John 7:52
They answered and said to him, Are you also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee rises no prophet.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
(52) Art thou also of Galilee?—They seek to avoid his question, to which there could have been but one answer, by a counter-question expressing their surprise at the position he is taking: “Surely thou art not also of Galilee?” “Thou art not His countryman, as many of this multitude are?” They imply that Nicodemus could not have asked a question which claimed for Jesus the simple justice of the Law itself, without being, like Him, a Galilean.

Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.—The words mean, “Search the records, examine, scrutinize the authorities.” (Comp. John 5:39.) They seek to pass from the matter of fact immediately before them to the question of authority. Their generalisation includes an historical error which cannot be explained away. Jonah is described in 2Kings 14:25 as of Gathhepher, which was a town of Zebulun, in Lower Galilee. Possibly Elkosh, the birthplace of Nahum, was also in Galilee, and Hosea was certainly a prophet of the Northern Kingdom, though not necessarily of Galilee. Adverse criticism would lay this error also to the charge of the Evangelist. (Comp. Notes on John 7:42, and John 1:45; John 8:33.) But the obvious explanation is, that the Sanhedrin, in their zeal to press their foregone conclusion that Jesus is not a prophet, are not bound by strict accuracy; and it is not unlikely that, in the general contempt of Judæans for Galilee, this assertion had become a by-word, especially with men with so little of the historical sense as the later Rabbis. As compared with Judæa, it was true that Galilee was not a country of prophets, and by-words of this kind often rest on imperfect generalisations. We have seen that of the great prophets of Christianity all were Galileans. Judas Iscariot alone, of the Twelve Apostles, was probably a Judæan (Note on John 6:71).

7:40-53 The malice of Christ's enemies is always against reason, and sometimes the staying of it cannot be accounted for. Never any man spake with that wisdom, and power, and grace, that convincing clearness, and that sweetness, wherewith Christ spake. Alas, that many, who are for a time restrained, and who speak highly of the word of Jesus, speedily lose their convictions, and go on in their sins! People are foolishly swayed by outward motives in matters of eternal moment, are willing even to be damned for fashion's sake. As the wisdom of God often chooses things which men despise, so the folly of men commonly despises those whom God has chosen. The Lord brings forward his weak and timid disciples, and sometimes uses them to defeat the designs of his enemies.Art thou also of Galilee? - Here is another expression of contempt. To be a Galilean was a term of the highest reproach. They knew well that he was not of Galilee, but they meant to ask whether he also had become a follower of the despised Galilean. Ridicule is not argument, and there is no demonstration in a gibe; but, unhappily, this is the only weapon which the proud and haughty often use in opposing religion.

Ariseth no prophet - That is, there is no prediction that any prophet should come out of Galilee, and especially no prophet that was to attend or precede the Messiah. Compare John 1:46. They assumed, therefore, that Jesus could not be the Christ.

52. thou of Galilee—in this taunt expressing their scorn of the party. Even a word of caution, or the gentlest proposal to inquire before condemning, was with them equivalent to an espousal of the hated One.

Search … out of Galilee … no prophet—Strange! For had not Jonah (of Gath-hepher) and even Elijah (of Thisbe) arisen out of Galilee? And there it may be more, of whom we have no record. But rage is blind, and deep prejudice distorts all facts. Yet it looks as if they were afraid of losing Nicodemus, when they take the trouble to reason the point at all. It was just because he had "searched," as they advised him, that he went the length even that he did.

Art thou also of Galilee; not that they thought Nicodemus was a Galilean; they knew him well enough; but they take up this as a term of reproach against him, for that he would offer to speak one word (though never so just) on the behalf of one against whom they had such a perfect hatred.

Search (say they) the Scriptures, and look if ever there came a prophet out of Galilee. Suppose this had been truth; yet,

1. What did this concern our Saviour? Who was not born in Galilee, but in Judea, in Bethlehem, the city of David, Luke 2:4.

2. Could not God when he pleased influence one of Galilee with the Spirit of prophecy? But,

3. Neither was it true; for Nahum and Jonah were both Galilaeans, 2 Kings 14:25, compared with Joshua 19:13, (for the tribe of Zebulun had their lot in Galilee), Isaiah 9:1. They answered and said unto him,.... Being displeased with him, and as reproaching him, though they could not deny, or refute what he said:

art thou also of Galilee? a follower of Jesus of Galilee, whom, by way of contempt, they called the Galilean, and his followers Galilaeans, as Julian the apostate after them did; for otherwise they knew that Nicodemus was not of the country of Galilee;

search and look; into the histories of former times, and especially the Scriptures:

for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet; but this is false, for Jonah the prophet was of Gathhepher, which was in the tribe of Zebulun, which tribe was in Galilee; see 2 Kings 14:25. And the Jews (z) themselves say, that Jonah, the son of Amittai, was, of "Zebulun", and that his father was of Zebulun, and his mother was of Asher (a); both which tribes were in Galilee: and if no prophet had, as yet, arose from thence, it did not follow that no one should arise: besides, there is a prophecy in which it was foretold, that a prophet, and even the Messiah, the great light, should arise in Galilee; see Isaiah 9:1; and they themselves say, that the Messiah should be revealed in Galilee; See Gill on John 7:41.

(z) T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 55. 1, (a) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 4.

They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
John 7:52. Thou art not surely (like Jesus) from Galilee, so that your sympathy with Him is that of a fellow-countryman?

ὅτι προΦήτης, κ.τ.λ.] a prophet; not; “no very distinguished prophet, nor any great number of prophets” (Hengstenberg); nor again: “a prophet has not appeared in Galilee in the person of Jesus” (Godet); but the appearance of any prophet out of Galiles is, in a general way, denied as a matter of history; hence also the Perfect. The plain words can have no other meaning. To Godet’s altogether groundless objection, that John must in this case have written οὐδεὶς προΦ., the reference to John 4:44 is itself a sufficient answer. Inconsiderate zeal led the members of the Sanhedrim into historical erro; for, apart from the unknown birth-places of many prophets, Jonah at least, according to 2 Kings 14:25, was of Galilee.[274] This error cannot be removed by any expedient either ertical[275] or exegetical; still it cannot be used as an argument aginst the genunieness of the Gospel (Bretschneider), for there was all the less need to add a correction of it, seeing that it did not apply to Jesus, who was not out of Galilee. This also tells against Baur, p. 169. The argument in ὅτι προΦ., κ.τ.λ. is from the general to the particular (“to say nothing of the Messiah!”), and is a conclusion from a negative induction.

[274] Not Elias also, whose Thisbe lay in Gilead (see Thenius on 1 Kings 17:1; Fritzsche on Tob 1:2; Kurtz, in Herzog’s Encyhl. III. p. 754). It is very doubtful, further, whether the Elkosh, whence Nahum came, was in Galilee or anywhere in Palestine, and not rather in Assyria (Michaelis, Eichhorn, Ewald, and most). Hosea came from the northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria); see Hosea 7:1; Hosea 7:5.

[275] By giving preference, namely, to the reading ἐγείρεται, according to which only the present appearance of a prophet in Galilee is denied (so also Tiele, Spec. contin. annotationem in loc. nonnull. ev. Joh., Amsterdam 1853). This ἐγείρεται would have its support and meaning only in the experience of history, because προφήτης, without the article, is quite general, and cannot mean the Messiah. This also in answer to Baeumlein.John 7:52. This remonstrance is exasperatingly true, and turns the bitterness of the Pharisaic party on Nicod mus, μὴ καὶἐγήγερται. “Art thou also, as well as Jesus, from Galilee, and thus disposed to befriend your countryman?” Cf. Mark 14:70. By this they betray that their own hostility was a merely personal matter, and not founded on careful examination. “Search and see, because [or ‘that’] out of Galilee there arises no prophet.” That is, as Westcott interprets, “Galilee is not the true country of the prophets: we cannot look for Messiah to come from thence”. They overlooked the circumstance that one or two exceptions to this rule existed.52. Art thou also of Galilee?] ‘Surely thou dost not sympathize with Him as being a fellow-countryman?’ They share the popular belief that Jesus was by birth a Galilean (John 7:41).

out of Galilee ariseth no prophet] Either their temper makes them forgetful, or in the heat of controversy they prefer a sweeping statement to a qualified one. Jonah of Gath-hepher (2 Kings 14:25) was certainly of Galilee; Nahum of Elkosh may have been, but the situation of Elkosh is uncertain; Hosea was of the northern kingdom, but whether of Galilee or not is unknown; Abelmeholah, whence Elisha came, was in the north part of the Jordan valley, possibly in Galilee. Anyhow, their statement is only a slight and very natural exaggeration (comp. 4 John 7:29). Judging from the past, Galilee was not very likely to produce a Prophet, much less the Messiah.

Of the various questions which arise respecting the paragraph that follows (John 7:53 to John 8:11) one at least may be answered with something like certainty,—that it is no part of the Gospel of S. John. (1) In both tone and style it is very unlike his writings. His favourite words and expressions are wanting; others that he rarely or never uses are found. (2) It breaks the course of the narrative, which runs smoothly enough if this paragraph be omitted; and hence a few of the MSS. which contain it place it at the end of the Gospel. (3) All the very serious amount of external evidence which tells against the passage being part of the Gospel narrative at all of course tells against its being by S. John, and in this respect is not counterbalanced by other considerations. So that the internal and external evidence when put together is overwhelmingly against the paragraph being part of the Fourth Gospel.

With regard to the question whether the section is a genuine portion of the Gospel history, the internal evidence is wholly in favour of its being so, while the balance of external testimony is decidedly on the same side. (1) The style is similar to the Synoptic Gospels, especially to S. Luke; and four inferior MSS. insert the passage at the end of Luke 21, the place m the history into which it fits best. (2) It bears the impress of truth and is fully in harmony with Christ’s conduct on other occasions; yet it is quite original and cannot be a divergent account of any other incident in the Gospels. (3) It is easy to see how prudential reasons may in some cases have caused its omission (the fear of giving, as S. Augustine says, peccandi impunitatem mulieribus); difficult to see what, excepting its truth, can have caused its insertion. (4) Though it is found in no Greek MS. earlier than the sixth century, nor in the earliest versions, nor is quoted as by S. John until late in the fourth century, yet Jerome says that in his time it was contained ‘in many Greek and Latin MSS.’ (Adv. Pelag. ii. 17), and these must have been as good as, or better than, the best MSS. which we now possess.

The question as to who is the author, cannot be answered. There is not sufficient material for a satisfactory conjecture, and mere guesswork is worthless. The extraordinary number of various readings (80 in 183 words) points to more than one source.

One more question remains. How is it that nearly all the MSS. that do contain it (several uncials, including the Cambridge MS., and more than 300 cursives) agree in inserting it here? This cannot be answered with certainty. Similarity of matter may have caused it to have been placed in the margin in one copy, and thence it may have passed, as other things have done, into the text of the Cambridge and other MSS. In chap. 7 we have an unsuccessful attempt to ruin Jesus: this paragraph contains the history of another attempt, equally unsuccessful. Or, the incident may have been inserted in the margin in illustration of John 8:15, and hence have got into the text.John 7:52. Μή, whether) They feel sensible of the equity of his address to them; for which reason they make no reply to it: they only out of the conclusion itself create odium against Nicodemus, and they assail him, as though all the disciples of Jesus were Galileans, and as if He had none from any other quarter.—μὴ καὶ σὺ Γαλιλαῖος εἶ;) So the Lat. [Vulg.]: and that according to the mind of the Pharisees. The more modern Greek copies seem to have fastened on ἐκ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, instead of Γαλιλαῖος, from the words following immediately after. [Vulg. and [212][213] have ‘Galilæus.’ But [214][215][216] confirm the Rec. Text, ἘΚ Τῆς ΓΑΛΙΛΑΊΑς.]—ΚΑῚ ἼΔΕ) and see, i.e. you will see most easily. They appeal to experience, which however was not universal. [The hackneyed formula recurs to them afresh (comp. John 7:27, “When Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence He is”); which, however unimportant it might seen to be, when employed for sinister ends, was the occasion of causing them signal injury. Out of the amazing multitude of those who perish, you would hardly find any one who does not put a drag on the effectual working of saving truth in himself, owing to his being carried away by one or other πρώτῳ ψεύδει (falsehood at the outset).—V. g.]

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

[213] Colbertinus, do.

[214] the Vatican MS., 1209: in Vat. Iibr., Rome: fourth cent.: O. and N. Test. def.

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

[216] Borgiana: Veletri: part of John: fourth or fifth cent.: publ. by Georgi, 1789.Verse 52. - They answered and said to him, Art thou also, as he is and his supporters are, from Galilee? and, therefore, is this criticism of yours on our baffled plan the dictate of provincial pride? They sought to fix a contemptuous country cousin sobriquet upon this distinguished man, instead of replying to his sensible inquiry. Search, and see, that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. The present tense has very nearly the force of the perfect, and denotes the general rule of the Divine providence in the matter. The prophetic order can scarcely be thought to have been recruited from the northern province. Even Hosea had his origin in Samaria. Amos was an inhabitant of Tekoah; twelve miles south of Jerusalem. Nahum the El-koshite cannot be proved to have sprung from the Galilaean town of Elkosh; though it is not impossible, it is at least probable, that Elkosh in Assyria, on the Tigris, two miles north of Mosul and south of Nineveh, was the place whence Nahum and his prophecies issued. Elijah the Tishbite, of the land of Gilead, cannot be claimed as a Gallilaean. The case is different with reference to Jonah of Gath-Hepher, of the tribe of Zebulon (2 Kings 14:25), who, as a solitary and by no means morally impressive character, might almost as an exception prove the truth of the general statement. The historical error is far from difficult to account for in the stress of the discontent which these Pharisees were now manifesting towards everything Galilaean. Godet, on the authority of ἀγήγερται, being the text, would have it that "there has not now arisen in the Person of Jesus a Prophet." Baumlein presses this still further, by making the "prophet" mean "the Messiah." There is no reasonable ground for charging on these Pharisees "an incredible ignorance or incomprehensible misunderstanding." Such a charge is more like one of the incomprehensible misunderstandings of the modern critical school whenever a chance opens of assailing the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel. Search

Compare John 5:39.

Look (ἴδε)

Some render see, and translate the following ὅτι, that, instead of for. So Rev. The difference is unimportant.

John 7:52 Interlinear
John 7:52 Parallel Texts

John 7:52 NIV
John 7:52 NLT
John 7:52 ESV
John 7:52 NASB
John 7:52 KJV

John 7:52 Bible Apps
John 7:52 Parallel
John 7:52 Biblia Paralela
John 7:52 Chinese Bible
John 7:52 French Bible
John 7:52 German Bible

Bible Hub

John 7:51
Top of Page
Top of Page