For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A prophet hath no honour.—The statement that a prophet hath no honour in his own country is at first thought a strange explanation of the fact that He went into Galilee, and that the Galileans received Him; and the common geographical solutions, as that “His own country” means Judæa, or Nazareth, as distinct from Galilee, or the district of the so-called lower Galilee, are brought to, not from, the text. The narrative of the earlier Gospels places the commencement of the ministry in Galilee. John has in these opening chapters told of an earlier ministry in Judæa and Samaria. He now records the reception in Galilee to which this earlier ministry had been the real introduction. Jesus Himself said so. He knew the principle that a prophet’s own friends are the last to hear his message, and He came to His own country only when that message had been received by many in Judæa and Samaria, and when His own countrymen had seen and known His work at the Passover. Others had received Him at Jerusalem, and they therefore receive Him in Galilee. The honour is brought from without. It does not arise in His own country.Matthew 13:57. The connection of this verse with the preceding may be thus explained: "Jesus went to Galilee, but not to Nazareth, for he testified," etc. Or, "Jesus went to Galilee, 'although' he had said that a prophet had no honor in his own country; yet, because he foreknew that the Galileans would many of them believe on him, he went at this time." Matthew 13:57 Mark 6:4 Luke 4:24. But the question is, what force of reason this hath why he went into Galilee, whereas Nazareth, which was in Galilee, was his own country; for though he was born in Bethlehem, yet he was educated at Nazareth; upon which account, Luke 4:23, it is called his own country? The best resolution of this difficulty is, that by Galilee here is to be understood, the country part of Galilee, exclusive to Nazareth; and this is not given as a reason why our Saviour went into Galilee, but why he did not go to Nazareth, but into the country part of Galilee, because Nazareth was his own country, and
a prophet is not without honour, except in his own country. Matthew 13:57;
that a prophet hath no honour in his own country: all the Oriental versions read, "in his own city"; that is, Nazareth: for these words must not be understood as a reason why Christ left Judea, and went into Galilee, because he had no honour in Judea, in which was Bethlehem, the place of his nativity; but are a reason why, when he came into Galilee, he did not go to Nazareth, his own city, where he was educated, and had been brought up, and had lived the greatest part of his life, because they treated him with great disrespect and contempt; See Gill on Matthew 13:57.For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 4:44. The reason for His proceeding to Galilee is given in John 4:44.—αὐτὸς γὰρ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐμαρτύρησεν, “for Jesus Himself testified”. The evangelist would not have presumed to apply to Jesus the proverbial expression, προφήτης … οὐκ ἔχει, but Jesus Himself used it. The saying embodies a common observation. Montaigne complained that in his own country he had to purchase publishers: while elsewhere publishers purchased him. The difficulty lies in the present application of the saying. If Galilee was His “fatherland,” how can He use this proverb as a reason for His going there? To escape the difficulty Cyril, followed by Calvin, Grotius, and many more, says Nazareth was His πατρίς, and here [ἀναγκαίαν ποιεῖται τὴν ἀπολογίαν τῆς παραδρομῆς] he assigns the reason for His passing by Nazareth. πατρίς can be used of a town as in Philo’s Leg. ad Caium, Agrippa says ἔστι δέ μοι Ἱεροσόλυμα πατρίς (Kypke). See also Achilles Tat., 22; Luke 4:23. But the objection is that Lk. tells us He did go to Nazareth. Origen says Judaea was the πατρίς τῶν προφητῶν; and Lücke, Westcott, Reith, and others believe that Judaea is here meant; and that Jesus, by citing the proverb, gives the reason for His rejection in Jerusalem. But this is out of place, as He had long since left Jerusalem. Meyer thinks the meaning is that Jesus left Galilee in order to substantiate His Messianic claim in Jerusalem, and this having been accomplished, He returns with His credentials to His own country. This agrees with John 4:45, “having seen the miracles which He had done in Jerusalem”. Weiss interprets the words as meaning that Jesus leaves Samaria, where honour had come unbidden, in order to evoke faith and honour where as yet He had none: thus continuing the hard work of sowing and leaving to the disciples the glad harvesting. This is ingenious; but the obvious interpretation is that which finds in the statement (John 4:43-44) a resumption of the narrative of John 4:1-3, which had been interrupted by the account of the Lord’s experience in Samaria. That narrative had assigned as the reason for our Lord’s leaving Judaea and making for Galilee, His own over-popularity, which threatened a collision with the Pharisees. To avoid this He goes to Galilee, where, as He Himself said, there was little risk of His being too highly honoured.44. For Jesus himself testified] This is a well-known difficulty. As in John 20:17, we have a reason assigned which seems to be the very opposite of what we should expect. This witness of Jesus would account for His not going into Galilee: how does it account for His going thither? It seems best to fall back on the old explanation of Origen, that by ‘his own country’ is meant Judaea, ‘the home of the Prophets.’ Moreover, Judaea fits in with the circumstances. He had not only met with little honour in Judaea; He had been forced to retreat from it. No Apostle had been found there. The appeal to Judaea had in the main been a failure.John 4:44. Πατρίδι, His own country) John presupposes it as a fact known, from ch. John 1:46, [Nathanael] “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 19:19, [the inscription over the cross, which would be well known] “Jesus of Nazareth,” etc., and from the other evangelists, that Nazareth was the country of Jesus; and hence he infers, from the testimony of Jesus, the reason why He went into Galilee at large, and not to His own country, Nazareth.
For assigns the reason why Jesus went into Galilee. By His own country, Judaea seems to be meant, though almost the same phrase, His country, is used by the three Synoptists of Nazareth in Galilee. John's Gospel, however, deals with the Judaean rather than with the Galilean ministry of Jesus, and the phrase, His own country, is appropriate to Judaea as "the true home and fatherland of the prophets, the land which contained the city of Messiah's birth, the city associated with Him alike in ancient prophecy and in popular expectation." Hence, at Jerusalem, the people said, "Hath not the Scriptures said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was" (John 7:42)? In John 4:1-3 it is stated that Jesus left Judaea because of a controversy excited by the Pharisees, whom John always marks as the leaders of the opposition to Jesus. Further, we are told that at Jerusalem, though many believed on His name, yet Jesus did not trust them (John 2:23, John 2:24). According to this explanation, γὰρ, for is used in its natural and most obvious sense as assigning the reason for Christ's departure into Galilee. The proverb is naturally suggested by the reference to Galilee, where Jesus had used it at Nazareth (see Matthew 13:57). The ὅτε οὖν when then (then indicating logical sequence and not time) of John 4:45 follows naturally upon the citation of the proverb, signifying a correspondence between the character of His reception in Galilee and the motive of His going thither. Finally, if we understand by His own country, Nazareth, we are compelled to explain γὰρ, for, from John 4:46; Jesus went to Cana (north of Nazareth) without passing through His native place, for the reason mentioned. This seems forced and arbitrary.
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