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John 9:7-33

9:7 and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” 1  (which is translated “sent”). 2  So the blind man 3  went away and washed, and came back seeing.

9:8 Then the neighbors and the people who had seen him previously 4  as a beggar began saying, 5  “Is this not the man 6  who used to sit and beg?” 9:9 Some people said, 7  “This is the man!” 8  while others said, “No, but he looks like him.” 9  The man himself 10  kept insisting, “I am the one!” 11  9:10 So they asked him, 12  “How then were you made to see?” 13  9:11 He replied, 14  “The man called Jesus made mud, 15  smeared it 16  on my eyes and told me, 17  ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and was able to see.” 18  9:12 They said 19  to him, “Where is that man?” 20  He replied, 21  “I don’t know.”

The Pharisees’ Reaction to the Healing

9:13 They brought the man who used to be blind 22  to the Pharisees. 23  9:14 (Now the day on which Jesus made the mud 24  and caused him to see 25  was a Sabbath.) 26  9:15 So the Pharisees asked him again how he had gained his sight. 27  He replied, 28  “He put mud 29  on my eyes and I washed, and now 30  I am able to see.”

9:16 Then some of the Pharisees began to say, 31  “This man is not from God, because he does not observe 32  the Sabbath.” 33  But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform 34  such miraculous signs?” Thus there was a division 35  among them. 9:17 So again they asked the man who used to be blind, 36  “What do you say about him, since he caused you to see?” 37  “He is a prophet,” the man replied. 38 

9:18 Now the Jewish religious leaders 39  refused to believe 40  that he had really been blind and had gained his sight until at last they summoned 41  the parents of the man who had become able to see. 42  9:19 They asked the parents, 43  “Is this your son, whom you say 44  was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 9:20 So his parents replied, 45  “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 9:21 But we do not know how he is now able to see, nor do we know who caused him to see. 46  Ask him, he is a mature adult. 47  He will speak for himself.” 9:22 (His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jewish religious leaders. 48  For the Jewish leaders had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus 49  to be the Christ 50  would be put out 51  of the synagogue. 52  9:23 For this reason his parents said, “He is a mature adult, 53  ask him.”) 54 

9:24 Then they summoned 55  the man who used to be blind 56  a second time and said to him, “Promise before God to tell the truth. 57  We know that this man 58  is a sinner.” 9:25 He replied, 59  “I do not know whether he is a sinner. I do know one thing – that although I was blind, now I can see.” 9:26 Then they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he cause you to see?” 60  9:27 He answered, 61  “I told you already and you didn’t listen. 62  Why do you want to hear it 63  again? You people 64  don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?”

9:28 They 65  heaped insults 66  on him, saying, 67  “You are his disciple! 68  We are disciples of Moses! 9:29 We know that God has spoken to Moses! We do not know where this man 69  comes from!” 9:30 The man replied, 70  “This is a remarkable thing, 71  that you don’t know where he comes from, and yet he caused me to see! 72  9:31 We know that God doesn’t listen to 73  sinners, but if anyone is devout 74  and does his will, God 75  listens to 76  him. 77  9:32 Never before 78  has anyone heard of someone causing a man born blind to see. 79  9:33 If this man 80  were not from God, he could do nothing.”

1 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.

2 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.

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

4 tn Or “formerly.”

5 tn An ingressive force (“began saying”) is present here because the change in status of the blind person provokes this new response from those who knew him.

6 tn Grk “the one.”

7 tn Grk “Others were saying.”

8 tn Grk “This is the one.”

9 tn Grk “No, but he is like him.”

10 tn Grk “That one”; the referent (the man himself) is specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn Grk “I am he.”

12 tn Grk “So they were saying to him.”

13 tn Grk “How then were your eyes opened” (an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

14 tn Grk “That one answered.”

15 tn Or “clay” (moistened earth of a clay-like consistency).

16 tn Grk “and smeared.” Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when obvious from the context.

17 tn Grk “said to me.”

18 tn Or “and I gained my sight.”

19 tn Grk “And they said.”

20 tn Grk “that one.” “Man” is more normal English style for the referent.

21 tn Grk “He said.”

22 tn Grk “who was formerly blind.”

23 sn See the note on Pharisees in 1:24.

24 tn Or “clay” (moistened earth of a clay-like consistency).

25 tn Grk “and opened his eyes” (an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

26 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

27 tn Or “how he had become able to see.”

sn So the Pharisees asked him. Note the subtlety here: On the surface, the man is being judged. But through him, Jesus is being judged. Yet in reality (as the discerning reader will realize) it is ironically the Pharisees themselves who are being judged by their response to Jesus who is the light of the world (cf. 3:17-21).

28 tn Grk “And he said to them.”

29 tn Or “clay” (moistened earth of a clay-like consistency).

30 tn The word “now” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied to indicate the contrast between the man’s former state (blind) and his present state (able to see).

31 tn As a response to the answers of the man who used to be blind, the use of the imperfect tense in the reply of the Pharisees is best translated as an ingressive imperfect (“began to say” or “started saying”).

32 tn Grk “he does not keep.”

33 sn The Jewish religious leaders considered the work involved in making the mud to be a violation of the Sabbath.

34 tn Grk “do.”

35 tn Or “So there was discord.”

36 tn Grk “the blind man.”

37 tn Grk “since he opened your eyes” (an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

38 tn Grk “And he said, ‘He is a prophet.’”

sn At this point the man, pressed by the Pharisees, admitted there was something special about Jesus. But here, since prophet is anarthrous (is not accompanied by the Greek article) and since in his initial reply in 9:11-12 the man showed no particular insight into the true identity of Jesus, this probably does not refer to the prophet of Deut 18:15, but merely to an unusual person who is capable of working miracles. The Pharisees had put this man on the spot, and he felt compelled to say something about Jesus, but he still didn’t have a clear conception of who Jesus was, so he labeled him a “prophet.”

39 tn Or “the Jewish religious 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 refers mainly to the Pharisees, mentioned by name in John 9:13, 15, 16. References in this context to Pharisees and to the synagogue (v. 22) suggest an emphasis on the religious nature of the debate which is brought out by the translation “the Jewish religious leaders.”

40 tn The Greek text contains the words “about him” at this point: “the Jewish authorities did not believe about him…”

41 tn Grk “they called.”

42 tn Or “the man who had gained his sight.”

43 tn Grk “and they asked them, saying”; the referent (the parents) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

44 tn The Greek pronoun and verb are both plural (both parents are addressed).

45 tn Grk “So his parents answered and said.”

46 tn Grk “who opened his eyes” (an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

47 tn Or “he is of age.”

48 tn Or “the Jewish religious authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” Twice in this verse the phrase refers to the Pharisees, mentioned by name in John 9:13, 15, 16. The second occurrence is shortened to “the Jewish leaders” for stylistic reasons. See the note on the phrase “the Jewish religious leaders” in v. 18.

49 tn Grk “confessed him.”

50 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).

sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.

51 tn Or “would be expelled from.”

52 sn This reference to excommunication from the Jewish synagogue for those who had made some sort of confession about Jesus being the Messiah is dismissed as anachronistic by some (e.g., Barrett) and nonhistorical by others. In later Jewish practice there were at least two forms of excommunication: a temporary ban for thirty days, and a permanent ban. But whether these applied in NT times is far from certain. There is no substantial evidence for a formal ban on Christians until later than this Gospel could possibly have been written. This may be a reference to some form of excommunication adopted as a contingency to deal with those who were proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah. If so, there is no other record of the procedure than here. It was probably local, limited to the area around Jerusalem. See also the note on synagogue in 6:59.

53 tn Or “he is of age.”

54 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author explaining the parents’ response.

55 tn Grk “they called.”

56 tn Grk “who was blind.”

57 tn Grk “Give glory to God” (an idiomatic formula used in placing someone under oath to tell the truth).

58 tn The phrase “this man” is a reference to Jesus.

59 tn Grk “Then that one answered.”

60 tn Grk “open your eyes” (an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

61 tn Grk “He answered them.” The indirect object αὐτοῖς (autois) has not been translated for stylistic reasons.

62 tn Grk “you did not hear.”

63 tn “It” is not in the Greek text but has been supplied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when they were clearly implied in the context.

64 tn The word “people” is supplied in the translation to clarify the plural Greek pronoun and verb.

65 tn Grk “And they.” 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.

66 tn The Greek word means “to insult strongly” or “slander.”

67 tn Grk “and said.”

68 tn Grk “You are that one’s disciple.”

69 tn Grk “where this one.”

70 tn Grk “The man answered and said to them.” This has been simplified in the translation to “The man replied.”

71 tn Grk “For in this is a remarkable thing.”

72 tn Grk “and he opened my eyes” (an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

73 tn Grk “God does not hear.”

74 tn Or “godly.”

75 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

76 tn Or “hears.”

77 tn Grk “this one.”

78 tn Or “Never from the beginning of time,” Grk “From eternity.”

79 tn Grk “someone opening the eyes of a man born blind” (“opening the eyes” is an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

80 tn Grk “this one.”

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