John 9:8
The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) They which before had seen him that he was blind.—The better reading is, that he was a beggar. The persons are the neighbours, who from living near him knew all about him, and those who used to see him at the spot where he sat begging. Both classes, of course, knew that he was blind.

Is not this he that sat and begged?—Better, Is not this he that sitteth and beggeth? The tenses are present, marking his usual custom.

John 9:8-9. The neighbours, therefore — Those who lived in the beggar’s neighbourhood, and those who had frequently passed by where he used to beg, being well acquainted with his form and visage, were astonished at the alteration which they observed in his countenance, by reason of the new faculty that was bestowed upon him. Wherefore they expressed their surprise by asking one another, if this was not the blind man to whom they used to give alms. Some said, This is he; others, He is like him — “The circumstance of having received his sight would give him an air of spirit and cheerfulness, which would render him something unlike what he was before, and might occasion a little doubt to those who were not well acquainted with him.” — Doddridge. But he said, I am he — The very man that so lately sat and begged; I am he that was blind, and was an object of the charity of men, but now see, and am a monument of the mercy and grace of God. We do not find that the neighbours appealed to him in this matter; but he, hearing the debate, interposed, and put an end to it. It is a piece of justice we owe to our neighbours, to rectify their mistakes, and to set things before them, as far as we are able, in a true light. Applying it spiritually, it teaches us that those who are savingly enlightened by the grace of God, should be ready to own what they were before that blessed change was wrought. See 1 Timothy 1:13-14.9:8-12 Those whose eyes are opened, and whose hearts are cleansed by grace, being known to be the same person, but widely different in character, live as monuments to the Redeemer's glory, and recommend his grace to all who desire the same precious salvation. It is good to observe the way and method of God's works, and they will appear the more wonderful. Apply this spiritually. In the work of grace wrought upon the soul we see the change, but we see not the hand that makes it: the way of the Spirit is like that of the wind, which thou hearest the sound of, but canst not tell whence it comes, nor whither it goes.The neighbours ... - This man seems to have been one who attracted considerable attention. The number of persons totally blind in any community is very small, and it is possible that this was the only blind beggar in Jerusalem. The case was one, therefore, likely to attract attention, and one where there could be no imposture, as he was generally known. 8-15. The neighbours therefore … said, Is not this he that sat and begged—Here are a number of details to identify the newly seeing with the long-known blind beggar. The evangelist now reports the consequence of this miracle. He, being cured, returneth to his friends: those who lived about that place, had taken notice of his ordinary sitting there, and begging; now, seeing him perfectly recovered, they ask one another, if this were not the blind beggar that used to sit there. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him,.... For it seems the blind man was not a stranger, one that came out of the country to the city to beg; but a native of Jerusalem, that had long lived in a certain neighbourhood in it, and was well known to be what he was;

that he was blind; the Alexandrian copy, and one of Beza's exemplars, and the Vulgate Latin version read, "that he was a beggar"; to which agree the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions: wherefore they

said, is this not he that sat and begged? they particularly remark his begging posture; he was not laid all along, as the lame man in Acts 3:2; nor did he go from door to door, as others were used to do, but he sat in some certain place, as blind men generally did; see Matthew 20:30.

{4} The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

(4) A true image of all men, who as they are naturally blind do not themselves receive the light that is offered unto them, nor endure it in another, and yet make a great fuss among themselves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 9:8-12. Καὶ οἱ θεωροῦντες, etc.] And they who before had seen him that he was a beggar, the previous eye-witnesses of his being a beggar. The καί gives the force of universality: and in general; the partic. praes. has the force of the imperfect.

ὁ καθημ. κ. προσαιτ.] who is accustomed to sit there and beg. They had known him for a long while as occupied in no other way than in begging.

The peculiarly vivid and detailed character of what follows renders it probable that John derived his information from the lips of the man himself after he had become a believer.

John 9:11. ἄνθρωπος λεγομ. Ἰησοῦς] “nescierat caecus celebritatem Jesu,” is the opinion of Bengel and others. But he must surely have learnt something more regarding his deliverer than His mere name. The quondam blind man conducts himself rather throughout the whole affair in a very impartial and judicious manner, and for the present keeps to the simple matter of fact, without as yet venturing on a further judgment.

ἀνέβλεψα] may signify, I looked up (Mark 16:4; 2Ma 7:25; Plat. Pol. vii. p. 515 C; Ax. p. 370 C; Xen. Cyr. vi. 4. 9). So Lücke; but this meaning is inadmissible on account of John 9:15; John 9:18, which require, I became again seeing, visum recepi. Comp. Matthew 11:5; Tob 14:2; Plat. Phaedr. p. 243 B. As regards the man born blind, indeed, the expression is inexact, but rests on the general notion that even one born blind has the natural power of sight, though he has been deprived of its use from his very birth, and that he recovers it through the healing.[48]

That the man is able to give, at all events, the name of his benefactor, is intelligible enough from the inquiries which he would naturally institute after he had been healed. But the circumstance that whilst at the outset he expresses no opinion regarding the person of Jesus (see previously on ἄνθρ. λεγ. Ἰησ.), he notwithstanding afterwards declares Him to be a Prophet (John 9:17), and One sent of God (John 9:33), though he was first brought by Jesus Himself to believe in Him as the Messiah in John 9:35 ff., is entirely in keeping with the gradual nature of the development through which he passed. Such a gradation is, indeed, natural and necessary in some cases, whereas others differently constituted are at once carried to the goal by the force of the first impression received. This in opposition to Baur’s supposition that the narrator designedly so framed his account that the miracle should be viewed as an ἔργον θεοῦ primarily in its pure objectivity.

εἰς τὸν Σιλωάμ] here the name of the pool; hence, the Rec. has εἰς τ. κολυμβ. τ. Σιλ.,—a correct gloss.

[48] Comp. Grotius: “Nec male recipere quis dicitur, quod communiter tributum humanae naturae ipsi abfuit.” In Pausanias, also (Messen. iv. p. 240), we read of one who was born blind and received sight, ἀνέβλεψε. Comp. Evang. Nicod. 6, where the man born blind who there speaks says: ἐπέθηκε τὰς χεῖρας ἐπὶ τ. ὀφθαλμούς μου, καὶ ἀνέβλεψα παραχρῆμα.John 9:8-12. The people discuss the man’s identity.8. had seen him that he was blind] The true reading is, saw him that he was a beggar, or perhaps, because he was a beggar, i.e. he was often seen in public places.

he that sat and begged] Or, he that sitteth and beggeth; present participles with the article to express his general habit.Verses 8-34. -

(9) The proof of the reality of the miracle, the antagonism of the Pharisees, and the persecution of the heated mad. Verse 8. - The neighbors therefore, and they who beheld him aforetime that (or, because) he was a beggar. This is the first time that his well-known position is mentioned, and (if we translate ὅτι "because") the very fact of his begging (probably with loud voice) had made him a well-known individual. Said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Blind

The best texts substitute προσαίτης, a beggar.

That sat and begged (ὁ καθήμενος καὶ προσαιτῶν)

Literally, the one sitting and begging. Denoting something customary.

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