Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 30 (John 14:30)

The prince of this world - Τουτου , of this, is omitted by ABDEGHKLMS, Mt. BH, one hundred others; both the Syriac, later Persic, all the Arabic, and several of the primitive fathers. I rather think the omission of the pronoun makes the sense more general; for, had he said This world, the words might have been restrained to the Jewish state, or to the Roman government. But who is the person called here the prince of the world?

  1. Mr. Wakefield thinks that Christ speaks here of himself, as he does in John 12:31 , (see the note there), and translates this verse and the following thus: For the ruler of this world is coming; and I have nothing now to do, but to convince the world that I love the Father, and do as he commanded me. On which he observes that our Lord speaks of what he shall be, when he comes again, and not of what he then was: compare John 14:18 ; John 16:16 ; John 17:2 ; Matthew 28:18 ; Philemon 2:9 . And how often does he speak of himself, as the Son of man, in the third person! See his vindication of this translation in the third vol. of his New Testament.
  • Others think that our Lord refers to the Roman government, the ruler of the world, who, by its deputy, Pilate, was going to judge him, but who should find nothing ( εὑρησει ουδεν , which is the reading found in some excellent MSS. and versions, and is followed by almost all the primitive fathers), as a just cause of death in him - nothing in the whole of his conduct which was in the least reprehensible; and this indeed Pilate witnessed in the most solemn manner. See John 18:38 ; John 19:4 , John 19:12 ; see also Luke 23:4 , etc., and Matthew 27:24 .
  • 3. But the most general opinion is that Satan is meant, who is called the prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:2 ; and who is supposed to be the same that is called the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4 ; and who at his last and most desperate trial, the agony in the garden, should be convinced that there was nothing of his nature in Christ, nothing that would coincide with his solicitations, and that he should find himself completely foiled in all his attacks, and plainly foresee the impending ruin of his kingdom. It is very difficult to ascertain the real meaning here: of the different opinions proposed above, the reader must take that which he deems the most likely.

    - Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible