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Observations on the office of
the friend of the bridegroom.
shoshabin took her, and acted to her as a brother-in-law; || Jews; and that to it, some interesting references are made in which is probable from the place to which he refers, Judg. xiv. 20. But Sampson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend: or, as both the Syriac and the Targum have it, she was given, raw shoshebeeneyah, to his paranymph; which is agreeable to the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint, Και συνώκησεν η γυνη Σαμψον τω Νυμφαγωγω αυτού, ος And Sampson's wife dwelt (or cohabited) with ην εταιρος αυτού. his paranymph, who had been his companion. The same reading is found in the Complutensian Polyglott.
the New Testament, the force and true meaning of which passages cannot be discerned, without considering the character and office of the Jewish paranymph. See several good observations on this in Lightfoot's notes on John ii. 1. and Schoetgen, on chap. iii. 29.
From the preceding particulars, collated with the speech of John in ver. 29. and with the words of St. Paul, 2 Cor. xi. 2. it is plain that Christ is represented as the BRIDEGROOM: the church, or his genuine disciples, the BRIDE: the ministers of the gospel, the SHOSHBEENIM, whose great and important duty it is, to present to the bridegroom a pure, uncontaminated virgin, i. c. a church without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, Ephes. v. 27. alluding evidently to the office of the paranymph, on whom the bridegroom depended, to procure him for wife, a chaste and pure virgin. Hence that saying of St. Paul, who considered himself the paranymph to Jesus Christ: I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ, 2 Cor. xi. 2.
From all these particulars, we see that the office of the shoshabin or paranymph, was a very important one among the
a Ch. 3. 22, 26.
Jesus finding that the Pharisees took offence at his making many disciples, leaves Judea to pass into Galilee, 1—3. And passing through Samaria comes to Sychar, and rests at Jacob's well, 4-6. While his disciples were gone to the city to buy meat, a woman of Samaria comes to draw water, with whom our Lord discourses at large on the spiritual nature of his religion, the perfection of the divine nature, and the purity of his worship, 7-24. On his informing her that he was the Messiah, she leaves her pitcher, and goes to inform her townsmen, 25—30. discourse with his disciples in her absence, 31-38. Many of the Samaritans believe on him, 39-42. He stays two days with them, and goes into Galilee, 43-45. He comes to Cana, and heals the son of a nobleman, in consequence of which, he believes on him, with his whole family, 46–54.
WHEN therefore the Lord knew 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized A.M. 4031. how the Pharisees had heard not, but his disciples,) that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
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3 He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.
As the Christian church was now to take place of the Jewish, and the latter was about to be cast off because it was polluted; John, by using the simile of the bride, bridegroom, and paranymph, or friend of the bridegroom, points out as it were prophetically, of what kind the Christian church must be: it must be as holy and pure as an uncontaminated virgin, because it is to be the bride or spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ: and God honours the Baptist by making him the paranymph; and indeed his whole preaching and baptism, were excellently calculated to produce this great effect, as he strongly proclaimed the necessity of a total reformation of heart and manners, among all classes of the people. See the notes on Matt. iii. 8-12. and on Luke iii. 10-14. He heard the bridegroom's voice-he faithfully communicated what he had received from heaven, ver. 27. and he rejoiced exceedingly to find that he had got a people prepared for the Lord. The success of John's preaching greatly contributed to the success of that of Christ and his disciples. For this purpose he was endued with power from on high, and chosen to be the paranymph of the heavenly bridegroom.
NOTES ON CHAP. IV.
Verse 1. Jesus made and baptized, &c.] These seem to be quoted as the very words which were brought to the Pharisces: and from our Lord's conduct after this information, we
Acts 10. 48.- Matt. 4. 12.
may take it for granted, that they were so irritated, that they were determined to seek an occasion to take away his life, in consequence of which, leaving Judea, he withdrew into Galilee.
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4 And he must needs go through 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his jour5 Then cometh he to a city of Sa-ney, sat thus on the well: and it was maria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel about the sixth hour. of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
a Gen. 33. 19. & 48. 22. Josh, 24. 32.
Verse 2. Jesus himself baptized not] See chap. iii. 22.Verse 4. And he must needs go through Samaria.] Or, It was necessary for him to pass through Samaria: for this plain reason, and no other, because it was the only proper road. Samaria lay northward of Judea, and between the great sea, Galilee, and Jordan; and there was therefore no going from Galilee to Jerusalem, but through this province. See the note on Luke xvii. 11. From Jerusalem to Galilee through Samaria, according to Josephus, was three days' journey. See his own Life.
Verse 5. A city-called Sychar] This city was anciently called Shechem. It seems to have been situated at the foot of mount Gerizim, in the province of Samaria, on which the temple of the Samaritans was built. After the ruin of Samaria by Salmanezer, Sychar, or Shechem, became the capital of the Samaritans: and it continued so, according to Josephus, Ant. 1. xi. c. 8. in the time of Alexander the Great. It was about ten miles from Shiloh, forty from Jerusalem, and fiftytwo from Jericho. It probably got the name of Sychar, which signifies drunken, from the drunkenness of its inhabitants. With this crime the prophet Isaiah (ch. xxviii. 1, 3, 7, 8.) solemnly charges the Ephraimites, within whose limits this city stood. This place is remarkable in the Scriptures, 1. As being that where Abram first stopped, on his coming from Haran to Canaan. 2. Where God first appeared to that patriarch, and promised to give the land to his seed. 3. The place where Abram first built an altar to the Lord, and called upon his name, Gen. xii. 7. The present name of this city is Neapolis, or Naplouse. See Calmet.
That Jacob gave to his son Joseph.] Jacob had bought this field from the children of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of silver, or lambs, Gen. xxxiii. 19. and in it he built an altar, which he dedicated to El Elohey Yishrael, the strong God, the covenant God of Israel, ver. 19. This, Jacob left as a private or overplus inheritance to Joseph and his children. See Gen. xlviii. 21, 22. and Josh. xxiv. 32.
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Verse 6. Jacob's well was there.] Of this well, Mr. Maundrell gives the following account. "About one third of an hour from Naplosa, the ancient Sychar and Sychem, stood Jacob's well. If it be enquired, whether this be the very place, seeing it may be suspected to stand too remote from Sychar, for the woman to come and draw water, we may answer that in all probability, the city extended farther in former times than it does now, as may be conjectured from
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw
Exod. 2. 15. Heb. 4. 15.
some pieces of a very thick wall, the remains perhaps of the ancient Sychem, still to be seen not far from hence. Over it stood formerly a large church, erected by the empress Irene; but of this the voracity of time, assisted by the hands of the Turks, has left nothing but a few foundations remaining. The well is covered at present with an old stone vault, into which you are let down by a very strait hole; and then removing a broad flat stone, you discover the well itself. It is dug in a firm rock, is about three yards in diameter, and thirty-five in depth, five of which we found full of water. This confutes a story frequently told to travellers, That it is dry all the year round, except on the anniversary of that day, on which our blessed Saviour sat upon it; but then bubbles up with abundance of water.' At this well the narrow valley of Sychem ends, opening itself into a wide field, which probably is part of the ground, given by Jacob to his son Joseph. It is watered by a fresh stream, running between it and Sychem, which makes it exceedingly verdant and fruitful." See Maundrell's Travels, 5th edit. p. 62.
Sat thus] Chrysostom enquires what the particle thus, ours, means here? and answers, that it simply signifies, he sat not upon a throne, seat, or cushion; but (as the circumstances of the case required) upon the ground. This is a sense which is given to the word in the ancient Greek writSee Raphelius, Wetstein, and Pearce. It is probably a mere expletive, and is often so used by Josephus. examples in Rosenmuller.
The sixth hour.] About twelve o'clock: see the note on chap. i. 39. The time is noted here, 1. To account for Christ's fatigue-he had already travelled several hours. 2. To account for his thirst-the sun had at this time waxed hot. 3. To account for the disciples going to buy food, ver. 8. because this was the ordinary time of dinner among the Jews. See the note referred to above. Dr. Macknight thinks the sixth hour, to be the Roman six o'clock in the afternoon. See note on chap. i. 29.
Verse 7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water] That this was the employment of the females, we see in different parts of the Sacred Writings. See Gen. xxiv. 11, &c. Exod. ii. 16. and the note at the end of that chapter. The Jews say, that those who wished to get wives, went to the wells where young women were accustomed to come and draw water and it is supposed, that women of ill fame frequented such places also. See several proofs in Schoetgen.
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water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me have asked of him, and he would have A.M. 4031. An. lymp. to drink. given thee living water. An. Olymp. CCI 3.
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8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria ? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
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10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest
* 2 Kings 17. 24. Luke 9. 52, 53. Acts 10. 28.
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whoso ever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that
Isai. 12. 3. & 41. 3. Jer. 2. 13. Zech. 13. 1. & 14. 8.——— ch. 6. 35, 58.
Verse 9. That thou, being a Jew] Probably the inhabitants of Judea distinguished themselves from those of Samaria, by some peculiar mode of dress; and by this, the Samaritan woman might have known Christ: but it is likely that our Lord spoke the Galilean dialect, by which we find, from Mark xiv. 70. a Jew of that district might easily be known.
The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.] Perhaps better, (Jews have no communion with Samaritans.) These words appear to be added by the Evangelist himself, in explanation of the woman's question. The original word, σuyxwvTa, has been variously translated and understood. It comes from σvv, together, and xçaoμas, I use, or borrow: hence it has been understood to mean, the Jews will be under no kind of obligation to the Samaritans-will borrow nothing from them -will not drink out of the same cup or well with them-will Verse 11. Thou hast nothing to draw with] OUTE TATμ not sit down to meals with them, nor eat out of the same ves- exus, thou hast no bucket. Good water is not plenty in the sel-will have no religious connection, no commercial dealings|| East and travellers are often obliged to carry leathern bottles with them. The word communion, I think, fully expresses the or buckets with them, and a line also, to let them down into sense of the original; and being as extensive in its meaning the deep wells, in order to draw up water. If the well was as our word dealings, is capable of as general an interpreta-in our Lord's time, as it was found by Mr. Maundrell, thirtytion. The deadly hatred that subsisted between these two na- five yards deep, it would require a considerable line to reach tions is known to all. The Jews cursed them, and believed it; and with such, it is not likely that even the disciples of them to be accursed. Their most merciful wish to the Sama- our Lord were provided. The woman might well say, The ritans was, that they might have no part in the resurrection; well is deep, and thou hast nothing to draw with; whence then or, in other words, that they might be annihilated. hast thou that living water?
Verse 10. If thou knewest the gift of God] Awgray signifies a free gift. A gift is any thing that is given, for which equivalent has been, or is to be returned: a free gift, is that which has been given without asking or intreaty. Such a gift of kindness was Jesus Christ to the world, chap. iii. 16. and through him comes the gift of the Spirit, which those who believe on his name were to receive. Christ was not an object of desire to the world-no man asked for him and God, moved thereto by his own eternal mercy, freely gave him. Through this great gift, comes the Holy Spirit, and all other gifts, which are necessary to the salvation of a lost world.
Living water.] By this expression, which was common to the inhabitants both of the East and of the West, is always meant spring water, in opposition to dead, stagnant water, contained in ponds, pools, and cisterns: and what our Lord means by it, is evidently the Holy Spirit, as may be seen chap. vii. 38, 39.
As water quenches the thirst, refreshes and invigorates the body, purifies things defiled, and renders the earth fruitful: so it is an apt emblem of the gift of the Holy Ghost, which so satisfies the souls that receive it, that they thirst no more for earthly good: it purifies also from all spiritual defilement, on which account it is emphatically stiled the Holy Spirit, and it makes those who receive it, fruitful in every good word and work.
Verse 12. Our father Jacob] The ancient Samaritans were undoubtedly the descendants of Jacob; for they were the ten tribes that revolted in the reign of Rehoboam: but those in our Lord's time were not genuine Israelites, but a corrupted race, sprung from a mixture of different nations, sent thither by Salmanezer, king of the Assyrians. See 2 Kings xvii.
Verse 14. Springing up into everlasting life.] On this 20count he can never thirst :-for how can he lack water, who has in himself a living, eternal spring? By this water off Lord means also his doctrine, explaining and promising gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, which proceed from Jess
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I shall give him shall never thirst; but || husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou An Olymp. the water that I shall give him shall hast well said, I have no husband:
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CCI. 3. be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where 17 The woman answered and said, I have no men ought to worship.
Ch. 7. 38. See ch. 6. 31. & 17. 2, 3. Rom. 6. 23. 1 John 5. 20.
Christ their fountain, dwelling in a believing heart. There is no eternal life without the Spirit; no Spirit without Christ, and no Christ to give the Spirit, without dwelling in the heart: this, his whole doctrine proclaims.
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Verse 15. Give me this water] She did not as yet comprehend our Lord's meaning; but her curiosity was much cited, and this was the design of our Lord, that he might have her mind properly prepared to receive the great truths, which he was about to announce.
Verse 16. Call thy husband] Our Lord appears to have spoken these words for two purposes: 1. To make the woman consider her own state. 2. To shew her that he knew her heart, and the secret actions of her life; and was therefore well qualified to teach her heavenly truths.
speak these words to her by way of reproof, 1. Because it is not likely that a woman so far advanced in years, as to have had five husbands, should have now been found living in adultery with a sixth person. 2. Because it is not likely, that our Lord would not, in some part of his discourse, have reex-proved her for her fornication, especially if guilty of it, under such gross circumstances. 3. Nor is it likely that a woman of so bad a life, should have had so much influence with the people of her city, that they should, on her testimony, ver. 39-42. believe Jesus to be the Messiah. 4. Nor is it at all likely, that when a discovery of her guilt was made to her, by one whom she acknowledged to be a prophet, ver. 19. that the first thing which came into her thoughts, should be the important question in religion, about the place appointed by God for his worship, so warmly contested between the Jews and Samaritans. 5. Nor is it at all probable, that a person of such a bad life, without any mentioned sign of repentance, should have been the first, (perhaps the only private person) to whom Jesus is recorded, as declaring himself to be the Christ, as he does to her, ver. 26.
Verse 18. Thou hast had five husbands] It is not clear that this woman was a prostitute--she might have been legally married to those five, and might have been divorced through some misbehaviour of her own, not amounting to adultery; for the adultress was to be put to death, both by the Jewish and Samaritan law, not divorced or she might have been cast off through some caprice of her husband: for in the time of our Lord, divorces were very common among the Jews; so that a man put away his wife for any fault. See the note on Matt. v. 31. Some are so very fond of exaggerating, that nothing can pass through their hands without an increase: hence Heracleon says, she had six husbands; and Jerom modestly gives her twenty-two! Viginti duos habuisti maritos, et ille a quo sepclieris non est tuus. "Thou hast had twenty-two husbands, and he by whom thou shalt be buried, is not thine." Epist. xi.
Verse 19. I perceive that thou art a prophet.] And therefore thought him well qualified to decide the grand question in dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans: but she did not perceive him to be the Messiah.
Verse 20. Worshipped in this mountain] Probably pointing to mount Gerizim, at the foot of which Sychar was situated. The patriarchs had worshipped here--Jacob builded an altar on this mountain, and worshipped the true God: see Gen. xxii. 2. xxxiii. 20. Thus she could say, Our fathers worshipped in this mountain. On this mountain Sanballat had built them a temple, about 332 years before our Lord's incarnation. See Joseph. Antiq. xi. c. viii. s. 4. and 2 Macc. vi. 2.
He whom thou now hast is not thy husband] Nuv o ExES, OUN ET σo aung. Bishop Pearce would translate this clause in the following manner: There is no husband whom thou now In the Hebrew Pentateuch, Deut. xxvii. 4, &c. where the hast-or less literally, Thou hast no husband now: probably Israelites are commanded to build an altar on mount EBAL, the meaning is, Thou art contracted to another, but not yet and offer sacrifices, &c. the Samaritan Pentateuch has GERIZIM brought home; therefore he is not yet thy husband. See instead of Ebal; and Dr. Kennicott strongly contends, Dissert. Rosenmuller. Bishop Pearce contends, that our Lord did not | vol. ii. p. 20, &c. that Gerizim is the genuine reading: but
our blessed Lord, by the following answer, shews that the place was a matter of little importance, as the divine worship was no longer to be confined to either: ver. 21. See the note on Deut. xxvii. 4.
Verse 21. The hour cometh, &c.] The time was now at hand, in which the spiritual worship of God was about to be established in the earth; and all the Jewish rites and ceremonies entirely abolished.
Worship the Father.] This epithet shews the mild, nant, and tender nature of the Gospel dispensation. Men are called to worship their heavenly Father, and to consider themselves as his children. In reference to this, our Lord's prayer begins, Our FATHER, who art in heaven, &c. See
Verse 22. Ye worship ye know not what] The Samaritans believed in the same God with the Jews; but as they rejected all the prophetical writings, they had but an imperfect knowledge of the Deity: besides, as they incorporated the worship of idols with his worship, they might be justly said to worship him whom they did not properly know. See the account of their motley worship, 2 Kings xvii. 26-34. But after Sanballat had built the temple on mount Gerizim, the idolatrous worship of the Cutheans and Sepharvites, &c. was entirely laid aside; the same religious service being performed in the Samaritan temple, which was performed in that at
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We know what we worship] We Jews acknowledge all the attributes of his nature, and offer to him only, the sacrifices prescribed in the Law.
the true worshippers shall worship the
The worship of the Samaritans was a defective worship--they did not receive the prophetical writings: that of the Jews was a carnal worship, dealing only in the letter, and referring to the spirit and design, which were at a distance, by types and ceremonies. The gospel of Christ shewed the meaning of all these carnal ordinances, and the legal sacrifices, which had all their consummation in his offering of himself: thus a spiritual dispensation took place of the carnal one, which benig-prefigured it. 2. The preaching of the Gospel discovered the true nature of God, of salvation, of the human soul, of earthly and of heavenly things; and because of this, it is put in opposition to the defective Samaritan worship.
Verse 24. God is a Spirit] This is one of the first, the greatest, the most sublime, and necessary truths in the compass of nature! There is a God, the cause of all things-the fountain of all perfection-without parts or dimensions, for he is ETERNAL-filling the heavens and the earth-pervading, governing, and upholding all things: for he is an infinite sr1RIT! This God can be pleased only with that which resembles himself: therefore he must hate sin and sinfulness; and can delight in those only, who are made partakers of his own divine nature. As all creatures were made by him, so all owe him obedience and reverence-but to be acceptable to this infinite Spirit, the worship must be of a spiritual nature; must spring from the heart, through the influence of the Holy Ghost: and it must be in TRUTH, not only in sincerity, but performed according to that divine revelation, which he has given men of himself. A man worships God in spirit, when, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, he brings all his affections, appetites, and desires to the throne of God: and he worships him in truth, when every purpose and passion of his heart, and when every act of his religious worship, is guided and regulated by the word of God. "The enlightened part of mankind," says Abu'l Fazel, "knows that true righteousness is an upright heart; and believe, that God can only be wor shipped in holiness of SPIRIT." Ayeen Akbery, vol. iii. p.
24 f God is a Spirit: and they that wor ship him must worship him in spirit and in
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that
24. 47. Rom. 9. 4, 5.-d Phil. 3. S. ch. 1. 17.- 2 Cor. 3. 17.
Salvation is of the Jews.] Ex Twy Iovdawy σty, salvation is from the Jews. Salvation seems here to mean the Saviour, the Messiah, as it does Luke ii. 30. Acts iv. 12. and so the woman appears to have understood it, ver. 25. The Messiah was to spring from the Jews-from them, the preaching of the Gospel, and the knowledge of the truth, were to go to all the nations of the world. It was to the Jews that the promises were made; and it was in their prophetic scriptures, which the Samaritans rejected, that Jesus Christ was proclaimed and described. See Isai. xi. 3.
Verse 23. The true worshippers shall worship-in spirit] with a soul possessed of my Spirit." Geeta, p. 68.
"Of all worshippers," says Creeshna, "I respect him as the most devout, who hath faith in me, and who serveth me