John 9:2
New International Version
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

New Living Translation
"Rabbi," his disciples asked him, "why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents' sins?"

English Standard Version
And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Berean Study Bible
and His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Berean Literal Bible
And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?"

New American Standard Bible
And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?"

King James Bible
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Christian Standard Bible
His disciples asked him: "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Contemporary English Version
Jesus' disciples asked, "Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?"

Good News Translation
His disciples asked him, "Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents' sin?"

Holman Christian Standard Bible
His disciples questioned Him: "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

International Standard Version
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?"

NET Bible
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?"

New Heart English Bible
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And his disciples asked him and they were saying, “Our Master, who is it that has sinned, this one or his parents, that he would be born blind?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, why was this man born blind? Did he or his parents sin?"

New American Standard 1977
And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

King James 2000 Bible
And his disciples asked him, saying, Teacher, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

American King James Version
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

American Standard Version
And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?

Darby Bible Translation
And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this [man] or his parents, that he should be born blind?

English Revised Version
And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?

Webster's Bible Translation
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Weymouth New Testament
So His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned--this man or his parents--that he was born blind?"

World English Bible
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Young's Literal Translation
and his disciples asked him, saying, 'Rabbi, who did sin, this one or his parents, that he should be born blind?'
Study Bible
Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind
1Now as Jesus was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth, 2and His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God would be displayed in him.…
Cross References
Exodus 20:5
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on their children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Matthew 23:7
the greetings in the marketplaces, and the title of 'Rabbi' by which they are addressed.

Matthew 23:8
But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Luke 13:2
To this He replied, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this fate?

John 4:31
Meanwhile, the disciples urged Him, "Rabbi, eat something."

John 9:1
Now as Jesus was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth,

John 9:34
They replied, "You were born in utter sin, and you are instructing us?" And they threw him out.

Acts 28:4
When the islanders saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "Surely this man is a murderer. Although he was saved from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live."

Treasury of Scripture

And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

who.

John 9:34
They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

Matthew 16:14
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.







Lexicon
and
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

His
αὐτοῦ (autou)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

disciples
μαθηταὶ (mathētai)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3101: A learner, disciple, pupil. From manthano; a learner, i.e. Pupil.

asked
ἠρώτησαν (ērōtēsan)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 2065: Apparently from ereo; to interrogate; by implication, to request.

Him,
αὐτὸν (auton)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Accusative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

“Rabbi,
Ῥαββί (Rhabbi)
Noun - Vocative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 4461: Of Hebrew origin; my master, i.e Rabbi, as an official title of honor.

who
τίς (tis)
Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 5101: Who, which, what, why. Probably emphatic of tis; an interrogative pronoun, who, which or what.

sinned,
ἥμαρτεν (hēmarten)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 264: Perhaps from a and the base of meros; properly, to miss the mark, i.e. to err, especially to sin.

this [man]
οὗτος (houtos)
Demonstrative Pronoun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3778: This; he, she, it.

or
(ē)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2228: Or, than. A primary particle of distinction between two connected terms; disjunctive, or; comparative, than.

his
αὐτοῦ (autou)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

parents,
γονεῖς (goneis)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 1118: A begetter, father; plur: parents. From the base of ginomai; a parent.

that
ἵνα (hina)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2443: In order that, so that. Probably from the same as the former part of heautou; in order that.

he was born
γεννηθῇ (gennēthē)
Verb - Aorist Subjunctive Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 1080: From a variation of genos; to procreate; figuratively, to regenerate.

blind?”
τυφλὸς (typhlos)
Adjective - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 5185: Blind, physically or mentally. From, tuphoo; opaque, i.e. blind.
(2) Who did sin, this man, or his parents?--The disciples noticed that He looked at the man, and it may be that He halted as He was walking by. Their attention is directed to the sufferer, and with suffering they connect the idea of sin. They ask a question which may have come to them many times before, and which has in various forms come to men's hearts many times since. Some of them may have heard it discussed in Rabbinic schools, and may have wished to know what answer He whom they had come to regard as greater than the Rabbis, would give. But it is a question not of the learned only, but of men generally, and those who now ask it do not propound it as a matter for discussion, but as a mystery of human life brought home to them in all its darkness, and for which they seek a solution at His hands. His teaching on the wider questions of the existence of evil and the connection of sin and suffering, though coming in the order of events after these words, and in part probably arising out of them, has in the order of the record occurred before them, and has been already dealt with in Notes on Luke 13:1-5. What is special to the question, as it meets us here, is that what is deemed to be the punishment had come with birth before possibility of thought or action, and therefore, as we think, before possibility of sin.

The form of the question puts two alternatives on precisely the same grounds; and we have no right therefore to assume that one of them is excluded by the questioners themselves. The fact of sin is stated as beyond question. The problem is, "Was the sin that of the man himself, or that of his parents?" The latter alternative is familiar to us, and daily experience shows us that within limits it holds good in both the moral and the physical worlds. It was clearly taught in the Second Commandment, and there is abundant evidence that the belief was at this time widely spread. We have greater difficulty in tracing the origin of the former alternative. It is not easy to accept the view that they thought of sin in his mother's womb, though it seems certain that the Jews currently interpreted such passages as Genesis 25:22, and Psalm 51:5 in this sense. That a more or less definite belief in the transmigration of souls was common among Jews at the time of our Lord's ministry, is made probable by references in Philo and Josephus. We know it was a doctrine of the Essenes and of the Cabbala; and we find it in the nearly contemporary words of the Wisdom of Solomon, "Yea rather being good, I came into a body undefiled" (Wisdom Of Solomon 8:20). Still it has been urged that it is not likely that such a belief would have made its way among the fishermen of Galilee. We have to remember, however, that among the disciples there are now men of Jerusalem as well as of Galilee, and that questions which men found hard to understand were constantly being raised and answered in the Rabbinic schools. In the meetings of the yearly festivals the answers of great Rabbis would be talked over and become generally known, and be handed on as maxims to those who knew little of the principle on which they were based. It was, then, probably with some thought that the life in this maimed body may not have been the first stage of his existence, that they ask, Did this man sin?

Verse 2. - And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi. This honorific appellation is found in John 1:38, 49; John 3:2; John 4:31; John 6:25; John 11:8; but very rarely in the other Gospels. It is applied to John the Baptist (John 3:26). The question seems to denote a very different frame of mind from that with which the previous chapter terminated. Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? It was the current idea and popular doctrine, not only that all suffering in this life had its origin in sin, and was a witness to the damage done to our nature by sin, by the disruption of our normal relations with the living God, but furthermore that every peculiar disaster pointed to some special or particular sin. Doubtless the Book of Job was a formal discussion of the question. The writer of that work repudiates the right of any onlooker to infer special sins from peculiar punishments. Jesus, moreover (Luke 13:1-3); had repeatedly discouraged the tendency to judge, but he did this by the still more solemn assurance that all men deserved the special fate of some. Still, the calamity of congenital blindness, with all its hopelessness, provided a very apt occasion for raising the question, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents?" It is and always will be difficult to say whether the disciples thought that they had exhausted the alternatives, or believed that they had plausible reasons for thinking either alternative possible. Some have argued that they had Scripture ground for the second of the suppositions, that the sin of the parents of the blind man was the real cause of the blindness of their son. Thus (Exodus 20:5) the idea is embedded in the Decalogue, and it is repeated in Exodus 34:7 and Numbers 14:18, that the iniquities of fathers are visited upon their children. The forty years in the wilderness was a case in point (Numbers 14:33, 34; Jeremiah 32:18), and numerous examples may be given of the punishment descending from parent to child; e.g., upon the house of Ahab, and on the sufferers from exile in Babylon. Compare the continuous threatening of vengeance for unfaithfulness upon the generation to come. The argument may have been strengthened by observation of the lot of men who have brought poverty, disease, and disgrace upon their unborn children. Ezekiel had deliberately repudiated the inference that Israel had drawn from their Scriptures, in the dictum or proverb (Ezekiel 18:2) that "the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge," and maintained with great and passionate earnestness, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." This may have led the disciples to put the conjectural solution. Did this man sin? Is there any way or sense in which the man's own sin could be the cause of so great a calamity? It seems entirely gratuitous to derive from this passage any final conclusion as to the method in which they supposed it possible that the man's personality preceded his birth, or any certain conviction that they meant more by their question than this - if sin is the cause of such fearful privation, it must either be the man's parents' or his own. It could not have been his own; was it then his parents'? There was sufficient discussion of the problem among the Jews for one or more vague and unsettled opinions to be floating in their minds.

(1) It cannot be proved that the doctrine of metempsychosis was ever held by the Jews. The language in which Josephus refers to the views of the Pharisees is ambiguous (cf. 'Bell. Jud.,' 2:08. 14; 'Ant.,' 18:01. 3). The view held by them was simply that "the immortal souls of the good (only) pass into another body," are raised into a new life; "but that the souls of the sinful αἰδίῳ τιμωρίᾳ κολαζέσθαι, are afflicted with eternal punishment." This differs profoundly from the Oriental, or Pythagorean, or Platonic doctrine of transmigration.

(2) The Jewish speculation of the pre-existence of souls has some countenance from Wisd. 8:19, 20, where the pseudo-Solomon says, "I was a witty child, and... being good, I came into a body undefiled," modifying somewhat the Platonic idea of a harmony between the pre-existing soul and the body (see Grimm, 'Exeg. Handb.,' in loc.; Bruch, 'The Pre-existence of the Soul,' freely translated; American 'Bibliotheca Sacra:' 1863); but beyond this there is no sound indication that the Jewish mind had accepted the doctrine which played so great a part in the later discussions as to the views of Origen.

(3) Lightfoot ('Horae Hebraicae,' in, loc.) thinks "the dogma held by R. Akiba, commenting on Ecclesiastes 13:1, to the effect that "in the days of Messiah there will be neither merit nor demerit" - i.e. that neither merit nor demerit of parents will be imputed to posterity - may account for the query of the apostles.

(4) The idea of the possible sinfulness of the child while in the womb of its mother - a theory based upon the supposed moral activity of Jacob and Esau in the womb of Rebecca ('Bemidbar Rab.,' fol. 230. 2), and the statement that John the Baptist leaped in the womb of his mother Elisabeth (Luke 1:41) - may have co-operated with other vague views floating in their minds with sufficient intensity to explain the first part of their question.

(5) The supposition of some (Tholuck), that the disciples may have thought that the man's sins were foreknown, and that the blindness was punishment beforehand, is so abhorrent to any notion of the justice of God, that we cannot suppose that it ever entered into their inquiry. The fact that no fewer than five distinct hypotheses as to the possibility of culpability before birth having had some place in Hebrew and contemporary thought, is an adequate explanation of the fact that they should have put this ever-recurring problem of evil in the particular form in which we find it. 9:1-7 Christ cured many who were blind by disease or accident; here he cured one born blind. Thus he showed his power to help in the most desperate cases, and the work of his grace upon the souls of sinners, which gives sight to those blind by nature. This poor man could not see Christ, but Christ saw him. And if we know or apprehend anything of Christ, it is because we were first known of him. Christ says of uncommon calamities, that they are not always to be looked on as special punishments of sin; sometimes they are for the glory of God, and to manifest his works. Our life is our day, in which it concerns us to do the work of the day. We must be busy, and not waste day-time; it will be time to rest when our day is done, for it is but a day. The approach of death should quicken us to improve all our opportunities of doing and getting good. What good we have an opportunity to do, we should do quickly. And he that will never do a good work till there is nothing to be objected against, will leave many a good work for ever undone, Ec 11:4. Christ magnified his power, in making a blind man to see, doing that which one would think more likely to make a seeing man blind. Human reason cannot judge of the Lord's methods; he uses means and instruments that men despise. Those that would be healed by Christ must be ruled by him. He came back from the pool wondering and wondered at; he came seeing. This represents the benefits in attending on ordinances of Christ's appointment; souls go weak, and come away strengthened; go doubting, and come away satisfied; go mourning, and come away rejoicing; go blind, and come away seeing.
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