John 9:32
Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
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(32) Since the world began was it not heard.—Literally, from the world-age was it not heard. The phrase is a reminiscence of Isaiah 64:4. (Comp. also Note on Luke 1:70.)

The eyes of one that was born blind.—This differentiates the miracle from the others in cases of blindness, and still more from all ordinary cures of maladies of the eyes. The man expresses what was simply true, that no science or skill had at that time been equal to the removal of blindness which had accompanied birth. That modern science has succeeded in making even this possible, is altogether beside the question, unless it is pretended that human skill could effect it under like conditions and with the same means. For the man himself there had been years of darkness without a ray of hope, for none had ever dreamt that recovery was within the limits of possibility; and now that the blessing has come, he regards it as the gift of God, and doubts not that the immediate giver is from God.

9:24-34 As Christ's mercies are most valued by those who have felt the want of them, that have been blind, and now see; so the most powerful and lasting affections to Christ, arise from actual knowledge of him. In the work of grace in the soul, though we cannot tell when, and how, and by what steps the blessed change was wrought, yet we may take the comfort, if we can say, through grace, Whereas I was blind, now I see. I did live a worldly, sensual life, but, thanks be to God, it is now otherwise with me, Eph 5:8. The unbelief of those who enjoy the means of knowledge and conviction, is indeed marvellous. All who have felt the power and grace of the Lord Jesus, wonder at the wilfulness of others who reject him. He argues strongly against them, not only that Jesus was not a sinner, but that he was of God. We may each of us know by this, whether we are of God or not. What do we? What do we for God? What do we for our souls? What do we more than others?Since the world began - Neither Moses nor any of the prophets had ever done this. No instance of this kind is recorded in the Old Testament. As this was a miracle which had never been performed, the man argued justly that he who had done it must be from God. As Jesus did it not by surgical operations, but by clay, it showed that he had power of working miracles by any means. It may be also remarked that the restoration of sight to the blind by surgical operations was never performed until the year 1728. Dr. Cheselden, an English surgeon, was the first who attempted it successfully, who was enabled to remove a cataract from the eye of a young man, and to restore sight. This fact shows the difficulty of the operation when the most skillful natural means are employed, and the greatness of the miracle performed by the Saviour. 31. they cast him out—judicially, no doubt, as well in fact. The allusion to his being "born in sins" seems a tacit admission of his being blind from birth—the very thing they had been so unwilling to own. But rage and enmity to truth are seldom consistent in their outbreaks. The friends of this excommunicated youth, crowding around him with their sympathy, would probably express surprise that One who could work such a cure should be unable to protect his patient from the persecution it had raised against him, or should possess the power without using it. Nor would it be strange if such thoughts should arise in the youth's own mind. But if they did, it is certain, from what follows, that they made no lodgment there, conscious as he was that "whereas he was blind, now he saw," and satisfied that if his Benefactor "were not of God, He could do nothing" (Joh 9:33). There was a word for him too, which, if whispered in his ear from the oracles of God, would seem expressly designed to describe his case, and prepare him for the coming interview with his gracious Friend. "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word. Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified; BUT He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed" (Isa 66:5). But how was He engaged to whom such noble testimony had been given, and for whom such persecution had been borne? Uttering, perhaps, in secret, "with strong crying and tears," the words of the prophetic psalm, "Let not them that wait on Thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake; let none that seek Thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel; because for Thy sake I have borne reproach … and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon me" (Ps 69:6, 7, 9). He proveth Christ to be sent from God, (though it appears by John 9:33 that he looked as yet upon him in no higher notion than a man), from the nature of the miracle that was wrought; which was not the recovery of a blind man’s sight only, but giving sight to one who was born blind. Now, saith this poor man, this is such a work as was never done by Moses, or by any of the prophets who have been since the creation of the world. Some who have been blind from some accidental cause, and something which hath befallen them, films and cataracts, &c., have been cured; and possibly God by his almighty power may have given sight to one born blind; but we never heard of any such thing done by Moses, whom we magnify; nor by the prophets, for whom we have the greatest veneration. Since the world began,.... , "from eternity", or never: the phrase answers to frequently used by the Jews (m), for never; and so the Arabic version renders it, "it was never heard", &c. since time was:

was it not heard, that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind; as not any physician by any natural means, or art, so not any prophet in a miraculous way, no not Moses himself; among all the miracles he wrought, which the Jews say (n) were seventy six, and which were two more than were wrought by all the prophets put together, this is not to be found in the list of them, nor in the catalogue of miracles done by others. Elisha indeed prayed to God to restore sight to an army smitten with blindness; but then they were persons who saw before, and were not blind from their birth. Wherefore it must follow, that Jesus, the author of this miracle, must be greater than any of the prophets, even than Moses himself, and has a greater confirmation of his mission from God, than either he or they had: and as this was a miracle in nature, it is no less a miracle in grace, that one born in the blindness and darkness of sin, ignorance, and infidelity, should have the eyes of his understanding opened, to behold divine and spiritual things.

(m) Abot R. Nathan, c. 35. fol. 8. 2. Maimon. Mechira, c. 20. sect. 8. & Shelchim & Shotaphim, c. 10. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4. & passim. (n) Menasseh ben lsrael, Conciliat. in Deut. Quaest. 11. p. 240.

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
John 9:32. ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος, rather “from of old” than “since the world began”. Cf. Luke 1:70, τῶν ἀπʼ αἰῶνος προφητῶν, and Acts 3:21; Acts 15:18. To this there is no reply but abuse and dismissal.32. Since the world began] There is no healing of the blind in O.T.Verses 32, 33. - The man, having once begun, will not be stopped in his argument. Since the world began (ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament; we have ἀπ αἰῶνος three times, and ἀπὸ τῶν αἰῶνων) it was never heard that any one opened the eyes of one born blind. There is no record of any cure of blindness in the Old Testament. The miracle stands forth with grand distinctness on the page of history. If such stories had been told, neither he nor the author of this narrative knew of them. The Pharisees and Jews have no reply to this burst of grateful but indignant testimony to the uniqueness of his Deliverer, and then, with a home-thrust which cut through their weak objections and repudiated their cruel inferences, he added, Unless this Man were from God, he could do nothing; he could neither have wrought this marvel, nor any of the deep impressions wrought upon you. "From God;" that is the man's final answer to the query, "What sayest thou of him, seeing that he hath opened thine eyes?" God has the glory, while I repudiate what you give as a judgment against him. Verily God has heard him as One who in this thing has simply done his will. Thus the Jews are compelled for a few moments to hear, from one known as a street-beggar, words of teaching along the finest lines of a deep experience. Since the world began (ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος)

The exact phrase only here in the New Testament. Ἁπ' is found in Acts 3:21; Acts 15:18; ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων in Colossians 1:26.

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