John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 18:1 - 18:1

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 18:1 - 18:1

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

1.When Jesus bad spoken these words. In this narrative John passes by many things which the other three Evangelists relate, and he does so on purposej as his intention was to collect many things worthy of being recorded, about which they say nothing; and, therefore, let the reader go to the other Evangelists to find what is wanting here.

Over the brook Kedron. In the Greek original there is an article prefixed to Kedron, which would seem to intimate that the brook takes its name from the cedars; (130) but this is probably an error which has crept into the text; for the valley or brook Kedron is often mentioned in Scripture. The place was so called from its being dark or gloomy, because, being a hollow valley, it was shady, (131) on that point, however, I do not dispute: I only state what is more probable.

The chief thing to be considered is, the intention of the Evangelist in pointing out the place; for his object was, to show that Christ went to death willingly. He came into a place which, he knew, was well known to Judas. Why did he do this but to present himself, of his own accord, to the traitor and to the enemies? Nor was he led astray by inadvertency, for he knew beforehand all that was to happen. John afterwards mentions also that he went forward to meet them. He therefore suffered death, not by constraint, but willingly, that he might be a voluntary sacrifice; for without obedience atonement would not have been obtained for us. Besides, he entered into the garden, not for the purpose of seeking a place of concealment, but that he might have a better opportunity, and greater leisure, for prayer. That he prayed three times to be delivered from death, (Mat_26:44,) is not inconsistent with that voluntary obedience of which we have spoken; (132) for it was necessary that he should contend with difficulties, that he might be victorious. Now, having subdued the dread of death, he advances to death freely and willingly.

(130) Is Κέδρων, a proper name, or an appellative? Calvin does not mean that the presence of the article settles this question, but that it depends on the preference which shall be given to one or another of the various readings. If we read τῶν Κέδρων, it will be difficult to resist the conclusion that Κέδρων is the genitive plural of Κέδρος a cedar; but if we read τοῦ Κέδρων, or rather, τοῦ Κεδρὼν, we must treat Κεδρὼν, as an indeclinable Hebrew word, though Josephus chooses sometimes to decline it, as in the phrase, χείμαρρον Κεδρῶνος, the brook of Kedron, (Ant. 8:1.) “ of the common reading, τῶν Κέδρων,” says Bloomfield, “ of the most ancient MSS. and six ancient Versions, with some Fathers, have, τοῦ Κεδρὼν, which was preferred by Beza, Casaubon, Campbell, Castalio, Drusius, Lightfoot, Bols, Bynmus, Reland, and others of the best Commentators down to Middleton, Kuinoel, and Tittmann, and has been received by Bengel, Griesbach, Knapp, Vater, and Scholz. The common reading, however, is strenuously, but not satisfactorily, defended by Lampe and Matthsei.” Our Author proceeds no further than to propose, τοῦ instead of τῶν, as a conjectural emendation; but Bloomfield has given a prodigious list of authorities on the same side. — Ed.

(131) The Hebrew name קדרון (Kidron) is derived from קדר, (Kadar,)it was black, and signifies the black brook. Ed.

(132) On this point the reader will do well to consult our Author’ elaborate exposition and argument, Harmony of the Evangelists, vol. 3, pp. 226-234.