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32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they 'cast him
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind,
36 He answered and said, Who is he, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We Lord, that I might believe on him? see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Or, excommunicated him.
Verse 2. "Who did sin," &c.-Here we observe that the disciples took it for granted that the man was born blind, in punishment either for some fault of his parents-or of his own. That the child might suffer in body for the sins of his parents, was a received notion among the Jews, which does not require much explanation-unless, perhaps, that bodily deformities or defects in the children were more particularly thought to be the penal result, upon the child, of a neglect of the ritual observances by the parents.
But how an infant should be born blind, or otherwise defective or deformed, for any sin of its own, seems more difficult to explain. It is, however, usually explained by a reference to the doctrine of the metempsychosis, which is believed to have been held by the Pharisees, and to have been from them received by the people. That the Pharisees held this doctrine rests mainly on the testimony of Josephus, himself belonging to the sect, who thus states their opinions: "Every soul is immortal, those of the good only enter into another body, but those of the wicked are tormented with everlasting punishment." On this passage it has been concluded that the Pharisees had adopted the Pythagorean doctrine of the transmigration of souls into other bodies, excluding however the notoriously wicked, who were at once doomed to eternal punishment. In this, therefore, they differed essentially from the common philosophical doctrine, which taught that the souls of the wicked were consigned to viler bodies than those which they had formerly possessed. So far as Josephus goes, the doctrine, therefore, wants that very principle which would account for this man's blindness, by supposing that in his present life he was in a state of punishment, for sins committed by him while his soul inhabited another body. This therefore could not have been the meaning of the question, unless we conceiveas usually is conceived, though it is not said by Josephus-that, although the notoriously wicked were excluded from the transmigration, and at once sent into final punishment, those whose offences had been of a lighter dye, were punished by their souls being sent into viler bodies than those they had before occupied. We incline to think the statement of Josephus too vague to afford a foundation for those explanations of the doctrines of the Pharisees, which have been based upon it: and, with this impression, we feel almost inclined to found an explanation of this text on a Jewish principle which appears to be much more distinctly announced than the other. Lightfoot has collected evidence to show, that the opinion was entertained that not only was the infant in the womb stained with sin from the beginning, but that, even there, it might from the time of its being quickened, be capable of actual sin.
6. "He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle."-It should be noted, that this act was, in the view of the Pharisees, as much against their interpretation of the Law, as was even the healing of the sick or the curing of the blind. The Jews had a great opinion of the virtues of spittle-particularly fasting spittle, for diseases of the eyes-although certainly not for absolute blindness; but this and all other applications were forbidden to be used on the sabbath. The application of saliva to the eyes would, however, under this apprehension, have seemed to the spectators a perfectly natural and proper one; so much so indeed that they might have been induced to undervalue the miracle by attributing the cure to the natural virtue of the saliva, had not our Lord, probably with the intention, precluded such a misconception, by making clay therewith: for the application of clay, in any form, was never thought of as a means of cure, and would indeed seem better calculated to blind a seeing man than to give sight to the blind. It will be observed, that in the following discussions which this remarkable cure produced, nearly as much stress is laid upon the application made to the blind man's eyes, as upon the cure itself.
7. "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam."-We have mentioned this pool of Siloam in the note on 2 Chron. xxxii. 30, to which we beg to refer for the information which will explain the cut we now introduce. The cut exhibits the well or fountain; but it seems probable that the man went only to the stream which issued from it, or to the pool which its waters formed.
22. "Put out of the synagogue.”—There were three kinds of excommunication among the Jews, of which this casting out from the synagogue is doubtless to be understood of the first and lowest. A person under this sentence was, what was described as, "separated from the congregation." It was a sort of preliminary excision; so that if a person repented of the error or wickedness, for which he was subjected to this sentence, within thirty days, he was re-admitted to the congregation; but if he persisted, he was, at the end of that time, liable to a more solemn and penal excommu nication. A person under this first form of separation, was not allowed to approach man or woman within the distance of four cubits; he might not eat or drink with any; nor was he allowed to shave or wash his person. However, under the condition of separation thus specified, he remained at liberty to be present at the public worship; he might teach others the traditions, and himself receive instruction; nor was he prevented from hiring servants and labourers, or from being hired as a servant or labourer himself.
But if at the end of thirty days, his repentance was not declared, he was then subject to the Cherem, or curse. This is supposed to be the same as the "delivering over unto Satan" mentioned by the Apostle. His offence was proclaimed in the synagogue to which he belonged; and, at the time of pronouncing the curse, lamps or candles were
lighted, which, at its conclusion, were extinguished, to express that the excommunicated person was then excluded from the light of heaven. The person thus publicly cursed, might neither teach others nor they teach him; but by study and research he might teach himself, that, haply, he might be convinced of the guilt or error into which he had fallen. His effects were confiscated; his male children were not admitted to circumcision; he might neither hire Lor be hired; no one might trade with him, or employ him in any business, unless it were a very little, to afford him the barest possible means of subsistence: and if, finally, he died without repentance, stones were cast at his bier, to denote that he had deserved to be stoned. He was not honoured with a common burial; none followed him to the grave: none lamented for him. It appears, however, that even the persons who laboured under this fearful sentence-which was exceedingly dreaded by the Jews-were not excluded from the services of the temple and synagogues, although they were there dishonourably distinguished from others, and not allowed to mingle with the congregation. They were in fact no longer considered members of the Jewish church, and scarcely deemed members of its commonwealth. We should add, that the curse with which this form of excommunication was publicly given, was attended with the blowing of trumpets and horns, as if to announce the circumstance to all the world. The number of these instruments appears to have been proportioned to the alleged offence: and among the stories which the Talmudists relate cor cerning Christ, they tell us that four hundred trumpets were brought out when Jesus of Nazareth" was excommunicated.
The third and last degree of excommunication was the greater anathema; which was inflicted on those offenders whe had repeatedly refused to comply with the sentence of the court in the former instances, and who had manifested other marks of a contumacious and impenitent disposition. This was attended with corporal punishment, and sometimes with banishment or death.
1 Isa. 40. 11. Ezek, 34. 23. 2 Ezek. 37. 22. 3 Isa. 53. 7. 8.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and
28 And I give unto them eternal life;
Then the Jews took up stones again stone him.
2 Jesus answered them, Many good
7 Psal. 92. 6.
rse 3. "He calleth his own sheep by name."-From this it would seem that the Jews, like the Arabians, gave names eir sheep, by which they called them to drink or to be milked. This necessarily implies that the shepherd could guish individually the sheep of his flock; and however strange this may seem, it is possible and true; for it is n that shepherds, particularly in the East, can and do distinguish thus the individuals in even very large flocks. pastoral custom here alluded to, of giving names, for distinction, to particular sheep, was by no means confined to ast. It was usual also among the shepherds of Greece. Thus Theocritus (Idyl. v. 103, 4) makes the shepherd n address some of his flock by name, desiring two, Conarus and Cynætha, to leave the oak and feed, like Phalarus, ds the sun-rising. These significant names are two of them masculine and one feminine, showing that the as well as the rams were distinguished by proper names. It might easily be shown, by extended citations, that custom was of very extensive application, that names were given to almost all domestic animals, as usually we give s to dogs and horses.
"The sheep follow him: for they know his voice."-It may be here desirable to observe that the word rendered e" (pan) has a much wider meaning, being applicable to any kind of sound whatever; and when thus applied to pherd leading his flock, may, if it be considered preferable, mean not only a call in the natural voice, but any such as by a pipe or whistle. Another observable point is, that here, as everywhere else in Scripture, the shepis said to lead his flock, not to drive it, as our own customs might lead us to expect. The first point explains the , showing that the Hebrew shepherds did not, like ours, follow their flocks, driving them along; but attracted to follow by their call; the animals knowing the person of their shepherd, and being aware what his call intid. The same custom is still observed in the East, and in some parts of Europe, in application to herds as well as 4. It exists in Spain, having probably been introduced by the Arabs; and is also found even in Russia, in the es of which we have often, of a morning, seen a peasant marching through the street playing on a pipe, on ng which the animals came forth from their various cottage homesteads, following him to the pastures. They rought home in the evening, and called to be milked, in the same manner. A vocal whistle, or any peculiar sound e human voice, might, and probably often did, answer the same purpose.
They know not the voice of strangers.”—Polybius, writing of the island of Corsica, at the beginning of his twelfth has a passage which might be quoted as a striking illustration of this, as well as of the point to which the preg note refers. He observes, that the island is rugged and rocky, and also covered with woods, so that the shepherds ot able to follow their cattle into the places in which they are dispersed; but when they have found a suitable pasand are desirous to bring them together, they sound a trumpet. Upon this signal, the whole herd or flock immely run together, and follow the call of their own shepherd, never mistaking one for another. Thus it happens that strangers come upon the island, and attempt to lay hold of the goats or oxen which they see feeding by themselves, attle, unused to the approach of strangers, immediately take to flight. And then, if the shepherd, perceiving has happened, at the same time sounds his trumpet, they all run towards him with great haste. That the cattle d be thus obedient to the sound of a trumpet." adds the historian, "is no very wonderful thing. In Italy, those have the care of swine never inclose them in separate pastures, nor follow them behind, as is the custom among reeks, but go always before them, and from time to time sound a horn. The swine follow and run together at ound; and are so taught by habit to distinguish their own proper horn, that their exactness in this respect seems st incredible to those who never heard of it before."
"The feast of the dedication."-The import of this feast of dedication has been differently understood by different Some think that it commemorated the dedication of Solomon's Temple; others, that of the Temple built the Captivity. But the Evangelist says that "it was then winter;" which enables us to determine that it was ⚫er of these, as Solomon's Temple was dedicated in the autumn, and Zerubbabel's in the early spring. Besides,
we do not know that any annual festival was held to commemorate either of these events. The festival here intended must therefore have been that feast of dedication appointed by Judas Maccabæus and his brethren, on occasion of the purification of the Temple and the renewal of the altar after the profanations of Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Macc. v.; 2 Macc. x.). This feast lasted eight days, and commenced on the twenty-fifth of the month Chisleu, which answered to parts of December and January. Although the feast was thus only of human institution, it was observed as religiously as it could have been if of divine appointment. Josephus informs us that it was a festival much regarded in his time. Although this feast was principally kept at Jerusalem, it was not, like the other annual feasts, confined to that city; for the Jewish writers mention the feast of dedication as being kept at other places also. This feast was otherwise called the "Feast of Lights," from the illumination which attended its celebration, and which were progressively increased with the continuance of the feast. Thus every house was expected to light up a lamp on the occasion, whether its inmates were many or one only; one lamp was added every day, until, on the eighth day of the feast, eight lamps were burning. Less than this could not be done; but there was nothing to prevent more from being done by persons whose circumstances allowed, and who wished to do honour to the festival. These sometimes provided a lamp for every inmate, for every one of whom a lamp was added every night, so that a house which began with ten lights would end with eighty. This festival, with some variations, continues to be celebrated by the Jews of the present day.
23. "Solomon's porch."-When Solomon built his temple, he filled up part of the adjacent valley towards the east, and built there an outward portico, which is doubtless the "Solomon's porch" here intended. Not, indeed, that the porch which stood in the time of our Saviour was the same that Solomon built; but that, being in the same situation, and being of the same plan and manner of construction, it continued to bear the name of the original fabric. The work is mentioned with much admiration by Josephus, who informs us that it overhung a deep valley, was supported by walls of 100 cubits, formed of large squared stones, twenty cubits long by six in breadth. This porch is also men tioned in Acts iii. 11; v. 12.
4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glo-ified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, Lazarus.
6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judæa again.
8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest hou thither again?
9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the lay, he stumbleth not, because he sceth the ight of this world.
10 But if a man walk in the night, he tumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11 These things said he: and after th e saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus eepeth; but I go, that I may awake him ut of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he eep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: at they thought that he had spoken of king of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, zarus is dead.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I
7 Then when Jesus came, he found
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and 'was troubled,
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the cyes of the That is, about two miles. a Luke 14. 14. Chap. 5. 29. 4 Chap. 6. 35. 5 Gr. he troubled himself. Chap. 9. 6.