John 1:39
He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
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(39) Come and see.—They think of a visit later, it may be, on the following day. He bids them come at once. We know not where. We have no hint of any words spoken. It was the sacred turning-point of the writer’s own life, and its incidents are fixed in a depth of thought and feeling that no human eye may penetrate. But he remembers the very hour. It was as we should say four o’clock in the afternoon (see marg.), for there is no sufficient reason for thinking that the Babylonian method of counting the hours, usual at Ephesus as at Jerusalem, is departed from in this Gospel.

1:37-42 The strongest and most prevailing argument with an awakened soul to follow Christ, is, that it is he only who takes away sin. Whatever communion there is between our souls and Christ, it is he who begins the discourse. He asked, What seek ye? The question Jesus put to them, we should all put to ourselves when we begin to follow Him, What do we design and desire? In following Christ, do we seek the favour of God and eternal life? He invites them to come without delay. Now is the accepted time, 2Co 6:2. It is good for us to be where Christ is, wherever it be. We ought to labour for the spiritual welfare of those related to us, and seek to bring them to Him. Those who come to Christ, must come with a fixed resolution to be firm and constant to him, like a stone, solid and stedfast; and it is by his grace that they are so.Come and see - This was a kind and gracious answer. He did not put them off to some future period. Then, as now, he was willing that they should come at once and enjoy the full opportunity which they desired of his conversation. Jesus is ever ready to admit those who seek him to his presence and favor.

Abode with him - Remained with him. This was probably the dwelling of some friend of Jesus. His usual home was at Nazareth.

The tenth hour - The Jews divided their day into twelve equal parts, beginning at sunrise. If John used their mode of computation, this was about four o'clock p. m. The Romans divided time as we do, beginning at midnight. If John used their mode, it was about ten o'clock in the forenoon. It is not certain which he used.

39. Come and see—His second utterance, more winning still.

tenth hour—not ten A.M. (as some), according to Roman, but four P.M., according to Jewish reckoning, which John follows. The hour is mentioned to show why they stayed out the day with him—because little of it remained.

Our Lord discerning the end of their following him to be sincere and good, invites them to

come and see where his lodging was; for he elsewhere telleth us, that he had not a house wherein to hide his head.

They came and saw his lodgings; where, or of what nature they were, we are not told, but we never read that he during his whole pilgrimage amongst us had any stately or splendid lodgings.

The text saith that these two disciples

abode with him that day; whether only the two or three remaining hours of the same day, (for it was now about four of the clock afternoon, which answers the tenth hour according to the Jewish account), or another whole day, being the sabbath day, (as some think), we are not told, nor can conclude; certain it is, they abode with him the remaining part of that day, from four of the clock till night.

He saith unto them, come and see,.... He gave them an invitation, to go along with him directly, and see with their own eyes, where he dwelt, and there and then converse with him, and at any other time; to which they had a hearty welcome:

they came and saw where he dwelt; they accepted of the invitation, and went along with him immediately, and saw, and took notice of the place where he had lodgings, that they might know it, and find it another time; which Dr. Lightfoot conjectures was at Capernaum, which is very probable; since that was his own city, where he paid tribute, where he frequently resorted, and was on the banks of Jordan, near the lake of Gennesaret; and these disciples were Galilaeans:

and abode with him that day; the remaining part of the day, which they spent in delightful conversation with him; by which they knew that he was the Messiah; at least they were better instructed in this matter, and more confirmed in it. The Arabic version renders it, "they remained with him that his own day"; and Dr. Lightfoot thinks the next day is meant, and that it was the sabbath day, which they kept with him in private devotion and conference:

for it was about the tenth hour; which, according to the Roman way of reckoning, must be ten o'clock in the morning; so that there was a considerable part of the day before them; but according to the Jewish way of reckoning, who reckon twelve hours to a day, it must be four o'clock in the afternoon, when there were but two hours to night: and this being; about the time when the lamb of the daily sacrifice of the evening was offered up, very seasonably did John point unto them, at this time, Christ the Lamb of God, the antitype of that sacrifice; for the daily evening sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and was offered at nine and a half (f), or between the ninth and tenth hours of the day. The Ethiopic version renders it, "they remained with him that day unto the tenth hour",

(f) Misn. Pesachim, c. 5. sect. 1.

He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the {t} tenth hour.

(t) It was getting later in the night.

39. Come and see] The more probable reading gives, Come and ye shall see.

they came] Insert, therefore.

that day] That memorable day.

it was about the tenth hour] S. John remembers the very hour of this crisis in his life: all the details of the narrative are very lifelike.

It is sometimes contended that S. John reckons the hours of the day according to the modern method, from midnight to midnight, and not according to the Jewish method, from sunset to sunset, as everywhere else in N.T. and in Josephus. It is antecedently improbable that S. John should in this point vary from the rest of N.T. writers; and we ought to require strong evidence before accepting this theory, which has been adopted mainly in order to escape from the difficulty of John 19:14, where see notes. Setting aside John 19:14 as the cause of the question, we have four passages in which S. John mentions the hour of the day, this, John 4:6; John 4:52 and John 11:9. None of them are decisive: but in no single case is the balance of probability strongly in favour of the modern method. See notes in each place. Here either 10 a.m. or 4 p.m. would suit the context: and while the antecedent probability that S. John reckons time like the rest of the Evangelists will incline us to 4 p.m., the fact that a good deal still remains to be done on this day makes 10 a.m. rather more suitable. Origen knows nothing of S. John’s using the modern method of reckoning.

John 1:39. Εἶδον, they saw) They might have seen proofs of the Messiah in His dwelling; which was simple, quiet, neat, silent, and frugal, without any costly array of vases and books, (comp. 2 Kings 4:10 [Elisha’s “little chamber on the wall” of the Shunammite, containing “a bed, table, stool, and candlestick,”]) in a word, worthy of Himself and of Him alone.—ἔμειναν, they abode) Constancy becomes disciples.—ἡμέραν, day) O happy day!—ὥρα, hour) Andrew made haste, even though late in the evening, to tell the [glad] tidings to his brother.[These incidents preceded sunset by two hours,—V. g.]

Verse 39. - He saith to them, Come, and ye shall see. "A parable of the message of faith" (Westcott). Some have compared the expression with ἔρου καὶ βλέπε, thrice repeated (T.R.) in Revelation 6; but it is unnecessary to do so. Faith precedes revelation as well as follows it. They came, and saw where he was abiding. We cannot say where; it may have been some cave in the rocks, some humble shelter amid the hills, some chamber in a caravanserai; for he had not where to lay his head. He called no place his home. And they abode with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. The extreme difficulty of reconciling John's statement as to the time of the Crucifixion with that of Mark (see note on John 19:14) has led very able critics, like Townson, McLellan, Westcott, to argue that all John's notices of time are compatible with his having adopted the Roman method of measuring, i.e. from midnight to noon, and from noon to midnight. On that hypothesis the "tenth hour" would be ten a.m., and the two disciples would have remained with our Lord throughout the day. This is not necessarily involved by our present context, and we are not sure that a like supposition will free us from all difficulty in John 19:14. Meyer says that "the Jewish reckoning is involved necessarily in John 11:9; and in John 4:6, 52 it is not excluded." The ordinary New Testament measurement would make the hour four p.m., and on that understanding several hours might still be open for the sacred fellowship. The personal witness shows himself by this delicate hint of exact time, this special note of remembrance concerning the most critical epoch of his life. John 1:39See (ἴδετε)

But the correct reading is ὄψεσθε, ye shall see.

They came

The best texts add οὖν, therefore. So Rev. This connecting particle is found in John's Gospel as often as in the other three combined, and most commonly in narrative, marking the transition from one thing to another, and serving to connect the several parts of the narrative. See John 1:22; John 2:18; John 3:25; John 4:28, John 4:30, etc. Much more frequently thus than in the discourses, where it would be used to mark a sequence of thought. Still such instances occur, as John 4:21, John 4:25; John 3:29; John 8:5; John 4:11.

He dwelt (μένει)

The present tense. Literally, they saw where he dwelleth. For a similar construction see John 2:9; John 4:1; Acts 10:18, etc.

Tenth hour

The question is whether this is to be reckoned according to the Jewish or the Roman method of computation. The Jewish method, employed by the other Evangelists, begins the day at sunrise; so that, according to this, the tenth hour would be four o'clock in the afternoon. The Roman method, like our own, reckons from midnight; according to which the tenth hour would be ten o'clock in the morning. The weight of the argument seems, on the whole, to be in favor of the Jewish method, which is undoubtedly assumed by John in John 11:9. The Greeks of Asia Minor, for whom John wrote, had the Jewish method, received from the Babylonians. Godet cites an incident from the "Sacred Discourses" of Aelius Aristides, a Greek sophist of the second century, and a contemporary of Polycarp. God having commanded him to take a bath, he chose the sixth hour as the most favorable to health. It being winter, and the bath a cold one, the hour was midday; for he said to his friend who kept him waiting, "Seest thou the shadow is already turning?" Even Canon Westcott, who advocates the Roman method, admits that "this mode of reckoning was unusual in ancient times," and that "the Romans and Greeks, no less than the Jews, reckoned their hours from sunrise," though the Romans reckoned their civil days from midnight, and the tenth hour is named as a late hour, when soldiers took their repast or were allowed to rest. Thus Livy, in his account of the Roman attack on Sutrium says, "About the tenth hour the consul ordered his men a repast, and gave directions that they should be ready in arms at whatever time of the day or night he should give the signal.... After refreshing themselves, they consigned themselves to rest" (9, 37).

Aristophanes says, "When the shadow on the dial is ten feet long, then go to dinner" ("Ecclesiazusae," 648), and Horace, "You will dine with me today. Come after the ninth hour" ("Epistle," Bk. 1., vii., 69). It is objected that the time from four o'clock to the close of the day would not have been described as that day; but beyond the marking of the specific hour of accompanying Jesus as the first hour of his Christian life, John would not have been unlikely to use a looser and more popular form of speech in indicating the length of the stay with Jesus, meaning simply that they remained with him during the remainder of the day, and, no doubt, prolonged their conversation into the night.

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