New International Version
They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"
New Living Translation
"But we are descendants of Abraham," they said. "We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, 'You will be set free'?"
English Standard Version
They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
New American Standard Bible
They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free '?"
King James Bible
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Holman Christian Standard Bible
We are descendants of Abraham," they answered Him, "and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, You will become free?"
International Standard Version
They replied to him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves to anybody. So how can you say, 'You will be set free'?"
"We are descendants of Abraham," they replied, "and have never been anyone's slaves! How can you say, 'You will become free'?"
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they were saying to him, “We are the seed of Abraham, and never have we served in bondage to a man; how do you say, “You shall be children of liberty”?
GOD'S WORD® Translation
They replied to Jesus, "We are Abraham's descendants, and we've never been anyone's slaves. So how can you say that we will be set free?"
Jubilee Bible 2000
They answered him, We are Abraham's seed, and we have never served anyone; how sayest thou, Ye shall be set free?
King James 2000 Bible
They answered him, We are Abraham's descendants, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you, You shall be made free?
American King James Version
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you, You shall be made free?
American Standard Version
They answered unto him, We are Abraham's seed, and have never yet been in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free?
Darby Bible Translation
They answered him, We are Abraham's seed, and have never been under bondage to any one; how sayest thou, Ye shall become free?
English Revised Version
They answered unto him, We be Abraham's seed, and have never yet been in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Webster's Bible Translation
They answered him, We are Abraham's offspring, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Weymouth New Testament
"We are descendants of Abraham," they answered, "and have never at any time been in slavery to any one. What do those words of yours mean, 'You shall become free'?"
World English Bible
They answered him, "We are Abraham's seed, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How do you say, 'You will be made free?'"
Young's Literal Translation
They answered him, 'Seed of Abraham we are; and to no one have we been servants at any time; how dost thou say -- Ye shall become free?'
Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary
8:30-36 Such power attended our Lord's words, that many were convinced, and professed to believe in him. He encouraged them to attend his teaching, rely on his promises, and obey his commands, notwithstanding all temptations to evil. Thus doing, they would be his disciples truly; and by the teaching of his word and Spirit, they would learn where their hope and strength lay. Christ spoke of spiritual liberty; but carnal hearts feel no other grievances than those that molest the body, and distress their worldly affairs. Talk to them of their liberty and property, tell them of waste committed upon their lands, or damage done to their houses, and they understand you very well; but speak of the bondage of sin, captivity to Satan, and liberty by Christ; tell of wrong done to their precious souls, and the hazard of their eternal welfare, then you bring strange things to their ears. Jesus plainly reminded them, that the man who practised any sin, was, in fact, a slave to that sin, which was the case with most of them. Christ in the gospel offers us freedom, he has power to do this, and those whom Christ makes free are really so. But often we see persons disputing about liberty of every kind, while they are slaves to some sinful lust.
Verses 33-46. -
(5) The offer of spiritual freedom to the seed of Abraham provoked bitter hostility and misapprehension. Verse 33. - They answered him, We be Abraham's seed - taking the highest position of national grandeur and racial pride. Vast were the pretensions which the Jews often assumed from this lofty ancestry. "They were all children of kings;" "Solomon's feast was not too good for them;" "He was heir of the world;" "They were the inheritors in him of all the nations." They had rung this cry into the ears of John the Baptist, when this last prophet had called upon them for repentance. Their following boast is difficult to understand: We have never yet been enslaved to anyone; and great difference of opinion has prevailed over the meaning cf. these words. It is incredible that John should represent: the Jews as ignorant of their national political history. The first word of their Decalogue included a reference to the "house of bondage" from which Jehovah had delivered the seed of Abraham. Moreover, their political humiliation at the hand of the border kingdoms of Assyria, Babylon, and Syria was the perpetual theme of prophet and psalmist. The terrible reverses that they had subsequently experienced at the hand of Antiochus and of the Roman power, and the galling submission to Rome which at the moment was rousing their fiercest passion, would render any such boast simply preposterous. Godet's suggestion, that they were making a boast of their personal civil freedom, that Abraham's seed were not sold into positive slavery, however mortifying their political servitude had proved, is far fetched and too far away from the facts of the case; neither does it harmonize with the character of this angry retort. Probably a reference is made to the ideal freedom from slavery and from dependence which they had, in their hour of deepest depression from all and every form of tyranny whatsoever, religiously maintained. They did, as their wonderful psalter shows, cherish a conviction that David's throne and Abraham's inheritance ideally stood through all the ages, lustrous and magnificent to the eye of faith. When the holy and beautiful house was burned with fire, when their exile was complete, they still saw all visible things, even "heaven and earth," departing or rolled up like a scroll, while their Creator and redeeming King was seated still on his eternal throne. From St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, they clearly held that the mere possession of the Law, whether they kept it or not, was their much-prized pledge of independence from all other authority or servitude. If so, they may have been on this occasion boasting of their ideal freedom in virtue of their he reditary privileges, and forgetful of the lessons even of the agelong story of Ishmael and Esau, and the deportation and abolition of Israel as a nation. One can scarcely refrain a momentary thrill of admiration at the hardihood of their eager faith, and the overwhelming strength of confidence they manifested in their destiny as a people. All the spiritual salvation and ideal freedom which they desired they possessed as children of Abraham. How sayest thou - "Upon what possible principle dost thou promise to us that which we already are proud of possessing, viz. glorious liberty?" Is it from the emancipating power of truth? We have the truth; we are the depositaries of infallible truth. We already possess as our birthright what thou art offering to us as the full result of discipleship. How sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They answered him,.... Not the believing Jews, whom he peculiarly addressed, but the unbelieving Jews, who were present, and heard these things:
we be Abraham's seed; this the Jews always valued themselves upon, and reckoned themselves, on this account, upon a level with the nobles and the princes of the earth.
"Says R. Akiba (c), even the poor of Israel are to be considered as if they were , "noblemen", that are fallen from their substance, because they are the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;''
and were never in bondage to any man; which is a very great falsehood, for it was declared to Abraham himself, that his seed should serve in a land not theirs, and be afflicted four hundred years, as they were; and as the preface to the law which the Jews gloried in shows, which says, that the Lord their God brought them out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; and they were frequently overcome by their neighbours, the Moabites, Ammonites, and Philistines, and reduced to servitude under them, until delivered by one judge, or another: and not to take notice of their seventy years' captivity in Babylon, they were at this very time under the Roman yoke, and paid tribute to Caesar; and yet such was the pride of their hearts, they would not be thought to be in bondage; and therefore, with an haughty air, add,
how sayest thou, ye shall be made free? when they thought themselves, and would fain have been thought by others, to have been free already, and so to stand in no need of being made free.
(c) Misn. Bava Kama, c. 8. sect. 6. & T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 86. 1. & 91. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
33. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man, &c.—Who said this? Not surely the very class just spoken of as won over by His divine words, and exhorted to continue in them. Most interpreters seem to think so; but it is hard to ascribe such a petulant speech to the newly gained disciples, even in the lowest sense, much less persons so gained as they were. It came, probably, from persons mixed up with them in the same part of the crowd, but of a very different spirit. The pride of the Jewish nation, even now after centuries of humiliation, is the most striking feature of their character. "Talk of freedom to us? Pray when or to whom were we ever in bondage?" This bluster sounds almost ludicrous from such a nation. Had they forgotten their long and bitter bondage in Egypt? their dreary captivity in Babylon? their present bondage to the Roman yoke, and their restless eagerness to throw it off? But probably they saw that our Lord pointed to something else—freedom, perhaps, from the leaders of sects or parties—and were not willing to allow their subjection even to these. Our Lord, therefore, though He knew what slaves they were in this sense, drives the ploughshare somewhat deeper than this, to a bondage they little dreamt of.
John 8:33 Additional Commentaries
The Truth will Set You Free
…32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free '?" 34Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.…
And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
I know that you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word.
"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do what Abraham did.
Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.
Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
Treasury of Scripture
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you, You shall be made free?
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