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John 9:1-7

Context
Healing a Man Born Blind

9:1 Now as Jesus was passing by, 1  he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 9:2 His disciples asked him, 2  “Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man 3  or his parents?” 4  9:3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man 5  nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that 6  the acts 7  of God may be revealed 8  through what happens to him. 9  9:4 We must perform the deeds 10  of the one who sent me 11  as long as 12  it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work. 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 13  9:6 Having said this, 14  he spat on the ground and made some mud 15  with the saliva. He 16  smeared the mud on the blind man’s 17  eyes 9:7 and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” 18  (which is translated “sent”). 19  So the blind man 20  went away and washed, and came back seeing.

John 9:39

Context
9:39 Jesus 21  said,] 22  “For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may gain their sight, 23  and the ones who see may become blind.”

1 tn Or “going along.” The opening words of chap. 9, καὶ παράγων (kai paragwn), convey only the vaguest indication of the circumstances.

sn Since there is no break with chap. 8, Jesus is presumably still in Jerusalem, and presumably not still in the temple area. The events of chap. 9 fall somewhere between the feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2) and the feast of the Dedication (John 10:22). But in the author’s narrative the connection exists – the incident recorded in chap. 9 (along with the ensuing debates with the Pharisees) serves as a real-life illustration of the claim Jesus made in 8:12, I am the light of the world. This is in fact the probable theological motivation behind the juxtaposition of these two incidents in the narrative. The second serves as an illustration of the first, and as a concrete example of the victory of light over darkness. One other thing which should be pointed out about the miracle recorded in chap. 9 is its messianic significance. In the OT it is God himself who is associated with the giving of sight to the blind (Exod 4:11, Ps 146:8). In a number of passages in Isa (29:18, 35:5, 42:7) it is considered to be a messianic activity.

2 tn Grk “asked him, saying.”

3 tn Grk “this one.”

4 tn Grk “in order that he should be born blind.”

sn The disciples assumed that sin (regardless of who committed it) was the cause of the man’s blindness. This was a common belief in Judaism; the rabbis used Ezek 18:20 to prove there was no death without sin, and Ps 89:33 to prove there was no punishment without guilt (the Babylonian Talmud, b. Shabbat 55a, although later than the NT, illustrates this). Thus in this case the sin must have been on the part of the man’s parents, or during his own prenatal existence. Song Rabbah 1:41 (another later rabbinic work) stated that when a pregnant woman worshiped in a heathen temple the unborn child also committed idolatry. This is only one example of how, in rabbinic Jewish thought, an unborn child was capable of sinning.

5 tn Grk “this one.”

6 tn Grk “but so that.” There is an ellipsis that must be supplied: “but [he was born blind] so that” or “but [it happened to him] so that.”

7 tn Or “deeds”; Grk “works.”

8 tn Or “manifested,” “brought to light.”

9 tn Grk “in him.”

10 tn Grk “We must work the works.”

11 tn Or “of him who sent me” (God).

12 tn Or “while.”

13 sn Jesus’ statement I am the light of the world connects the present account with 8:12. Here (seen more clearly than at 8:12) it is obvious what the author sees as the significance of Jesus’ statement. “Light” is not a metaphysical definition of the person of Jesus but a description of his effect on the world, forcing everyone in the world to ‘choose up sides’ for or against him (cf. 3:19-21).

14 tn Grk “said these things.”

15 tn Or “clay” (moistened earth of a clay-like consistency). The textual variant preserved in the Syriac text of Ephraem’s commentary on the Diatessaron (“he made eyes from his clay”) probably arose from the interpretation given by Irenaeus in Against Heresies: “that which the Artificer, the Word, had omitted to form in the womb, he then supplied in public.” This involves taking the clay as an allusion to Gen 2:7, which is very unlikely.

16 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the conjunction καί (kai) was replaced by a third person pronoun and a new sentence started here in the translation.

17 tn Grk “on his.”

18 tn The pool’s name in Hebrew is shiloah from the Hebrew verb “to send.” In Gen 49:10 the somewhat obscure shiloh was interpreted messianically by later Jewish tradition, and some have seen a lexical connection between the two names (although this is somewhat dubious). It is known, however, that it was from the pool of Siloam that the water which was poured out at the altar during the feast of Tabernacles was drawn.

19 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. Why does he comment on the meaning of the name of the pool? Here, the significance is that the Father sent the Son, and the Son sent the man born blind. The name of the pool is applicable to the man, but also to Jesus himself, who was sent from heaven.

20 tn Grk “So he”; the referent (the blind man) is specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn Grk “And Jesus.” 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.

22 tc ‡ Some early and important witnesses (Ì75 א* W b sams ac2 mf) lack the words, “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him. Jesus said,” (vv. 38-39a). This is weighty evidence for the omission of these words. It is difficult to overstate the value of Ì75 here, since it is the only currently available papyrus ms extant for the text of John 9:38-39. Further, א is an important and early Alexandrian witness for the omission. The versional testimony and codex W also give strong support to the omission. Nearly all other mss, however, include these words. The omission may have been occasioned by parablepsis (both vv. 37 and 39 begin with “Jesus said to him”), though it is difficult to account for such an error across such a wide variety of witnesses. On the other hand, the longer reading appears to be motivated by liturgical concerns (so R. E. Brown, John [AB], 1:375), since the verb προσκυνέω (proskunew, “I worship”) is used in John 4:20-25 of worshiping God, and again with the same sense in 12:20. If these words were authentic here, this would be the only place in John’s Gospel where Jesus is the explicit object of προσκυνέω. Even if these words are not authentic, such an omission would nevertheless hardly diminish John’s high Christology (cf. 1:1; 5:18-23; 14:6-10; 20:28), nor the implicit worship of him by Thomas (20:28). Nevertheless, a decision is difficult, and the included words may reflect a very early tradition about the blind man’s response to Jesus.

23 tn Or “that those who do not see may see.”



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