John 5:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.

King James Bible
For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

Darby Bible Translation
For an angel descended at a certain season in the pool and troubled the water. Whoever therefore first went in after the troubling of the water became well, whatever disease he laboured under.

World English Bible
for an angel went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had.

Young's Literal Translation
for a messenger at a set time was going down in the pool, and was troubling the water, the first then having gone in after the troubling of the water, became whole of whatever sickness he was held.

John 5:4 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

An angel - It is not affirmed that the angel did this "visibly," or that they saw him do it. They judged by the "effect," and when they saw the waters agitated, they concluded that they had healing properties, and descended to them. The Jews were in the habit of attributing all favors to the ministry of the angels of God, Genesis 19:15; Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 4:11; Matthew 18:10; Luke 16:22; Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Acts 12:11. This fountain, it seems, had strong medicinal properties. Like many other waters, it had the property of healing certain diseases that were incurable by any other means. Thus the waters of Bath, of Saratoga, etc., are found to be highly medicinal, and to heal diseases that are otherwise incurable. In the case of the waters of Bethesda there does not appear to have been anything "miraculous," but the waters seem to have been endued with strong medicinal properties, especially after a periodical agitation. All that is special about them in the record is that this was produced by the ministry of an angel. This was in accordance with the common sentiment of the Jews, the common doctrine of the Bible, and the belief of the sacred writers. Nor can it be shown to be absurd or improbable that such blessings should be imparted to man by the ministry of an angel. There is no more absurdity in the belief that a pure spirit or holy "angel" should aid man, than that a physician or a parent should; and no more absurdity in supposing that the healing properties of such a fountain should be produced by his aid, than that any other blessing should be, Hebrews 1:12. What man can prove that all his temporal blessings do not come to him through the medium of others - of parents, of teachers, of friends, of "angels?" And who can prove that it is unworthy the benevolence of angels to minister to the wants of the poor, the needy, and the afflicted, when "man" does it, and Jesus Christ did it, and God himself does it daily?

Went down - Descended to the pool.

At a certain season - At a certain time; periodically. The people knew "about" the time when this was done, and assembled in multitudes to partake of the benefits. Many medicinal springs are more strongly impregnated at some seasons of the year than others.

Troubled the water - Stirred or "agitated" the water. There was probably an increase, and a bubbling and agitation produced by he admission of a fresh quantity.

Whosoever then first - This does not mean that but one was healed, and that the first one, but that those who first descended into the pool were healed. The strong medicinal properties of the waters soon subsided, and those who could not at first enter into the pool were obliged to wait for the return of the agitation.

Stepped in - Went in.

Was made whole - Was healed. It is not implied that this was done instantaneously or by a miracle. The water had such properties that he was healed, though probably gradually. It is not less the gift of God to suppose that this fountain restored gradually, and in accordance with what commonly occurs, than to suppose, what is not affirmed, that it was done at once and in a miraculous manner.

In regard to this passage, it should be remarked that the account of the angel in John 5:4 is wanting in many manuscripts, and has been by many supposed to be spurious, There is not conclusive evidence, however, that it is not a part of the genuine text, and the best critics suppose that it should not be rejected. One difficulty has been that no such place as this spring is mentioned by Josephus. But John is as good a historian, and as worthy to be believed as Josephus. Besides, it is known that many important places and events have not been mentioned by the Jewish historian, and it is no evidence that there was no such place as this because he did not mention it. When this fountain was discovered, or how long its healing properties continued to be known, it is impossible now to ascertain. All that we know of it is what is mentioned here, and conjecture would be useless. We may remark, however, that such a place anywhere is an evidence of the great goodness of God. Springs or fountains having healing properties abound on earth, and nowhere more than in our own country. Diseases are often healed in such places which no human skill could remove. The Jews regarded such a provision as proof of the mercy of God. They gave this healing spring the name of a "house of mercy." They regarded it as under the care of an angel. And there is no place where man should be more sensible of the goodness of God, or be more disposed to render him praise as in a "house of mercy," than when at such a healing fountain. And yet how lamentable is it that such places - watering places - should be mere places of gaiety and thoughtlessness, of balls, and gambling, and dissipation! How melancholy that amid the very places Where there is most evidence of the goodness of God, and of the misery of the poor, the sick, the afflicted, men should forget all the goodness of their Maker, and spend their time in scenes of dissipation, folly, and vice!

John 5:4 Parallel Commentaries

Library
July 2 Evening
[Jesus] prayed the third time, saying the same words.--MATT. 26:44. Who in the days of his flesh . . . offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.--Continuing instant in prayer.--Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication.--By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 27 Morning
Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.--ROM. 6:11. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.--I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

July the Twenty-Seventh the Work of Faith
1 JOHN v. 1-13. And so by belief I find life. I do not obtain the vitalizing air through controversy, or clamour, or idle lamentation, but by opening the window! Faith opens the door and window of the soul to the Son of God. It can be done without tears, it can be done without sensationalism. "If any man will open the door, I will come in." "And he that hath the Son hath the life." And by belief I gain my victories. "Who is he that overcometh ... but he that believeth?" It is not by flashing
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

September the Twenty-Ninth the Fountain
1 JOHN v. 9-21. My Lord is "the fountain of life." "This life is in His Son." The springs are nowhere else--not in elaborate theologies, or in ethical ideals, or in literary masterpieces, or in music or art. "In Him was life." It is so easy to forget the medicinal spring amid the distractions of the fashionable spa. There are some healing waters at Scarborough, but they have been almost "crowded out" by bands and entertainments. It is possible that the secondary ministries of the Church may crowd
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Cross References
John 5:3
In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters;

John 5:5
A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.

John 5:7
The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me."

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