Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 7 June 2016; Revised 7 April 2018
Scripture Text: The Scripture text of John used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament), Besekh (New Testament), Torah (Law), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ). I use the title "The Testimony of John" because that is how John describes his book (John 21:24). See the article Witnesses of the Good News for background information on this book.
Methodology: For an explanation of abbreviations, acronyms, terminology, spelling conventions, and other information on organization of the commentary see my Commentary Writing Philosophy.
Primary Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Unless otherwise indicated the following primary sources are used:
• Different Bible versions may be cited for Scripture quotations. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Messianic Jewish versions are CJB, DHE, GNC, HNV, MW, OJB, & TLV.
• The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid–2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here.
• Citations for Josephus, the first century Jewish historian (Yosef ben Matityahu), are from The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.) trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
• The meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. Definitions of Hebrew words are from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), given as "BDB." The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
• Dates are from Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings (1992). Online.
Anticipation of Death, 13:1
Servant Messiah, 13:2-17
Prophecy of Betrayal, 13:18-30
A New Commandment, 13:31-35
Prophecy of denial, 13:36-38
Wednesday, Nisan 13, A.D. 30, 5 April (Julian)
See my article The Final Days of Yeshua for a detailed explanation of Yeshua's appointment calendar and the chronology of this period.
Anticipation of Death, 13:1
Parallel: Matthew 26:1-2
1 Now before the festival of Passover, Yeshua having known that his hour had come that he should depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Now: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also" (BAG). The second usage applies here. before: Grk. pro, prep. indicating precedence, and in this instance used in a temporal sense; 'earlier than, before.' the festival: Grk. heortē, a religious festival and in the Besekh always of a joyous gathering of the Jewish people for celebrations of the calendar prescribed in the Torah, generally with a focus on sacrifices and communal eating. (See my web article God's Appointed Times.) The word occurs 25 times in the Besekh and all but eight occur in the book of John. In the LXX heortē renders Heb. chag, feast, festival–gathering, pilgrim feast or festival sacrifice of Israel (BDB 290).
of Passover: Grk. pascha, the Passover. In the LXX pascha renders Heb. pesakh (derived from a verb pasach meaning to pass or spring over, BDB 820). The term as used in both the Tanakh and Besekh may mean either (1) the complete Israelite festival, Nisan 14-21 (Ex 34:25; Num 9:2; Josh 5:11; 2Kgs 23:21; Matt 26:2; Luke 22:1; John 2:13; 6:4); or (2) the young sheep slaughtered on Nisan 14 to be eaten at the evening celebration (Ex 12:21; 2Chr 30:15; 35:1; Matt 26:17; Mark 14:12, 14; Luke 22:7, 11, 15); or (3) the special communion-meal after sunset of Nisan 14 (Ex 12:11; Lev 23:5; Josh 5:10; Matt 26:18-19; Mark 14:16; Luke 22:8, 13; Heb 11:28), which is the beginning of Nisan 15. Not recognized by Christian lexicons that that pascha is also used in reference to the festival sacrifices (Heb. chagigah) of lambs and bulls offered Nisan 15-21 (LXX Deut 16:1-2; 2Chr 35:7-9, 16-17 ABP).
God expressly commanded the Israelites to celebrate the feast of Passover annually in perpetuity, that is, forever (Ex 12:14). Slaves and resident aliens (Gentiles) were allowed to share the meal as long as they were circumcised (Ex 12:48). By the apostolic era the term "Passover" had come to mean the eight days of Nisan 14-21 (Josephus, Ant. II, 15:1; Wars II, 1:3; BAG 639). In fact, Luke emphasizes this very point, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover" (Luke 22:1). This unity can be seen as early as the celebration of Passover in the time of King Josiah when offerings for the eight-day festival included lambs, goats and bulls (2Chr 35:1-9). Jewish regulations for observing Passover are found in the Mishnah tractate Pesachim.
The festival of Passover is mentioned 9 times in John (2:13, 23; 6:4; 11:55; 12:1; 13:1; 18:28, 39; 19:14) and these serve as significant milestones in John's narrative. In the Synoptic narratives Yeshua expressed his intention to eat the Passover and the apostles report that he did in fact eat the Passover (Luke 22:15). Moreover, all the mentions in John's narrative of "Passover" refer to the festival that was scheduled at the proper time. There is actually no conflict between John's report and the Synoptic narrative in terms of chronology. John does not say that the "supper" mentioned in verse 2 occurred before Passover. Rather the natural flow of the narrative requires that the meal in verse 2 be the customary Seder of Passover on the evening of Nisan 14, the beginning of Nisan 15.
The phrase "before Passover" could have the meaning of "just before the Passover meal," mentioned in the next verse, and anticipate entry into the expected event. The morning of Nisan 14 is "before" the evening celebration. (Simple arithmetic.) However, the mention of "festival" places the description of this verse "before the complete festival of Passover." Yeshua's prescient knowledge ("had known") could predate creation (John 1:1), since he was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8). In the proximate sense Yeshua knew from age 12 that he must be about his Father's mission (Luke 2:49). After the commencement of his ministry Yeshua prophesied at least three separate times that he would be arrested, put on trial, tortured and executed (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; John 3:14). On Sunday during his trip into Jerusalem he prophesied that he must be "lifted up," a word picture of death (John 12:31-33). Finally, on Wednesday, two days before the Passover Seder, when Yeshua was in the Temple he again prophesied his impending death (Matt 26:1-2).
Two events came together as a prelude to his final prophecy before Passover. After the unsuccessful attempts on Tuesday morning by various parties to entrap Yeshua (Mark 12:13-34) and his pronouncing woes on "hypocrites (Matt 23:1-36), the chief priests conspired that evening (Wednesday by Jewish reckoning) to arrest him. Judas then came to chief priests with an offer of assistance and accepted a bribe to betray Yeshua (Mark 14:10-11), and this meeting likely occurred at night as well. Thus, John's mention of "before the festival of Passover" and the rest of this verse refers to Yeshua's personal knowledge of his destiny and his prophetic statements to his disciples of that knowledge.
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means “YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?
having known: Grk. oida, perf. part., properly to see with the physical eyes and as a result may mean (1) to have information about or (2) have discernment about. The perfect tense refers to action completed in the past with continuing results in the present. The verb "know" is used for experiential knowledge, whether (1) to know about someone; (2) to be intimately acquainted with someone; (3) to understand how to do something; and (4) to remember (BAG). In the LXX oida occurs frequently to render Heb. yada (SH-3045; e.g., Num 11:16; Deut 1:39; Josh 2:4; 2Sam 19:6), which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning (DNTT 2:395).
that: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, whether (1) defining a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introducing a direct quotation and functioning as quotation marks; or (4) indicating causality with an inferential aspect; for, because, inasmuch as. The second usage applies here in relation to the verb "know." his: Grk. autos, masc. pers. pron. hour: Grk. hōra may mean (1) a short space of time, the twelfth part of a day; hour; (2) fig. for a period of time in the day; "the hour was already late;" or (3) fig. for a point of time as occasion for action or for an event; time. The third usage applies here.
had come: Grk. erchomai, aor., 'to come or arrive' with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place. that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed, in order that, so that, that. he should depart: Grk. metabainō, aor. subj., make a transfer from one place to another; go. Mounce adds 'to go away, depart." from: Grk. ek, prep. used to introduce an aspect of separation or origin, lit. "out of, from within." this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this.
world: Grk. kosmos has a variety of uses in the Besekh and other Jewish literature, including (1) the orderly universe; (2) the earth as the place of habitation; (3) the world as mankind, sometimes in reference to a segment of population; and (4) representative of people and values opposed to God. Here kosmos is probably used to mean the earth as a place of habitation. Yeshua was on the verge of leaving the human world he had known for over thirty years. "Departing out of this world" was a way of speaking frequently used by the Jews as expressive of death (Gill; cf. Php 1:23). The same phrase is made use of concerning Moses, of whom it is said, that the fourth song that was sung in the world, was sung by him "when his time was come, to depart out of the world" (Targum to Song of Songs 1:1, 7).
to: Grk. pros, prep. The root meaning is 'near' or 'facing,' but with the accusative case of the noun following the meaning is 'to, toward' (DM 110). the Father: Grk. patēr, normally of a male biological parent or ancestor, but frequently in reference to God, which emphasizes His activity as creator, ruler and sustainer (BAG). In the LXX patēr renders ab ("av"), generally in the human sense, but also of God as father (DNTT 1:616f). In the Hebrew vernacular Yeshua and the apostles would have used the word abba, as occurs in (Mark 14:36). In the Tanakh God's identity as a parent is first mentioned in reference to His covenantal relationship with Israel (Deut 1:31; 8:5; 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 43:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer 3:19; 31:9; Hos 1:10: Mal 1:6).
Israel is specifically identified as God's son (Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1). The God of Israel is also father of the king as the embodiment of Israel (2Sam 7:14; Ps 89:27). While Jews recognized the God of Israel as the "father" of mankind in the sense of creator (Acts 17:28; Josephus, Ant. IV, 8:24), the capitalized "Father" in the Besekh continues the meaning found in the Tanakh. Yeshua acknowledged this covenantal relationship when he taught his Jewish disciples to pray "our Father" (Matt 6:9). Yeshua also spoke to his Jewish disciples of "your Father" (Matt 5:45, 48; 6:14, 26, 32; Mark 7:11; Luke 6:36). Thus, for the Body of Messiah the God of Israel becomes "our Father" (Rom 1:7; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; Col 1:2).
The clause "that he should depart from this world to the Father" does not refer to the ascension but to his death on the cross after which his spirit would go to the Father (Luke 23:43, 46; John 19:30). The time or hour for Yeshua's departure or death was fixed or agreed upon with the Father before he came into the world. The appointed time had come or at least was very near at hand. John's point in this verse is to inform the reader of that before Passover Yeshua had long known what was going to transpire in the next 24 hours.
having loved: Grk. agapaō, aor. part., to have such an interest in another that one wishes to contribute to the other's well-being, even if it means making a personal sacrifice to do so. In the LXX agapaō translates aheb (SH-157), but aheb is a far more comprehensive word than agapaō. The Hebrew word is comparable to the English verb "love," which may be used with a variety of applications. his own: Grk. ho idios, adj., m. pl., belonging to oneself, one's own. Idios particularly emphasizes the nature of a relationship, that is, belonging to an individual in contrast to what is public property or belongs to another. By "his own" John does not mean mankind generally or even the nation of Israel, but the twelve apostles whom Yeshua had chosen. There were also others of whom it was said that Yeshua loved: Lazarus (11:3) and Miriam and Martha (11:5).
who were: Grk. ho, definite article and dem. pron. in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, lit. "in" or "within," and here marking close association. the world: Grk. kosmos. The term is no doubt used of the Jewish world, culture or society. Gill comments that the expression "in the world" is not said to distinguish them from those in Heaven, or to express their former spiritual state of before being chosen, but their present situation in this vain and evil world. The "world" in which the apostles must live after Yeshua's departure, with its hatred and persecution from unbelieving Judean authorities, poses no hindrance to Yeshua's love for them (cf. Rom 8:35). he loved: Grk. agapaō, aor. them: Grk. autos, pers. pron., m. pl.; i.e., his apostles. This is one of the few passages that speak of Yeshua's loving attitude.
to: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival; lit. "into." the end: Grk. telos, a point in time that marks culmination. In Classical Greek telos originally referred to the turning point, hinge, the culminating point at which one stage ends and another begins; later the goal, the end. In the LXX telos is often used to translate the Heb. qets, "end" (DNTT 2:60). The Hebrew word qets is most often used of time, especially in phrases that speak of the end of a definite time period (e.g., Gen 8:6; 2Sam 15:7; 2Kgs 18:3) or indefinitely of the passing of a time (e.g., Gen 4:3; 1Kgs 17:7) (BDB 893). The adverbial expression eis telos may be intended to allude to the last stage of Yeshua's ministry or his death that would accomplish his atoning mission. The expression might also indicate degree, "fully," or "in the highest degree of completeness" (Geldenhuys 658).
According to Luke's chronology Yeshua spends Wednesday night on the Mount of Olives (Luke 21:37.
Thursday, Nisan 14, A.D. 30, 6 April (Julian)
John passes over the preparation for the Passover Seder as reported by the Synoptic Narratives (Matt 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13) as unnecessary to his purpose. Yeshua sent Peter and John into the city of Jerusalem to make arrangements for the Passover meal. While the Synoptic narratives do not define the exact point of entry he could have specified the Gate of the Essenes, considering where the Seder was actually held. He told them they would meet a man carrying a pitcher of water and to follow him. Yeshua had made prior arrangements for the room just as he had for the donkey. In Israelite culture normally only women, not men, carried water jars (e.g., Gen 24:11; 1Sam 9:11; John 4:7). In this case the man carrying the jar conveyed a special meaning.
Yeshua had arranged for a large furnished "upper room" to be available for his private banquet with the twelve disciples (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12). Jewish hospitality in Jerusalem during the time of the major festivals required that if a person had a room available he would give it to any pilgrim who asked to use it without charge, in order that he might have a place to celebrate the feast. The practice was based on the principle that the residents did not really own the city, but it belonged to all the tribes (Yom. 12a; Meg. 26a). Church tradition identified the house of the upper room as the house of John Mark (Lane 527), who is known to have been a resident in Jerusalem. It is very possible that since the house is described as "of Miriam" (Acts 12:12), then Mark served as master of the house (Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11) for his widowed mother (Geldenhuys 556).
The traditional site of Yeshua's last Seder still shown to tourists is found in the southwestern part of Jerusalem that has been identified as inhabited at the time by Essenes. The nucleus of the Essene movement in Jerusalem was made up of self-proclaimed priests, about 50 of whom are believed to have lived in the Essene Quarter between 30 B.C. and A.D. 70. Since the Essene men were celibate and generally kept apart from women, then it would not be unusual to see a man carrying a jar of water in that area. For more information on the Essenes in Jerusalem see the article: Bargil Pixner, Jerusalem's Essene Gateway: Where the Community Lived in Jesus' Time.
There is no direction that Mark leave the house empty and very likely Mark and his mother hosted a group in celebrating Passover on the lower level, which may explain the tradition of the unnamed disciple who followed Yeshua and the Eleven to the Garden of Gethsemane as being Mark (Mark 14:51-52). So, the disciples did not need to do anything to get the room ready. Mark and his mother would have seen to the removal of leaven and leavened products and conducted a search by lamp (cf. Ex 12:15; Zeph 1:12). Peter and John very likely conducted a ritual search for leaven to verify the room's readiness, because Yeshua would never have used the room if there was any leaven in it. In addition, Jewish law stipulated that the Passover lamb could only be eaten only by a company registered for it (M. Pes. 5:3; Pes. 34b, fn 2; 41b, fn 9; 60a). Since Yeshua kept his Passover observance secret, Mark likely arranged the registration. Peter and John found the water-carrier and the room and went about preparing the Passover.
The one making the arrangements had to concern himself with five things (Santala 203): (1) arrange a place to hold the celebration; (2) choose a company of people to share the meal (Pes. 41b, fn 9); (3) take a lamb to the Temple to be slaughtered; (4) roast the lamb on a pomegranate spit; and (5) prepare the meal. Yeshua had taken care of two of those items. He reserved a place to hold the celebration and he chose a company. Josephus says the prescribed size range for the company to partake of the meal was ten to twenty people (Wars VI, 9:3).
The most important actions for the Peter and John were to buy a lamb, and have it slaughtered and cooked. These were typical actions for men to complete. They would also go to the public markets and obtain the required items to be consumed during the meal: unleavened bread (matzah), a vegetable to serve as maror, a dipping sauce (charoset), and wine sufficient for four cups each. They would also purchase other food items to complete the menu. It's also possible that Peter and John could have had the assistance of Miriam, mother of John Mark, in acquiring the menu items. For more information on the Passover preparation see my commentary on Mark's narrative (14:12-16).
Thursday, Erev Nisan 15 (Friday), A.D. 30; 6 April (Julian)
While the Torah does not prescribe a chronological sequence of the evening activities, the combined record of the apostolic narratives describes Yeshua and his disciples engaging in at least a dozen customs associated with the Passover meal celebration that conform to first century practice, five of which are mentioned in this chapter (the meal, the men, the reclining, the dipping and the night). The "cup," alluding to the third cup of the Seder (Luke 22:20) is mentioned in John 18:11. The fact that none of the narratives mention the lamb in inconsequential, since it was part of the meal. There was no special rite associated with eating lamb during the celebration. John had no need to repeat all the Passover rites, because they had been adequately reported in the Synoptic Narratives. Instead John gives us the "rest of the story" with Yeshua's teaching in that evening. For a detailed description of the Passover observed by Yeshua see my web article The Messianic Meal.
John's narrative proceeds to actions occurring during the evening Passover observance to demonstrate how much Yeshua loved his disciples. The group may have attended the afternoon prayer service at the temple and then headed to the chosen house. After sundown (about 6 P.M.) and the first three stars had become visible, a threefold blast of the silver trumpets could be heard from the Temple-Mount ringing out to Jerusalem and far away, announcing the commencement of Passover (Edersheim 813). In any event the group arrived well before nightfall.
Servant Messiah, 13:2-17
Parallel: Matt 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-26; Luke 22:14-23. See my commentary on Mark's narrative (14:17-26) of the Passover Seder.
2 And the Passover Seder taking place, the devil already having put into the heart of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray him,
Verses 2–5 constitute one sentence in Greek, rivaling some of the apostle Paul's long sentences in his letters. John does not repeat Yeshua's name in this long sentence, having established the subject in verse 1.
And: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek, but kai is by far the most common in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). The excessive use of conjunctions and beginning verses with a conjunction, as in this verse, is evidence of either an original Hebrew text or Jewish Greek. In contrast to most Bible versions I translate all the instances of kai (and all the other conjunctions) as a reminder of John's Hebraic writing style.
Passover Custom – Shulchan Orekh ("setting the table")
the Passover Seder: Grk. deipnon can mean (1) the daily main meal, generally in the evening (Luke 14:12; 1Cor 11:21; 4Macc 3:9), (2) a royal feast or formal banquet (Matt 23:6; Mark 6:21; 12:39; Luke 14:16-17; 20:46), (3) the Passover commemorative meal (John 13:2, 4; 21:20), (4) the Lord's Supper (1Cor 11:20), or (5) an eschatological meal (Rev 19:9, 17). In Greek literature the time of day varies for the deipnon, but eventually it became associated with the evening. In the LXX deipnon occurs in Daniel for Heb. pathbag (SH-6598), portion of food, delicacies (Dan 1:16) and Aram. lechem (SH-3900), feast, (Dan 5:1) (DNTT 2:521). The phrase "before the Passover" in verse 1 effectively introduces this meal in verse 2 as the Passover dinner.
The entire evening observance of Passover with its meal and ceremonies came to be known by the Heb. term Seder ("say-dur"), which means order or arrangement and refers to the organization of the evening. The mention of deipnon alludes to the Passover custom Shulchan (table) Orekh (to arrange or set in order), which refers to the serving of the meal (cf. Matt 26:20-21; Mark 14:18). Presumptively, the meal included lamb (Grk. pascha, Matt 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7, 11, 15). The Mishnah provides some instruction on setting the food before the host.
"Herbs and vegetables are then to be brought; the lettuce is then to be immersed, part thereof eaten, and the remainder left until after the meal arranged for the night is eaten; then unleavened cakes are to be placed before him as well as the lettuce, sauce (charoset), and two kinds of cooked food, although it is not strictly obligatory to use the same; R. Elazar ben Zadok, however, said, that it is obligatory. During the existence of the Holy Temple, the paschal sacrifice was then placed before him." (Pes. 10:3)
Some scholars believe that John's use of the phrase "before the Passover" in verse 1 above means that that the meal mentioned in this verse was not a Passover meal due to the lack of mentioning Passover rites, such as the paschal lamb, and there is no institution of the Lord's Supper or Communion (Coffman; Gill; Lightfoot; Reinhartz). Other scholars allow the occasion of this chapter to be a Passover celebration, but which occurred the evening before the one set by Temple authorities (Bruce 237; Davis; Kasdan 333f; Morris 785). Still other scholars argue persuasively that this meal was the Passover Seder occurring at the regular time scheduled by Temple authorities (Barnes, Clarke, Coke, Edersheim, Geldenhuys, Stern, and Tenney).
John does not say that the "supper" mentioned in this verse occurred before Passover. Rather the natural flow of the narrative requires that the meal here be the customary Seder of Passover on the evening of Nisan 14, the beginning of Nisan 15. In the Synoptic narratives Yeshua expressed his intention to "eat the Passover" (Mark 14:14) and he delegated the responsibility for making all the arrangements to Peter and John (Luke 22:8). For a complete discussion of the issues involved in reconciling John's narrative with the Synoptic narratives see my article The Last Supper of Yeshua.
taking place: Grk. ginomai, pres. mid. part., to transfer from one state to another, and here means come to be, become, take place, happen, occur. A few versions translate the verb as past tense. See the Textual Note below. For all that was involved the Seder could take three to four hours. The Passover meal could only be eaten after sundown of Nisan 14, or erev Nisan 15 (Ex 12:12; Deut 16:1, 6; M. Pes. 10:1), and absolutely not later than the middle of the night (M. Zeb. 5:7). The Synoptic record points out that it was evening (Mark 14:17) as does John (verse 30 below).
the devil: Grk. diabolos, slanderer, accuser. Diabolos occurs 21 times in the LXX to translate the Heb. word satan, "adversary," mostly of the angelic adversary (13 times in Job alone), but also a wicked human opponent (e.g. 1Kgs 11:14, 23, 25). Diabolos occurs 37 times in the Besekh, primarily in reference to Satan (DNTT 3:468f). The term is also used of human adversaries, such as Judas (John 6:70) and Elymas the magician (Acts 13:10). Paul also used the plural form of diabolos to mean slanderers (1Tim 3:11; 2Tim 3:3; Titus 2:3).
The devil (aka "Satan") was created by God in the beginning with all the other angels. Scripture gives no information about the creation of angels, although they must have been created very early in the creation week. Precisely when and how Satan became evil remains a mystery. Hints as to his origin are found in two passages directed initially to the kings of Tyre (Ezek 28:11-17) and Babylon (Isa 14:12-15). These passages indicate that Satan was not created to be an adversary or a deceiver. His sin was pride and in his arrogance he believed he could overthrow God and reign over creation.
In the Tanakh Satan appears most frequently in the book of Job. God's repeated emphasis in Job on His creation of the space-time-matter universe hints that Satan may have come to consciousness in the waters that were formed on the second day. The creation scientist Dr. Henry Morris suggests that "Even though they [the angels] had later observed God create the earth, stars, and living beings [Job 38:4-7], they had not seen him create the universe itself. Thus, Satan may have persuaded himself that God, like the angels, must have simply 'evolved' somehow, out of the eternal primordial chaos." (The Remarkable Record of Job, Baker Book House, 1988; p. 52). Thus, Satan inspired the original evolutionary mythology and its modern "scientific" incarnation that pervades human institutions.
In the Besekh we learn that from the beginning the devil was a liar (in relation to Chavvah, Eve) and a murderer (in relation to Abel) (John 8:44). Satan is the chief opponent of Yeshua and the good news (Mark 4:15), a tempter (Mark 1:13), the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 1Jn 5:19), and the head of a demonic empire (Mark 3:23-26). Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10), going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet 5:8). The devil is wholly committed to the destruction of all that is good and holy.
already: Grk. ēdē, adv., with focus on temporal culmination, now, already. having put: Grk. ballō, perf. part., cause movement toward a position, which may be used of a vigorous action and be translated as "cast, throw or hurl," or of a more subdued action and be translated as "put, place, lay or bring" (BAG). The second usage applies here. into: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival; into. the heart: Grk. kardia, the pumplike organ of blood circulation, used as metaphorically of selfhood or the combination of character, emotion, intelligence and the will. In the LXX kardia renders Heb. lebab (SH-3824), inner man, mind, heart, will (DNTT 2:181).
of Judas: Grk. Ioudas, a transliteration of Heb. Y'hudah ("Judah") meaning "praise YHVH." The proper name Judas was very common in the time of Yeshua because it was not only the Greek form of one of the twelve patriarchs, but it was also made popular by the Jewish hero Judas Maccabaeus who led the nation in their fight for independence from Syria in 166 BC. The Besekh mentions seven men named Judas. son of Simon: Grk. Simōn, which almost transliterates the Hebrew name Shimôn ("he has heard"). The name should be pronounced "Shee-mown," not "Sigh-mun." There are nine men in the Besekh with the name Simon (Barker 331f). Nothing more is known of the father of Judas. Iscariot: Grk. Iskariōth is not a surname but a rendering into Greek of Hebrew ish-K'riot, "a man of K’riot," a town some twenty miles south of Jerusalem (Stern 38).
When Judas became a disciple of Yeshua is nowhere stated, but may have occurred during Yeshua's Judean ministry. The first occurrence of his name is his inclusion in the list of twelve named as apostles (Matt 10:1-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-15). The creation of the apostolate did not occur until after the calling of Matthew (Mark 2:14) at which time Matthew invites Yeshua and his disciples to a meal. John does not mention "the twelve" until the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:67).
to betray: Grk. paradidōmi, aor. subj., to convey from one position to another, in general "to hand over," in this case a reference to subjecting Yeshua to arrest and a judicial process with the connotation of disloyalty and treachery. him: Grk. autos, pers. pron.; i.e., Yeshua. In the minds of the apostles Judas would always be remembered for this one defining moment that brought shame to himself and his family. John is not saying that the action of the devil overpowered human will, but rather seduced human will with deception. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), so we can only wonder what lie Satan told Judas to induce betrayal.
3 having known that the Father gave all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and was going to God,
The action in this verse is depicted as coincidental to the previous verse. having known: Grk. oida, perf. part. See verse 1 above. This is the second mention of Yeshua knowing. He "knew" by his personal experience. This knowledge predated creation. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 1 above. the Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 1 above. The Father is the One seated on the throne in heaven. gave: Grk. didōmi, aor., to give, often with the focus on generosity. In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan, to give, used in one of three settings (1) by men one to another; (2) by men to God; and (3) by God to men (DNTT 2:41). all things: pl. of Grk. pas, neut. adj., comprehensive in scope; all, every. into: Grk. eis, prep. his hands: pl. of Grk. cheir, hand as an anatomical term, but used here idiomatically of power, control or agency.
John emphasizes the fact that Yeshua was not the victim or perpetrator of a Passover plot as alleged in the book by Hugh Schonfield (1965). Instead, Yeshua knew very well his divine origin, authority, sacrificial mission and destiny. John says much more about the inner thought processes of Yeshua than the authors of the Synoptic Narratives. Maybe he was more observant or maybe Yeshua confided in him due to their close relationship (verse 23 below; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). Yet due to his great love for his apostles Yeshua kept trying to prepare them for the catastrophe ahead and life beyond it.
and that: Grk. hoti, conj. he came: Grk. exerchomai, aor., to move away from a place or position, to go or come out. from: Grk. apo, prep. generally used to denote separation, but here indicates a place of origin; from. The preposition implies that the location was Heaven. God: Grk. theos. In secular Greek writings a number of deities, always represented in anthropomorphic form, were called theos. In ancient polytheistic culture theos was not one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and ruler of the universe and certainly not spirit as described in Scripture (John 4:24). In the LXX theos primarily renders the general names of God: El, Eloah and Elohim, but also YHVH (DNTT 2:67-70).
As with many other Greek words the LXX infused new meaning into theos. Since the first mention of theos in the LXX is the translation of Elohim, a plural noun, in Genesis 1:1, then theos rightfully conveys the triune nature of God (or "Godhead" in Christian theology), that is, Father + Son + Spirit. Theos represents God in His fullness. The only God in existence is the triune God who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Gen 1:1) and who chose Israel out of all the nations on the earth (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6, 14, 18, 21; 46:9). Only Christians and Jews worship the true God. The deities of all other religions and cults are the product of Satan-inspired imagination.
and: Grk. kai, conj. was going: Grk. hupagō, pres., to proceed from a position, sometimes (1) with the focus on the departure point; go away, leave; or (2) with the focus on an objective or destination; go, be on one's way. The second usage applies here with a nuance of the first meaning. The present tense is used here of an anticipated future event or an action purposed. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 1 above. God: Grk. theos. To say that Yeshua came from God and was returning to God does not deny the deity of Yeshua. There is no equivocation in the apostolic writings that Yeshua is the image of the invisible God and agent of creation (John 1:1; Rom 1:4; 2Cor 4:4; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:2-3).
Yet, the apostles do not say, "God is Yeshua." Such a statement might confuse the Son with the Father, even though they are one (John 10:30; 17:11, 21). Wherever "Messiah" or "Yeshua" and "God" appear together in the same verse they are clearly distinguished. The enigma of unity of the Son and Father is captured in Philippians 2:6, "who existing in the form of God, considered not to be equal with God something held fast" (mine). We may consider that when the text says "God" instead of "Father" in a verse that mentions Yeshua, then "God" (Heb. Elohim) is meant to include both Father and Spirit (Gen 1:1-2).
4 he arose from the Passover supper, and removing his outer garments and having taken a towel he girded himself;
he arose: Grk. egeirō, pres. mid., to rise from a recumbent or lower position. The position from which Yeshua rose is mentioned in verse 12 below. from: Grk. ek, prep., lit. "out of." the Passover supper: Grk. deipnon. See verse 2 above. Yeshua arose in the midst of the supper to perform a servant task. and taking off: Grk. tithēmi, pres., to arrange for association with a site, here with the focus on removal of something; lay down, put off, take off. The verb emphasizes an orderly removal and placement for easy retrieval. his: Grk. autos, pers. pron. outer garments: pl. of Grk. himation, a covering for the body, generally refers to clothing or apparel, but in this context it means an outer garment. In the LXX himation rendered the Heb. beged, meaning both the outer garment and the clothes as a whole (DNTT 1:316).
In the Tanakh beged meant garment, clothing, raiment, or robe of any kind, from the filthy clothing of the leper to the holy robes of the High Priest, the simplest covering of the poor as well as the costly raiment of the rich and noble (BDB 94). For Yeshua the beged was a simple rectangular cloak or robe, typically made of wool, with openings for the head and arms, and worn loosely over the under-tunic. The plurality of the noun may suggest there was more than one piece to his outer apparel.
and having taken: Grk. lambanō, aor. part. The verb marks the transit of something from a position to another person who is the agent with the latter being also the receptor; to take or receive. a towel: Grk. lention, towel, made of linen or similar fabric. he girded: Grk. diazōnnumi, aor., fasten all the way around, tie around. himself: Grk. heautou, reflexive pron. Presumptively the towel was for drying, but it's not clear as to why it was necessary to remove his outer clothing, except perhaps to keep them from getting wet.
5 then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.
Passover Custom – Rachtsah ("ablution")
then: Grk. eita, adv. introducing what is next in a sequence, 'then,' or 'next.' he poured: Grk. ballō, pres., lit. "put." See verse 2 above. water: Grk. hudōr, the physical element of water. The action implies there was a pitcher of water in the room, which would have been used earlier for the ceremony of hand washing. into: Grk. eis, prep. the basin: Grk. niptēr, a receptacle for water used in cleansing. and began: Grk. archō, aor. mid., can mean either to rule or to begin something. The second usage applies here, but there is a nuance of the first meaning. The King of Israel (John 1:49) and King of the Jews (Matt 2:2) is a servant King. to wash: Grk. niptō, pres. inf., to cleanse with water; wash, wash oneself. The verb is used when the object is part of the body in contrast with louō, when the whole body is the object.
In the LXX niptō appears for Heb. rachats (SH-7364, to wash, wash off or away, bathe), both in a regular sense (e.g., Gen 18:4; 19:2) and for religious washings of priests (Ex 30:18-21). Philo often mentions religious cleansing of the body, though he prefers to compound ekniptō. His manifest preference for expressions denoting partial ablution indicates a greater interest in these forms of ritual washing than in the king of ritual bathing that was customary among the Essenes. This accords with the extension of ritual washings among Jews in late Judaism. Some attributed the washing in relation to meals (Mark 7:1-4) to Solomon, but others to Hillel and Shammai (DNTT 1:153). The procedures for ritual hand washing are set forth in the Mishnah tractate Yadayim.
Sometime early in the meal Yeshua performed rachtsah (lit. "ablution") of the feet, recorded only here in the apostolic narratives. Foot washing was a practice of hospitality from ancient times, especially before festive meals (e.g. Gen 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; Jdg 19:21; Luke 7:36, 44), as well as for priests about to enter the Holy Place. Ordinarily on such an occasion the host would have delegated a servant to the menial task of removing the sandals of the guests and washing their feet. Since the meeting was obviously intended to be secret, no servants were present. The disciples had been embroiled in a dispute over who was the greatest of their number (Luke 22:24). None of the disciples was ready to volunteer for such a task, for each would have considered it an admission of inferiority to all the others.
Yeshua's action presents an interesting parallel to the first foot washing mentioned in Scripture, where Abraham provided water for his heavenly guests, one of whom is called ADONAI (pre-incarnate Yeshua), to wash their feet (Gen 18:4). Yeshua's foot washing also mimics the foot washing required of Aaron and his sons before performing sacrificial rituals. The basin Yeshua used might stand for the laver (Heb. kiyyor, a pot or basin) in the Tabernacle (Ex 30:18; 40:7, 30).
Passover Custom – Zakur ("all the men")
the feet: pl. of Grk. pous, the body part that is used for walking or running; the foot. of the disciples: pl. of Grk. mathētēs (from manthanō, to learn), one who learns through instruction from a teacher. In the Besekh the noun occurs only in the apostolic narratives and corresponds to the Heb. talmid (SH-8527, scholar or pupil). See the note on John 1:35. The apostolic narratives do not record when all of Yeshua's disciples began following him, and the first occurrence of their names is their inclusion in the list of twelve named as apostles (Matt 10:1-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-15). The creation of the apostolate did not occur until after the calling of Matthew (Mark 2:14) at which time Matthew invites Yeshua and his disciples to a meal. John does not mention "the twelve" until the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:67).
Being a disciple of Yeshua required four particular qualities. First, to be a disciple required sacrifice. Traveling the country meant leaving behind family, security and living under austere conditions. This was not a life of luxury. Simon Peter alluded to his sacrifice when he spoke of leaving everything to follow Yeshua (Matt 19:27). The rich young ruler was not willing to pay this price to be a disciple (Matt 19:21-22). Second, to be a disciple required commitment. Devotion to the rabbi came before all other obligations (Luke 9:57-61; 14:26). Once the commitment was made turning back would have been equivalent to rebellion against God (Luke 9:62). The disciple left behind his ordinary life and embraced an extraordinary life with his rabbi.
Third, to be a disciple required humility. A disciple came to the rabbi with an inquiring mind, a desire to know. He did not have answers, but he sought answers about God and spiritual things. He knew the rabbi had the answers (John 6:68). This humility is illustrated by the rabbinic saying "Let your home be a meeting-house for the sages, and cover yourself in the dust of their feet, and drink in their words thirstily" (Avot 1:4; translation by Bivin 12). Miriam, sister of Martha, demonstrated this humility when she sat at the feet of Yeshua (Luke 10:39). Fourth, to be a disciple required obedience (Matt 28:19). The rabbi's will became the disciple’s will. The rabbi directed, the disciple obeyed. The only authority greater in the disciple's life would be God.
A reader might expect a narrative of Passover to make some mention of the families of the disciples, because the institution of Passover in Exodus provided lamb and unleavened bread for the entire household. In reality the omission of wives and children and other relatives was not contrary to Scripture or custom. The Torah commandments pertaining to Passover were directed specifically to males (Heb. zakur, Num 9:2; Deut 16:16-17). In other words, the feast was obligatory for men, but women were not bound to make such a personal appearance (Edersheim 163, citing TJ Kidd. 61c; Pes. 91b). Pilgrims from the Diaspora did not necessarily take their entire family with them to Jerusalem.
and: Grk. kai, conj. to wipe: Grk. ekmassō, pres. inf., cause to become dry by wiping, with the focus on the motion involved. with the towel: Grk. lention. See the previous verse. with which: Grk. hos, relative pron. he was: Grk. eimi, impf., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). girded: Grk. diazōnnumi, perf. mid. See the previous verse. The summary description of this verse indicates Yeshua's intention to wash the feet of all the disciples present and verse 12 indicates the completion of the task. Yeshua's washing of feet did not replace the traditional hand-washing ritual that preceded the serving of the meal, but functioned as an acted-out parable of servanthood. Not only is Yeshua a Servant King, but also a Servant High Priest. As Tenney notes, Yeshua's action was a voluntary humiliation that rebuked the pride of the disciples.
No explanation is offered concerning the relative positions of the disciples in the room, but a few may be deduced as important to this narrative. At a dinner of a Sage and his disciples it was customary for the one next in rank to be on the Sage's left and the third in rank on his right (Berachot 46b). The rabbinic custom is suggestive of what may have been done in the upper room. Jacob ("James") and John, as well as their mother petitioning on their behalf, had asked for the chief positions on either side of Yeshua in the Kingdom (Matt 20:20-21; Mark 10:35-37). Here in Yeshua's last Passover, an acted out parable of the Kingdom, it's apparent that John had secured the position on Yeshua's right, which made it possible for him to lean back on Yeshua's bosom (verse 23 below).
Edersheim suggests that Judas had gained the chief position on Yeshua's left (816). See his graphic illustration of the last supper layout here. The disciples had argued on a previous occasion as to who was the greatest (Mark 9:34) and Judas' presumption in taking the coveted position no doubt restarted the dispute during the Seder (Luke 22:24). Luke records this rebuke by Yeshua of his disciples involved in the dispute over who was the greatest, which may have preceded or followed the foot-washing.
"The kings of the nations rule over them, and those exercising authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. But, let the greatest among you be as the younger, and the one leading as the one serving. 27 For who is greater, the one reclining at table or the one serving? Is it not the one reclining at table? But I am in your midst as the one serving." (Luke 22:25-27 mine)
6 So he comes to Simon Peter who says to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
So: Grk. oun, conj., an inferential conj., which may (1) indicate a conclusion connected with data immediately preceding, 'so, therefore, consequently, then;' (2) indicate that one takes account of something in the narrative immediately preceding, 'then;' or (3) simply indicate a stage in the narrative, 'so, then.' The third application fits here. he comes: Grk. erchomai, pres. See verse 1 above. The present tense gives dramatic emphasis to the action.
to Simon: Grk. Simōn, which almost transliterates the Hebrew name Shimôn ("Shee-mown"), meaning "he has heard." There are nine men in the Besekh with the name "Simōn," but this name does not occur in the LXX at all. In the Tanakh the Heb. name Shimôn appears for the first time as the second son of Jacob and Leah (Gen 29:33) and then the tribe descended from him (Num 1:22-23). His name is translated in the LXX as Sumeōn and in English "Simeon." The apostle may well have been named in honor of the patriarch. Little considered by commentators is Simon's ancestry. The name of Peter's father is given in John 1:42 and 21:15-17 as "John" (Grk. Iōannēs; Heb. Yochanan). Yet, Yeshua addressed him as "Simon Barjona" (Heb. bar Yona) (Matt 16:17), which means that Simon's family descended from the prophet Jonah.
Peter: Grk. Petros, personal name meaning 'a stone' (BAG, Mounce), although Thayer says the name signifies a stone, a rock, a ledge or a cliff, and Danker defines the name as "rockman." Petros translates the Aramaic name Kępha ("rock"), a loanword in Hebrew (SH-3710; BDB 495). The name was given to him by Yeshua (John 1:42). Peter was married (Mark 1:30; 1Cor 9:5) and had a home in Capernaum (Mark 1:21, 29). Together with Andrew they engaged in a business of fishing from the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:2-3; John 21:3), including working in partnership with the sons of Zebedee (Luke 5:10). We should note that even though Yeshua gave Simon another name he only used "Simon" in directly addressing him (Luke 7:40; 22:31; Mark 14:37; and John 21:15-17).
The combination name "Simon Peter" occurs twenty times in the Besekh, all but three (Matt 16:16; Luke 5:8; 1Pet 1:1) in the book of John. The frequent use by John is noteworthy and must be significant even though he never explains his purpose. We might draw a parallel between the facts that in the original allotment of land in Israel the tribe of Simeon was located wholly within the borders of Judah (Josh 19:1) and that Yeshua was of the tribe of Judah. Simon's life was circumscribed by devotion to the Messiah from Judah. Then, Yeshua's choice of naming Simon "Kępha" indicated confidence in his ability to be a prominent leader and pillar of the Body of Messiah. Using the combination name conveyed John's respect for his fellow apostle who would become a powerful spokesman for Yeshua.
Peter was likely across the table from Yeshua in the "last" position, as in the drawing of Edersheim. Yeshua apparently conducted his washing mission in a counter-clockwise direction around the table. It would be appropriate to begin with Peter who was the de facto leader of the Twelve and end with Judas to complete his parabolic purpose (Matt 20:16). who says: Grk. legō, pres., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or in written form; say, tell, declare. The verb is in the present tense for dramatic effect. The Greek verb "say" functions as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron.
Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case., may mean either (1) one in control through possession, and therefore owner or master; or (2) one esteemed for authority or high status, thus lord or master. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, the great majority to translate Heb. words for God, principally the name YHVH. Kurios also occurs a number of times to identify men of higher rank to whom respect is owed (DNTT 2:511). Peter does not use the title with the sense of deity. For more information on the use of kurios see the note on John 1:23. are you washing: Grk. niptō, pres. See the previous verse. The present tense is used here to indicate purpose. my feet: pl. of Grk. pous. See the previous verse. Simon's question appears to be one of incredulity. A great rabbi might do miracles for people, but he didn't do something beneath his dignity and as menial as this.
7 Yeshua answered and said to him, "What I am doing you understand not now, but you will know after these things."
Yeshua: See verse 1 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass., to answer or reply to someone, whether to a question, request, exhortation, command, etc. (BAG). In the LXX apokrinomai renders Heb. anah, to answer or respond to something said in conversation; to respond to an occasion and speak in view of circumstances or to testify or respond as a witness in a legal proceeding (BDB 772). and said: Grk. legō, aor. See the previous verse. The combination of the verbs "answered and said" is a typical Hebraic way of advancing the narrative of dialog (e.g., Gen 27:39; 40:18; Josh 24:16; Jdg 20:4; 2Sam 1:17). The verb apokrinomai emphasizes that a verbal response was made and the verb legō introduces the quotation. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron., i.e., Simon.
What: Grk. hos, rel. pron. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. The pronoun is emphatic. am doing: Grk. poieō, pres., a verb of action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) bringing about a state of condition or result that may be good or bad; do, act, perform, work. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX poieō renders chiefly Heb. asah (SH-6213), accomplish, do, make, work (first in Gen 1:7), and used of a wide range of human and divine activity. you understand: Grk. oida, perf. See verse 1 above. not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle that makes a strong denial or negation of an alleged fact or proposition (DM 264). now: Grk. arti, adv. expressing concurrence of event with time viewed as present, (just) now.
but: Grk. de, conj. See verse 1 above. you will know: Grk. ginōskō, fut. mid., to know something, here with the meaning of forming a judgment or drawing a conclusion. They will receive spiritual insight. In the LXX ginōskō renders Heb. yada, which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning from a teacher (DNTT 2:395). after: Grk. meta, prep. of association or accompaniment, but used here as a sequential marker in a temporal sense. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, dem. pron. See verse 1 above. Yeshua means after the events of this day, Nisan 15.
8 Peter said to him, "Never should you wash my feet!" Yeshua answered him, "If I wash you not, you have not a share with me."
Peter said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron., i.e., Yeshua. Never: Grk. ou mē, lit. "not, not." The combination of negative particles makes for a powerful emotional response. should you wash: Grk. niptō, aor. subj. See verse 5 above. my: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. feet: pl. of Grk. pous. See verse 5 above. Most versions translate Peter's comment as future tense, repulsing Yeshua's action, "You will never wash my feet." The aorist tense and subjunctive mood of the verb, which conveys potential or probability, reflects a correction of Yeshua's action. "This is something you should not be doing!" ISV and PHILLIPS have, "You must never wash my feet."
Yeshua: See verse 1 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass. See the previous verse. him: Gr. autos. If: Grk. ean, conj. that serves as a conditional particle and produces an aspect of tentativeness by introducing a possible circumstance that determines the realization of some other circumstance. I wash: Grk. niptō, aor. subj. you: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. not: Grk. mē, a particle of qualified negation, subjective in nature, involving will and thought; not. you have: Grk. echō, pres., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. not: Grk. ou. See the previous verse. a share: Grk. meros may mean (1) a piece or segment of a whole; part; or (2) participation with or share in the circumstances of another; share, destiny, lot. The second meaning applies here.
with: Grk. meta, prep. used to express close association or relation. me: Grk. egō. Yeshua's meaning is clear. No one can have a share in Yeshua who is unwilling to obey him in whatever he may require. A friend of mine characterized Yeshua's reaction as "if you will take your foot out of your mouth I will wash it." Yeshua demonstrates a basic characteristic of being human, interdependence. Humans serve the needs of other humans. Yeshua insists that one must not only give, but also have the humility to receive.
9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"
Simon immediately recognized that refusing Yeshua's washing was tantamount with rejecting his Master. Simon Peter: See verse 6 above. said: Grk. legō, pres. The present tense is used for dramatic effect. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 6 above. not: Grk. mē, negative particle. See the previous verse. my: Grk. egō. feet: pl. of Grk. pous. See verse 5 above. only: Grk. monon, adv. marking a narrow limitation; merely, just, only. but: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. also: Grk. kai, conj. my hands: pl. of Grk. cheir. See verse 3 above. and my head: Grk. kephalē, the head as an anatomical term. Although Simon's attitude change to one of eager submission, we should note that he did not say to wash his whole body. Washing his head might be symbolic of giving Simon precedence over all the other disciples. Washing his hands might be symbolic of recognizing his devotion to Yeshua.
10 Yeshua said to him, "The one having been bathed has not a need, except to wash the feet, but is wholly clean; and you are clean, but not all."
Yeshua: See verse 1 above. said: Grk. legō, pres. The present tense is used for dramatic effect. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. The one having been bathed: Grk. louō, perf. mid. part., to cleanse with water, usually of the whole both; bath, wash. The middle voice alludes to the Jewish practice of self-immersion. has: Grk. echō, pres. See verse 8 above. not: Grk. ou, adv. a need: Grk. chreia, state or experience of necessity, need. Yeshua no doubt alludes to the fact that Simon had performed ritual immersion that day. According to Jewish custom of the time pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for Passover engaged in ritual immersion before entering the Temple for animal sacrifice. Ritual immersion had to take place in a pool (Heb. mikveh) with water from a fresh water source and deep enough to submerge oneself by squatting.
There were a number of pools (mikva'ot) that surrounded the Temple area for ritual purification. Excavations of the southern wall of the Temple area, begun in 1968, have uncovered dozens of mikva'ot. (See pictures at BibleWalks.com.) However, these pools could not have met the needs of tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims attending the festivities. Many private dwellings in Jerusalem also had a mikveh in the basement. Scholars believe that the Bethesda and Siloam Pools – to the north and south of the Temple Mount – were designed to accommodate almost all of the ritual purification needs of the large numbers of Jewish pilgrims. See the JVL article, Jewish Practices and Rituals: Mikveh, for more information.
except: Grk. ei mē, lit. "if not." to wash: Grk. niptō, aor. mid. inf. See verse 5 above. the feet: pl. of Grk. pous. See verse 5 above. The phrase "to wash the feet" alludes to the practice of hospitality after one has entered a house. People wore sandals, which exposed feet to the dirt of streets and highways. Stern notes that the priests cleansed themselves before offering sacrifices, but even so they had to wash their hands and feet (194). but: Grk. alla, conj. is: Grk. eimi, pres., to be. See verse 5 above. wholly: Grk. holos, adj., signifier of a person or thing understood as a complete unit and not necessarily every individual part; all, whole, entire. clean: Grk. katharos may mean (1) free from contamination, clean, cleansed; or (2) free from guilt or blame or moral impurity. Either sense may be translated as 'clean.' The first meaning is intended in reference to the mikveh washing.
and you: Grk. humeis, 2p.-pl. pers. pron. The pronoun implies all the disciples. are: Grk. eimi, pres. clean: katharos. but: Grk. alla, conj. not: Grk. ouchi, adv., an emphatic negative particle; by no means, not at all, not. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. Many versions appropriately add "of you." Yeshua engages in a play on words, in that all of them had engaged in ritual immersion that day. Yet, the second mention of "clean" with "not all" implies a moral aspect and the assumption of guilt. Of course, the allusion is to Judas. Stern sees a spiritual lesson in Yeshua's statement that the forgiveness of sin gained from initial confession and immersion need not be repeated, but there is continual need to repent of newly committed sins, make reparation for them and seek forgiveness for them (195).
11 For he knew the one who was betraying him, because of this he said, "You are not all clean."
For: Grk. gar, conj., is generally accepted as a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that." Gar often functions to connect statements in narratives with preceding statements and is normally translated "for." he knew: Grk. oida, plperf. See verse 1 above. The pluperfect tense is used for action in the past that is complete and the results of the action in existence at some point in past time. the one who was betraying: Grk. paradidōmi, pres. part. See the note on verse 2 above. Most versions translate the verb as "about to betray," "was going to betray" or "would betray," giving the verb a future emphasis.
Some versions emphasize the present reality of betrayal ("was betraying," BLB, CJB, MSG, NASB, REV, TLV, Weymouth), Judas having met with the chief priests the previous evening and accepted a bribe (Mark 14:10-11). And, of course, Yeshua knew from the beginning who would betray him (John 6:64). him: Grk. autos, pers. pron., i.e., Yeshua. because of: Grk. dia, prep. The root meaning of dia is two, but in composition it normally means 'through' or 'between' (DM 101). With the accusative case of the pronoun following the meaning is "because of" signifying a causal function. this: Grk. houtos, dem. pron. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 6 above. You are not all clean: John repeats the statement of Yeshua from the previous verse.
12 So when he had washed their feet, and taken his outer garments, and reclined again, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you?
Passover Custom – Shakab
So: Grk. oun, conj. when: Grk. hote, temporal adv., when, at which time. he had washed: Grk. niptō, aor. See verse 5 above. their: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. feet: pl. of Grk. pous. See verse 5 above. Yeshua likely took his time with the washing. and: Grk. kai, conj. taken: Grk. lambanō, aor. See verse 4 above. his: Grk. autos. outer garments: pl. of Grk. himation. See verse 4 above. Yeshua retrieved his garments from wherever he had laid them and put them back on. and: Grk. kai, conj. reclined: Grk. anapiptō, aor., to fall back, then recline, especially at a meal. Reclining reflected a relaxed atmosphere. This is the same verb used of people who reclined and shared the miraculous bread (Mark 6:40; John 6:10).
Regular meals were normally eaten while sitting in an upright position (Gen 27:19; Jer 16:8; Ezek 44:3; Matt 14:19; 15:35; Luke 17:7). In homes of the wealthy chairs or stools were employed for sitting while eating (1Sam 20:5, 18, 24-25; 1Kgs 10:5; 2Kgs 4:10). The vast majority of Israelites sat on the ground or floor for eating regular meals. However, reclining to eat occurred at festive celebrations and banquets (Matt 9:10; 22:10-11; Mark 2:15; 6:26; 14:13; Luke 5:29; 11:37; 14:10; John 12:2). The first Passover meal was eaten while standing so that the Israelites would be prepared to depart at a moment's notice (Ex 12:11). No such need existed after that and the instruction was never repeated in the commandments given for Passover at Sinai and at Moab.
In the first century Jewish law specified that Passover participants recline (Heb. shakab) while eating the meal as a sign of freedom (Pes. 10:1). "Our Rabbis said, 'Even a poor man who is in Israel is not to eat [Pesakh] until he reclines'" (Mid. Exodus Rabbah 20:18, quoted in MW-Notes 166). Reclining was not lying on the back or on the right side, but only on the left side to facilitate eating with the right hand (Pes. 108a). Two exceptions are noted: bitter herbs were not to be eaten while reclining and a man's wife was not required to recline. The apostolic narrative omits mention of the early part of the Seder, because the meal and reclining did not commence until the story of the first Passover had been told. Thus, the fact of reclining hints at the time of the evening. In addition, reclining at a table to eat did not mean being fully prone as one might be on a bed to sleep. Rather, the person would sit on cushions and lean on his left elbow in a relaxed position.
again: Grk. palin, adv. that focuses on a repetitive occurrence; once more, again. The adverb emphasizes the fact that Yeshua and his disciples began the meal in a reclining position and Yeshua returned to his place in that position. The fact of reclining emphasizes the size of the room to accommodate all the disciples and Yeshua in the reclined posture. Santala says that each one of the group took his place in a circle around a cloth spread on the floor, leaning on their left arms with their legs outward from the circle (205). The TLV also includes a drawing of the Last Supper depicting the disciples sitting on the floor covered by decorative cloths.
Against the view that the floor was the table, Luke's narrative uses the regular word for table (Grk. trapeza, Luke 22:21). Kasdan states that Yeshua and the disciples stretched out on the floor with their heads facing a low table, thus enabling them to reach the food by hand (336). The table was certainly not the high table with chairs shown in Michelangelo's great painting of the Last Supper. In the Besekh trapeza is used of a dining table from which crumbs fall (Matt 15:27), a table for money transactions (Matt 21:12; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:23; John 2:12), and a table for the showbread in the tabernacle (Heb 9:2). So, it's reasonable to assume that a low wooden table was indeed used in the upper room.
Edersheim also says the supper arrangement employed a low rectangle wooden table common to the East with the dinner guests on three sides and one end open for the food service. He cites the Talmud's description of the table position and layout:
"In the Talmud (B.B. 57b) the table of the disciples of the sages is described as two parts covered with a cloth, the other third being left bare for the dishes to stand on. There is evidence that this part of the table was outside the circle of those who were ranged around it. … During the Paschal Supper, it was the custom to remove the table at one part of the service; or, if this be deemed a later arrangement, the dishes at least would be taken off and put on again. This would render it necessary that the end of the table should protrude beyond the line of guests who reclined around it. For, as already repeatedly stated, it was the custom to recline at table, lying on the left side and leaning on the left hand, the feet stretching back towards the ground, and each guest occupying a separate divan or pillow." (815)
No explanation is offered concerning the relative reclining positions of the disciples in the room, but a few may be deduced. At a dinner of a Sage and his disciples it was customary for the one next in rank to be on the Sage's left and the third in rank on his right (Ber. 46b). The rabbinic custom is suggestive of what may have been done in the upper room. In Mark 10:37 Jacob ("James") and John had asked for the chief positions on either side of Yeshua in the Kingdom. Here in the last Passover, an acted out parable of the Kingdom, it's apparent that John had secured the position on Yeshua's right, which made it possible for him to lean back on Yeshua's bosom (verse 23 below).
Edersheim suggests that Judas had gained the chief position on Yeshua's left (816). The disciples had argued on a previous occasion as to who was the greatest (Mark 9:34) and the presumption of Judas in taking the coveted position no doubt restarted the dispute (Luke 22:24). Peter may well have been across the table from Yeshua in the "last" position as implied by the foot-washing narrative (John 13:5-6). See Edersheim's graphic illustration of the last supper layout here.
he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 6 above. to them: pl. of Grk. autos. Do you understand: Grk. ginōskō, pres. See verse 7 above. what: Grk. tís, interrogative marker indicating interest in establishing something definite. I have done: Grk. poieō, perf. See verse 7 above. to you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. The question serves as a gentle rebuke. Of course, like so many other times the disciples would not understand until Yeshua explained the matter to them.
13 You call me, 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and appropriately, for I am.
Passover Custom – Midrash
You: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. call: Grk. phōneō, pres., may mean (1) to utter a sound designed to attracted attention, cry out or proclaim with emphasis; (2) call to oneself; summon, call for, or invite; or (3) to identify in personal address. The third meaning has application here. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. Teacher: Grk. didaskalos, teacher or instructor who regularly engaged in the imparting of knowledge or skills, a vocation of special status among the Israelites. In the LXX didaskalos only occurs in 2 Maccabees 1:10 to denote Aristobulus, the head of the Egyptian Jewish community, who, having dedicated an exposition of the Pentateuch to King Ptolemy Philometor, is called a teacher clearly for this reason.
Scholars speculate that the reason didaskalos does not occur in the LXX more often is that in Greek education teaching was concerned with imparting knowledge or technical skills, whereas Hebrew education is more concerned with ethical instruction and obedience. In the Qumran texts Heb. moreh, "teacher," occurs frequently, often with a qualifying phrase like "the righteous one," such as in the Damascus Document (CD 1:11; 20:32) and in the Commentary on Habakkuk (1QpHab 1:13; 2:2; 5:10; 7:4; 8:3; 9:9; 11:5), probably in reference to the founder of the sect (DNTT 3:767). See TDSS for the English translation. Moreh is derived from the verb yarah, to throw or shoot and thus "one who throws out," "points out," or "instructs," (Prov 5:13; Isa 9:15).
Elsewhere didaskalos is used interchangeably with Grk. rhabbi (Matt 23:8; John 1:38; 3:2). Since the conversation would have been in Hebrew, then the actual form of the word spoken should be considered. When people other than Yeshua's disciples addressed him or referred to him as didaskalos (as given in the Greek text, e.g., Matt 8:19; 9:11; Mark 4:38; 9:17; 10:35; Luke 8:49; John 8:4), they most likely said moreh, although Heb. rabbi is possible. Delitzsch translates didaskalos here with moreh, but the CJB is the only Messianic Jewish version with "Rabbi." Noteworthy is that Yochanan the Immerser was also addressed as didaskalos (Luke 3:12) and rhabbi (John 3:26).
and Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 6 above. and appropriately: Grk. kalōs, adv., in an effective manner, often with the focus on meeting expectations; well, effectively, accurately, correctly, appropriately. for: Grk. gar, conj. See verse 11 above. I am: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. Yeshua makes an important point here, since he said on an earlier occasion not to allow others to call them "Teacher" or "Lord" (Matt 23:8-10). He did not mean, of course, that they would not function as teachers and leaders in the Body of Messiah, but they were not to supplant Yeshua by organizing disciples in their own names as the schools of Hillel and Shammai. Paul affirmed this principle in his Corinthian letter,
"For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are rivalries among you. 12 I say this because you are each saying, 'I follow Paul,' or 'I follow Apollos,' or 'I follow Kefa,' or 'I follow Messiah.' 13 Has Messiah been divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I immersed none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one should say that I had immersed you into my own name." (1Cor 1:11-15 TLV)
Christianity has violated Yeshua's instruction with its many denominations aligned with or influenced by well-known theologians in history. (See a list of Christian theologians here.) Many believers identify themselves by their denomination and they uncritically believe whatever their leaders teach concerning the Bible and doctrine. Indeed, we may say that many, if not most, groupings of congregations hold on to beliefs or engage in practices for which there is not only no biblical support but which is contrary to biblical teaching (cf. Matt 15:9; Eph 4:14-16; Col 2:8, 16-18; 1Tim 4:1-4; 6:3-10; 2Tim 4:3-4; 2Pet 2:1-2; 3:3-7; Jude 1:3-4). Followers of Yeshua need to return to the simple truth that Yeshua is our teacher. His infallible Word is the plumbline to define and determine right doctrine and normative conduct (Rom 3:4; 1Cor 14:29; 2Tim 3:16).
14 If then I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash the feet of one another.
If: Grk. ei, conj., a contingency marker used here to introduce a circumstance assumed to be valid for the sake of argument. then: Grk. oun, conj. See verse 6 above. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 6 above. and the Teacher: Grk. didaskalos. See the previous verse. have washed: Grk. niptō, aor. See verse 5 above. your: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. The plural pronoun is used of all the disciples. feet: pl. of Grk. pous. See verse 5 above. you: Grk. humeis. also: Grk. kai, conj. ought: Grk. opheilō, pres., to be under a prescribed obligation, to have a duty or to owe someone. to wash: Grk. niptō, pres. inf. The present tense emphasizes the beginning and continuance of the action. the feet: pl. of Grk. pous. of one another: Grk. allēlōn, reciprocal pron., each other, one another.
The syntax of the statement is not that of a command, but a wish. Yeshua uses a kal v'chomer (a fortiori) kind of argument that implies "how much more." Thus, Yeshua exhorts that since he performed a charitable action and he is the authority of their lives how much more should they have the attitude that even his wishes guide their actions.
15 For I have given you an example, that just as I have did to you, you also should do.
For: Grk. gar, conj. See verse 11 above. I have given: Grk. didōmi, aor. See verse 3 above. you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. The pronoun is used of all the disciples present. an example: Grk. hupodeigma (derived from hupo, 'under,' and deigma, 'example, sample') refers to something that serves as an indicator or directive for personal moral decision, here with the focus on a pattern for good behavior; example. Yeshua is the pattern to emulate. that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 1 above. just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. emphasizing similarity, conformity, proportion or manner; as, just as. I did: Grk. poieō, aor. See verse 7 above. to you: Grk. humeis. you: Grk. humeis. also: Grk. kai, conj. should do: Grk. poieō, pres. subj. The present tense and subjunctive mood would indicate that "you ought to take the attitude starting now and continuing into the future to follow my example."
Contrary to some Christian traditions Yeshua did not direct the observance of a foot washing ritual. There are obviously two levels of meaning to the instruction. The literal meaning is that "if you find yourselves in similar circumstances in the future and there are no servants available, then perform the duty of hospitality, however that may be defined by local custom." The spiritual meaning is that "in the future be prepared to wash one another with kindness and mercy for any uncleanness of conduct that might occur." Yeshua's humility in washing the feet of his disciples means that in the context of the Body of Messiah, the essence of ministry is service to the other members of the Body, not lording a position over the rest of the members.
16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor a shaliach greater than the one having sent him.
Truly: Grk. amēn ("ah–mayn") reflects a strong affirmation, meaning "so let it be" or "truly." In the LXX amēn transliterates the Heb. ’amen (ah–mayn, SH–543), which means "it is true, so be it, or may it become true." The Heb. root aman means "to confirm or support." The word amēn reflects an Hebraic conviction that God’s words were to be reverently received. In typical Jewish usage the singular amēn points to something previously said (Stern 26). For example, in the Torah people responded with "amen" for each of the curses as they were pronounced (Deut 27:15 +11t) and on other occasions "amen" was a congregational response to a public blessing of God (1Chr 16:36; Neh 5:13; Ps 106:48). In the Synoptic narratives amēn occurs 57 times in declarative statements of Yeshua, of which 34 are unique.
According to standard versions amēn is used to introduce axiomatic statements in Kingdom instruction, parables and prophecies. Stern contends, though, that many of those occurrences follow Jewish practice and rather than introducing statements the "amen" actually affirms the sentence spoken immediately before. (Examine the context of Matt 5:18, 26; 6:2, 5, 16; 10:15, 42; 13:17; 18:18; 23:36; 24:34, 47; and 26:13). Christian interpreters may have assumed "amen" begins statements because of the arbitrary verse divisions imposed on the Greek text in the mid-16th century by Robert Stephanus (aka Robert Estienne). However, Yeshua sometimes uses "amen" to introduce a declaration (e.g., Matt 8:10; 11:11; 16:28; 17:20; 19:23; 21:21; 24:2; 25:12, 45; 26:21). Similar usage does occur in the Tanakh (1Kgs 1:36; Jer 28:6). However, Yeshua employs amēn in a different manner here.
truly: Grk. amēn is repeated. In the Besekh the double use of amēn occurs only in the Book of John (25 times). The double "amen" does occur in the Tanakh as a response to a priestly declaration (Num 5:22; Neh 8:6), as well as in the construction "amen and amen" as the appropriate affirmation of a blessing (Ps 41:13; 72:19; 89:52). However, Yeshua uses "amēn amēn" as a prefix to the statement that follows, which is without parallel in Jewish literature (Morris 169). There is no good reason not to accept the grammar as authentic and Yeshua was quite capable of being innovative. The double use of amēn reinforces the complete reliability and truthfulness of Yeshua's prophetic teaching. Moreover, the double "amen," spoken in the presence of God, asserts the character of the Messiah who is the Truth (John 14:6) and implies God's endorsement.
I say: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. a servant: Grk. doulos can mean either slave or servant. In the LXX doulos translates the Heb. word ebed, which similarly described someone enslaved after being captured in war or in order to pay a debt, whether voluntarily or involuntarily (cf. Ex 21:7; Lev 25:39, 44, 47). In addition, ebed identified those who served God, especially service in the temple (DNTT 3:593ff). The first usage of ebed for "slave" in Scripture is of the household servants Abimelech gave Abraham as restitution for taking Sarah (Gen 20:14). The great Hebrew and Jewish heroes of the faith considered themselves servants of God the King and it was considered a high honor for a person to be called a servant of God. Yeshua uses the term doulos in a general application.
is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. not: Grk. ou, adv. See verse 7 above. greater than: Grk. megas, adj., exceeding a standard and therefore impressive; great. BAG notes a wide variety of applications and here is a general reference to rank, dignity, sublimity or importance. In the LXX megas is used to translate several Heb. words, but by far the most numerous is gadôl (SH-1419), 'great' (first in Gen 1:14), with a similar range of meaning. Since Yeshua offers a comparison of rank the word "than" is added for clarity. his: Grk. autos, pers. pron. master: Grk. kurios. See verse 6 above. nor: Grk. oude, conj., negative particle that links a negative statement as complementary to a preceding negative; nor.
a shaliach: Grk. apostolos, one who is sent on a mission or assignment; messenger, delegate, ambassador, apostle, or envoy. Many versions translate the noun here as "one who is sent." Some versions have "messenger" (ESV, HCSB, ISV, NIV, NLT, NRSV). In this context the noun is descriptive of a function rather than an office. In Greek culture apostolos was used of an envoy representing a king and a commander of a naval expedition (DNTT 1:127). In the LXX apostolos occurs only in 1 Kings 14:6 where it translates Heb. shaluach, pass. part. of shalach (SH-7971), "one being sent."
First century Judaism institutionalized the office of shaliach (Aram. pass. part. of shalach), who acted as an official messenger or a proxy for and with the full authority of the sender, as the Mishnah says, "the agent (Heb. shaluach) is as the one who sends him" (Ber. 5:5). A shaliach’s mission was "limited in scope and duration by definite commission and terminating on its completion" (DNTT 1:128). Nevertheless, when Yeshua appointed the twelve disciples as his apostles (Matt 10:2), the mission was broad and its duration indefinite.
greater than: Grk. megas. the one having sent: Grk. pempō, aor. part., to dispatch someone as an agent, usually to convey a message or accomplish a task; send. him: Grk. autos. Yeshua clearly intended his disciples to understand both parabolic comparisons as applied to them.
17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
If: Grk. ei, conj. See verse 14 above. you know: Grk. oida, perf. See verse 1 above. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, dem. pron. blessed: Grk. makarios, adj., enjoying special advantage, blessed, privileged, fortunate or happy. The Grk. word translates Heb. esher, which means happiness, joyfulness, blessedness and fortunate all at the same time (BDB 81). Esher comes from the root word ashar, which means to go (straight), or to walk. The adj. makarios occurs some 50 times in the Besekh, the first use in the Beatitudes (Matt 5:3), but only twice in John (20:29). Some versions (as the KJV) use the word "happy" but this is inadequate because the root of the English word "happy" is "hap" which means chance. For most people without God happiness comes as a result of good luck.
However, the Hebrew viewpoint is that a "blessing" is a purposeful endowment (cf. Gen 1:28), ordinarily transmitted from the greater to the lesser. Blessedness can never be self-imposed nor come by accident. The only source of blessing is from God. are you: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. if: Grk. ean, conj. See verse 8 above. you do: Grk. poieō, pres. subj. See verse 7 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, pers. pron. Yeshua affirms that if his disciples live out the lessons described in verses 13-16 above then God will reward them with great blessing. They will continue to enjoy the favor of the Father.
Prophecy of Betrayal, 13:18-30
Parallel: Matt 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23
Placement of Yeshua's prophecy of betrayal is complicated by different perspectives of the apostolic accounts. Matthew and Mark present the prediction of betrayal and mention of "dipping" before the sharing of the bread and cup rituals. In Luke the saying occurs after the meal and the sharing of the bread and the third cup rituals (Luke 22:19-20). However, the narrative of the bread and cup rituals by Matthew and Mark seems more retrospective ("while they were eating," Mark 14:22). The narrative of Luke probably preserves the sequence more accurately and indicates that Judas did indeed remain through the communion time (Edersheim 815; Barclay IV, 266; Liefeld on Luke 22:21).
18 I speak concerning not all of you. I know whom I have chosen, but that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 'The one eating my bread lifted up his heel against me.'
I speak: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 4 above. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; about, concerning. not: Grk. ou, adv. all: pl. of Grk. pas. See verse 3 above. of you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. know: Grk. oida, perf. See verse 1 above. The perfect tense has the sense of "I have always known." whom: Grk. těs (pronounced the same as tís, the interrogative marker), an indefinite pronoun, especially used in narrative and discourse to indicate non-specification. I have chosen: Grk. eklegomai, aor. mid., to pick out for oneself; choose or select as the recipients of special favor and privilege. The verb indicates a highly deliberative choice between alternatives or a selection out of a larger group.
In the LXX eklegomai nearly always renders Heb. bachar, choose, select, or prefer (DNTT 1:537). Eklegomai is used a small number of times for man's choice (e.g., Gen 6:2; 13:11; Deut 30:19; Josh 24:15, 22; Jdg 10:14; 1Sam 8:18; 2Sam 24:12; Prov 3:31). Primarily eklegomai is used of God's choice: of priests (Num 16:5), of Aaron (Num 17:5), of encampment sites (Deut 1:33), of the descendants of the patriarchs (Deut 4:37), of Israel (Deut 7:7), of Jerusalem as His city and the place of sacrifice (Deut 12:14; 15:20), of a future king (Deut 17:15), of the Levites (Deut 18:5), of King Saul (1Sam 10:24), of King David (1Sam 16:8-10), of King Solomon (1Chr 28:6), of the tribe of Judah (Ps 78:68), and of Abraham (Neh 9:7).
In the case of God's choice the purpose of His choosing is some commission or service, and can only meaningfully retain its validity in its fulfillment. When applied to Israel the concept of being chosen reflects God's intention to create among the nations a new and different type of community, a holy nation of priests (Ex 19:6; Deut 7:6; 14:2). The phrase "whom I have chosen" could refer to the Twelve (cf. Luke 6:13; John 6:70; 15:16, 19; Acts 1:2), but more likely is intended to cover all those whom Yeshua as YHVH had chosen in the past (cf. Acts 13:17; Eph 1:4). He knew every one. He knew their personality and character, but most of all their potential. And, He knew what he wanted to accomplish through them.
but: Grk. alla, conj. See verse 9 above. that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 1 above. the Scripture: Grk. graphē, writing, and in the Jewish context and apostolic usage meaning the sacred Hebrew Bible (24 books) referred to by the acronym "Tanakh," corresponding to the Protestant Old Testament (39 books) and its translation into Greek, the Septuagint. The term "Scripture," which occurs over 50 times in the Besekh, summarizes the body of literature containing God's inspired, infallible, inerrant words penned by over 25 writers, from Moses to Malachi. The Tanakh reveals God's nature, His plan for a Messianic Savior and salvation, and His plan for holy and righteous living. This is the only Bible Yeshua and the apostles knew and as Scripture they upheld its authority over the traditions of men.
The formation of the Bible is a subject of many scholarly works. The traditional (and correct) viewpoint is that the practice of writing can be dated from antiquity. Content was based on contemporaneous records of the Hebrew people and divine dictation. The authors were the significant leaders or prophets of Israel (cf. Eph 2:20). Books were therefore in written form early, certainly within the lifetimes of the prophets credited with authorship, and the Holy Spirit superintended the whole process (2Tim 3:16; 2Pet 1:21).
Liberal scholars, relying on evolutionist assumptions, minimize, if not deny, supernaturalism and prophecy and attribute the formation of the Tanakh to a variety of causes, including dependence on surrounding pagan customs, dependence on literary works of other cultures, oral tradition for centuries, and anonymous sources, yet unremembered in Judaism. The final written form supposedly appeared in the time of Ezra and only reflects Jewish religious belief. The alternative would appear to be choosing between divinely inspired leaders of Israel’s history or a secret rabbinic publishing mill that cranked out the books and passed them off as God’s Word. This repugnant distortion of truth deserves the condemnation of Paul (Gal 1:8-9).
might be fulfilled: Grk. plēroō, aor. pass. subj., may mean (1) cause to abound in content to a maximum, fill; or (2) to bring to fruition or completion, complete, fulfill, fill up, carry out. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX plēroō is used chiefly to translate the Heb. malę (SH-4390, 'mah-lay'), "to fill or to be full," with both literal and figurative uses. Yeshua follows with a quotation from the Hebrew text of Psalm 41:9, which John translates into Jewish Greek. (The verbiage does not conform to the LXX as noted below, but is a free translation of the Hebrew text.)
MT (Ps 41:10): "Even my own close friend whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." (TLV)
LXX (Ps 40:9): For even the man of my peace, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, lifted up his heel against me." (LXX2012, eBible.org)
For those who read Greek:
John 13:18 (NA27): ο τρωγων μου τον αρτον επηρεν επ εμε την πτερναν αυτου.
Psalm 41:9 (CATSS LXX): και γαρ ο ανθρωπος της ειρηνης μου εφ' ον ηλπισα ο εσθιων αρτους μου εμεγαλυνεν επ' εμε πτερνισμον.
The one eating: Grk. trōgō, pres. part., to chew vigorously, eat. The Heb. verb is akal (SH-398), Qal act. part., to eat. The consumption of food was integral to the Passover celebration and brought together not only family members, but tribal relations for fellowship. There was an awareness that all Israel was gathered around the Pesach lamb "in commemoration of the past, in celebration of the present and in anticipation of the future" (Edersheim 814). The Passover sacrifice was considered a "peace offering" and as such the pilgrim festival offered an opportunity for reconciliation between Israelites (cf. Matt 5:23-24). The fact of impending betrayal cast a pall over the celebration.
my: Grk. egō. The genitive case means lit. "of me." bread: Grk. artos (for Heb. lechem, SH-3899, bread or food), which refers to a baked product made from cereal grain. Yeshua also used the term for manna, the bread from heaven (John 6:31-32) and idiomatically of himself (John 6:41, 48, 51, 58). Since bread was eaten at every meal in biblical lands, it was often used as a synonym for food and the support of life in general quite apart from its literal meaning (DNTT 1:250). Sharing bread together or "breaking bread" denotes close fellowship (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7). For some scholars the fact that John uses artos here instead of azumos (unleavened bread) suggests that Yeshua and his disciples ate leavened bread in this meal, in spite of the fact that unleavened bread is mentioned in the Synoptic account of Yeshua's last supper (Mark 14:1, 12).
If the meal included leavened bread then it would not have been a true Passover meal (Pes. 9:3; 10:4-5). Actually, the use of artos contains a hidden spiritual truth. In the LXX artos is used of the showbread maintained in the Temple (Ex 25:30; 40:23; 1Sam 21:6; 1Chr 9:32; 23:29; 28:16; 2Chr 2:4; 13:11; 29:18; Neh 10:33). The same usage occurs in the Synoptic Narratives (Matt 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4). The showbread was made without leaven (Lev 8:2, 26; 24:5). This usage, as well as the usage for manna, demonstrates that the definition of artos is not based on its leaven content.
It could well be that the use of artos hinted at the showbread. The showbread was intended for consumption by the priests. The one exception occurred when David took this bread to feed his men when he was fleeing from King Saul (Mark 2:25). This understanding gives a deeper meaning of the significance of the bread that Yeshua held up. Yeshua, the Great High Priest and Davidic King, was offering the bread intended only for priests to his disciples who would share in his body. As showbread Yeshua pointed to his chosen people becoming a kingdom of priests (Eph 4:12; 1Pet 2:5-9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).
The phrase "my bread" may seem strange in that Yeshua did not provide the bread for the Seder. Mark's mother probably made the bread. Men did not prepare bread. Also, in the context of the Scripture quoted the bread being eaten belonged to King David. However, if we read the phrase as "bread of me," then it is first an allusion to his teaching after the feeding of the five thousand when he said "I am the bread of life … if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever" (John 6:48, 51). By this saying Yeshua meant partaking of spiritual life provided by the Messiah. Stern describes this eating as "to absorb his entire way of being and living" (174). Second, the phrase alludes to the fact that Judas had shared in the bread that Yeshua had broken and said, "this is my body" (Luke 22:19-21). The present tense of the verb "eating" in reference to Judas means he gives the appearance of sharing in the life of the Messiah, but in reality it is pretense.
lifted up: Grk. epairō, aor. (for Heb. gadal, SH-1431, 'to grow up,' 'become great'), to raise up over, whether of physical action, lift up, such as here in a crushing gesture, or idiomatically of a personal attitude of arrogance and opposition. his: Grk. autos, pers. pron. heel: Grk. pterna, heel as an anatomical term. against: Grk. epi, prep., used primarily as a marker of position or location, 'upon,' but used here in the sense of being against or in opposition. me: Grk. egō. Thayer suggests that David's use of the phrase "lifted up the heel against me" is taken from a word picture of a person knocking another person down by kicking, or from a wrestler tripping up his antagonist. Idiomatically, the expression means to injure one by trickery, which explains the LXX translation.
David's words describe betrayal of the most personal kind in reference to the actions of Ahithophel, his personal counselor, to support the rebellion of Absalom (2Sam 15:12, 31). David thus spoke a Messianic prophecy, because just as he was betrayed so the Messiah would be betrayed. Yet, Yeshua quoting David with its mention of "heel" is also meant to connect with the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 spoken to the Serpent, "I will put animosity between you and the woman—between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel" (TLV). Thus, Judas "lifting up his heel" against the seed of Chavvah (Eve) is accomplished by the Serpent entering him (verse 27 below), who then betrays Yeshua to the "seed of the Serpent," the Sanhedrin (John 8:44).
19 From now on, I am telling you before what is to come, so that when it comes, you should trust that I AM.
From: Grk. apo, prep. See verse 3 above. now on: Grk. arti, adv. See verse 7 above. I am telling: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. before: Grk. pro, prep. See verse 1 above. what is to come: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. inf. See verse 1 above. so that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 1 above. when: Grk. hotan, conj., a temporal marker indicating 'when' or 'whenever.' it comes: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. subj. you should trust: Grk. pisteuō, aor. subj., in general Greek usage means to have confidence or faith in the reliability or trustworthiness of some thing or someone. The Hebrew concept of believing is not an intellectual agreement with a philosophical proposition or a formal creed. A verb describes action of the person and stresses both attitude and behavior. In the LXX pisteuō renders the Heb. 'aman (SH-539), which means to confirm or support, as well as to be true, reliable or faithful, and to stand firm or trust (BDB 52). In the Hebrew concept believing, trusting and being faithful are inseparable (cf. Matt 7:21; Heb 11:6).
that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 1 above. I: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. AM: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. Most versions add "he" on the end of the verse, implying the Messiah, but a few versions translate egō eimi as the divine title "I Am" (CEB, CJB, ERV, JUB, TLV). The pronoun-verb expression occurs 47 times in the Besekh, 34 times on the lips of Yeshua, often as a conversational way of identifying himself to others (e.g., Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; Acts 9:5). However, in John's book Yeshua couples egō eimi with a descriptive metaphor, known as the "Seven I Am Sayings," (John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1), or makes a simple declaration of identity, as here (also 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 58). Stern suggests that all these statements imply a claim even greater than being the Messiah (168). They are too similar to the self-revelation of God in the Tanakh to be accidental.
In the LXX egō eimi is predominately spoken by the God of Israel in reference to Himself, first in the name "I am who I am" (Ex 3:14; also in Isa 41:4; 43:10; 46:4; 47:8; 48:12; 51:12; 52:6). More commonly God says egō eimi kurios, for Heb. ani YHVH, "I am YHVH" 48 times (e.g., Ex 7:5; 16:12; 20:2; 29:46; Lev 11:44; 26:1; Deut 5:6; 32:39; Isa 45:8; 61:8; Jer 24:7; Ezek 28:22; 29:6). In the Hebrew text of the Tanakh God uses first person self-descriptive phrases of Himself: "I am God Almighty [Shaddai]" (Gen 17:1; 35:11); "I am your shield" (Gen 22:1); "I am your healer" (Ex 15:26); "I am the first and the last" (Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12); "I am YHVH your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" (Isa 43:3); and "I am YHVH your Holy One, creator of Israel, your King" (Isa 43:15).
The present tense of "I am" may be intended to encompass more time than the moment Yeshua uttered the words and posit that his identity does not change. He is the "same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). So, "I Am" equals John's summary of "Him who is and who was and who is to come" (Rev 1:4 NASB), which echoed Yeshua's own declaration "I am the Alpha and Omega who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev 1:8 NASB).
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, the one receiving anyone I would send, receives me; and the one receiving me, receives the One having sent me."
Truly: Grk. amēn ("ah–mayn") reflects a strong affirmation, meaning "so let it be" or "truly." Amēn transliterates the Heb. ’amen (ah–mayn, SH–543), which means "it is true, so be it, or may it become true." The Heb. root aman means "to confirm or support." The word amēn reflects an Hebraic conviction that God’s words were to be reverently received. In typical Jewish usage the singular amēn points to something previously said (Stern 26). For example, in the Torah people responded with "amen" for each of the curses as they were pronounced (Deut 27:15 +11t) and other passages illustrate the same use (1Kgs 1:36; 1Chr 16:36; Neh 5:31; Ps 106:48; Jer 11:5; 28:6). However, Yeshua employs amēn in a different manner here.
truly: Grk. amēn is repeated. In the Besekh the double use of amēn occurs only in the Book of John (25 times). The double "amen" does occur in the Tanakh (Num 5:22; Neh 8:6), as well as in the construction "amen and amen" (Ps 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), all as a response. However, Yeshua uses "amēn amēn" as a prefix to the statement that follows, which is without parallel in Jewish literature (Morris 169). There is no good reason not to accept the grammar as authentic and Yeshua was quite capable of being innovative. The double use of amēn reinforces the complete reliability and truthfulness of Yeshua's teaching. Moreover, the double "amen," spoken in the presence of God, asserts the character of the Messiah who is the Truth (John 14:6) and implies God's endorsement.
I say: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 4 above. to you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. In other words, "I say to you disciples." the one receiving: Grk. lambanō, pres. part. with the definite article. See verse 4 above. anyone: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun, a certain one, someone, anyone, anything. I would: Grk. an, disjunctive particle that nuances a verb with contingency or generalization; would, ever, might. send: Grk. pempō, aor. pass. subj. See verse 16 above. receives: Grk. lambanō, pres. me: Grk. egō, 1p-sing. pers. pron. and: Grk. de, conj. the one receiving: Grk. lambanō, pres. part. with the definite article. me: Grk. egō.
receives: Grk. lambanō, pres. the One: Grk. ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pron. Among Israelites "The One" was a circumlocution for God (cf. Ps 3:3; 37:24; Isa 40:26; 44:24; 45:7; 49:7; Hos 11:7; Amos 9:5-6; John 1:33; 6:46; 7:18; 11:27; 12:45; Acts 10:42; Rom 5:17; 2Cor 4:6; Jas 5:20) and echoed the Shema, "Hear O Israel YHVH Eloheinu YHVH one" (Deut 6:4). having sent: Grk. pempō, aor. part. with the definite article. me: Grk. egō.
In the circumstances, this saying of Yeshua might have been confusing, considering the assumption of the disciples in verse 29 below. However, Yeshua portended the future when he would send out his Spirit-filled disciples as his agents on a great mission into Judea, Samaria and the rest of the world, to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. The receiving aspect alludes to the original mission of the Twelve in which they were to seek the hospitality of friendly persons (Matt 10:11-14), since this saying appears first in Matthew 10:40 (para. Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48). On that occasion Yeshua added, "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward" (Matt 10:41 NASB).
"Receiving" from a disciple as an agent of Yeshua would also refer to being in receipt of the charitable acts of disciples. In the parable of the sheep and goats included in Yeshua's Olivet discourse two days previously, the sheep are rewarded because they fed the hungry, gave the thirsty something to drink, invited in the stranger, clothed the naked, and visited the sick and the imprisoned (Matt 25:35-36). When the sheep asked when that happened Yeshua told them, "to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me" (Matt 25:40).
21 Having said these things Yeshua was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you that one of you will betray me."
Having said: Grk. legō, aor. part. See verse 6 above. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, dem. pron. Yeshua: See verse 1 above. was troubled: Grk. tarassō, aor. pass., caused to be in a disturbed state, agitate. Mounce interprets the usage of verb in this to verse to mean "affected with grief," which is explained by the statement that follows. in spirit: Grk. pneuma (for Heb. ruach), wind, breath or spirit as the animating force for bodily movement (Luke 8:55). The spirit of man is that which man has in common with God who is Spirit (Gen 1:2; John 4:24). Pneuma is used frequently for transcendent beings (Matt 8:16; Heb 1:14), particularly the Holy Spirit as God's self-expression (Gen 1:2; Mark 1:10). The use of pneuma here affirms that Yeshua was fully human and felt strong emotions as other humans.
and testified: Grk. martureō, aor., to attest to a fact or truth, often in a legal context; testify, attest. The verb points not to relating opinion or hearsay, but what is objective truth. and said: Grk. legō, aor. Truly, truly: See verse 16 above. I say: Grk. legō, pres. to you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron., i.e. "you disciples." that: Grk. hoti, conj. one: Grk. heis, the numeral one. of: Grk. ex, prep. introducing an aspect of separation or derivation, used here in the sense of origin; lit. "out of." you: Grk. humeis. will betray: Grk. paradidōmi, fut. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers., i.e., Yeshua. The awful truth is that his betrayer will not be someone outside the Twelve disciples but one who has had a close relationship with him and the other disciples.
The shocking announcement was no doubt made to prepare the faithful eleven for what would transpire in Gethsemane. It was time they knew the truth. Since Yeshua knew what was going to happen, it did not mean that he was in any less control of the situation. Everything was happening as had been planned by the Father and prophesied in the Tanakh. Yeshua had already declared in his teaching on the good shepherd that no one could take his life (John 10:18). Judas and the Judean authorities might have thought they were in control, but they were monumentally wrong. Since Judas knew that Yeshua was aware of his betrayal, his willingness to go through with the plot reflects a truly dark character.
22 The disciples were looking at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke.
The disciples: pl. of Grk. mathētēs, used of the Twelve. See verse 5 above. were looking: Grk. blepō, impf., may mean (1) possess the physical ability to see; (2) use one's eyes to take note of an object; (3) be looking in a certain direction; or (4) fig. to have inward or mental sight. The third meaning applies here with a nuance of the fourth. at: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." The verb-preposition combination emphasizes that they were conducting analysis. one another: Grk. allēlōn, reciprocal pron. perplexed: Grk. aporeō, pres. mid. part., to be in a state of bewilderment; be perplexed, be at a loss. about: Grk. peri, prep. whom: Grk. tis, indef. pron. he spoke: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above.
In other words, each of the Twelve was looking at each of the others in the group to try to obtain some confirmation of Yeshua's shocking announcement. They obviously believed what Yeshua said, but up to this point the disciples had no clue that one of them would be betray their Master and now they could not imagine who it would be. Morris notes that it is interesting that neither here nor elsewhere does anyone express suspicion of Judas. He had covered his duplicity well.
23 One of his disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was reclining at the chest of Yeshua.
One: Grk. heis, the numeral one. of: Grk. ex, prep. See verse 21 above. his: Grk. autos, pers. pron., used of Yeshua. disciples: pl. of Grk. mathētēs, used of the Twelve. See verse 5 above. whom: Grk. hos, rel. pron. Yeshua: See verse 1 above. loved: Grk. agapaō, impf. See verse 1 above. The imperfect tense depicts continuous action in past time. This is the first mention of the anonymous "beloved disciple," but apparently Yeshua's closest disciple and the eyewitness who wrote this book (cf. 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). While the name of the "beloved disciple" is never stated, the unanimous opinion of commentators is that it refers to John the apostle. There is no implication that Yeshua did not love the rest of his disciples (see verse 1 above; 15:9, 12; 17:23). There were others of whom it was said that Yeshua loved: Lazarus (11:3) and Miriam and Martha (11:5).
Reinhartz suggests that from this point on the book subordinates Peter to the beloved disciple in their relationship to Jesus and leadership of the disciples (185). However, this characterization is inaccurate because Peter and John were close friends. Yeshua later emphasizes Peter's leadership role over all the disciples (21:15-17). was reclining: Grk. anakeimai (Heb. shakab), pres. mid. part., to lie down and in this instance to recline at a table for eating. The verb also occurs in John 6:11 in reference to the feeding of the five thousand and in 12:2 when Yeshua and his disciples ate supper at the home of Simon. The verb is also used in the Synoptic account of the last supper (Matt 26:20; Mark 14:18). For the manner of reclining see the note on verse 12 above.
in: Grk. en, prep., lit. "within," but with the dative case of the noun following the preposition emphasizes location or position that is within the range of. the bosom: Grk. kolpos may mean (1) anatomical front of the human chest; chest, bosom, breast (Luke 16:22-23); (2) the fold of a garment, formed as it falls from the chest over the girdle; fold, lap (Luke 6:38; cf. Ps 79:12); and (3) a portion of a body of water on a shoreline; bay, gulf, inlet (Acts 27:39).
In the LXX kolpos renders Heb. cheq (SH-2436), bosom or breast, and may mean (1) the fold of a garment at the breast (Ex 4:6-7) (2) of the anatomical chest area (2Sam 12:3; 1Kgs 3:20; 17:19); (3) fig. of nursing an infant (Num 11:12; Ruth 4:16); (4) fig. of intimate relations with a woman (Gen 16:5; Deut 13:6; 2Sam 12:8); (5) fig. of lying against for warmth (1Kgs 1:2); (6) fig. of strong emotions (Job 19:27; Ps 35:13; 89:50); (7) fig. of tender care (Isa 40:11) or retribution (Isa 65:6-7).
of Yeshua: John changes to a different word for "chest" in verse 25 so the description here may have another intention. Rienecker says the expression "in the bosom of Yeshua" alludes to the intimate relationship of child and parent, or friend and friend. The same idiomatic expression occurs in Luke 16:22-23 where Lazarus dies and is taken to the "bosom of Abraham." BAG interprets kolpos here as expressing the closest communion or a place of honor. Morris suggests that the description of being "in the bosom of Yeshua" may be intended to evoke memory of the statement in John 1:18 of the Son being "in the bosom of the Father" (625). Thus, "in the bosom of Yeshua" is figurative of tender affection.
24 Then Simon Peter motioned to him, and said to him to ask, "Who is it anyhow about whom he speaks."
Then: Grk. oun, conj. Simon Peter: See verse 6 above. motioned: Grk. neuō, pres., send a signal by gesture; nod. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh (also Acts 24:10). In other words, the motion involved movement of the head. to him: Grk. autos, per. pron.; referring to the "beloved disciple" or John. and said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos. to ask: Grk. punthanomai, aor. mid. inf., to inquire for information. Who: Grk. tis, indef. pron. is: Grk. eimi, pres. opt. See verse 5 above. The optative mood expresses strong contingency or possibility. There is no definite anticipation of realization, but sees what is conceivable. The verb expresses a wish that is hopeful of an answer.
it anyhow: Grk. an, disjunctive particle that nuances a verb with contingency or generalization. about: Grk. peri, prep. whom: Grk. hos, rel. pron. he speaks: Grk. legō, pres. Peter is situated across the table from John. Peter's address may have been not much more than a whisper, but it is strange that he does not ask Yeshua himself. Peter may have assumed that since John and Yeshua had a close relationship, Yeshua might have told him.
25 That one, having reclined thus up to the chest of Yeshua, said to him, "Lord, who is it?"
That one: Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pron., that, that one there. having reclined: Grk. anapiptō, aor. part. See verse 12 above. thus: Grk. houtōs, adv., used to introduce the manner or way in which something has been done or to be done; thus, in this manner, way or fashion, so. up to: Grk. epi, prep., lit. "upon," but with the accusative case of the noun following the preposition emphasizes motion or direction (DM 106). John was not on top of Yeshua. the chest: Grk. stēthos, an anatomical word for the chest, i.e., the thorax, which extends from the neck to the abdomen. of Yeshua: See verse 1 above. In the situation John was reclining to the right of Yeshua, a coveted position of honor (cf. Mark 10:35-40). Since reclining was on the left side then John's back would be toward Yeshua's front, but the description is not of physical contact since this would impede eating.
said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. See verse 6 above. The title is not used here in the sense of deity, but of "master." who: Grk. tís, interrogative pron. is it: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. The question does not necessarily imply a belief of a traitor among the Twelve. Yeshua had many other disciples. Peter is simply trying to find out to whom Yeshua is referring.
26 Yeshua answered, "It is he to whom I will dip the morsel and give it." So having dipped the morsel, he took it and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
Passover Custom – Charoset-Maror
Parallel: Matt 26:23; Mark 14:20.
Yeshua: See verse 1 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, pres. mid. See verse 7 above. The verb indicates Yeshua responding to John's question. It is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. he: Grk. ekeinos, dem. pron. See the previous verse. to whom: Grk. hos, rel. pron. I will dip: Grk. baptō, fut., put something in liquid to moisten it; dip, dip in. The verb was also used of dipping and submerging cloth in dye. In the LXX baptō usually translates Heb. tabal (SH-2881), to dip, and in the Torah often used of dipping in blood (e.g., Gen 37:31; Ex 12:22; Lev 4:6) and sometimes in water (Num 19:18; Josh 3:15) (DNTT 1:143). The dipping no doubt refers to the bowl of charoset, a sauce made of a mixture of fruit, nuts and wine, symbolizing the mortar used by the Israelites in the building projects (Pes. 2:9; 10:3). Charoset was not a compulsory part of the meal (Pes. 10:3), but a popular addition nonetheless. There were probably multiple bowls of charoset available, but not necessarily one for every disciple.
the morsel: Grk. psōmion, a small portion of bread, bit of bread. BAG concurs with the definition, but LSJ, Mounce and Thayer only give the meaning as fragment, bit or morsel without specifying an item of food. Many versions translate psōmion with "bread," and any such bread would be unleavened as set forth in the Synoptic narratives. However, Edersheim (824) and Morris (627) suggest the morsel was possibly meat. In the LXX psōmion translates Heb. path ("fragment, piece, bit, morsel"), which is used for bread (Ruth 2:14; 1Sam 28:22; 1Kgs 17:11; Prov 28:21; Job 22:7; Ezek 13:19) and for meat (Lev 6:21; Prov 17:1). In Job 22:7 psōmion stands for Heb. lechem, bread, and in Job 24:10 for Heb. omer, sheaf of grain. Psōmion does appear without Hebrew equivalent, but of something eaten (Job 31:17; Prov 23:8). Of interest is that psōmion occurs for fragments of ice hail (Ps 147:17) and fig. of a lack of common sense (Prov 9:13).
and give it: Grk. didōmi, fut. See verse 3 above. Matthew and Mark record the prophetic action as "dips with me," which indicates a common use of the bowl and the "baseness of the betrayal" (Lane 500). So: Grk. oun, conj. having dipped: Grk. baptō, aor. part. the morsel: Grk. psōmion. Not mentioned is the fact that maror ("bitter herbs") would have been on the table. Since the Torah does not define maror ("bitter herbs"), the Mishnah identifies different kinds of produce that satisfied the requirement of maror (Pes. 2:7): romaine or other dark lettuce, endive or chicory. Horseradish, which is commonly used today, wasn't adopted until Medieval times. Maror symbolized the bitterness of slavery. It's part of the dipping custom in the Seder to dip the bread with a bit of maror in the charoset, which would be especially appropriate in this circumstance. Judas had been enslaved by Satan.
he took it: Grk. lambanō, pres. See verse 4 above. and gave it: Grk. didōmi, pres. Yeshua's action alludes to the proverb, "The one who does not feel respect for persons of the just, is not good; such a one for a morsel of bread will deliver over a man" (Prov 28:21 LXX, ABP).to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot: See verse 2 above. John indicates that Yeshua intended to present a bit of bread with the charoset to Judas. This unusual action was meant to give a decisive clue as to the traitor's identity. The grammar implies that Judas accepted the morsel and ate it.
27 and after the morsel, then Satan entered into him. So Yeshua said to him, "What you do, do quickly."
and: Grk. kai, conj. after: Grk. meta, prep. the morsel: Grk. psōmion. See the previous verse. then: Grk. tote, temporal adv. that focuses on a time or circumstance that is closely associated with what precedes in the narrative; at that time, then, thereupon. Satan: Grk. satanas, adversary, the chief enemy of God and all who belong to God. Satanas may be a name, but functions more as a descriptive title of his function as heavenly prosecutor. In both the Besekh and the LXX satanas transliterates the Heb. satan (pronounced "sah-tahn"), which means accuser or adversary (BDB 966). He appears a number of times in the Tanakh (Num 22:22, 32; 1Sam 29:4; 1Chr 21:1; Job 2:1; Zech 3:1).
Satan is a created being and not equal to God in power or knowledge. The taunt against the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:11-15 and the lament for the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11-19 depict the original perfection and downfall of the leading cherub. Exactly when this evil character was created or became evil is not disclosed in Scripture. The heavenly beings were most likely created on the second day (cf. Job 38:4-7). In contrast to the common depiction of angels the cherubim (Heb. kerubim, Ex 25:20) and seraphim (Heb. saraphim, Isa 6:2) are the only heavenly beings described as having wings. All the other heavenly messengers, translated as "angels," appeared as ordinary men. Of importance is that the Adversary is not an angel, and is sometimes contrasted with angels (here; Zech 3:1; 2Cor 11:14; Rev 12:9).
In the Tanakh the Adversary is most frequently mentioned in the story of Job in which the prince of cherubs is an adversary of man. There is no question that the serpent in Genesis 3 who tempts the first couple is this person (Rev 12:9). Why the good and loving God permits the existence of this liar and murderer (John 8:44) is also not explained. In the Besekh satanas is never used to describe a human. In the apostolic narratives Satan is depicted as an opponent of Yeshua and the good news (Mark 4:15), as a tempter (Mark 1:13) and as the head of a demonic empire (Mark 3:23-26). In contrast with the "God of peace" Satan’s character and life goals are summed up in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy."
entered: Grk. eiserchomai, aor., to go or enter into a geographical area, manufactured structure or other place defined in the context. into: Grk. eis, prep. him: Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pron.; lit. "that one;" i.e., Judas The mechanics of how Satan, a supernatural being could enter into a human being are a mystery. However, it is possible that the description is intended as hyperbole and metaphoric of Satan exercising complete seductive control over Judas. So: Grk. oun, conj. Yeshua: See verse 1 above. said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron.; i.e., Judas.
What: Grk. hos, relative pron. you do: Grk. poieō, pres. See verse 7 above. do: Grk. poieō, aor. imp. quickly: Grk. tacheōs, adv., putting into effect with rapidity; quickly, at once, without delay. Danker says the sense of the adverb is to lose no time. Yeshua communicates in this manner his knowledge of the treasonous plans of Judas. Tenney notes that with the departure of Judas, Yeshua would be able to continue his intimate ministry with his disciples in the upper room.
28 Now none of those reclining knew why he said this to him.
Now: Grk. de, conj. none: Grk. oudeis, adj., a noun marker used to indicate negation of a person or thing as actually existing at a given place or moment; no one, nobody. of those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article for the participle. reclining: Grk. anakeimai, pres. mid. part. See verse 23 above. knew: Grk. ginōskō, aor. See verse 7 above. why: Grk. pros tis, lit. "to what," meaning "to what purpose." he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 6 above. this: Grk. houtos, dem. pron. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron.; i.e., Judas. John's statement in this verse is important to recognize the true nature of the guesses given in the next verse. There is a certain irony in that Yeshua had already told them that one of them would betray him. The disciples simply could not imagine such a scenario.
29 For some were thinking, since Judas had the money bag, that Yeshua was saying to him, "Buy what things we have need for the festival," or in order that he should give something to the poor.
For: Grk. gar, conj. some: Grk. tis, indef. pron. The pronoun introduces the observation that the Eleven were not unanimous in their interpretation of Yeshua's instruction to Judas, and applies to both assumptions presented. were thinking: Grk. dokeō, impf., the basic idea of receptivity and hence attractiveness to the intellect appears throughout the verb's usage, which may mean to entertain an idea or form an opinion about something on the basis of what appears to support a specific conclusion; think, opine, regard. since: Grk. epei, conj. used in a causal sense; since, inasmuch. because. Judas: See verse 2 above. had: Grk. echō, impf. See verse 8 above. the money-bag: Grk. glōssokomon, a box for storing reeds of musical instruments, then of containers for other objects such as money; money–bag, purse. The noun occurs only twice in the Besekh, the other at John 12:6.
that: Grk. hoti, conj. Yeshua: See verse 1 above. was saying: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. John presents the first interpretation. Buy: Grk. agorazō, aor. imp., to buy or purchase, in regard to a commercial transaction. what things: pl. of Grk. hos, rel. pron. we have: Grk. echō, pres. need: Grk. chreia. See verse 10 above. for: Grk. eis, prep. the festival: Grk. heortē. See verse 1 above. The term refers to the complete term of Passover which lasted a total of eight days. or: Grk. ē, conj. used to denote an alternative. John then presents the second interpretation. in order that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 1 above. he should give: Grk. didōmi, aor. subj. See verse 3 above. The verb implies an act of generosity. something: Grk. tis, indef. pron. to the poor: Grk. ptōchos, in a needy condition that is the opposite of having much, usually of someone in a relatively indigent state.
John points out what the disciples thought Yeshua meant, which amounted to a wild guess. Some scholars believe the last supper occurred on the evening before the the killing of the Passover lamb for the Seder, and interpret Yeshua's statement as buying something for that meal, such as the lamb. Tenney correctly notes that it seems unlikely Yeshua would wait until this moment to give instructions for obtaining the lamb. The text says that the disciples didn't know the reason for Yeshua's statement to Judas, which would hardly be the case if the lamb was missing. Yeshua's instruction to Judas was quite cryptic.
Regarding the first interpretation of the disciples, the festival went on for seven more days and the Passover meal could be repeated every day. The Passover meal with its three required foods was obligatory on the first night of the festival and voluntary for the remaining days of the festival (Pesachim 91b; 120a). There is no specific commandment in the Torah that forbids buying something on the Sabbath. The fourth commandment forbids working on the Sabbath, which would include conducting a commercial enterprise, i.e. operating a business (cf. Neh 10:31; 13:15-22). However, we should also note that the work restrictions for Passover (which included the Feast of Unleavened Bread) were not as stringent as the seventh-day Sabbath (Lev 23:7-9).
Talmudic instruction implies that some exception was made for buying things needed for the Passover festival: "Thus did the grocers cry, 'Come and buy ingredients for your religious requirements'" (Pes. 116a). Regarding the second interpretation Jews of that time considered it a duty to insure that the poor were able to celebrate the festival of Passover (Pes. 10:1; 7a; 99b). The charitable duty to contribute toward providing the festival necessities to the poor only applied to the Seder. If Yeshua had intended Judas to contribute to the charity fund it would mean his generosity extended to enabling the observance of the rest of the festival. But, the reader knows that Yeshua intended something completely different for Judas to do.
Passover Custom – Erev
30 Therefore having received the morsel, he went out immediately. Now it was night.
Therefore: Grk. oun, conj. having received: Grk. lambanō, aor. part. See verse 4 above. the morsel: Grk. psōmion. See verse 26 above. This is the morsel Yeshua had dipped in the charoset. Along with the morsel he also received the instruction from Yeshua (verse 27 above), "what you do, do quickly." Tenney comments that the repetition of the phrase "having received the morsel" (cf. v. 27) indicates that Satan's control of Judas and Judas' departure from the group must have been simultaneous. he: Grk. ekeinos, dem. pron., lit. "that one." went out: Grk. exerchomai, aor. See verse 3 above. immediately: Grk. eutheōs, adv., immediately, forthwith, or right away. The adverb is a dramatic device that shifts the scene, and in this case gives emphasis to the resolution of Judas to do what the devil had put in his heart. Judas didn't blink, he didn't hesitate. He was now a committed traitor.
Now: Grk. de, conj. it was: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. night: Grk. nux, night as a chronological period, sunset to sunrise. In the literal sense the noun is a reminder that the Passover Seder occurred after sundown. Perhaps as Judas opened the door to leave, John saw the city veiled in darkness. Being night we might wonder how Judas navigated his way through the city. However, this night was a full moon. John may have had a figurative meaning in mind, possibly alluding to Yeshua's previous words that "night comes when no one can work" (John 9:4). The "night" represented the tragic spiritual condition of Judas as Yeshua had said a few months previously, "if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him" (John 11:10).
A New Commandment, 13:31-35
31 So when he had gone out, Yeshua said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him.
So: Grk. oun, conj. when: Grk. hote, conj. See verse 12 above. he had gone out: Grk. exerchomai, aor. See verse 3 above. Morris comments that with the departure of the traitor the company has been purged of its evil element. Yeshua: See verse 1 above. said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. At this point Yeshua begins a lengthy farewell discourse. Now: Grk. nun, adv. of time in the present, 'now' or more emphatically 'right now.' the Son: Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios generally renders Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), which is used: (1) to identify immediate paternity (Gen 5); (2) to mean a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32; Matt 1:1); or (3) to mean having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3). Huios also renders the Aram. bar in the Aramaic portions of Ezra and Daniel.
of Man: Grk. anthrōpos, human being, man or mankind. In the LXX anthrōpos renders three Hebrew words: (1) adam, SH-444, used for a human male or generically for humans as a contrast to animals (e.g., Gen 1:26, 27; 2:5); (2) ish, SH-376, an adult male or husband (Gen 2:23, 24) and (3) enosh, SH-582, a man or mankind, often signifying the aspect of weakness and mortality (Job 5:17; Ps 8:4-5); as well as Aram. enash, man (Ezra 6:11) (DNTT 2:564). The designation "Son of Man" occurs 107 times in the Tanakh, and 89 times in the Besekh. In the Tanakh "Son of Man" translates the Heb. ben adam in every instance except Daniel 7:13, which has the Aram. bar enash.
Yeshua frequently refers to himself in the third person as "Son of Man." The title "Son of Man" is thoroughly Hebraic and has no counterpart in Greek culture. Christian interpreters typically treat "Son of Man" in the context of Yeshua's ministry as representative of his identification with humanity, whereas "Son of God" pertains to his deity. In Hebraic thought these expressions mean just the opposite. "Son of God" is a Messianic title that refers to the Davidic king who reigns as God's regent on earth (Ps 80:15-2; cf. Ps 2:7, 12; 110:1; John 1:49) and "Son of Man" is the eschatological supra–natural figure from heaven who establishes a kingdom on the earth (Dan 7:13–14, 27; cf. Matt 25:31). However, Yeshua added the unexpected element of suffering in order to bring salvation from sin. For a full discussion on this important title see the note on John 1:51.
is glorified: Grk. doxazō, aor. pass. (from doxa, "glory"), enhance esteem or reputation through word (of praise) or action to honor (John 8:54; 11:4). BAG adds a second meaning: to clothe in splendor in reference to the glory that comes in the next life (John 7:39; 12:16). The first meaning has application in this verse. In the LXX doxazō renders Heb. navah (SH–5115), to beautify, adorn with praises (Ex 15:2), but principally kabad (SH–3513), to be weighty, to be honored or praised (Lev 10:3; Ps 15:4). In Greek grammar the aorist tense is used for action in the past, but also for completed action. The passive voice describes the subject receiving the action. Rienecker says that the verb is used intransitively to display one's importance, greatness or glory. It indicates that God has made a full display of His glory in the person of the Son of Man.
and: Grk. kai, conj. God: Grk. theos (for Heb. Elohim), the God of Israel, manifested as Father and Spirit. See verse 3 above. is glorified: Grk. doxazō, aor. pass. in: Grk. en, prep. him: Grk. autos, pers. pron., that is, Yeshua. The first meaning of doxazō applies to God. The grammatical construction may seen strange, since we would expect Yeshua to say, "I will be glorified." The aorist tense of both instances of "glorified" should be viewed as should be viewed as culminative, that is, it views the action from the standpoint of its results. The betrayal was necessary to complete the plan conceived before the foundation of the world, as well as to fulfill Messianic prophecy in the Tanakh, and to set the chain of events in motion leading to the cross.
Since Yeshua's statement follows the comment of Judas leaving on his traitorous errand, then Yeshua means that his glorification had begun. Glorification resulted from the humbling of God to save His covenant people as well as the rest of mankind. In human culture sacrificially dying to deliver others from danger or death is highly praiseworthy. The military awards medals for such bravery in wartime and that brings "glory" to the military member who performed the sacrifice. These are called posthumous awards.
32 and God will glorify him in himself, and He will glorify him immediately.
and: Grk. kai, conj. God will glorify: Grk. doxazō, fut. See the previous verse. The second meaning of doxazō is intended here. him: Grk. autos, the Son of Man in the previous verse. in: Grk. en, prep. Himself: Grk. autos, meaning God. and: Grk. kai, conj. He will glorify: Grk. doxazō, fut. The subject of the verb is God. him: Grk. autos, i.e., Yeshua. immediately: Grk. eutheōs, adv. See verse 30 above. As a time reference for God "immediately" does not mean necessarily the next moment. Morris suggests that Yeshua expresses three certainties: First, God is glorified in him (the previous verse). Second, God will glorify Yeshua in Himself, meaning "God" (i.e., in heaven, as in 17:5). Third, God will do this without delay. The glorification of Yeshua was a three-stage operation: first atoning death, then resurrection and finally ascension to heaven.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Judean authorities, 'Where I go, you are not able to come,' and now I say to you.
Little children: Grk. teknion, the diminutive form of teknon (child of undetermined age), little child. A teknon is older than an infant, but younger than bar/bat mitzvah age, so a teknion would be on the younger end of that scale. The term occurs 8 times in the Besekh, all in John's writings. Yeshua uses the term in an affectionate address, so it is not surprising that John should use it as his favorite form of address in his first letter (2:1, 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4 and 5:21). Yeshua certainly intended no insult and in terms of relationship a rabbi was regarded as equivalent to a father to his talmidim (cf. Baba Metzia 2:13). Moreover, Isaiah had prophesied that Messiah would be called "eternal father" (Isa 9:6).
yet: Grk. eti, adv. used to either express (1) continuance of an action or circumstance or (2) express addition; yet, still; here the latter. a little while: Grk. mikros, adj., relatively limited in extent, used (1) of persons as a measure of physical height, age and social position relative to importance, influence or power; (2) of things whether in size, number, significance or time; and (3) as a substantive to mean a short time, a little while (BAG). The third usage is intended here. Yeshua uses this same expression in 12:35 but there adds chronos, time. I am: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 7 above. The preposition is used here in the sense of continuing physical association. you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron.
You will seek: Grk. zēteō, fut., may mean (1) be on the search for in order to find someone or something one has difficulty in locating; seek, look for; (2) search for ways to satisfy an interest; deliberate, discuss; (3) have an interest in; desire, seek; or (4) press for; expect, demand. The third meaning and fourth meanings have application here. Almost all versions translate the verb as "seek" or "look for" with the first meaning in mind. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. However, Yeshua is not saying that he is going to hide from them and they will go throughout the city and countryside looking for him. Rather, he speaks of their desire to keep him with them and fulfill their expectation for him to reign on David's throne.
and: Grk. kai, conj. just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. See verse 15 above. I said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 6 above. to the Judean authorities: pl. of Grk. Ioudaios, Judean, Jew, Jewish or Jewess (BAG). The noun, translated in most versions as "Jews," is used in the book of John as a shorthand term to identify a particular group within the biological descendants of Jacob and adherents to the Judean religion. In this verse the term for those in positions of power in Judea, namely members of the Sanhedrin. For more discussion on the background of Ioudaios and the usage of it in John's book see my comment on John 1:19. Yeshua alludes to his response to the Judean authorities in 7:34 when he said "You will seek me, and not find me; and where I am, you can not come."
Where: Grk. hopou, adv., in what place. I go: Grk. hupagō, pres. See verse 3 above. Yeshua means his return to the Father as he said in 7:33. you are not: Grk. ou, particle of strong negation. able: Grk. dunamai, pres. mid., to be capable of doing or achieving, to have power. to come: Grk. erchomai, aor. inf. See verse 1 above. The only way the disciples could "come" where Yeshua is "going" would be to die first, but this is not their time. and: Grk. kai, conj. now: Grk. arti, adv. See verse 7 above. I say: Grk. legō, pres. to you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. The last clause introduces the instruction of the next two verses.
34 A new instruction I give to you, that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
A new: Grk. kainos, new, has three applications in the Besekh: (1) of recent origin or unused, such as wineskins (Matt 9:17); (2) different and superior in quality relative to something old with no criticism of the old, such as the New Covenant; or (3) different in reaction generated for something not previously present, such as the authority exerted by Yeshua (Mark 1:27). The first meaning applies here. Morris notes that this is the only place in John's book that Yeshua uses the word kainos. instruction: Grk. entolē, a directive for action, command, order or instruction. The noun refers to instruction that is obligatory and not merely informative. In the LXX entolē is concentrated in the Torah and generally renders Heb. mitsvah (SH-4687), 'commandment' (e.g., Ex 20:6; Ps 119:6).
A mitsvah may be a human command, but mostly the term is used for divine instruction intended for obedience. I give: Grk. didōmi, pres. See verse 3 above. to you: Grk. humeis, 2p-pl. pers. pron. that: Grk. hina, conj. See verse 1 above. you should love: Grk. agapaō, pres. subj. See verse 1 above. The subjunctive mood expresses mild contingency or probability; it looks toward what is conceivable or potential. It may seem strange that Yeshua does not use the imperative mood, the mood of command, since he clearly expects compliance. However, the subjunctive mood probably reflects an appeal to the conscience rather than commanding the will. The present tense emphasizes beginning and continuing the activity.
one another: Grk allēlōn, reciprocal pron. See verse 14 above. Just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. See verse 15 above. The adverb is used here for the purpose of comparison, alluding to the "as" in the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18). I have loved: Grk. agapaō, aor. The aorist tense, expressing completed action, normally refers to past actions. Yet, here with anticipation of the cross the aorist may view his love in its entirety. The constative aorist takes an occurrence and, regardless of its extent of duration, gathers it into a single whole. On the other hand, the aorist may be culminative, that is, the viewpoint is on the existing results. The outcome of his love was becoming a sin offering for the world (John 10:17). you: Grk. humeis. Yeshua loved all his disciples, including Judas.
If we remove the aspect of the cross how may we say that Yeshua loved his disciples prior to this point? In his high priestly prayer he will say that he protected them from the evil one (John 17:12, 15). He protected them from danger while on the Sea of Galilee (Matt 8:24-26). In particular he healed Peter's mother-in law (Matt 8:14-15) and saved Peter from drowning (Matt 14:30-31). He explained his Kingdom parables to them, which he did not do for the crowds (Matt 13:11). He provided miracle food for his disciples (John 6:11-13). He regularly prayed for his disciples (Luke 5:16; 22:32). So, Yeshua could have provided a list of all the ways he loved them, but he does not say this to simply provide a motive for his disciples to love. Rather, he describes a manner of loving according to his own example of how he loved his them.
you: Grk. humeis. also: Grk. kai, conj. should love: Grk. agapaō, pres. subj. one another: Grk allēlon. In one respect if the disciples kept the Torah commandment to love others, then they likely already had such love for one another. However, Yeshua's instruction presupposes a higher level of loving, the kind that eliminates rivalry. As Morris says, Yeshua was not asking his disciples to do any more than he himself had done and would do. In order to understand the point of the instruction we must consider how Yeshua loved his disciples. Yeshua had already taught his disciples concerning love of God, love of neighbor (Matt 19:19), and even love of an enemy (Matt 5:44). Yeshua demonstrated his love by being willing to lay down his life as an atoning sacrifice (John 10:17).
The commandment to love one's neighbor only conceives doing practical good for another on the same basis as the person takes care of himself. However, loving as Yeshua loved means being willing to give one's life for a fellow disciple (John 15:13). Yeshua's instruction is a gentle rebuke of the competitiveness expressed earlier in the Seder. If loving a fellow disciple as Yeshua did means a willingness to die, then it also means a willingness to sacrifice one's pride to give honor and preference (cf. Rom 12:10). Stern suggests that the new commandment presupposes God's way of loving, which is humanly impossible.
Yet, with the giving of a new nature or new spirit by the Holy Spirit (cf. Jer 31:33; Ezek 36:26; 37:14; Acts 15:8-9), God makes it possible. We could say that sacrificial love is humanly possible just as a parent would give his or her life for a child or a soldier might give his life for a fellow soldier in combat. The grammatical form of Yeshua's instruction implies an encouragement to take on a new perspective and make it a value for the rest of their lives. True discipleship implies a commitment to loving fellow believers in the manner of Yeshua. And, if martyrdom should be required the Holy Spirit will provide the strength for the occasion.
35 By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you should have love among one another."
By: Grk. en, prep. this: Grk. houtos, dem. pron. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. Some versions translate the masculine adjective as "all men" (ASV, DRA, KJV, NASB, NLV, PNT, RSV), but there is no intent to exclude women. In the proximate sense Yeshua likely intended "all your fellow Israelites." will know: Grk. ginōskō, fut. mid. See verse 7 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 1 above. you are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 5 above. my: Grk. emos, an emphatic possessive pronoun for the first person (Thayer); my, mine. disciples: pl. of Grk. mathētēs. See verse 5 above. In typical fashion Yeshua repeats his expectation. if: Grk. ean, conj. See verse 8 above. you should have: Grk. echō, pres. subj. See verse 8 above. The verb stresses personal possession.
love: Grk. agapē, a relatively high level of interest in the well-being of another, affection, esteem, love. The noun agapē is one of the four Greek words for "love." In the LXX agapē renders Heb. ahavah (SH-160, BDB 12), which is used of both human and divine love. The Jewish translators of the LXX apparently coined the noun agapē, since there is no Greek literature earlier than the LXX that uses the word (DNTT 2:539). God's nature and actions are the epitome of agapē (1Jn 4:8) and the preeminent virtue (1Cor 13:1-13). The essential factor in every passage employing agapē is the willingness to sacrifice for an object, which sets it apart from the affection of phileō, the family loyalty of storgē and the passion of eros.
among: Grk. en, prep. one another: Grk allēlon, reciprocal pron. See verse 14 above. Yeshua asserts that true disciples will be known to unbelievers by love. Stern bears witness to the truth of this statement. He says,
"I became willing to investigate the truth claims of the New Testament not because I was overwhelmed by irrefutable arguments but because I met believers whose love for each other went beyond what I had experienced. It was not even their love toward me which impressed me (although they treated me well), but their self-sacrificing and cheerful willingness to give themselves fully for each other without any trace of self-serving motivation."
Disciples of Yeshua cannot hope to be effective witnesses to a lost and dying world if they lack sacrificial love for fellow disciples. Congregations that are plagued with controversy and division will not attract unbelievers or cause unbelievers to consider the merits of the good news. Instead, unbelievers will view such strife as validating common prejudice that the Body of Messiah is full of hypocrites. On the other hand servant love will open doors and hearts to the message of salvation.
Prophecy of Denial, 13:36-38
36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Yeshua answered, "Where I am going, you are not able now to follow me, but afterward you will follow."
Simon Peter: See verse 6 above. The full name of the leading apostle is used again. said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. See verse 6 above. where: Grk. pou, adv. of place with interrogative effect; where, at which place. are you going: Grk. hupagō, pres. See verse 3 above. Peter seemingly ignores Yeshua's teaching on love, instead being intrigued by Yeshua's remark in verse 33 of going somewhere. Maybe Peter thought that Yeshua was about to end the Seder prematurely. It was late at night. There's no place to go.
Yeshua: See verse 1 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass. See verse 7 above. Where: Grk. hopou, interrogative adv. derived from pou. I am going: Grk. hupagō, pres. you are not: Grk. ou, particle of strong negation. able: Grk. dunamai, pres. mid. See verse 33 above. now: Grk. nun, adv. See verse 31 above. to follow: Grk. akoloutheō, aor. inf., may mean (1) to be in motion in sequence behind someone; (2) to be in close association with someone, especially as a disciple. Mounce adds to imitate in behavior. The first meaning of the verb applies here. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. but: Grk. de, conj. afterward: Grk. husteros, in a state or condition of being subsequent, here of a temporal moment or period; later, thereafter, afterward. Strong's suggests the word here means "eventually." you will follow: Grk. akoloutheō, fut.
Yeshua engages in a play on words with the verb "follow." Peter and the rest of the disciples will follow Yeshua when he leaves to go to Gethsemane. What Yeshua meant is that Peter could not follow Yeshua in his atoning mission. Peter could not die for the sins of the nation, but he would physically follow Yeshua in a martyr's death after thirty-five years. However, the word "afterward" could have a more immediate meaning in that Peter will secretly follow Yeshua and the arresting party to the Temple where he witnesses the trial before Annas, the emeritus high priest.
37 Peter said to him, "Lord, why am I not able to follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
Peter said: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. See verse 6 above. why: Grk. dia tis, lit. "because of why?" or "for what reason?" am I not: Grk. ou, negative particle. able: Grk. dunamai, pres. mid. See verse 33 above. to follow: Grk. akoloutheō, aor. inf. See the previous verse. you: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. now: Grk. arti, adv. See verse 7 above. I will lay down: Grk. tithēmi, fut. See verse 4 above. The verb is used fig. here of death as Yeshua used the verb of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). my: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. life: Grk. psuchē may mean (1) a quality without which a body is physically dead; life; (2) that which possesses vital being; person; or (3) that which is integral to being a person beyond physical function; life (inner) self, soul.
In the LXX psuchē corresponds to Heb. nephesh (SH-5315). Nephesh is that which breathes air (Gen 1:20), is in the blood (Lev 17:11; Deut 12:23), and possesses the ability to move (Gen 1:21). Nephesh also represents the inner self and the seat of desires, passions, appetites, and emotion. In Hebrew thought a person is a soul-body. Thus, "soul" does not refer to a non-physical part of a human being, but rather to the whole person. Human beings live as "souls;" they do not have souls (e.g., Acts 2:41; 7:14; 27:37; 1Pet 3:20).
for: Grk. huper, prep., lit. "over, above," used to express a stance of concern or interest relating to someone or something, here emphasizing a supportive aspect; for, in behalf of, in the interest of. you: Grk. su. Peter apparently assumed that Yeshua was going into danger and wanted to assure his Lord that he would not be alone. Peter's reply may reflect wounded pride as if Yeshua questioned his loyalty. So he insists, "I will give my life in place of yours." Stern considers Peter's declaration a rash promise, but it was a heart-felt commitment. Peter had given up everything for Yeshua (Matt 19:27). He was not about to abandon Yeshua now.
The Synoptic Narrative does not report the exchange as John presents it (cf. Matt 26:30-33, Mark 14:29-33), but Luke indicates that Yeshua said more that led to Peter's declaration.
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." 33 Peter said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death." (Luke 22:31-33 ESV)
38 Yeshua answered him, "You will lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until that you deny me three times."
Parallel: Matt 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34
Yeshua: See verse 1 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, pres. mid. See verse 7 above. him: Grk. autos, pers. pron. You will lay down: Grk. tithēmi, fut. See verse 4 above. your: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. life: Grk. psuchē. See the previous verse. for: Grk. huper, prep. me: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. Yeshua repeats Peter's declaration verbatim and presents it as a question, perhaps in a rhetorical sense. He then prophesies concerning what Peter will really do in the not-too-distant future. Truly, truly: Grk. amēn, amēn. See verse 16 above. Yeshua affirms the absolute truth of what he is about to say. I say: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 6 above. to you: Grk. su.
a rooster: Grk. alektōr, a cock or rooster, a male chicken. The term occurs 12 times in the Besekh, all in the apostolic narratives of this prophecy and its fulfillment. The term "rooster" originated in the United States. The rooster is head over a brood of hens and guards the general area where his hens are nesting. During the daytime, he usually sits on a high perch, usually 3–5 feet off the ground to serve as a lookout for his flock. He will sound a distinctive alarm call if predators are nearby. will not: Grk. ou mē, lit. "not, not." The two negative particles together denies any other possible occurrence. crow: Grk. phōneō, aor. subj., may mean either (1) to utter a sound designed to attracted attention, cry out or proclaim with emphasis; (2) call to oneself; summon, call for, or invite; or (3) to identify in personal address. The first meaning applies here.
The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn but cocks or roosters can crow any time of the day. Yeshua likely alluded the to third watch of the night, midnight to 3 am, called "cock-crowing" (Mark 13:35). It was the peculiar habit of cock crowing with comparative regularity in Jerusalem, at three times during the third watch that accounts for the designation of this time of the night as cock-crow (Lane 543). until: Grk. heōs, prep., a particle marking a limit, here of time; till, until, as far as. that: Grk. hos, dem. pron. Most versions don't translate the pronoun. you deny: Grk. arneomai, fut. mid., to give a negative answer; say no, deny. me: Grk. egō. three times: Grk. tris, adv., three times or thrice.
In Matthew and Mark this prophecy occurs after the group has concluded the Seder and left for Gethsemane (Matt 26:30, 34; Mark 14:30, 34), whereas Luke reports it, as does John, as occurring before the Seder ends (Luke 22:34). It's certainly possible that the prophecy was given more than once in the face of Peter's shocked refusal to believe it.
ABP: The Apostolic Bible Polyglot. ed. Charles Van der Pool. Apostolic Press, 2006. An interlinear of the Septuagint with English translation. Online.
Ant.: Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100 A.D.), Antiquities of the Jews. Online.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Barclay: William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series. Revised Ed., 16 Vols. The Westminster Press, 1975-76.
Barker: William P. Barker, Everyone In the Bible. Fleming H. Revell Co., 1966.
Barnes: Albert Barnes (1798-1870), New Testament Notes. Baker Book House, 1949. Online.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online.
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DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Davis: Charles D. Davis, Essene Passover Dates, 2013.
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Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Trans. William Kinnaird. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1992. Online.
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Strong: James Strong (1822–1894), Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890). Online.
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TLV: Messianic Jewish Family Bible: Tree of Life Version, Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society (2014). Online.
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