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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(John: Chapter 8)



8:1 {But Jesus went} (Iˆsous de eporeuthˆ). Same deponent use of poreuomai as in 7:53 and in contrast to the Sanhedrin's conduct, though it seems "pointless" (Dods). Apparently Jesus was lodging in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

8:2 {Early in the morning} (orthrou). Genitive of time, orthros meaning daybreak, old word, not in John, though in Lu 24:1; Ac 5:21. John uses pr“i (18:28; 20:1; 21:4).
{He came again into the temple} (palin paregeneto eis to hieron). If the paragraph is genuine, the time is the next day after the eighth and last day of the feast. If not genuine, there is no way of telling the time of this apparently true incident.
{And all the people came unto him} (kai pƒs ho laos ˆrcheto pros auton). Imperfect middle of erchomai picturing the enthusiasm of the whole (pas) crowd now as opposed to the divisions in chapter 7. {Taught} (edidasken). Imperfect active of didask“. He took his seat (kathisas, ingressive active participle of kathiz“) as was customary for Jesus and began to teach (inchoative imperfect). So the picture.

8:3 {The scribes and the Pharisees} (hoi grammateis kai hoi Pharisaioi). John does not mention "scribes," though this combination (note two articles) is common enough in the Synoptics (Lu 5:30; 6:7, etc.).
{Bring} (agousin). Vivid dramatic present active indicative of ag“. Dods calls this "in itself an unlawful thing to do" since they had a court for the trial of such a case. Their purpose is to entrap Jesus.
{Taken in adultery} (epi moicheiƒi kateilemmenˆn). Perfect passive participle of katalamban“, old compound to seize (Mr 9:18), to catch, to overtake (Joh 12:35), to overcome (or overtake) in 1:5.
{Having let her in the midst} (stˆsantes autˆn en mes“i). First aorist active (transitive) participle of histˆmi. Here all could see her and what Jesus did with such a case. They knew his proneness to forgive sinners.

8:4 {Hath been taken} (kateilˆptai). Perfect passive indicative of katalamban“ (see verse 3), caught and still guilty.
{In adultery} (moicheuomenˆ). Present passive participle of moicheu“, "herself suffering adultery" (Mt 5:32). Used of married people. Not in John.
{In the very act} (ep' autoph“r“i). Old adjective (autoph“ros, autos, self, and ph“r, thief) caught in the act of theft, then extended to any crime in which one is caught. Old idiom, but not elsewhere in the Greek Bible. One example in a Berlin papyrus.

8:5 {Commanded} (eneteilato). First aorist middle indicative of entell“, old verb to enjoin (Mt 4:6).
{To stone such} (tas toiautas lithazein). Present active infinitive of lithaz“ (from lithos), from Aristotle on. Stoning was specified for the case of a betrothed woman guilty of adultery (De 22:23f.) and for a priest's daughter if guilty. In other cases just death was commanded (Le 20:10; De 22:22). The Talmud prescribes strangulation. This case may have strictly come within the regulation as a betrothed virgin.
{What then sayest thou of her?} (su oun ti legeis;). "Thou then, what dost thou say?" This was the whole point, to catch Jesus, not to punish the woman.

8:6 {Tempting him} (peirazontes auton). Evil sense of this present active participle of peiraz“, as so often (Mr 8:11; 10:2, etc.).
{That they might have whereof to accuse him} (hina ech“sin katˆgorein autou). Purpose clause with hina and present active subjunctive of ech“. This laying of traps for Jesus was a common practice of his enemies (Lu 11:16, etc.). Note present active infinitive of katˆgore“ (see Mt 12:10 for the verb) to go on accusing (with genitive autou). It was now a habit with these rabbis.
{Stooped down} (kat“ kupsas). First aorist active participle of kupt“, old verb to bow the head, to bend forward, in N.T. only here and verse 8; Mr 1:7. The use of kat“ (down) gives a vivid touch to the picture.
{With his finger} (t“i daktul“i). Instrumental case of daktulos for which see Mt 23:4.
{Wrote on the ground} (kategraphen eis tˆn gˆn). Imperfect active of katagraph“, old compound, here only in N.T., to draw, to delineate, to write down, apparently inchoative, began to write on the sand as every one has done sometimes. The only mention of writing by Jesus and the use of katagraph“ leaves it uncertain whether he was writing words or drawing pictures or making signs. If we only knew what he wrote! Certainly Jesus knew how to write. And yet more books have been written about this one who wrote nothing that is preserved than any other person or subject in human history. There is a tradition that Jesus wrote down the names and sins of these accusers. That is not likely. They were written on their hearts. Jesus alone on this occasion showed embarrassment over this woman's sin.

8:7 {When they continued asking} (h“s epemenon er“t“ntes). Imperfect active indicative of epimen“ (waiting in addition or still, epi, old verb) with supplementary active participle of er“ta“, to question. See same construction in Ac 12:16 The verb epimen“ does not occur in John. They saw that Jesus seemed embarrassed, but did not know that it was as much because of "the brazen hardness of the prosecutors" as because of the shame of the deed.
{He lifted himself up} (anekupsen). First aorist active indicative of anakupt“, the opposite of katakupt“, to bend down (verse 8) or of kat“ kupt“ (verse 6).
{He that is without sin} (ho anamartˆtos). Verbal adjective (an privative and hamartˆtos from hamartan“), old word, either one who has not sinned as here and De 29:19 or one who cannot sin, not in the N.T.
{Among you} (hum“n). Objective genitive.
{First cast} (pr“tos balet“). The nominative pr“tos means first before others, be the first to cast, not cast before he does something else. See 20:4. The verb is second aorist imperative of ball“, old verb to fling or cast. Jesus thus picks out the executioner in the case.

8:8 {Again he stooped down} (palin katakupsas). First aorist active participle of katakupt“, old and rare verb (in Epictetus II, 16. 22) instead of kat“ kupsas in verse 6.
{With his finger} (t“i daktul“i). Not genuine, only in D and Western class.
{Wrote on the ground} (egraphen eis tˆn gˆn). Imperfect active of the simplex graph“, not katagraph“. The second picture of Jesus writing on the ground.

8:9 {Went out} (exˆrchonto). Inchoative imperfect. Graphic picture.
{One by one} (heis kath' heis). Not a Johannine phrase, but in Mr 14:19 where also the second nominative is retained as if kath' (kata) is regarded as a mere adverb and not as a preposition.
{Beginning from the eldest} (arxamenoi apo t“n presbuter“n). "From the elder (comparative form, common in "Koin‚" as superlative) men," as was natural for they had more sins of this sort which they recalled. "They are summoned to judge themselves rather than the woman" (Dods).
{Was left alone} (kateleiphthˆ monos). First aorist effective passive indicative of kataleip“, to leave behind, with predicate nominative monos. "Jesus was left behind alone."
{And the woman, where she was, in the midst} (kai hˆ gunˆ en mes“i ousa). The woman was left behind also "being in the midst" as they had placed her (verse 3) before they were conscience stricken and left.

8:10 {Lifted up himself} (anakupsas). First aorist active participle of anakupt“ as in verse 7.
{Where are they?} (Pou eisin;). Jesus had kept on writing on the ground as the accusers had slipped away one by one.
{Did no man condemn thee?} (oudeis se katekrinen;). First aorist active indicative of katakrin“, old and common verb to give judgment against (down on) one, but not in John. No one dared to cast a stone at the woman on Christ's terms.

8:11 {No man, Lord} (Oudeis, Kurie). "No one, Sir." She makes no excuse for her sin. Does she recognize Jesus as "Lord"? {Neither do I condemn thee} (Oude eg“ se katakrin“). Jesus does not condone her sin. See 8:15 for "I do not judge (condemn) any one." But he does give the poor woman another chance.
{Henceforth sin no more} (apo tou nun mˆketi hamartane). See also 5:14 where this same language is used to the impotent man. It literally means (prohibition with present active imperative): "Henceforth no longer go on sinning." One can only hope that the woman was really changed in heart and life. Jesus clearly felt that even a wicked woman can be saved.

8:12 {Again therefore} (palin oun). This language fits in better with 7:52 than with 8:11. Just suppose Jesus is in the temple on the following day.
{Unto them} (autois). The Pharisees and crowds in the temple after the feast was past.
{I am the light of the world} (eg“ eimi to ph“s tou kosmou). Jesus had called his followers "the light of the world" (Mt 5:14), but that was light reflected from him. Already Jesus (the Logos) had been called the true light of men (1:9; 3:19). The Psalmist calls God his Light (27:1). So Isa 60:19. At the feast of tabernacles in the Court of the Women where Jesus was on this day (8:20) there were brilliant candelabra and there was the memory of the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. But with all this background this supreme and exclusive claim of Jesus (repeated in 9:5) to being the light of the whole world (of Gentiles as well as of Jews) startled the Pharisees and challenged their opposition.
{Shall have the light of life} (hexei to ph“s tˆs z“ˆs). The light which springs from and issues in life (Westcott). Cf. 6:33,51 about Jesus being the Bread of Life. In this sublime claim we come to a decisive place. It will not do to praise Jesus and deny his deity. Only as the Son of God can we justify and accept this language which otherwise is mere conceit and froth.

8:13 {Of thyself} (peri seautou). This technical objection was according to the rules of evidence among the rabbis. "No man can give witness for himself" ("Mishnah, Ketub". 11. 9). Hence, they say, "not true" (ouk alˆthes), not pertinent. "They were still in the region of pedantic rules and external tests." In Joh 5:31 Jesus acknowledged this technical need of further witness outside of his own claims (Joh 19-30) and proceeded to give it (Joh 32-47) in the testimony of the Baptist, of the Father, of his works, of the Scriptures, and of Moses in particular.

8:14 {Even if} (kan). That is kai ean, a condition of the third class with the present active subjunctive martur“. Jesus means that his own witness concerning himself is true (alˆthes) even if it contravenes their technical rules of evidence. He can and does tell the truth all by himself concerning himself.
{For I know whence I came and whither I go} (hoti oida pothen ˆlthon kai pou hupag“). In this terse sentence with two indirect questions Jesus alludes to his pre-existence with the Father before his Incarnation as in 17:5 and to the return to the Father after the death and resurrection as in 13:3; 14:2f. He again puts both ideas together in one crisp clause in 16:28 for the apostles who profess to understand him then. But here these Pharisees are blind to the words of Jesus. "But ye know not whence I come nor whither I go" (humeis de ouk oidate pothen erchomai ˆ pou hupag“). He had spoken of his heavenly destiny (7:33). Jesus alone knew his personal consciousness of his coming from, fellowship with, and return to the Father. Stier ("Words of the Lord Jesus") argues that one might as well say to the sun, if claiming to be the sun, that it was night, because it bore witness of itself. The answer is the shining of the sun.

8:15 {After the flesh} (kata tˆn sarka). According to the standards of the flesh (2Co 5:16). The Baptist had said: "There stands one among you whom ye know not" (Joh 1:26). The Light of the World had come, but they loved darkness rather than light (3:19), because the god of this age had blinded their thoughts so that they could not see the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God (2Co 4:4).

8:16 {Yea and if I judge} (kai ean krin“ de eg“). "And even if I pass judgment." Condition of third class again.
{True} (alˆthinˆ). See 1:9 for alˆthinos, genuine, soundly based (cf. dikaia in 5:30), "satisfying our perfect conception" (Westcott), not merely true (alˆthes) in the particular facts (verse 14).
{For I am not alone} (hoti monos ouk eimi). Jesus now takes up the technical criticism in verse 13 after justifying his right to speak concerning himself.
{But I and the Father that sent me} (all eg“ kai ho pempsas me patˆr). See 16:32 for a like statement about the Father being with Christ. It is not certain that patˆr is genuine here (omitted by Aleph D, but in B L W), but the Father is clearly meant as in 7:18,33. Jesus gives the Father as the second witness.

8:17 {Yea and in your law} (kai en t“i nom“i de t“i humeter“i). Same use of kai--de as in verse 16. They claimed possession of the law (7:49) and so Jesus takes this turn in answer to the charge of single witness in verse 13. He will use similar language (your law) in 10:34 in an "argumentum ad hominem" as here in controversy with the Jews. In 15:24 to the apostles Jesus even says "in their law" in speaking of the hostile Jews plotting his death. He does not mean in either case to separate himself wholly from the Jews and the law, though in Matthew 5 he does show the superiority of his teaching to that of the law. For the Mosaic regulation about two witnesses see De 17:6; 19:15. This combined witness of two is not true just because they agree, unless true in fact separately. But if they disagree, the testimony falls to the ground. In this case the Father confirms the witness of the Son as Jesus had already shown (5:37).

8:18 {The Father} (ho patˆr). Clearly genuine here. So these are the two witnesses that Jesus presents to the Pharisees in defence of his claim to be the Light of the World (verse 12).

8:19 {Where is thy Father?} (pou estin ho patˆr sou;). "The testimony of an unseen and unheard witness would not satisfy them" (Vincent). Bernard understands the Pharisees to see that Jesus claims God the Father as his second witness and so ask "where," not "who" he is. Augustine has it: "Patrem Christi carnaliter acceperunt", Christ's human father, as if the Pharisees were "misled perhaps by the Lord's use of anthr“pon (verse 17)" (Dods). Cyril even took it to be a coarse allusion to the birth of Jesus as a bastard according to the Talmud. Perhaps the Pharisees used the question with "double entendre", even with all three ideas dancing in their hostile minds.
{Ye would know my Father also} (kai ton patera mou an ˆideite). Conclusion of second-class condition determined as unfulfilled with an and second perfect active of oida used as imperfect in both condition and conclusion. See this same point made to Philip in 14:9. In 14:7 Jesus will use gin“sk“ in the condition and oida in the conclusion. The ignorance of the Pharisees about Jesus proves it and is due to their ignorance of the Father. See this point more fully stated in 5:36-38 when Jesus had his previous controversy in Jerusalem. In 7:28 Jesus said that they knew his home in Nazareth, but he denied then that they knew the Father who sent him. Jesus will again on this occasion (8:55) deny their knowledge of the Father. Later he will deny their knowledge of the Father and of the Son (16:3). The Pharisees are silenced for the moment.

8:20 {In the treasury} (en t“i gazophulaki“i). See already Mr 12:41; Lu 21:1 for this word for the treasure-chambers of the temple. "It abutted on the Court of the Women, and against its walls were placed chests, trumpet-like in form, as receptacles for the offerings of the worshippers" (Bernard). The Persian word "gaza" (treasure) occurs only once in the N.T. (Ac 8:27) and the compound (phulakˆ, guard) only here in John. Jesus hardly taught within a treasure-chamber. It probably means "at the treasury in the temple." This court was probably the most public part of the temple (Vincent).
{And} (kai)="and yet" as in 1:10, etc.
{Because his hour was not yet come} (hoti oup“ elˆluthei hˆ h“ra autou).
{Reason} (hoti) given why no one seized (epiasen, cf. 7:30) him. Elˆluthei is past perfect active of erchomai, "had not yet come." This very use of h“ra appears in 2:4 and the very clause in 7:30 which see.

8:21 {Again} (palin). Probably palin (again) in verse 12 refers to a day after the feast is over since the last day is mentioned in 7:37. So then here again we probably move on to another day still beyond that in verse 12.
{And ye shall seek me} (kai zˆtˆsete me). As in 7:34, "the search of despair" (Bernard), seeking for the Messiah when it is too late, the tragedy of Judaism today (1:11).
{And ye shall die in your sin} (kai en tˆi hamartiƒi hum“n apothaneisthe). Future middle indicative of apothnˆsk“ which is the emphatic word here (cf. Eze 3:18; 18:18; Pr 24:9). Note singular hamartiƒi (sin) here, but plural hamartiais (sins) when the phrase is repeated in verse 24 (sin in its essence, sin in its acts).
{Ye cannot come} (humeis ou dunasthe elthein). Precise language of 7:34 to the Jews and to the apostles in 13:33.

8:22 {Will he kill himself?} (mˆti apoktenei heauton;). Negative answer formally expected, but there is a manifest sneer in the query. "The mockery in these words is alike subtle and bitter" (Vincent). It was a different group of Jews in 7:31 who cynically suggested that he was going to work among the Greeks in the Dispersion. Here they infer that Jesus refers to the next world. They suggest the depths of Gehenna for him as the abode of suicides (Josephus, "War" III. viii. 5). Of course the rabbis could not join Jesus there! Edersheim argues against this view.

8:23 {Ye are from beneath} (humeis ek t“n kat“). This language, peculiar to John, could take up the idea in Josephus that these rabbis came from Gehenna whence they will go as children of the devil (8:44), but the use of ek tou kosmou toutou ("of this world" in origin) as parallel to what we have here seems to prove that the contrast between kat“ and an“ here is between the earthly (sensual) and the heavenly as in Jas 3:15-17. See also Col 3:1. This is the only use of kat“ in John (except 8:6). These proud rabbis had their origin in this world of darkness (1:9) with all its limitations.
{I am from above} (eg“ ek t“n an“ eimi). The contrast is complete in origin and character, already stated in 3:31, and calculated to intensify their anger.

8:24 {For except ye believe} (ean gar mˆ pisteusˆte). Negative condition of third class with ean mˆ and ingressive aorist active subjunctive of pisteu“, "For unless ye come to believe." {That I am he} (hoti eg“ eimi). Indirect discourse, but with no word in the predicate after the copula eimi. Jesus can mean either "that I am from above" (verse 23), "that I am the one sent from the Father or the Messiah" (7:18,28), "that I am the Light of the World" (8:12), "that I am the Deliverer from the bondage of sin" (8:28,31f.,36), "that I am" without supplying a predicate in the absolute sense as the Jews (De 32:39) used the language of Jehovah (cf. Isa 43:10 where the very words occur hina pisteusˆte--hoti eg“ eimi). The phrase eg“ eimi occurs three times here (8:24,28,58) and also in 13:19. Jesus seems to claim absolute divine being as in 8:58.

8:25 {Who art thou?} (Su tis ei;). Proleptic use of su before tis, "Thou, who art thou?" Cf. 1:19. He had virtually claimed to be the Messiah and on a par with God as in 5:15. They wish to pin him down and to charge him with blasphemy.
{Even that which I have also spoken unto you from the beginning} (tˆn archˆn hoti kai lal“ humin). A difficult sentence. It is not clear whether it is an affirmation or a question. The Latin and Syriac versions treat it as affirmative. Westcott and Hort follow Meyer and take it as interrogative. The Greek fathers take it as an exclamation. It seems clear that the adverbial accusative tˆn archˆn cannot mean "from the beginning" like ap' archˆs (15:27) or ex archˆs (16:4). The LXX has tˆn archˆn for "at the beginning" or "at the first" (Ge 43:20). There are examples in Greek, chiefly negative, where tˆn archˆn means "at all," "essentially," "primarily." Vincent and Bernard so take it here, "Primarily what I am telling you." Jesus avoids the term Messiah with its political connotations. He stands by his high claims already made.

8:26 {I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you} (polla ech“ peri hum“n lalein kai krinein). Instead of further talk about his own claims (already plain enough) Jesus turns to speak and to judge concerning them and their attitude towards him (cf. verse 16). Whatever they think of Jesus the Father who sent him is true (alˆthˆs). They cannot evade responsibility for the message heard. So Jesus goes on speaking it from the Father.

8:27 {They perceived not} (ouk egn“san). Second aorist active indicative of gin“sk“. "Preoccupied as they were with thoughts of an earthly deliverer" (Westcott) and prejudiced against recognizing Jesus as the one sent from God.
{That he spake to them of the Father} (hoti ton patera autois elegen). Indirect assertion, but with the present indicative (legei) changed to the imperfect (elegen) as was sometimes done (2:25) after a secondary tense.

8:28 {When ye have lifted up the Son of man} (hotan hups“sˆte ton huion tou anthr“pou). Indefinite temporal clause with hotan (hote + an) and the first aorist active subjunctive of hupso“, to lift up ("Koin‚" verb from hupsos, height), used several times in John of the Cross of Christ (3:14; 8:28; 12:32,34). It is unnecessary to render the aorist subjunctive as if a future perfect, simply "whenever ye lift up" (actually lift up, ingressive aorist). In Ac 2:33 the verb is used of the Ascension.
{Shall ye know} (gn“sesthe). Future (ingressive aoristic) middle of gin“sk“. "Cognoscetis ex re quod nunc ex verbo non creditis" (Bengel). But the knowledge from the facts like the fall of Jerusalem will come too late and will not bring a change of heart. The Holy Spirit will convict them concerning judgment (16:8). For {I am} (eg“ eimi) see on verse 24.
{As the Father taught me} (Kath“s edidasken me ho patˆr). This claim Jesus repeats (see verse 26) and clearly makes on his arrival at the feast (7:16f.). This fact marks Jesus off from the rabbis.

8:29 {Is with me} (met' emou estin). The Incarnation brought separation from the Father in one sense, but in essence there is complete harmony and fellowship as he had already said (8:16) and will expand in 17:21-26.
{He hath not left me alone} (ouk aphˆken me monon). First aorist active indicative of aphiˆmi. "He did not leave me alone." However much the crowds and the disciples misunderstood or left Jesus, the Father always comforted and understood him (Mr 6:46; Mt 14:23; Joh 6:15). {That are pleasing to him} (ta aresta aut“i). This old verbal adjective, from aresk“, to please, in N.T. only here, Ac 6:2; 12:3; 1Jo 3:32. The joy of Jesus was in doing the will of the Father who sent him (4:34).

8:30 {Many believed on him} (polloi episteusan eis auton). Ingressive aorist active indicative, came to believe, nominally at any rate, as in 2:23. But the tension was keen and Jesus proceeded to test the faith of these new believers from among the Pharisees.

8:31 {Which had believed him} (tous pepisteukotas aut“i). Articular perfect active participle of pisteu“ with dative aut“i (trusted him) rather than eis auton (on him) in verse 30. They believed him (cf. 6:30) as to his claims to being the Messiah with their own interpretation (6:15), but they did not commit themselves to him and may represent only one element of those in verse 30, but see 2:23 for pisteu“ eis there. {If ye abide in my word} (ean humeis meinˆte en t“i log“i t“i em“i). Third-class condition with ean and first aorist (constative) active subjunctive.
{Are ye truly my disciples} (alˆth“s mathˆtai mou este). Your future loyalty to my teaching will prove the reality of your present profession. So the conclusion of this future condition is put in the present tense. As then, so now. We accept church members on "profession" of trust in Christ. Continuance in the word (teaching) proves the sincerity or insincerity of the profession. It is the acid test of life.

8:32 {And ye shall know the truth} (kai gn“sesthe tˆn alˆtheian). Truth is one of the marks of Christ (1:14) and Jesus will claim to Thomas to be the personification of truth (14:6). But it will be for them knowledge to be learned by doing God's will (7:17). The word is from alˆthˆs (a privative and lˆth“, to conceal, unsealed, open). See also verses 40,44,45.
{And the truth shall make you free} (kai hˆ alˆtheia eleuther“sei humas). Future active indicative of eleuthero“, old verb from eleutheros (from erchomai, to go where one wishes and so free). One of Paul's great words for freedom from the bondage of the law (Ro 6:18; Ga 5:1). The freedom of which Jesus here speaks is freedom from the slavery of sin as Paul in Ro 8:2. See Joh 8:36. This freedom is won alone by Christ (8:36) and we are sanctified in truth (17:19). In 1:17 truth is mentioned with grace as one of the marks of the gospel through Christ. Freedom (intellectual, moral, spiritual) is only attainable when we are set free from darkness, sin, ignorance, superstition and let the Light of the World shine on us and in us.

8:33 {We be Abraham's seed} (Sperma Abraam esmen). "We are Abraham's seed," the proudest boast of the Jews, of Sarah the freewoman and not of Hagar the bondwoman (Ga 4:22f.). Yes, but the Jews came to rely solely on mere physical descent (Mt 3:9) and so God made Gentiles the spiritual children of Abraham by faith (Mt 3:7; Rom. 9:6f.).
{And have never yet been in bondage to any man} (kai oudeni dedouleukamen p“pote). Perfect active indicative of douleu“, to be slaves. This was a palpable untruth uttered in the heat of controversy. At that very moment the Jews wore the Roman yoke as they had worn that of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Alexander, the Ptolemies, the Syrian (Seleucid) kings. They had liberty for a while under the Maccabees. "These poor believers soon come to the end of their faith" (Stier). But even so they had completely missed the point in the words of Jesus about freedom by truth.

8:34 {Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin} (pas ho poi“n tˆn hamartian doulos estin [tˆs hamartias]). The Western class omits tˆs hamartias (sin), but that is the idea anyhow. Note the use of poi“n (present active participle, continuous habit or practice), not poiˆsas (aorist active participle for single act), precisely as in 1Jo 3:4-8. Note also 3:21 for ho poi“n tˆn alˆtheian (the one who practises the truth). Sin, like the worst narcotic, is habit forming. Hence the problem today for criminologists for paroled or pardoned criminals nearly always go back to crime, sink again into sin, the slaves of sin. Xenophon has this notion of the slavery of sin ("Memor". IV. 5. 3). So Paul clearly in Ro 6:17,20 "slaves of sin" (douloi tˆs hamartias).

8:35 {The bondservant} (ho doulos) ...
{the son} (ho huios). There is a change in the metaphor by this contrast between the positions of the son and the slave in the house. The slave has no footing or tenure and may be cast out at any moment while the son is the heir and has a permanent place. Cf. Ishmael and Isaac (Ge 21:10) and Paul's use of it in Ga 4:30. We do not know that there is any reference here to Hagar and Ishmael. See also Heb 3:5 (Nu 12:7) for a like contrast between Moses as servant (therap“n) in God's house and Christ as Son (huios) over God's house.

8:36 {If therefore the son shall make you free} (ean oun ho huios humas eleuther“sˆi). Condition of third class with ean and first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive. "If therefore the Son set you free," as he has the power to do.
{Ye shall be free indeed} (ont“s eleutheroi esesthe). Old and common adverb from participle ont“n, actually, really (cf. Lu 24:34). But this spiritual freedom was beyond the concept or wish of these Jews.

8:37 {Yet ye seek to kill me} (alla zˆteite me apokteinai). As at the recent feast (7:20,25,30,32; 8:20). Some of these very professed believers were even now glowering with murderous vengeance.
{Hath not free course in you} (ou ch“rei en humin). Intransitive use of ch“re“, old verb from ch“ros (space, place), to have space or room for. They would not abide in Christ's word (verse 31). They had no longer room for his word when once they understood the spiritual aspect of his message. Jerusalem was now just like Galilee once before (6:60-66).

8:38 {With my Father} (para t“i patri). Locative case of patˆr and article used as possessive (common idiom), "by the side of my Father," picture of intimate fellowship like pros ton theon (face to face with God) in 1:1.
{From your father} (para tou patros). Ablative case with para (from the side of) and same possessive use of tou in each instance, though "the" will really answer both times. But ho patˆr does not mean the same person. Christ's Father by contrast is not their father.

8:39 {Our father is Abraham} (ho patˆr hˆm“n Abraam estin). They saw the implication and tried to counter it by repeating their claim in verse 33 which was true so far as physical descent went as Jesus had admitted (verse 37).
{If ye were} (ei este). Strictly, "if ye are" as ye claim, a condition of the first class assumed to be true.
{Ye would do} (epoieite an). Read by C L N and a corrector of Aleph while W omits an. This makes a mixed condition (protasis of the first class, apodosis of the second. See Robertson, "Grammar", p. 1022). But B reads poieite like the Sin. Syriac which has to be treated as imperative (so Westcott and Hort).

8:40 {But now} (nun de). Clear statement that they are not doing "the works of Abraham" in seeking to kill him. See this use of nun de after a condition of second class without an in Joh 16:22,24.
{This did not Abraham} (touto Abraam ouk epoiˆsen). Blunt and pointed of their unlikeness to Abraham.
{A man that hath told you the truth} (anthr“pon hos ten alˆtheian humin lelalˆka). Anthr“pon (here=person, one) is accusative case in apposition with {me} (me) just before. The perfect active indicative lelalˆka from lale“ is in the first person singular because the relative hos has the person of me, an idiom not retained in the English {that hath} (that have or who have) though it is retained in the English of 1Co 15:9 "that am" for hos eimi.
{Which I heard from God} (hˆn ˆkousa para tou theou). Here we have "I" in the English. "God" here is equal to "My Father" in verse 38. The only crime of Jesus is telling the truth directly from God.

8:41 {Ye do the works of your father} (humeis poieite ta erga tou patros hum“n). Who is not Abraham and not God as Jesus plainly indicates.
{We were not born of fornication} (hˆmeis ek porneias egennˆthˆmen). First aorist passive indicative of genna“. This they said as a proud boast. Jesus had admitted that they were physical (De 23:2) descendants of Abraham (37), but now denies that they are spiritual children of Abraham (like Paul in Ro 9:7). Porneia is from pornos (harlot) and that from pernˆmi, to sell, a woman who sells her body for sexual uses. It is vaguely possible that in this stern denial the Pharisees may have an indirect fling at Jesus as the bastard son of Mary (so Talmud).
{We have one Father, even God} (hena patera echomen ton theon). No "even" in the Greek, "One Father we have, God." This in direct reply to the implication of Jesus (verse 38) that God was not their spiritual Father.

8:42 {Ye would love me} (ˆgapate an eme). Conclusion of second-class condition with distinct implication that their failure to love Jesus is proof that God is not their Father (protasis).
{For I came forth from God} (eg“ gar ek tou theou exˆlthon). Second aorist active indicative of exerchomai, definite historical event (the Incarnation). See 4:30 for exˆlthon ek. In 13:3; 16:30 Jesus is said to have come from (apo) God. The distinction is not to be pressed. Note the definite consciousness of pre-existence with God as in 17:5. {And am come} (kai hˆk“). Present active indicative with perfect sense in the verb stem (state of completion) before rise of the tense and here retained. "I am here," Jesus means.
{Of myself} (ap' emautou). His coming was not self-initiated nor independent of the Father. "But he (ekeinos, emphatic demonstrative pronoun) sent me" and here I am.

8:43 {My speech} (tˆn lalian tˆn emˆn) and {my word} (ton logon ton emon). Perhaps lalia, old word from lalos (talk), means here more manner of speech than just story (4:42), while logos refers rather to the subject matter. They will not listen (ou dunasthe akouein) to the substance of Christ's teaching and hence they are impatient with the way that he talks. How often that is true.

8:44 {Ye are of your father the devil} (humeis ek tou patros tou diabolou). Certainly they can "understand" (gin“skete in 43) this "talk" (lalian) though they will be greatly angered. But they had to hear it (akouein in 43). It was like a bombshell in spite of the preliminary preparation.
{Your will to do} (thelete poiein). Present active indicative of thel“ and present active infinitive, "Ye wish to go on doing." This same idea Jesus presents in Mt 13:38 (the sons of the evil one, the devil) and 23:15 (twofold more a son of Gehenna than you). See also 1Jo 3:8 for "of the devil" (ek tou diabolou) for the one who persists in sinning. In Re 12:9 the devil is one who leads all the world astray. The Gnostic view that Jesus means "the father of the devil" is grotesque. Jesus does not, of course, here deny that the Jews, like all men, are children of God the Creator, like Paul's offspring of God for all men in Ac 17:28. What he denies to these Pharisees is that they are spiritual children of God who do his will. They do the lusts and will of the devil. The Baptist had denied this same spiritual fatherhood to the merely physical descendants of Abraham (Mt 3:9). He even called them "broods of vipers" as Jesus did later (Mt 12:34). {A murderer} (anthr“poktonos). Old and rare word (Euripides) from anthr“pos, man, and ktein“, to kill. In N.T. only here and 1Jo 3:15. The Jews were seeking to kill Jesus and so like their father the devil.
{Stood not in the truth} (en tˆi alˆtheiƒi ouk estˆken). Since ouk, not ouch, is genuine, the form of the verb is esteken the imperfect of the late present stem stˆk“ (Mr 11:25) from the perfect active hestˆka (intransitive) of histˆmi, to place.
{No truth in him} (ouk estin alˆtheia en aut“i). Inside him or outside (environment). The devil and truth have no contact.
{When he speaketh a lie} (hotan lalˆi to pseudos). Indefinite temporal clause with hotan and the present active subjunctive of lale“. But note the article to: "Whenever he speaks the lie," as he is sure to do because it is his nature. Hence "he speaks out of his own" (ek t“n idi“n lalei) like a fountain bubbling up (cf. Mt 12:34).
{For he is a liar} (hoti pseustˆs estin). Old word for the agent in a conscious falsehood (pseudos). See 1Jo 1:10; Ro 3:4. Common word in John because of the emphasis on alˆtheia (truth).
{And the father thereof} (kai ho patˆr autou). Either the father of the lie or of the liar, both of which are true as already shown by Jesus.
{Autou} in the genitive can be either neuter or masculine. Westcott takes it thus, "because he is a liar and his father (the devil) is a liar," making "one," not the devil, the subject of "whenever he speaks," a very doubtful expression.

8:45 {Because I speak the truth} (eg“ de hoti tˆn alˆtheian leg“). Proleptic emphatic position of eg“. "Truth is uncongenial to them" (Bernard). See 3:19 for their picture.

8:46 {Which of you convicteth me of sin?} (Tis ex hum“n elegchei me peri hamaritas;). See on 3:20; 16:8 (the work of the Holy Spirit) for elegch“ for charge and proof. The use of hamartia as in 1:29 means sin in general, not particular sins. The rhetorical question which receives no answer involves sinlessness (Heb 4:15) without specifically saying so. Bernard suggests that Jesus paused after this pungent question before going on. {Why do ye not believe me?} (Dia ti humeis ou pisteuete moi;). This question drives home the irrationality of their hostility to Jesus. It was based on prejudice and predilection.

8:47 {He that is of God} (ho “n ek tou theou). See this use of ek in 3:31f. "Their not listening proved that they were not of God" (Dods). They were of the earth and the devil, not of God.

8:48 {Thou art a Samaritan and hast a demon} (Samareitˆs ei su kai daimonion echeis). On the spur of the moment in their rage and fury they can think of no meaner things to say. They know, of course, that Jesus was not a Samaritan, but he had acted like a Samaritan in challenging their peculiar spiritual privileges (4:9,39). The charge of having a demon was an old one by the Pharisees (Mt 12:24) and it is repeated later (Joh 10:20).

8:49 {I have not a demon} (eg“ daimonion ouk ech“). This Jesus says calmly, passing by the reference to the Samaritans as beneath notice.
{My Father} (ton patera mou). As in 2:16. He is not mad in claiming to honour God (cf. 7:18). They were insulting the Father in insulting him (cf. 5:23). On atimaz“ (a privative and tima“, to dishonour) see Lu 20:11.

8:50 {But I seek not mine own glory} (eg“ de ou zˆt“ tˆn doxan mou). As they did not seek the glory of God (5:44; 8:4).
{And judgeth} (kai krin“n). The Father judges between you and me, though the Son is the Judge of mankind (5:22). "It is only the doxa (glory) that comes from God that is worth having" (Bernard).

8:51 {If a man keep my word} (ean tis ton emon logon tˆrˆsˆi). Condition of third class with ean and constative aorist active subjunctive of tˆre“. Repeated in verse 52. See verse 43 about hearing the word of Christ. Common phrase in John (8:51,52,55; 14:23,24; 15:20; 17:6; 1Jo 2:5). Probably the same idea as keeping the commands of Christ (14:21).
{He shall never see death} (thanaton ou mˆ the“rˆsˆi eis ton aiona). Spiritual death, of course. Strong double negative ou mˆ with first aorist active subjunctive of the“re“. The phrase "see death" is a Hebraism (Ps 89:48) and occurs with idein (see) in Lu 2:26; Heb 11:5. No essential difference meant between hora“ and the“re“. See Joh 14:23 for the blessed fellowship the Father and the Son have with the one who keeps Christ's word.

8:52 {Now we know} (nun egn“kamen). Perfect active indicative of gin“sk“, state of completion, "Now since such talk we have come to certain knowledge that thou hast a demon" (verse 48). {Is dead} (apethanen). Second aorist active indicative of apothnˆsk“. "Abraham died."
{And thou sayest} (kai su legeis). Adversative use of kai, "and yet." Emphatic position of su (thou). Same condition quoted as in verse 51.
{He shall never taste of death} (ou me geusˆtai thanatou eis ton aiona). Same emphatic negative with subjunctive as in verse 51, but geusˆtai (first aorist middle subjunctive of geu“ with genitive case thanatou (death). Another Hebraism for dying like the“rˆsˆi (see) in verse 51. Used in Heb 2:9 of the death of Jesus and in Synoptics (Mt 16:28; Mr 9:1; Lu 9:27). It occurs in the Talmud, but not in the O.T. The Pharisees thus did not misquote Jesus, though they misunderstood him.

8:53 {Art thou greater than our father Abraham?} (Mˆ su meiz“n ei tou patros hˆm“n Abraam;). Negative answer expected by with ablative case of comparison in patros after meiz“n. The question was designed to put Jesus in a difficult position, for Abraham and the prophets all "died." They do not see that Jesus uses death in a different sense.
{Whom makest thou thyself?} (tina seauton poieis;). Seauton is predicate accusative with poieis. They suspect that Jesus is guilty of blasphemy as they charged in 5:18 in making himself equal with God. Later they will make it specifically (10:33; 19:7). They set a trap for Jesus for this purpose.

8:54 {If I glorify myself} (ean eg“ doxas“ emauton). Third-class condition with ean and first aorist active subjunctive (or future active indicative) of doxaz“.
{It is my Father that glorifieth me} (estin ho patˆr mou ho doxaz“n me). The position and accent of estin mean: "Actually my Father is the one," etc.
{Of whom ye say} (hon humeis legete). The accusative of the person (hon) with legete is regular (cf. 10:36).
{Your God} (theos hum“n). So Aleph B D and apparently correct, though A C L W Delta Theta have hˆm“n (our God). The hoti can be taken as recitative (direct quotation, hˆm“n, our) or declarative (indirect, that, and so hum“n). The Jews claimed God as their peculiar national God as they had said in 41. So Jesus turns this confession and claim against them.

8:55 {And ye have not known him} (kai ouk egn“kate auton). Adversative use again of kai="and yet." Perfect active indicative of gin“sk“, the verb for experiential knowledge. This was true of the kosmos (1:10; 17:25) and of the hostile Jews (16:3). Jesus prays that the world may know (17:23) and the handful of disciples had come to know (17:25).
{But I know him} (eg“ de oida auton). Equipped by eternal fellowship to reveal the Father (1:1-18). This peculiar intimate knowledge Jesus had already claimed (7:29). Jesus used oida (8:19; 15:21) or gin“sk“ (17:23,25) for the knowledge of the Father. No undue distinction can be drawn here.
{And if I should say} (kan eip“). Third-class condition (concession), "even if I say," with kai ean (kan) and second aorist active subjunctive. "Suppose I say."
{I shall be like you a liar} (esomai homoios humin pseustˆs). Apodosis of the condition. Homoios (like) is followed by the associative-instrumental case humin. The word pseustˆs (liar), in spite of the statement that they are the children of the devil, the father of lying (8:44), comes with a sudden jolt because it is a direct charge. This word liar is not considered polite today in public speech when hurled at definite individuals. There is a rather free use of the word in 1Jo 2:4,22; 4:20; 5:10. It is not hard to imagine the quick anger of these Pharisees.

8:56 {Rejoiced} (ˆgalliasato). First aorist middle indicative of agalliaomai, a word of Hellenistic coinage from agallomai, to rejoice.
{To see} (hina idˆi). Sub-final use of hina and second aorist active subjunctive of hora“. This joy of Abraham is referred to in Heb 11:13 (saluting, aspasamenoi, the promises from afar). There was a Jewish tradition that Abraham saw the whole history of his descendants in the vision of Ge 15:6f., but that is not necessary here. He did look for and welcome the Messianic time, "my day" (tˆn hˆmeran tˆn emˆn). "He saw it, and was glad" (eiden kai echarˆ). Second aorist active indicative of hora“ and second aorist passive indicative of chair“. Ye see it and are angry!

8:57 {Thou art not yet fifty years old} (pentˆkonta eti oup“ echeis). Literally, "Thou hast not yet fifty years." Not meaning that Jesus was near that age at all. It was the crisis of completed manhood (Nu 4:3) and a round number. Jesus was about thirty to thirty-three.
{And hast thou seen Abraham?} (Kai Abraam he“rakas;). So A C D and B W Theta have he“rakes, both second person singular of the perfect active indicative of hora“. But Aleph, Sin-syr., Coptic versions (accepted by Bernard) have kai Abraam he“rake se? "Has Abraam seen thee?" Either makes sense here.

8:58 {Before Abraham was} (prin Abraam genesthai). Usual idiom with prin in positive sentence with infinitive (second aorist middle of ginomai) and the accusative of general reference, "before coming as to Abraham," "before Abraham came into existence or was born."
{I am} (eg“ eimi). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesthai (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (timeless being) is complete. See the same contrast between en in 1:1 and egeneto in 1:14. See the contrast also in Ps 90:2 between God (ei, art)
and the mountains (genˆthˆnai). See the same use of eimi in Joh 6:20; 9:9; 8:24,28; 18:6.

8:59 {They took up stones therefore} (ˆran oun lithous). First aorist active indicative of air“, inferential use of oun. The time for argument had past.
{To cast at him} (hina bal“sin ep' auton). Final clause with hina and the second aorist active subjunctive of ball“. Vivid picture of a mob ready to kill Jesus, already beginning to do so.
{Hid himself} (ekrubˆ). Second aorist passive indicative of krupt“. He was hidden. No Docetic vanishing, but quietly and boldly Jesus went out of the temple. His hour had not yet come. Once again three months later the Pharisees will try to kill him, but he will pass out of their hands (10:39).


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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(John: Chapter 8)



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