But I know, that even now, whatever you will ask of God, God will give it you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God . . .—The words express a half-formed hope, which she dare not utter, perhaps dare not even think, that her brother may be restored to life again. She had heard probably of the young maid whose body was reanimated by the life which had but just left it (comp. Mark 5:35 et seq.; Luke 8:41-42), and of the young man whose body was being carried to the grave, when at His command it was restored living to the widowed mother. (Comp. Luke 7:11 et seq.) Her brother had been the friend of Jesus; they had all trusted in His power and His love. Words had come to them from Him telling that this sickness should not issue in death, but that it should further God’s glory and glorify the Son. And now He is Himself present. His words cannot fail, and He Himself cannot be there without a purpose. She dare not say more; but she rests in this, that there is unity of power and will between Him and the Father. Whatsoever He asks, God will give.
whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee—that is "even to the restoration of my dead brother to life," for that plainly is her meaning, as the sequel shows.
whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee; whether Martha had such a clear notion of the deity of Christ, as yet, as she afterwards had, is not so certain: however, she was persuaded that he had great interest with God, and that whatever he desired of him was granted to him; and though she does not mention the resurrection of her brother, yet it seems to be what she had in view.But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 11:22. But Martha not only believed that Jesus could have prevented her brother’s death but also that even now He could recall him from the grave: καὶ νῦν οἶδα … “Even now I know that what thing soever you ask of God, God will give you.” Cf. John 9:31. Jesus referred all His works to the Father, and spoke as if only faith were required for the working of the greatest miracles. See Matthew 14:31; Matthew 17:20. On the use of αἰτεῖν and ἐρωτᾶν see Ezra Abbot’s Critical Essays, in which Trench’s misleading account of their difference is exposed.22. But I know, that even now] ‘But’ must be omitted on critical grounds; and the text should run, and now (that he is dead) I know that, &c. She believes that had Christ been there, He could have healed Lazarus by His own power (comp. John 4:47), and that now His prayer may prevail with God to raise him from the dead. She has yet to learn that Christ’s bodily presence is not necessary, and that He can raise the dead by His own power. He gradually leads her faith onwards to higher truth.
whatsoever thou wilt ask] She uses a word more appropriate to human prayer, ‘to ask for oneself’ (comp. John 14:13-14, John 15:7; John 15:16, John 16:23; John 16:26), not used by Christ of His own prayers or by the Evangelists of Christ’s prayers (contrast John 14:16, John 16:26, John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20; Matthew 26:36; Matthew 26:39; Matthew 26:42; Matthew 26:44; Luke 22:32). She thus incidentally shews her imperfect idea of His relation to God.John 11:22. Καὶ νῦν οἶδα, even now I know) Martha had conceived a hope from those words which the Saviour had spoken at John 11:4, “This sickness is not unto death.” For there is no doubt but that these words had been reported to Martha. [The praiseworthy alacrity of faith is here illustrated.—V. g.]—αἰτήσῃ) Jesus, when speaking of Himself asking, says, ἐδεήθην, Luke 22:32, and ἐρωτήσω, John 14:16 (comp. John 11:13 : where so, immediately before, John 11:16, He uses αἰτεῖν of the disciples; ὅ, τι ἂν αἰτήσητε), and ch. John 16:26 [ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου αἰτήσεσθε, and I say not to you that I ἐρωτήσω τὸν Πατέρα, etc.], John 17:9; John 17:15; John 17:20 [ἐρωτῶ]; but never αἰτοῦμαι. Accordingly the Syriac Version expresses both the former [ἐδεήθην and ἐρωτῶ)] by one word, and the latter [αἰτοῦμαι] by a different word. Martha did not speak in Greek, yet John expresses her inaccurate speech, which the Lord bore indulgently. For αἰτεῖσθαι appears to be a word less worthy in its application, although the Septuagint, Deuteronomy 10:12, have τὶ Κύριος ὁ Θεός σου αἰτεῖται παρὰ σοῦ; αἰτέω, ‘peto,’ is more submissive, as of the inferior begging, or making a petition to a superior, ἐρωτάω, ‘rogo,’ implies some equality or familiarity in the asker, making the request.—E. and T.Verse 22. - And even now I know, that whatsoever thing thou shalt ask of God, God will give it thee. Νῦν οϊδα may be contrasted with ver. 27. In his presence she knows intuitively that nothing is impossible. The αἰτήση is a word of more human quality than that which our Lord customarily used for his own appeals to God. He spoke of ἐρωτᾶν, to seek as an equal; παρακαλεῖν,, to intercede for another; προσεύχεσθαι, to pray; δεῖσθαι, to supplicate. It was appropriate enough that Martha should use the verb αἰτήση. Her word was a burst of excited feeling, and does not dictate to the Master what he should do. Her twofold mention of the name of God with "thou" and "thee," shows that she had not risen to highest light on the Lord's mysterious relation to the Father. She speaks of him and to him as of a strangely gifted human Friend. But she had doubtless heard of the widow of Nain, and of Jairus's daughter, and she made no irrational suggestion. The ὅσα covers much. Jesus loved Lazarus. He was Friend to the whole group, and known to them all.
The verb αἰτέω is used of the asking of an inferior from a superior. Ἑρωτάω is to ask on equal terms, and hence is always used by Christ of His own asking from the Father, in the consciousness of His equal dignity. Hence Martha, as Trench observes, "plainly reveals her poor, unworthy conception of His person, that she recognizes in Him no more than a prophet, when she ascribes that asking (αἰτεῖσθαι) to Him which He never ascribes to Himself" ("Synonyms"). Bengel says: "Martha did not speak in Greek, yet John expresses her inaccurate remark, which the Lord kindly tolerated." See on Matthew 15:23.
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