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John 10:1-18

Context
Jesus as the Good Shepherd

10:1 “I tell you the solemn truth, 1  the one who does not enter the sheepfold 2  by the door, 3  but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 10:2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 10:3 The doorkeeper 4  opens the door 5  for him, 6  and the sheep hear his voice. He 7  calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 8  10:4 When he has brought all his own sheep 9  out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize 10  his voice. 10:5 They will never follow a stranger, 11  but will run away from him, because they do not recognize 12  the stranger’s voice.” 13  10:6 Jesus told them this parable, 14  but they 15  did not understand 16  what he was saying to them.

10:7 So Jesus said to them again, “I tell you the solemn truth, 17  I am the door for the sheep. 18  10:8 All who came before me were 19  thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 20  10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, 21  and find pasture. 22  10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill 23  and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. 24 

10:11 “I am the good 25  shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life 26  for the sheep. 10:12 The hired hand, 27  who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons 28  the sheep and runs away. 29  So the wolf attacks 30  the sheep and scatters them. 10:13 Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, 31  he runs away. 32 

10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I 33  know my own 34  and my own know me – 10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life 35  for 36  the sheep. 10:16 I have 37  other sheep that do not come from 38  this sheepfold. 39  I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, 40  so that 41  there will be one flock and 42  one shepherd. 10:17 This is why the Father loves me 43  – because I lay down my life, 44  so that I may take it back again. 10:18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down 45  of my own free will. 46  I have the authority 47  to lay it down, and I have the authority 48  to take it back again. This commandment 49  I received from my Father.”

1 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

2 sn There was more than one type of sheepfold in use in Palestine in Jesus’ day. The one here seems to be a courtyard in front of a house (the Greek word used for the sheepfold here, αὐλή [aulh] frequently refers to a courtyard), surrounded by a stone wall (often topped with briars for protection).

3 tn Or “entrance.”

4 tn Or “porter” (British English).

sn There have been many attempts to identify who the doorkeeper represents, none of which are convincing. More likely there are some details in this parable that are included for the sake of the story, necessary as parts of the overall picture but without symbolic significance.

5 tn The words “the door” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context.

6 tn Grk “For this one.”

7 tn Grk “And he.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

8 sn He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. Some interpreters have suggested that there was more than one flock in the fold, and there would be a process of separation where each shepherd called out his own flock. This may also be suggested by the mention of a doorkeeper in v. 3 since only the larger sheepfolds would have such a guard. But the Gospel of John never mentions a distinction among the sheep in this fold; in fact (10:16) there are other sheep which are to be brought in, but they are to be one flock and one shepherd.

9 tn The word “sheep” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

10 tn Grk “because they know.”

11 tn Or “someone whom they do not know.”

12 tn Grk “know.”

13 tn Or “the voice of someone they do not know.”

14 sn A parable is a fairly short narrative that has symbolic meaning. The Greek word παροιμίαν (paroimian) is used again in 16:25, 29. This term does not occur in the synoptic gospels, where παραβολή (parabolh) is used. Nevertheless it is similar, denoting a short narrative with figurative or symbolic meaning.

15 tn Grk “these.”

16 tn Or “comprehend.”

17 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

18 tn Or “I am the sheep’s door.”

19 tn Grk “are” (present tense).

20 tn Or “the sheep did not hear them.”

21 tn Since the Greek phrase εἰσέρχομαι καὶ ἐξέρχομαι (eisercomai kai exercomai, “come in and go out”) is in some places an idiom for living or conducting oneself in relationship to some community (“to live with, to live among” [cf. Acts 1:21; see also Num 27:17; 2 Chr 1:10]), it may well be that Jesus’ words here look forward to the new covenant community of believers. Another significant NT text is Luke 9:4, where both these verbs occur in the context of the safety and security provided by a given household for the disciples. See also BDAG 294 s.v. εἰσέρχομαι 1.b.β.

22 sn That is, pasture land in contrast to cultivated land.

23 tn That is, “to slaughter” (in reference to animals).

24 tn That is, more than one would normally expect or anticipate.

25 tn Or “model” (see R. E. Brown, John [AB], 1:386, who argues that “model” is a more exact translation of καλός [kalos] here).

26 tn Or “The good shepherd dies willingly.”

sn Jesus speaks openly of his vicarious death twice in this section (John 10:11, 15). Note the contrast: The thief takes the life of the sheep (10:10), the good shepherd lays down his own life for the sheep. Jesus is not speaking generally here, but specifically: He has his own substitutionary death on the cross in view. For a literal shepherd with a literal flock, the shepherd’s death would have spelled disaster for the sheep; in this instance it spells life for them (Compare the worthless shepherd of Zech 11:17, by contrast).

27 sn Jesus contrasts the behavior of the shepherd with that of the hired hand. This is a worker who is simply paid to do a job; he has no other interest in the sheep and is certainly not about to risk his life for them. When they are threatened, he simply runs away.

28 tn Grk “leaves.”

29 tn Or “flees.”

30 tn Or “seizes.” The more traditional rendering, “snatches,” has the idea of seizing something by force and carrying it off, which is certainly possible here. However, in the sequence in John 10:12, this action precedes the scattering of the flock of sheep, so “attacks” is preferable.

31 tn Grk “does not have a care for the sheep.”

32 tc The phrase “he runs away” is lacking in several important mss (Ì44vid,45,66,75 א A*vid B D L [W] Θ 1 33 1241 al co). Most likely it was added by a later scribe to improve the readability of vv. 12-13, which is one long sentence in Greek. It has been included in the translation for the same stylistic reasons.

33 tn Grk “And I.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

34 tn The direct object is frequently omitted in Greek and must be supplied from the context. Here it could be “sheep,” but Jesus was ultimately talking about “people.”

35 tn Or “I die willingly.”

36 tn Or “on behalf of” or “for the sake of.”

37 tn Grk “And I have.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

38 tn Or “that do not belong to”; Grk “that are not of.”

39 sn The statement I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold almost certainly refers to Gentiles. Jesus has sheep in the fold who are Jewish; there are other sheep which, while not of the same fold, belong to him also. This recalls the mission of the Son in 3:16-17, which was to save the world – not just the nation of Israel. Such an emphasis would be particularly appropriate to the author if he were writing to a non-Palestinian and primarily non-Jewish audience.

40 tn Grk “they will hear my voice.”

41 tn Grk “voice, and.”

42 tn The word “and” is not in the Greek text, but must be supplied to conform to English style. In Greek it is an instance of asyndeton (omission of a connective), usually somewhat emphatic.

43 tn Grk “Because of this the Father loves me.”

44 tn Or “die willingly.”

45 tn Or “give it up.”

46 tn Or “of my own accord.” “Of my own free will” is given by BDAG 321 s.v. ἐμαυτοῦ c.

47 tn Or “I have the right.”

48 tn Or “I have the right.”

49 tn Or “order.”



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