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No pool named Bethesda is noticed by the Jewish writers; but it is thought by some that it may have been the great pool of which they say, that, between Hebron and Jerusalem was the fountain Etham, from which the waters were conducted by pipes to the great pool in Jerusalem. Benjamin of Tudela speaks of a pool, as existing in his time, at which the ancients were supposed to have slain their sacrifices; and he very probably had in view the pool which is at present considered to represent the "pool of Bethesda" of our text. Many, from the mention of sheep in connection with the pool, surmise that here the sheep destined for sacrifice were washed. If so, the washing was either before or after the victim was slaughtered: but it was not required that they should be washed before being slaughtered; and for the washing of the victims after they had been slain, there was in the temple a chamber with a proper supply of water. It is perhaps best, therefore, to take the word noλunga, rendered "pool," in its more definite acceptation of "bath," and understand that the pool was a bath for unclean persons, for whose accommodation the "five porches" or cloistered walks were erected."
Bethesda means "house of mercy, grace, or goodness;" doubtless because many miserable objects there received mercy and healing. Athanasius speaks of the pool itself as still existing in his time, although the surrounding buildings were, as we might expect, in ruin. The place to which the name of the pool of Bethesda is now given, is very possibly the same thus mentioned. Chateaubriand thinks it offers the only example now left of the primitive architecture of the Jews at Jerusalem. In conformity with other travellers, he states that it is still to be seen near St. Stephen's gate. It was situated near the Temple, on the north; and is a reservoir one hundred and fifty feet long, and forty wide. The sides are walled, and these walls are composed of a bed of large stones, joined together by iron cramps; a wall of mixed materials runs upon these large stones; a layer of flints is stuck upon the surface of this wall; and a coating laid over these flints. The four beds are perpendicular to the bottom, and not horizontal; the coating was on the side next to the water, and the large stones rested, as they still do, against the ground. The pool is now dry and filled up. Here grow some pomegranate trees and a species of wild tamarind of a bluish colour; the western angle is quite full of nopals. On the west side may be also seen two arches, which probably led to an aqueduct that carried the water into the interior of the Temple. Chateaubriand considers that this pool is at the same time the Bethesda of Scripture and the Stagnum Salomonis of Josephus; and presumes that it offers all which now remains of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon.
3. "Withered."-The disease here referred to, and also in 1 Kings xiii. 4-6, Zech. ii. 17, Matt. xii. 10-13, was doubtless the catalepsy. This complaint is caused by the contraction of the muscles in the whole or part of the body (e.g. the hands), and is very dangerous. The effects upon the part seized are very violent and deadly. For instance, when a person is struck with it, if his hand happens to be extended, he is unable to draw it back. If the hand is not extended when he is struck with the disease, he is unable to extend it. It appears diminished in size and dried up. Hence the Hebrews were in the habit of calling it "a withered hand." (Jahn's Archæol. Biblica,' xii. 119.)
35. "He was a burning and a shining light.”—This is an application of a form of expression exceedingly familiar among the Jews, who were wont to call a person eminent for his knowledge, character, or conduct, the "lamp” or "light" of his nation, or of the body or family to which he belonged, or of the city in which he lived.
1 Christ feedeth five thousand men with five loaves
2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4 'And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
15 When Jesus therefore therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force,
1 Levit. 23. 5. Deut. 16. 1.
Matt. 14. 15.
to make him a king, he departed again into 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the dea mountain himself alone. sert; as it is written, "He gave them bread
16 And when even was now come, his from heaven to cat. disciples went down unto the sea,
17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sca toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.
19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.
20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
21 Then they willingly received him into the ship and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone:
23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks :)
24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: 'for him hath God the Father sealed.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 5 Matt. 3. 17. 61 John 3. 23. 10 Isa. 54. 13. Jer. 31, 34.
Matt. 14. 23. ♦ Or, work not.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, "save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
7 Exod. 16. 15. Num. 11. 7. *8 Psal. 78. 25.
Matt. 13, 55.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the they had heard this, said, This is an hard wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man cat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that cateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when
18 Chap. 3. 13.
saying; who can hear it?
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62 "What and if ye shall sce the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
13 Matt. 16. 16.
Verse 12. "The fragments.”—The reason for their being collected and preserved, “that nothing be lost," is distinctly assigned in the text. These fragments had probably been left by the multitude, under the custom, which then operated among the Jews, of leaving a little of that which they had eaten, for those by whom they had been served, and who in the present instance were the apostles.
27. “Sealed.”—Some interpreters suggest that this allusion is derived from the custom, which existed in the countries contiguous to Judea, to set a seal upon the victims intended for sacrifice. This explanation certainly produces a fine sense; and is better than some, which others offer from customs which might have existed. It is, however, as Doddridge remarks, probably sufficient to understand that "to seal" is a general phrase for authorising, by proper credentials, whatever the purpose be for which they were given; or to mark a person out as wholly devoted to the service of him whose seal he bears.
1 Jesus reproveth the ambition and boldness of his kinsmen: 10 goeth up from Galilee to the feast of tabernacles: 14 teacheth in the temple. 40 Divers opinions of him among the people. 45 The Pharisees are angry that their officers took him not, and chide with Nicodemus for taking his part. AFTER these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
2 'Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.
3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judæa, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
1 Levit. 23. 34.
5 For neither did his brethren believe in 25 Then said some of them of Jerusalem, him. Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?
6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
10 But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
11 Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
12 And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
20 The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, "that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
2 Chap. 8. 20. 3 Or, learning. 4 Exod. 24. 3. 9 Deut. 1 16 40 Chap. 13. 33.
5 Chap. 5. 18. 11 Or Greeks.
26 But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?
27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
31 And many of the people believed on himn, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the Chief Priests sent officers to take him.
33 Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
34 10 Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot
35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the "Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
36 What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seck me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 13He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 40
Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
Levit. 12. 3. 1 Lev. 23. 3.
7 Gen. 17. 10. 8 Or, without breaking the law of Moses. 13 Deut. 18. 15. 14 ca. 44. 3. Joel 2. 28.
41 Others said, This is the Christ. But 47 Then answered them the Pharisees, some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Are ye also deceived? 42 "Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
43 So there was a division among the people because of him.
44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
45 Then came the officers to the Chief Priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
15 Matt. 2. 5. 16 Chap. 3. 2.
48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
50 Nicodemus saith unto them, ("he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
53 And every man went unto his own house.
17 Deut. 17. 8, &c. and 19. 15.
Verse 15. "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?"-It may be necessary to preclude the impression which some readers might entertain, that the persons who made this remark-and who were, doubtless, themselves persons of education-wondered that Jesus had any education, even the common education of reading and writing. At this merely they could not have wondered; for the Jews paid considerable attention to the education of the peoplefar more so than was then usual in other nations; and it would seem that the great body of the people could read and write. What therefore is here meant by "letters" (para) must therefore be understood erudition or learning; which. among the Jews, consisted in a critical knowledge of the sacred writings; and, into whatever branches it might, or might seem, to ramify, was wholly centered thereon. The persons who make this remark did therefore doubtless wonder that Christ, without having frequented the schools and teachings of their learned men, was so abundantly endowed with all that learning in the Scriptures, and more than all that power of adducing them for argument, instruction, and reproof, for which many years of anxious study were usually required. There is no objection to our translation, however, since the word "letters," although liable to be misunderstood, is used in our language as synonymous with "literature;” as indeed was litera among the Latin writers.
37. The last day, that great day of the feast."-See the note on Levit. xxiii. 34; in which we have noticed the feast of tabernacles. In this note it is shown that the proper feast of tabernacles lasted seven days; but that the feast of in-gathering followed on the eighth day; from which connection the whole festival, of eight days, came in some sort to be considered as one, and to be called indifferently the feast of tabernacles" or "the feast of in-gathering." This, of course, renders it difficult to decide whether the "last day," called here the great day of the feast, was the seventh day, being the last of the proper feast of tabernacles, or the eighth. being the last of the whole feat. We expressed an opinion that the latter was to be understood, and to this opinion we are still disposed to adhere. The eighth day might well be, on several accounts, distinguished as "the great day of the feast," for although the number of victims, gradually diminishing from the commencement, was less on this day than on any other, because this was the last feast-day of the year; and because it was held that, on the previous seven days, supplications and sacrifices were offered for the whole world; but that the solemnities of the eighth day were wholly on their own behalf: and from this cause alone, they would naturally be induced to regard it as peculiarly distinguished and important.
"If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."--Our Lord may here be supposed to allude to a remarkable ceremony, which took place on the last day of the feast, and concerning which not the least direction was given by Moses. The priest, properly attended, repaired to the pool of Siloam, from which he drew water with a golden pitcher. and, returning to the Temple by the Water gate, poured it out, mixed with wine, upon the sacrifice on the altar. Manifestations of great joy, with the sounding of horns and trumpets, attended this ceremony; so that it became a common proverb, "He who never saw the rejoicing of drawing water, never saw rejoicing in all his life." This custom was alleged to be founded on the passage, Isa. xii. 3, " With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." But the Jewish writers themselves differ greatly as to the origin and object of the ceremony. This singular libation was performed every day of the feast; and it is in itself highly probable that our Lord, who often borrowed parabolical or metaphorical ornament from passing circumstances, was actually witnessing this ceremony when he addressed these striking words to the people.
46. "Never man spake like this man."-Many instances might be adduced of officers of justice, heralds, murderers, and others, whose hearts have been melted or awed, and their stern purposes defeated, by the eloquence or majesty of the persons against whom they were to have acted. But we know of no example that equals this; for in all such cases the messengers were either overpowered by the eloquent pleas or stern rebukes of their intended victim, or, still more commonly, by his dignity in humiliation, and by the sudden recollection of his great qualities or services, and the touching contrast of what he had been with what he was. But, in the present case, the officers, probably without any previous knowledge of Christ or respect for him, are turned aside from their purpose, merely by hearing one of his discourses to the people.
49. "This people who knoweth not the law are cursed."-Here we have another instance of the sovereign contempt in which the common people were held by those who esteemed themselves learned. We have already adverted to this subject, and need not expatiate on it here. It would, however, be very interesting to inquire what it was that these learned and self-sufficient men understood by "the law," of which the people are declared by them to be ignorant. We believe that the people, from constantly and repeatedly hearing the books of Moses read in the synagogues, and from reading them for themselves, had a very fair acquaintance with the written law. But it appears, throughout the Gospels, that the learned men of the time laid great stress upon what are called "the traditions of the elders," forming at that time an unwritten law, delivered orally from the one great teacher to another, and to those disciples who cultivated the higher branches of education, but of which the mass of the people were ignorant. Their ignorance of all the