John 12:39
Parallel Verses
New International Version
For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

King James Bible
Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

Darby Bible Translation
On this account they could not believe, because Esaias said again,

World English Bible
For this cause they couldn't believe, for Isaiah said again,

Young's Literal Translation
Because of this they were not able to believe, that again Isaiah said,

John 12:39 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Therefore they could not believe - Why? Because they did not believe the report of the prophets concerning Christ; therefore they credited not the miracles which he wrought as a proof that he was the person foretold by the prophets, and promised to their fathers. Having thus resisted the report of the prophets, and the evidence of Christ's own miracles, God gave them up to the darkness and hardness of their own hearts, so that they continued to reject every overture of Divine mercy; and God refused to heal their national wound, but, on the contrary, commissioned the Romans against them, so that their political existence was totally destroyed.

The prophecy of Isaiah was neither the cause nor the motive of their unbelief: it was a simple prediction, which imposed no necessity on them to resist the offers of mercy. They might have believed, notwithstanding the prediction, for such kinds of prophecies always include a tacit condition; they may believe, if they properly use the light and power which God has given them. Such prophecies also are of a general application - they will always suit somebody, for in every age persons will be found who resist the grace and Spirit of God like these disobedient Jews. However, it appears that this prediction belonged especially to these rejecters and crucifiers of Christ; and if the prophecy was infallible in its execution, with respect to them, it was not because of the prediction that they continued in unbelief, but because of their own voluntary obstinacy; and God foreseeing this, foretold it by the prophet. Should I say that, they could not believe, means, they would not believe, I should perhaps offend a generation of his children; and yet I am pretty certain the words should be so understood. However, that I may put myself under cover from all suspicion of perverting the meaning of a text which seems to some to be spoken in favor of that awful doctrine of unconditional reprobation, the very father of it shall interpret the text for me. Thus then saith St. Augustin: Quare autem non Poterant, si a me quaeratur, cito respondeo; Quia Nolebant: Malam quippe eorum Voluntatem praevidit Deus, et per prophetam praenunciavit. "If I be asked why they Could not believe? I immediately answer, Because They Would Not. And God, having foreseen their Bad Will, foretold it by the prophet." Aug. Tract. 53, in Joan.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


John 5:44 How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 10:38 But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works: that you may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Isaiah 44:18-20 They have not known nor understood: for he has shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand...

2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls...


Isaiah 6:9,10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not...

Easter Day
Chester Cathedral. 1870. St John xii. 24, 25. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." This is our Lord's own parable. In it He tells us that His death, His resurrection, His ascension, is a mystery which we may believe, not only because the Bible tells us of it, but because
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

September 22 Evening
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.--MATT. 26:39. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.--He . . . became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.--In the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

The Universal Magnet
'I, if I be lifted up ... will draw all men unto Me.'--JOHN xii. 32. 'Never man spake like this Man,' said the wondering Temple officials who were sent to apprehend Jesus. There are many aspects of our Lord's teaching in which it strikes one as unique; but perhaps none is more singular than the boundless boldness of His assertions of His importance to the world. Just think of such sayings as these: 'I am the Light of the world'; 'I am the Bread of Life'; 'I am the Door'; 'A greater than Solomon is
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Son of Man
'... Who is this Son of Man?'--JOHN xii. 34. I have thought that a useful sermon may be devoted to the consideration of the remarkable name which our Lord gives to Himself--'the Son of Man.' And I have selected this instance of its occurrence, rather than any other, because it brings out a point which is too frequently overlooked, viz. that the name was an entirely strange and enigmatical one to the people who heard it. This question of utter bewilderment distinctly shows us that, and negatives,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Cross References
John 12:38
This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

John 12:40
"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them."

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