The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleJohn 3:1
There was a man of the Pharisees…
The Syriac version
adds, "there"; that is, at Jerusalem; and who was among those that
believed in the name of Christ, upon seeing the miracles he did at
the feast of the passover, in that place. This man was not a common
and ordinary man, but a man of note and eminence, of dignity and
figure; and who was of the sect of the Pharisees, which was the
strictest sect for religion and holiness, among the Jews; and which,
as corrupt as it was, was also the soundest; as having not only a
regard to a Messiah, and to all the writings of the Old Testament,
but also believed the doctrines of angels and spirits, and the
resurrection of the dead, which the Sadducees denied; but yet they
were implacable enemies of Christ; and therefore it is the more to
be wondered at, that such an one should come to him, and desire a
conversation with him:
frequent mention is made of (Nwyrwg Nb Nwmydqn) ,
"Nicodemon ben Gorion", the brother of Josephus ben Gorion F16, the
writer of the Wars and Antiquities of the Jews; and there are some
things which make it probable, that he was the same with this
Nicodemus; for the Nicodemon the Jews speak so much of, lived in
this age; as appears, not only from his being the brother of
Josephus, but also from his being contemporary with R. Jochanan ben
Zaccai, who lived in this time, and until the destruction of the
temple; since these two are said F17 to be together at a feast, made
for the circumcision of a child. Moreover, he is represented as very
rich, and is said to be one of the three rich men in Jerusalem F18,
and who was able to have maintained (hnydm) , a city ten years F19; and
they speak of his daughter, as exceeding rich: they say, that she
had for her dowry a thousand thousand golden denarii, or pence; and
that her bed was strewed with (i.e. the furniture of it cost)
twelve thousand golden denarii; and that a Tyrian golden denarius
was spent upon her every week, for a certain kind of soup F20; and
the wise men decreed her four hundred golden denarii, for a box of
spices every day F21; and it is elsewhere F23 said, five hundred:
and this our Nicodemus was very rich, as appears from his liberality
at the funeral of our Lord, (John 19:39) . Moreover, the Nicodemon of
the Jews, is said to be a counsellor F24 in Jerusalem; and so was
this, as seems evident from (John 7:32,50,51) and it may be further
observed F25, that the right name of Nicodemon, was Boni F26; now
Boni elsewhere F1, is said to be one of the disciples of Jesus, as
Nicodemus was secretly, and perhaps at, and after his death openly,
as his associate Joseph of Arimathea was; to which may be added, the
extreme poverty that his daughter is by them said to be reduced
unto; for they report, that R. Jochanan ben Zaccai saw her gathering
barley corns from under the horses' hoofs in Aco F2; or as it is
elsewhere said, out of the dung of the beasts of the Arabians; when
she asked alms of him, and he inquired of her, what was become of
her father's substance. Now to this low estate, the family of our
Nicodemus might be reduced, through the persecution of the
Christians by the Jews. The name is Greek, as at this time many
Greek names were in use among the Jews, and signifies the same as
Nicolas; but the Jews give an etymology of it, agreeably to the
Hebrew language; and say, that he was so called, because the sun,
(hdqn) , "shone out for his sake": the occasion and reason of it, they
tell us, were this F3; Nicodemon, upon want of water at one of the
feasts, agreed with a certain man for twelve wells of water, to be
returned on such a day, or pay twelve talents of silver; the day
being come, the man demanded the water, or the money; Nicodemon went
and prayed, and a plentiful rain fell, and filled the wells with
water; but meeting the man, he insisted on it that the day was past,
the sun being set, and therefore required the money; Nicodemon went
and prayed again, and the sun shone out; and they add, that there
are three persons for whom the sun (hmdqn) , "was prevented", detained,
or hindered in its course, (a word nearer his name than the former,)
Moses, and Joshua, and Nicodemon ben Gorion; for the two former they
produce Scripture, and for the latter tradition: hence it is
elsewhere said F4, that as the sun stood still for Joshua, so it
stood still for Moses, and for Nicodemon ben Gorion: but to proceed
with the account of our Nicodemus, he was
a ruler of the Jews;
not a civil magistrate; for the civil
government was now in the hands of the Romans; but an ecclesiastical
ruler; he was a member of the sanhedrim, which consisted of the
doctors, or wise men, and priests, Levites, and elders of the
people; and so was a dignified person, and as afterwards called, a
master in Israel.
F16 Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 1. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol.
F17 Pirke Eliezer, c. 2. & Juchasin, fol. 23. 2.
F18 T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 56. 1.
F19 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 75. 4.
F20 Abot R. Nathan, c. 6. fol. 3. 2.
F21 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 66. 2.
F23 Echa Rabbati, fol. 49. 2.
F24 Echa Rabbati, fol. 46. 3. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 75. 1.
F25 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 20. 1.
F26 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1.
F1 Echa Rabbati, fol. 49. 3.
F2 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 66. 2.
F3 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 20. 1.
F4 T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 25. 1.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on John 3:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=003&verse=001>. 1999.