Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 9 (John 1:9)

Which lighteth every man - As Christ is the Spring and Fountain of all wisdom, so all the wisdom that is in man comes from him; the human intellect is a ray from his brightness; and reason itself springs from this Logos, the eternal reason. Some of the most eminent rabbins understand Isaiah 60:1 , Rise and shine, for thy Light is come, of the Messiah who was to illuminate Israel, and who, they believe, was referred to in that word, Genesis 1:3 , And God said, Let there be Light; and there was light. Let a Messiah be provided; and a Messiah was accordingly provided. See Schoettgen.

That cometh into the world - Or, coming into the world - ερχομενον εις τον κοσμον : a common phrase among the rabbins, to express every human being. As the human creature sees the light of the world as soon as it is born, from which it had been excluded while in the womb of its parent; in like manner, this heavenly light shines into the soul of every man, to convince of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and it is through this light, which no man brings into the world with him, but which Christ mercifully gives to him on his coming into it, that what is termed conscience among men is produced. No man could discern good from evil, were it not for this light thus supernaturally and graciously restored. There was much light in the law, but this shone only upon the Jews; but the superior light of the Gospel is to be diffused over the face of the whole earth.

The following not only proves what is asserted in this verse, but is also an excellent illustration of it.

The Gayatri, or holiest verse of the Vedas, i.e. the ancient Hindoo Scriptures.

"Let us adore the supremacy of that divine Sun, the Godhead who illuminates all, who re-creates all; from whom all proceed; to whom all must return; whom we invoke to direct our understandings aright, in our progress towards his holy seat."

The ancient comment.

"What the sun and light are to this visible world, that are the supreme good and truth to the intellectual and invisible universe; and, as our corporeal eyes have a distinct perception of objects enlightened by the sun, thus our souls acquire certain knowledge by meditating on the light of truth, which emanates from the Being of beings; that is the light by which alone our minds can be directed in the path to blessedness." Sir Wm. Jones's works, vol. vi. p. 417.

Sir William observes that the original word Bhargas, which he translates Godhead, consists of three consonants, and is derived from bha , to shine; ram , to delight; and gam , to move: - the Being who is the light, the source of happiness, and the all-pervading energy.

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible