Part II.—The Ministry
36. SandayHastBD II. 609f.; GilbertLJ 136-143; AndLOL 125-137; BeysLJ I. 256-295.
The Early Ministry in Judea
37. SandayHastBD II. 612^b-613^b; WeissLX II. 3-53; EdersLJM I. 364-429; BeysLJ II. 147-168; GilbertLJ 158-179.
38. On the chronological significance of John iv. 35 see AndLOL 183; WeissLX II. 40; Wieseler, Synop. 212 ff, who find indication that the journey was in December. EdersLJM I. 419f.; Turner in HastBD I. 408, find indication of early summer. Some treat iv. 35 as a proverb with no chronological significance; so Alford, Comm. on John.
39. Geographical notes. Aenon near Salim has not been identified. Most favor a site in Samaria, seven miles from a place named Salim, which lay four miles E of Shechem, see Conder, Tent Work in Palestine, II. 57, 58; Stevens, Jour. Bib. Lit. 1883, 128-141. But can John have been baptizing in Samaria? WeissLX II. 28 says “it is perfectly impossible that he [John] can have taken up his station in Samaria.” Other suggestions are: some place in the Jordan valley (but then why remark on the abundance of water, Jn. iii. 23?); near Jerusalem; and in the south of Judea. See AndLOL 173-175. Sychar is the modern ’Askar, about a mile and three-quarters from Nablus (Shechem), and half a mile N of Jacob’s well. See SmithHGHL 367-375.
40. General questions. Was the temple twice cleansed? (see sect. 116). Probably not. The two reports (Jn. ii. 13-22; Mk. xi. 15-18 ¶s) are similar in respect of Jesus’ indignation, its cause, its expression, its result, and a consequent challenge of his authority. They differ in the time of the event (John assigns to first Passover, synoptics to the last) and in a possibly greater sternness in the synoptic account. These differences are no greater than appear in other records of identical events (compare Mt. viii. 5-13 with Lk. vii. 2-10), while the repetition of such an act would probably have been met by serious opposition. If the temple was cleansed but once, John indicates the true time. At the beginning of the ministry it was a demand that the people follow the new leader in the purification of God’s house and the establishment of a truer worship. At the end it could have had only a vindictive significance, since the people had already signified to the clear insight of Jesus that they would not accept his leadership. For two distinct cleansings see the discussion in AndLOL 169f., 437; EdersLJM I. 373; Plummer on Luke xix. 45f. For one cleansing at the end see KeimJN V. 113-131. For one cleansing at the beginning see WeissLX II. 6 ff.; BeysLJ II. 149 ff.; GilbertLJ 159 ff.