John 11:56
Then sought they for Jesus, and spoke among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think you, that he will not come to the feast?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(56) Then sought they for Jesus, and spake . . .—The words imply a continuance of seeking and speaking. They describe the scene as it took place ay after day as they stood in the Temple courts. They had heard rumours of recent events in the various parts from which they had come. Many of them had seen and heard Him at earlier feasts at Jerusalem, and they wonder whether He will come to the Passover, or whether the decree of the Jews will deter Him.

What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?—The words contain two questions: What think ye? That He will not come to the feast? He has not been seen in any of the caravans, and the place of His retirement is not known to them. They ask the question one of another; but the tone of doubt is prevalent.

11:54-57 Before our gospel passover we must renew our repentance. Thus by a voluntary purification, and by religious exercises, many, more devout than their neighbours, spent some time before the passover at Jerusalem. When we expect to meet God, we must solemnly prepare. No devices of man can alter the purposes of God: and while hypocrites amuse themselves with forms and disputes, and worldly men pursue their own plans, Jesus still orders all things for his own glory and the salvation of his people.Will not come to the feast? - They doubted whether he would come. On the one hand, it was required by law that all males should come. On the other, his coming was attended with great danger. This was the cause of their doubting. It was in this situation that our Saviour, like many of his followers, was called to act. Danger was on the one hand, and duty on the other. He chose, as all should, to do his duty, and leave the event with God. He preferred to do it, though he knew that death was to be the consequence; and we should not shrink, when we have reason to apprehend danger, persecution, or death, from an honest attempt to observe all the commandments of God. 56. sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple—giving forth the various conjectures and speculations about the probability of His coming to the feast.

that he will not come—The form of this question implies the opinion that He would come.

I find good interpreters expounding this verse of the friends of Christ, who having used to meet Christ at these feasts, and see some miracles wrought by him, did out of a good design seek for him, and inquire of each other whether they knew if he intended to be at the feast: yet it may also be understood of his enemies, though it seemeth something too early, being six or seven days before. Then sought they for Jesus,.... That is, the country people; some on one account, and some on another; some out of curiosity to see his person, others to see his miracles, and others to hear his doctrine; and some, it may be, to take him, and deliver him up to the sanhedrim, who had issued out a proclamation to that purpose, and doubtless offered a reward:

and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple; whither they came to purify themselves, according to the law of the sanctuary:

what think ye, that he will not come to the feast? it was a matter of dispute with them, whether Christ would come or not, to the feast; some might be of opinion that he would not, at least they very much questioned it, since the sanhedrim had published such an order for the discovery of him; and since upon it he was gone from Bethany, farther into the country; though others might be differently minded, and believe he would come, since all the males of Israel were obliged to appear at that feast, and it was his duty; and they could not persuade themselves that he would neglect his duty, for fear of the Jews.

Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 11:56. The people, owing to the sensation which Jesus had in so many ways already aroused, and the edict of their spiritual superiors against Him (John 11:57), have taken a lively interest in the question, whether He will venture, as heretofore, to come to the feast. Their anxious question is a double question; What think you? (do you think) that He certainly will not come? Since He has not performed the pilgrimage with any of them, and is not yet present, His coming is strongly doubted of among them. Lücke: what do you think (in reference to this), that He does not, etc. But on that view His not coming would be already presupposed as certain, which would be premature. To understand the words in the sense that He is not come (Erasmus, Castalio, Paulus, and several others; not the Vulgate) is grammatically incorrect. The passages quoted by Hartung (Partikell. II. p. 156) do not apply here.[100] See Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 412.

The inquiry is interchanged in the court of the temple, because it was there that His appearance was to be looked for; while ἑστηκότες vividly represents the groups as standing together.

[100] Tholuck (who otherwise follows our interpretation) incorrectly adduces Polyb. iii. 111. 1. In that passage μή stands with the perf. quite as in Galatians 4:11.John 11:56. ἐζήτουνἑορτήν; Jesus was one main topic of conversation among those who stood about in groups in the Temple when their purifications had been got through; and the chief point discussed was whether He would appear at this feast. Cf. John 7:10-13.56. sought … spake] Both verbs are in the imperfect of what went on continually. There are two questions in their words; ‘What think ye? that He certainly will not come to the Feast.’John 11:56. Οὖν, therefore) These above others were aware that Jesus is not far off.—τί) An abbreviated expression for, What think ye? Think ye, that He will not come?Verse 56. - They sought therefore for Jesus, and said one with another, as they stood in the temple. Their excitement augmented from day to day; they dreaded and hoped for the final conflict. Not being aware of his retreat, not caring, perhaps, to dispatch him by hired assassins, they determined in the most public way, on a great platform, to complete the deep damnation of his taking off, little forecasting their eternal infamy. They were in continual search for Jesus, and spake in excited groups when they met, asking one another eager questions when they stood in the temple. The evangelist has witnessed the scene; these are two inquiries mentioned: What think ye, generally? Think ye that he will not come to the feast? The aorist subjunctive is used here in the sense of an event in the future which when effected will be a completed act; so that the statement gives a reason for the excitement among the people.
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