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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

John 2



Other Authors
Verse 1

John 2:1-12. First miracle, water made wine - Brief visit to Capernaum.

third day — He would take two days to reach Galilee, and this was the third.

mother there — it being probably some relative‘s marriage. John never names her [Bengel].

Verse 3

no wine — evidently expecting some display of His glory, and hinting that now was His time.

Verse 4-5

Woman — no term of disrespect in the language of that day (John 19:26).

what … to do with thee — that is, “In my Father‘s business I have to do with Him only.” It was a gentle rebuke for officious interference, entering a region from which all creatures were excluded (compare Acts 4:19, Acts 4:20).

mine hour, etc. — hinting that He would do something, but at His own time; and so she understood it (John 2:5).

Verse 6

firkins — about seven and a half gallons in Jewish, or nine in Attic measure; each of these huge water jars, therefore, holding some twenty or more gallons, for washings at such feasts (Mark 7:4).

Verse 7-8

Fill … draw … bear — directing all, but Himself touching nothing, to prevent all appearance of collusion.

Verse 9-10

well drunk — “drunk abundantly” (as Song of Solomon 5:1), speaking of the general practice.

Verse 10

the good wine … until now — thus testifying, while ignorant of the source of supply, not only that it was real wine, but better than any at the feast.

Verse 11

manifested forth his glory — Nothing in the least like this is said of the miracles of prophet or apostle, nor could without manifest blasphemy be said of any mere creature. Observe, (1) At a marriage Christ made His first public appearance in any company, and at a marriage He wrought His first miracle - the noblest sanction that could be given to that God-given institution. (2) As the miracle did not make bad good, but good better, so Christianity only redeems, sanctifies, and ennobles the beneficent but abused institution of marriage; and Christ‘s whole work only turns the water of earth into the wine of heaven. Thus “this beginning of miracles” exhibited the character and “manifested forth the glory” of His entire Mission. (3) As Christ countenanced our seasons of festivity, so also that greater fullness which befits such; so far was He from encouraging that asceticism which has since been so often put for all religion. (4) The character and authority ascribed by Romanists to the Virgin is directly in the teeth of this and other scriptures.

Verse 12

Capernaum — on the Sea of Galilee. (See on Matthew 9:1).

his mother and his brethren — (See on Luke 2:51, and see on Matthew 13:54-56).

Verse 13

John 2:13-25. Christ‘s first Passover - First cleansing of the Temple.

Verses 14-17

in the temple — not the temple itself, as John 2:19-21, but the temple-court.

sold oxen, etc. — for the convenience of those who had to offer them in sacrifice.

changers of money — of Roman into Jewish money, in which the temple dues (see on Matthew 17:24) had to be paid.

Verse 15

small cords — likely some of the rushes spread for bedding, and when twisted used to tie up the cattle there collected. “Not by this slender whip but by divine majesty was the ejection accomplished, the whip being but a sign of the scourge of divine anger” [Grotius].

poured out … overthrew — thus expressing the mingled indignation and authority of the impulse.

Verse 16

my Father‘s house — How close the resemblance of these remarkable words to Luke 2:49; the same consciousness of intrinsic relation to the temple - as the seat of His Father‘s most august worship, and so the symbol of all that is due to Him on earth - dictating both speeches. Only, when but a youth, with no authority, He was simply “a SON IN His own house”; now He was “a SON OVER His own house” (Hebrews 3:6), the proper Representative, and in flesh “the Heir,” of his Father‘s rights.

house of merchandise — There was nothing wrong in the merchandise; but to bring it, for their own and others‘ convenience, into that most sacred place, was a high-handed profanation which the eye of Jesus could not endure.

Verse 17

eaten me up — a glorious feature in the predicted character of the suffering Messiah (Psalm 69:9), and rising high even in some not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes. (Exodus 32:19, etc.).

Verses 18-22

What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? — Though the act and the words of Christ, taken together, were sign enough, they were unconvinced: yet they were awed, and though at His very next appearance at Jerusalem they “sought to kill Him” for speaking of “His Father” just as He did now (John 5:18), they, at this early stage, only ask a sign.

Verse 19

Destroy this temple, etc. — (See on Mark 14:58, Mark 14:59).

Verse 20

Forty and six years — From the eighteenth year of Herod till then was just forty-six years [Josephus, Antiquities, 15.11.1].

Verse 21

temple of his body — in which was enshrined the glory of the eternal Word. (See on John 1:14). By its resurrection the true Temple of God upon earth was reared up, of which the stone one was but a shadow; so that the allusion is not quite exclusively to Himself, but takes in that Temple of which He is the foundation, and all believers are the “lively stones.” (1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:5).

Verse 22

believed the scripture — on this subject; that is, what was meant, which was hid from them till then. Mark (1) The act by which Christ signalized His first public appearance in the Temple. Taking “His fan in His hand, He purges His floor,” not thoroughly indeed, but enough to foreshadow His last act towards that faithless people - to sweep them out of God‘s house. (2) The sign of His authority to do this is the announcement, at this first outset of His ministry, of that coming death by their hands, and resurrection by His own, which were to pave the way for their judicial ejection.

Verses 23-25

in the feast day — the foregoing things occurring probably before the feast began.

many believed — superficially, struck merely by “the miracles He did.” Of these we have no record.

Verse 24

did not commit — “entrust,” or let Himself down familiarly to them, as to His genuine disciples.

Verse 25

knew what was in man — It is impossible for language more clearly to assert of Christ what in Jeremiah 17:9, Jeremiah 17:10, and elsewhere, is denied of all mere creatures.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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