John 7:10
But when his brothers were gone up, then went he also up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast.—The words “unto the feast” are misplaced in the Received text, upon which our version is based. The right reading is, But when His brethren were gone up unto the feast, then went He also up; and the difference is not unimportant. We have seen that, even with the ordinary reading, there is no ground for the frequent objection (John 7:8), but it is really nowhere said that He went up to the feast at all. As a matter of fact, the special feast day—the day of Holy Convocation—was on the 15th of Tishri, the 14th being the preparation day. From the 16th to the 20th was what was called “The Lesser Festival,” or “The Middle of the Feast” (John 7:14), and it is at this we find Him present. (Comp. also John 7:37.)

Not openly, but as it were in secret—i.e., not with the usual company. Judging from His practice at another time (John 4:4), He would go through Samaria, while the caravan would go on the Eastern side of the Jordan.

John 7:10. But when his brethren — His carnal relations and their friends, in whose company he did not choose to travel; were gone up, then went he also to the feast — In obedience to the divine command, and because it would give him an opportunity of honouring God, and doing good; but not openly — Not publicly, with a train of attendants, as he had often done: but as it were in secret — With as much privacy as possible; and that probably rather for fear of giving offence than of receiving injury: he would not unnecessarily provoke the government, which his being accompanied with a multitude of people would have done. And this suggests another reason for his delay. Had he taken this journey at the usual time, the multitudes who were on the road would have gathered round him, and accompanied him to Jerusalem, and at once have excited the notice, and provoked the malice and envy of his enemies; he therefore did not set out till the greater part of the people were gone, and then went up as privately as possible, neither preaching nor working miracles by the way.7:1-13 The brethren or kinsmen of Jesus were disgusted, when they found there was no prospect of worldly advantages from him. Ungodly men sometimes undertake to counsel those employed in the work of God; but they only advise what appears likely to promote present advantages. The people differed about his doctrine and miracles, while those who favoured him, dared not openly to avow their sentiments. Those who count the preachers of the gospel to be deceivers, speak out, while many who favour them, fear to get reproach by avowing regard for them.I go not up yet - Jesus remained until about the middle of the feast, John 7:14. That is, he remained about four days after his brethren had departed, or until the mass of the people had gone up, so that his going might excite no attention, and that it might not be said he chose such a time to excite a tumult. We have here a signal instance of our Lord's prudence and opposition to parade. Though it would have been lawful for him to go up at that time, and though it would have been a favorable period to make himself known, yet he chose to forego these advantages rather than to afford an occasion of envy and jealousy to the rulers, or to appear even to excite a tumult among the people. 10. then went he … not openly—not "in the (caravan) company" [Meyer]. See on [1799]Lu 2:44.

as it were in secret—rather, "in a manner secretly"; perhaps by some other route, and in a way not to attract notice.

He went up to show his obedience to his Father’s commands, Exodus 23:17. The feast of tabernacles was the same with the feast of ingathering in the end of the year, when they had gathered their labours out of the field, mentioned Exodus 23:16; and that was one of those three times (as appears from that chapter) when all the males in Israel were to appear before the Lord, John 7:17. Christ being born under the law, showeth a punctual obedience to it; and therefore, in obedience to it, he would go up: but his wisdom dwelt with prudence; and therefore he did not go up openly, not in any crowd of company, so as a public notice could be taken of him; but secretly, to teach us that we are not so strictly tied up to ritual precepts, which concern only rites and circumstances of worship, that we may not abate them sometimes for the performance of moral duties. It was a moral duty incumbent upon our Saviour to preserve himself, with what wisdom and prudence he could, from the rage of his enemies, till his time should fully come to yield up himself to their rage; which was the reason why he, who went up now singly, without any company, when he went up to the last passover, where he was to suffer, went up with all imaginable boldness and alacrity, leading the way, to their amazement, Mark 10:32. But when his brethren were gone up,.... To the feast, as all the Oriental versions read, from the next clause:

then went he also up unto the feast; the Ethiopic version reads, "he went up that day"; which is very likely, and no ways contrary to what is said, in John 7:14; for though he did not go up to the temple to teach, till the middle of the feast, he might be up at the feast sooner: and according to the law, it was necessary that he should be there on the first and second days, and keep the Chagigah, and make his appearance in the court; though there was a provision made for such that failed, the canon runs thus (m);

"he that does not make his festival sacrifice, on the first good day of the feast, may make it throughout the whole feast, and on the last good day of the feast; and if the feast passes, and he has not made the festival sacrifice, he is not obliged to a compensation; and of this it is said, Ecclesiastes 1:15, "That which is crooked cannot be made straight"; &c.''

But however, whatever day he went on, he went up

not openly, but as it were in secret: as he was made under the law, and came to fulfil all righteousness, it was necessary that he should observe every precept, and fulfil the whole law: and therefore he went up to this feast; yet in the most private manner, that he might escape those who would lie in wait for him, and sought to kill him: and this he did, not through fear of death, but because his hour was not yet come; this was not the feast he was to suffer at, but the passover following; which when near at hand, he went up to it, and entered Jerusalem in the most public manner.

(m) Misn. Chagiga, c. 1. sect. 6. Maimon. Hilch. Chagiga, c. 2. sect. 4, 5, 6, 7.

{3} But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

(3) An example of horrible confusion in the very bosom of the Church. The pastors oppress the people with terror and fear: the people seek Christ, when he does not appear: when he offers himself, they neglect him. Some also that know him condemn him rashly: only a very few think well of him, and even then in secret.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 7:10. Ὡς δὲ ἀνέβ.] Aor. pluperfect; Winer, p. 258 [E. T. p. 343].

ὡς ἐν κρυπτῷ] He went not openly (φανερῶς; comp. Xen. Anab. v. 4. 33: ἐμφανῶς, instead of which ἐν ὄχλῳ follows), but so to speak secretly (incognito), not in the company of a caravan of pilgrims, or in any other way with outward observation, but so that His journey to that feast is represented as made in secrecy, and consequently quite differently from His last entry at the feast of the Passover. On ὡς, comp. Bernhardy, p. 279; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 1004. Otherwise in John 1:14 (against B. Crusius). The context does not intimate whether Jesus took a different road (through Samaria, for instance, as Hengstenberg with Wieseler, according to Luke 9:51 ff., supposes), De Wette, Krabbe, and early writers, but shows only that He was without any companions (except His disciples, John 9:2). Baur (also Hilgenfeld) finds in οὐ φαν., ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐν κρυπτῷ, something Docetic, or at least (N. T. Theol. p. 367) bordering upon Gnosticism (besides John 8:59, John 10:39, John 6:16), which it is easy enough to find anywhere if such texts are supposed to be indications. See, on the contrary, Brückner.

This journey finally takes Jesus away from Galilee (i.e. until after His death), and thus far it is parallel with that in Matthew 19:1, but only that far. In other respects it occurs in quite a different historical connection, and is undertaken with a different object (the Passover). The journey, again mentioned in Luke 9:51 ff., is in other respects quite different. The assumption that Jesus returned to Galilee between the feast of Tabernacles and the feast of the Dedication (Ammon, Lange; see on John 10:22), is the result of a forced attempt at harmonizing, which exceeds its limits in every attempt which it makes to reconcile the Johannean and the synoptic accounts of the last journey from Galilee to Judaea. Comp. also Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 491, ed. 3.John 7:10. Ὡς δὲ ἀνέβησανκρυπτῷ. “But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the Feast, not openly, but, as it were, in secret.” That is to say, He went up, but not at His brothers’ instigation, nor with the publicity they had recommended. [Of course if we read in John 7:8 ἔγω οὐκ ἀναβαίνω a change of mind must be supposed, although not the “inconstantia” alleged by Porphyry.]10. unto the feast] These words have become transposed; they belong to the first clause, not to the second; Now when His brethren were gone up to the feast, then He also went up. This being so, it becomes possible, if not probable, that Christ’s declaration ‘I go not up to this Feast’ is true, even when made to mean ‘I shall not go up at all.’ All that is certain is that Christ appeared when the Feast was half over (John 7:14).

not openly] Not in the general caravan, but either by a different route (e.g. through Samaria, as in John 4:4, instead of down the eastern bank of Jordan), or several days later. One suspects that traces of Docetism are difficult to find in this Gospel when it is maintained that this verse contains such.

10–39. The Discourse at the Feast of Tabernacles

Of this section John 7:10-15 form a sort of introduction.

“An equal degree of authenticity belongs to the verses which follow, 10–15. The whispered enquiries and debatings among the people, the secret journey, the sudden appearance in the temple in the midst of the Feast, and in particular the question that alludes to the Rabbinical schools and the custom of professed teachers to frequent them, compose a varied, clear, and graphic picture that has every circumstance of probability in its favour.” S. pp. 145, 146.John 7:10. Ὡς, as) This particle has here the force, not of comparing, but of declaring.Verse 10. - But when his brethren were gone up to the feast, then went he also up, not manifestly, but as it were in secret. The emendation of the text is important, for it draws attention to the fact that, while the brethren went up to the feast, he simply went up, towards Jerusalem - not, however, in the pilgrim caravan, but as a quiet wayfarer, blessing lepers, comforting souls, pouring forth on a favoured few his truth, till he reached the certain village at the very gates of Jerusalem. What a contrast there was between the first visit (ch. 2.), when he appeared suddenly in the temple, and cast out the money changers, or that when (ch. 5.) he went to the "unnamed" feast as a pilgrim! The hostility has deepened; the "world" hates its Saviour, because he would save it from its sins, interpret it to itself, and offer spiritual rather than temporal benediction. The phrase, "in secret," has led some of the Tubingen school to suggest a docetic view of the Person of Christ; but the suggestion is reckless and absurd. Moulten, who conceives that the mission of the seventy disciples preceded this advent, says even this does not clash with the idea of a virtually secret and retired advance.
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