We be not Born of Fornication
John 8:38-47
I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father.…

The Jews, having nothing effectual to object, take advantage of the moral sense in which Jesus had spoken of parentage, and try to cite it in their own favour: If Thou wilt have it so, we will leave off speaking of Abraham; for after all in that spiritual sphere, of which it seems Thou art thinking, God is our Father. To understand these words, which have been so variously interpreted, it must be remembered that marriage with a heathen woman was, after the return from Babylon (see Nahum and Malachi), regarded as impure, and the children of such marriage as illegitimate, as belonging through one parent to the family of Satan, the god of the heathen. The Jews, then, meant to say: "We were born under perfectly legal conditions; we have no idolatrous blood in our veins; we are Hebrews, born of Hebrews (Philippians 3:5), and are hence by our very birth protected from all pagan and diabolic affiliation." As truly as they are pure descendants of Abraham, so certainly do they believe themselves to be descended, in a moral point of view, from God alone; and even when rising with our Lord to the moral point of view, they are incapable of freeing themselves from their own idea of natural parentage.

These words have been explained as signifying that the Jews were not descended, like Ishmael, from any secondary marriage like that of the patriarch with Hagar — which, however, could scarcely be called "fornication" — or from Sarah through another man than her lawful husband; but are probably to be understood as asserting that their pure Abrahamic descent had been corrupted by no admixture of heathen blood, or better, that their relation of sonship to Jehovah had not been rendered impure by the worship of false gods, in which case they had been "children of whoredom" (Hosea 2:4), but that, as they were physically Abraham's seed, so were they spiritually God's children. This interpretation seems to be demanded by the next words: "We have one Father even God." By this they signified, not that "God alone" in opposition to heathen divinities was their Father, but that spiritually as well as corporeally, they traced their descent back to one parentage, as in the latter case to Abraham, so in the former case to God (Malachi 2:10).

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

WEB: I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father."

Unregenerate Souls Do not Love the Truth
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