John 8:17
It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) It is also written in your law.—He now proceeds to show again that the technical requirement of the Law was satisfied by His witness. The term “your law” is material, as addressed to those who were professed expounders of it and accused Him of being a transgressor of it. (Comp. the parallel reference to the Law in John 10:34; John 15:25.) To assert that Jesus placed Himself in a position of antagonism to the Mosaic law, is to forget the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17); and to assert that the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel differs in this respect from the character as portrayed by the earlier Evangelists, is to forget the teaching of the last verse of John 5, and, indeed, to miss the whole force of these very passages. He does not, indeed, say “our law,” as it was for them what it could not be for Him; but He mentions it to show in each case that He fulfilled it.

That the testimony of two men is true.—See Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15, and comp. Notes on Matthew 18:16 and Mark 14:55-56. The words are here quoted freely, and “two men” is substituted for “two or three witnesses,” which we find in both the passages in Deuteronomy. This prepares the way for the full thought of the “witness,” in the next verse. The requirement of the Law would be satisfied with the evidence of two men: He has the witness of two Persons, but each is divine.

8:17-20 If we knew Christ better, we should know the Father better. Those become vain in their imaginations concerning God, who will not learn of Christ. Those who know not his glory and grace, know not the Father that sent him. The time of our departure out of the world, depends upon God. Our enemies cannot hasten it any sooner, nor can our friends delay it any longer, than the time appointed of the Father. Every true believer can look up and say with pleasure, My times are in thy hand, and better there than in my own. To all God's purposes there is a time.In your law - Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15. Compare Matthew 18:16. This related to cases in which the life of an individual was involved. Jesus says that if, in such a case, the testimony of two men were sufficient to establish a fact, his own testimony and that of his Father ought to be esteemed ample evidence in the case of religious doctrine.

Two men - If two men could confirm a case, the evidence of Jesus and of God ought not to be deemed insufficient.

Is true - In Deuteronomy, "established." This means the same thing. It is confirmed; is worthy of belief.

16. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true, &c.—Ye not only form your carnal and warped judgments of Me, but are bent on carrying them into effect; I, though I form and utter My judgment of you, am not here to carry this into execution—that is reserved to a future day; yet the judgment I now pronounce and the witness I now bear is not Mine only as ye suppose, but His also that sent Me. (See on [1806]Joh 5:31, 32). And these are the two witnesses to any fact which your law requires. It is written, Deu 17:6 19:15. God so ordered it by his Divine law, that every thing should be established by the testimony of two witnesses. It is also written in your law,.... The law of Moses, which was given unto them, and they boasted of; the passage referred to is in Deuteronomy 19:15; see also Deuteronomy 17:6; where though what follows is not to be found in so many words, yet the sense is there expressed:

that the testimony of two men is true: concerning which the Jewish writers say (y),

"they used not to determine any judiciary matter by the mouth of one witness, neither pecuniary causes, nor causes of life and death, as it is said, Deuteronomy 17:6. It is asked (z) in their oral law, if the testimony of two men stand, why does the Scripture particularly mention three? (for no other reason) but to compare or equal three with two, that as three convict two of a falsehood, two may also convict three.''

On which one of their commentators (a) has this observation, taking notice of Deuteronomy 19:18, which speaks of a single witness;

"Mar (a doctor) says, wherever it is said a "witness", it is to be understood of two, unless the Scripture particularly specifies one.''

In the case of a wife suspected of adultery, and in the business of striking off the neck of the heifer in case of murder, they admitted of one witness (b).

(y) Maimon. Hilchot Eduth. c. 5. sect. 1.((z) Misn. Maccot. c. 1. sect. 7. (a) Bartenora in ib. (b) Maimon. Hilchot Eduth, ib. sect. 2.

It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 8:17-18. After the first reason in answer to the Pharisaic rejection of His self-witness (namely, that He gave it in the consciousness of His divine mission, John 8:14), and after administering a reproof to His antagonists, in connection therewith, for their judging (John 8:15-16), there follows a second reason, namely, that His witness to Himself is no violation of the Jewish law, but has more than the amount of truth thereby required.

καὶδέ] atque etiam, as above in John 8:16.

τῷ ὑμετ.] emphatically, from the point of view of His opponents (comp. John 10:34, John 15:25), who took their stand thereon, and regarded Jesus as a παράνομον, and even in John 8:13 had had in view a well-known prescription of the law. The words of Christ are therefore no doubt anti-Judaic, but not in themselves antinomian (Schweizer, Baur, Reuss), or belonging to a later Christian point of view (De Wette, B. Crusius, Tholuck); nor must they be taken to mean: for Christ and believers the law exists no longer (Messner, Lehre der Apostel. p. 345); though, no doubt, they expressed His consciousness of being exalted above the Jewish law as it then was, and in the strange and hostile form in which it met Him. Accordingly, Keim[12] is mistaken in saying: “In this way neither could Jesus speak nor John write—not even Paul.” See John 5:45-47, John 7:19; John 7:22 f., John 5:39, John 10:35, John 19:36.

The passage itself from the law is quoted with considerable freedom (Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15), ἀνθρώπων being uttered with intentional emphasis, as Jesus draws a conclusion a minori ad majus. If the law demands two human witnesses, in my witness there is still more; for the witnesses whose declaration is contained therein are (1) my own individuality; and (2) the Father who has sent me; as His representative and interpreter, therefore, I testify, so that my witness is also His. That which took place, as to substance, in the living and inseparable unity of the divine-human consciousness, to wit, His witnessing, and God’s witnessing, Jesus discriminates here only formally, for the sake of being able to apply the passage of the law in question, from which He argues κατʼ ἄνθρωπον; but not incorrectly (Schenkel): hence, also, there is no need for supplying in thought to ἘΓΏ: “As a human knower of myself, as an honest man” (Paulus), and the like; or even, “as the Son of God” (Olshausen, who also brings in the Holy Ghost).

[12] See his Geschichtlich. Christ. p. 14, ed. 3. Note, on the contrary, that it is John himself who stands higher than Paul. But not even the Johannean Jesus has broken with the law, or treated it as antiquated. See especially vv. 45–47. His relation to the law is also that of πλήρωσις.John 8:17. καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳπατήρ. He returns from “judging” to “witnessing,” and He maintains that His witness (John 8:18) satisfies the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15) because what He witnesses of Himself is confirmed by the Father that sent Him. The nature of this witness was given fully at John 5:37-47.—ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ μαρτυρῶν … Field maintains the A.V[63] “I am one that beareth witness,” against the R.V[64] “I am He that beareth witness”; ἐγώ εἰμι being equivalent to “There is I” or “It is I”. Misled perhaps by the Lord’s use of ἀνθρώπων (John 8:17), the Pharisees ask (John 8:19): Ποῦ ἐστὶν ὁ πατήρ σου; “Patrem Christi carnaliter acceperunt” (Augustine), therefore they ask where He is that they may ascertain what He has to say regarding Jesus; as if they said: “It is all very well alleging that you have a second witness in your Father; but where is He?” The idea of Cyril that it was a coarse allusion to His birth is out of the question, and Cyril himself does not press it. Jesus replies: Οὔτεᾔδειτε ἄν [or ἂν ᾔδειτε]. They ought to have known who He meant by His Father and where He was; and their hopeless ignorance Jesus can only deplore. They professed to know Jesus, but had they known Him they would necessarily have known the Father in whom He lived and whom He represented. Their ignorance of the Father proves their ignorance of Jesus.—Ταῦταἱερῷ. On γαζοφ., see John 8:12. Euthymius, as usual, hits the nail on the head: “Ταῦτατὰ παῤῥησιαστικά. ἐπεσημήνατο γὰρ τὸν τόπον, δεικνύων τὴν παῤῥησίαν τοῦ διδασκάλου. “But no one apprehended Him, because not yet was His hour come.” His immunity was all the more remarkable on account of the proximity to the chamber where the Sanhedrim held its sittings, in the southeast corner of the Court of the Priests. See Edersheim’s Life of Christ, ii. 165, note.

[63] Authorised Version.

[64] Revised Version.17. It is also written in your law] Literally, But in the law also, your law, it is written. ‘Your’ is very emphatic; ‘the Law about which you profess to be so jealous.’ Comp. ‘Thou art called a Jew, and restest on the Law’ (Romans 2:17).

the testimony of two men is true] Better, the witness of two, &c. Not so much a quotation as a reference to Deuteronomy 19:15; Deuteronomy 17:6. Note that the Law speaks of ‘two or three witnesses:’ here we have ‘two men.’ The change is not accidental, but introduces an argument à fortiori: if the testimony of two men is true, how much more the testimony of two Divine Witnesses. Comp. ‘If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son’ (1 John 5:9).John 8:17. Καί) also.—ἐν τῷ νόαῳ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ) in your law, to which ye refer, John 8:5, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that,” etc.—δύο ἀνθρώπων, of two men) how much more that of God and of the Son of God? Since these witnesses are said to be two, the argument [proof] is one of the same nature. See as regards these two, Zechariah 6:13, at the end, “He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear His glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”—ἀληθής, true) irrefragable.Verse 17. - Having laid down the principle on which he was justified in maintaining the truthfulness of the assumption which the Pharisees impugned, he proceeded to vindicate, for these Jewish legalists, its agreement with the very letter of the Law. He adopted here the identical ground which was taken by him when first of all he claimed this fellowship with the Father. Yea, and in your Law it has been written, that the witness of two men is true. Many have said that here Jesus puts himself on one side as in hostility to the Law; Baur and some others plead, from the very phrase "your Law," that Jesus could not have used such an expression, and that John could not have recorded it; and Reuss urges that this expression agrees with the "standpoint of the gospel,which aims at lowering and degrading the old dispensation." Nothing could be less in harmony with the facts (see Introduction, § VII. 2). Even Meyer says, "The words are anti-Judaic... though not antinomian." Surely our Lord was simply appealing to his bitter enemies to recognize the application of the principle found in their own Law, of which they were continually making a proud boast. He simply goes to common ground of argument, and is ready to show that even the letter of the Law sustains his claim for the sufficient reason that he is not alone, but the Father is manifestly with him. Just as he never said "our Father" when addressing his disciples, but either "my Father" or "your Father" (John 20:17), because God is not the Father of men in the full sense in which he was Father to the only begotten Son; so he could not say "our Law" or "Moses gave us the Law" without derogating from the unique relation he sustained to the Law (compare Paul's language, Romans 2:17, 21, 23). The quotation from Deuteronomy is not verbally exact; it even carries the statement of Scripture to a broader generalization, and is so worded that it applies to the case in point, by carrying the position to a legitimate consequence - "the witness of two men is true." By using the word "men," Christ suggests the contrast between two men on one side and the God-Man and the Father on the other. Lightfoot ('Horae Hebraicae') quotes 'Rosh-Shanah,' 1:2, 3, "that two persons well known must testify to the supreme court that they had seen the new moon! If these were unknown persons, they must bring proof that they were credible witnesses." Upon these common principles of jurisprudence the Lord was willing, in purely Jewish fashion, to rest his claim. In your law (ἐν τῷ νόμῳ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ)

Literally, in the law, that which is yours. Yours has an emphatic force: of which you claim a monopoly. See John 7:49.

It is written (γέγραπται)

The perfect tense: it has been written, and stands written. The common form of citation elsewhere, but used by John of the Old Testament scriptures only here. His usual form is γεγραμμένον ἐστίν, the participle with the finite verb, literally, it is having been written.

The witness of two men

See Deuteronomy 19:15.

The Father - beareth witness of me

Thus there are two witnesses, and the letter of the law is fulfilled.

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