John 11:6
When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he stayed two days still in the same place where he was.
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(6) When he had heard therefore.—Better, When He heard therefore . . .

He abode two days still.—It is usual to explain this delay as caused by His wish to test the faith of the sisters, or by the nature of the work which He was then doing, and was unwilling to leave. But the first reason passes over the fact that their faith had been shown in their message to Him; and the second postulates His presence at Bethany as necessary for the restoration of Lazarus. (Comp. John 4:49-50.) A juster view is that which remembers the principle which He had taught at the first miracle (John 2:4), that the hours of His work were marked out by signs that He alone could read, but that every hour had its work, and every work its hour. (Comp. John 11:4; John 11:9, and John 9:3-4.)

A comparison with John 11:11 makes it certain that Lazarus was dead before they set out for Judæa, but he was living when the words of John 11:4 were spoken. The fact of death may have determined the hour of their departure.

11:1-6 It is no new thing for those whom Christ loves, to be sick; bodily distempers correct the corruption, and try the graces of God's people. He came not to preserve his people from these afflictions, but to save them from their sins, and from the wrath to come; however, it behoves us to apply to Him in behalf of our friends and relatives when sick and afflicted. Let this reconcile us to the darkest dealings of Providence, that they are all for the glory of God: sickness, loss, disappointment, are so; and if God be glorified, we ought to be satisfied. Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. The families are greatly favoured in which love and peace abound; but those are most happy whom Jesus loves, and by whom he is beloved. Alas, that this should seldom be the case with every person, even in small families. God has gracious intentions, even when he seems to delay. When the work of deliverance, temporal or spiritual, public or personal, is delayed, it does but stay for the right time.He abode two days - Probably Lazarus died soon after the messengers left him. Jesus knew that (John 11:11), and did not hasten to Judea, but remained two days longer where he was, that there might not be the possibility of doubt that he was dead, so that when he came there he had been dead four days, John 11:39. This shows, moreover, that he intended to raise him up. If he had not, it could hardly be reconciled with friendship thus to remain, without any reason, away from an afflicted family.

Where he was - At Bethabara John 1:28; John 10:40, about 30 miles from Bethany. This was about a day's journey, and it renders it probable that Lazarus died soon after the message was sent. One day would be occupied before the message came to him; two days he remained; one day would be occupied by him in going to Bethany; so that Lazarus had been dead four days John 11:39 when he arrived.

6. When he heard he was sick, he abode two days still … where he was—at least twenty-five miles off. Beyond all doubt this was just to let things come to their worst, in order to display His glory. But how trying, meantime, to the faith of his friends, and how unlike the way in which love to a dying friend usually shows itself, on which it is plain that Mary reckoned. But the ways of divine are not as the ways of human love. Often they are the reverse. When His people are sick, in body or spirit; when their case is waxing more and more desperate every day; when all hope of recovery is about to expire—just then and therefore it is that "He abides two days still in the same place where He is." Can they still hope against hope? Often they do not; but "this is their infirmity." For it is His chosen style of acting. We have been well taught it, and should not now have the lesson to learn. From the days of Moses was it given sublimely forth as the character of His grandest interpositions, that "the Lord will judge His people and repent Himself for His servants"—when He seeth that their power is gone (De 32:36). Though he loved him and his sisters with a tender love, yet he did not presently go to them, to comfort Mary and Martha in their sorrow; nor yet to cure Lazarus, and prevent his death; but stayed still two days in the place where he was. He loved Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus, but he more loved the honour and glory of his Father, which was to be manifested in his raising of Lazarus from the dead. We must not judge of Christ’s love to us by his mere external dispensations of providence; nor judge that he doth not love us because he doth not presently come in to our help, at our times, and in such ways and methods as we would think reasonable. When he had heard therefore that he was sick,.... Though Christ had heard that Lazarus was sick, and by such good hands, a message being sent him by his sisters, to acquaint him with it; and though he had such a very great love for him, and the whole family, yet he did not go directly to him, and to his assistance:

but he abode two days still in the same place where he was; at Bethabara, beyond Jordan; this he did to try the faith and patience of the sisters of Lazarus, and that the miracle of raising him from the dead might be the more manifest, and his own glory might be the more illustrious, and yet equal, if not greater tenderness and love be shown to his friends.

{2} When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

(2) In that thing which God sometimes seems to linger in helping us, he does it both for his glory, and for our salvation, as the end result of the matter clearly proves.

John 11:6-7. Οὖν] Resumption of the narrative after the observation in John 11:5.

After John 11:6 a colon only ought to be placed, for the course of the narrative is this: “When He now heard that he was sick, He remained there, indeed, etc.; (but) then,” etc.

μέν] logically is quite correct after τότε: then, indeed (turn quidem), when He heard, He did not immediately go away, but remained still two days. There is no corresponding δέ after ἔπειτα, as one would naturally expect, because the adversative relation, which was in view at first, has given way to one of simple succession (comp. Klotz, ad Devar. p. 539; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 89 A; Baeumlein, Partic. p. 163).

ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο] deinde postea (Cic. p. Mil. 24), as in the Classics also (comp. Plat. Phaedr. p. 258 E: ἔπειτα λέγει δὴ μετὰ τοῦτο) synonymous adverbial expressions are frequently conjoined (Kühner, II. p. 615; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 22). Comp. τότε ἔπειτα, which occurs frequently even in Homer; Nägelsbach on the Ilias, p. 149, ed. 3.

The question why Jesus did not at once leave for Bethany is not solved by the assumption, that He designed to test the faith of the parties concerned (Olshausen; Gumlich also mixes this reason up with his otherwise correct view), which would, in opposition to John 11:5, have amounted to a harsh and arbitrary delaying on His part; nor is it explained by the similar notion, that the message of John 11:4 was meant first to produce its effect (Ebrard), as though there had not been without that time enough for this; just as little is it accounted for by the supposition that important business connected with His work in Peraea still detained Him (Lücke, Krabbe, Neander, Tholuck, Lange, Baumgarten), for John gives not the slightest hint of such a reason, and it is a purely à priori assumption. It is to be explained by a reference back to John 11:4, according to which Jesus was conscious of its being the divine will that the miracle should be performed precisely under the circumstances and at the time at which it actually was performed, and no otherwise (comp. John 2:4), for the glory of God. The divine δεῖ, of which He was conscious, decided Him, and that, under a moral necessity, lest He should act ὑπὲρ μοῖραν, to remain still; the same δεῖ again impelled Him at once to depart, when, in virtue of His immediate knowledge, He became aware of the death of His friend. Comp. on John 11:17. All the more groundless was it to make use of the delay of Jesus as an argument against the historical truth of the narrative (Bretschneider, Strauss, Weisse, Gfrörer, Baur, Hilgenfeld), according to which Jesus intentionally allowed Lazarus to die, in order that He might be able to raise him up again (Baur, p. 193).

εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν] for they were in Peraea, John 10:40. The more definite goal, Bethany, is not at first mentioned; but is specified afterwards, John 11:11; John 11:15. The less reason, therefore, is there for finding a special design in the use of the words εἰς τ. Ἰουδ. (Luthardt: “into the land of unbelief and hostility”), a meaning which Godet and Gumlich import also into πάλιν.John 11:6. Jesus loved the family, ὡς οὖν ἤκουσεντότε μὲν ἔμεινεν. We expect another consequence: “Jesus loved them, therefore He immediately went to Bethany”. But the consequence indicated in οὖν is found in λέγει, John 11:7, and the whole sentence should read: “When, therefore, He had heard that he was ill, for the present indeed [τότε μὲν = tum quidem], He remained for two days where He was; then after this He says to His disciples, Let us go into Judaea again”. The μέν after τότε suggests a δέ after ἔπειτα and unites the two clauses. For the dropping of δέ after ἔπειτα or its absorption see Winer, 720; and for the pleonastic ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο and for ἄγωμεν in the sense “let us go” see Kypke, who gives instances of both from post-Macedonian authors. Jesus remained two days inactive, not to test the faith of the sisters, which Holtzmann justly characterises as “grausam”; but, as Godet, Holtzmann, and Weiss agree, because He awaited the prompting of the Father, cf. John 2:4, John 7:1-10.6. When he had heard therefore] Omit ‘had.’ The connexion is a little difficult. ‘Therefore’ after the statement in John 11:5 prepares us for ‘He set out immediately,’ but instead of that we have the reverse. ‘Therefore,’ however, really leads on to John 11:7, and consequently there should be only a semicolon at the end of John 11:6. When, therefore, He heard that he is sick, then indeed He abode two days in the place where He was; then after this He saith, &c. The question why Christ remained the two days is futile: such was the Divine Will with regard to the mode of working this miracle and to His Messianic work generally. His life was a perfect fulfilment of the Preacher’s rule; ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1; comp. John 11:9, John 2:4). There was a Divine plan, in conformity with which He worked.John 11:6. Τότε, then) although to others there might have seemed to be the greatest reason for haste.—ἔμεινεν, He abode) To die is a thing not so much to be shrunk back from. Lazarus was dead for a time to the glory of the Son of God.Verses 6, 7. - The τότε μὲν of ver. 6 implies an understood δὲ in ver. 7, and the whole passage will be as follows: Now Jesus loved deeply Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus; when therefore he heard that he (Lazarus) was sick, he remained, it is true, τότε μὲν two days in the place where he was, but then ἔπειτα (δὲ) after this (and because he loved) he saith to his disciples, Let us go again into Judaea. He did not remain because he loved, but, though he remained, and because he loved, he said, "Let us," etc. So that we do not see here any intention on his part, by remaining, to test their love (Olshausen), nor to exaggerate the effect of the miracle by raising a dead man from his grave rather than from his death-bed or his bier. It is not difficult to gather from the sequel that when the message reached Jesus Lazarus was dead and buried. We find that when our Lord returned to Bethany four days had elapsed since the death of Lazarus, and the four days must be calculated thus: First one long day's journey from Peraea to Bethany, a distance of eight or nine leagues. If the messenger of the sisters had taken equal time to reach Jesus in Perked, or even a longer period, as time might easily be consumed in the effort to find our Lord in the mountains of Moab; then the two days of his waiting after receiving the message would, with those occupied by the double journey, make up the four that had passed when Jesus reached the grave. Lucke, Neander, Godet, and Westcott think that our Lord remained in Peraea because there was work in which he was engaged and could not relinquish. Meyer, Moulton, and Weiss, that he waited for some especial communication from his Father, for some revelation of moral necessity and heavenly inspiration, like those which dictated all his other movements. B. Weiss: "It was a sacrifice to his calling, of his heart's most ardent desires, that he remained quietly two days in the same place." "We see," says Edersheim, "Christ once more asleep while the disciples are despairing, swamped in the storm! Christ never in haste, because always sure." The silences of Scripture and the waitings of God are often without explanation. The event proves that deep purpose presided over them. The "let us go," etc., implies a lofty courage, a sense of coming crisis. Love conquers fear and peril for himself and his followers. "Judaea" is mentioned rather than Bethany for the same reason. The "again" points forcibly back to the last visit, when he told both friends and foes that the good Shepherd would snatch his sheep from the jaws of death, even though he lay down his own life in the doing of it.
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