John 2:6
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

New Living Translation
Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons.

English Standard Version
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

New American Standard Bible
Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.

King James Bible
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained 20 or 30 gallons.

International Standard Version
Now standing there were six stone water jars used for the Jewish rites of purification, each one holding from two to three measures.

NET Bible
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But there were there six watercasks of stone, set for the purifying of the Judeans, which held two or three nine-gallon-measures each.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Six stone water jars were there. They were used for Jewish purification rituals. Each jar held 18 to 27 gallons.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

King James 2000 Bible
And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.

American King James Version
And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

American Standard Version
Now there were six waterpots of stone set there after the Jews manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece.

Darby Bible Translation
Now there were standing there six stone water-vessels, according to the purification of the Jews, holding two or three measures each.

English Revised Version
Now there were six waterpots of stone set there after the Jews' manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Webster's Bible Translation
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Weymouth New Testament
Now there were six stone jars standing there (in accordance with the Jewish regulations for purification)

World English Bible
Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews' way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece.

Young's Literal Translation
And there were there six water-jugs of stone, placed according to the purifying of the Jews, holding each two or three measures.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:1-11 It is very desirable when there is a marriage, to have Christ own and bless it. Those that would have Christ with them at their marriage, must invite him by prayer, and he will come. While in this world we sometimes find ourselves in straits, even when we think ourselves in fulness. There was want at a marriage feast. Those who are come to care for the things of the world, must look for trouble, and count upon disappointment. In our addresses to Christ, we must humbly spread our case before him, and then refer ourselves to him to do as he pleases. In Christ's reply to his mother there was no disrespect. He used the same word when speaking to her with affection from the cross; yet it is a standing testimony against the idolatry of after-ages, in giving undue honours to his mother. His hour is come when we know not what to do. Delays of mercy are not denials of prayer. Those that expect Christ's favours, must observe his orders with ready obedience. The way of duty is the way to mercy; and Christ's methods must not be objected against. The beginning of Moses' miracles was turning water into blood, Ex 7:20; the beginning of Christ's miracles was turning water into wine; which may remind us of the difference between the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ. He showed that he improves creature-comforts to all true believers, and make them comforts indeed. And Christ's works are all for use. Has he turned thy water into wine, given thee knowledge and grace? it is to profit withal; therefore draw out now, and use it. It was the best wine. Christ's works commend themselves even to those who know not their Author. What was produced by miracles, always was the best in its kind. Though Christ hereby allows a right use of wine, he does not in the least do away his own caution, which is, that our hearts be not at any time overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, Lu 21:34. Though we need not scruple to feast with our friends on proper occasions, yet every social interview should be so conducted, that we might invite the Redeemer to join with us, if he were now on earth; and all levity, luxury, and excess offend him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 6. - Now there were (set, or) placed there six water pots of stone, after the Jews' manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece. Stone was often used for these receptacles, as more calculated to preserve the purity of the water (Wunsche refers to 'Beza,' 2:2; Westcott quotes 'Sofa,' 4; Barclay, in his translation of 'Mishna,' § 17, enumerates earthenware and other material as lawful). It is interesting that these stone jars are still used in this very neighbourhood for like purposes ('Pict. Palestine'). This large number of jars of considerable magnitude was doubtless due in part to the number of the guests, and to the scrupulous attention to ceremonial purity that was enjoined by the oral law (see 'Mishna,' § 17; and Lightfoot, in loc.). They were accustomed to wash, not only the hands, but "cups, brazen vessels, and tables" (see Matthew 15:2 and parallel passages). (For this use of κατά, see 2 Timothy 1:1, in which "according to" easily passes into the sense of "for the sake of, after the manner of.") The Attic measure metretes was equal to the Hebrew bath (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 8:02. 9), and stands for it in the LXX. of 2 Chronicles 4:5, and this equalled 1.5 Roman amphorae, 8 gallons + 7.5 pints. So that six jars containing 2 or 3 metretes, say 2.5 = 6 x 2.5 x 8 gallons + 7.5 pints = 6 x 2.5 × 71.5 pints = 134 gallons and a fraction. The jars may have differed in shape, according as they were adapted for different purposes; but ἀνά must be translated distributively, and we cannot evade the enormous capacity of the jars, and therefore the abundance of the gift thus provided. Various efforts have been made to reduce the extent of the provision; but the obvious implication of the narrative is that the six jars were the locale of the miracle. Dr. Moulton and Dr. Westcott suggest that these water pots were filled with pure water, but that the wine was "drawn" from the water supply to which the servants had access, and that no more wine was provided than that which was borne to the governor of the feast. Others have supposed that simply the water drawn from the jars was transformed in the process. These suppositions make the entire reference to the water pots extremely obscure and unnecessary. The large quantity of wine thus offered to these humble folks corresponds with the affluence of Nature in all her moods - the munificence of spring blossoms, the harvest of the sea, the exuberance of sunlight, the superfluity of rain that falls on the oceans, the copiousness of all God's ways. When, on other occasions, the Lord added to the supplies of food in fishes and bread, his lavish abundance corresponds with the riches of his loving kindness on this occasion. There was provided, not the material for a meal, but an ample dowry for such a bride. No mere magical change, momentarily confounding perception and leaving no trace behind, but a supply which would be a standing proof of the reality of what had been done.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And there were set six water pots of stone,.... To distinguish them from other vessels made of different matter: for the Jews had

"vessels made of dust, and the dung of beasts, , "vessels of stone", vessels of earth, vessels made of shells, vessels of nitre, vessels made of the bones and skins of fishes (t).''

And as these vessels were very likely for washing of hands, such were used for that purpose: their rule is (u),

"they may put water for the hands in all sorts of vessels; in vessels of dung, in stone vessels, and in vessels of earth.''

At a wedding were set vessels of various sizes to wash hands and feet in; there was one vessel called which the gloss says was a large pitcher, or basin, out of which the whole company washed their hands and their feet; and there was another called which was a lesser and beautiful basin, which was set alone for the more honourable persons, as for the bride, and for any gentlewoman (w); and such might be these six stone jars, or pots:

after the manner of the purifying of the Jews; or "for the purifying either Jews", as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it; that is, for the washing of them, their hands and feet, and their vessels, pots, and cups, according to the traditions of the elders; see Mark 7:2;

containing two or three firkins apiece. The Ethiopic version reads, "some held two measures, and some three"; how large the "metreta", or "measure" was, which we render a "firkin", is not certain; it is most likely it answered to the "Hebrew bath", which was a common measure of liquids with the Jews, and held four gallons and a half, or more; See Gill on Luke 16:6; so that such of these vessels, that held two of these measures, contained nine gallons, and such as held three of them, thirteen gallons and a half; and six of these contained a large quantity of wine, one with another: and which makes the following miracle the greater; and shows the liberality of Christ the more, in providing for the following days of the feast, for a marriage was kept seven days (x); and for the family, some time after it was over.

(t) Misn. Celim, c. 10. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (u) Misn. Yadaim, c. 1. sect. 2.((w) Gloss in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 77. 2.((x) Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 10. sect. 12, 13.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

6. firkins—about seven and a half gallons in Jewish, or nine in Attic measure; each of these huge water jars, therefore, holding some twenty or more gallons, for washings at such feasts (Mr 7:4).

John 2:6 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Wedding at Cana
5His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." 6Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." So they filled them up to the brim.…
Cross References
Mark 7:3
(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.

Luke 16:6
"'Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,' he replied. "The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.'

John 2:7
Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

John 3:25
An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.
Treasury of Scripture

And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

after.

John 3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and …

Mark 7:2-5 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that …

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Hebrews 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection …

Hebrews 9:10,19 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal …

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having …

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