John 12:19
The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.
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(19) Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing?—The words may be also read, “Look how ye profit nothing” (imperative); or, Ye perceive how ye profit nothing (indicative). Upon the whole this last is to be preferred. They blame each other for the failure of all their plans (comp. John 11:47), and prepare themselves to accept the counsel of Caiaphas.

Behold, the world is gone after him.—They use terms which express the bitterness of their despair. They who had asked in scorn, “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?” who called “cursed” “this people who knoweth not the law” who followed Him (John 7:48-49), have heard Jews of Jerusalem express their belief in Him; and now, see Him whom they are seeking to kill, borne as the Messiah at the head of a throng of pilgrims.

The words rendered “gone after him” apply that they had gone away from themselves, and rejected their authority; and had then gone after Him. (Comp. Note on John 12:11.)

12:12-19 Christ's riding in triumph to Jerusalem is recorded by all the evangelists. Many excellent things, both in the word and providence of God, disciples do not understand at their first acquaintance with the things of God. The right understanding of spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, prevents our misapplying the Scriptures which speak of it.Prevail nothing - All your efforts are ineffectual to stop the progress of his opinions, and to prevent the people from believing on him.

The world - As we should say, "Everybody - all the city has gone out." The fact that he met with such success induced them to hasten their design of putting him to death, John 11:53.

16. when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, &c.—The Spirit, descending on them from the glorified Saviour at Pentecost, opened their eyes suddenly to the true sense of the Old Testament, brought vividly to their recollection this and other Messianic predictions, and to their unspeakable astonishment showed them that they, and all the actors in these scenes, had been unconsciously fulfilling those predictions. See Poole on "John 12:17"

The Pharisees therefore said among themselves,.... Either when assembled in their own private houses, or in the sanhedrim; or as they stood together in the streets, seeing Jesus pass by in such pomp, and such a multitude with him:

perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions read, "we prevail nothing", so Nonnus; the sense is the same; suggesting, that all their wise schemes and crafty councils signified nothing; the commands they enjoined the people not to follow him, or to apprehend him, or to show them where he was, were disregarded; their threatenings to put out of the synagogue such as should confess him, were taken no notice of; their promises of reward were slighted; their examples were not followed; and all their artifice and cunning, backed with power and authority, did not succeed:

behold, the world is gone after him; the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "the whole world", and so Nonnus; the Persic version, "all the people"; that is, a very great number of people; for they could not mean, that all the inhabitants of the world, or every individual of mankind were followers of him, and became his disciples, nor even all in their own land; they themselves, with multitudes more of the same complexion, were an exception to this: but they speak in the common dialect of that nation, of which take two or three instances;

"it happened to a certain high priest, that he went out of the sanctuary, , "and the whole world went after him"; and when they saw Shemaiah and Abtalion, they left him, and went after them (o).''

And again (p),

"R. Aba proclaimed, whoever seeks riches, and whoever seeks the way of life in the world to come, let him come and study in the law, and , "the whole world" will gather together to him.''

Once more (q),

"Jonathan said to David, 1 Samuel 23:17, "Thou shall be king over Israel, and I will be next to thee"; what is the meaning of this? perhaps Jonathan the son of Saul saw "the world" draw after David.''

This shows the sense of those phrases, "the world", and "the whole world", when used in the article of redemption by Jesus Christ; See Gill on 1 John 2:2.

(o) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 71. 2.((p) Zohar in Gen. fol. 60. 4. (q) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 85. 1.

{4} The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

(4) Even they who go about to oppress Christ are made instruments of his glory.

John 12:19. Contrast to the triumph; the despairing self-confession of the Pharasaic adversaries, not as Chrysostom, in spite of the article in οἱ Φαρισ., explained of the quiet friends of Jesus among the Pharisees.

πρὸς ἑαυτούς] to one another; but ἀλλήλ. is not employed, because the utterance is to appear as limited to the particular circle. Comp. on John 7:35.

θεωρεῖτε, κ.τ.λ.] You perceive that we profit nothing, namely, by our previous cautious, expectant, feeble procedure. “Approbant Caiaphae consilium,” Bengel.

ὁ κόσμος] designation, indicative of their despair, of the great multitude. Comp. עולם in the Rabbins. See Wetstein.

In ἀπῆλθεν (is gone from thence) is contained, by means of the pragmatic connection with ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ, the representation of the falling away from the legitimate hierarchical power. Comp. ὕπηγον, John 12:11.

John 12:19. The effect on the Pharisees is, as usual, recorded by John; they said one to another, Θεωρεῖτεἀπῆλθεν. “Do you see how helpless you are? The world is gone after Him.” For ὁ κόσμος see 4Ma 17:14 and French “tout le monde”. For ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ see 2 Samuel 15:13.

19. The Discomfiture of the Pharisees

19. Perceive ye] Rather, Behold ye. The Greek may also mean ‘Behold’ (imperat.) or ye behold: the last is perhaps best; ‘Ye see what a mistake we have made; we ought to have adopted the plan of Caiaphas long ago.’

the world] The exaggerated expression of their chagrin, which in this Divine epic is brought into strong contrast with the triumph of Jesus. Comp. a similar exaggeration from a similar cause John 3:26; ‘all men come to Him.’

is gone after him] Literally, is gone away after Him. The Greek word is not the same but is similar in meaning to that used in John 12:11. After this confession of helplessness the Pharisees appear no more alone; the reckless hierarchy help them on to the catastrophe.

John 12:19. Θεωρεῖτε) The indicative without an interrogation [Engl. Vers. makes it an interrogation, Perceive ye?]. Comp. Acts 21:20, [Θεωρεῖς, ἀδελφὲ, πόσαι μυρίαδες, “Thou perceivest, brother, how many,” etc.] They approve of the counsel of Caiaphas.—οὐκ ὠφελοῦμεν οὐδέν) See App. Crit., Ed. ii., on this passage.[316] [It is well, when matters come to that (that the enemies of the truth cannot prevail against it).—V. g.]—ὁ κόσμος, the world) An hyperbole resulting from indignation. If the whole world, say they, were ours, it would desert us to go after Him. There lies hidden in their words something like a prophecy. Comp. ch. John 11:50. [Caiaphas’ unconscious prophecy] “that one man should die for the people;” and John 19:19, etc., [Pilate’s unwitting testimony of Jesus’ kingship of the Jews, in the inscription on the Cross; an inscription, which he was providentially overruled not to withdraw, when requested to substitute] “that He said, I am King of the Jews.”—ἀπῆλθεν, is gone) away from us. How shall we retain the world?

Bengel’s authority for ὠφελοῦμεν seems to be the Vulg. ‘proficimus;’ also c. But ABDQb Rec. Text read οὐκ ὠφελεῖτε οὐδέν; “nihil proficitis” is the reading in a.—E. and T.

Verse 19. - The Pharisees therefore, at the sight of the popular enthusiasm, said to themselves; i.e. to their own inner circle. Hengstenberg thinks here is a hint of some medium of communication between John and the Pharisees, and imagines it to be found through Martha and Simon (her husband). Their language was, Perceive [ye] - or, ye perceive (either imperative or indicative) - that ye prevail nothing! The interrogative may also be a true translation. Do ye perceive that ye prevail nothing? On either hypothesis, it cannot be, as Chrysostom says, the language of the friends of Jesus among the Pharisees, but rather the cry of despair and rage. Behold, the (κόσμος) world has gone away after him. They are repenting that they had not followed out the coercive plans and murderous designs of Caiaphas, and had been content with half-measures. John 12:19Is gone after Him (ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ ἀπῆλθεν)

The phrase occurs only here. Literally, is gone away.

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