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John 7:1-9

Context
The Feast of Tabernacles

7:1 After this 1  Jesus traveled throughout Galilee. 2  He 3  stayed out of Judea 4  because the Jewish leaders 5  wanted 6  to kill him. 7:2 Now the Jewish feast of Tabernacles 7  was near. 8  7:3 So Jesus’ brothers 9  advised him, “Leave here and go to Judea so your disciples may see your miracles that you are performing. 10  7:4 For no one who seeks to make a reputation for himself 11  does anything in secret. 12  If you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 7:5 (For not even his own brothers believed in him.) 13 

7:6 So Jesus replied, 14  “My time 15  has not yet arrived, 16  but you are ready at any opportunity! 17  7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I am testifying about it that its deeds are evil. 7:8 You go up 18  to the feast yourselves. I am not going up to this feast 19  because my time 20  has not yet fully arrived.” 21  7:9 When he had said this, he remained in Galilee.

1 sn Again, the transition is indicated by the imprecise temporal indicator After this. Clearly, though, the author has left out much of the events of Jesus’ ministry, because chap. 6 took place near the Passover (6:4). This would have been the Passover between winter/spring of a.d. 32, just one year before Jesus’ crucifixion (assuming a date of a.d. 33 for the crucifixion), or the Passover of winter/spring a.d. 29, assuming a date of a.d. 30 for the crucifixion.

2 tn Grk “Jesus was traveling around in Galilee.”

3 tn Grk “For he.” Here γάρ (gar, “for”) has not been translated.

4 tn Grk “he did not want to travel around in Judea.”

5 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” In NT usage the term ᾿Ιουδαῖοι (Ioudaioi) may refer to the entire Jewish people, the residents of Jerusalem and surrounding territory, the authorities in Jerusalem, or merely those who were hostile to Jesus. (For further information see R. G. Bratcher, “‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John,” BT 26 [1975]: 401-9.) Here the phrase should be restricted to the Jewish authorities or leaders who were Jesus’ primary opponents.

6 tn Grk “were seeking.”

7 tn Or “feast of the Tents” (the feast where people lived in tents or shelters, which was celebrated in the autumn after harvest). John’s use of σκηνοπηγία (skhnophgia) for the feast of Tabernacles constitutes the only use of this term in the New Testament.

8 sn Since the present verse places these incidents at the feast of Tabernacles (a.d. 29 or 32, depending on whether one dates the crucifixion in a.d. 30 or 33) there would have been a 6-month interval during which no events are recorded. The author is obviously selective in his approach; he is not recording an exhaustive history (as he will later tell the reader in John 21:25). After healing the paralytic on the Sabbath in Jerusalem (John 5:1-47), Jesus withdrew again to Galilee because of mounting opposition. In Galilee the feeding of the 5,000 took place, which marked the end of the Galilean ministry for all practical purposes. John 7:1-9 thus marks Jesus’ final departure from Galilee.

9 tn Grk “his brothers.”

sn Jesusbrothers. Jesus’ brothers (really his half-brothers) were mentioned previously by John in 2:12 (see the note on brothers there). They are also mentioned elsewhere in Matt 13:55 and Mark 6:3.

10 tn Grk “your deeds that you are doing.”

sn Should the advice by Jesus’ brothers, Leave here and go to Judea so your disciples may see your miracles that you are performing, be understood as a suggestion that he should attempt to win back the disciples who had deserted him earlier (6:66)? Perhaps. But it is also possible to take the words as indicating that if Jesus is going to put forward messianic claims (i.e., through miraculous signs) then he should do so in Jerusalem, not in the remote parts of Galilee. Such an understanding seems to fit better with the following verse. It would also indicate misunderstanding on the part of Jesus’ brothers of the true nature of his mission – he did not come as the royal Messiah of Jewish apocalyptic expectation, to be enthroned as king at this time.

11 tn Or “seeks to be well known.”

12 sn No one who seeks to make a reputation for himself does anything in secret means, in effect: “if you’re going to perform signs to authenticate yourself as Messiah, you should do them at Jerusalem.” (Jerusalem is where mainstream Jewish apocalyptic tradition held that Messiah would appear.)

13 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

14 tn Grk “Then Jesus said to them.”

15 tn Or “my opportunity.”

16 tn Or “is not yet here.”

17 tn Grk “your time is always ready.”

18 sn One always speaks of “going up” to Jerusalem in Jewish idiom, even though in western thought it is more common to speak of south as “down” (Jerusalem lies south of Galilee). The reason for the idiom is that Jerusalem was identified with Mount Zion in the OT, so that altitude was the issue.

19 tc Most mss (Ì66,75 B L T W Θ Ψ 070 0105 0250 Ë1,13 Ï sa), including most of the better witnesses, have “not yet” (οὔπω, oupw) here. Those with the reading οὐκ are not as impressive (א D K 1241 al lat), but οὐκ is the more difficult reading here, especially because it stands in tension with v. 10. On the one hand, it is possible that οὐκ arose because of homoioarcton: A copyist who saw oupw wrote ouk. However, it is more likely that οὔπω was introduced early on to harmonize with what is said two verses later. As for Jesus’ refusal to go up to the feast in v. 8, the statement does not preclude action of a different kind at a later point. Jesus may simply have been refusing to accompany his brothers with the rest of the group of pilgrims, preferring to travel separately and “in secret” (v. 10) with his disciples.

20 tn Although the word is καιρός (kairos) here, it parallels John’s use of ὥρα (Jwra) elsewhere as a reference to the time appointed for Jesus by the Father – the time of his return to the Father, characterized by his death, resurrection, and ascension (glorification). In the Johannine literature, synonyms are often interchanged for no apparent reason other than stylistic variation.

21 tn Or “my time has not yet come to an end” (a possible hint of Jesus’ death at Jerusalem); Grk “my time is not yet fulfilled.”



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