John 2:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
They replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?"

New Living Translation
"What!" they exclaimed. "It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?"

English Standard Version
The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”

New American Standard Bible
The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"

King James Bible
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Therefore the Jews said, "This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?"

International Standard Version
The Jewish leaders said, "This sanctuary has been under construction for 46 years, and you're going to rebuild it in three days?"

NET Bible
Then the Jewish leaders said to him, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The Jews were saying to him: “For forty six years this temple has been being built, and will you raise it in three days?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The Jews said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple. Do you really think you're going to rebuild it in three days?"

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then said the Jews, This temple was forty-six years in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?

King James 2000 Bible
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?

American King James Version
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?

American Standard Version
The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?

Douay-Rheims Bible
The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building; and wilt thou raise it up in three days?

Darby Bible Translation
The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple building, and thou wilt raise it up in three days?

English Revised Version
The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?

Webster's Bible Translation
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

Weymouth New Testament
"It has taken forty-six years," replied the Jews, "to build this Sanctuary, and will you rebuild it in three days?"

World English Bible
The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?"

Young's Literal Translation
The Jews, therefore, said, 'Forty and six years was this sanctuary building, and wilt thou in three days raise it up?'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:12-22 The first public work in which we find Christ engaged, was driving from the temple the traders whom the covetous priests and rulers encouraged to make a market-place of its courts. Those now make God's house a house of merchandise, whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when attending religious exercises, or who perform Divine offices for love of gain. Christ, having thus cleansed the temple, gave a sign to those who demanded it, to prove his authority for so doing. He foretells his death by the Jews' malice, Destroy ye this temple; I will permit you to destroy it. He foretells his resurrection by his own power; In three days I will raise it up. Christ took again his own life. Men mistake by understanding that according to the letter, which the Scripture speaks by way of figure. When Jesus was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered he has said this. It helps much in understanding the Divine word, to observe the fulfilling of the Scriptures.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 20, 21. - The immediate reference of the words to the building before them was only one of a thousand misapplications of the words of Jesus. The seeds of truth which his words contain would take root in after days. Meanwhile the Jews answered and said - taking the obvious and literal sense of the words, and treating them with an ill-concealed irony, if not scoff, to which our Lord made no reply - In forty and six years was this temple built as we see it today. This is one of the most important chronological data for the life of our Lord. Herod the Great, according to Josephus ('Ant.,' 15:11 1), commenced the rebuilding of the second temple in the autumn of the eighteenth year of his reign. We find that his first year reckoned from Nisan, A.U.C. 717-718. Consequently, the eighteenth year must have commenced between Nisan, A.U.C. 734-735 and 735-736. The forty-sixth year after this would make the. Passover at which this speech was delivered - the spring of A.U.C. 781 (Wieseler, 'Chronicles Synopsis of the Four Gospels,' translation; and Herzog, 'Encyc.,' 21:546. The fact that Josephus, in his 'Bell. Jud.,' 1:21, gives the fifteenth year of Herod's reign instead of the eighteenth, is shown by Wieseler to be an error of the transcriber, see p. 152, note), which, if we compare with the other hints, is a fixed point from which to reckon the birth year and death year of our Lord. The "about thirty years old" of the Lord at his baptism throws us to about A.U.C. 751, B.C. 2, for the year of his birth, and if there be only one Passover mentioned in John's Gospel between this and the last Passover, it gives A.U.C. 783 for the year of his death. This date is at least coincident with the date derived from the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, as that of the commencement of the mission of John (see my examination of these dates in appendix to 'John the Baptist'). The temple which Herod began to repair in the eighteenth year of his reign was not completed until A.D. , under Herod Agrippa II., a very short period before its utter destruction. The irony and scorn are manifest: Wilt thou raise it up in three days? John shows, in ver. 21, that, in the deep sense in which our Lord used the words, he abundantly justified his promise. But he - ἐκεῖνος, the Lord, not the people, not the disciples - spake of the temple of his body. This is the reflection which was made upon the word of Jesus by the evangelists in after days. Even Mark (Mark 14:58) reveals the presence of a spiritual interpretation of the words by some of his unsympathetic listeners. It must not be forgotten that, in the synoptists, we find the presence of the idea that his service was a temple service, and that he was greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6; cf. also Hebrews 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:15; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 1:22, 23; with Ephesians 2:19-22). Nor must it be forgotten that the Logos itself was, in the figurative language of Philo, spoken of as the house, or temple, of God. Later rabbinical representations also describe "the body of man as the temple in which the Shechinah operates" (Wunsche). A difficulty arises from the Lord's having claimed in these words to be on the point of raising himself from the dead, whereas elsewhere his resurrection is referred to the mighty power of God, as in ver. 22; Acts 2:24; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Romans 4:24; Romans 8:11; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20, etc. Without doubt, God and the Father, the Supreme Power, was thus seen in living activity; but the Divine nature of Christ not infrequently so steps forward into his consciousness that he can say, "I and the Father are one;" and (ch. 10:17, 18) "I will lay down my life that I may take it again" (cf. Ephesians 4:8-10).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then said the Jews,.... Unto him, as read the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions:

forty and six years was this temple in building; which cannot be understood of the temple as built by Solomon, for that was but seven years in building, 1 Kings 6:37. But rather of the temple, as built by Zorobabel, commonly called the second temple, and might be more properly said to be "this temple"; the calculations of this made by learned men, are various and endless to recite. Daniel's seven weeks, or forty nine days, which are so many years, can have nothing to do with this account; since they regard not the building of the temple, but the city of Jerusalem; though from the second year of Cyrus, in which the temple began to be built, to the thirty second of Darius exclusive, were just forty six years; Cyrus reigning three years, Artaxerxes Ahasuerus fourteen years, and Artaxerxes Darius thirty two; but their account is more likely, which begins at the first of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who reigned forty years, and ends in the sixth year of Darius, his successor, in which year the temple was finished, Ezra 6:15. But to me it seems rather, that Herod's temple, or the temple as rebuilt, or repaired by Herod, is here meant; and which the Jews call, , "the building of Herod" (g); and say of it, that

"he who has not seen Herod's building, never saw a beautiful building.''

And this, according to Josephus (h), was begun in the "eighteenth" year of his reign, in the "thirty fifth" of which Christ was born, who was now "thirty" years of age: so that reckoning either the eighteenth year of Herod, or the thirtieth of Christ, the present year exclusively, just forty six years had run out, since the rebuilding or reparations were first begun; and which were not yet finished; for some years after this, the above writer observes (i), the temple was finished, even in the times of Nero and Agrippa: and agreeably to this, the words may be rendered, "forty six years has this temple been building"; and which still adds more force to the following reasoning of the Jews:

and wilt thou rear it up in three days? the thing is impossible and impracticable; it is madness to the last degree, to talk at this rate: thus from the length of time which had run out from Herod's first beginning to repair and beautify the temple, till now, and yet not finished, they argue the absurdity of his pretending to raise up such a fabric, should it be demolished, in three days time; they understanding him either ignorantly or wilfully, to speak of the material temple, when his sense was otherwise, as appears from the words of the evangelist, in the next verse. The Jew (k) objects to this account, of the temple being forty six years in building; he observes, that

"according to the sense of the Nazarenes, this was the building of king Herod, that was in the time of Jesus; and the whole time of his reign were but seven and thirty years, as is manifest from the book of Joseph ben Gorion, c. 65. Besides, that which Herod built, was built in eight years, as is evident from the same author, c. 55, wherefore the number of forty six years, in the words of the writer, (the evangelist,) is, a palpable error.''

To which may be replied, that admitting there is an error in this number, it is not the error of the evangelist, but of the Jews, whose words the evangelist relates; and supposing this was a mistake of theirs, either ignorantly or wilfully made, to aggravate the absurdity and impossibility of Christ's rebuilding the temple; and that even the evangelist knew it to be a mistake; yet he acts the most faithful and upright part, in repeating the words of the Jews, as they delivered them; and it lies upon the Jew to prove, that these words were not said by them, or that it is not credible that they should: that this was the building of Herod which is here referred to; and that he reigned but thirty seven years, will be granted; but this is no objection to its being forty six years in building, since in this account it is not said that it was forty six years in building by Herod; the sense is only, that such a number of years had passed, since it first began to be built by him: as for what Joseph ben Gorion says, of its being built by him in the space of eight years, it is not to be depended upon, since he is not the true Josephus, that wrote the history of the Jews, and is to be corrected by the genuine historian; and from what has been before observed, from the time which, according to the true Josephus, this building was begun, to this present year of Christ, when this discourse was had, were just forty six years; and admitting, that the main of the building was finished in eight years time, yet additions were continually made to it, so that it was not finished entirely, until many years after.

(g) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 4. 1.((h) Antiqu. Jud. l. 15. c. 14. (i) Antiqu. Jud. l. 20. c. 8. (k) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 43. p. 434.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. Forty and six years—From the eighteenth year of Herod till then was just forty-six years [Josephus, Antiquities, 15.11.1].

John 2:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21But He was speaking of the temple of His body.…
Cross References
Ezra 5:16
"So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished."

John 1:19
Now this was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

1 Corinthians 15:4
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Treasury of Scripture

Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?

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