Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.'Chap. 12:1-36.] Prophetic anticipations of the Lord’s glorification by death.
1.] On πρὸ ἓξ ἡμ., see reff. It is an expression frequent in later Greek; so μετὰ τριάκοντα ἡμ. τῶν γάμων, Dio lix. 20; μετὰ δέκα ἔτη τοῦ οἰκῆσαι Ἀβραὰμ ἐν γῇ Χαναάν, Philo de Congressu, 14, vol. i. p. 529. See numerous instances in Greswell, vol. iii. Diss. 1, where he defines the expression to be exclusive of the period named as the limit ad quem or a quo (according as πρό or μετά is used), but inclusive of the day or month or year of the occurrence specified. Thus the arrival, and anointing, at Bethany, will be on the eighth of Nisan, if the passover was on the fourteenth. That day was a Sabbath; but this makes no difficulty, as we know not from what point our Lord came, or whether He arrived at the commencement of the Sabbath, i.e. sunset,—or a little after, on Friday evening, from Jericho.
2. ἐποίησαν] It is not said who. It was (Matt., Mark) in the house of Simon the leper. From Lazarus being there, and Martha serving, he may have been a near relative of theirs. See notes on Matt.
Lazarus is mentioned throughout the incident, ns forming an clement in the unfolding of the hatred of the Jews which issued in the Lord’s death: notice the climax, from mere connecting mention in ver. 1, then nearer connexion in ver. 2,—to his being the cause of the Jews flocking to Bethany in ver. 9,—and the joint object with Jesus of the enmity of the chief priests, in ver. 10.
3. λίτραν] What weight is imported, is uncertain: hardly (see ch. 19:39) so much as a Roman pound. The word, originally Greek, was adopted into the Aramaic, and is found in the Rabbinical writings as equivalent to a mina; see Friedlieb, Archäologie der Leidensgeschichte, p. 33.
On νάρδ. πιστ., see note on Mark.
ἤλ. τ. πόδ.] His head, according to Matt. and Mark. See note on Luke 7:38.
4.] For Judas, we have οἱ μαθ. αὐτοῦ. Matt.,—τινές, merely, Mark. See note on Matt. ver. 8.
ὁ μέλλεν αὐτὸν παραδιδόναι is not inserted, nor are any such notices in St. John without significance. It has a pragmatic connexion with the narrative in hand. Only one with thoughts alien from Jesus could have originated such a murmur. And on the other hand, it may well be, as some have supposed, that by the rebuke of the Lord on this occasion, the traitorous scheme of Judas, long hidden in his inmost soul, may have been stimulated to immediate action.
5. τριακοσ. δην.] Common (with the slight difference of the insertion of ἐπάνω) to our narrative and Mark. The sum is about 9l. 16s. of our money (Friedlieb, p. 31).
6.] γλωσσόκομον, ἀγγεῖον τῶν αὐλητικῶν γλωττῶν, Phryn. (De Wette), to keep the reeds, or tongues, of wind instruments:—thus, generally, any kind of pouch, or money-chest. See LXX, and Josephus, in reff.
ἐβάσταζεν] It seems hardly possible, with St. John’s use of βαστάζειν in ch. 20:15 before us, altogether to deny that the sense of carrying off, i.e. purloining, may be here intended. And we have examples in Josephus somewhat analogous: e.g. Antt. vii. 15. 3, where Hyrcanus the High Priest, wishing to give Antiochus Eusebes money to raise the siege, καὶ ἀλλαχόθεν οὐκ εὐπορῶν, ἀνοίξας ἕνα οἶκον τῶν ἐν τῷ Δαυίδου μνήματι, καὶ βαστάσας τρισχίλια τάλαντα, μέρος ἔδωκεν Ἀντιόχῳ.… See also ib. ix. 4. 5; xii. 5. 4: and Polyb. i. 48. 2. And so Origen, Theophyl., .; contra Lücke, De Wette, Tholuck, al.
7.] See note on Matt. ver. 12. To suppose that it was a remnant from that used at the burial of Lazarus, is not only fanciful, but at variance with the character of the deed as apparent in the narrative. The . reading, εἰς τ. ἡμ. τ. ἐντ. μου τετήρηκεν αὐτό, seems to be an adaptation to Mark 14:8, in order to escape from the difficulty of understanding how she could keep for His burial, what she poured out now. Meyer understands the text of the remnant: but Luthardt rightly observes that the history clearly excludes the idea of a remnant: cf. ἐπράθη and ἐδόθη. He himself, with Baumg.-Crusius, takes τηρήοῃ as past, “Let her have kept it,” i.e. blame her not for having kept it: but this is vapid in sense, and ungrammatical. I understand the words, which, like all our Lord’s proleptical expressions, have something enigmatical in them, of her whole act, not regarded as a thing past, but spoken of in the abstract as to be allowed or disallowed: Let her keep it for the day of my burial: not meaning a future day or act, but the present one, as one to be allowed.
8.] See note on Mark, vv. 7, 8.
γάρ implies the ἔργον καλὸν εἰργάσατο εἰς ἐμέ of Matt. ver. 10.
9 ff.] Remember, here as elsewhere in John, the Ἰουδαῖοι are not the people, but the rulers, and persons of repute: the representatives of the Jewish opposition to Jesus.
The chief priests, named here and in ch. 11:57, were of the sect of the Sadducees; and therefore disbelieved the fact of the raising of Lazarus; only viewing him as one whom it would be desirable to put out of the way, as an object of popular attention in connexion with Jesus.
11.] ὑπῆγον, went away (to Bethany); there is something in the ὑπ- which almost always implies away, out from under, the persons or the place in the narrative. And so here, the ἀρχιερεῖς being the main subject of the sentence, the word gets the sense of ‘fell away:’ scil. from under their hand or power.
12.] τῇ ἐπ., i.e. on the Sunday: see on ver. 1.
ἀκούσ., from the multitude who had returned from Bethany, ver. 9. The order of the narrative seems to require that these people should have visited Bethany late on the Sabbath, after sunset, and the anointing.
13. τὰ β. τ. φοιν.] The articles shew that the palm-trees were on the spot: the branches of the palm-trees: or perhaps (Lücke) that the custom was usual at such festivities.
βαΐα] The classical word is βαΐς, from the Coptic bai.
14-16.] The Evangelist seems to suppose his readers already acquainted with the circumstances of the triumphal entry, and therefore relates it thus compendiously.
εὑρών does not involve any discrepancy with the three Evangelists, but is a compendious term implying their details.
15.] The prophecy is more fully cited by Matt.
16.] Important, as shewing that this, and probably other prophetic citations under similar circumstances, were the effect of the light poured into the minds of the Apostles by the Holy Spirit after the Ascension.
ἐπʼ αὐτῷ] So Æsch. Eum. 343, γιγνομέναισι λάχη τάδʼ ἐφʼ ἁμῖν ἐκράνθη: Soph. Trach. 997, οἵαν ἐπί μοι χάριν ἠνύσω; Plato, Euthyd. 278 a, ὄνομα ἐπʼ ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίως ἔχουσι κείμενον.
ταῦτα ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ—viz. the going out to meet Him, strewing clothes and branches in the way, and shouting ‘Hosanna’ before Him: also perhaps, the setting Him on the ass, implied in the concise narrative. Notice the thrice-repeated ταῦτα, each time signifying ‘this which was written by the Prophet,’ ‘the above citation.’
18.] I see no necessity for supposing this multitude distinct from that in the last verse. We have had no account of any multitude coming from Bethany with Him, nor does this narrative imply it: and surely ὁ ὄχλος in the two verses must mean the same persons. The καί here does not imply another ὄχλος, but And on this account the multitude also went out to meet Him: i.e. their coming out to meet Him and their μαρτυρία on the Mount of Olives, had one and the same cause,—the raising of Lazarus.
19. κόσμος] κόσμον τὰ πλήθη λέγουσιν.
ἀπῆλθεν can hardly be altogether without allusion to the fact, or likelihood, of apostasy from Judaism. It is used to signify entire devotion to Him whithersoever He might lead them, as in ref.: and thus implies escape and alienation from themselves.
20-36.] Future spread of the kingdom of God among Gentiles from the death of Jesus. Some Greeks desire to see Jesus. His discourse thereupon.
20.] These Ἕλληνες were not Grecian Jews,—who would not have been so called: but Gentiles, ‘proselytes of the gate,’ who were in the habit (implied by the pres. part. ἀναβαινόντων) of coming up to the feast: see ch. 7:35 reff. and note; also Acts 8:27.
21.] For what reason Philip was selected, it is impossible to say. The Greek form of his name may imply some connexion with Hellenistic Jews, who may have been friends or relatives of these Greeks. If they were from the neighbourhood of Bethsaida, they would indeed have been familiar with the person of Jesus:—but what they here requested was evidently a private interview.
22.] Andrew (ch. 1:45) was of the same city as Philip: and this reason of Philip conferring with him is perhaps implied in the τῷ ἀπὸ Β. τ. Γ. Bengel remarks on this touch of nature: “cum sodali, audet.”
ἔρχεται—so ἔπεμψέ με Ἀριαῖος κ. Ἀρτάοζος, Xen. Anab. ii. 4. 16.
23.] Did the Greeks see (i.e. speak with) Jesus, or not? Certainly not, if I understand His discourse rightly. But they may have been present at, and have understood it. The substance of His answer (αὐτοῖς, to Philip and Andrew, not to the Greeks) is, that the time was now come for His glorification, which should draw all nations to Him:—but that glorification must be accomplished by His Death. The very appearance of these Greeks is to Him a token that His glorification is at hand. Stier strikingly says, “These men from the West at the end of the Life of Jesus, set forth the same as the Magi from the East at its beginning;—but they come to the Cross of the King, as those to His cradle.” (R. J. v. 69, edn. 2.) The rejection of the Jews for their unbelief is the secondary subject, and is commented on by the Evangelist, vv. 37-43.
ἵνα, not ‘eventual,’ nor ‘for’ any thing, but most strictly of the purpose—the hour has come, that (whose object of preparation, and aim, in the eternal counsels, it has been, that) the Son of Man should be glorified. 24.
24.] Meyer thinks, that our Lord begins His declaration with the double asseveration ἀμὴν ἀμήν, on account of the unreceptivity of the mind of the disciples for the announcements of His Death. But St. John always uses ἀμὴν ἀμήν. The grain of wheat perishes, and is not apparent (as the seeds of dicotyledonous plants are) in the new plant: see 1Corinthians 15:36. The saying is more than a mere parabolic similitude: the divine Will, which has fixed the law of the springing up of the wheat-corn, has also determined the law of the glorification of the Son of Man, and the one in analogy with the other: i.e. both through Death. The symbolism here lies at the root of that in ch. 6, where Christ is ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς.
αὐτὸς μόνος, by itself alone, with its life uncommunicated, lived only within its own limits, and not passing on.
25.] And this same divine Law prevails for the disciples, as well as for their Master: see Matthew 10:39 and note. But the saying here proclaims more plainly its true extent,—by its immediate connexion with ver. 24, and by εἰς ζ. αἰών. ψυχή
ψυχήis not really in a double sense: as the wheat-corn retains its identity, though it die, so the ψυχή: so that the two senses are, in their depth, but one. ψυχή is the life in both cases;—not the soul, in the present acceptation of that term.
26.] Connexion:—The ministering to, or intimate union with, Christ (the position of Philip and Andrew and the rest, and that into which these Greeks seemed desirous to enter) implies following Him,—and that, through tribulation to glory.
εἰμί, the essential present—in My true place, i.e. (ch. 17:24) in the glory of the Father.
τιμήσει—by glorifying him in My glorification, ch. 17:24.
27.] “Concurrebat horror mortis et ardor obedientiæ” (Bengel). And to express both these together in human speech was impossible: therefore τί εἴπω