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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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Chapter 11
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John 12:2

So they made him a supper there (epoihsan oun autwi deipnon ekei).
Here again oun is not inferential, but merely transitional. This supper is given by Mark (Mark 14:3-9) and Matthew (Matthew 26:6-13) just two days (Mark 14:1) before the passover, that is on our Tuesday evening (beginning of Jewish Wednesday), while John mentions (12:2-9) it immediately after the arrival of Jesus in Bethany (12:1). One must decide which date to follow. Mark and Matthew and Luke follow it with the visit of Judas to the Sanhedrin with an offer to betray Jesus as if exasperated by the rebuke by Jesus at the feast. Bernard considers that John "is here more probably accurate." It all turns on John's purpose in putting it here. This is the last mention of Jesus in Bethany and he may have mentioned it proleptically for that reason as seems to me quite reasonable. Westcott notes that in chapter 12 John closes his record of the public ministry of the Lord relative to the disciples at this feast (1-11), to the multitude in the triumphal entry (12-19), to the world outside in the visit of the Greeks (20-36), and with two summary judgements (36-50). There is no further reason to refer to the feast in the house of another Simon when a sinful woman anointed Jesus (Luke 7:36-50). It is no credit to Luke or to John with Mark and Matthew to have them all making a jumble like that. There were two anointings by two absolutely different women for wholly different purposes. See the discussion on Luke for further details.

And Martha served (kai h Marta dihkonei).
Imperfect active of diakonew, picturing Martha true to the account of her in Luke 10:40 (pollhn diakonian, diakonein as here). But this fact does not show that Martha was the wife of this Simon at all. They were friends and neighbours and Martha was following her bent. It is Mark (Mark 14:3) and Matthew (Matthew 26:6) who mention the name of the host. It is not Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36), but Simon the leper (Mark 14:3; Matthew 26:6) in whose house they meet. The name is common enough. The Simon in Luke was sharply critical of Jesus; this one is full of gratitude for what Jesus has done for him.

That sat at meat (twn anakeimenwn).
"That lay back," reclined as they did, articular participle (ablative case after ek) of the common verb anakeimai. Perhaps Simon gave the feast partly in honour of Lazarus as well as of Jesus since all were now talking of both (John 12:9). It was a gracious occasion. The guests were Jesus, the twelve apostles, and Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 12:2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.


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