John 7:13
Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) No man cannot fairly be limited, as it generally has been, to the multitude who believed in Him. It discloses to us rather a reign of terror, in which opinion was stifled, and men dared not speak openly on either side until authority had determined what they should say.

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.Spake openly of him - The word translated "openly," here, is commonly rendered "boldly." This refers doubtless, to those who really believed on him. His enemies were not silent; but his friends had not confidence to speak of him openly or boldly that is, to speak what they really thought. Many supposed that he was the Messiah, yet even this they did not dare to profess. All that they could say in his favor was that he was a good man. There are always many such friends of Jesus in the world who are desirous of saying something good about him, but who, from fear or shame, refuse to make a full acknowledgment of him. Many will praise his morals, his precepts, and his holy life, while they are ashamed to speak of his divinity or his atonement, and still more to acknowledge that they are dependent on him for salvation. 13. none spake openly of him—that is, in His favor, "for fear of the [ruling] Jews." Though many, both of the Galilaeans, among whom he had conversed, and of the common people of Judea, had a very good opinion of Christ, yet the rulers of the Jews were in such a rage against him, that his friends durst not freely discourse their thoughts concerning him.

Howbeit, no man spoke openly of him,.... So loud as to be overheard, at least by many, but in a secret and whispering way; or did not speak with freedom, or all their mind, what they really thought of him, nor with courage and boldness:

for fear the Jews; for fear of being mobbed by them, or up and prosecuted, or turned out of the synagogue; for a law was made, that whoever confessed him, should be so used; and this deterred persons from expressing the true sentiments of their minds about him.

Howbeit no man spake {c} openly of him for fear of the Jews.

(c) Or, boldly and freely: for the majority of the Jews wanted nothing more than to extinguish his fame and his name.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 7:13 is usually, after Augustine, only referred to the party who judged favourably (so also Lücke, De Wette, Ewald, Baeumlein; not B. Crusius, Brückner, Tholuck, Hengstenberg, Godet). All the more arbitrarily, because this was first mentioned, and because the general expression ἐλάλει περὶ αὐτοῦ is quite against any such limitation; οὐδεὶς onwards to αὐτοῦ can only be taken as corresponding to the γογγυσμὸς ἐν τοῖς ὄχλοις, John 7:12, which refers to both parties. Both mistrusted the hierarchy; even those hostile in their judgment were afraid, so long as they had not given an official decision, that their verdict might be reversed. A true indication of an utterly Jesuitical domination of the people.

διὰ τὸν φόβον] on account of the fear that prevailed.

13. no man] Quite literally; no man dared speak openly either for or against Him, they were so afraid of the hierarchy. Experience had taught them that it was dangerous to take any line which the rulers had not formally sanctioned; and though the rulers were known to be against Christ, yet they had not committed themselves beyond recall, and might turn against either side. ‘A true indication of an utterly jesuitical domination of the people.’ Meyer.

for fear of the Jews] Literally, for the fear of the Jews, i.e. on account of the prevalent fear of the hierarchy and official representatives of the nation.

Verse 13. - Howbeit no man - either those who murmured to each other a favourable or a calumnious judgment - spake out openly concerning him, by reason of (their) fear of the Jews. The hierarchy, the guardians of orthodoxy, the authorities, the rabbis by whose verdict the character and claims of Jesus must be decided, had not publicly delivered their opinion. Those who believed in the "goodness" of Jesus were silenced, or did not proceed beyond a feeble murmur of applause, however much some may have felt the truth of their own impression. Those who came to an adverse opinion were also so much cowed by the "Jews," by the ecclesiastical authorities, that even they did not venture to express themselves save "with bated breath and whispered humbleness," lest they might err in the form of their condemnation. The section vers. 14-36 contains three discourses: one of which (vers. 14-24) describes the nature and ground of his human ministry; vers. 25-29, while treating the insolence of the multitude, portray an animated scene of conflicting opinion, in the course of which the Lord renewed the assurance of his Divine origin, as well as of the Divine sources of his teaching; vers. 30-36 refer to his approaching death or departure, as part of a Divine plan concerning him. Throughout, with dramatic propriety, the varying opinions of different classes of the people are introduced. John 7:13Openly (παῤῥησίᾳ)

The word may mean either without reserve (John 10:24; John 11:14), or without fear (John 11:54).

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