The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleJohn 2:1
And the third day there was a marriage…
Either from the
second testimony bore by John the Baptist concerning Christ, and
from the call of Simon Peter, which seem to be of the same date; see
(John 1:35,36,42,43) , or from Christ's coming into Galilee; or from
the conversation he had with Nathanael; from either of which the date
is taken, it matters not; the first is as agreeable and plain, as
any. There is much dispute, and many rules with the Jews about the
times, and days of marriage:
``a virgin, (they say F26,) marries on the fourth day (of the
week), and a widow on the fifth, because the sanhedrim sit
in the cities twice in the week, on the second, and on the
fifth days; so that if there is any dispute about
virginity, he (the husband) may come betimes to the
This was a law that obtained since the times of Ezra; for it is said
``before the order of Ezra, a woman might be married on any
but in after times, feast days, and sabbath days, were particularly
excepted. One of their canons is F2
``they do not marry women on a feast day, neither virgins,
The reason of it was, that they might not mix one joy with another;
and lest a man should leave the joy of the feast, for the joy of his
wife. The account Maimonides F3 gives of these several things is
``it is lawful to espouse on any common day, even on the
ninth of Ab, whether in the day, or in the night; but they
do not marry wives neither on the evening of the sabbath,
nor on the first of the week: the decree is, lest the
sabbath should be profaned by preparing the feast; for the
bridegroom is employed about the feast: and there is no
need to say, that it is unlawful to marry a wife on the
sabbath day; and even on the common day of a feast they do
not marry wives, as we have explained; because they do not
mix one joy with another, as it is said in (Genesis 29:27) ,
"fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also": but
on the rest of the days it is lawful to marry a wife, any
day a man pleases; for he must be employed in the
marriage feast three days before the marriage. A place in
which the sanhedrim do not sit, but on the second and
fifth days only, a virgin is married on the fourth day;
that if there is any objection to her virginity, he (her
husband) may come betimes to the sanhedrim: and it is a
custom of the wise men, that he that marries one that has
been married, he may marry her on the fifth day, that so
he may rejoice with her on the fifth day, and on the
evening of the sabbath, (i.e. the sixth,) and on the
sabbath day, and may go forth to his work on the first
But elsewhere it is said F4, that
``now they are used to marry on the "sixth day of the
Yea F5, that
``it is lawful to marry, and to make the feast on the
But whether this marriage was of a virgin, or a widow, cannot be
known; nor with certainty can it be said on what day of the week it
was: if that day was a sabbath day on which the disciples abode with
Christ, as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures, then it must be on the first
day that Christ went into Galilee, and found Philip, and conversed
with Nathanael; and if this third day is reckoned from John's second
testimony, it must be on a Tuesday, the third day of the week; but
if from Christ's going into Galilee, then it must be on a Wednesday,
the fourth day of the week, the day fixed by the Jewish canon for
the marriage of a virgin. This marriage was
in Cana of Galilee.
The Syriac and Persic versions, read, in "Kotne,
a city of Galilee"; and which, in the Jewish map, is called (lylgb)
(anjq) , "Katna" in "Galilee", and is placed in the tribe of Zebulun,
which was in Galilee, and not far from Nazareth; and bids fair to be
the same place with this; though it is more generally thought F6,
that Cana, in the tribe of Asher, mentioned in (Joshua 19:28) , which was
also in Galilee, is here meant; and is so called to distinguish it
from another Kanah, in the tribe of Ephraim, (Joshua 16:8) (17:9) .
Josephus F7 speaks of a town, or village, of Galilee, called Cana,
which was a day's march from it to Tiberias, and seems to be the
same place: and another Jewish writer F8 says,
``to me it appears that Cepher Chanania, is Copher Cana; or
the village of Cans, as is clear in Misna Sheviith, c. 9.
sect. 1. for there is the beginning of lower, Galilee,''
which also accords with this. Now in the case of marriage, there was
some difference between Judea and Galilee, and certain rules were
laid down relating thereunto: and it is said F9,
``there are three countries, for the celebration of
marriages; Judea, the country beyond Jordan, and Galilee;''
that is, that were obliged to marry among themselves; so that if any
one married a wife out of any of these countries, she was not
obliged to go along with him from one country to another F11: hence
``they do not bring them out from city to city, (i.e.
oblige them to go with them from city to city,) nor from
town to town; but in the same country they bring them out
from city to city, and from town to town.''
And it is elsewhere observed F12, that
``in Judea, at first, they joined the bridegroom and bride
together an hour before they went into the bride chamber,
that so his heart might be lifted up in her; but in
Galilee they did not do so: in Judea, at first, they
appointed for them two companions, one for him, and
another for her, that they might minister to, or wait on
the bridegroom, and bride, when they went into the
bride chamber; but in Galilee they did not do so: in
Judea, at first, the companions slept in the house where
the bridegroom and bride slept; but in Galilee they did
not do so.''
Next we have an account of the persons that were present at this
and the mother of Jesus was there;
who seems to have been a
principal person at this wedding, and was very officious; when wine
was wanted, she signified it to her son, and ordered the servants to
do whatever he bid them: and since she, and Jesus, and his brethren,
were all here, it looks as if it was a relation of hers that was now
married: and since these brethren were the kinsmen of Christ, Simon,
Judas, and Joses, the sons of Cleophas or Alphaeus, whose wife was
sister to the mother of our Lord; and since one of them, to
distinguish him from Simon Peter, is called Simon the Canaanite, or
an inhabitant of Cana, as some have thought; hence it is conjectured
by Dr. Lightfoot, that Alphaeus had an house in Cana, and that his
family dwelt there, and that it was for one of his family that this
marriage feast was made; see (John 2:2,3,5,12) (19:25) (Matthew 13:55) (10:4) .
Joseph, the husband of Mary, perhaps, was now dead, since no mention
is made of him here, nor any where else, as alive, after Christ had
entered on his public ministry.
F26 Misn. Cetubot, c. 1. sect. 1.
F1 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 3. 1.
F2 Misa. Moed Katon, c. 1. sect. 7. & T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 8. 2. &
F3 Hachot Ishot, c. 10. sect. 14, 15.
F4 Piske Toseph. Cetubot, art. 6.
F5 Ib art. 28.
F6 Jerom de Locis Hebraicis, fol. 90. B.
F7 In vita sua.
F8 Juchasin, fol. 57. 2.
F9 Misn. Cetubot, c. 13. sect. 10. T. Hieros. Cetubot, fol. 36. 2.
F11 Bartenora in ib.
F12 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 12. 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 2:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=002&verse=001>. 1999.