The Pulpit Commentary

John 7:1-53 (John 7:1-53)

John 7:1-53 . consists of three distinct parts:

Verses 7:1-8:11

3. Christ as the Source of truth.

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John 7:20-24 (John 7:20-24)

(3) Treatment of the ignorance and insolence of the multitude.

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John 7:22 (John 7:22)

Moses on this account (for this cause) £ hath given (assigned) you the circumcision ( not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers ). If we accept the text as above, the question arises—Does it refer to the parenthetical clause or to the principal verb? Meyer renders as follows: "Therefore Moses gave you circumcision, not because it originated with Moses, but (because it originated) with the fathers, and so ye circumcise," etc., making the precedence of the law of circumcision to the sabbatic law part of the very purport of his appointment. But many others, "For this cause"—to teach this lesson—Moses, who gave the ten commandments, one of which involved the sabbatic rest, took up into the Law which he gave you the still older law of the Abrahamic covenant, and laid down the stringent rule that the rite must be performed on the eighth day (Le John 12:3 )—a principle which was seen to involve the infringement of the sabbath law. This is, in substance, the view of Moulton, Lange, Westcott, and others. To expound the διὰ τούτο by the οὐχ ὅτι is (Westcott) contrary to the usage of 2 Corinthians 1:24 ; 2 Corinthians 3:5 ; Philippians 4:17 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:9 ; but it is still more against the argument. Moses did not give circumcision because it was of the fathers,—at least that is not the point; but Jesus argues that he gave circumcision as a mode of legislation which will involve a modification of his own sabbatic regimen. Stringent as was the law of the sabbath, it would have, on occasion, to yield to the more searching and stringent rule of admission into the covenant of grace. "If the sabbath could give way to a mere ceremonial law, how much more to a work of mercy, which is older and higher than any ritual!" 'Mish. Sabb.,' 19:1, fol. 128, b , "Everything required for circumcision may be completed on the sabbath;" and so 19:2. The reason is given: 'Midrash Tanchuma,' fol. 9, b , "The healing of a sick man dangerously ill, and circumcision, break through the sabbath sanctity."

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John 7:19-24 (John 7:19-24)

Justification of his conduct.

The allusion to unrighteousness is the point of transition from Christ's teaching to his conduct.


1 . He had healed the impotent man at a former visit to Jerusalem on the sabbath day. "I have done one work, and ye all marvel."

2 . The Jews would have stoned him as a transgressor for the act. " Why do ye seek to kill me?" He knows the designs of the rulers, though the multitude may not have suspected them, and therefore say, "Thou hast a devil: who seeketh to kill thee?" But Jesus meekly passes over the reproach without a reply.

II. HE RETORTS UPON THE JEWS EXACTLY THE SAME CHARGE . "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?" He refers to the sabbath law, and shows that it allowed circumcision to be performed on the sabbath. "For this cause hath Moses given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers); and on the sabbath ye circumcise a man."

1 . They ought not, therefore, to condemn in Jesus what they approved in Moses; for the healing of the impotent man was as necessary as the circumcision of a child on the sabbath.

2 . The principle he lays down derives its force from the fact that "the sabbath was made for man." Man is more than the sabbath.

3 . The fairness of Christ's argument. "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." The argumentum ad hominem is

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