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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(John: Chapter 2)



2:1 {The third day} (tˆi hˆmerƒi tˆi tritˆi). "On the day the third" (locative case), from the start to Galilee when Philip was found (1:43), seven days since 1:19.
{There was a marriage} (gamos egeneto). "A wedding (or marriage festival) took place." See on »Mt 22:8.
{In Cana of Galilee} (en Kana tˆs Galilaias). This town, the home of Nathanael (21:2), is only mentioned again in 4:46 as the home of the nobleman. There was a Cana in Coele-Syria. It is usually located at "Kefr Kenna" (3 1/2 miles from Nazareth), though "Ain Kana" and "Khirbet Kana" are also possible. Bernard thinks that it was probably on Wednesday afternoon the fourth day of the week (usual day for marriage of virgins), when the party of Jesus arrived.
{And the mother of Jesus was there} (kai ˆn hˆ mˆtˆr tou Iˆsou ekei). When they arrived. John does not mention her name, probably because already well known in the Synoptics. Probably Joseph was already dead. Mary may have been kin to the family where the wedding took place, an intimate friend clearly.

2:2 {Jesus also was bidden} (eklˆthˆ kai ho Iˆsous). First aorist passive indicative of kale“, "was also invited" as well as his mother and because of her presence, possibly at her suggestion.
{And his disciples} (kai hoi mathˆtai). Included in the invitation and probably all of them acquaintances of the family. See on »1:35 for this word applied to John's followers. This group of six already won form the nucleus of the great host of "learners" through the ages who will follow Jesus as Teacher and Lord and Saviour. The term is sometimes restricted to the twelve apostles, but more often has a wider circle in view as in Joh 6:61,66; 20:30.

2:3 {When the wine failed} (husterˆsantos oinou). Genitive absolute with first aorist active participle of hustere“, old verb from husteros, late or lacking. See same use in Mr 10:21. A longer Western paraphrase occurs in some manuscripts. It was an embarrassing circumstance, especially to Mary, if partly due to the arrival of the seven guests.
{They have no wine} (Oinon ouk echousin). The statement of the fact was in itself a hint and a request. But why made by the mother of Jesus and why to Jesus? She would not, of course, make it to the host. Mary feels some kind of responsibility and exercises some kind of authority for reasons not known to us. Mary had treasured in her heart the wonders connected with the birth of Jesus (Lu 2:19,51). The ministry of the Baptist had stirred her hopes afresh. Had she not told Jesus all that she knew before he went to the Jordan to be baptized of John? This group of disciples meant to her that Jesus had begun his Messianic work. So she dares propose the miracle to him.

2:4 {Woman} (gunai). Vocative case of gunˆ, and with no idea of censure as is plain from its use by Jesus in 19:26. But the use of gunai instead of mˆter (Mother) does show her she can no longer exercise maternal authority and not at all in his Messianic work. That is always a difficult lesson for mothers and fathers to learn, when to let go.
{What have I to do with thee?} (Ti emoi kai soi;). There are a number of examples of this ethical dative in the LXX (Jud 11:12; 2Sa 16:10; 1Ki 17:18; 2Ki 3:13; 2Ch 35:21) and in the N.T. (Mr 1:24; 5:7; Mt 8:29; 27:19; Lu 8:28). Some divergence of thought is usually indicated. Literally the phrase means, "What is it to me and to thee?" In this instance F.C. Burkitt ("Journal of Theol. Studies", July, 1912) interprets it to mean, "What is it to us?" That is certainly possible and suits the next clause also.
{Mine hour is not yet come} (oup“ hˆkei hˆ h“ra mou). This phrase marks a crisis whenever it occurs, especially of his death (7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1). Here apparently it means the hour for public manifestation of the Messiahship, though a narrower sense would be for Christ's intervention about the failure of the wine. The Fourth Gospel is written on the plane of eternity (W. M. Ramsay) and that standpoint exists here in this first sign of the Messiah.

2:5 {Unto the servants} (tois diakonois). See on »Mt 20:26 for this word (our "deacon," but not that sense here).
{Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it} (Hoti an legˆi humin poiˆsate). Indefinite relative sentence (hoti an and present active subjunctive, general statement) with aorist active imperative of poie“ for instant execution. Mary took comfort in the "not yet" (oup“) and recognized the right of Jesus as Messiah to independence of her, but evidently expected him to carry out her suggestion ultimately as he did. This mother knew her Son.

2:6 {Waterpots} (hudriai). Old word from hud“r (water) and used in papyri for pots or pans for holding money or bread as well as water. These stone (lithinai as in 2Co 3:3) jars full of water were kept handy ({set there}, keimenai, present middle participle of keimai) at a feast for ceremonial cleansing of the hands (2Ki 3:11; Mr 7:3), "after the Jews' manner of purifying" (kata ton katharismon t“n Ioudai“n). See Mr 1:44; Lu 2:22 for the word katharismos (from kathariz“) which fact also raised a controversy with disciples of John because of his baptizing (Joh 3:25).
{Containing} (ch“rousai). Present active participle feminine plural of ch“re“, old verb from ch“ros, place, space, having space or room for.
{Two or three firkins apiece} (ana metrˆtas duo ˆ treis). The word metrˆtˆs, from metre“, to measure, simply means "measurer," an amphora for measuring liquids (in Demosthenes, Aristotle, Polybius), the Hebrew "bath" (2Ch 4:5), here only in N.T., about 8 1/2 English gallons. Each hudria thus held about 20 gallons. This common distributive use of ana occurs here only in this Gospel, but is in Re 4:8. In Joh 4:28 a much smaller hudria was used for carrying water.

2:7 {Fill} (gemisate). Effective first aorist active imperative of gemiz“, to fill full.
{With water} (hudatos). Genitive case of material.
{Up to the brim} (he“s an“). "Up to the top." See he“s kat“ (Mt 27:51) for "down to the bottom." No room left in the waterpots now full of water.

2:8 {Draw out now} (Antlˆsate nun). First aorist active imperative of antle“, from ho antlos, bilge water, or the hold where the bilge water settles (so in Homer). The verb occurs in Joh 4:7,15, for drawing water from the well, and Westcott so interprets it here, but needlessly so, since the servants seem bidden to draw from the large water-jars now full of water. Apparently the water was still water when it came out of the jars (verse 9), but was changed to wine before reaching the guests. The water in the jars remained water.
{Unto the ruler of the feast} (t“i architriklin“i). Dative case. The triklinos was a room (oikos) with three couches (klinˆ) for the feast. The architriklinos was originally the superintendent of the dining-room who arranged the couches and tasted the food, not the toast-master (sumposiarchˆs).
{And they bare it} (hoi de ˆnegkan). Second aorist active indicative of pher“. Apparently not knowing at first that they bore wine.

2:9 {Tasted} (egeusato). First aorist middle indicative of geuomai. As it was his function to do.
{The water now become wine} (to hud“r oinon gegenˆmenon). Accusative case, though the genitive also occurs with geuomai. Perfect passive participle of ginomai and oinon, predicative accusative. The tablemaster knew nothing of the miracle, "whence it was" (pothen estin, indirect question retaining present indicative). The servants knew the source of the water, but not the power that made the wine.
{Calleth the bridegroom} (ph“nei ton numphion). As apparently responsible for the supply of the wine ({thou hast kept} tetˆrˆkas). See Mt 9:15 for numphios. When men have drunk freely (hotan methusth“sin). Indefinite temporal clause with hotan and first aorist passive subjunctive of methusk“. The verb does not mean that these guests are now drunk, but that this is a common custom to put "the worse" (ton elass“, the less, the inferior) wine last. It is real wine that is meant by oinos here. Unlike the Baptist Jesus mingled in the social life of the time, was even abused for it (Mt 11:19; Lu 7:34). But this fact does not mean that today Jesus would approve the modern liquor trade with its damnable influences. The law of love expounded by Paul in 1Co 8-10 and in Ro 14,15 teaches modern Christians to be willing gladly to give up what they see causes so many to stumble into sin.

2:11 {This beginning of his signs did Jesus} (tautˆn epoiˆsen archˆn t“n sˆmei“n ho Iˆsous). Rather, "this Jesus did as a beginning of his signs," for there is no article between tautˆn and archˆn. "We have now passed from the 'witness' of the Baptist to the 'witness' of the works of Jesus" (Bernard). This is John's favourite word "signs" rather than wonders (terata) or powers (dunameis) for the works (erga) of Jesus. Sˆmeion is an old word from sˆmain“, to give a sign (12:33). He selects eight in his Gospel by which to prove the deity of Christ (20:30) of which this is the first.
{Manifested his glory} (ephaner“sen tˆn doxan autou). First aorist (effective) active indicative of phanero“, that glory of which John spoke in 1:14.
{Believed on him} (episteusan eis auton). First aorist active indicative of pisteu“, to believe, to put trust in, so common in John. These six disciples (learners) had already believed in Jesus as the Messiah (1:35-51). Now their faith was greatly strengthened. So it will be all through this Gospel. Jesus will increasingly reveal himself while the disciples will grow in knowledge and trust and the Jews will become increasingly hostile till the culmination.

2:12 {He went down to Capernaum} (katebˆ eis Kapharnaoum autos). Second aorist active indicative of katabain“. Cana was on higher ground. This brief stay ({not many days}, ou pollas hˆmeras) in this important city (Tell Hum) on the north shore of Galilee was with Christ's mother, brothers (apparently friendly at first) and the six disciples, all in the fresh glow of the glory manifested at Cana. Surely Mary's heart was full.

2:13 {The passover of the Jews} (to pascha t“n Ioudai“n). The Synoptics do not give "of the Jews," but John is writing after the destruction of the temple and for Gentile readers. John mentions the passovers in Christ's ministry outside of the one when Christ was crucified, this one and one in 6:4. There may be another (5:1), but we do not know. But for John we should not know that Christ's ministry was much over a year in length.

2:14 {Those that sold} (tous p“lountas). Present active articular participle of p“le“, to sell. They were in the Court of the Gentiles within the temple precinct (en t“i hier“i), but not in the naos or temple proper. The sacrifices required animals (oxen, boas, sheep, probata, doves, peristeras) and "changers of money" (kermatistas, from kermatiz“, to cut into small pieces, to change money, only here in N.T., late and rare). Probably their very presence in his Father's house angered Jesus. The Synoptics (Mr 11:15-17; Mt 21:12f.; Lu 10:45f.) record a similar incident the day after the Triumphal Entry. If there was only one, it would seem more natural at the close. But why could it not occur at the beginning also? Here it is an obvious protest by Christ at the beginning of his ministry as in the Synoptics it is an indignant outcry against the desecration. The cessation was only temporary in both instances.

2:15 {A scourge of cords} (phragellion ek schoini“n). The Latin "flagellum". In papyri, here only in N.T. and note Latin "l" becomes r in "Koin‚". Schoini“n is a diminutive of schoinos (a rush), old word for rope, in N.T. only here and Ac 27:32. {Cast out} (exebalen). Second aorist active indicative of ekball“. It is not said that Jesus smote the sheep and oxen (note te kai, both and), for a flourish of the scourge would answer.
{He poured out} (execheen). Second aorist active indicative of ekche“, to pour out.
{The changers' money} (t“n kollubist“n ta kermata). "The small pieces of money (kermata, cut in pieces, change) of the bankers (kollubistˆs from kollubos, clipped, late word see on »Mt 21:12)." Perhaps he took up the boxes and emptied the money.
{Overthrew their tables} (tas trapezas anetrepsen). First aorist active indicative of anatrep“, to turn up, though some MSS. have anestrepsen from anastreph“, also to turn up.

2:16 {Take these things hence} (Arate tauta enteuthen). First aorist active imperative of air“. Probably the doves were in baskets or cages and so had to be taken out by the traders.
{Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise} (mˆ poieite ton oikon tou patros mou oikon emporiou). "Stop making," it means, and the present active imperative. They had made it a market-house (emporiou, here only in N.T., old word from emporos, merchant, one who goes on a journey for traffic, a drummer). Note the clear-cut Messianic claim here (My Father as in Lu 2:49). Jerome says: "A certain fiery and starry light shone from his eyes and the majesty of Godhead gleamed in His face."

2:17 {Remembered} (emnˆsthˆsan). First aorist passive indicative of mimnˆsk“, to remind, "were reminded." Westcott notes the double effect of this act as is true of Christ's words and deeds all through John's Gospel. The disciples are helped, the traders are angered.
{That it is written} (hoti gegrammenon estin). Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of graph“ retained in indirect discourse (assertion).
{The zeal of thine house} (ho zˆlos tou oikou sou). Objective genitive. "The zeal for thy house."
{Shall eat me up} (kataphagetai me). Future middle indicative of katesthi“, defective verb, to eat down ("up" we say), perfective use of kata-. This future phagomai is from the second aorist ephagon. It is a quotation from Ps 69:9, frequently quoted in the N.T.

2:18 {What sign shewest thou unto us?} (Ti sˆmeion deiknueis hˆmin;). They may have heard of the "sign" at Cana or not, but they have rallied a bit on the outside of the temple area and demand proof for his Messianic assumption of authority over the temple worship. These traders had paid the Sadducees and Pharisees in the Sanhedrin for the concession as traffickers which they enjoyed. They were within their technical rights in this question.

2:19 {Destroy this temple} (lusate ton naon touton). First aorist active imperative of lu“, to loosen or destroy. It is the permissive imperative, not a command to do it. Note also naos, not hieron, the sanctuary, symbol of God's naos, in our hearts (1Co 3:16f.). There is much confusion about this language since Jesus added: "And in three days I will raise it up" (kai en trisin hˆmerais eger“ auton). Those who heard Jesus, including the disciples till after the resurrection (verse 22), understood the reference to be to Herod's temple. Certainly that is the obvious way to take it. But Jesus often spoke in parables and even in enigmas. He may have spoken of the literal temple as a parable for his own body which of course they would not understand, least of all the resurrection in three days.

2:20 {Forty and six years was this temple in building} (Tesserakonta kai hex etesin oikodomˆthˆ ho naos houtos). "Within forty and six years (associative instrumental case) was built (first aorist passive indicative, constative or summary use of the aorist, of oikodome“, without augment) this temple." As a matter of fact, it was not yet finished, so distrustful had the Jews been of Herod.
{And wilt thou?} (kai su;). An evident sneer in the use of su (thou, an unknown upstart from Galilee, of the peasant class, not one of the Sanhedrin, not one of the ecclesiastics or even architects).

2:21 {But he spake of the temple of his body} (ekeinos de elegen peri tou naou tou s“matos autou). Emphatic he (ekeinos) and imperfect tense (he had been speaking). This is John's view as he looks back at it, not what he understood when Jesus spoke the words.

2:22 {When therefore he was raised from the dead} (Hote oun ˆgerthˆ ek nekr“n). First aorist passive indicative of egeir“, to raise up. And not at first then, but only slowly after the disciples themselves were convinced. Then "they believed the Scripture" (episteusan tˆi graphˆi). They "believed" again. Dative case graphˆi. Probably Ps 16:10 is meant (Ac 2:31; 13:35).
{And the word which Jesus had said} (kai t“i log“i hon eipen). Dative case log“i also, but hon (relative) is not attracted to the dative. Clearly then John interprets Jesus to have a parabolic reference to his death and resurrection by his language in 2:19. There are those who bluntly say that John was mistaken. I prefer to say that these scholars are mistaken. Even Bernard considers it "hardly possible" that John interprets Jesus rightly in 1:21. "Had he meant that, He would have spoken with less ambiguity." But how do we know that Jesus wished to be understood clearly at this time? Certainly no one understood Christ when he spoke the words. The language of Jesus is recalled and perverted at his trial as "I will destroy" (Mr 14:58), "I can destroy" (Mt 26:61), neither of which he said.

2:23 {In Jerusalem} (en tois Ierosolumois). The form Ierosoluma as in 2:13 always in this Gospel and in Mark, and usually in Matthew, though Ierousalˆm only in Revelation, and both forms by Luke and Paul.
{During the feast} (en tˆi heortˆi). The feast of unleavened bread followed for seven days right after the passover (one day strictly), though to pascha is used either for the passover meal or for the whole eight days. {Believed on his name} (episteusan eis to onoma autou). See on »1:12 for this phrase. Only one has to watch for the real import of pisteu“.
{Beholding his signs} (the“rountes autou ta sˆmeia). Present active participle (causal use) of the“re“. {Which he did} (ha epoiei). "Which he was doing" (imperfect tense). He did his first sign in Cana, but now he was doing many in Jerusalem. Already Jesus had become the cynosure of all eyes in Jerusalem at this first visit in his ministry.

2:24 {But Jesus did not trust himself to them} (autos de Iˆsous ouk episteuen hauton autois). "But Jesus himself kept on refusing (negative imperfect) to trust himself to them." The double use of pisteu“ here is shown by Ac 8:13 where Simon Magus "believed" (episteusen) and was baptized, but was unsaved. He merely believed that he wanted what Philip had.
{For that he knew all men} (dia to auton gin“skein pantas). Causal use of dia and the accusative case of the articular infinitive to gin“skein (because of the knowing) with the object of the infinitive (pantas, all men) and the accusative of general reference (auton, as to himself).

2:25 {And because he needed not} (kai hoti chreian eichen). Imperfect active, "and because he did not have need."
{That any one should bear witness concerning man} (hina tis marturˆsˆi peri tou anthr“pou). Non-final use of hina with first aorist active subjunctive of marture“ and the generic article (peri tou anthr“pou) concerning mankind as in the next clause also. {For he himself knew} (autos gar egin“sken). Imperfect active, "for he himself kept on knowing" as he did from the start.
{What was in man} (ti ˆn en t“i anthr“p“i). Indirect question with estin of the direct changed to the imperfect ˆn, a rare idiom in the "Koin‚". This supernatural knowledge of man is a mark of deity. Some men of genius can read men better than others, but not in the sense meant here.


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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(John: Chapter 2)



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