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the passover, because that solemnity was called the feast, (ú soeta) by way of eminence, Matt. xxvii. 15. Mark xv. 6. and because immediately after it, we find the disciples on the Sabbath in the fields, rubbing the ears, probably of barley, a kind of grain which was always fit for reaping at the passover. See the next section.
Within the walls of Jerusalem, near the sheep-gate mentioned Neh. iii. 1. * there was a public bath, which from its five porches (sous, porticos, piazzas, or, covered walks) seems to have been of a pentagonal form, the porticos being probably built around it.
the house of mercy, a bathing place with porticos or covered walks being a most agreeable and salutary building in those warm climates, where excessive heat was not only troublesome, but noxious to health. John v. 2, Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep market, a pool which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.--3. In these, in the porticos of this bath, lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4. For an angel went down t at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; that is,
* There was a public bath.] That ihe word xorupconfeze signifies a bath, is plain from the sense of its primitive xogou cay, to swim, Acts xxvii. 43. and from Joseph. Ant. xv. 3. who uses it to denote the baths at Jericho. Wherefore, their opinion who affirm that this pool served for washing the sheep designed for sacrifice, before they were driven into the temple, and the entrails also of the beast: sacrificed there, seems to be without foundation. Be ides, it is inconsistent with the situation of Bethesda, near the sheep gate in the south-east wall of the city, or according to the compilers of the Universal History, in that which was on the north east, a great way from the temple.
† Ver. 4. dita scriain season ) xato maligoy by times, or as some under* stand ii, at that suason, the season of the feast mentioned ver. 1. confining the miracle of the pool to this particular feast. See Num. ix. 6, 7. LXX. For since the evangelist does not say, that the waters of Bethesda had their sanarive quality at any other feast, we are at liberty to make what suppo. sition seems mo't convenient. Perhaps the silence of Philo and Josephus uron this miracle, may induce some to think, that it happened only at one pas' over. For though many infirm people lay in Bethesda, if the angel, as is probable, de cended frequently during that solemnity, the miracle would be no sooner known, than multitudes would come and wait at the pool, to be cured by the moving waters However, if the number of the sick who gathered on thi occasion, and the phrase rata kargoy, shall incline any to bclieve, that the waters of Bethe:da had an healing quality at other
much regarded, it being well known that they have omitted greater transaction, which they had as good an opportunity to know; I mean that multitude and variety of miracles wnich our Lord performed in the course of his ministry. That the water of Bethesda should at this time have ohtained a miraculou healing quality, was without doubt in honour of the personal appearance of the Son of God on earth. Perhaps it was intend. ed to shew, that Ezekiel's vision of waters issuing out of the sanctuary, moved it in a sensible manner. Whosoever then forst after the troubling of the water stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had *, was cured, however inveterate, obstinate and incurable his disease might be. Among the crowds which lay in the porticos of Bethesda, there was one who had an infirmity, probably a paralytic disorder, thirty-eight years, John v. 5. And a certain mnn was there which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. The length and greatness of this man's affliction, well known to Jesus, as appears from ver. 6. together with his poverty, ver. 7. were sufficient reasons for our Lord's making choice of him to experience the mercy of his healing power, a power infinitely superior to the virtue of the waters, while he let the rest remain in their affliction. Had our Lord at this time restored none of them to health, he would not have acted contrary to the general account which the evangelists give of his goodness on other occasions, viz. “ That he healed all who came to him.” For such diseased persons, as left their habitations with a persuasion of his power and benignity, were fit objects of his mercy, while the sick at Bethesda were no more so than the other sick throughout the country, whom he could have cured barely by Willing it, had he so pleased. They had no knowledge of him, or, if they knew aught about him, they had no just notion of his power, and were expecting relief from another quarter. When Jesus came to the person on whom he chose to manifest his power, he asked him if he desired to be made whole ? 6. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? This question he proposed, that the man might have an opportunity of declaring his case in the hearing of the multitude, (see verse 13.) because such a declaration tended to make the miracle more conspicuous. It seems he designed to rouse the attention of the inhabitants of the capital, resolving to lay the evidences of his mission before them, in the discourse which this miracle was to oc«
casion. casion. The impotent person answ'ered sorrowfully, 7. Sir, I have no man when the water, is troubled to put me into the pool, but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me; he was so destitute, that he had neither friend nor relation to wait on him or to assist him, and so poor that he could hire nobody to do him these offices.-8. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk. Though it was the Sabbath day, and the doctors affirmed, that the bearing of any burden was a profanation of the holy rest, Jesus ordered the man to carry his bed away, because it was fit that the miracle should be rendered indubitable, by the suddenness and perfection of the cure, shewed in the vigorous exertion of the man's strength. Besides, when the people who on the Sabbath'ceased from working, met the man as they were walking about, and reproved him for carrying away his bed, he could not avoid telling them what had happened. It was therefore a very proper method of making so signal a miracle universally known. John v. 9. And immediately the man was made whole; he was made whole all of a sudden. So that the cure being effected in an instant, while he was not expecting any such favour, nor knew to whom he owed it, (verse 13.) nobody can pretend that the power of imagination contributed thereto in the least degree. And took up his bed and walked. The paralytic finding himself whole, did not object against his Saviour's command, though contrary to the precepts of the doctors. He rose up immediately, and by carrying away his bed with uncommon vigour, shewed the greatness and perfection of his cure. And on the same day was the Sabbath, i, e. either the first holy convocation in the feast of unleavened bread, that is, the morrow after the passover solemnity, which was one of the greatest Sabbaths, (John xix. 31.) or the ordinary Sabbath happening in the passover week, and consequently the day on which the disciples plucked the ears of corn, to be mentioned in the next section. It is remarkable, that the Jews who met the man did not converse with him upon his cure, though in all probability many of them knew he had been long infirm, but upon the unlawfulness of carrying away his bed. 10. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day, it is not lau ful for thee to carry thy bed. See the carrying of burdens on the Sabbath prohibited, Jer. xvii. 21, 22.
was about to be fulfilled, ch. xlvii. of which waters it is said, ver. 9. They shall be healed, and every thing shall live cuhither the river cometh.
* This fourth verse is not indeed in the Cambridge MS, which formerly was Beza's, nor in one or two more of great authority. See Dr Mill's judgment of it; in that part of his prolegomena, to which he refers the Teader in his nate car the text. But though it should be rejected, the disficulty for which some would have it cancelled, remains still; because the seventh verse implies, that cures were performed in this pool, and that only one at a time was cured, and consequently that these cures were mi. Taculous. If so, it is an easy to conceive that an angel moved the water and gave it its healing quality, as to fancy those cures were performed miraculously any other way.--Grotius thinks that the angel is said to have descended, not because he was ever seen to do so, but because the Jews were persuaded that God brought such things to pass by the ministration of angels; so that from the violent motion of the water, and the cure fol. lowing it, the presence of an angel was with reason supposel.
word restored my strength in an instant, the same "said unto me, Take up thy bed and walk: He meant, that being a worker of miracles and a prophet, his injunctions could not possibly be sinful. Nevertheless, such was the wickedness or stupidity of the Jews, that they did not ask who had cured him, but with an angry tone of voice required him to tell them who had bid him profane the Sabbath. 12. Then asked they him, Wlat man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed and walk. To this he
made no reply, for Jesus having conveyed himself away from the multitude, that they might not lay violent hands upon him, neither the man that was cured, nor the multitude knew who
mot roho it was, for Jesus had * conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. ' ' .
Some time after this, Jesus happening to be in the temple, found the man whom he had cured at Bethesda. Wherefore, to Tender the favour, he had done him complete, he took that opportunity to put him in mind of his having brought the distemper upon himself by his wicked courses, for he desired him to abstain from sinning for the future, lest some heavier judgment should be inflicted on him. John v. 14. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold thou art mode whole, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.-15. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus which had made him whole. Overjoyed to have discovered the author of his cure, he went away and innocently informed the Jews of it; perhaps because he thought it his duty to give his benefactor the honour of the miracle, and believed the Jews would have been glad to see so great a prophet. * But instead of that, they attacked Jesus tumultuously in the temple, and it may be, tried him before the sanhedrim with a view to kill him, because, as they imagined, he had profaned the Sabbath by performing a cure upon it, and by ordering the person cured to carry away his bed. 16. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and souglit to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath dey. By the Jews here, we are to understand the rulers. This I think plain from ver. 33, where Jesus speaking to the persons who sought to kill him, (ver. 18.) says unto them, “ Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.” But the mesa sengers that were sent to John, we are told were priests and Levites, (John i. 19.) persons of character, who would not have undertaken the cffice, unless by the appointment of the rulers, talled on that occasion as well as here, the Jews, (John. i. 19.) Moreover, the apology which Jesus now made for himself, is such as was proper to be pronounced before the most capable judges, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. For it is the most regular defence of his character and mission that is any where to be found in the gospels, comprehending the principal arguments in behalf of both, and setting them forth with the greatest strength of reason, clearness of method, and conciseness
i Jesus * Ver. 13. Conveyed himself away.) Casaubon observes, that the word tricot, by which the evangelist expresses Chri ie cape, being a m-ta: phor borrowed from swimming, signifies, that he glıded through the mul titude, leaving no trace behind him of the way he had taken.
m man to measure with him, the rulers the
- Jesus began his defence with shewing the rulers the unreasonableness of their displeasure with him, because he had restored the infirm man to health on the Sabbath day. He told them, that in performing cures on the Sabbath, he only imitated his Father, who wrought every day of the week in doing good to men by his unwearied providence. For on the Sabbaths, as on other days, through the invisible operation of his power, Almighty God supports the whole frame of nature, and carries on the motions of the heavens, upon which the vicissitudes of day and night, and of the seasons depend, so necessary to the production of food, with the other means of life. John v. 17. But Jom sus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. As the Jews built their observation of the Sabbath upon God's having rested thereon from the works of creation, this argument was decisive. Nevertheless, the apology offended them exceedingly; for they thought he claimed a peculiar and proper relation to God, and by asserting that he acted like God, set himself on a level with God. 18. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. This conclusion Jesus did not deny, but shewed, that in all things he acted agreeably to the will of God, and that he was equal in power to God, doing whatever he saw the Father do, an honour which flowed to him from the immense love of the Father, and which was a clear, certain, convincing proof of the Father's love. 19. Then answered Jesus, and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth ;--and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel: will enable him to do greater miracles than any he has done hitherto, and which, though they may not convince, will certainly astonish you, and make it impossible for you to gainsay him, at least with any shew of reason. 21. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will: the Son has power not only to heal the sick, but to raise the dead. Nay, he assured them that the power of judging the world, that is, of executing judgments temporal and eternal on his enemies, was committed unto hin, in order that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; honour him as the Maker and Governor of the world, by yielding to him the homage of faith, and love, and obedience; and that they might be rewarded therefore with everlasting life. So that being appointed of the Father, judge universal, they who did not honour hin, did not bonour the Father. John v. 22. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23. That all