John 2: The Wedding at Kana


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Excerpt from my 2004 translation of John’s gospel, which begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 and 2017 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel begins at Mark 1.

2 1 The third day there was a wedding in Kana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 now Jesus and his disciples were relaxing at the wedding. 3 So when the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother says to him, “We have no wine.” 4 Jesus says to her, “What’s that got to do with me, mother? [lit. ‘what to me and to you, woman?’ Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι;] My hour has not yet come!” [This seems an insolent response to his mother; so she ignores Jesus and] His mother says to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” [Jesus’ response concerning his ‘hour’ could be interpreted as extremely insolent if it is meant as an ironic play on Mary’s expectations of Jesus politically … i.e., the term recalls the Roman meme of political ascension, whereby a politician could rise to certain political offices only once they had a achieved a minimum age, so a politician who ascended to office upon just reaching the minimum age was said to have been elected ‘in his time;’ it’s possible that Jesus is joking about not having met with expectations about his career.]

6 Now there were six stone water jugs there [which were] stored for the cleansing custom of the Judeans, holding about two or three metretas [one metreta = 9 gallons, so about 18-27 gallons of water]. 7 Jesus says to them, “Draw [from them] now and serve it to the banquet host; and so they served [it]. 9 And when the banquet host tasted the water which had become wine, he did not know from where it had come – but the servants knew, the ones who had drawn the water; the banquet host calls the bridegroom 10 and says to him, “All men put out the good wine first and when we are drunk [they serve] the lesser quality; you have saved the good wine until just now [εως αρτι, just now – this is the ‘immediacy’ concept in John’s thought (cf John A 2:9) – that the water became wine at the wedding symbolizes the appearance of Jesus in history, right now, and this nowness emphasizing and dialogizing Jesus’ statement that ‘my time has not yet come.’ Further, it is the ‘good wine,’ the finest quality of ministry. Wine also symbolizes blood, so this is also a foreshadowing of what that ministry implies – blood sacrifice, thereby setting the tone for the character of the Messianic ministry which will be catastrophic by its mysteriousness, for the ‘leader’ of the banquet did not know from where the wine had come. He was ‘blind’ to who Jesus was – but the ‘servants’ weren’t. This is a rich, naturally allegorical story containing tremendous symbolism and what makes it beautiful is its simplicity and elegance.]

11 This first of miracles Jesus performed in Kana of Galilee and they observed his power, and his disciples believed in him. 12 After this, he and his mother and his brothers and his disciples went up into Kapharnaoum and stayed there many days.

13 Then it was near the Passover celebration of the Judeans, so Jesus went up into Jerusalem. 14 And in the temple he found sellers shouting [πωλεω; the verb recalls πωλος,  young fillies or young girls…this is possibly a word play to suggest that prostitution was going on in the temple] and sheep and pigeons noisily shrieking, and turning about [he saw] the loan sharks reclining about. 15 And with a whip made from rushes he cast them out of the temple with their sheep and shrieking animals; then he took the money of the loan sharks and spilled it out all over the floor, overturning the tables; 16 and to the dealers standing around he said, “From now on you will not make the house of my father a house of trade.”

17 Therefore, his disciples remembered that it had been written:

Zeal for your house consumed me. [Ps 69:9]

18 Then the Judeans answered back and said to him, “What great miracle [σημειον, ‘sign’] have you demonstrated that [gives you authority] to do these things?” 19 Jesus answered them back and said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it.” 20 The Judeans then said, “This temple was built in thirty-six years and you will raise it up in three days?” 21 But that one was talking about the temple of his body. 22 When he was raised from death, his disciples remembered that he said these things, and they believed in the writing [i.e., the Psalm above] and in the word which Jesus spoke to them. 23 And when he was in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, many believed in his name when they observed the great miracles [σημεια, ‘signs’] he did.

24 However, Jesus himself did not entrust himself to them because he knows all things 25 and he did not have need of the testimony of any man; for he himself knew what was within men.


@gamiliel on Instagram

This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

One thought on “John 2: The Wedding at Kana

  1. Gamiliel,
    Thanks for your translations and especially your commentary concerning the rich symbolism in the story of the water into wine. Keep listening to the spirit and writing!


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