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John 4:46-53

Context
Healing the Royal Official’s Son

4:46 Now he came again to Cana 1  in Galilee where he had made the water wine. 2  In 3  Capernaum 4  there was a certain royal official 5  whose son was sick. 4:47 When he heard that Jesus had come back from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and begged him 6  to come down and heal his son, who was about to die. 4:48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people 7  see signs and wonders you will never believe!” 8  4:49 “Sir,” the official said to him, “come down before my child dies.” 4:50 Jesus told him, “Go home; 9  your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and set off for home. 10 

4:51 While he was on his way down, 11  his slaves 12  met him and told him that his son was going to live. 4:52 So he asked them the time 13  when his condition began to improve, 14  and 15  they told him, “Yesterday at one o’clock in the afternoon 16  the fever left him.” 4:53 Then the father realized that it was the very time 17  Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he himself believed along with his entire household.

1 map For location see Map1 C3; Map2 D2; Map3 C5.

2 sn See John 2:1-11.

3 tn Grk “And in.”

4 sn Capernaum was a town on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region.

map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.

5 tn Although βασιλικός (basiliko") has often been translated “nobleman” it is almost certainly refers here to a servant of Herod, tetrarch of Galilee (who in the NT is called a king, Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14-29). Capernaum was a border town, so doubtless there were many administrative officials in residence there.

6 tn The direct object of ἠρώτα (hrwta) is supplied from context. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

7 tn The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied to indicate that the verb is second person plural (referring to more than the royal official alone).

8 tn Or “you never believe.” The verb πιστεύσητε (pisteushte) is aorist subjunctive and may have either nuance.

9 tn Grk “Go”; the word “home” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

10 tn Grk “and left.” The words “for home” are implied by the following verse.

11 sn While he was on his way down. Going to Capernaum from Cana, one must go east across the Galilean hills and then descend to the Sea of Galilee. The 20 mi (33 km) journey could not be made in a single day. The use of the description on his way down shows the author was familiar with Palestinian geography.

12 tn Traditionally, “servants.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

13 tn Grk “the hour.”

14 tn BDAG 558 s.v. κομψότερον translates the idiom κομψότερον ἔχειν (komyoteron ecein) as “begin to improve.”

15 tn The second οὖν (oun) in 4:52 has been translated as “and” to improve English style by avoiding redundancy.

16 tn Grk “at the seventh hour.”

17 tn Grk “at that hour.”



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