after Bengel). Nonnus already took the correct view (he begins John 8:29 with ὅττι καὶ, etc.); and the objection (Lücke, De Wette, and several others) that οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. would then stand too disconnected, has no force, since it is just in John that the asyndetic continuation of a discourse is very common, and, in fact, would also be the case here if καὶ ὁ πέμψ. etc. were no longer dependent on ὅτι.

ταῦτα] is arbitrarily and without precedent (Matthew 9:33 cannot be adduced as one) explained as equivalent to οὕτως, from a commingling of two notions. By the demonstrative ταῦτα Jesus means His doctrine generally (comp. John 8:26), with whose presentation He was now occupied. But of this He discoursed in harmony with the instructions received from the Father, i.e. in harmony with the instructions derived from His direct intuition of divine truth with the Father prior to His incarnation. Comp. John 8:38; John 1:18; John 3:13; John 6:46; John 7:16 f.

οὑκ ἀφῆκε, etc.] Independent corroboration of the last thought, negatively expressed on account of His apparent forsakenness in the face of many and powerful enemies. The Praet. refers to the experience felt in every case, during the course of His entire activity, until now (comp. afterwards πάντοτε), not to the point of time when He was sent; the reason afterwards assigned would not be appropriate to this latter reference. Comp. also John 16:32.

ὅτι ἐγὼ, etc.] because I, etc. Reason assigned for the οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. How could He ever leave me alone, as I am He who, etc.? ( ἐγώ with emphasis). Comp. John 15:10. Olshausen regards οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. as the expression of equality of essence, and ὅτι as assigning the ground of His knowledge. The former idea is erroneous, as the meaning of οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. is identical with that of μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν; and the latter would be an inadequate reason, because it relates merely to moral agreement.

Verses 30-32

John 8:30-32. The opening of a new section in the discourse, but not first on the following day (Godet), which must then have been indicated as in John 8:12; John 8:21.

Notice the separation of the persons in question. The πολλοί are many among His hearers in general; among these πολλοί there were also Jewish hierarchs, and because He knew how fleeting and impure was their momentary faith,(21) Jesus addresses to them the words in John 8:31-32, which at once had the effect of converting them into opponents; hence there is no inconsistency in His treatment of His hearers.

πεπιστ. αὐτῷ] previously ἐπίστ. εἰς αὐτόν. The latter was the consequence of their having believed Him, i.e. His words.

ἐὰν ὑμεῖς, etc.] if you on your part, etc.; for they were mixed up with the unbelieving crowd, and by means of ὑμεῖς are selected from it as the persons to whom the admonition and promise are addressed. They are to abide in the word of Jesus, that is, as in the permanent element of their inner and outer life. For another form of the conception, see John 8:38; John 15:7; John 12:47. Comp. 2 John 1:9.

ἀληθεῶς] really, not merely in appearance, after being momentarily carried away.

γνώσεσθε τ. ἀλήθ.] for divine truth is the content of the λόγος of Christ, Christ Himself is its possessor and vehicle; and the knowledge of it, therefore, first commences when a man believes, inasmuch as the knowledge is the inwardly experienced, living, and moral intelligence of faith (John 17:17; 1 John 1:3 ff.).

ἐλευθερ.] from the slavery, i.e. from the determining power, of sin. See John 8:34; Romans 6:18 ff. “Ea libertas est, quae pectus purum et firmum gestitat” (Ennius, fr. 340). Divine truth is conceived as the causa medians of that regeneration and sanctification which makes him morally free who is justified by faith. Comp. Romans 8:2; James 1:20; James 2:12.

Verse 33

John 8:33. ἀπεκρίθησαν] No others can be the subject, but the πεπιστενκότες αὐτῷ ἰουδαῖοι, John 8:31. So correctly, Melancthon (“offensi resiliunt”), Maldonatus, Bengel, Olshausen, Kling, B. Crusius, Hilgenfeld, Lange, Ewald, and several others, after the example of Chrysostom, who aptly observes: κατέπεσεν εὐθέως αὐτῶν ἡ διάνοια· τοῦτο δὲ γέγονεν ἀπὸ τοῦ πρὸς τὸ κοσμικὰ ἐπτοῆσθαι. John himself has precluded us from supposing any other to be intended, by expressly referring (John 8:31) to those Jews among the πολλοί (John 8:30) who had believed, and emphatically marking them as the persons who conduct the following conversation. To them the last word of Jesus proved at once a stone of stumbling. Hence we must not suppose that Jews are referred to who had remained unbelieving and hostile (as do Augustine, Calvin, Lampe, Kuinoel, De Wette, Tholuck, Lücke, Maier, Hengstenberg), and different from those who were mentioned in John 8:31 ( ἀπεκρ. they, indef.); nor do the words ζητεῖτέ με ἀποκτ. in John 8:37 necessitate this supposition, inasmuch as those πεπιστευκότες might have at once veered round and returned again to the ranks of the opposition, owing to the offence given to their national pride by the words in John 8:32. Accordingly, there is no warrant for saying with Luthardt that the reply came primarily from opponents, but that some of those who believed also chimed in from want of understanding. The text speaks exclusively of πεπιστευκότες.

σπέρμα ἀβρ. ἐσμ.] to which, as being destined to become a blessing to, and to have dominion over, the world (comp. Genesis 22:17 f., John 17:16), a state of bondage is something completely foreign. As every Hebrew servant was a son of Abraham, this major premiss of their argument shows that they had in view, not their individual or civil (Grotius, Lücke, Godet), but their national liberty. At the same time, in their passion they leave out of consideration the Egyptian and Babylonian history of their nation, and look solely at the present generation, which the Romans had, in accordance with their prudent policy, left in possession of the semblance of political independence (Joseph. Bell. vi. 6. 2). This, according to circumstances, as in the present case, they were able to class at all events in the category of non-bondage. Hence there is no need even for the distinction between dominion de facto and de jure, the latter of which the Jews deny (Lange, Tholuck). Selden had already distinguished between servitus extrinseca and intrinseca (the latter of which would be denied by the Jews). On the passionate pride taken by the Jews in their freedom, and the ruinous consequences it brought upon them, sea Lightfoot, p. 1045. According to Luthardt, they protest against spiritual dependence, not indeed as regards the disposition (B. Crusius), but as regards their religions position, in virtue of which all other nations are dependent on them, the privileged people of God, for their attainment of redemption. But the coarser misunderstanding of national freedom is more in keeping with other misapprehensions of the more spiritual meaning of Jesus found in John (comp. Nicodemus, the Woman of Samaria, the discourse about the Bread of Life); and what was likely to be more readily suggested to the proud minds of these sons of Abraham than the thought of the κληρονομία τοῦ κόσμου (comp. Romans 4:13), which in their imaginations excluded every sort of national bondage? Because they were Abraham’s seed, they felt themselves as αἷμα φέροντες ἀδέσποτον (Nonnus).

Verse 34

John 8:34. δείκνυσιν (and that with solemn asseveration), ὅτι δουλείαν ἐνέγηνεν ἀνωτέρω τὴν ἐξ ἁμαρτίας, οὐ τὴν ἐκ δυναστείας ἀνθρώπου, Euth. Zigabenus.

ὁ ποιῶν] instead of keeping himself free from it.

δοῦλος] as to His moral personality or Ego, comp. as to the figure and subject-matter, Romans 6:17 ff; Romans 7:14 ff. Analogous examples from the Classics in Wetstein; from Philo in Loesner, p. 149.

Verse 35-36

John 8:35-36. But what prospect is there before the slave of sin? Exclusion from the kingdom of the Messiah! This threat Jesus clothes in the general principle of civil life, that a slave has no permanent place in the house; he must allow himself to be sold, exchanged, or cast out. Comp. Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30. The application intended to be made of this general principle is this: “The servant of sin does not remain eternally in the theocracy, but is cast out of the midst of the people of God at the establishment of the kingdom of Messiah.” There is nothing to indicate that ὁ δοῦλος is intended to refer to Ishmael as a type of the bastard sons of Abraham, and ὁ υἱός to Isaac as a type of Christ (Ebrard); such a view rather is out of accord with this general expression in its present tense form, which simply marks an universally existing legal relation between the different positions of the slave and the Son of the house.

εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα] for ever, an expression to be understood in harmony with the relation which has been figuratively represented. After αἰῶνα a full stop should be inserted, with Lachmann and Kling, because ἐὰν οὗν, etc., is a consequence deduced simply from ὁ υἱὸς μ. εἰς τ. αἰ., not from what precedes, and because ὁ υἱὸς, etc., begins a new section in the logical progress of the discourse. The course of thought, namely, is this: (1) Whoever commits sin is the bondsman of sin, and is excluded from the Messianic people of God. (2) Quite different from the lot of the bondsman, who must quit the house, is that of the Son (of the Master of the house); hence it is this latter who procures for you actual freedom.

ὁ υἱὸς μένει εἰς τ. αἰῶνα] namely, ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ,—also a general proposition or principle, but with an intentional application of the general expression ὁ υἱός to Christ, who, as the Son of God, retains for ever His position and power in the house of God, i.e. in the theocracy;(22) comp. Hebrews 3:5-6. From this μένει εἰς τ. αἰῶνα it follows ( οὖν) that if He frees from the state of a bondsman, a real and not merely an apparent freedom commences, seeing that, on account of the perpetual continuance of His domestic rights in the theocracy, the emancipation effected by Him must have a real and finally valid result. This would not necessarily be the case if He remained merely for a time in the house; for as both His right and ἐξουσία would then lack certainty and permanence, so the freedom He procured would also lack the guarantee of reality. This line of argumentation presupposes, moreover, that the Father does not Himself directly actin the theocracy; He has entrusted to the Son the power and control.

The reference of ὁ δοῦλος to Moses (Euth. Zigabenus, after Chrysostom) is foreign and opposed to the text, see John 8:34. Grotius, however, aptly remarks: “tribuitur hic filio quod modo veritati, quia eam profert filius.”

ὄντως] in reality; every other freedom is mere appearance (comp. John 8:33), not corresponding to its true nature; no other is ἡ παντελὴς καὶ ἀπὸ πασῶν ἀρχῶν ἐλευθερία (Plat. Legg. iii. p. 698 A), which alone is that gained through Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:22; Romans 8:35-36; 2 Corinthians 6:4-5.

Verse 37

John 8:37. Now also He denies that they are children of Abraham, although hitherto they had boastfully relied on the fact as the premiss of their freedom, John 8:33.

ἀλλὰ ζητεῖτε] How opposed to a true, spiritual descent from Abraham! The reproach, however, had its justification, because these Jews had already turned round again, and the death of Jesus was the goal of the hierarchical opposition.

οὐ χωρεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν] has no progress in you, in your heart. This view of the meaning, which is philologically correct (Plat. Legg. iii. p. 684 E Eryx. p. 398 B ᾗ ἔμελλεν ὁ λόγος χωρήσεσθαι αὐτῷ; Herod. iii. 42, v. 89; Xen. Oec. i. 11; Polyb. 28. 15, 12, 10. 15, 4; Aristoph. Pax, 472; Ran. 472; 2 Maccabees 3:40), thoroughly applies to the persons concerned; because whilst the word of Christ had penetrated their heart and made them for the time believers (John 8:30-31), it had had no further development, it had made no advance; on the contrary, they had gone back again after believing for a moment. Hence, also, it is not allowable to take ἐν ὑμῖν as equivalent to inter vos (Lücke, Hengstenberg). Others interpret: It finds no place in you (Vulgate: non capit in vobis; so Origen? Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Aretius, Maldonatus, Corn. a Lapide, Jansen, and several others; also B. Crusius, Ewald, and Baeumlein). Without any warrant from usage.(23) Others again render: It finds no entrance into you; so that ἐν ὑμῖν would be used pregnantly, indicating the persistence that follows upon movement. So Nonnus, Grotius, Kuinoel, De Wette, Maier, Tholuck, Luthardt. The expression would have to be referred back to the meaning—move forward, stretch forward (Wisdom of Solomon 7:23; 2 Peter 3:9, and frequently in classical writers). But this explanation is neither indicated by the text (for the words are not εἰς ὑμᾶς), nor is it even appropriate to the sense, seeing that the word of Christ had actually stirred those men to momentary faith. At the same time, this explanation, however, is forced on those who refuse to regard the πεπιστευκότες in John 8:31 as those who answer in John 8:33.

Verse 38

John 8:38. That my word has thus failed to produce any effect in you, is due to the fundamentally different origin of my discourse on the one hand, and of your doings on the other.

ἑώρακα π. τ. πατρί] by which Jesus means the intuition of the divine truth which He derived from His pre-human state (comp. on John 8:28), not from His intercourse with God in time (Godet, Beyschlag), as though this latter were involved in the parallel καὶ ὑμεῖς, whereas the difference in the analogous relation is already betrayed by the very difference of expression ( ἤκουσατε and παρὰ τοῦ πατρός).

καὶ ὑμεῖς οὖν] you also therefore, following my example of dependence on the Father. There is a stinging irony in the word οὖν.

ἠκούσατε] i.e. what your father has commanded you. Note the distinction between the perf. and aor. Who their father is, Jesus leaves as yet unsaid; He means, however, the devil, whose children, ethically considered, they are; whereas He is the Son of God in the essential, metaphysical sense.

ποιεῖτε] habitual doing (John 7:51), including, but not exclusively referring to, their wish to kill Him (John 8:37). It is indicative, and no more imperative (Hengstenberg, after Matthew 23:32) than in John 8:41.

Verse 39-40

John 8:39-40. The Jews observe that He means another father than Abraham.

Jesus proves to them from their non-Abrahamic mode of action that they are no children of Abraham.

τέκνα and ἔργα are correlates; the former is used in an ethical sense, so that here (comp. John 8:37) a distinction is drawn, as in Romans 9:8, between the fleshly σπέρμα and the moral τέκνα.

In the reading ἐστε (see the critical notes) there is a change in the view of the relationship, as in Luke 17:5 f. See remarks on the passage. On the non-employment of ἄν, see Buttmann in Studien u. Kritiken for 1858, p. 485, and his Neutest. Gramm. p. 195 [E. T. p. 224].

νῦν δέ] but under such circumstances, nunc autem.

ἄνθρωπον in reference to παρὰ τ. θεοῦ. The λελάληκα following in the first person is regular; see Buttm. Neut. Gramm. p. 241 [E. T. p. 396].

τοῦτο] seek to take the life of a man who speaks the truth which he has heard of God—that Abraham did not do!(24) The words are far from referring to Abraham’s conduct towards the angel of the Lord, Genesis 18 (Hengstenberg, after Lampe); nor is such a reference involved in John 8:56.

παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ] when I was in my pre-human state, παρὰ

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