Devotional Readings

John 10 – Word study…..

My understanding of John grows with each reading. I recall it as the first book I studied in depth back in the early 70’s.

In the openning verses we see some interesting words used.
Door, sheepfold, thief, robber, Shepard, porter, stranger, thieves, robbers, pasture, hireling, wolf and of course the sheep! One could spend a month just on these words.
Let’s for now note the sheep hear the Shepard’s voice, follow him and are not plucked away. He already said so much back in John 6.

I Am the Good Shepherd

Joh 10:1  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Joh 10:2  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

Joh 10:3  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

Joh 10:4  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Joh 10:5  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Joh 10:6  This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

Joh 10:7  Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

Joh 10:8  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Joh 10:9  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Joh 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Joh 10:12  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

Joh 10:13  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

Joh 10:14  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.


Joh 10:24  Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

Joh 10:25  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

Joh 10:26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Joh 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Joh 10:29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Joh 10:30  I and my Father are one.


We also have this interesting verse……

Joh 10:16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

This does not imply other ways to God!

John 10:16 Gill

And other sheep I have,…. Not distinct from those for whom he laid down his life, but from those who were under the Old Testament dispensation, and who heard not the thieves and robbers that were before Christ, Joh 10:8; others besides the lost sheep of the house of Israel, or the elect among the Jews, to whom Christ was sent; and by whom are meant the chosen of God among the Gentiles, who were sheep, though not called and folded, for the reasons given: See Gill on Joh 10:3. These, though uncalled, belonged to Christ; he had an interest in them, they were given him by his Father; he had them in his hands, and upon his heart; his eye was upon them, and they were under his notice, inspection, and care:

which are not of this fold, of the Jewish nation and church, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise; were as sheep going astray, and were scattered about in the several parts of the world; and were to be redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation:

them also I must bring; out of the wilderness of the world, from among the men of it, their former sinful compassions, from the folds of sin and Satan, and the pastures of their own righteousness; to himself, and into his Father’s presence, to his house and ordinances, to a good fold and green pastures, and at last to his heavenly kingdom and glory: and there was a necessity of doing all this, partly on account of his Father’s will and pleasure, his purposes and decrees, who had resolved upon it; and partly on account of his own engagements, who had obliged himself to do it; as well as because of the case and condition of these sheep, who otherwise must have eternally perished:

and they shall hear my voice; in the Gospel, not only externally, but internally; which is owing to his powerful and efficacious grace, who quickens them, and causes them to hear and live; unstops their deaf ears, and gives them ears to hear; and opens their hearts, to attend to his word, and gives them an understanding of it. The Arabic version reads this in connection with the preceding clause, thus, “and I must bring them also to hear my voice”; as well as the rest of the sheep among the Jews, and therefore the Gospel was sent among them:

and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd; one church state, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles; the middle wall of partition being broke down, these two coalesce in one, become one new man, and members of one and the same body; for though there may be several visible Gospel churches, yet there is but one kind of church state, and one general assembly and church of the firstborn, one family to which they all belong; for what reasons a church is comparable to a fold; see Gill on Joh 10:1. And over this fold, or flock, there is but one shepherd, Jesus Christ; who is the rightful proprietor, and whose own the sheep are; and who knows how to feed them, and does take care of them; though there are many under shepherds, whom he employs in feeding them; in the original text the copulative “and” is wanting, and the words stand thus, “one fold, one shepherd”; which not only expresses a peculiar elegance, but answers the proverb delivered in the same form; and to which agree the Arabic and Ethiopic versions, which render them, “and there”, or “they shall be one fold of one shepherd”; or one flock which belongs to one shepherd only; see Eze 34:23.

Finally, Today’s verses include refence to the dedication of the temple which I’m just finishing reading in 1 Kings 8-9. Though as John Gill notes below this is not the correct interpretation.

Joh 10:22  And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

Joh 10:23  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.


John 10:22 Gill

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication,…. That is, of the temple; not as built by Solomon, as Nonnus in his paraphrase suggests; or as rebuilt by Zerubabel, for there were no annual feasts appointed in commemoration of either of these; and besides, they were neither of them in the winter time; the dedication of Solomon’s temple was in autumn, at the feast of tabernacles, about September, 1Ki 8:2; and the dedication of the house in Zorobabel’s time, was in the spring, about February, Ezr 6:15; but this was the feast of dedication, appointed by Judas Maccabaeus and his brethren, on account of the purging the temple, and renewing the altar, after the profanation of them by Antiochus; which feast lasted eight days, and began on the twenty fifth of the month Cisleu, which answers to part of our December; see the Apocrypha:

“52 Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, 56 And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. 59 Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.” (1 Maccabees 4)

“5 Now upon the same day that the strangers profaned the temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is Casleu. 8 They ordained also by a common statute and decree, That every year those days should be kept of the whole nation of the Jews.” (2 Maccabees 10:8)

with which the Jewish writers agree (a): the account Maimonides gives (b) of it is this;

“when the Israelites prevailed over their enemies and destroyed them, it was on the twenty fifth of the month Chisleu; and they went into the temple and could not find any pure oil in the sanctuary, but one vial; and it was not enough to light but one day only, and they lighted lamps of it for eight days, until the olives were squeezed, and they brought forth pure oil: wherefore the wise men of that generation ordered, that those eight days beginning at the twenty fifth of Chisleu, should be days of rejoicing and praise, and they lighted lamps at the doors of their houses; every night of these eight nights, to show and make known the miracle; and these days are called חנוכה “the dedication”; and they are forbidden mourning and fasting, as the days of “purim”; and the lighting of the lamps on them, is a commandment from the Scribes, as is the reading of the book of Esther. How many lamps do they light at the feast of the dedication? the order is, that every house should light one lamp, whether the men of the house be many, or whether there is but one man in it; but he that honours the command, lights up lamps according to the number of the men of the house, a lamp for everyone, whether men or women; and he that honours it more, lights up a lamp for every man the first night, and adds as he goes, every night a lamp; for instance, if there be ten men in the house, the first night he lights up ten lamps, and on the second night twenty, and on the third night thirty; until he comes to the eighth night, when he lights up fourscore lamps.”

Wherefore, as Josephus says (c), this feast was called φωτα, “lights”; though he seems to assign another reason of its name, because that prosperity and happiness appeared to them beyond hope, and unexpected: and though this was only an order of Judas and his brethren, and the congregation of Israel, yet the Jews observe it as religiously, as if it was the appointment of God himself, and they do not spare to call it so; for in the service of this feast, they have these words (d);

“blessed art thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who hath sanctified us by his commandments, and hath “commanded” us to light the lamp of the dedication; blessed art thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who did wonders for our fathers on those days, at this time; blessed art thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who has kept us alive, and preserved us, and brought us to this time; these lamps we light, because of the wonders and marvellous things, and salvations, and wars, thou hast wrought for our fathers on those days at this time, by the hand of thine holy priests.–These lamps are holy, we have no power to use them, but only to behold them, so as to confess and praise thy great name, for thy miracles, and for thy wonders, and for thy salvations.”

And though this feast is said to be at Jerusalem, yet it was not confined there, as were the other feasts of the passover, pentecost, and tabernacles, for this might be kept in any part of the land: mention is made of the feast of dedication at Lydda (e), and in other countries; Maimonides (f) says

“it is a common custom in all our cities in Spain, that all the men of the house light up a lamp the first night, and add as they go along, a lamp every night, till he lights up on the eighth night eight lamps, whether the men of the house be many, or there be but one man.”

Some have been of opinion, that this feast of dedication was on the account of the victory Judith gained over Holophernes, by cutting off his head; or however, that the commemoration of that victory was a part of this festival: in the Vulgate Latin edition of Judith 16:31 it is said,

“the day of the festivity of this victory is received by the Hebrews into the number of holy days; and is kept by the Jews from that time, to the present day.”

And Sigonius (g) asserts, that it is celebrated by the Jews on the twenty fifth day of the month Chisleu; which is the same day the feast began, that was instituted by Judas Maccabaeus, on the above account; and certain it is, that the Jews do make mention of that fact of hers, in the service for the first sabbath of this feast (h); and some of their writers would have this fact to be in the times of the Maccabees, though as one of their chronologers (i) observes, it appears from the history of Judith, to have been in the times of Nebuchadnezzar; and there are some that say it was in the times of Cambyses, son of Cyrus, king of Persia, and was two or three hundred years before the miracle of the dedication: but he serves, that the wise men of that age agreed to comprehend the memorial of that wonderful event, with the miracle of the dedication: and so R. Leo Modena (k) says,

“they have a tradition, that in ordaining this feast to be kept, they had an eve also upon that famous exploit performed by Judith upon Holophernes; although many are of opinion, that this happened not at this time of the year; and that they make a commemoration of that piece of gallantry of hers now, because she was of the stock of the Maccabees.”

But that cannot be, since she must be some hundreds of years before them; wherefore others make mention of another Judith, a daughter of one of the Maccabees, who performed a like exploit upon Nicanor, a general of Demetrius’s army: to which R. Gedaliah has respect, when he says (l),

“the wise men agreed to comprehend together in the joy of the feast of dedication, the affair of Judith, seeing there was another Judith, from her that killed Holophernes, a daughter of the Maccabees.”

But it is not clear that there was any such woman, nor that Nicanor was slain by one; and besides, he was killed on the thirteenth of Adar, and that day was ordained to be kept yearly on that account, in the Apocrypha:

“43 So the thirteenth day of the month Adar the hosts joined battle: but Nicanor’s host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the battle. 49 Moreover they ordained to keep yearly this day, being the thirteenth of Adar.” (1 Maccabees 7)

“And they ordained all with a common decree in no case to let that day pass without solemnity, but to celebrate the thirtieth day of the twelfth month, which in the Syrian tongue is called Adar, the day before Mardocheus’ day.” (2 Maccabees 15:36)

and the month of Adar answers to part of February.

And it was winter; for the month Chisleu answers to our November and December; so that the twenty fifth of that month might be about the tenth of December, and the Jews reckon part of that month winter, and it must be the part in which this feast was; they say (m),

“half Chisleu, Tebeth, and half Shebet, are חורף, “winter”:”

so that the evangelist might with propriety say, according to the sense of the Jewish nation, that it was winter; though it was but just entered, even not more than ten days: the reason why this is observed, may be for what follows.

(a) Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 22. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 137. 2. (b) Hilchot Megilla Uchanucha, c. 3. sect. 2, 3. & 4. 1, 2. Vid. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 21. 2. (c) Antiqu. l. 12. c. 7. sect. 7. (d) Seder Tephillot, fol. 234. 1, 2. Ed. Amsterd. (e) T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 18. 2. (f) Hilchot Chanuca, c. 4. sect. 3. (g) De Repub. Heb. l. 3. c. 17. (h) Seder Tephillot, fol. 133. 2. (i) Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 22. 1. (k) History of the Rites, &c. of the Jews, c. 9. (l)Shalshelet Hakabala, fol. 17. 2. (m) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 34. fol. 30. 2. T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 106. 2.

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