Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, April 24th, 2024
the Fourth Week after Easter
For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
John 11

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

Was sick (ην ασθενων). Periphrastic imperfect active of ασθενεω, old verb (from ασθενης, α privative, and σθενος, strength).

Lazarus (Λαζαρος). See on Luke 16:20 for the name of another man in the parable, a shortened form of Eleazer, only other N.T. use, but in Josephus and rabbinical writings. No connexion between this Lazarus and the one in the parable.

Of Bethany (απο Βηθανιας). Use of απο as in John 1:44 Philip of Bethsaida and John 1:45 Joseph of Nazareth. This Bethany is about two miles (John 11:18) east of Jerusalem on the south-east slope of Olivet and is now called El Azariyeh, from the name Lazarus. Jesus is still apparently at the other Bethany beyond Jordan (John 10:40). It is doubtful if a distinction is meant here by απο and εκ between Bethany as the residence and some other village (εκ της κωμης) as the birthplace of Lazarus and the sisters.

Of Mary and Martha (Μαριας κα Μαρθας). Note Μαρθας, not Μαρθης for the genitive. Elsewhere (John 11:19; Luke 10:38) Martha comes first as the mistress and hostess. The two sisters are named for further identification of Lazarus. Martha was apparently the elder sister (John 11:5; John 11:19; Luke 10:38). "The identification of Mary with Mary Magdalene is a mere conjecture supported by no direct evidence, and opposed to the general tenor of the Gospels" (Westcott).

Verse 2

And it was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair (ην δε Μαριαμ η αλειψασα τον κυριον μυρω κα εκμαξασα τους ποδας αυτου ταις θριξιν αυτης). This description is added to make plainer who Mary is "whose brother Lazarus was sick" (ης ο αδελφος Λαζαρος ησθενε). There is an evident proleptic allusion to the incident described by John in John 12:1-8 just after chapter 11. As John looks back from the end of the century it was all behind him, though the anointing (η αλειψασα, first aorist active articular participle of αλειφω, old verb for which see Mark 6:13) took place after the events in chapter 11. The aorist participle is timeless and merely pictures the punctiliar act. The same remark applies to εκμαξασα, old verb εκμασσω, to wipe off or away (Isaiah 12:3; Isaiah 13:5; Luke 7:38; Luke 7:44). Note the Aramaic form Μαριαμ as usual in John, but Μαριας in verse John 11:1. When John wrote, it was as Jesus had foretold (Matthew 26:13), for the fame of Mary of Bethany rested on the incident of the anointing of Jesus. The effort to link Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalene and then both names with the sinful woman of Luke 7:36-50 is gratuitous and to my mind grotesque and cruel to the memory of both Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene. Bernard may be taken as a specimen: "The conclusion is inevitable that John (or his editor) regarded Mary of Bethany as the same person who is described by Luke as αμαρτωλος." This critical and artistic heresy has already been discussed in Vol. II on Luke's Gospel. Suffice it here to say that Luke introduces Mary Magdalene as an entirely new character in John 8:2 and that the details in Luke 7:36-50; John 12:1-8 have only superficial resemblances and serious disagreements. John is not here alluding to Luke's record, but preparing for his own in chapter 12. What earthly difficulty is there in two different women under wholly different circumstances doing a similar act for utterly different purposes?

Verse 3

Sent saying (απεστειλαν λεγουσα). First aorist active indicative of αποστελλω and present active participle. The message was delivered by the messenger.

Thou lovest (φιλεις). Φιλεω means to love as a friend (see φιλος in verse John 11:11) and so warmly, while αγαπαω (akin to αγαμα, to admire, and αγαθος, good) means high regard. Here both terms occur of the love of Jesus for Lazarus (ηγαπα in verse John 11:5). Both occur of the Father's love for the Son (αγαπα in John 3:35, φιλε in John 5:20). Hence the distinction is not always observed.

Verse 4

Heard it (ακουσας). The messenger delivered the message of the sisters. The reply of Jesus is for him and for the apostles.

Is not unto death (ουκ εστιν προς θανατον). Death in the final issue, to remain dead. Lazarus did die, but he did not remain dead. See αμαρτια προς θανατον in 1 John 5:16, "sin unto death" (final death).

But for the glory of God (αλλ' υπερ της δοξης του θεου). In behalf of God's glory, as the sequel shows. Cf. John 9:3 about the man born blind. The death of Lazarus will illustrate God's glory. In some humble sense those who suffer the loss of loved ones are entitled to some comfort from this point made by Jesus about Lazarus. In a supreme way it is true of the death of Christ which he himself calls glorification of himself and God (John 13:31). In John 7:39 John had already used δοξαζω of the death of Christ.

That the Son of God may be glorified thereby (ινα δοξασθη ο υιος του θεου δι' αυτης). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist passive subjunctive of δοξαζω. Here Jesus calls himself "the Son of God." In John 8:54 Jesus had said: "It is my Father that glorifieth me." The raising of Lazarus from the tomb will bring glory to the Son of God. See John 17:1 for this idea in Christ's prayer. The raising of Lazarus will also bring to an issue his own death and all this involves the glorification of the Father (John 7:39; John 12:16; John 13:31; John 14:13). The death of Lazarus brings Jesus face to face with his own death.

Verse 5

Now Jesus loved (ηγαπα δε). Imperfect active of αγαπαω picturing the continued love of Jesus for this noble family where he had his home so often (Luke 10:38-42; John 12:1-8). The sisters expected him to come at once and to heal Lazarus.

Verse 6

That he was sick (οτ ασθενε). Present active indicative retained in indirect discourse after a secondary tense (ηκουσεν).

Two days (δυο ημερας). Accusative of extent of time.

In the place where he was (εν ω ην τοπω). Incorporation of the antecedent τοπω into the relative clause, "in which place he was." It was long enough for Lazarus to die and seemed unlike Jesus to the sisters.

Verse 7

Then after this (επειτα μετα τουτο). Επειτα (only here in John) means thereafter (Luke 16:7) and it is made plainer by the addition of μετα τουτο (cf. John 2:12; John 11:11), meaning after the two days had elapsed.

Let us go into Judea again (Αγωμεν εις την Ιουδαιαν παλιν). Volitive (hortative) subjunctive of αγω (intransitive use as in verses John 11:11; John 11:16). They had but recently escaped the rage of the Jews in Jerusalem (John 10:39) to this haven in Bethany beyond Jordan (John 10:40).

Verse 8

Were but now seeking to stone thee (νυν εζητουν σε λιθασα). Conative imperfect of ζητεω with reference to the event narrated in John 10:39 in these very words.

Goest thou thither again? (παλιν υπαγεις εκει;). Present active intransitive use of the compound υπαγω, to withdraw (6:21; 8:21) from this safe retreat (Vincent). It seemed suicidal madness to go back now.

Verse 9

In the day (της ημερας). Genitive of time, within the day, the twelve-hour day in contrast with night. The words of Jesus here illustrate what he had said in John 9:4. It is not blind fatalism that Jesus proclaims, but the opposite of cowardice. He has full confidence in the Father s purpose about his "hour" which has not yet come. Jesus has courage to face his enemies again to do the Father's will about Lazarus.

If a man walk in the day (εαν τις περιπατη εν τη ημερα). Condition of the third class, a conceived case and it applies to Jesus who walks in the full glare of noonday. See John 8:12 for the contrast between walking in the light and in the dark.

He stumbleth not (ου προσκοπτε). He does not cut (or bump) against this or that obstacle, for he can see. Κοπτω is to cut and pros, against.

Verse 10

But if a man walk in the night (εαν δε τις περιπατη εν τη νυκτ). Third condition again. It is spiritual darkness that Jesus here pictures, but the result is the same. See the same figure in John 12:35 (1 John 2:11). The ancients had poor illumination at night as indeed we did before Edison gave us electric lights. Pedestrians actually used to have little lamps fastened on the feet to light the path.

In him (εν αυτω). Spiritual darkness, the worst of all (cf. Matthew 6:23; John 8:12). Man has the capacity for light, but is not the source of light. "By the application of this principle Christianity is distinguished from Neo-Platonism" (Westcott).

Verse 11

Is fallen asleep (κεκοιμητα). Perfect passive indicative of κοιμαω, old verb to put to sleep. Common as a metaphor for death like our cemetery.

I go (πορευομα). Futuristic use of the present tense as in John 14:2.

That I may awake him out of sleep (ινα εξυπνισω αυτον). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of εξυπνιζω, a late compound (εξ, υπνος, sleep) for the older αφυπνιζω, here only in the N.T. See Job 14:12 where also it occurs along with κοιμαομα.

Verse 12

He will recover (σωθησετα). Future passive indicative of σωζω used in its original sense of being or getting well (safe and sound). Conclusion of the condition of the first class (ε κεκοιμητα).

Verse 13

Had spoken (ειρηκε). Past perfect of ειπον (ερω). The disciples had misunderstood Christ's metaphor for death.

That he spake (οτ λεγε). Present active indicative retained in indirect discourse after the secondary tense (εδοξαν).

Of taking rest in sleep (περ της κοιμησεως του υπου). Only use of κοιμησις (from κοιμαω) in the N.T., but it also was used of death (Sirach 46:19). Hυπνου (in sleep) is objective genitive of υπνος (sleep, Matthew 1:24).

Verse 14

Plainly (παρρησια). Adverb (see on John 7:4), without metaphor as in John 16:29.

Is dead (απεθανεν). First aorist active indicative, "died."

Verse 15

For your sakes (δι' υμας). That they may witness his raising from the grave.

That I was not there (οτ ουκ ημην εκε). Imperfect middle ημην of the later Greek instead of the common active ην in indirect discourse in place of the usual present retained as in verse John 11:13.

To the intent ye may believe (ινα πιστευσητε). Purpose clause with ινα and the ingressive aorist active subjunctive, "that ye may come to believe" (more than you do). See the same use of the ingressive aorist in επιστευσαν (John 2:11) where the disciples gained in belief.

Nevertheless let us go to him (αλλα αγωμεν προς αυτον). Volitive subjunctive, repeating the proposal of verse John 11:7. He is dead, but no matter, yea all the more let us go on to him.

Verse 16

Didymus (Διδυμος). The word means twin. Clearly Thomas had a twin brother or sister. Applied two other times to him (John 20:24; John 21:2). The Aramaic word for Thomas means Twin and Didymus is just the Greek equivalent of Thomas. He may even in Greek circles have been called Didymus.

His fellow disciples (τοις συνμαθηταις). Dative case and article use like "his." Only use of συνμαθητες in the N.T., rare word (in Plato).

Us also (κα ημεις). As well as Jesus, since he is bent on going.

That we may die with him (ινα αποθανωμεν μετ' αυτου). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of αποθνησκω. Die with Jesus, Thomas means. Lazarus is already dead and they will kill Jesus (verse John 11:8). Pessimistic courage surely.

Verse 17

Found (ευρεν). Second aorist active indicative of ευρισκω.

That he had been in the tomb four days already (αυτον τεσσαρας ηδη ημερας εχοντα). Literally, "him (accusative object of ευρεν) having already four days in the tomb." See John 5:5 for the same idiom (ετη εχων) for expression of time (having 38 years). In Jewish custom burial took place on the day of death (Acts 6:6; Acts 6:10).

Verse 18

About fifteen furlongs off (ως απο σταδιων δεκαπεντε). The idiom of απο with the ablative for distance is like the Latin a millibus passum duobus (Caesar, Bell. Gall. ii. 7), but it (προ also, John 12:1) occurs already in the Doric and in the Koine often (Moulton, Proleg., p. 101; Robertson, Grammar, p. 110). See it again in John 21:8; Revelation 14:20.

Verse 19

Had come (εληλυθεισαν). Past perfect of ερχομα. These Jews were probably not hostile to Jesus. There were seven days of solemn mourning (1 Samuel 31:13). The presence of so many indicates the prominence of the family.

To Martha and Mary (προς την Μαρθαν κα Μαριαμ). Correct text, not the Textus Receptus προς τας περ Μαρθαν κα Μαριαμ (to the women about Martha and Mary).

To console them (ινα παραμυθησωντα). Purpose clause with ινα and first aorist middle subjunctive of παραμυθεομα, old verb (παρα, beside, μυθος, word), to put in a word beside, to offer consolation. Again in verse John 11:31. See 1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14. See Job 2:13 for these visits of consolation, often deplorable enough, though kindly meant.

Verse 20

That Jesus was coming (οτ Ιησους ερχετα). Present middle indicative retained in indirect discourse after the secondary tense ηκουσεν (first aorist active).

Went and met him (υπηντησεν αυτω). First aorist (ingressive) active indicative of υπανταω, old compound verb, to go to meet (Matthew 8:28) with the associative instrumental case αυτω.

But Mary still sat in the house (Μαριαμ δε εν τω οικω εκαθεζετο). Imperfect middle of καθεζομα, old verb to sit down, graphic picture of Mary, "while Mary was sitting in the house." Both Martha and Mary act true to form here as in Luke 10:38-42.

Verse 21

Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died (Κυριε, ε ης ωδε ουκ αν απεθανεν ο αδελφος μου). Condition of the second class with ε and the imperfect ης (no aorist of ειμ, to be) in the condition and αν with the second aorist active indicative of αποθνησκω. Mary (verse John 11:32) uses these identical words to Jesus. Clearly they had said so to each other with wistful longing if not with a bit of reproach for his delay. But they used ης, not ηλθες or εγενου. But busy, practical Martha comes to the point.

Verse 22

And even now I know (κα νυν οιδα). Rather just, "Even now I know." Αλλα (but) of the Textus Receptus is not genuine.

Whatsoever thou shalt ask of God (οσα αν αιτηση τον θεον). Indefinite relative (οσα, as many things as) with αν and the first aorist middle (indirect middle, thou thyself asking) subjunctive of αιτεω. Martha uses αιτεω (usual word of prayer of men to God) rather than ερωταω (usual word of Jesus praying to the Father), but in John 16:23 we have ερωταω used of prayer to Jesus and αιτεω of prayer to God. But the distinction is not to be pressed. "As many things as thou dost ask of God."

God will give (δωσε σο ο θεος). Repetition of ο θεος for emphasis. Martha still has courageous faith in the power of God through Jesus and Jesus in verse John 11:41 says practically what she has said here.

Verse 23

Thy brother will rise again (αναστησετα ο αδελφος σου). Future middle (intransitive) of ανιστημ. The words promise Martha what she has asked for, if Jesus means that.

Verse 24

In the resurrection at the last day (εν τη αναστασε εν τη εσχατη ημερα). Did Jesus mean only that? She believed it, of course, and such comfort is often offered in case of death, but that idea did not console Martha and is not what she hinted at in verse John 11:22.

Verse 25

I am the resurrection and the life (Εγω ειμ η αναστασις κα η ζωη). This reply is startling enough. They are not mere doctrines about future events, but present realities in Jesus himself. "The Resurrection is one manifestation of the Life: it is involved in the Life" (Westcott). Note the article with both αναστασις and ζωη. Jesus had taught the future resurrection often (John 6:39), but here he means more, even that Lazarus is now alive.

Though he die (καν αποθανη). "Even if he die," condition (concession) of third class with κα εαν (καν) and the second aorist active subjunctive of αποθνησκω (physical death, he means).

Yet shall he live (ζησετα). Future middle of ζαω (spiritual life, of course).

Verse 26

Shall never die (ου μη αποθανη εις τον αιωνα). Strong double negative ου μη with second aorist active subjunctive of αποθνησκω again (but spiritual death, this time), "shall not die for ever" (eternal death).

Believest thou this? (πιστευεις τουτο;) Sudden test of Martha's insight and faith with all the subtle turns of thought involved.

Verse 27

Yea, Lord (Ναι, κυριε). Martha probably did not understand all that Jesus said and meant, but she did believe in the future resurrection, in eternal life for believers in Christ, in the power of Christ to raise even the dead here and now. She had heroic faith and makes now her own confession of faith in words that outrank those of Peter in Matthew 16:16 because she makes hers with her brother dead now four days and with the hope that Jesus will raise him up now.

I have believed (πεπιστευκα). Perfect active indicative of πιστευω. It is my settled and firm faith. Peter uses this same tense in John 6:69.

That thou art the Son of God (οτ συ ε ο Χριστος ο υιος του θεου). The Messiah or the Christ (John 1:41) was to be also "the Son of God" as the Baptist said he had found Jesus to be (John 1:34), as Peter confessed on Hermon for the apostles (Matthew 16:16), as Jesus claimed to be (John 11:41) and confessed on oath before Caiaphas that he was (Matthew 26:63), and as John stated that it was his purpose to prove in his Gospel (John 20:31). But no one said it under more trying circumstances than Martha.

Even he that cometh into the world (ο εις τον κοσμον ερχομενος). No "even" in the Greek. This was a popular way of putting the people's expectation (John 6:14; Matthew 11:3). Jesus himself spoke of his coming into the world (John 9:39; John 16:28; John 8:37).

Verse 28

Called Mary (εφωνησεν Μαριαμ). First aorist active indicative of φωνεω. Out of the house and away from the crowd.

Secretly (λαθρα). Old adverb from λαθρος (λανθανω). To tell her the glad news.

The Master (ο διδασκαλος). "The Teacher." So they loved to call him as he was (John 13:13).

Is here (παρεστιν). "Is present."

Calleth thee (φωνε σε). This rouses Mary.

Verse 29

And she (κα εκεινη). Emphatic use of the demonstrative εκεινος as often in John, "And that one."

Arose quickly (ηγερθη). First aorist (ingressive) passive of εγειρω and intransitive. Naturally so on the sudden impulse of joy.

And went unto him (κα ηρχετο προς αυτον). Imperfect middle, possibly inchoative, started towards him, certainly picturing her as she was going.

Verse 30

Now Jesus was not yet come into the town (ουπω δε εληλυθε ο Ιησους εις την κωμην). Explanatory parenthesis with past perfect as in verse John 11:19. Martha had her interview while he was still coming (verse John 11:20) and left him (went off, απηλθεν, verse John 11:28) to hurry to Mary with the news. Why Jesus tarried still where he had met Martha we do not know. Westcott says, "as though He would meet the sisters away from the crowd of mourners."

Verse 31

Followed her (ηκολουθησαν αυτη). First aorist active indicative of ακολουθεω with associative instrumental case (αυτη). This crowd of consolers (παραμυθουμενο) meant kindly enough, but did the one wrong thing for Mary wished to see Jesus alone. People with kind notions often so act. The secrecy of Martha (verse John 11:28) was of no avail.

Supposing that she was going unto the tomb (δοξαντες οτ υπαγε εις το μνημειον). First aorist active participle of δοκεω, justifying their conduct by a wrong inference. Note retention of present tense υπαγε in indirect discourse after the secondary tense ηκολουθησαν.

To weep there (ινα κλαυση εκε). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of κλαιω, old verb to weep. Sometimes to wail or howl in oriental style of grief, but surely not that here. At any rate this supposed purpose of Mary was a real reason for this crowd

not to go with her.

Verse 32

Fell down at his feet (επεσεν αυτου προς τους ποδας). Second aorist active of πιπτω, to fall. Note unusual position of αυτου. This impulsive act like Mary. She said precisely what Martha had said to Jesus (verse John 11:21). But she said no more, only wept (verse John 11:33).

Verse 33

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping (Ιησους ουν ως ειδεν αυτην κλαιουσαν). Proleptic position of "Jesus," "Jesus therefore when he saw." She was weeping at the feet of Jesus, not at the tomb.

And the Jews also weeping (κα τους Ιουδαιους κλαιοντας). Mary's weeping was genuine, that of the Jews was partly perfunctory and professional and probably actual "wailing" as the verb κλαιω can mean. Κλαιω is joined with αλαλαζω in Mark 5:38, with ολολυζω in James 5:1, with θορυβεω in Mark 5:39, with πενθεω in Mark 16:10. It was an incongruous combination.

He groaned in the spirit (ενεβριμησατο τω πνευματ). First aorist middle indicative of εμβριμαομα, old verb (from εν, and βριμη, strength) to snort with anger like a horse. It occurs in the LXX (Daniel 11:30) for violent displeasure. The notion of indignation is present in the other examples of the word in the N.T. (Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5; Matthew 9:30). So it seems best to see that sense here and in verse John 11:38. The presence of these Jews, the grief of Mary, Christ's own concern, the problem of the raising of Lazarus--all greatly agitated the spirit of Jesus (locative case τω πνευματ). He struggled for self-control.

Was troubled (εταραξεν εαυτον). First aorist active indicative of ταρασσω, old verb to disturb, to agitate, with the reflexive pronoun, "he agitated himself" (not passive voice, not middle). "His sympathy with the weeping sister and the wailing crowd caused this deep emotion" (Dods). Some indignation at the loud wailing would only add to the agitation of Jesus.

Verse 34

Where have ye laid him? (Που τεθεικατε αυτον;). Perfect active indicative of τιθημ. A simple question for information. The only other like it in John is in John 6:6 where it is expressly stated that Jesus knew what he was going to do. So it was here, only he politely asked for direction to the tomb of Lazarus. The people invite him to come and see, the very language used by Philip to Nathanael (John 1:46). It was a natural and polite reply as they would show Jesus the way, but they had no idea of his purpose.

Verse 35

Jesus wept (εδακρυσεν ο Ιησους). Ingressive first aorist active indicative of δακρυω, old verb from δακρυ or δακρυον, a tear (Acts 20:19), only here in N.T. It never means to wail, as κλαιω sometimes does. "Jesus burst into tears." Κλαιω is used of Jesus in Luke 19:41. See Hebrews 5:7 "with strong crying and tears" (μετα κραυγης κα δακρυων). Apparently this was as Jesus started towards (see verse John 11:38) the tomb. In a sense it was a reaction from the severe strain in verse John 11:33, but chiefly it was the sheer human sympathy of his heart with Martha and Mary touched with the feeling of our common weakness (Hebrews 4:15). Often all that we can do is to shed tears in grief too deep for words. Jesus understood and understands. This is the shortest verse in the Bible, but no verse carries more meaning in it.

Verse 36

Loved (εφιλε). As in verse John 11:3 which see. Imperfect active. Even the Jews saw that Jesus loved Lazarus.

Verse 37

Could not this man (ουκ εδυνατο ουτος). Imperfect middle of δυναμα. They do not say δυνατα (can, present middle indicative). But clearly the opening of the blind man's eyes (chapter 9) had made a lasting impression on some of these Jews, for it was done three months ago.

Have caused that this man also should not die (ποιησα ινα κα ουτος μη αποθανη). First aorist active infinitive of ποιεω with ινα, like the Latin facere ut (sub-final use, Robertson, Grammar, p. 985), with the second aorist active subjunctive αποθανη and negative μη. These Jews share the view expressed by Martha (verse John 11:21) and Mary (verse John 11:32) that Jesus could have

prevented the death of Lazarus.

Verse 38

Again groaning in himself (παλιν εμβριμωμενος εν εαυτω). Direct reference to the use of this same word (present middle participle here) in verse John 11:33, only with εν εαυτω (in himself) rather than τω πνευματ (in his spirit), practically the same idea. The speculation concerning his power stirred the depths of his nature again.

Cometh to the tomb (ερχετα εις το μνημειον). Vivid historical present.

A cave (σπηλαιον). Old word (from σπεος, cavern). Cf. Matthew 21:13.

Lay against it (επεκειτο επ' αυτω). Imperfect middle of επικειμα, old verb to lie upon as in John 21:9 and figuratively (1 Corinthians 9:16). Note repetition of επ with locative case. The use of a cave for burial was common (Genesis 23:19). Either the body was let down through a horizontal opening (hardly so here) or put in a tomb cut in the face of the rock (if so, επ can mean "against"). The stones were used to keep away wild animals from the bodies.

Verse 39

Take ye away the stone (αρατε τον λιθον). First aorist active imperative of αιρω. They could do this much without the exercise of Christ's divine power. It was a startling command to them.

By this time he stinketh (ηδη οζε). Present active indicative of old verb, here only in N.T. (cf. Exodus 8:14). It means to give out an odour, either good or bad.

For he hath been dead four days (τεταρταιος γαρ εστιν). The Greek simply says, "For he is a fourth-day man." It is an old ordinal numeral from τεταρτος (fourth). Herodotus (ii. 89) has τεταρταιος γενεσθα of one four days dead as here. The word is only here in the N.T. The same idiom occurs in Acts 28:13 with δευτεραιο (second-day men). Lightfoot (Hor. Hebr.) quotes a Jewish tradition (Beresh. Rabba) to the effect that the soul hovers around the tomb for three days hoping to return to the body, but on the fourth day leaves it. But there is no suggestion here that Martha held that notion. Her protest is a natural one in spite of her strong faith in verses John 11:22-27.

Verse 40

Said I not unto thee? (Ουκ ειπον σοι;). Jesus pointedly reminds Martha of his promise to raise Lazarus (verses John 11:25).

That if thou believedst (οτ εαν πιστευσηις). Indirect discourse with εαν and the first aorist active subjunctive (condition of third class) retained after the secondary tense ειπον. He had not said this very phrase, εαν πιστευσηις, to Martha, but he did say to her: Πιστευεις τουτο; (Believest thou this?). He meant to test Martha as to her faith already hinted at (verse John 11:22) on this very point. Jesus had also spoken of increase of faith on the part of the disciples (verse John 11:15).

Thou shouldest see the glory of God (οψη την δοξαν του θεου). Future middle indicative of the old defective verb οραω retained in the conclusion of this condition in indirect discourse. Jesus means the glory of God as shown in the resurrection of Lazarus as he had already said to the disciples (verse John 11:4) and as he meant Martha to understand (verse John 11:25) and may in fact have said to her (the report of the conversation is clearly abridged). Hence Bernard's difficulty in seeing how Martha could understand the words of Jesus about the resurrection of Lazarus here and now seems fanciful and far-fetched.

Verse 41

So they took away the stone (ηραν ουν τον λιθον). First aorist active indicative of αιρω, but without the explanatory gloss of the Textus Receptus "from the place where the dead was laid" (not genuine).

I thank thee that thou heardest me (ευχαριστω σο οτ ηκουσας μου). See John 6:11 for ευχαριστεω. Clearly Jesus had prayed to the Father concerning the raising of Lazarus. He has the answer before he acts. "No pomp of incantation, no wrestling in prayer even; but simple words of thanksgiving, as if already Lazarus was restored" (Dods). Jesus well knew the issues involved on this occasion. If he failed, his own claims to be the Son of God (the Messiah), would be hopelessly discredited with all. If he succeeded, the rulers would be so embittered as to compass his own death.

Verse 42

And I knew (εγω δε ηιδειν). Past perfect of οιδα used as imperfect. This confident knowledge is no new experience with Jesus. It has "always" (παντοτε) been so.

Which standeth around (τον περιεστωτα). Second perfect active (intransitive) articular participle of περιιστημ. It was a picturesque and perilous scene.

That they may believe (ινα πιστευσωσιν). Purpose clause with ινα and first ingressive aorist active subjunctive of πιστευω, "that they may come to believe."

That thou didst send me (οτ συ με απεστειλας). First aorist active indicative of αποστελλω and note position of συ με side by side. This claim Jesus had long ago made (John 5:36) and had repeatedly urged (John 10:25; John 10:38). Here was a supreme opportunity and Jesus opens his heart about it.

Verse 43

He cried with a loud voice (φωνη μεγαλη εκραυγασεν). First aorist active indicative of κραυγαζω, old and rare word from κραυγη (Matthew 25:6). See Matthew 12:19. Occurs again in John 18:40; John 19:6; John 19:12. Only once in the LXX (Ezra 3:13) and with φωνη μεγαλη (either locative or instrumental case makes sense) as here. For this "elevated (great) voice" see also Matthew 24:31; Mark 15:34; Mark 15:37; Revelation 1:10; Revelation 21:3. The loud voice was not for the benefit of Lazarus, but for the sake of the crowd standing around that they might see that Lazarus came forth simultaneously with the command of Jesus.

Lazarus, come forth (Λαζαρε, δευρο εξω). "Hither out." No verb, only the two adverbs, δευρο here alone in John. Lazarus heard and obeyed the summons.

Verse 44

He that was dead came forth (εξηλθεν ο τεθνηκως). Literally, "Came out the dead man," (effective aorist active indicative and perfect active articular participle of θνησκω). Just as he was and at once.

Bound hand and foot (δεδεμενος τους ποδας κα τας χειρας). Perfect passive participle of δεω with the accusative loosely retained according to the common Greek idiom (Robertson, Grammar, p. 486), but literally "as to the feet and hands" (opposite order from the English). Probably the legs were bound separately.

With grave-clothes (κειριαις). Or "with bands." Instrumental case of this late and rare word (in Plutarch, medical papyrus in the form κηρια, and Proverbs 7:16). Only here in N.T.

His face (η οψις αυτου). Old word, but προσωπον is usual in N.T. See Revelation 1:16 for another instance.

Was bound about (περιεδεδετο). Past perfect passive of περιδεω, old verb to bind around, only here in N.T.

With a napkin (σουδαριω). Instrumental case of σουδαριον (Latin word sudarium from sudor, sweat). In N.T. here, John 20:7; Luke 19:20; Acts 19:12. Our handkerchief.

Loose him (λυσατε αυτον). First aorist active imperative of λυω. From the various bands.

Let him go (αφετε αυτον υπαγειν). Second aorist active imperative of αφιημ and present active infinitive.

Verse 45

Beheld that which he did (θεασαμενο ο εποιησεν). First aorist middle participle of θεαομα and first aorist active indicative of ποιεω in the relative (ο) clause. They were eye-witnesses of all the details and did not depend on hearsay.

Believed on him (επιστευσαν εις αυτον). Such a result had happened before (John 7:31), and all the more in the presence of this tremendous miracle which held many to Jesus (John 12:11; John 12:17).

Verse 46

Went away to the Pharisees (απηλθον προς τους Φαρισαιους). Second aorist active indicative of απερχομα. This "some" (τινες) did who were deeply impressed and yet who did not have the courage to break away from the rabbis without consulting them. It was a crisis for the Sanhedrin.

Verse 47

Gathered a council (συνηγαγον συνεδριον). Second aorist active indicative of συναγω and συνεδριον, the regular word for the Sanhedrin (Matthew 5:22, etc.), only here in John. Here a sitting or session of the Sanhedrin. Both chief priests (Sadducees) and Pharisees (mentioned no more in John after John 7:57 save John 12:19; John 12:42) combine in the call (cf. John 7:32). From now on the chief priests (Sadducees) take the lead in the attacks on Jesus, though loyally supported by their opponents (the Pharisees).

And said (κα ελεγον). Imperfect active of λεγω, perhaps inchoative, "began to say."

What do we? (Τ ποιουμεν;). Present active (linear) indicative of ποιεω. Literally, "What are we doing?"

Doeth (ποιε). Better, "is doing" (present, linear action). He is active and we are idle. There is no mention of the raising of Lazarus as a fact, but it is evidently inoluded in the "many signs."

Verse 48

If we let him thus alone (εαν αφωμεν αυτον ουτως). Condition of third class with εαν and second aorist active subjunctive of απιημ. "Suppose we leave him thus alone." Suppose also that he keeps on raising the dead right here next door to Jerusalem!

All will believe on him (παντες πιστευσουσιν εις αυτον). Future active of πιστευω. The inevitable conclusion, "all" (παντες), not just "some" (τινες). as now.

And the Romans will come (κα ελευσοντα ο Ρωμαιο). Another inevitable result with the future middle of ερχομα. Only if the people take Jesus as their political Messiah (John 6:15) as they had once started to do. This is a curious muddle for the rulers knew that Jesus did not claim to be a political Messiah and would not be a rival to Caesar. And yet they use this fear (their own belief about the Messiah) to stir themselves to frenzy as they will use it with Pilate later.

And take away both our place and our nation (κα αρουσιν ημων κα τον τοπον κα το εθνος). Future active of αιρω, another certain result of their inaction. Note the order here when "place" (job) is put before nation (patriotism), for all the world like modern politicians who make the fate of the country turn on their getting the jobs which they are seeking. In the course of time the Romans will come, not because of the leniency of the Sanhedrin toward Jesus, but because of the uprising against Rome led by the Zealots and they will destroy both temple and city and the Sanhedrin will lose their jobs and the nation will be scattered. Future historians will say that this fate came as punishment on the Jews for their conduct toward Jesus.

Verse 49

Caiaphas (Καιαφας). Son-in-law of Annas and successor and high priest for 18 years (A.D. 18 to 36).

That year (του ενιαυτου εκεινου). Genitive of time; his high-priesthood included that year (A.D. 29 or 30). So he took the lead at this meeting.

Ye know nothing at all (υμεις ουκ οιδατε ουδεν). In this he is correct, for no solution of their problem had been offered.

Verse 50

That it is expedient for you (οτ συμφερε υμιν). Indirect discourse with present active indicative of συμφερω used with the ινα clause as subject. It means to bear together, to be profitable, with the dative case as here (υμιν, for you). It is to your interest and that is what they cared most for.

That one man die (ινα εις ανθρωπος αποθανη). Sub-final use of ινα with second aorist active subjunctive of αποθνησκω as subject clause with συμφερε. See John 16:7; John 18:7 for the same construction.

For the people (υπερ του λαου). Hυπερ simply means over, but can be in behalf of as often, and in proper context the resultant idea is "instead of" as the succeeding clause shows and as is clearly so in Galatians 3:13 of the death of Christ and naturally so in 2 Corinthians 5:14; Romans 5:6. In the papyri υπερ is the usual preposition used of one who writes a letter for one unable to write.

And that the whole nation perish not (κα μη ολον το εθνος απολητα). Continuation of the ινα construction with μη and the second aorist subjunctive of απολλυμ. What Caiaphas has in mind is the giving of Jesus to death to keep the nation from perishing at the hands of the Romans. Politicians are often willing to make a sacrifice of the other fellow.

Verse 51

Not of himself (αφ' εαυτου ουκ). Not wholly of himself, John means. There was more in what Caiaphas said than he understood. His language is repeated in John 18:14.

Prophesied (επροφητευσεν). Aorist active indicative of προφητευω. But certainly unconscious prophecy on his part and purely accidental. Caiaphas meant only what was mean and selfish.

That Jesus should die (οτ εμελλεν Ιησους αποθνησκειν). Imperfect active of μελλω in indirect discourse instead of the usual present retained after a secondary tense (επροφητευσεν) as sometimes occurs (see John 2:25).

Verse 52

But that he might also gather together into one (αλλ' ινα συναγαγη εις εν). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of συναγω. Caiaphas was thinking only of the Jewish people (λαου, εθνος, verse John 11:50). The explanation and interpretation of John here follow the lead of the words of Jesus about the other sheep and the one flock in John 10:16.

That are scattered abroad (τα διεσκορπισμενα). Perfect passive articular participle of διασκορπιζω, late verb (Polybius, LXX) to scatter apart, to winnow grain from chaff, only here in John. The meaning here is not the Diaspora (Jews scattered over the world), but the potential children of God in all lands and all ages that the death of Christ will gather "into one" (εις εν). A glorious idea, but far beyond Caiaphas.

Verse 53

So from that day (απ' εκεινης ουν της ημερας). The raising of Lazarus brought matters to a head so to speak. It was now apparently not more than a month before the end.

They took counsel (εβουλευσαντο). First aorist middle indicative of βουλευω, old verb to take counsel, in the middle voice for themselves, among themselves. The Sanhedrin took the advice of Caiaphas seriously and plotted the death of Jesus.

That they might put him to death (ινα αποκτεινωσιν αυτον). Purpose clause with ινα and first aorist active subjunctive of αποκτεινω. It is an old purpose (John 5:18; John 7:19; John 8:44; John 8:59; John 10:39; John 11:8) now revived with fresh energy due to the raising of Lazarus.

Verse 54

Therefore walked no more openly (ουν ουκετ παρρησια περιεπατε). Imperfect active of περιπατεω, to walk around. Jesus saw clearly that to do so would bring on the end now instead of his "hour" which was to be at the passover a month ahead.

Into the country near to the wilderness (εις την χωραν εγγυς της ερημου). It was now in Jerusalem as it had become once in Galilee (John 7:1) because of the plots of the hostile Jews. The hill country northeast of Jerusalem was thinly populated.

Into a city called Ephraim (εις Εφραιμ λεγομενην πολιν). Πολις here means no more than town or village (κωμη). The place is not certainly known, not mentioned elsewhere in the N.T. Josephus mentions (War, IV. ix. 9) a small fort near Bethel in the hill country and in 2 Chronicles 13:19 Ephron is named in connexion with Bethel. Up here Jesus would at least be free for the moment from the machinations of the Sanhedrin while he faced the coming catastrophe at the passover. He is not far from the mount of temptation where the devil showed and offered him the kingdoms of the world for the bending of the knee before him. Is it mere fancy to imagine that the devil came to see Jesus again here at this juncture with a reminder of his previous offer and of the present plight of the Son of God with the religious leaders conspiring his death? At any rate Jesus has the fellowship of his disciples this time (μετα των μαθητων). But what were they thinking?

Verse 55

Was near (ην εγγυς). See John 2:13 for the same phrase. This last passover was the time of destiny for Jesus.

Before the passover to purify themselves (προ του πασχα ινα αγνισωσιν εαυτους). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of αγνιζω, old verb from αγνος (pure), ceremonial purification here, of course. All this took time. These came "from the country" (εκ της χωρας), from all over Palestine, from all parts of the world, in fact. John shifts the scene to Jerusalem just before the passover with no record of the way that Jesus came to Jerusalem from Ephraim. The Synoptic Gospels tell this last journey up through Samaria into Galilee to join the great caravan that crossed over into Perea and came down on the eastern side of the Jordan opposite Jericho and then marched up the mountain road to Bethany and Bethphage just beside Jerusalem. This story is found in Luke 17:11-19; Mark 10:1-52; Matthew 19:1-20. John simply assumes the Synoptic narrative and gives the picture of things in and around Jerusalem just before the passover (John 11:56; John 11:57).

Verse 56

They sought therefore for Jesus (εζητουν ουν τον Ιησουν). Imperfect active of ζητεω and common ουν of which John is so fond. They were seeking Jesus six months before at the feast of tabernacles (John 7:11), but now they really mean to kill him.

As they stood in the temple (εν τω ιερω εστηκοτες). Perfect active participle (intransitive) of ιστημ, a graphic picture of the various groups of leaders in Jerusalem and from other lands, "the knots of people in the Temple precincts" (Bernard). They had done this at the tabernacles (John 7:11-13), but now there is new excitement due to the recent raising of Lazarus and to the public order for the arrest of Jesus.

That he will not come to the feast? (οτ ου μη ελθη εις την εορτην;). The form of the question (indirect discourse after δοκειτε) assumes strongly that Jesus will not (ου μη, double negative with second aorist active ελθη from ερχομα) dare to come this time for the reason given in verse John 11:57.

Verse 57

The chief priests and the Pharisees (ο αρχιερεις κα ο Φαρισαιο). The Sanhedrin.

Had given commandment (δεδωκεισαν εντολας). Past perfect active of διδωμ.

That he should shew it (ινα μηνυση). Sub-final ινα with first aorist active subjunctive of μηνυω, old verb to disclose, to report formally (Acts 23:30).

If any man knew (εαν τις γνω). Third-class condition with εαν and second aorist active subjunctive of γινωσκω.

Where he was (που εστιν). Indirect question with interrogative adverb and present indicative εστιν retained like γνω and μηνυση after the secondary tense δεδωκεισαν.

That they might take him (οπως πιασωσιν αυτον). Purpose clause with οπως instead of ινα and first aorist active subjunctive of πιαζω so often used before (John 7:44, etc.).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/john-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile