|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:22-30 All who have any thing to say to Christ, may find him in the temple. Christ would make us to believe; we make ourselves doubt. The Jews understood his meaning, but could not form his words into a full charge against him. He described the gracious disposition and happy state of his sheep; they heard and believed his word, followed him as his faithful disciples, and none of them should perish; for the Son and the Father were one. Thus he was able to defend his sheep against all their enemies, which proves that he claimed Divine power and perfection equally with the Father.
Verse 24. - Then the Jews came round about him. Not necessarily (with Godet) separating him from his disciples, but in a threatening and imperative fashion, demanding an immediate answer. It is probable that he had absented himself for two months in the neighborhood, had even been in Peraea (cf. Luke 9.), and met the multitudes coming up to the feasts. The πάλιν πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου of ver. 40, is best understood by his having been there before. The difficulty of his making retrospective reference to the similitude and allegory of the first part of this chapter is removed by the simple supposition that he saw in this group of his interrogators many of those who had heard his former discourse. And said unto him, How long dost thou hold our soul in suspense? - αἴρειν τὴν ψυχὴν ἡμῶν; used in the sense of "lift up the soul," and so used in similar connection in the classics (Eurip., 'Ion,' 928; 'Hec.,' 69; AEschylus, 'Sept.,' 198; also Josephus, ' Ant.,' 3:2. 3) - If thou art the Christ (simple supposition), tell us plainly. Observe in John 16:25 our Lord's own contrast between speaking ἐν παροιμίαις and speaking παῥῤησίᾳ, with open, clear utterance. They had heard his parables, and say, "Let him drop all reserve, and deliver himself in categoric form." Archdeacon Watkins has well recalled the various utterances which fell on the more susceptible of the Jerusalemites. This was the Feast of Lights, and has he not called himself the Light of the world? This was a feast commemorative of freedom from the Syrian yoke, and had he not said, "If the Son set you free, ye shall be free indeed"? ' This was the Feast of the Purification of the Temple; had not his first act been a cleansing of the courts of the temple? We cannot wonder at the summons and challenge of the people.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then came the Jews round about him,.... Who might be walking there on the same account, and seeing Jesus, took this opportunity, and got about him in great numbers, and hemmed him in; having a design upon him to ensnare him, if possible:
and said unto him, how long dost thou make us doubt? or as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions literally render it, "how long dost thou take away our soul?" that is, deprive us of the knowledge of thee; Nonnus renders it, "wherefore dost thou steal away our minds with words?" so Jacob when he went away privately, without the knowledge of Laban, is said to steal away the heart of Laban, as it is in the Hebrew text, in Genesis 31:20 (o). In like manner the Jews charge Christ with taking away their soul, or stealing away their heart, or hiding himself from them; not telling them plainly, who he was: therefore say they,
if thou be the Christ, tell us plainly; freely, boldly, openly, in express words; this they said, not as desirous of knowing who he was, or for the sake of information, but in order to ensnare him; that should he say he was not the Christ, as they might hope he would, for fear of them, now they had got him by himself, hemmed him in, it would then lessen his credit among the people; and should he say he was the Messiah, they would have whereof to accuse him to the Roman governor, as an enemy to Caesar, as one that set up for king of the Jews.
(o) See De Dieu in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. Then came the Jews—the rulers. (See on Joh 1:19).
How long dost thou make us to doubt?—"hold us in suspense" (Margin).
If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly—But when the plainest evidence of it was resisted, what weight could a mere assertion of it have?
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