Then said they to him, Lord, ever more give us this bread.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Lord, evermore give us. . . .—Comp. Note on John 4:15. It would be better to read Sir for “Lord” here, as there. They, as the Samaritan woman, think of the satisfaction of physical need. They do not realise that man does not live by bread alone. The manna fell from heaven and gave life to their fathers; He has spoken of bread of God coming in the same way, and giving life. He has given them bread on earth, which they ate yesterday, but they hunger again to-day. Could He give them “evermore this bread?”John 6:34-35. Then said they, Evermore give us this bread — On which it seems our life depends: let us always live upon this heavenly manna. Thus said some of the wiser and better part of them, though they did not yet fully understand his meaning. Jesus said unto them — Proceeding to give them a clear and full explication of the important truth he spoke of; I am the bread of life — Having life in myself, and giving life to all that believe in me: nor is bread so necessary to the support of your bodies, as a believing regard to me is to the life of your souls. He that cometh unto me shall never hunger — Shall not be destitute of spiritual nourishment; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst — Shall find the most restless desires of his soul satisfied, and being conscious of having already received the noblest refreshment and nourishment, shall grow up to a state of complete and everlasting satisfaction and enjoyment. To come to him, and believe on him, are equivalent expressions; or are corresponding terms, explaining each other. Thus our Lord assigned one of the many reasons why he called himself the bread of life. See John 6:47-51. The conclusion from this part of his discourse was so evident, that he left his hearers to draw it for themselves. It was this, “Since matters are so, I am evidently greater than Moses, even in respect of that for which you extol him most. He gave your fathers manna, which was bodily food only, and nourished nothing but the natural life. But I am myself the bread of life and food of the soul, making men both immortal and happy.”
Is he ... - Is the Messiah who has come from heaven.
And giveth life ... - See the notes at John 1:4.
Lord, evermore give us this bread; that is so divine and heavenly, and has such a quickening virtue in it: these words are said by them either seriously, and to be understood of bread for their bodies, of which they imagined Christ was speaking; and so sprung from ignorance of his sense; and from sensuality in them who followed him for the loaves; and from a covetous disposition, being desirous of being supplied with such excellent food without charge; and from idleness, to save labour and pains in working for it; and from a vain desire of the continuance of this earthly life, being willing to live for ever, and therefore would have this bread evermore; and from a gross opinion of plenty and delicacy of corporeal food in the times of the Messiah; See Gill on Luke 14:15; or else these words are spoken ironically, by way of derision, as if there was no such bread; and if there was, that Christ could not give it. However, the words may be improved, when considered as a petition coming from, and suitable to, a sensible and enlightened soul: for such who are sensible of their famishing condition by nature, and of their need of Christ, the bread of life, and whose taste is changed, and have tasted how good this bread is, will earnestly desire always to be supplied with it, and to live upon it; for nothing is more grateful to them, and more nourishing and satisfying to their souls; they are never weary of it; it is always new and delightful to them, and they always stand in need of it, and wait in the use of means and ordinances for it; and this has always an abiding, lasting, virtue in it, to feed their souls, and nourish them up to everlasting life. Josephus (i) says of the "manna", which was a type of this bread, that there was such a divine quality in it, that whoever tasted of it needed nothing else: and the Jews also say (k), that
"in the manna were all kinds of tastes, and everyone of the Israelites tasted all that he desired; for so it is written in Deuteronomy 2:7, "these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee, thou hast lacked nothing", or "not wanted anything"; what is anything? when he desired to eat anything, and said with his mouth, O that I had fat to eat, immediately there was in his mouth the taste of fat.--Young men tasted the taste of bread, old men the taste of honey, and children the taste of oil.''
Yea, they say (l),
"whoever desired flesh, he tasted it, and whoever desired fish, he tasted it, and whoever desired fowl, chicken, pheasant, or pea hen, so he tasted whatever he desired.''
And to this agrees what is said in the apocryphal book of Wisdom, 16:20,21:
"Thou feddest thine own people with angels' food, and didst send them from heaven bread, prepared without their labour, able to content every man's delight, and agreeing to every taste; for thy sustenance (or manna) declared thy sweetness unto thy children, and serving to the appetite of the eater, tempered itself to every man's liking.''
All which must be understood of that pleasure, satisfaction, and contentment which they had in it; for it was a very uncommon case to eat it, and live upon it as their common food for forty years together: and no doubt but that there was something remarkable in suiting it to their appetites, or giving them appetites suitable to that, to feed upon it, and relish it for so long a time: twice indeed in that length of time we read they complained of it, saying, that they had nothing but this manna before their eyes, and their souls loathed it as light bread, Numbers 11:6, and lusted after the flesh, and the fish they had eaten in Egypt. And so it is with some professors of Christ, and his Gospel; for there is a mixed multitude among them, as there was among the Israelites, who disrelish the preaching of Christ, and the truths of the Gospel respecting his person, blood, and righteousness, and salvation by him; they cannot bear to have these things frequently inculcated and insisted upon; their souls are ready to loath them as light bread, and want to have something else set before them, more suitable to their carnal appetites: but to such who are true believers in Christ, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, Christ, the true manna, and bread of God, is all things to them; nor do they desire any other: they taste everything that is delightful, and find everything that is nourishing in him.Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 6:34 ff. Πάντοτε] emphatically takes the lead.
The request is like that in John 4:15, but here, too, without irony (against Calvin, Bengel, Lampe), which would have implied unbelief in His power to give such bread. To explain the words as prompted by a dim presentiment concerning the higher gift (Lücke, B. Crusius, and most other expositors), is not in keeping with the stiffnecked antagonism of the Jews in the course of the following conversation. There is no trace of a further development of the supposed presentiment, nor of any approval and encouragement of it on the part of Jesus. The Jews, on the contrary, with their carnal minds, are quite indifferent whether anything supersensuous, and if so, what, is meant by that bread. They neither thought of an outward glory, which they ask for (Luthardt),—for they could only understand, from the words of Jesus, something analogous to the manna, though of a higher kind, perhaps “a magic food or means of life from heaven” (Tholuck),—nor had their thoughts risen to the spiritual nature of this mysterious bread. But, at any rate, they think that the higher manna, of which He speaks, would be a welcome gift to them, which they could always use. And they could easily suppose that He was capable of a still more miraculous distribution, who had even now so miraculously fed them with ordinary bread. Their unbelief (John 6:36) referred to Jesus Himself as that personal bread of life, to whom, indeed, as such, their carnal nature was closed.
John 6:35-36. Explanation and censure.
ἐγώ] with powerful emphasis. Comp. John 4:26.
ὁ ἄρτος τ. ζωῆς] ζωὴν διδοὺς τῷ κόσμῳ, John 6:33. Comp. John 6:68.
ὁ ἐρχόμ. πρός με] of a believing coming (John 5:40); comp. John 6:47; John 6:44-45; John 6:65. For ἐρχόμ. and πιστεύων, as also their correlatives οὐ μὴ πειν. and οὐ μὴ διψ., do not differ as antecedent and consequent (Weiss), but are only formally kept apart by means of the parallelism. This parallelism of the discourse, now become more excited, occasioned the addition of the οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ, which is out of keeping with the metaphor hitherto employed, and anticipates the subsequent turn which the discourse takes to the eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood. We must not imagine that by this a superiority to the manna is intended to be expressed, the manna being able to satisfy hunger only (Lücke); for both οὐ μὴ πειν. and οὐ μὴ διψ. signify the same thing—the everlasting satisfaction of the higher spiritual need. Comp. Isaiah 49:10.
ἀλλʼ εἶπον ὑμῖν] But I would have you told that, etc. Notice, therefore, that on ὅτι ἑωράκ., κ.τ.λ., does not refer to a previous declaration, as there is not such a one (Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Olshausen, B. Crusius, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, Baeumlein, Godet, and most others: to John 6:26; Lücke, De Wette: to John 6:37-40; Euthymius Zigabenus: to an unwritten statement; Ewald: to one in a supposed fragment, now lost, which preceded chap. 6; Brückner: to a reproof which runs through the whole Gospel); on the contrary, the statement is itself announced by εἶπον (dictum velim). See, for this use of the word, Bernhardy, p. 381; Kühner, II. § 443. 1. In like manner John 11:42. In classical Greek, very common in the Tragedians; see especially Herm. ad Viger. p. 746.
καὶ ἑωράκ. με κ. οὐ πιστ.] ye have even seen me (not simply heard of me, but even are eye-witnesses of my Messianic activity), and believe not. On the first καί, comp. John 9:37, and see generally Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 3. 1; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 149 ff.34. Then said they] They said therefore.
Lord, evermore give us this bread] ‘Lord’ is too strong, and makes the request too much like the prayer of a humble believer. Our translators wisely vary the rendering of Kyrie, using sometimes ‘Lord,’ and sometimes ‘Sir.’ Here, as in the conversation with the Samaritan woman, ‘Sir’ would be better. Not that the request is ironical; it is not the mocking prayer of the sceptic. Rather it is the selfish petition of one whose beliefs and aspirations are low. As the Samaritan woman thought that the living water would at any rate be very useful (John 4:15), so these Jews think that the true bread is at least worth having. He fed them yesterday, and they are hungry again; He talks to them of food that endureth; it will be well to be evermore supplied with this food, which is perhaps another manna with greater sustaining powers. They do not disbelieve in His power, but in His mission.John 6:34. Κύριε, Lord) They speak with some degree of reverence, as at John 6:25 [Rabbi]; and even faith itself might have arisen in them from John 6:35, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst:” but presently they start back again from faith: John 6:36; John 6:42, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He saith, I came down from heaven?” Those declarations are especially to be observed, by the hearing of which the Jews were inclined to believe: ch. John 7:40, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink; he that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “Many of the people, therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet:” John 8:30, “He that sent Me is with Me; the Father hath not left Me alone, for I do always those things that please Him. As He spake these words, many believed on Him.”—πάντοτε, evermore) To this is to be referred the following verse, at its close, “never hunger—never thirst.”—τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον, this bread) They still suppose that His speech is concerning the nutriment of the body; and it is this that they seek: John 6:26, “Ye seek Me—because ye did eat of the loaves.”Verse 34. - They said therefore to him, Lord! His hearers have clearly been more impressed than ever with the extraordinary claims of the speaker. They have risen from the "Rabbi" of ver. 26 to "Kyrie," which implies, as the "Kyrie," or "Sir," or "Lord" of John 4:15, some advance in their tone of deference. The request that follows is neither ironical nor sarcastic, nor need it be as carnal in its spirit as the similar language of the woman of Samaria (John 4:15). They have some dim notion of "doing the works of God," and of some heavenly satisfaction given to their earthly wants. It may be that they imagine some material thing coming down out of heaven, more potent and lasting than the historic manna. Lord, evermore - "at all times," "continuously" - give us this bread, of which you speak, and which as Son of man you are able to bestow, which will not be limited in quantity, which will prove to be the elixir of life, the food of the eternal life, and which will satisfy all our hunger, abolish our poverty, make us indifferent to death. A great prayer this, which Christ showed himself not unwilling to answer in his own way.
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