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



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αὐλῆς, and the characteristic feature of the heathen is the διασπορά (John 7:35, John 11:52);(65) whilst the thought of a divine leading of the heathen (Acts 14:17; Acts 17:27) does not correspond at all to the figure of an αὐλή, of which the conception of theocratic fellowship constitutes an essential feature. Compare the figure of the olive tree in Romans 11:17; Ephesians 2:12; Matthew 8:11.

δεῖ] according to the divine decree.

ἀγαγεῖν] neither adducere, fetch (Vulgate, Luther, Beza, and many others; also Tholuck, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, Godet); nor συναγαγεῖν, John 11:52 (Nonnus, Euth. Zigabenus, Theophylact, Casaubon); but lead, as shepherd, who goes before the sheep, and whom they follow, John 10:4. Bengel’s remark is appropriate: “Non opus est illis solum mutare;” for the shepherd who leads also the heathen is the exalted Christ, πάντων κύριος, Acts 10:36.

καὶ γενήσεται, etc.] and will become, inasmuch as I lead, besides my sheep out of the Jewish αὐλή, those other sheep of mine, also, one flock (consisting of the two parts, ἀμφοτέρωθεν, Nonnus), one shepherd. This is the happy issue; by the asyndetic collocation, all the conception of unity ( μία, εἷς) is made to appear with more marked prominence. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 4:5. On εἷς ποι΄ήν, observe in reference to γενήσεται: “de jure Jesus semper unicus est pastor; de jure et facto igitur unus fict,” Bengel. The fulfilment of His declaration, which began with the conversion of the heathen by the apostles, is still advancing, and will be first completed with the realization of what is spoken of in Romans 11:25 f. The Stoic dream of the union of all men ὥσπερ ἀγέλης συννόμα νόμῳ κοινῷ συντρεφομένης (Plut. de fort. Alex. 6) has been dispelled; the idea, however, considered in itself, goes on realizing itself in Christ till the judgment day.

Verse 17-18

John 10:17-18. Christ’s self-delineation as the Good Shepherd is finished. Jesus now further bears testimony to that which filled His heart, while setting forth this great vocation, which was only to be fulfilled by dying and rising again, namely, the love of His Father, which rests upon Him just because of that which He has declared concerning Himself as the good shepherd.

διὰ τοῦτο … ὅτι] is to be taken as in all the passages where it occurs in John (John 5:16; John 5:18, John 8:47, John 12:18; John 12:39; 1 John 3:1): thereforebecause, namely, διὰ τοῦτο referring to what had preceded, and ὅτι introducing a more precise explication of διὰ τοῦτο. The sense consequently is: therefore, because of this my relationship as Shepherd, of which I have spoken down to John 10:16, my Father loves me, because, namely, I ( ἐγώ; no other does so or can do so) lay down my life, in order to take it again. Note in particular: (1) The explanation ὅτι … μου is pragmatically correct, because it is just the readiness to sacrifice His life which is the main characteristic of the good shepherd (John 10:11; John 10:15). (2) ἵνα πάλ. λάβω αὐτήν do not belong to ἀγαπ., but express the intention or design of τίθ. τ. ψ. μου (not merely its result, as Theodore of Mopsuestia, Euth. Zigabenus, Grotius, and many suppose; or its condition, as Calvin, De Wette, and several others maintain); for the ground of the love of God lies not merely in the sacrifice considered by itself, but in the fact that the Good Shepherd, when He gives up His life, is resolved to take it again, in order that He may continue to fulfil His pastoral office till the final goal is reached, when all mankind shall constitute His flock. Indeed, only on the condition of His taking His life again, could He fulfil the office of Shepherd unto the final completion contemplated in the divine decree, and referred to in John 10:16. For this reason, also, ἵνα cannot be regarded as introducing the divine intention (Tholuck), because the ground of the Father’s love must lie in the volition of Jesus,—which volition, it is true, corresponds to the Father’s will, though this is not here expressly declared, but first in John 10:18.



John 10:18. It must be, however, not an unwilling, but a voluntary self-sacrifice, if it is to form the ground of the love of the Father to Him; hence the words οὐδεὶς … ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ (mea ipsius sponte). Nor must He proceed to effect this voluntary sacrifice of His own authority; but must receive a warrant thereto, as also for that which He had in view in so doing, viz. the resumption of His life; hence the words: ἐξουσίαν … λαβεῖν αὐτήν. Nay, more; even this very thing which He purposed to do, namely, the surrender and resumption of His life, must have come to Him as a commission from God; hence the expression: ταύτην τ. ἐντολὴν … πατρός μου, in which ταύτην (this and not something different) is emphatic, and τὴν ἐντολὴν is correlate to the idea of ἐξουσία, as this latter is grounded in the divine mandate. Notice further: (1) The ἐξουσία, the power conferred (so also in John 19:10 f., not power generally), lies in the relation of subordination to God, of whom the Son is the commissioned representative, and to whom He submits Himself voluntarily, i.e. from no compulsion exerted by a power outside of Himself, but with self-determined obedience to the Father (John 14:30 f.; Matthew 26:53). Equality of nature (Olshausen) is the presupposition of this moral harmony. (2) The view which pervades the New Testament, that Christ did not raise Himself from the dead, but was raised by the Father, is not affected by this passage, inasmuch as the taking again of His life, for which the divine-human Christ had received authorization, implies the giving again of the life, to wit, the re-awakening activity of the Father. This giving again on the part of God, by which Christ becomes ζωοποιηθεὶς πνεύματι (see 1 Peter 3:19, and Huther on the passage), and that ἐξουσία, which Christ receives from God, are the two factors of the resurrection—the former being the causa efficiens, whilst the latter, the ἐξουσία of Christ, is the causa apprehendens. Compare Constitutiones Apostol. 5. 7. 8 : ἑαυτὸν προστάγματι τοῦ πατρὸς διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἀνεγείρας.—(3) ταύτην τὴν ἐντολ. embraces the aforementioned twofold ἐξουσία; justly so, inasmuch as the authorization to die and to rise again was only formally divided according to its two aspects. Chrysostom and several others erroneously refer ταύτην to the dying alone.

Verses 19-21



John 10:19-21. πάλιν] see John 9:16.

ἐν τοῖς ἰουδαίοις.] These words refer to the Pharisees (John 9:40) who, in keeping with their relationship to Jesus (against De Wette), are designated according to the class to which they belonged (as the Jewish hierarchical opposition). The majority of them clung to the hostile judgment (compare John 8:48), which they had contemptuously expressed; some of them, however, felt themselves impressed, and deny the assertion of the rest. Comp. John 9:16.

τί αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε] i.e. of what use is it to you to listen to His discourses?

καὶ μαίνεται] in consequence of being possessed by a demon.

μὴ δαιμόνιον, etc.] surely a demon cannot, etc.; a confirmation of that denial from the miracle which had given rise to the entire discussion. We see from this that these ἄλλοι belonged to the more unprejudiced and conscientious class which had given expression to its feelings in John 9:16. At the same time, the conclusion must not be drawn that they would have refused to recognise any demoniacal miracles (were they even in themselves beneficent),

Matthew 12:24 is opposed to this view; but they believed it impossible to attribute a miracle of so great a kind to a demon, who must have been working through the medium of Jesus. Note, moreover, that even here they do not get further than a negative judgment.

Verse 22-23



John 10:22-23. A new section; the proceedings at the feast of the Dedication of the Temple.

As there is not the least hint of a return journey to Galilee or Peraea, and as John 10:26 ff. point back to the discourse concerning the Good Shepherd, we must needs suppose that Jesus remained in Jerusalem and the neighbourhood between the feast of Tabernacles and the feast of Dedication (about two months), and did not labour outside of Judaea; He first leaves Judaea in John 10:30. Compare also Wieseler, p. 318; Ewald, Gesch. Christi, p. 471. The insertion here of a journey to Galilee or Peraea (as recently proposed, especially by Ebrard, Neander, Lange L. J. II. p. 1004 f., Riggenbach, Luthardt, Godet) is dictated by harmonistic presuppositions and clumsy combinations (suggested especially by the narrative of the journey in Luke 9:51 ff.), and not by the requirements of exegesis; for πάλιν in John 10:40 cannot be reckoned among such requirements.

τὰ ἐγκαίνια] the feast of Renewal, founded by Judas Maccabaeus, to commemorate the purification and consecration anew of the temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, celebrated for eight days every year, from the 25th Kislev onwards (the middle of December), and especially distinguished by the illumination of the houses; hence also termed τὰ φῶτα. See 1 Maccabees 4:50 ff.; 2 Maccabees 1:18; 2 Maccabees 10:6 ff.; Joseph. Antiq. 12:7. 7. From this festival ( הַנוּכָה ) sprang the Christian Church Dedication Festival, and its name ἐγκαίνια. See Augusti, Denkw. III. p. 316.

ἐν ἱερουσ.] The celebration was not restricted to Jerusalem, but was universal (see Lightfoot, p. 1063 f.); the words ἐν ἱερουσ. are added because Jesus was still there.

κ. χειμὼν ἦν] a remark added for the sake of John’s Gentile Christian readers, for whom the statement that it was winter when the festival occurred, would be sufficient to explain why Jesus walked about in Solomon’s porch and not in the open air; hence the explanation, stormy weather (Matthew 16:3, so Er. Schmid, Clericus, Lampe, Semler, Kuinoel, Lange), is not in harmony with the context.

The στοὰ σολομῶνος (comp. Acts 3:11) was a portico on the eastern side of the temple buildings (hence denominated στ. ἀνατολική by Josephus in his Antt. 20:9. 7), which, according to Josephus, was a relic from Solomon’s days which had remained intact during the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar. The mention of this particular part of the temple is one of the traces of the writer having himself been an eye-witness; events like this no doubt impressed themselves on the memory so as never to be forgotten (comp. John 8:20). Any reason for Jesus being in the porch, beyond the one given in the words καὶ χειμὼν ἦν (Luthardt, after Thiersch, Apost. Zeitalter, p. 73: “for the purpose of expressing in a figurative way the unity of the Old and New Covenants”), must be rejected as arbitrary, seeing that John himself gives no hint to that effect.

Verse 24

John 10:24. οἱ ἰουδαῖοι] Here too the standing party of opposition.

ἐκύκλωσαν] encircled Him. The word graphically sets forth the urgency and obtrusiveness of the Jews; but neither implies that Jesus had been deserted by His followers (Lange), nor represents the ἰουδαῖοι as pushing in between Him and His disciples, and so enclosing Him in their midst (Godet).

ἔλεγον αὐτῷ] “This speak they out of a false heart, with a view to accusing and destroying Him,” Luther. According to Hengstenberg, they really vacillated between an inclination and disinclination to believe. But see John 10:26; John 10:31. They desire an express and thoroughly direct declaration, though not as if making a last attempt to induce Jesus to take up the rôle of a political Messiah (Lange).

τ. ψυχ. ἡμ. αἴρεις] αἴρειν not in the sense of take away (Nonnus: ὑποκλέπτεις φρένα; Elsner: enecas); but in that of lift up. It denotes to excite the soul, which, according to the connection, may be due to very different mental influences (Eur. Ion. 928; Hec. 69; Aesch. Sept. 198; Soph. O. R. 914; Proverbs 19:18; Philo, de Monarch. I. p. 218; Joseph. Antt. 3:2. 3; 3:5. 1); in this case, by strained expectation, which thou causest us. The explanation: ἀναρτᾷς μεταξὺ πίστεως κ. ἀπιστίας (Euth. Zigabenus, and many others), is an approximation to the sense, but is not the precise signification of the words.

εἰ σὺ εἶ, etc.] if thou, and so forth, as in Luke 22:67.

Verse 25-26



John 10:25-26. Jesus had not only told them (on many occasions, if not always so directly as, for example, to the woman of Samaria, or the man born blind) that He was the Messiah, but had also testified to the fact by His Messianic works (v. 36). But they do not believe. The actual proof of their unbelief is first subjoined in the second clause: for ye belong not to my sheep; otherwise ye would stand in a totally different relation to me than that of unbelief; ye would hear my voice, and know me, and follow me, John 10:4; John 10:14; John 10:27.

ἐγὼ … ὑμεῖς] Reproachful antithesis.

καθὼς εἶπον ὑμῖν] belong, as both Lachmann and Tischendorf also punctuate, to what precedes (comp. John 1:33); but not, however, in such a way that Jesus merely makes a retrospective reference to the figure of the πρόβατα (Fritzsche: “ut similitudine utar, quam supra posui”), which would render this repulse very meaningless; but in such a way that Jesus recalls to their recollection the negative declaration itself as having been already uttered. It is true, indeed, that He had not given direct expression to the words ὅτι οὐκ ἐστὲ, etc. in the preceding allegory; indirectly, however, He had done so, namely, by a description of His sheep, which necessarily involved the denial that the ἰουδαῖοι belonged to them. That this is the force of καθʼ εἶπ. ὑμ., He Himself declares by the exhibition of the relation of His sheep that follows. We are precluded from regarding it as an introduction to what follows (Curss., Cant., Corb., Arr., Euth. Zigabenus, Tholuck, Godet), in which case a comma ought to be placed before καθώς, and a colon after ὑμῖν, by the circumstance that Jesus nowhere else quotes and (in the form of a summary) repeats a longer discourse of His own. In keeping with the style of the Gospels, only a brief, sententious saying, such as John 13:33, would be fitted for such self-quotation. In this case, however, the quotation would embrace at least John 10:27-28.

The circumstance that Jesus should refer to this allegory about two months after the date of John 10:1-21, which has been erroneously used as an argument against the originality of the discourse (Strauss, Baur), may be simply accounted for by the assumption that during the interval He had had no further discussions with His hierarchical opponents,—a supposition which is justified by its accounting for the silence observed by John relatively to that period. The presupposition involved in the words καθὼς εἶπον ὑμῖν, that Jesus here has in the main the same persons before Him as during the delivery of His discourse regarding the shepherd, has nothing against it; and there is no necessity even for the assumption that John and Jesus conceived the discourses to be directed against the ἰουδαῖοι as a whole (Brückner).

Verse 27-28

John 10:27-28. Description of the relation of the πρόβατα to Him (comp. John 10:4; John 10:14), which brings clearly to view that the ἰουδαῖοι cannot belong to them. Notice in John 10:27 the climactic parallelism of the two halves of the verse as far as δίδωμι αὐτοῖς (John 10:28), after which, commencing with καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπόλ., etc., the discourse goes on to express in a double form the inseparableness of the blessed relationship. On the emphatic polysyndeton, compare John 10:3; John 10:12.

τὰ πρόβ. τὰ ἐμά] the sheep which belong to me.

ζωὴν αἰών.] also conceived already in its temporal development, John 3:15, John 5:24, and repeatedly.

καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπόλ.] The negation belongs to the verb; this declaration: “they shall certainly not perish,” will be accomplished in eternity. The lost sheep, i.e. the sheep which has been separated, and wandered away from the flock (Matthew 10:6; Luke 15:4), typifies him who is separated from the protection and gracious leading of Christ, who has fallen into unbelief. Compare the following καὶ οὐχ ἁρπάσει, etc., where this protection and gracious leading is set forth with still more concrete tenderness by the words ἐκ τῆς χειρός μου. His hand protects, bears, cherishes, leads them. Liberty and the possibility of apostasy are not thus excluded (in answer to Augustine and the teaching of the Reformed Church); he who has fallen away is no longer a πρόβατον, but on the part of Christ everything is promised by which preserving grace is secured, and this is the ground of the Certitudo salutis.

Verse 29-30

John 10:29-30. Explanation of the assertion just made, οὐχ ἁρπάσει, etc. If in my hand, they are also in the hand of my Father, who is greater than all, so that an ἁρπάζειν, etc. is impossible; I am one with Him.

ὃς δέδωκέ μοι] sc. αὐτά. On the import of the words, compare on John 6:37. In characterizing God as the giver of the sheep, Jesus enables us to see how fully He is justified in appealing, as He here does, to the Father.

μεῖζον (see the critical note): something greater, a greater potence. On the neuter here employed, compare Matthew 12:6 (Lachmann). See Bernhardy, p. 335; Kühner II. p. 45; Dissen ad Dem. de Cor. p. 396 ( πονηρὸν ὁ συκοφάντης).

πάντων] Masculine. Compare τίς, John 10:28, and οὐδείς, John 10:29. Without any limitation: all besides God.

καὶ οὐδεὶς δύναται, etc.] Necessary consequence of the μεῖζον πάντων, but not setting aside the possibility of losing the grace by one’s own fault, John 6:66.

ἐκ τ. χειρ. τοῦ πατρ. μου]. This expression, τοῦ πατρ. μ., is due to the presupposition, flowing out of ὃς δέδωκέ μοι, that God did not let the sheep out of His hand, i.e. out of His protection and guidance, when He gave them to Christ. But this continued divine protection is really nothing else than the protection of Christ, so far, that is, as the Father is in the Son and works in Him (see John 10:37-38); hence the latter, as the organ and vehicle of the divine activity in carrying out the Messianic work, is not separated from God, is not a second some one outside and alongside of God; but, by the very nature of the fellowship referred to, one with God (compare Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 205 f.). Compare on ἕν ἐσμεν, 1 Corinthians 3:8. God’s hand is therefore His hand in the accomplishment of the work, during the performance of which He administers and carries into execution the power, love, and so forth of God. The unity, therefore, is one of dynamic fellowship, i.e. a unity of action for the realization of the divine decree of redemption; according to which, the Father is in the Son, and moves in Him, so that the Father acts in the things which are done by the Son, and yet is greater than the Son (John 14:28), because He has commissioned, consecrated, and sent Him. The Arian idea of ethical agreement is insufficient; the reasoning would miss its mark unless unity of power be understood (on which Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, and many others, also Lücke, justly lay emphasis). The orthodox interpretation, which makes it denote unity of essence (Nonnus: ἓν γένος ἐσμεν; Augustine: unum, delivers us from Charybdis, that is, from Arius, and sumus from Scylla, that is, from Sabellius), specially defended by Hengstenberg, though rejected even by Calvin as a misuse of the passage, goes beyond the argumentation; at the same time, in view of the metaphysical character of the relation of the Son to the Father, clearly taught elsewhere, and especially in John, the Homoousia, as the essential foundation, must be regarded as presupposed in the fellowship here denoted by ἕν ἐσμεν.

Verse 31-32

John 10:31-32. The Jews understood the expression in John 10:30 to refer to essential unity, and in their tumultuous and angry excitement would even stone (Leviticus 24:10 f.) the blasphemer; the overawing impression, however, produced by Christ’s reply was powerful enough to restrain them.

ἐβάστασαν] sustulerunt (Vulgate), ἀνηέρταζον (Nonnus) they lifted up stones, with the intention of throwing them at Him. The word is more characteristic than αἴρειν in John 8:59, though on account of πάλιν the two must have the same import; hence the interpretation: they fetched (Hengstenberg, Godet, and others), is less exact. Compare Hom. Od. λ. 594; Soph. Aj. 814; Polyb. 15. 26. 3.

πάλιν] John 8:59.

καλὰ ἔργα] not specially: works of love (Kuinoel, B. Crusius), but in general: praeclara opera, distinguished works.(66)

ἔδειξα ὑμῖν] have I showed you, John 5:20. Comp. John 2:18; Psalms 78:11; Plat. Crat. p. 430 E: τὸ δεῖξαι λέγω εἰς τὴν τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αἴσθησιν καταστῆσαι.

ἐκ τοῦ πατρός ΄ου] from my Father, who is in me, and from whom, therefore, they go out through me. Compare John 10:37-38.

διὰ ποῖον, etc.] propter quale, etc. Not without the irony of profound indignation (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:13) does Jesus ask, What, then, is the character of that one of His works, on account of which they are about to stone Him? ( λιθάζετε, see Bernhardy, p. 370; Buttm. Neut. Gr. p. 178 [E. T. p. 205]). Not as though He did not know why they were intending to stone Him, but probably in the consciousness of having actually shown Himself by His works to be something totally different from a blasphemer.

περὶ βλασφημ. καὶ ὅτι] for blasphemy, and, indeed, because. The reproach: “thou makest thyself God” (comp. John 5:18), i.e. a divine being (John 1:1), was a consequence of the mistaken view taken of John 10:30, which they had interpreted of essential unity. καί connects with the general charge a more exact definition of that on which it was based.

Verses 34-36

John 10:34-36. In Psalms 82:6, unrighteous authorities of the theocratic people—not angels (Bleek), nor yet heathen princes (De Wette, Hitzig)—whose approaching destruction, in contrast to their high dignity, is intended to stand out, are called gods, agreeably to the old sacred view of rulers as the representatives of God, which was entertained in the theocratic nation. Compare Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8; Exodus 22:28. From this, Jesus draws the conclusion a minori ad majus, that He might call Himself God’s Son without blasphemy. He is surely far more exalted than they ( ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασε, etc.); and nevertheless had designated Himself, not θεός, as though wishing to make a God of Himself, but merely υἱὸς τ. θεοῦ.(67)

ἐν τῷ νόμῳ] Spoken of the Old Testament generally, of which the law was the fundamental and authoritative portion. Comp. John 12:34, John 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21.



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