Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Is it not written in your law?—Comp. Note on John 8:17. The passage here quoted is in Psalm 82:6, but the term “Law” is here used in a wide sense for the whole of the Old Testament. There are other examples of this usage in John 7:49; John 12:34; John 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1Corinthians 14:21.
I said, Ye are gods?—In the Hebrew of the Psalm, as in the Greek here, the pronoun is emphatic. “I myself said, Ye are gods?” The words are probably to be understood in the Psalm as spoken by God, who sits in judgment on the judges whom He had appointed, and gives the name of “gods” (Elohim) as representing Himself. See Exodus 4:16; Exodus 7:1; Exodus 18:15; Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8; Exodus 22:28; Deuteronomy 1:17; 1Samuel 28:13; Psalm 8:5; Psalm 45:6; and comp. Perowne’s Notes on Psalms 82, and article “God,” in Kitto’s Biblical Cyclopœdia, Ed. 3, vol. ii., p. 144 et seq.John 10:34-36 shows that they ought not to object to his use of the word God, even if he were no more than a man. The second John 10:37-38 repeats substantially what he had before said, left the same impression, and in proof of it he appealed to his works.
In your law - Psalm 82:6. The word "law" here, is used to include the Old Testament.
I said - The Psalmist said, or God said by the Psalmist.
Ye are gods - This was said of magistrates on account of the dignity and honor of their office, and it shows that the Hebrew word translated "god," אלהים ̀elohiym, in that place might be applied to man. Such a use of the word is, however, rare. See instances in Exodus 7:1; Exodus 4:16.
Ye are gods—being the official representatives and commissioned agents of God.Psalm 82:6. The whole Scripture of the Old Testament, being wrote by holy men, inspired of God, and directive of men’s conversation before men, and towards God, is sometimes called the law, Psalm 19:7. It was spoken concerning magistrates, and the governors of God’s people, who, being God’s deputies and vicegerents, intrusted to execute the judgments and vengeance of God, are dignified with the name of gods. Psalm 82:6; for the law includes not only the Pentateuch, but all the books of the Old Testament: it is an observation of one of the Jewish doctors (t), that
"with the wise men of blessed memory, it is found in many places that the word law comprehends the Prophets and the Hagiographa.''
Among which last stands the book of Psalms; and this may be confirmed by a passage out of the Talmud (u); it is asked,
"from whence does the resurrection of the dead appear, , "out of the law?"''
It is answered,
"as it is said in Psalm 84:4, "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will still praise thee, Selah; they do praise thee", it is not said, but "they will praise thee"; from hence is a proof of the resurrection of the dead, "out of the law".''
The same question is again put, and then Isaiah 52:8 is cited, and the like observation made upon it. Moreover, this is a way of speaking used by the Jews, when they introduce another citing a passage of Scripture thus (w), , "is it not written in your law", Deuteronomy 4:9, "only take heed to thyself", &c. so here the Scripture follows,
I said, ye are gods? which is spoken to civil magistrates, so called, because of their authority and power; and because they do, in some sort, represent the divine majesty, in the government of nations and kingdoms. Many of the Jewish writers, by "gods", understand "the angels". The Targum paraphrases the words thus:
"I said ye are accounted as angels, as the angels on high, all of you;''
and to this sense some of their commentators interpret it. Jarchi's gloss is, ye are gods; that is, angels; for when I gave the law to you, it was on this account, that the angel of death might not any more rule over you: the note of Aben Ezra is, "and the children of the Most High": as angels; and the sense is, your soul is as the soul of angels: hence the (x) Jew charges Christ with seeking refuge in words, that will not profit, or be any help to him, when he cites these words, showing that magistrates are called gods, when the sense is only, that they are like to the angels in respect of their souls: but let it be observed, that it is not said, "ye are as gods", as in Genesis 3:5, but "ye are gods"; not like unto them only, but are in some sense gods; and besides, to say that they are like to angels, with respect to their souls, which come from above, is to say no more of the judges of the earth, than what may be said of every man: to which may be added, that this objector himself owns, that judges are called "gods", as in Exodus 22:9; the cause of both parties shall come before "the judges"; and that even the word is used in this sense in this very psalm, from whence these words are cited, Psalm 82:1, "he judgeth among" "the gods"; and both Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret this text itself in the same way, and observe, that judges are called gods, when they judge truly and aright: all which is sufficient to justify our Lord in the citation of this passage, and the use he makes of it.Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 10:34-36. In Psalm 82:6, unrighteous authorities of the theocratic people—not angels (Bleek), nor yet heathen princes (De Wette, Hitzig)—whose approaching destruction, in contrast to their high dignity, is intended to stand out, are called gods, agreeably to the old sacred view of rulers as the representatives of God, which was entertained in the theocratic nation. Compare Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8; Exodus 22:28. From this, Jesus draws the conclusion a minori ad majus, that He might call Himself God’s Son without blasphemy. He is surely far more exalted than they (ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασε, etc.); and nevertheless had designated Himself, not θεός, as though wishing to make a God of Himself, but merely υἱὸς τ. θεοῦ.
ἐν τῷ νόμῳ] Spoken of the Old Testament generally, of which the law was the fundamental and authoritative portion. Comp. John 12:34, John 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21.
ὑμῶν] as in John 8:17.
ἐκείνους] whom? Jesus takes for granted as known.
εἶπε] namely, ὁ νόμος (compare afterwards ἡ γραφή), not God (Hengstenberg).
πρὸς οὕς] to whom, not adversus quos (Heinsius, Stolz), which does not follow from the context. There is nothing to warrant the supposition that the prophets are also referred to (Olshausen).
ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ] Neither the λόγος ἄσαρκος (Cyril), nor the revelations of God (Olshausen, comp. Godet), but the saying of God just mentioned: ἐγὼ εἶπα, etc. This saying belongs, not to the time when the Psalm was written, but to that earlier period (the period of the induction of the authorities into their office, comp. Psalm 2:7), to which God, the speaker, points back.
καὶ οὐ δύναται, etc.] This clause, though containing only an auxiliary thought, and not a main point of the argumentation (Godet), has been without reason treated as a parenthesis; whereas both in point of structure and sense it is dependent on εἰ: and it is impossible, etc. So also Ewald, Godet, Hengstenberg.
λυθῆναι] The Scripture (consequently, also, that saying of the. Psalms) cannot be loosened, i.e. cannot be deprived of its validity. Comp. Matthew 5:19; John 5:18; John 7:23; Herod. 3. 82; Plat. Phaedr. p. 256 D; Gorg. p. 509 A; Dem. 31. 12, 700, 13. The auctoritas normativa et judicialis of the Scriptures must remain unbroken. Note, in connection herewith, the idea of the unity of the Scriptures as such, as also the presupposition of their theopneustia.
ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγ, etc.] That is surely something still greater than the λόγος τ. θεοῦ, addressed to authorities when they were installed in their offices. In this question, which is placed in the apodosis, and which expresses surprise, the object, which is correlate to the ἐκείνους of John 10:35, is very emphatically placed at the commencement; and ὑμεῖς (you people) is placed over against the inviolable authority of the Scripture.
ἡγίασε] hath consecrated, a higher analogue of the consecration to the office of prophet (Jeremiah 1:5; Sir 45:4; Sir 49:7), denoting the divine consecration to the office of Messiah, who is the ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ (John 6:69; Luke 4:34). This consecration took place on His being sent from heaven, and immediately before His departure (hence ἡγίασε καὶ ἀπέστ.), in that the Father not merely “set apart” the Son to the work (as though the word ἐξελέξατο had been used; Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 86; comp. Euth. Zigabenus, Hengstenberg, and Brückner), but also conferred on Him the Messianic ἐντολή and ἐξουσία, with the fulness of the Spirit appertaining thereunto (John 3:34), and the power of life (John 5:26), and the πλήρωμα of grace and truth (John 1:14).
ὅτι βλασφημεῖς] The reply which, in view of ὃν, etc., we should have expected to be in the oblique construction (βλασφημεῖν or ὅτι βλασφημεῖ, comp. John 9:19), passes over with the increasing vivacity of the discourse into the direct construction; compare John 8:54, and see Buttm. Neuf. Gr. p. 234 [E. T. p. 272].
ὅτι εἶπον] because I said. He had said it indirectly in John 10:29-30.
 Hengstenberg incorrectly remarks: “He accepts the charge, ‘Thou makest thyself God.’ ” On the contrary, He does not enter on it at all, but simply justifies the predicate, “Son of God,” which He had assumed for Himself. But Beyschlag also is wrong when he says (p. 106): “That which Jesus here affirms concerning Himself (ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασε, etc.) might equally have been affirmed by every prophet.” On such a view, no regard would be paid to the relation of πατήρ and υἱός.
John 10:34-38. Jesus justifies Himself from the reproach of blasphemy by defending His assertion that He was the Son of God—the words of John 10:30 which had excited the opposition amounted to this—from the Scriptures (John 10:34-36); He then sets forth the unity affirmed in John 10:30 as credibly attested by His works (John 10:37-38).John 10:34. On this occasion He merely shows that even a man could without blasphemy call himself “Son of God”; because their own judges had been called “gods”.—Οὐκ ἔστι γεγραμμένον ἐν τῶ νόμῳ ὑμῶν, “Is it not written in your law, I said ‘ye are Gods’?” In Psalms 82 the judges of Israel are rebuked for abusing their office; and God is represented as saying: “I said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High”. “The law” is here used of the whole O.T. as in John 12:34, John 15:25, Romans 3:19, 1 Corinthians 14:21.—Εἰ ἐκείνους … “If it [that ὁ νόμος is the nominative to εἶπε is proved by the two following clauses, although at first sight it might be more natural to suppose the nearer and more emphatic ἐγώ supplied the nominative] called them gods, to whom the word of God came,” that is, who were thus addressed by God at their consecration to their office and by this word lifted up to a new dignity—“and that they were so called is certain because Scripture cannot be denied or put aside—then do you, shutting your eyes to your own Scriptures, declare Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world to be a blasphemer because He said, I am God’s Son?” The a fortiori element in the argument lies in this, that the judges were made “gods” by the coming to them of God’s commission, which found them engaged otherwise and itself raised them to their new rank, whereas Jesus was set apart by the Father and sent into the world for the sole object of representing the Father. If the former might be legitimately called “gods,” the latter may well claim to be God’s Son. The idea of the purpose for which Christ was sent into the world is indicated in the emphatic use of ὁ πατήρ; and this is still further accentuated in John 10:37.34. in your law] ‘Law’ is here used in its widest sense for the whole of the Old Testament; so also in John 12:34 and John 15:25; in all three places the passage referred to is in the Psalms. Comp. John 7:19, 1 Corinthians 14:21. The force of the pronoun is, ‘for which you profess to have such a regard:’ comp. John 8:17. On the Greek for ‘is it written’ see on John 2:17.
I said, Ye are gods] The argument is both à fortiori and ad hominem. In the Scriptures (Psalm 82:6) even unjust rulers are called ‘gods’ on the principle of the theocracy, that rulers are the delegates and representatives of God (comp. Exodus 22:28). If this is admissible without blasphemy, how much more may He call Himself ‘Son of God.’
34–38. Christ answers the formal charge of blasphemy by a formal argument on the other side.John 10:34. Ἀπεκρίθη, answered) The Jews had said, Thou sayest that Thou art God, and indeed God by nature (for their blindness lay in joining this Godhead with the manhood): and Jesus acknowledge [as His claims] this Godhead of nature, without denying His manhood, and does not lower His claims by His subsequent language, but defends them: comp. John 10:39, “Therefore they sought again to take Him,” as to the question in what sense the Jews understood His words. From these considerations a reply can easily be made to Artemonius, P. ii., c. 1. They had surrounded Jesus, John 10:24; and so in this menacing attitude were threatening Him with death; yet His wisdom and presence of mind remains unshaken.—ἐγώ) I, God; for from the εἶπα in the first person, the inference is drawn, to whom the word of God came, in the following ver.—θεοί, gods) Psalm 82:6; the parallel is added; υἱοὶ ὑψίστου, sons of the Most High. Therefore also at John 10:36, there ought to be understood Θεός, God, to Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, the Son of God. The Jews did not admit Jesus to be God in any sense: therefore, in refutation of them, He quotes the psalm. But a comparison drawn from a psalm does not prove that the Godhead of Christ approaches nearer to the godhead of mortals, than to the Godhead of the eternal Father; for He did not ever quote this passage of the psalm to believers.
 To complete the correspondence of the parallels.—E. and T.
 God, the Son of God, answering respectively to gods and children of the Most High.—E. and T.Verse 34. - The justification of Jesus which follows is often supposed to be a retraction of the claim - a repudiation of the inference which the Jews drew from the words recorded in ver. 30. On the contrary, our Lord took up one illustration from among many in Holy Scripture, that the union between man and God lay at the heart of their (νόμος) Law. True, he quoted from Psalm 82:6 with reference to the high official title given by the Holy Spirit to the false and tyrannical judges of the old covenant. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law? The Psalms are here spoken of as "the Law," showing that they did form part of the revelation and law of the Divine kingdom (John 7:49; John 12:34; John 15:25). Jesus does not imply that the Law was theirs and not his. There is not a shadow of disrespect cast on the Law by the pronoun, but such an identification of it with his hearers that they ought, by its aid, to have been saved from utterly misconceiving his words I said, Ye are gods (elohim, θεοί). To stand in close relation with the theocracy was to be covered with its glory. He seems to force upon them thus a host of similar blendings of the Divine and human in the age-long preparation for himself, and to free all these from the suspicion of blasphemy. The Hebrew thought was really calculated to prepare the world for this high intercommunion, not to abolish it. Judaism, rabbinism, had widened the chasm between God and man. Christ came to fill up the chasm; nay more, to show the Divine and human in living, indissoluble union.
More strictly, does it not stand written.
I said, etc.
The reference is to Psalm 82:6.
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