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

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

John 9:2 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Who did sin, this man, or his parents - The doctrine of the transmigration of souls appears to have been an article in the creed of the Pharisees, and it was pretty general both among the Greeks and the Asiatics. The Pythagoreans believed the souls of men were sent into other bodies for the punishment of some sin which they had committed in a pre-existent state. This seems to have been the foundation of the disciples question to our Lord. Did this man sin in a pre-existent state, that he is punished in this body with blindness? Or, did his parents commit some sin, for which they are thus plagued in their offspring?

Most of the Asiatic nations have believed in the doctrine of transmigration. The Hindoos still hold it; and profess to tell precisely the sin which the person committed in another body, by the afflictions which he endures in this: they profess also to tell the cures for these. For instance, they say the headache is a punishment for having, in a former state, spoken irrevently to father or mother. Madness is a punishment for having been disobedient to father or mother, or to one's spiritual guide. The epilepsy is a punishment for having, in a former state, administered poison to any one at the command of his master. Pain in the eyes is a punishment for having, in another body, coveted another man's wife. Blindness is a punishment for having killed his mother: but this person they say, before his new birth, will suffer many years' torment in hell. See many curious particulars relative to this in the Ayeen Akbery, vol. iii. p. 168-175; and in the Institutes of Menu, chap. xi. Inst. 48-53.

The Jewish rabbins have had the same belief from the very remotest antiquity. Origen cites an apocryphal book of the Hebrews, in which the patriarch Jacob is made to speak thus: I am an angel of God; one of the first order of spirits. Men call me Jacob, but my true name, which God has given me, is Israel: Orat. Joseph. apud Orig. Many of the Jewish doctors have believed that the souls of Adam, Abraham, and Phineas, have successively animated the great men of their nation. Philo says that the air is full of spirits, and that some, through their natural propensity, join themselves to bodies; and that others have an aversion from such a union. See several other things relative to this point in his treatises, De Plant. Noe - De Gigantibus - De Confus. Ling. - De Somniis, etc.; and see Calmet, where he is pretty largely quoted.

The Hindoos believe that the most of their misfortunes arise out of the sins of a former birth; and, in moments of grief not unfrequently break out into exclamations like the following: - "Ah! in a former birth how many sins must I have committed, that I am thus afflicted!" "I am now suffering for the sins of a former birth; and the sins that I am now committing are to fill me with misery in a following birth. There is no end to my sufferings!"

Josephus, Ant. b. xvii. c. 1, s. 3, and War, b. ii. c. 8, s. 14, gives an account of the doctrine of the Pharisees on this subject. He intimates that the souls of those only who were pious were permitted to reanimate human bodies, and this was rather by way of reward than punishment; and that the souls of the vicious are put into eternal prisons, where they are continually tormented, and out of which they can never escape. But it is very likely that Josephus has not told the whole truth here; and that the doctrine of the Pharisees on this subject was nearly the same with that of the Papists on purgatory. Those who are very wicked go irrecoverably to hell; but those who are not so have the privilege of expiating their venial sins in purgatory. Thus, probably, is the Pharisean doctrine of the transmigration to be understood. Those who were comparatively pious went into other bodies, for the expiation of any remaining guilt which had not been removed previously to a sudden or premature death, after which they were fully prepared for paradise; but others who had been incorrigibly wicked were sent at once into hell, without ever being offered the privilege of amendment, or escape. For the reasons which may be collected above, much as I reverence Bishop Pearce, I cannot agree with his note on this passage, where he says that the words of the disciples should be thus understood: - Who did sin? This man, that he is blind? or his parents, that he was born so? He thinks it probable that the disciples did not know that the man was born blind: if he was, then it was for some sin of his parents - if he was not born so, then this blindness came unto him as a punishment for some crime of his own. It may be just necessary to say, that some of the rabbins believed that it was possible for an infant to sin in the womb, and to be punished with some bodily infirmity in consequence. See several examples in Lightfoot on this place.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


John 9:34 They answered and said to him, You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us? And they cast him out.

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

June 13 Evening
Dost thou believe on the Son of God?--JOHN 9:35. Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.--The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.--I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

One Metaphor and Two Meanings
'I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.'--JOHN ix. 4. 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.'--ROMANS xiii. 12. The contrast between these two sayings will strike you at once. Using the same metaphors, they apply them in exactly opposite directions. In the one, life is the day, and the state beyond death the night; in the other, life is the night,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Healing of the Man Born Blind.
After the scene in the Temple described in the last chapter, and Christ's consequent withdrawal from His enemies, we can scarcely suppose any other great event to have taken place on that day within or near the precincts of the Sanctuary. And yet, from the close connection of the narratives, we are led to infer that no long interval of time can have elapsed before the healing of the man born blind. [4116] Probably it happened the day after the events just recorded. We know that it was a Sabbath,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Doctrine of Christ.
2 John 9-11. "WHOSOEVER transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11). What then is the doctrine of Christ? It is the revealed truth concerning the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

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, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

Matthew 23:7
they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called 'Rabbi' by others.

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

Luke 13:2
Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

John 4:31
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."

John 9:1
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.

John 9:34
To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.

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