John 4:27
And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?
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(27) With the woman.—Better, probably, with a woman. They are surprised, not at His talking with a Samaritan, but at His talking in public with a woman, which was directly contrary to the Rabbinic precepts. The words of the Law were to be burnt rather than taught to a woman. A man should not speak in public to his own wife. They would like to ask Him, as He asked some of them (John 1:38), what He sought to learn from her, or else to know what truth He would teach her (comp. “speakest” with “I that speak,” in the last verse); but there is already a sense of the reverence due to Him, which checks the question as it rises to the lip.

John 4:27. Upon this came his disciples — Who, as was said before, were gone into the city to buy food; and marvelled that he talked with the woman — Or rather (as the word γυναικος is without the article) with a woman, which the Jewish rabbies reckoned it scandalous for a man of distinction to do. And that the disciples were not, in such things, superior to the prejudices of their countrymen, is manifest from the whole of their history. They marvelled likewise at his talking with a woman of that nation, which was so peculiarly hateful to the Jews. Yet no man said to the woman, What seekest thou? — Or to Christ, Why talkest thou with her?

4:27-42 The disciples wondered that Christ talked thus with a Samaritan. Yet they knew it was for some good reason, and for some good end. Thus when particular difficulties occur in the word and providence of God, it is good to satisfy ourselves that all is well that Jesus Christ says and does. Two things affected the woman. The extent of his knowledge. Christ knows all the thoughts, words, and actions, of all the children of men. And the power of his word. He told her secret sins with power. She fastened upon that part of Christ's discourse, many would think she would have been most shy of repeating; but the knowledge of Christ, into which we are led by conviction of sin, is most likely to be sound and saving. They came to him: those who would know Christ, must meet him where he records his name. Our Master has left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of God as he did; with diligence, as those that make a business of it; with delight and pleasure in it. Christ compares his work to harvest-work. The harvest is appointed and looked for before it comes; so was the gospel. Harvest-time is busy time; all must be then at work. Harvest-time is a short time, and harvest-work must be done then, or not at all; so the time of the gospel is a season, which if once past, cannot be recalled. God sometimes uses very weak and unlikely instruments for beginning and carrying on a good work. Our Saviour, by teaching one poor woman, spread knowledge to a whole town. Blessed are those who are not offended at Christ. Those taught of God, are truly desirous to learn more. It adds much to the praise of our love to Christ and his word, if it conquers prejudices. Their faith grew. In the matter of it: they believed him to be the Saviour, not only of the Jews but of the world. In the certainty of it: we know that this is indeed the Christ. And in the ground of it, for we have heard him ourselves.Upon this - At this time.

Marvelled - Wondered. They wondered because the Jews had no contact with the Samaritans, and they were surprised that Jesus was engaged with her in conversation.

Yet no man said - No one of the disciples. They had such respect and reverence for him that they did not dare to ask him the reason of his conduct, or even to appear to reprove him. We should be confident that Jesus is right, even if we cannot fully understand all that he does.

27. marvelled that he talked with the woman—It never probably occurred to them to marvel that He talked with themselves; yet in His eye, as the sequel shows, He was quite as nobly employed. How poor, if not false, are many of our most plausible estimates!

no man said … What? … Why?—awed by the spectacle, and thinking there must be something under it.

The disciples, as we heard before, were gone into the city Sichem to buy food, and were kept there by the providence of God till our Saviour had finished this discourse with the woman of Samaria, but came after the discourse was done. They

marvelled, possibly at his talking with a woman in the road, (a thing forbidden by their traditions), especially a woman of Samaria, with whom the Jews had no commerce. But yet they had so much reverence and respect for their Master, that they inquired not curiously into the matter or reason of his discourse.

And upon this came his disciples,.... Just as he was saying the above words, and making himself known in this full manner, his disciples, who had been into the city to buy food, came up to them:

and marvelled that he talked with the woman; or with a woman; for, according to the Jewish canons, it was not judged decent, right, and proper, nor indeed lawful, to enter into a conversation, or hold any long discourse with a woman. Their rule is this,

"do not multiply discourse with a woman, with his wife they say, much less with his neighbour's wife: hence the wise men say, at whatsoever time a man multiplies discourse with a woman, he is the cause of evil to himself, and ceases from the words of the law, and at last shall go down into hell (q).''

And especially this was thought to be very unseemly in any public place, as in an inn, or in the street: hence that direction (r),

"let not a man talk with a woman in the streets, even with his wife; and there is no need to say with another man's wife.''

And particularly it was thought very unbecoming a religious man, a doctor, or scholar, or a disciple of a wise man so to do. This is one of the six things which are a reproach to a scholar, "to talk with a woman in the street" (s). And it is even said (t),

"let him not talk with a woman in the street, though she is his wife, or his sister, or his daughter.''

And besides, the disciples might marvel, not only that he talked with a woman, but that he should talk with that woman, who was a Samaritan; since the Jews had no familiar conversation with Samaritans, men or women: and the woman was as much astonished that Christ should have anything to say to her, and especially to ask a favour of her; for though they might, and did converse in a way of trade and business, yet did they not multiply discourse, or enter into a free conversation with one another: and it may be, that the disciples might overhear what he said to the woman, just as they came up; so that their astonishment was not merely at his talking with a woman, and with a Samaritan woman, but at what he said unto her, that he should so plainly tell her that he was the Messiah, when he so strictly charged them to tell no man.

Yet no man said; no, not Peter, as Nonnus observes, who was bold and forward to put and ask questions: "what seekest thou?" or inquirest of her about? is it food, or drink, or what? "or why talkest thou with her?" when it is not customary, seemly, and lawful. It may be considered, whether or no these two questions may not relate separately, the one to the woman, the other to Christ; as, the first,

what seekest thou? to the woman; and the sense be, that no man said to her, what do you want with our master? what are you inquiring about of him? what would you have of him? or what do you seek for from him? and the latter,

why talkest thou with her? peculiarly to Christ. The Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, and Beza's ancient copy indeed read, "no man said to him"; which confines both the questions to Christ. Now this shows the reverence the disciples had for Christ, and the great opinion they entertained of him, that whatever he did was well, and wisely done, though it might seem strange to them, and they could not account for it: however, they did not think that he, who was their Lord and master, was accountable to them for what he did; and they doubted not but he had good reasons for his conduct.

(q) Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 5. Abot R, Nathan, c. 7. fol. 3. 3. & Derech Eretz, fol. 17. 3.((r) Bemidbar Rabba, sect 10. fol. 200. 2.((s) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 43. 2.((t) Maimon. Hilch. Dayot, c. 5. sect. 7.

And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?
John 4:27. Ἐπὶ τούτῳ] Hereupon, while this was going on. See Bernhardy, p. 250; Winer, p. 367 [E. T. p. 489]. Often in Plato.

ἐθαύμαζον] the descriptive imperfect alternates with the simply narrative Aor. See Kühner, II. 74.

μετὰ γυναικὸς] with a woman; for they had yet to learn the fact that Jesus rose above the Rabbinical precepts, teaching that it was beneath the dignity of man to hold converse with women, and the directions of the law upon the subject (see Lightfoot, Schoettgen, and Wetstein).

οὐδεὶς μέντοι, κ.τ.λ.] reverential fear.

τί ζητεῖς] what desirest thou? i.e. what was it that led you to this strange conversation? (John 1:39). There is no reason to warrant our taking μετʼ αὐτῆς as referring by ζεύγμα (παρʼ αὐτῆς) also to ζητεῖς (Lücke, de Wette); and just as little to render ζητεῖν, contrary to its ordinary meaning, to contend, as if the disciples thought there was a discussion prompted by national hostility going on (Ewald).

] or, i.e. if you want nothing.

John 4:27. But just at this critical juncture, ἐπὶ τούτῳ, “on this,” came His disciples καὶ ἐθαύμασαν. The imperfect better suits the sense; “they were wondering”: the cause of wonder being ὅτι μετὰ γυναικὸς ἐλάλει, “that He was speaking with a woman”; this being forbidden to Rabbis. “Samuel dicit: non salutant feminam omnino.” “The wise have said, Each time that the man prolongs converse with the woman [that is, his own wife] he causes evil to himself, and desists from words of Thorah and in the end inherits Gehinnom” (Taylor, Pirke Aboth, p. 29; see also Schoettgen in loc.). But although the disciples wondered οὐδεὶς μέντοι εἶπε, “no one, however, said” τί ζητεῖς, “what are you seeking?” nor even the more general question τί λαλεῖς μετʼ αὐτῆς, “why are you talking with her?” Their silence was due to reverence. They had already learned that He had reasons for His actions which might not lie on the surface.

27. talked with the woman] Rather, was talking with a woman, contrary to the precepts of the Rabbis. ‘Let no one talk with a woman in the street, no not with his own wife.’ The woman’s being a Samaritan would increase their astonishment.

What seekest thou?] Probably both questions are addressed (hypothetically) to Christ; not one to the woman, and the other to Him.

John 4:27. Ἐπὶ τούτῳ, upon this) Most opportunely there was time sufficient for the colloquy.—ἐθαύμασαν, wondered) Wonder whets [sharpens, tends to promote] progress.—μετὰ γυναικός) with the woman in that place.—τὶ ζητεῖς, what seekest thou?) They could not easily suppose that Jesus had conferred a spiritual benefit on a Samaritan woman.

Verses 27-38. -

(3) Revelation and misunderstanding involved in the conduct of the disciples. The next paragraph records the effects of this conversation upon the disciples, upon the woman herself, and upon her friends. Verse 27. - Hereupon his disciples came; they returned, i.e. those of them who had gone to Sychar, bringing their provisions and their ἄντλημα with them, and they marvelled that he was talking with a woman. Such a proceeding was contrary to the etiquette of a rabbi, who contended that "a man should not salute a woman in a public place, not even his own wife" (cf. Lightfoot, Edersheim, Wettstein). One of the daily thanksgivings was, "Blessed art thou, O Lord... who hast not made me a woman" (Westcott). Yet (adds the eyewitness, one intimately acquainted with the innermost sentiments of the disciples) no one said, What seekest thou? Why talkest thou with her? They looked on with awe and reverence as well as wonder. They wondered whether he lacked aught which they could not supply. They marvelled (or, if we take the R.T., they kept marvelling) at the unwonted scene, that One so great as their Rabbi and Master should condescend to teach or converse with a woman at all; but they held their peace, with the conviction that what he did must be gracious, holy, and wise. One of the miracles of the Lord's ministry was to break down the wretched rabbinical prejudice against the spiritual capacities of woman, and the Oriental folly which supposed that she contaminated their sanctity. He lifted woman to her true position by the side of man. Women were his most faithful disciples. They ministered unto him of their substance. They shared his miraculous healing, feeding, and teaching. They anointed his feet, they wept over his agony, they followed him to the cross, they were early at the sepulchre. They greeted him as the risen Lord. They received the baptism of the Spirit. In Christ there is neither male nor female. Both are one in him. John 4:27Came - marvelled (ἦλθαν - ἐθαύμαζον)

The tense of each verb is different: the aorist, came, marking as in a single point of time the disciples' arrival, and the imperfect, they were wondering, marking something continued: they stood and contemplated him talking with the woman, and all the while were wondering at it.

He talked (ἐλάλει)

The imperfect tense, he was speaking. So Rev..

The woman

Rev., correctly, a woman. They were surprised, not at his talking with that woman, but that their teacher should converse with any woman in public. The Rabbinical writings taught that it was beneath a man's dignity to converse with women. It was one of the six things which a Rabbi might not do. "Let no one," it is written, "converse with a woman in the street, not even with his own wife." It was also held in these writings that a woman was incapable of profound religious instruction. "Rather burn the sayings of the law than teach them to women."

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