John 12:39
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

New Living Translation
But the people couldn't believe, for as Isaiah also said,

English Standard Version
Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

Berean Study Bible
For this reason they were unable to believe. For again, Isaiah says:

Berean Literal Bible
Because of this, they were not able to believe, for again Isaiah said:

New American Standard Bible
For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,

King James Bible
Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said:

International Standard Version
This is why they could not believe: Isaiah also said,

NET Bible
For this reason they could not believe, because again Isaiah said,

New Heart English Bible
For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Therefore they were not able to believe, because again Isaiah had said:

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So the people couldn't believe because, as Isaiah also said,

New American Standard 1977
For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,

Jubilee Bible 2000
Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again,

King James 2000 Bible
Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again,

American King James Version
Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

American Standard Version
For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again,

Douay-Rheims Bible
Therefore they could not believe, because Isaias said again:

Darby Bible Translation
On this account they could not believe, because Esaias said again,

English Revised Version
For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again,

Webster's Bible Translation
Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again,

Weymouth New Testament
For this reason they were unable to believe--because Isaiah said again,

World English Bible
For this cause they couldn't believe, for Isaiah said again,

Young's Literal Translation
Because of this they were not able to believe, that again Isaiah said,
Study Bible
Belief and Unbelief
38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39For this reason they were unable to believe. For again, Isaiah says: 40“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they cannot see with their eyes, and understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.”…
Cross References
John 12:38
This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

John 12:40
"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they cannot see with their eyes, and understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them."
Treasury of Scripture

Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

they.

John 5:44 How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek …

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: …

John 10:38 But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works: that you …

Isaiah 44:18-20 They have not known nor understood: for he has shut their eyes, that …

2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling …

because.

Isaiah 6:9,10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand …

(39) Therefore they could not believe, because.--The words refer to those which have gone before, not to those which follow, and then by an addition give the reason more fully. "It was on account of the divine will expressed in Isaiah's prophecy." "It was therefore, namely, because Isaiah said again."

The words, "they could not believe," must be taken in their plain meaning as expressing impossibility. The Apostle is looking back upon the national rejection of Christ, and seeks a reason for it. He remembers how our Lord Himself had explained His method of teaching by parables, and has based it upon this prophecy of Isaiah (Matthew 13:14). The principle was that which has been repeated in His last public words (John 12:35-36); that power used is increased, and power neglected destroys itself. Here, then, in these prophetic words was the reason they could not believe. Wilful rejection had been followed by rejection which was no longer within the power of the will. With this statement of St. John's should be compared our Lord's words on the same subject in John 5:40; John 6:37, Notes, and St. Paul's arguments in Romans 9-11.

Verses 39, 40. - In these verses, however, a deeper difficulty still is involved. The διὰ τοῦτο... ὅτι leave us no option (see John 7:21, 22) but to translate: For from this reason they were unable to believe (see other illustrations of the usage, John 5:18; John 8:47; John 10:17). There was a moral impossibility inherited by them through ages of rebellion and insensibility to Divine grace, and through their misuse of Divine revelation. The issue of it was, "'they could not believe." Because Isaiah said again; i.e. in another place; illustrative of this great Messianic oracle and the reception it would meet with from the nation as a whole. In the passage which follows we have a translation which does not directly correspond with either the Hebrew or the LXX. of Isaiah 6:9, 10. The prophet is bidden by the Lord to punish the people for their obduracy by blinding their eyes and hardening their heart, and even arresting the conversion and healing of the covenant people. This same solemn passage is quoted in four other places in the New Testament. Perhaps Luke 8:10 is hardly to be regarded as a citation; a small portion only of the passage is introduced from the prophet without reference to him, and this is inverted in order. In Matthew 13:14, 15 there is the nearer approach to the LXX., which, however, transforms the שִׁמְעוּ שָׁמוםע, "to hear, hear ye," into ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε, "by hearing ye shall hear;" and similarly with the other clauses, - the imperative of God's command to the prophet being resolved into the future of most certain accomplishment, and in place of "Lest they understand with their heart, and convert, and he [God] heal them," LXX. reads, "Lest... should convert, and I [who give you the command to deliver such a message, notwithstanding its results upon them] heal them." This St. Matthew has followed. Mark 4:12 has given a different representation again, and, while omitting a considerable portion of the passage, passes to the climax, which is put thus: "Lest they should be converted, and their sin should be forgiven them," showing that the evangelist, looking to the Hebrew rather than to the LXX., has resolved its meaning into a clearly related paraphrase. In Acts 28:26, 27 the passage almost verbally follows the LXX. Here in the remarks of St. John the whole passage seems independent of the LXX., and to have resolved the Hebrew "imperative," addressed to the prophet, into an awful assurance of Divine agency in the matter. Instead of "shut their eyes," Hebrew imperative, or LXX. "their eyes they closed," ἐκάμμυσαν, LXX., he says, τετύφλωκεν, He hath blinded their eyes; and so with the other terms: He hardened their heart; in order that they should not (lest they should) see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and should turn, and I should heal them. In ἰάσωμαι the evangelist, returning to the first person, draws a distinction between the retributive activity of the pre-existent Christ of the earlier revelation and the historical Savior. There is no slip or negligence. Godet and Hengstenberg go a long way in making God the Author of the sin and rejection, and the cause of the impossibility of their repentance and healing. That which in all the several quotations of this passage we learn from Isaiah's oracle is that the unforced and willful rejection of the Divine Word is visited by condign withdrawment of the faculty to receive even more accessible and apprehensible truth. This is the great law of Divine operation in the nature of all moral beings. This law is described as a distinctly foreseen event, and by LXX. as an apprehensible and even conspicuous fact, and it is quoted by St. John as the direct consequence of the Divine activity. He does not mean to say that, because Isaiah foretold this as a Divine reprobation, they, whether they would or not as individuals, were fated to die the death of blindness, but they could not believe, because, on the principle involved in Isaiah's predictions, the Divine government had fulfilled itself, had acted upon its universal law, and in consequence of vows and acts of willful disobedience, they had thus fallen into the curse that belongs to a neglect of the Divine. "They could not believe." Thus even now disinclination to God and to righteousness leads to moral incapacity. Sin is punished by its natural consequences: unbelief is punished by unsusceptibility to clearest evidence; prejudice by blindness; rejection of Divine love by inability to see it at its best. How is this natural evolution brought about? Surely by laws of God. What are these laws but God's ways of acting with all moral agents whatever? Therefore they could not believe,.... God had determined to leave them to the blindness and hardness of their hearts, and to deny them his grace, which only could cure them of it, and enable them to believe: he had foretold this in prophecy, and they were manifestly the persons spoken of; and therefore considering the decrees of God, the predictions of the prophet, and the hardness of their hearts, they were left unto, it was morally impossible they should believe,

because that Esaias said again, in Isaiah 6:9. 39-40. Therefore they could not believe, because Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, that they should not see, etc.—That this expresses a positive divine act, by which those who wilfully close their eyes and harden their hearts against the truth are judicially shut up in their unbelief and impenitence, is admitted by all candid critics [as Olshausen], though many of them think it necessary to contend that this is in no way inconsistent with the liberty of the human will, which of course it is not.12:37-43 Observe the method of conversion implied here. Sinners are brought to see the reality of Divine things, and to have some knowledge of them. To be converted, and truly turned from sin to Christ, as their Happiness and Portion. God will heal them, will justify and sanctify them; will pardon their sins, which are as bleeding wounds, and mortify their corruptions, which are as lurking diseases. See the power of the world in smothering convictions, from regard to the applause or censure of men. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion, and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate, when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it.
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