John 13:18
I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
(18) I speak not of you all.—The thought of their blessedness brings back again the dark thought that there is one present who will not do these things, and who cannot therefore be blessed.

I know whom I have chosen.—Comp. Note on John 6:70. The pronoun is strongly emphatic. “I (for My part) know whom I have chosen.” (See next verse.)

But that the scripture may be fulfilled.—Comp. Note on John 12:38. There is an ellipsis after “but,” which is most simply filled up by some such phrase as “all this was done;” “but all this was done that the Scripture . . .” (Comp. John 19:36 and Matthew 26:56.) Others would make the connection to be, “But I have chosen them that the Scripture . . .”

He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.—Comp. especially Note on the quotation in John 2:18, from Psalms 61. The present words are a free rendering of the Greek (LXX.) of Psalm 41:9; but the LXX. follow the Hebrew more literally, and read, “hath made great his heel.” This is here interpreted to mean, “lifted up his heel,” which the Bible version of the Psalm gives, with the literal rendering magnified in the margin. The Prayer Book version follows the Vulgate in reading “hath laid great wait for Me.”

Our Lord’s quotation omits the earlier part of the verse, “Mine own familiar friend whom I trusted.” He knew whom He had chosen. “He knew what was in man, and did not trust Himself to them” (John 2:24-25).

It is by no means certain that we are justified in following the title of the Psalm, and ascribing it to David. It is not improbable that here, as in Psalms 69, we have the words of Jeremiah, and the special reference to the friend is unknown. If the Psalm was by David, then, as the king was the type of Christ, Ahithophel is doubtless the type of Judas. In any case the baseness of the treachery lay in the fact that the betrayer was one who did eat bread with the psalmist. He was, as our word expresses it, a “companion” (one who breaks bread with), but to this the Orientals attached a sacredness which even the Bedouin of the desert would honour. But there was one then professing to be His Apostle, eating bread with Him, and yet planning to betray Him.

13:18-30 Our Lord had often spoken of his own sufferings and death, without such trouble of spirit as he now discovered when he spake of Judas. The sins of Christians are the grief of Christ. We are not to confine our attention to Judas. The prophecy of his treachery may apply to all who partake of God's mercies, and meet them with ingratitude. See the infidel, who only looks at the Scriptures with a desire to do away their authority and destroy their influence; the hypocrite, who professes to believe the Scriptures, but will not govern himself by them; and the apostate, who turns aside from Christ for a thing of naught. Thus mankind, supported by God's providence, after eating bread with Him, lift up the heel against Him! Judas went out as one weary of Jesus and his apostles. Those whose deeds are evil, love darkness rather than light.I speak not of you all - That is, in addressing you as clean, I do not mean to say that you all possess this character.

I know whom I have chosen - He here means evidently to say that he had not chosen them all, implying that Judas had not been chosen. As, however, this word is applied to Judas in one place John 6:70, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" it must have a different meaning here from that which it has there. There it evidently refers to the apostleship. Jesus had chosen him to be an apostle, and had treated him as such. Here it refers to purity of heart, and Jesus implies that, though Judas had been chosen to the office of apostleship, yet he had not been chosen to purity of heart and life. The remaining eleven had been, and would be saved. It was not, however, the fault of Jesus that Judas was not saved, for he was admitted to the same teaching, the same familiarity, and the same office; but his execrable love of gold gained the ascendency, and rendered vain all the means used for his conversion.

But that the scripture ... - These things have occurred in order that the prophecies may receive their completion. It does not mean that Judas was compelled to this course in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, but that this was foretold, and that by this the prophecy did receive a completion. "The scripture." This is written in Psalm 41:9. It is commonly understood of Ahithophel, and of the enemies of David who had been admitted to his friendship, and who had now proved ungrateful to him.

May be fulfilled - See the notes at Matthew 1:22. It is difficult to tell whether this prophecy had a primary reference to Judas, or whether it be meant that it received a more complete fulfillment in his case than in the time of David. The cases were similar; the same words would describe both events, for there was an exhibition of similar ingratitude and baseness in both cases, so that the same words would fitly describe both events.

He that eateth bread with me - To eat with one was a proof of friendship. See 2 Samuel 9:11; Matthew 9:11; Genesis 43:32. This means that Judas had been admitted to all the privileges of friendship, and had partaken of the usual evidences of affection. It was this which greatly aggravated his offence. It was base ingratitude as well as murder.

Hath lifted up his heel - Suidas says that this figure is taken from those who are running in a race, when one attempts to trip the other up and make him fall. It was a base and ungrateful return for kindness to which the Lord Jesus referred, and it means that he who had been admitted to the intimacies of friendship had ungratefully and maliciously injured him. Some suppose the expression means to lay snares for one others, to kick or injure a man after he is cast down (Calvin on Psalm 41:9). It is clear that it denotes great injury, and injury aggravated by the fact of professed friendship. It was not merely the common people, the open enemies, the Jewish nation that did it, but one who had received all the usual proofs of kindness. It was this which greatly aggravated our Saviour's sufferings.

18, 19. I speak not of you all—the "happy are ye," of Joh 13:17, being on no supposition applicable to Judas.

I know whom I have chosen—in the higher sense.

But that the scripture may be fulfilled—that is, one has been added to your number, by no accident or mistake, who is none of Mine, but just that he might fulfil his predicted destiny.

He that eateth bread with me—"did eat of my bread" (Ps 41:9), as one of My family; admitted to the nearest familiarity of discipleship and of social life.

hath lifted up his heel against me—turned upon Me, adding insult to injury. (Compare Heb 10:29). In the Psalm the immediate reference is to Ahithophel's treachery against David (2Sa 17:1-23), one of those scenes in which the parallel of his story with that of His great Antitype is exceedingly striking. "The eating bread derives a fearful meaning from the participation in the sacramental supper, a meaning which must be applied for ever to all unworthy communicants, as well as to all betrayers of Christ who eat the bread of His Church" (Stier, with whom, and others, we agree in thinking that Judas partook of the Lord's Supper).

I am about to tell you what will make your ears tingle; but be of good comfort, what I shall now tell you doth not concern all of you, it concerneth but one man amongst you.

I know whom I have chosen to the work of the apostleship; so some interpret it, as John 6:70, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? But the generality of the best interpreters understand the choosing here mentioned, of a choosing to eternal life, and perseverance in the way of God as a means in order to it, as Ephesians 1:4; and so understood, here is a greater argument in this text to prove the Godhead of Christ, as the Author of eternal election: Though one of you be a devil, a traitor, yet I have chosen the rest of you to eternal life: and this is no more than was prophesied of me, and fulfilled in David as a type of me: the Scripture must have its accomplishment; that Scripture is now fulfilled in me. I speak not of you all. What he had before said on the one hand, "ye are not all clean", John 13:11, for one of them was not; and on the other hand, when he put an "if" upon, or seemed to doubt of their knowing and doing these things, John 13:17; or what he was about to say concerning his being betrayed, this he did not speak of them all:

I know whom I have chosen; not to apostleship, for they were all chosen to that, Judas as well as the rest, but to grace and glory, to everlasting salvation and happiness; of these he was well assured, that they were all clean, pure, and spotless, in the sight of God; were truly regenerated by the Spirit of God, and had an experimental and practical knowledge of the things he recommended by his example, and would be the happy persons he spake of;

but he observes, so it is, and will come to pass, that there is one of you which will betray me:

that the Scripture may be fulfilled: Psalm 41:9, as it literally (b) was in Judas's betraying Christ. The passage is by many interpreted either of Ahithophel, or of some other counsellor of Absalom's, or of Absalom himself; and is applied to their conduct, with respect to David, at the time of their rebellion against him; and which is thought to be typical of the treatment Christ met with from an apostle of his: but we do not find that, at the time of that rebellion, David was sick, or had any disease upon him, from whence they might hope for his death; it does not seem, as though it could be literally understood of David at all, and of the behaviour of any of his servants; but most properly of David's son, the Messiah, Jesus, with whom everything in the psalm agrees; and particularly this verse, which so plainly describes Judas, and expresses his base ingratitude, hypocrisy, and malice: the former part of the text is not cited, "yea, mine own familiar friend", or "the man of my peace, in whom I trusted"; though it fully agrees with him, he being admitted to great familiarity with Christ, and lived peaceably with him; and who was intrusted by him with the bag, into which the money was put, which was ministered, either for the sustenance of him and his apostles, or for the use of the poor: but our Lord thought fit to cite no more of it than what follows, that being sufficiently descriptive of him; and especially at this present time, when he was at table with his Lord.

He that eateth bread with me, hath lift up his heel against me; he sat down with him at table frequently, and ate bread with him; and was doing so, when Satan put it into his heart to betray him; which is strongly expressed, by "lifting up" his "heel against him"; and sets forth the ingratitude, wickedness, and cruelty of him; who, like an unruly horse, that has thrown his rider, spurns at him, to destroy him; and also the insidious manner in which he did it; he supplanted, he tripped him, as wrestlers do, in order to cast him down to the ground, and then trample upon him, and triumph over him: he first "laid snares for him", as Jarchi explains the phrase used in the "psalm", and then "he magnified his heel", he behaved proudly and haughtily to him.

(b) See my Book of the Prophecies of the Messiah, &c. p. 168, &c.

{2} I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

(2) The betraying of Christ was not accidental, or a thing that happened by chance, but it was the Father who ordained the cause of our salvation, to reconcile us unto himself in his Son, and the Son willingly and voluntarily obeyed the Father.

John 13:18-19. Οὐ περὶ πάντ. ὑμῶν λέγω] Namely, this that ye μακάριοι ἐστε, κ.τ.λ. “Est inter vos, qui non erit beatus neque faciet ea,” Augustine. Unnecessarily and inappropriately, Tholuck refers back to John 13:10.

ἐγώ] I for my part, opposed to the divine determination (ἀλλʼ ἵνα, κ.τ.λ.), according to which, however, the selection of apostles must take place in such a way that the traitor entered into the number of the chosen. In a very arbitrary manner Tholuck gives the pregnant meaning to ἐξελεξ.: whom I peculiarly have chosen.

οἶδα] I know of what character they are, so that I do not therefore deceive myself, if I do not say of you all, etc.

ἀλλʼ] is ordinarily taken as the antithesis of οὐ περὶ π. ὑμ. λ., and is supplemented by τοῦτο γέγονεν (namely, that I cannot affirm, John 13:17, of you all); whilst others connect it with ὁ τρώγων, κ.τ.λ., and ἵνα ἡ γρ. κλ. is taken as an intermediate sentence (Semler, Kuinoel; admitted also by Lücke). The former view has no justification in the context, which suggests a τοῦτο γέγονεν just as little as in 1 Corinthians 2:9; the latter does not correspond to the importance which this very sentence of purpose has in the connection. The only supplement in accordance with the text is (comp. John 9:3, John 1:8): ἐξελεξάμην αὐτούς: But I made the choice in obedience to the divine destiny, in accordance with which the Scripture (that which stands written, comp. John 19:37; Mark 12:10; Luke 14:21) could not but be fulfilled, etc. Comp. John 6:70-71. The passage, freely cited from the original, is Psalm 41:13, where the theocratic sufferer (who is unknown; not David, whom the superscription names) utters a saying which, according to divine determination, was to find its Messianic historical fulfilment in the treason of Judas.

ὁ τρώγ. μετʼ ἐμοῦ τ. ἄρτ.] Deviating from the original (אוֹכֵל לַחְמִי), and from the LXX., yet without substantial alteration of the sense (intimacy of table-companionship, which, according to Hellenic views also, aggravated the detestable character of the crime; see Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 793), and involuntarily suggesting itself, since Judas actually ate with Jesus (τρώγ., John 6:56-58).

ἐπῇρεν] has lifted up. Note the preterite; Judas, so near to an act of treason, is like him who has already lifted up his heel, in order to administer a kick to another. To explain the figure from the tripping of the foot in wrestling (πτερνίζειν), in the sense of overreaching, is less appropriate both to the words and to the facts (Jesus was not overreached).

John 13:19. ἀπʼ ἄρτι] not now, but as always in the N. T. (John 1:51, John 14:7; Matthew 23:39; Matthew 26:29; Matthew 26:64; Revelation 14:13): from this time forward. Previously, He has not yet definitely disclosed it.

πιστεύσητε, κ.τ.λ.] Ye believe that I am He (the Messiah), and that no other is to be expected; see on John 8:24. How easily might the disciples have come to vacillate in their faith through the success of the treason of Judas, if He had not foreseen and foretold it as lying in the connection of the divine destiny! Comp. John 14:29. But by means of this predictive declaration, what might have become ground of doubt becomes ground for faith.John 13:18. This blessedness, He knew, could not attach to all of them: οὐ περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν ὑμῶν λέγω, “I speak not of you all,” I do not expect all of you to fulfil the condition of blessedness, ἐγὼ οἶδα οὓς ἐξελεξάμην, “I for my part (in contrast to the disciples who were in ignorance) know the men whom I have chosen as Apostles,” and am therefore not taken by surprise by the treachery of one of them. For the choice of Judas see John 6:70, where the same word ἐξελεξάμην is used. ἀλλʼ ἵνα … The simplest construction is: “but I chose Judas in order that,” etc. This may not, however, involve that Jesus consciously chose Judas for this purpose. That is not said, and can scarcely be conceived. The Scripture which waited for fulfilment is Psalm 40:9, ὁ ἐσθίων ἄρτους μου ἐμεγάλυνεν ἐπʼ ἐμὲ πτερνισμόν. Eating bread together is in all countries a sign, and in some a covenant or pledge of friendship. Cf. Kypke on ὁμοτράπεζος and Trumbull’s Blood Covenant, p. 313, and Oriental Life, p. 361. Here the fact of Judas’ eating bread with Jesus is introduced as aggravating his crime. “To lift the heel” is to kick, whether originally used of a horse or not; and expresses violence and contempt.18. I speak not of you all] There is one who knows these things, and does not do them, and is the very reverse of blessed.

I know whom I have chosen] The first ‘I’ is emphatic: ‘I know the character of the Twelve whom I chose; the treachery of one has been foretold; it is no surprise to Me.’ Comp. John 6:70.

but that] This elliptical use of ‘but that’ (= ‘but this was done in order that’) is frequent in S. John: John 1:8; John 9:3; John 14:31; John 15:25; 1 John 2:19. Here another way of filling up the ellipsis is possible; ‘But I chose them in order that.’

may be fulfilled] See on John 12:38. The quotation is taken, but with freedom, from the Hebrew of Psalm 41:9; for ‘lifted up his heel’ both the Hebrew and the LXX. have ‘magnified his heel.’ (See on John 6:45.) The metaphor here is of one raising his foot before kicking, but the blow is not yet given. This was the attitude of Judas at this moment. It has been remarked that Christ omits the words ‘Mine own familiar friend whom I trusted:’ He had not trusted Judas, and had not been deceived, as the Psalmist had been: ‘He knew what was in man’ (John 2:25).

He that eateth bread with me] Or, He that eateth the bread with Me. The more probable reading gives, My bread for ‘the bread with Me.’ The variations from the LXX. are remarkable. (1) The word for ‘eat’ is changed from the common verb (ἐσθίω) used in Psalm 41:10 to the much less common verb (τρώγω) used of eating Christ’s Flesh and the Bread from Heaven (John 6:54; John 6:56-58, where see notes), and nowhere else in the N.T., excepting Matthew 24:38. (2) ‘Bread’ or ‘loaves’ (ἄρτους) has been altered to ‘the bread’ (τὸν ἄρτον). (3) ‘My’ has possibly been strengthened to ‘with Me:’ to eat bread with a man is more than to eat his bread, which a servant might do. These changes can scarcely be accidental, and seem to point to the fact that the treachery of Judas in violating the bond of hospitality, so universally held sacred in the East, was aggravated by his having partaken of the Eucharist. That Judas did partake of the Eucharist seems to follow from Luke 22:19-21, but the point is one about which there is much controversy.

S. John omits the institution of the Eucharist for the same reason that he omits so much,—because it was so well known to every instructed Christian; and for such he writes.John 13:18. Λέγω, I speak of) when I speak of you as happy [John 13:17].—ἐγώ) I the Lord; although ye know not, especially each of you [cannot know] concerning the rest.—ἐπʼ ἐμέ, above [Engl. Vers. ‘against’] Me) So far is he from washing the feet of his brethren.—τὴν πτέρναν, the heel) This word is in happy consonance with the washing of the feet; and with the ancient custom of reclining [when of course the foot and heel would be lifted up] for the act of eating bread. Comp. עקב, Genesis 3:15, “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”Verses 18-30. - 2. The exclusion of the faithless disciple. This paragraph draws the circle of his cleansed ones, of those who accept him as Master and Lord in the fullest sense, more closely (at) out him. But the proceeding is tragic in the extreme; one of the twelve chosen as apostles is a traitor in disguise. The foot-washing has been an awful insufficiency in his case. He must depart before the greatest depth of the Master's love and truth can be revealed. Verse 18. - I speak net concerning you all. There is one who, though he knows these things, will not do them, is now indisposed to see any Divineness in the act and spirit of love which I am laying down as a fundamental law of my kingdom. I know whom (or, the individuals whom) I chose for apostles - (in John 6. the same statement is made with less definiteness, "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you," etc.?) Judas among them - but. It is difficult to follow this construction, and to decide on the antithesis to this disjunctive.

(1) We may add, this has happened (τοῦτο γέγονεν) - i.e. this choice has been overruled, and so in its issues corresponded with the Divine purpose (ἵνα) - so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, He that eateth my bread or, bread with me, hath lifted his heel against me;

(2) we may take the ἵνα πληρωθῇ as a parenthesis, and link the ἀλλ with the quotation, "He that eateth," etc.; or

(3) we may, with Meyer, suppose that ἐξελεξάμην αὐτοῦς, "I chose them," is mentally involved here: "I chose them, and Judas among them (ἵνα), in order that the Scripture," etc. This connection would suggest a destiny and purpose which Christ knowingly corresponded with, harmonizing his plan with the Divine and prophetic program. Emphasis must be laid upon the ἐκλέγεσθαι. It refers to Christ's choice of apostles, not to the eternal election to salvation. This interpretation corresponds more closely with the text, though it savors of a fatalism foreign to the Scripture. There is, however, a true sense in which the evil-disposed man is so placed that, if he will sin, he must sin along certain well-defined lines. The forty-first psalm, from which the quotation is made, is not strictly Messianic; it is descriptive of the ideal Sufferer, the holy but outraged man, whose melancholy condition is sure to be characterized by treachery among his familiar friends. Christ implies that, if he were to fulfill this portraiture, then this bitter dreg would be put into his cup; and so he humanly made this choice, i.e. he took steps which in their tenderness of love might have saved Judas from the worst, but which were really part of a Divine plan which would vindicate his own foresight and the method of Divine government. A full understanding of the formula in Matthew and John, ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθ῀ι, will save us from putting into these words a hopeless fatalism. Notice that the LXX. reads this passage differently, and is not so closely allied to the Hebrew: "He that eateth my leaves hath magnified against me his surreptitious despite, his tricky antagonism." Great beauty is given to the passage by the R.T. you instead of μετ ἐμοῦ, for it suggests the idea that Christ was the real Host of the twelve, the Father and Provider of his family. Christ must be regarded as the Father and Host of the entire group of guests, and the treacherous treatment of a host throughout the East is regarded as a sign of peculiar obduracy. I have chosen (ἐξελεξάμην)

Aorist tense, I chose. Not elected to salvation, but chose as an apostle.

That the scripture, etc. (ἵνα)

Elliptical. We must supply this choice was made in order that, etc.

Eateth (τρώγων)

With the exception of Matthew 24:38, the word occurs only in John. See on John 6:54. Originally it means to gnaw or crunch; to chew raw vegetables or fruits, and hence often used of animals feeding, as Homer ("Odyssey," vi., 90), of mules feeding. Of course it has lost its original sense in the New Testament, as it did to some extent in classical Greek, though, as applied to men, it more commonly referred to eating vegetables or fruit, as Aristophanes ("Peace," 1325) τρώγειν, to eat figs. The entire divorce in the New Testament from its primitive sense is shown in its application to the flesh of Christ (John 6:54). It is used by John only in connection with Christ.

Bread with me (μετ' ἐμοῦ τὸν ἄρτον)

Some editors read, μοῦ τὸν ἄρτον, my bread.

Heel (πτέρναν)

Only here in the New Testament. The metaphor is of one administering a kick. Thus Plutarch, describing the robber Sciron, who was accustomed "out of insolence and wantonness to stretch forth his feet to strangers, commanding them to wash them, and then, when they did it, with a kick to send them down the rock into the sea" ("Theseus"). Some have explained the metaphor by the tripping up of one's feet in wrestling; but, as Meyer justly says, "Jesus was not overreached." The quotation is from the Hebrew, not the Septuagint of Psalm 41:9 (Sept. 40). The Septuagint reads, "For the man of my peace in whom I hoped, who eateth my bread, magnified his cunning (πτερνισμόν, literally, tripping up) against me."

John 13:18 Interlinear
John 13:18 Parallel Texts

John 13:18 NIV
John 13:18 NLT
John 13:18 ESV
John 13:18 NASB
John 13:18 KJV

John 13:18 Bible Apps
John 13:18 Parallel
John 13:18 Biblia Paralela
John 13:18 Chinese Bible
John 13:18 French Bible
John 13:18 German Bible

Bible Hub

John 13:17
Top of Page
Top of Page