John 12:9
Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
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(9) Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there.—Some of the pilgrims who had come from Jericho would have told this in Jerusalem, where those who had previously come up from the country were earnestly asking about Him (John 11:55). They go forth, then, in large numbers to Bethany to see Him; and this reminds the writer that many of them went not for this purpose only, but also that they might see Lazarus.

John 12:9-11. Much people knew he was there, and came — Bethany being within two miles of Jerusalem, the news of his arrival soon reached the city, and drew out great numbers of the people; for they wished to see the man that had been raised from the dead, and the still more wonderful man that had raised him. And when they came, and saw Lazarus, many of them believed — That is, were convinced, both of Lazarus’s resurrection, and of the divinity of Christ’s mission. But the news of their believing, together with the reason of it, being currently reported in Jerusalem, came to the chief priests’ ears, and incensed them to such a degree, that they resolved to kill, not Jesus only, but, if possible, Lazarus also; that is, to kill a person, who, after being dead five or six days, and buried four, had, by a most wonderful display of divine power, been raised from the dead! Such was their unparalleled wickedness! Here we have the plain reason why the other evangelists, who wrote while Lazarus was living, did not relate this story. Many of the Jews went away — That is, say most commentators, went to Bethany; and after seeing Lazarus, believed on Jesus — Namely, as their long-expected Messiah. But the word υπηγον, here rendered, they went away, “bears,” Dr. Campbell thinks, “a very important sense, and denotes their ceasing to pay that regard to the teaching of the scribes which they had formerly done.”

12:1-11 Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of Christ's gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family. God's Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness, malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the Almighty himself.Had the bag - The word translated "bag" is compounded of two words, meaning "tongue," and "to keep or preserve." It was used to denote the bag in which musicians used to keep the tongues or reeds of their pipes when traveling. Hence, it came to mean any bag or purse in which travelers put their money or their most precious articles. The disciples appear to have had such a bag or purse in common, in which they put whatever money they had, and which was designed especially for the poor, Luke 8:3; John 13:29; Acts 2:44. The keeping of this, it seems, was intrusted to Judas; and it is remarkable that the only one among them who appears to have been naturally avaricious should have received this appointment. It shows us that every man is tried according to his native propensity. This is the object of trial - to bring out man's native character; and every man will find opportunity to do evil according to his native disposition, if he is inclined, to it.

And bare ... - The word translated "bare" means literally "to carry as a burden." Then it means "to carry away," as in John 20:15; "If thou hast borne him hence." Hence, it means to carry away as a thief does, and this is evidently its meaning here. It has this sense often in classic writers. Judas was a thief and stole what was put into the bag. The money he desired to be entrusted to him, that he might secretly enrich himself. It is clear, however, that the disciples did not at this time know that this was his character, or they would have remonstrated against him. They learned it afterward. We may learn here:

1. that it is not a new thing for members of the church to be covetous. Judas was so before them.

2. that such members will be those who complain of the great waste in spreading the gospel.

3. that this deadly, mean, and grovelling passion will work all evil in a church. It brought down the curse of God on the children of Israel in the case of Achan Joshua 7, and it betrayed our Lord to death. It has often since brought blighting on the church; and many a time it has betrayed the cause of Christ, and drowned men in destruction and perdition, 1 Timothy 6:9.

9-11. Crowds of the Jerusalem Jews hastened to Bethany, not so much to see Jesus, whom they knew to be there, as to see dead Lazarus alive; and this, issuing in their accession to Christ, led to a plot against the life of Lazarus also, as the only means of arresting the triumphs of Jesus (see Joh 12:19)—to such a pitch had these chief priests come of diabolical determination to shut out the light from themselves, and quench it from the earth! Bethany was so near to Jerusalem, that many of the Jews came thither, as well to see Lazarus, raised from the dead, as to see Christ: nor was this without the special providence of God, that the name of Christ might be made more famous just before his suffering.

Much of the people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there,.... That is, many of the Jews that dwelt at Jerusalem, knew that Jesus was at Bethany; for it being but two miles from Jerusalem, the report of his being come soon reached thither:

and they came from Jerusalem to Bethany,

not for Jesus' sake only; to see him, and hear him, and observe what he said and did:

but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead; that is, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, as the Alexandrian copy, and the Ethiopic version express it; for it equally excited their curiosity, to see the person that had been dead, and was raised from the dead, as to see him who raised him: and it is very likely before they had no opportunity of seeing him; it may be he did not appear publicly before, but kept himself retired; but now Jesus being come, he showed himself openly; which the Jerusalem Jews being informed of, induced them to come to see both the one and the other.

{3} Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.

(3) When the light of the gospel shows itself, some are found to be curious, and others are found to be open enemies (and these latter ones should be the least opposed to the gospel): others fervently honour him whom they will immediately fall away from, and very few receive him as reverently as they ought to. Nonetheless, Christ begins his spiritual kingdom in the midst of his enemies.

John 12:9-11. Οὖν] since Jesus thus tarries in the neighbourhood. The lively intercourse among the pilgrims to the feast tended the more to spread the information.

ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων] here again (comp. John 11:19), not generally of the inhabitants of Jerusalem (so usually), but, according to the standing usage in John, of the Jewish opposition. They came, not for Jesus’ sake alone, to observe Him further, but in order also to see Lazarus, and to be convinced of His actual and continued restoration to life. Since, however, many of the Ἰουδαῖοι went forth (from Jerusalem) for the sake of Lazarus, and became believers in Jesus, the chief priests (i.e. not indeed the Sanhedrim as such in general, bat rather that part of it which composed its hierarchical head) took counsel to put Lazarus also to death. We have here, accordingly, the antithesis, that the sight of Lazarus subdues many of the hitherto adverse party to faith (comp. already John 11:45); and on the other hand, that the extreme Right of the hierarchy resolves the more energetically to counterwork this.

ἦλθον] Still on Saturday evening and Sunday. The procession of people took place then on Sunday (John 12:12).

ἐβουλ. δέ] Simple continuation of the narrative; hence, neither is δέ to be understood as namely, nor ἐβουλ. as the pluperfect (Tholuck).

οἱ ἀρχιερ.] It was indeed for the interest of the hierarchy (not exactly for that of the Sadducees, Acts 5:17, as Lampe thought, since the chief priests are here adduced as such generally, not according to their possible sectarian tendency) to remove out of the way the living self-witness also on whom the miracle had been wrought, not merely the worker of the miracle Himself. The tyrannical power, in this way, proceeds consistently, in order, as it imagines, to put away even the recollection of the affair. “Praeceps est malitia et semper ultra rapit,” Grotius.

ὑπῆγον] not: they fell away (Cornelius a Lapide, Lampe, Paulus), which, without closer definition, does not lie in the word, but rather: they took themselves off, they removed to a distance; so great an attractive power did the matter possess for them, and then followed the falling away. The separation in the position of the words: πολλοὶτῶν Ἰουδαίων, brings both points emphatically out.

John 12:9. Ἔγνω οὖν ὄχλος πολὺς ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων. A great crowd of the Jews”; ὄχλος is generally used by John in contrast to the Jewish authorities, and R.V[83] renders “the common people”. When they knew that Jesus was in Bethany they went out from Jerusalem to see Him and Lazarus: an easily accessible and undoubted sensation. The result was that many of the Jews, on identifying Lazarus, believed on Jesus. Accordingly ἐβουλεύσαντοἀποκτείνωσιν. The high priests, being Sadducees, could not bear to have in their neighbourhood a living witness to the possibility of living through death, and a powerful testimony to the power of Jesus. And so, to prevent the people believing on Jesus, they made the monstrous proposal to put Lazarus, an entirely innocent person, to death. In Mary John has shown faith and devotion at their ripest: in this devilish proposal the obduracy of unbelief is exhibited in its extreme form.

[83] Revised Version.

9–11. The Hostility of the Priests

9. Much people] Large caravans would be coming up for the Passover, and the news would spread quickly through the shifting crowds, who were already on the alert (John 11:55) about Jesus, and were now anxious to see Lazarus. Note that it is a ‘large multitude of the Jews’ who come; i.e. of Christ’s usual opponents. This again (comp. John 11:45-47) excites the hierarchy to take decisive measures. See on John 12:12.

John 12:9. Ἔγνω, knew) The odour of the ointment, and the fame of the anointing, might have supplied them with the information [that He was there].—τὸν Λάζαρον, Lazarus) Who is there that would not seek Bethany for the sake of seeing him?

Verses 9-11. -

2. The effects of the great sign. Verse 9. -

(1) On much people of the Jews. The article (), which the best texts introduce before ὄχλος πολὺς, gives to these words an almost technical force. The huge multitude of the Jews - the surging crowd of ever-gathering pilgrims blended with the "common people," the bulk of the population of Jerusalem and its neighborhood (John 11:55, 56) - therefore - because, i.e., of the rumors of the feast, the news of the royal consecration and sacred anointing, which had taken place in honor of Jesus and his last great miracle - learned that he was there - that he had left his unknown place of retirement at Ephraim. We gather from the synoptic narrative that he had joined the pilgrim-throng, advancing first into Jericho, and then, after a night spent there, had moved onwards to Bethany. The dispersion of hundreds of these excited followers into Jerusalem had again bruited abroad the fact of the resurrection of Lazarus, and, by reason of the Lord's return to Bethany, the Jerusalem-party at length learned where he was. Ὁ ὄχλος ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων shows an antithesis intended between the Judaean and the Galilean crowds. These the synoptists describe as "those that went before, and those that followed after." And they came, not for the sake of Jesus only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he raised from the dead. Jesus was not the only attraction; the risen man Lazarus was a rival in popularity, and by this ocular, tangible specimen of the supernatural resources of Jesus, they would deepen their interest and strengthen their convictions. Many of this Jerusalem populace, on account of him (Lazarus), and the fact of his resuscitation (ὑπῆγον), went away, perhaps, though not necessarily so, "apostatized," from the high-priestly party, from the hostile party in the capital, and separated themselves from the open but desperate plot against the Divine Master, and believed on Jesus - threw in their part and lot with the Lord and his disciples. This roused the malignity of the unspiritual and unscrupulous party of Caiaphas, of Annas, and of the Pharisees in the Sanhedrim John 12:9Much people (ὄχλος πολὺς)

The best texts insert the article, which converts the expression into the current phrase, the common people. So Rev.

Knew (ἔγνω)

Rev., more correctly, learned. They came to know.

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