John 5:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.

New Living Translation
Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches.

English Standard Version
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.

Berean Study Bible
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool with five covered colonnades, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda.

Berean Literal Bible
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, having five porches.

New American Standard Bible
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes.

King James Bible
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five colonnades.

International Standard Version
Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew. It has five colonnades,

NET Bible
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool called Bethzatha in Aramaic, which has five covered walkways.

New Heart English Bible
Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, "Bethesda," having five porches.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But there was a certain baptismal place in Jerusalem called in Aramaic, Bayth Khesda, and there were in it five porches.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Near Sheep Gate in Jerusalem was a pool called [Bethesda] in Hebrew. It had five porches.

New American Standard 1977
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Now in Jerusalem there is a pool by the sheep gate, which in Hebrew is called, Bethesda, having five porches.

King James 2000 Bible
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

American King James Version
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

American Standard Version
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches.

Darby Bible Translation
Now there is in Jerusalem, at the sheepgate, a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.

English Revised Version
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches.

Webster's Bible Translation
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches.

Weymouth New Testament
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, called in Hebrew 'Bethesda.' It has five arcades.

World English Bible
Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, "Bethesda," having five porches.

Young's Literal Translation
and there is in Jerusalem by the sheep -gate a pool that is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches,
Study Bible
The Pool of Bethesda
1Later on there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool with five covered colonnades, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda. 3On these walkways lay a great number of the sick, the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed.…
Cross References
Nehemiah 3:1
Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred and the Tower of Hananel.

Nehemiah 3:32
Between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants carried out repairs.

Nehemiah 12:39
and above the Gate of Ephraim, by the Old Gate, by the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate; and they stopped at the Gate of the Guard.

John 5:3
On these walkways lay a great number of the sick, the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed.

John 7:21
Jesus answered them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished.

John 19:13
When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat on the judgment seat at a place called the Stone Pavement, which in Aramaic is Gabbatha.

John 19:17
Carrying His own cross, He went out to The Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.

John 20:16
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

Acts 21:40
Having received permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. A great hush came over the crowd, and he addressed them in Aramaic:

Revelation 9:11
They were ruled by a king, the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek it is Apollyon.
Treasury of Scripture

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

market. or, gate.

Nehemiah 3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, …

Nehemiah 12:39 And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above …

pool.

Isaiah 22:9,11 You have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are …

Bethesda. The supposed remains of the pool of Bethesda are situated on the east of Jerusalem, contiguous on one side to St. Stephen's gate, and on the other to the area of the temple. Maundrell states that, 'it is

(2) Now there is at Jerusalem.--We have no certain knowledge of the time referred to in the last, nor of the place referred to in this, verse. For "sheep-market," we should read with the margin, sheep-gate (Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 3:32; Nehemiah 12:39). This gate was known well enough to fix the locality of the pool, but is itself now unknown. St. Stephen's Gate, which has been the traditional identification, did not exist until the time of Agrippa. There is something tempting in the interpretation of the Vulgate adopted by some modern travellers and commentators, which supplies the substantive from the immediate context, and reads "sheep-pool." But the fact that the Greek adjective for "sheep," is used here only in the New Testament, and in the Old Testament only in the passages of Nehemiah referred to above, seems to fix the meaning beyond doubt.

Bethesda means "house of mercy." The "Hebrew tongue" is the then current Hebrew, what we ordinarily call Aramaic, or Syro-Chaldaic. The spot is pointed out traditionally as Birket Israil, near the fort of Antonia, but since Dr. Robinson's rejection of this, it has been generally abandoned. He himself adopted the "Fountain of the Virgin," which is intermittent. He saw the water rise to the height of a foot in five minutes, and was told that this occurs sometimes two or three times a day. The fountain is connected with the pool of Siloam, and probably with the fountain under the Grand Mosque. The seventh edition of Alford's Commentary contains, an interesting letter, pointing out that Siloam itself was probably the pool of Bethesda, and that the remains of four columns in the east wall of the pool, with four others in the centre, show that there was a structure half covering it, which resting upon four columns would give five spaces or porches. The fact that this pool is called Siloam in John 9:7 does not oppose this view. The word "called" here, is more exactly surnamed, and "House of Mercy" may well have been given to the structure, and thus extended to the pool in addition to its own name. But to pass from the uncertain, it is established beyond doubt, (1) that there are, and then were, on the east of Jerusalem mineral springs; (2) that these are, and then were, intermittent; and (3) that such springs are resorted to in the East just as they are in Europe.

Verse 2. - Now there is in Jerusalem. A phrase denoting intimate acquaintance with the topography of the city, and the present tense suggests either a hint of a ruin yet existing after the fall of Jerusalem, or it may betray the fact that the evangelist wrote down at the very time some details of the incident which formed the occasion of the following discourse, and never, in his later editing of the document, omitted or altered the form of his sentence. At the sheep (market) or (gate) a pool, surnamed in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes or porches. The adjective προβατικῇ requires some substantive to be introduced, and since there is no reference to any sheep market in the Old Testament, little justification can be found for the gloss contained in the Authorized Version. There was a "sheep gate" mentioned in Nehemiah 3:1, 32 and Nehemiah 12:39. There is no reason against this method of supplying the sense, except this, that there is no other instance of the word πύλη, or "gate," being omitted after this fashion. The "sheep gate" stood next. in Nehemiah's recital, to the "fish gate," and it was built by the priests. The old "sheep gate" is now known by the name of St. Stephen's Gate, to the north of the Haram es-Sherif, or temple area from which the path leads down into the valley of the Kedron, and if "gate" be the proper term to add to προβατικη and we have its site fixed by the modern St. Stephen's Gate, then we must look for the pool surnamed Bethesda in that vicinity. Eusebius and Jerome speak of a piscina probatica as visible in their day, but do not determine its site. Robinson ('Bib. Researches,' 1, p. 489) did not accept the identification of the sheep gate with St. Stephen's Gate, and places the former more to the south, and nearer to what is now called the Fountain of the Virgin. This fountain, on Robinson's visit, displayed some curious phenomena of periodical and intermittent ebullition, receiving a supply of water from another source. It was found by Robinson to be connected by a tunnel with the fountain of Siloam, and the relations of these wells have been quite recently submitted to fresh examination ('Palestine Expl. Soc. Rep.,' Oct. 1883). Robinson identified this pool with "Solomon's Pool" of Josephus and "King's Pool" of Nehemiah, and thought it might be the original pool of Bethesda. Neander and Tholuck incline to agree with him. The observations of Robinson have been confirmed by Tobler, and at least show that what certainly happens now in some of these fountains may have been phenomena constantly expected at some other fountain bearing the name now before us, on the northeastern side of the Haram area. Within the (sheep gate) St. Stephen's Gate the traditional site of Bethesda is pointed out. The modern name is Birket lsrael, and this tank, from the accumulation of rubbish, does not now show its original extent; neither does it now hold water, but receives the drainage of neighbouring houses (Colonel Wilson in 'Plot. Palestine,' vol. 1, pp. 66, 106-109). A church, near that of St. Anne, was built by the Crusaders over a well, in this immediate vicinity - a spot which was supposed to be the site of the angelic disturbance. Colonel Wilson prefers this traditional site to that fixed upon by Robinson. So also Sir G. Grove, in Smith's 'Bible Dict.' The five porches, or porticoes, may have been a columnar structure of pentagonal form, which sheltered the sick and the impotent folk. At present no indubitable relic of this building has been discovered. Alford (7th edit.) quotes a letter which makes it probable that Siloam was Bethesda, and the remains of four columns in the east wall of that pool, with four others in the centre, show that a structure with five openings or porches might easily have been erected there. Bethesda, which is said to be the Hebrew (that is, Aramaic) surname of the pool, is very doubtful. Probably this is the correct form of the text, though there are many variants, such as Bethzatha, in א, 33, Tischendorf (8th edit.); Bethsaida, in some versions and Tertullian. It seems generally allowed that its significance (בֵּית חֶסְדָּא) is "house of grace or mercy," and that it derived its reference from the dispensation there of God's providential gifts. The healing virtue of waters charged with iron and carbonic acid and other gas is too well known to need reference, and the remarkable cures derived from their use may account forevery part of the statement which was here written by John. Eusebius speaks of these waters as "reddened," so he thought, with the blood of sacrifices, but tar more probably by chatybeate earth. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market,.... The word "market" is not in the text, and of such a market, no account is given in the Scripture, nor in the Jewish writings; and besides, in our Lord's time, sheep and oxen were sold in the temple; rather therefore this signifies, the sheep gate, of which mention is made, in Nehemiah 3:1, through which the sheep were brought into the city, to the temple.

A pool. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read, "there is at Jerusalem a sheep pool"; and so it is interpreted in the Arabic version, and Jerom calls it the "cattle pool" (f). The Targumist on Jeremiah 31:39 speaks of a pool called , "the calf", or "heifer pool", as Dr. Lightfoot renders it; though the translations of it, both in the London Polyglott, and in the king of Spain's Bible, interpret it "the round pool". This pool of Bethesda, is thought by some, to be the same which the Jews call the great pool in Jerusalem; they say (g),

"between Hebron and Jerusalem, is the fountain Etham, from whence the waters come by way of pipes, unto the great pool, which is in Jerusalem.''

And R. Benjamin (h) speaks of a pool, which is to be seen to this day, where the ancients slew their sacrifices, and all the Jews write their names on the wall: and some think it was so called, because the sheep that were offered in sacrifice, were there washed; which must be either before, or after they were slain; not before, for it was not required that what was to be slain for sacrifice should be washed first; and afterwards, only the entrails of a beast were washed; and for this there was a particular place in the temple, called "the washing room"; where, they say (i), they washed the inwards of the holy sacrifices. This pool here, therefore, seems rather, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, to have been a bath for unclean persons; and having this miraculous virtue hereafter spoken of, diseased persons only, at certain times, had recourse to it. The Syriac and Persic versions call it, "a place of a baptistery"; and both leave out the clause, "by the sheep market", or "gate": it is not easy to say where and what it was:

which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda; which signifies, according to the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, "an house of mercy", or "grace", or "goodness"; because many miserable objects here received mercy, and a cure. Hegesippus (k) speaks of a Bethesda, which Cestius the Roman general entered into, and burnt; and which, according to him, seems to be without Jerusalem, and so not the place here spoken of; and besides, this is called a pool, though the buildings about it doubtless went by the same name. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read Bethsaida, very wrongly; and it is called by Tertullian (l) the pool of Bethsaida. The Hebrew tongue here mentioned is , "the language of those beyond the river" (m), i.e. the river Euphrates; which is the Chaldee language, as distinct from the Assyrian language, which is called the holy and blessed language; the former is what the Cuthites, or Samaritans used; the latter, that in which the book of the law was written (n).

Having five porches; or cloistered walks, which were very convenient for the diseased, which lay here for a cure, so Nonnus: Athanasius (o) speaks of the pool itself, as in being, though the buildings round about lay in ruins in his time; and (p) Daviler observes, there are still remaining five arches of the "portico", and part of the basin. Now this place may be an emblem of the means of grace, the ministry of the word, and ordinances: the house of God, where the Gospel is preached, may be called a Bethesda, an house of mercy; since here the free, sovereign, rich, and abundant grace and mercy of God, through Christ, is proclaimed, as the ground and foundation of a sinner's hope; the mercy of God, as it is displayed in the covenant of grace, in the mission of Christ, and redemption by him, in regeneration, and in the forgiveness of sin, and indeed, in the whole of salvation, from first to last, is here held forth for the relief of distressed minds: and this Bethesda being a pool, some of the ancients have thought, it was an emblem of, and prefigured the ordinance of baptism; and that the miraculous virtue in it, was put into it, to give honour and credit to that ordinance, shortly to be administered: but as that is not the means of regeneration and conversion, or of a cure or cleansing, but pre-requires them; rather it might be a symbol of the fountain of Christ's blood, opened for polluted sinners to wash in, and which cleanses from all sin, and cures all diseases; and this is opened in the house of mercy, and by the ministry of the word: or rather, best of all, the Gospel itself, and the ministration of it, mass be signified; which is sometimes compared to waters, and a fountain of them; see Isaiah 4:1 Joel 3:18; and whereas this pool was in Jerusalem, and that so often designs the church of Christ under the Gospel dispensation, it may fitly represent the ministry of the word there: and it being near the sheep-market, or gate, or a sheep-pool, may not be without its significancy; and may lead us to observe, that near where Christ's sheep are, which the Father has given him, and he has died for, and must bring in, he fixes his word and ordinances, in order to gather them in: and inasmuch as there were five porches, or cloistered walks, leading unto, or adjoining to this place, it has been thought by some of the ancients, that the law, as lying in the five books of Moses, may be intended by them; for under the law, and under a work of it, men are, before they come into the light and liberty, and comfort of the Gospel; and as the people which lay in these porches, received no cure there, so there are no relief, peace, joy, life, and salvation, by the law of works.

(f) De Locis Hebraicis, p. 89. L. Tom. III.((g) Cippi Hebraici, p. 10. (h) Itinerar. p. 43. (i) Misn. Middot, c. 5. sect. 2. Maimon. Beth Habbechira, c. 5. sect. 17. (k) De Excidio, l. 2. c. 15. (l) Adv. Judaeos, c. 13. (m) De Semente, p. 345. Tom. I.((n) In Chambers' Dictionary, in the word "Piscina". (o) Vid. Gloss. in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 115. 1. Megilla, fol. 18. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 21. 2.((p) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Yadaim, c. 4. sect. 5. Vid. Gloss. in T. Bab. Megillia, fol. 8. 2.2, 3. sheep market—The supplement should be (as in Margin) "sheep [gate]," mentioned in Ne 3:1, 32.

Bethesda—that is, "house (place) of mercy," from the cures wrought there.

five porches—for shelter to the patients.5:1-9 We are all by nature impotent folk in spiritual things, blind, halt, and withered; but full provision is made for our cure, if we attend to it. An angel went down, and troubled the water; and what disease soever it was, this water cured it, but only he that first stepped in had benefit. This teaches us to be careful, that we let not a season slip which may never return. The man had lost the use of his limbs thirty-eight years. Shall we, who perhaps for many years have scarcely known what it has been to be a day sick, complain of one wearisome night, when many others, better than we, have scarcely known what it has been to be a day well? Christ singled this one out from the rest. Those long in affliction, may comfort themselves that God keeps account how long. Observe, this man speaks of the unkindness of those about him, without any peevish reflections. As we should be thankful, so we should be patient. Our Lord Jesus cures him, though he neither asked nor thought of it. Arise, and walk. God's command, Turn and live; Make ye a new heart; no more supposes power in us without the grace of God, his distinguishing grace, than this command supposed such power in the impotent man: it was by the power of Christ, and he must have all the glory. What a joyful surprise to the poor cripple, to find himself of a sudden so easy, so strong, so able to help himself! The proof of spiritual cure, is our rising and walking. Has Christ healed our spiritual diseases, let us go wherever he sends us, and take up whatever he lays upon us; and walk before him.
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