εἶπε] namely, ὁ νόμος (compare afterwards ἡ γραφή), not God (Hengstenberg).
πρὸς οὕς] to whom, not adversus quos (Heinsius, Stolz), which does not follow from the context. There is nothing to warrant the supposition that the prophets are also referred to (Olshausen).
ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ] Neither the λόγος ἄσαρκος (Cyril), nor the revelations of God (Olshausen, comp. Godet), but the saying of God just mentioned: ἐγὼ εἶπα, etc. This saying belongs, not to the time when the Psalm was written, but to that earlier period (the period of the induction of the authorities into their office, comp. Psalms 2:7), to which God, the speaker, points back.
καὶ οὐ δύναται, etc.] This clause, though containing only an auxiliary thought, and not a main point of the argumentation (Godet), has been without reason treated as a parenthesis; whereas both in point of structure and sense it is dependent on εἰ: and it is impossible, etc. So also Ewald, Godet, Hengstenberg.
λυθῆναι] The Scripture (consequently, also, that saying of the. Psalms) cannot be loosened, i.e. cannot be deprived of its validity. Comp. Matthew 5:19; John 5:18; John 7:23; Herod. 3. 82; Plat. Phaedr. p. 256 D Gorg. p. 509 A Dem. 31. 12, 700, 13. The auctoritas normativa et judicialis of the Scriptures must remain unbroken. Note, in connection herewith, the idea of the unity of the Scriptures as such, as also the presupposition of their theopneustia.
ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγ, etc.] That is surely something still greater than the λόγος τ. θεοῦ, addressed to authorities when they were installed in their offices. In this question, which is placed in the apodosis, and which expresses surprise, the object, which is correlate to the ἐκείνους of John 10:35, is very emphatically placed at the commencement; and ὑμεῖς (you people) is placed over against the inviolable authority of the Scripture.
ἡγίασε] hath consecrated, a higher analogue of the consecration to the office of prophet (Jeremiah 1:5; Sirach 45:4; Sirach 49:7), denoting the divine consecration to the office of Messiah, who is the ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ (John 6:69; Luke 4:34). This consecration took place on His being sent from heaven, and immediately before His departure (hence ἡγίασε καὶ ἀπέστ.), in that the Father not merely “set apart” the Son to the work (as though the word ἐξελέξατο had been used; Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 86; comp. Euth. Zigabenus, Hengstenberg, and Brückner), but also conferred on Him the Messianic ἐντολή and ἐξουσία, with the fulness of the Spirit appertaining thereunto (John 3:34), and the power of life (John 5:26), and the πλήρωμα of grace and truth (John 1:14).
ὅτι βλασφημεῖς] The reply which, in view of ὃν, etc., we should have expected to be in the oblique construction ( βλασφημεῖν or ὅτι βλασφημεῖ, comp. John 9:19), passes over with the increasing vivacity of the discourse into the direct construction; compare John 8:54, and see Buttm. Neuf. Gr. p. 234 [E. T. p. 272].
ὅτι εἶπον] because I said. He had said it indirectly in John 10:29-30.
John 10:34-38. Jesus justifies Himself from the reproach of blasphemy by defending His assertion that He was the Son of God—the words of John 10:30 which had excited the opposition amounted to this—from the Scriptures (John 10:34-36); He then sets forth the unity affirmed in John 10:30 as credibly attested by His works (John 10:37-38).
John 10:37-39. Your unbelief, which lies at the foundation of the judgment ὅτι βλασφημεῖς, would then be justifiable, if I were not, etc. In the other case, however, you ought to believe, if not me, at all events my works, in order that you, etc.
εἰ οὐ ποιῶ] if I leave them undone. Comp. Buttm. Neut. Gr. p. 297 [E. T. p. 346]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 278.
τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πατρ. μ.] which my Father works; compare on John 9:3, John 14:10, also John 10:23.
μὴ πιστ. μοι] not merely permissive, but an actual command, as in the case of the following πιστεύετε (see the critical note). The alternative is decided: they ought not to believe Him, if, etc.
ἐμοί] My person in and by itself, apart from the actual testimony borne to it by the ἔργα.
To believe the works, is to hold for true the testimony which is contained in them (John 5:36). The object of faith is that which Jesus declares concerning Himself, and what, in agreement therewith (comp. John 14:11), the works prove concerning Him. According to the reading ἵνα γνῶτε κ. γινώσκητε (see the critical note), which Hengstenberg, notwithstanding, rejects as giving an unbearable meaning, Jesus describes this as the end to be attained by His prescription: in order that ye may attain to knowledge, and may (permanently) know, etc.—drawing a distinction between the act and the state of knowledge. Compare ἐπιμεληθῆναι καὶ ἐπιμελεῖσθαι, Plat. Legg. viii. p. 849 B.
ὅτι ʼν ἐμοὶ ὁ πατ. κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ] This now is the unity which He meant in John 10:30; not essential unity (old orthodox explanation of the περιχώρησις essentialis patris in filio et filii in patre, see Calovius), although it is metaphysically the fundamental condition, but dynamic unity: the Father lives and moves in Christ, who is His active organ, and again Christ is in the Father, so far as Christ in God is the power which determines the execution of the divine ἔργον. The thought that Christ has in God “the ground of His existence and working” (De Wette), lies far remote from the words κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ, because the relation of the clauses of the proposition must be equal. But this relation is nothing else than that of inner, active, reciprocal fellowship. In accordance therewith, the Father is in the Son, as in the executor of His work, as the Son is also in the Father, because Christ is the regulative and determining agens et movens of the work of redemption in the Father. Comp. the many Pauline passages which represent all the divine redemptive activity as taking place in Christ; e.g. Romans 8:39; Ephesians 1:3 ff.
John 10:39. οὖν] In consequence of this defence, which averted the threatened tumultuous stoning, for which the Jews had begun to prepare themselves. The supposition that πιάσαι denotes laying hold of with a view to carrying out the stoning, is opposed by the πάλιν, which refers back to John 7:30; John 7:32; John 7:44 (against Calvin, Luthardt, Hengstenberg).
καὶ ἐξῆλθεν, etc.] And yet they were unable to carry their plan into execution; He escaped out of their hands, which are conceived as already stretched out after Him. How this deliverance was effected must be left undetermined. (Kuinoel: by the arrival of His adherents; Hengstenberg: by the indecision of His enemies); of any miraculous element (e.g. becoming invisible) in His escape, although assumed by many early commentators, and even yet by B. Crusius and Luthardt, John gives no hint. Comp. on John 8:59. Euth. Zigabenus: ἀναχωρεῖ διὰ τὸν θυμὸν τῶν φθονερῶν, ἐνδιδοὺς αὐτῷ λωφῆσαι καὶ λῆξαι τῇ ἀπουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ.
John 10:40-42. πάλιν.] John 1:28.
πέραν τ. ἰορδ.] He went away from Jerusalem, beyond the Jordan (as in John 6:1, John 18:1) to Peraea, and, indeed, to the place, etc. Instead of allowing themselves to be won over to faith and redemption, the ἰουδαῖοι had grown ever more hardened and decided in their hostility, till it had reached the extreme; the Lord then finally gives them up, and knowing that His hour was near, though not yet fully come, He withdraws for a calm and undisturbed, although brief, season of activity to Peraea, where He was safer from the hierarchs (comp. John 11:54); and in the place where John was when he baptized for the first time (namely, John 1:28; later, in Salim, John 3:23), there could be as little lack of susceptible hearts as of quiet, elevating, and sacred memories for Himself.
ἔμεινεν ἐκεῖ] How long, we cannot precisely ascertain, as He spent also some time in Ephraim before the feast of the Passover (John 11:54 f.). In any case, however, the ἔμεινεν ἐκεῖ lasted but for a very short period, as is evident also from the word νῦν in John 11:8.
ἔλεγον] not αὐτῷ, but a bearing of testimony in general.
ἰωάννης μὲν, etc.] Logically we should expect μέν after σημεῖον; but even classical writers frequently disregard logical precision in their mode of placing μέν and δέ. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 6. 11; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 168.
σημεῖον ἐποίησεν οὐδέν] A characteristic feature of the history of John, which in this respect also has remained free from fanciful additions; the people, however, referred to the circumstance in view of the σημεῖα which Jesus had wrought, as they had been informed, elsewhere, and probably here also, before their own eyes. In this way we may also account for μέν not occupying its strictly logical position.
The repetition of ἰωάννης in John 10:42 is part of the simplicity of the style, which is here faithfully reflected, and is further in harmony with the feeling of reverence entertained by the people for the holy man whose memory still lived among them.
ἀληθῆ ἦν] As was actually shown by the works of Jesus. In this way, their experience of the truth of the testimony of John became the ground of faith in Christ. What a contrast to the experiences which Jesus had just had to pass through among the ἰουδαῖοι! The ray of light thus vouchsafed to Him in the place where He first commenced His labours, is here set forth in all historical simplicity. Baur, however (p. 182 f., and Theol. Jahrb. 1854, p. 280 f.), maintains that the people are merely represented as speaking these words in order that the entire preceding description of the life and works of Jesus may be surveyed from the point of view of the σημεῖα. John himself gives a comprehensive retrospect, but in the right place, namely, at the close of the activity of Jesus in John 12:37 ff., and in how different a manner!
ἐκεῖ (see the critical note), placed emphatically at the end of the verse.