After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)After these things.—Not implying that He left Jerusalem at once. The “land of Judæa” is the province as distinct from the capital. This verse points to a work in Judæa of which we know nothing more. It was probably not confined to one place. We have to think of Christ as continuing His teaching, of large numbers influenced by it (John 3:26), and of these as being baptised by the disciples (John 4:2). His converts were the country people, and it is the action of the Pharisees which caused Him to retire to Samaria.John 3:22-24. After these things — That is, some time after our Lord’s conference with Nicodemus; came Jesus and his disciples — From Jerusalem, where they had kept the passover together; into the land of Judea — That is, into a part of it which was at some distance from the capital city; and there he tarried with them — How long is not said; and baptized — Not himself, but his disciples, by his order, John 4:2. And John also was baptizing, at that time, at Ænon, near Salim — A town on the west side of Jordan; because there was much water there — Which made it very convenient for his purpose. And they came — Namely, people came from various parts; and were baptized by him. For John was not yet cast into prison — As he was a few months after, by the injustice of Herod, in whose dominions that place was.
And baptized - Jesus did not Himself administer the ordinance of baptism, but his disciples did it by his direction and authority, John 4:2.
22-24. land of Judea—the rural parts of that province, the foregoing conversation being held in the capital.
baptized—in the sense explained in Joh 4:2.came into the land of Judea. He had before been in the province of Judea, and in the metropolis, or great city, of Judea, which was Jerusalem; but now he goeth into the country of Judea. Judah and Jerusalem are often mentioned distinctly. The chief city of a country is oft distinguished from the country, though within the same province and tribe; see Joshua 8:1, the king of Ai, his city, and his land; and in particular as to Jerusalem, 2 Chronicles 11:14 20:17 2 Chronicles 36:23 Ezra 2:1 Luke 5:17 6:17, Christ and his disciples went into the country part of Judea;
and there he tarried with them, and baptized, by his disciples, for himself personally baptized none; but as in our common speech, so in the language of Scripture, there is nothing more ordinary than for persons to be said themselves to do what they do by others, 1 Samuel 26:11,12 2 Kings 22:16 2 Chronicles 34:24 Acts 7:52.
came Jesus and his disciples, into the land of Judea; or "into Judea the country", having been in Jerusalem, the city part or chief city in Judea; so that the country is distinguished from, and opposed to the city. And thus, a countryman, and a Jerusalemite, or citizen of Jerusalem, are distinguished (l);
"if, "a countryman", (one that lives in the country any where in the land of Israel out of Jerusalem (m),) receives a field, "from a man of Jerusalem", the second tithes belong to the Jerusalemite; but the wise men say, the countryman may bring them up, and eat them at Jerusalem.''
Or, it may be, because that Jerusalem was part of it in the tribe of Benjamin, and the other in the tribe of Judah; therefore, when Christ, and his disciples, left Jerusalem, they might more properly be said to come into the land of Judea. Indeed, it is commonly said by the Jews (n), that Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes, and that it did not belong to any tribe; and if so, then with greater propriety still might Christ be said to come into the land of Judea, when he departed from Jerusalem; unless it should be thought, that he went into Galilee, and after that came into the land of Judea; so Nonnus:
and there he tarried with them: with his disciples, as Nonnus; and with the inhabitants of those parts: he made a longer stay here than at Jerusalem, having more work to do here, and being more delighted with the plainness and simplicity of the country people; or "he conversed" with them, as the Syriac version renders it; he exercised, and employed himself among them, as the Greek word used signifies: he went about from village to village, doing good, healing diseases, and preaching the Gospel which was made useful to many:
and baptized; not he himself, but his disciples, by his orders, and in his name; see John 4:2; whereby he gave fresh countenance and sanction to the ordinance of water baptism, administering it to others, as well as submitting to it himself.After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 3:22-23. After this i nterview with Nicodemus (μετὰ ταῦτα) Jesus betook Himself with His disciples from the capital into the country of Judea, in a north-easterly direction towards Jordan. Ἰουδαίαν is, as in Mark 1:5, Acts 16:1, 1Ma 2:23; 1Ma 14:33; 1Ma 14:37, 2Ma 5:23; 2Ma 5:3 Esr. John 5:47, Anthol. vii. 645, an adjective.
ἐβάπτιζεν] during His stay there (Imperf.), not Himself, however, but through His disciples, John 4:2. Baur, indeed, thinks that the writer had a definite purpose in view in this mode of expression; that he wished to bring Jesus and the Baptist as closely as possible together in the same work. But if so, the remark of John 4:2 would be strangely illogical; see also Schweizer, p. 194. The baptism of Jesus, besides, was certainly a continuation of that of John, and did not yet possess the new characteristic of Matthew 28:19 (for see John 7:39); but that it already included that higher element, which John’s baptism did not possess (comp. Acts 19:2-3),—namely, the operation of the Spirit, of which Christ was the bearer (John 3:34), for the accomplishment of the birth from above,—is manifest from John 3:5, a statement which cannot be a prolepsis or a prophecy merely.
ἦν δὲ καὶ Ἰωάνν., κ.τ.λ.] but John was also employed in baptizing, namely in Aenon, etc. This name, usually taken as the intensive or adjectival form of עַיִן, is rather = עין יון, dove spring; the place itself is otherwise unknown, as is also the situation of Salim, though placed by Eusebius and Jerome eight Roman miles south of Scythopolis. This is all the more uncertain, because Aenon, according to the mention of it here (comp. John 4:3), must have been in Judaea, and not in Samaria, and could not therefore have been the Ainun discovered by Robinson (Later Explorations, p. 400). Ewald thinks of the two places שׁלחים ועין in Joshua 15:32. So also Wieseler, p. 247. In no case could the towns have been situated on the Jordan, for in that case the statement ὍΤΙ ὝΔΑΤΑ ΠΟΛΛᾺ would have been quite out of place. Comp. Hengstenberg, who likewise refers to Joshua 15:32, while Pressel (in Herzog’s Encykl. XIII. 326) prefers the statement of Eusebius and Jerome. For the rest, the narrative of the temptation, which Hengstenberg places in the period after John 3:22, has nothing to do with the locality in this verse; it does not belong to this at all.
The question why John, after the public appearance of Jesus, still continued to baptize, without baptizing in His name, is answered simply by the fact (against Bretschneider, Weisse, Baur) that Jesus had not yet come forth as John expected that the Messiah would, and that consequently the Baptist could not have supposed that his work in preparing the way for the Messiah’s kingdom by his baptism of repentance was already accomplished, but had to await for that the divine decision. This perseverance of John, therefore, in his vocation to baptize, was by no means in conflict with his divinely received certainty of the Messiahship of Jesus (as Weizsäcker, p. 320, thinks), and the ministry of both of them side by side must not be looked upon as improbable, as “in itself a splitting in sunder of the Messianic movement” (Keim).
 To interpose a longer interval, e.g. a return to and sojourn in Galilee, is quite gratuitous. Not before John 4:3 does Jesus return to Galilee.John 3:22-36. The ministry of Jesus in Judaea after He left Jerusalem. This falls into three parts: (1) a brief account of the movements and success of Jesus and the Baptist which provoked a comparison between them, 22–26; (2) the Baptist’s acceptance of the contrast and final testimony to Jesus, 27–30; (3) the expansion by the evangelist of the Baptist’s words, 31–36.22–36. The Baptism and Final Testimony of John
22, 23. We have here a mark of authenticity similar to John 2:12. These passages “it is impossible to regard as embodiments of dogma. It is equally impossible to regard them as fragments detached from the mass of tradition. The only conclusion remains, that they art facts lodged in the memory of a living witness of the events described.” S. p. 86. S. John records them, not for any theological purpose, but because he was there, and remembers what took place.
and baptized] Or, was baptizing during his stay there, through his disciples (John 4:2). Christ’s baptism was not yet in the Name of the Trinity (John 7:39) as ordered to the Apostles (Matthew 28:19). It was a continuation of John’s baptism, accompanied by the operation of the Spirit (John 3:5). We have abundant evidence that John baptized before Christ’s public ministry commenced, and that the disciples baptized after His ministry closed. That the one baptism should be the offspring of the other is probable enough antecedently; “yet this is the one passage in which it is positively stated that our Lord authorised baptism during His lifetime.” S. p. 85.John 3:22. Εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν γῆν, into the land of Judæa) from the metropolis of the Jews. [He did not however long delay there (comp. concerning the word, διέτριβε, ch. John 11:54; Acts 16:12; Acts 20:6, οὗ διετρίψαμεν ἡμέρας ἑπτά), and that because of the Pharisees, who were even less well-inclined towards Jesus, than towards John, ch. John 4:1, “When the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John.”—Harm., p. 165.]—ἐβάπτιζεν, was baptizing) ch. John 4:1-2, “Though Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples.” John did not repel those, who came of their own accord, whilst Jesus was baptizing: but still he now in a less degree invited [lie did not to the same extent invite] them.Verses 22-36. - 6. The swanlike song of the Baptist. Verses 22-26. -
(1) The ministry and baptism of Jesus in Judaea. Verse 22. - With this verse a new departure is taken, and circumstances are described which indirectly, rather than explicitly, indicate the manner of our Lord's ministry for the larger part of a year; and they furnish opportunity for recording the last great public utterance of John the Baptist, with all its special difficulties of chronology and doctrine. After these things, related in the previous paragraphs; after, that is, the scene in the temple, and the demand for a sign, and the typical discourse of the Lord with a ruler of the Jews, from reasons not difficult to deduce from the narrative, Jesus (came) and his disciples [came] into the land (γῆν, not χὼραν, as in Mark 1:5) of Judaea. Surrounded or accompanied by some of his disciples (John being one of them), Jesus left the metropolis and betook himself to the countryside. His Messianic claims were not accepted by the authorities. He did not entrust himself to the half-believers. He altered or deviated from the course hitherto adopted, and addressed himself to the less-prejudiced inhabitants of the country places in the province of Judaea. His hour was not yet come. Jerusalem and Judah were thus compared or contrasted in Ezra 2:1; Ezra 7:14; 2 Chronicles 20:18. The precise locality is not stated, though it is probable it was not far from the new scene chosen by John for the continuance of his ministry. The identification of the site of Aenon, near Saleim, does not finally determine the scene of our Lord's abode or baptismal ministry. We are expressly told, both here and in John 4:3, that it was in Judaea, not Samaria, that Jesus there tarried with them, and was baptizing. The words imply a lengthened abode, and a method of ministry which, from that time, he laid aside. The statement that he administered the rite personally is in John 4:2 explicitly corrected. The baptism by the disciples was done, however, with the sanction and under the direction of Jesus. As the trial ministry of the twelve apostles (mentioned in Matthew 10.), occurring during our Lord's earthly life, corresponded with the first preaching of John rather than with that which followed the glorification of Jesus and the Pentecostal effusion, so this ordinance closely resembled the water baptism of John; it was a preparatory symbol, an educational rite, one that allied this early ministry to that of his great forerunner. The water baptism of Jesus corresponded in significance with the water baptism of John. They were one and the same ordinance, predictive, symbolic, anticipatory of the baptism of the Spirit. "Jesus adopted John's baptism ere its waters forever ceased to flow, and thus he blessed and consecrated them. He took up the work of his forerunner and completed it" (Edersheim, 1:393). Weiss (with consent of Renan) admits that these reminiscences reveal their own historicity, and none more so than the return of Jesus for a time to the scenes of the activity of the Baptist. Apparently such an act conflicts with the exalted ideas the author of the Fourth Gospel entertains with reference to his Master. Thoma thinks he sees in Pauhne writings indication of Christ's baptismal ministry, and suggests that the "Johannist" therefore finds a place for such "a washing in water by the Word" in the active word of Jesus! When our Lord, after his resurrection, referred to the baptism with the Spirit, he contrasted it with the baptism of John, and made no reference to his own temporary adoption of the same rite. All water baptism is thus placed in its true relation to the baptism of the Spirit - not as the necessary preliminary of the latter, nor its indispensable seal or guarantee, but as the impressive symbol of the need of heavenly cleansing, and of the direct impact upon the soul of the power of the eternal Spirit. The length of our Lord's residence in Judaea cannot be positively determined; but one hint may be gathered item John 4:35. The "four months before the harvest" indicate the arrival of the month of December, and therefore the lapse of some eight months between the cleansing of the temple and the return to Galilee. This last event, in Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 4:12-17 with parallels), is associated with the imprisonment of John. The Fourth Gospel, by obvious reference to the current synoptic chronology of the commencement of the Galilaean ministry (one which made this imprisonment a note of time), shows that the period described in this Gospel, and the baptismal energy of Jesus in Judaea, and the profoundly interesting events mentioned in ch. 3. and 4, were not incompatible with admitted facts. It also suggests that the character of our Lord's ministry in the neighbourhood of the metropolis was closely allied with that which the synoptists described as obtaining in his early Galilaean efforts. We are impressed by the solemn silence which has fallen over these eight months. It may be accounted for on the general principle of the evangelist, which was to fasten upon and preserve the memory of a few solemn moments which especially impressed his own mind, and which had been overlooked or unknown by Matthew and the other evangelists. Moreover, it is more than probable that the author of this Gospel was not with the Master during the whole of this period. There are, however, hints that the rumours of the spiritual might and gathering power of Jesus had produced a great effect upon John the Baptist, and qualified the tone of his last testimony.
Literally, the Judaean land. The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament.
The verb originally means to rub, hence to wear away, consume; and so of spending or passing time.
The imperfect tense agrees with the idea of tarrying. He continued baptizing during His stay.
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