John 4:31
In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) Master.—The Hebrew word Rabbi has been preserved in the earlier passages (John 1:38; John 1:49; John 3:2; John 3:26), and will meet us again in John 6:25. It is less ambiguous than the English word, and should be restored here and in John 9:2; John 11:28.

They had left Him weary by the side of the well (John 4:6), and had gone to the town. They now return with the food they had obtained, and ask Him to partake of it.

John 4:31-34. In the mean while — Before the people came; his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat — They set the meat, which they had brought, before him, and requested him to partake of it, knowing how much he needed refreshment. But he said, I have meat to eat that ye know not of — Meat which yields me much more refreshment than any food which you can have brought me. He refers to the conversation which he had just had with the woman, and to the expected conversion of the Samaritans. When he sat down upon the well, he was weary, and needed sustenance; but this opportunity of saving souls made him forget his weariness and hunger. Therefore said the disciples — Not understanding his words in that spiritual sense in which he had spoken them; one to another — With some surprise, considering where he was; Hath any man brought him aught to eat? — Has any one been with him while we have been absent, and supplied him with provisions? Jesus — Who knew the loss they were at to understand his meaning; saith unto them — With a view to explain it; My meat — My most refreshing and delightful food, and that which satisfies the strongest appetite of my soul; is to do the will of him that sent me, &c. — He made his work his meat and drink; namely, the work he had done, his instructing the woman, and the work he had to do among the Samaritans; the prospect he now had of doing good to many; this was to him the greatest pleasure and satisfaction imaginable. Observe here, reader, 1st, The salvation of sinners is the will of God, and the instruction of them in order thereunto, is his work, 1 Timothy 2:4. 2d, Christ was sent into the world for this purpose, to bring sinners to God, to bring them to know him, and to be happy in him. 3d, He made this work his business and delight. When his body needed food, his mind was so taken up with this, that he forgot both hunger and thirst, both meat and drink. 4th, He was not only ready, upon all occasions, to enter upon his work, but he was concerned and earnest to go through it, and finish it in all its parts. He resolved never to quit it, or lay it down till he could say, It is finished. Many have zeal to carry them out at first, and induce them to undertake the Lord’s work; but not zeal to carry them on to the last, and cause them to persevere till they have accomplished it. But our Master has herein left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of God as he did — with diligence and close application, as those that make it their business — with delight and pleasure in it, as persons in their element — with constancy and perseverance, not only inclining them to begin, but aiming at finishing their work.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.Prayed him - Asked him. 31-38. meantime—that is, while the woman was away.

Master, eat—Fatigue and thirst we saw He felt; here is revealed another of our common infirmities to which the Lord was subject—hunger.

While the woman was fetching her citizens to come and see and hear Christ, his disciples, knowing that he must be weary and hungry with his journey, and having brought him some food out of the city, where they had been to fetch it, put him upon refreshing himself with the food they had brought. In the mean while,.... Whilst the woman was gone into the city, and had acquainted the inhabitants, that such a wonderful person was at Jacob's well, and invited them to come and see him:

his disciples prayed him, saying, master, eat; for they perceived a disinclination in him to food; and they knew that he was weary with his journey, and that it was the time of day, and high time, that he had had some food; and therefore out of great respect to him, and in concern for his health and welfare, they entreated him that he would take some food: so far was Christ from indulging his sensual appetite; and so little reason had the Scribes and Pharisees to traduce him as a wine bibber and glutton.

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 4:31-34. Ἐν τῷ μεταξύ] in the meantime (Xen. Symp. i. 14; Lucian, V. H. i. 22, D. D. x. 1), after the woman had gone, and before the Samaritans came.

John 4:32. Jesus, making the sensuous the clothing of the supersensuous (the pastus animi), speaks from a feeling of inner quickening and satisfaction, which He had just experienced from the change He had wrought in the Samaritan woman,—a feeling which He was to experience still more strongly throughout His divinely appointed work onwards until its completion. This inner satisfaction now prompts Him to refuse bodily sustenance. Observe the emphatic antithesis of ἐγώ and ὑμεῖς.

As to βρῶσις, and βρῶμα, John 4:34, see on Colossians 2:16.

John 4:33. In the question μήτις, κ.τ.λ., prompted by a misunderstanding of His words, the emphasis is upon ἤνεγκεν, “surely no one has brought Him,” etc.

John 4:34. ἐμὸν βρῶμα] i.e. without a figure, “what gives me satisfaction and enjoyment is this: I have to do what God desires of me, and to accomplish that work of redemption which He αὐτοῦ emphatically placed first) has committed to me” (John 17:4). Observe (1) that ἵνα is not the same as ὅτι, which would express objectively the actual subject-matter of ἐμὸν βρ.; it rather indicates the nature of the βρῶμα viewed as to its end, and points to the aim and purpose which Jesus pursues,—a very frequent use of it in John. (2) The present ποιῶ denotes continuous action, the Aor. τελειώσα the Acts of completion, the future goal of the ποιῶ. Comp. John 17:4.John 4:31. But meanwhile ἐν τῷ μεταξύ, between the woman’s leaving the well and the men’s return to it, the disciples, having brought the purchased food, and observing that notwithstanding His previous fatigue Jesus does not share with them, say Ῥαββὶ φάγε. But in His conversation with the woman His fatigue and hunger had disappeared, and He replies (John 4:32) ἐγὼ βρῶσινοὐκ οἴδατε. John does not distinguish between βρῶσις and βρῶμα, eating and the thing eaten, cf. John 4:34; Paul uses both words in their proper sense, 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Corinthians 6:13. Weiss and others, strangely enough, maintain that βρῶσις has here its proper meaning “an eating”. The pronouns are emphatic: I am refreshed by nourishment hidden from you. The proof of which they at once gave by asking one another Μήτις ἤνεγκεν αὐτῷ φαγεῖν; “Surely no one can have brought Him anything to eat?” Winer, p. 642, adds “especially here in Samaria”. Perhaps evidence that Jesus had such an appearance as would not forbid any one offering Him food. But we must keep in view the easier manners of Oriental life.31. In the mean while] Between the departure of the women and the arrival of her fellow-townsmen.

Master, eat] Better, Rabbi, eat. Here and in John 9:2 and John 11:8 our translators have rather regrettably turned ‘Rabbi’ into ‘Master,’ (comp. Matthew 26:25; Matthew 26:49; Mark 9:5; Mark 11:21; Mark 14:45); while ‘Rabbi’ is retained John 1:38; John 1:49, John 3:2; John 3:26, John 6:25 (comp. Matthew 23:7-8). Apparently their principle was that wherever a disciple addresses Christ, ‘Rabbi’ is to be translated ‘Master;’ in other cases ‘Rabbi’ is to be retained; thus obscuring the view which the disciples took of their own relation to Jesus. He was their Rabbi.John 4:31. Ἐν τῷ μεταξύ, meanwhile) Between the departure of the woman and the arrival of the Samaritans.Verse 31. - In the mean while (χρόνῳ understood) - while the men of Sychar were coming across the green corn-fields in excited and eager longing for the bread of life and the water of life eternal - his disciples besought him; rather, were entreating him - the verb ἐρωτάω is used for question and interrogation, and is generally used of one who feels on terms of equality with the person addressed on the matter in hand (cf. John 14:16; John 15:7; John 16:19, 23; John 17:15, for its distinctness from αὐτεω) - saying, Rabbi, eat. Have we not gone to Sychar to find provisions for thee? Do not despise our effort.
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