Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Jews—i.e., as before, and as in John 7:13; John 7:15, the official representatives of the nation. They kept seeking Him at the feast, where they naturally expected that He would be, and kept asking, without naming Him, Where is He? which is almost equivalent to Where is this fellow? Their question points out that their hostility had gone as far as a definite plot against Him, and that the knowledge of this was widely spread.John 7:11-13. Then the Jews — The men of Judea, particularly of Jerusalem, not seeing him appear as usual; sought him at the feast — Namely, at the beginning of it; and said, Where is he? — What is become of Jesus? What can have prevented his coming to the feast? As he had formerly attended the principal feasts, and signalized himself by the miracles which he wrought, he had made himself the subject of much discourse and observation. And there was much murmuring among the people — Γογγυσμος πολυς, much whispering: many private debates, especially among those who were come from distant parts. The word murmuring is not proper in this place, as it conveys the notion of discontent and grumbling, which does not appear to be suggested by the original term. It expresses solely the secrecy and caution which the people found it convenient to use in speaking on this subject, being prompted not by their resentments but by their fears. And it stands opposed to παρρησια, openly, which occurs in the next verse. For some said, He is a good man — Eminently pious and benevolent; others — Being under the force of strong prejudices, and suspecting the worst; said, Nay, but he deceiveth the people — Seduces and misleads the ignorant populace, and the wiser part of the nation must see that he will undoubtedly at last draw his followers into ruin, as some other impostors have lately done. See Acts 5:36-37. Howbeit — Though they thus privately debated the matter among themselves; no man spake openly of him — Namely, in his favour; for fear of the Jews — Of those that were in authority, these being jealous of his growing fame, and looking with a very malignant eye on all who took any peculiar notice of him, or manifested any regard for him. In the mean time, those that thought contemptibly of him, might doubtless have spoken their minds as freely as they pleased, being in no danger of punishment from the rulers or higher classes of the people.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.
sought him—for no good end.
Where is He?—He had not been at Jerusalem for probably a year and a half.John 5:18, (which was but six months before this), because he had violated the sabbath, (as they interpreted his healing the impotent man on that day, and bidding him take up his bed and walk), and because he had made himself equal with God his Father; seek him the first days of the feast, speaking of him with great contempt and slight. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 7:11-12. Οὖν] For He did not come with the Galilean travellers.
οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι] not all the people (Hengstenberg, Baeumlein), but the opposing hierarchy; John 6:41; John 6:52, John 7:13; John 7:15. Their search is prompted by malice, not by aimless curiosity (Luthardt); see John 7:1; John 7:13. On ἐκεῖνος, which means the well-known absent one, Luther well remarks: “Thus contemptuously can they speak of the man, that they cannot almost name Him.” The people’s judgment of Him was a divided one, not frank and free, but timid, and uttered half in a whisper (γογγυσμός, murmuring, John 7:32).
Observe the change of number: ἐν τοῖς ὄχλοις: among the multitudes (the plural here only in John); τὸν ὄχλον: the people.
ἀγαθός] upright, a man of honour, no demagogue, seeking to make the people believe falsely that He was the Messiah. Comp. Matthew 27:63.John 7:11-13. Disappointment at Jesus’ non-appearance.11. the Jews] The hostile party, as usual: comp. John 7:1. Both here and in John 7:6 ‘then’ should rather be therefore: comp. John 6:53; John 6:67-68. The force of the ‘therefore’ here is ‘because they did not find Him in the caravan of pilgrims from Galilee.’
sought … and said] Both verbs are imperfects of continued action. They do not mention His name,—perhaps in contempt; ‘Where is that man?’ Comp. John 9:28.John 7:11. Ἐκεῖνος, He [emphatic]) Truly no feast is a feast without Christ.Verses 11-19. -
(2) The controversy among "Jews" concerning Christ - his first discussion with them. Verse 11. - The Jews therefore sought him at the feast. The ruling and hostile powers, the unbelieving hierarchy, Caiaphas and his party (John 6:41, 52; vers. 13, 15), because of his non-appearance in the Galilaean caravan, went hither and thither, saying, Where is he? - ἐκεῖνος, "that notorious Person," whose claims maddened us some months agone, and whose deeds are being talked of throughout the city, whom the Galilaeans would have constrained to take up arms and crown: where is he? Luther said that their malice was so great that they forbore to name him. But we can hardly press the ἐκεῖνος so far as that.
Better, therefore; because He did not come up with the Galilaeans.
The imperfect: kept seeking; persistently sought for Him.
Emphatic: that one of whom we have heard, and whom we once saw.
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