John 11:57
Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
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(57) Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees.—If the word rendered “both” is regarded as part of the text, it would connect this verse with the fact that the people sought for Jesus—“They on the one hand sought and asked questions about Him; but besides this, the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commandment . . .” But the great majority of the best MSS. omit the word, and we must therefore read, Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commandment . . . The words are an explanation of their question—“Will He come in the face of this commandment? “Their resolve to take Him has been arrived at as the result of their counsel (John 11:53).

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. 57. chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment that if any knew where he were, he should show it, that they might take him—This is mentioned to account for the conjectures whether He would come, in spite of this determination to seize Him. For their great court had issued out orders for the discovery and apprehending of our Saviour, if they could any way learn where he was. This was in pursuance of that wicked counsel of which we read before, John 11:53: there they decreed; now they cannot rest until they bring their bloody devices to pass, for which we shall soon find God giving them an opportunity.

Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees,.... Who were of the sanhedrim:

had given a commandment; or published an edict, a decree of the senate:

that if any man knew where he were, he should show it, that they might take him; and this made it a doubtful point with some, whether he would come to the feast or not; and was the reason why others sought for him, and inquired after him, that they might discover him to the chief priests and Pharisees, and have the promised reward.

Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
John 11:57. With the explanatory δέ (καί is spurious) the particular circumstance is now added, on account of which men so greatly doubted of His coming.

δεδώκεισαν] comes first with emphasis. Already had the directions of the rulers in question been given.

ἵνα object, and therewith contents of the ἐντολαί, the issuing of which we are to think of as the fruit of the sitting, John 11:47 ff., and of the further deliberations, John 11:53.

John 11:57. There was room for difference of opinion, for Δεδώκεισαναὐτόν, “the Sanhedrim had issued instructions that if any knew where He was he should intimate this that they might arrest Him”.

57. Now both the chief priests, &c.] Omit ‘both.’ The word is wanting in authority, and even if it were genuine it would not mean ‘both’ but ‘moreover.’ The verse explains why the people doubted His coming to the feast. Note that once more the Sadducaean hierarchy takes the lead. Comp. John 11:47, John 12:10, John 18:3; John 18:35, John 19:6; John 19:15; John 19:21. In the history of the Passion the Pharisees are mentioned only once (Matthew 27:62), and then, as here, after the chief priests.

a commandment] The better reading is, commands, which has been made singular because only one command is mentioned. Comp. our phrase ‘to give orders.’

that] Literally, in order that (see on John 11:50).

“We are not told how long our Lord stayed at Ephraim. If we are to put faith in the tradition in the Talmud, and in the inferences which Dr Caspari draws from it, an actual verdict of death was passed at the recent meeting of the Sanhedrin, and was only waiting for its execution until an opportunity offered, and the legal period for the production of witnesses in the defence had expired. This would make the interval between the retreat to Ephraim and the Passover coincide more or less nearly with the forty days allowed. The data, however, are not such as we can build on confidently.” S. p. 191. So that once more we have an interval of uncertain amount. See the introductory note to chapter 6 and the note on John 6:1.

John 11:57. Δέ, but [now]) They had not been content with that which is mentioned, John 11:53 [i.e. with merely taking counsel to put Him to death].

Verse 57. - Now the chief priests and Pharisees had given commandment, that, if any one knew where he was, he should indicate it, that they might take him. This would not have been a difficult task. Jesus and twelve men could hardly have been hidden from their spies. The country people must have been faithful to him, and the edicts were issued rather to intimidate the people than to secure the immediate end; but they were quite sufficient to excite the inquiries of Galilaeans and others who had gone to Jerusalem for the main purpose of seeing him. The interdict had been aimed probably at the family of Bethany, which was clearly one of some consequence, or against any household in Jerusalem which should harbor him. It may have been the occasion which stirred the devilish spirit in the mind of Judas. So long as Jesus was surrounded with an enthusiastic crowd, they dared not seize his person. They resolved on secrecy, but were bent on public humiliation.

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