John 7:12
And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, No; but he deceives the people.
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(12) And there was much murmuring among the people.—The original word for “people” is here, and here only in St. John, in the plural, and is best rendered by multitudes. It refers to the throngs of people assembled during the various parts of the ritual of the feast, and, perhaps, specially on the one hand to the Galilean multitude, some of whom had been present at the last great work recorded in this Gospel, and some of whom had been present at other works, and influenced by other teaching of Jesus and the Apostles; and on the other hand, to the Judæan multitude, who had been prevented from accepting Him in the same degree by the stronger influence of the hierarchy. Among these multitudes there arose, as before among the Jews and among the disciples (John 6:41; John 6:61), a murmuring; but the subject of this discussion is not His teaching, but His character. Their practical test-question was, Is He a good man, or a deceiver? (Comp. Matthew 27:63.) Some would think of deeds and words which established His goodness beyond all doubt; but if He is a good man, then His claim cannot be false. Others would think of deceivers, who had led away the multitude before (comp. Notes on Acts 5:36-37), and that He was one of them.

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.Murmuring - Contention, disputing.

He deceiveth the people - That is, he is deluding them, or drawing them away by pretending to be the Messiah.

12. much murmuring—buzzing.

among the people—the multitudes; the natural expression of a Jewish writer, indicating without design the crowded state of Jerusalem at this festival [Webster and Wilkinson].

a good man … Nay … deceiveth the people—the two opposite views of His claims, that they were honest, and that they were an imposture.

Our Saviour’s constant attendance at these public festivals, did not only create an expectation of his being there amongst his enemies, who therefore sought him there, that they might destroy him; but amongst the generality of the people, who had very different opinions about him. Some having heard his doctrine, and hearing nothing from him but what was good and spiritual, tending to show them the way of holiness, and the true path way to eternal life and happiness, concluded that he was a good man; others said he was a mere impostor, one that deceived and cheated the more ignorant common people. And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him,.... There was a general whisper, and a private controversy and contention among the people about him, upon inquiry being made after him:

for some said he is a good man; a man of a good principle, of a good life and conversation; and who is good, kind, and beneficent, both to the bodies and souls of men; preaches good doctrine, and does many good things:

others said: nay, or denied him to be a good man:

but he deceiveth the people; drawing them off from the law of Moses, teaching them to break the sabbath, setting himself up for the Messiah, and asserting himself to be the son of God.

And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
John 7:12. Among the masses (ἐν τοῖς ὄχλοις) there was γογγυσμὸς πολύς regarding Him; not “murmuring,” as R.V[59], but rather “whispering,” suppressed discussion in low tones, in corners, and among friends; “halblaute Mittheilung entgegengesetzter Ansichten” (Holtzmann), “viel im Volke über ihn herumgeredet” (Weizsäcker). Specimens of this talk are given: οἱ μὲνὄχλον. “Some said, He is a good man,” ἀγαθός, pure in motive and seeking to do good. “But others said, No: but He misleads the multitude” (Matthew 27:63, Luke 23:5), that is, seeks to ingratiate Himself with the people to serve His own ends.—ΟὐδεὶςἸουδαίων. “No one, however, talked openly about Him, for fear of the Jews.” Until the Jews, the authorities, gave their decision, neither party dared to utter its opinion openly.

[59] Revised Version.12. murmuring] Talking in an under tone, not necessarily complaining: see on John 6:41; John 6:61. Here some are for, and some against Him. ‘Among the people’ should rather be among the multitudes; the word is plural, and this is the only place in the Gospel where the plural is used: the singular (He leadeth the multitude astray) is common.John 7:12. Γογγυσμός, murmuring) Their speech not venturing to break out into open expression on either side [for or against Him]. Comp. John 7:13, “No man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews.” The same word is used, John 7:32, “The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning Him.”—ἐν τοῖς ὄχλοιςτὸν ὄχλον) in turbâ—turbas. So the Latin, interchanging the plural and singular number. [Ἐν τοῖς ὄχλοις is the reading of BT and Rec. Text; τῷ ὄχλῳ of [168][169][170][171] Vulg. Τὸν ὄχλον in [172][173][174] Rec. Text; ‘populum,’ [175][176][177]; ‘turbas’ in Vulg.] The plural agrees with the fact, that there was much murmuring: on this and on that side there was a number of persons speaking concerning Jesus. The singular agrees with the opinion as to His deceiving the rabble [mob],—οἱ, some) from Galilee most especially, as is evident from the subsequent antithesis, of the Jews [John 7:13].

[168] Bezæ, or Cantabrig.: Univ. libr., Cambridge: fifth cent.: publ. by Kipling, 1793: Gospels, Acts, and some Epp. def.

[169] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

[170] Veronensis, do.

[171] Colbertinus, do.

[172] Cod. Basilianus (not the B. Vaticanus): Revelation: in the Vatican: edited by Tisch., who assigns it to the beginning of the eighth century.

[173] Bezæ, or Cantabrig.: Univ. libr., Cambridge: fifth cent.: publ. by Kipling, 1793: Gospels, Acts, and some Epp. def.

[174] Borgiana: Veletri: part of John: fourth or fifth cent.: publ. by Georgi, 1789.

[175] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

[176] Veronensis, do.

[177] Colbertinus, do.Verse 12. - And there was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him. This vivid dramatic touch lifts a veil, and we see the eager excitement of those who fancied themselves duped, or who were at least disappointed by his non-appearance. Some said one thing, and some another. One group was loud in his praises, and another suspicious either of his orthodoxy or his patriotism, or both. Some said, He is a good man; i.e. one who was unselfish, kind, true, beneficent, and honest in his intentions, and one personally trustworthy. But others said - or, were saying; i.e. the murmur, the head shaking, of others was a flat denial of his ἀγάθοτης - Nay; but (on the other hand) he leadeth the multitude astray. The "multitude" in this clause is probably the vulgar crowd, and the contemptuous reference to them may be the language of the Jerusalem populace rather than the provincial caravans. The multitude would escape from the Pharisaic leading strings, should they embrace his views either concerning the sabbath or the expected Messiah. Murmuring

See on John 6:41.

The people (τοῖς ὄχλοις)

See on John 1:19.

Said (ἔλεγον)

Imperfect: were saying.

Deceiveth (πλανᾷ)

Rev., better, leadeth astray. See on Mark 12:24; see on Jde 1:13.

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