2 tc It is difficult to decide between ἐζήτουν οὖν (ezhtoun oun, “then they were seeking”; Ì66 א A L W Ψ Ë1,13 33 pm lat), ἐζήτουν δέ (ezhtoun de, “now they were seeking”; Ì45 and a few versional witnesses), καὶ ἐζήτουν (kai ezhtoun, “and they were seeking”; D), and ἐζήτουν (Ì75vid B Γ Θ 700 pm). Externally, the most viable readings are ἐζήτουν οὖν and ἐζήτουν. Transcriptionally, the οὖν could have dropped out via haplography since the verb ends in the same three letters. On the other hand, it is difficult to explain the readings with δέ or καί if ἐζήτουν οὖν is original; such readings would more likely have arisen from the simple ἐζήτουν. Intrinsically, John is fond of οὖν, using it some 200 times. Further, this Gospel begins relatively few sentences without some conjunction. The minimal support for the δέ and καί readings suggests that they arose either from the lone verb reading (which would thus be prior to their respective Vorlagen but not necessarily the earliest reading) or through carelessness on the part of the scribes. Indeed, the ancestors of Ì45 and D may have committed haplography, leaving later scribes in the chain to guess at the conjunction needed. In sum, the best reading appears to be ἐζήτουν οὖν.
3 tn Grk “they were seeking.”
4 tn Grk “he departed out of their hand.”
sn It is not clear whether the authorities simply sought to “arrest” him, or were renewing their attempt to stone him (cf. John 10:31) by seizing him and taking him out to be stoned. In either event, Jesus escaped their clutches. Nor is it clear whether Jesus’ escape is to be understood as a miracle. If so, the text gives little indication and even less description. What is clear is that until his “hour” comes, Jesus is completely safe from the hands of men: His enemies are powerless to touch him until they are permitted to do so.