John 9: A Man Blind From Birth

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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.

9 1 And going along he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him saying, “Rabbi, what sin did he do, this one or those who bore him, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this one nor the ones who bore him sinned, but [he was born blind] in order that the work of god might be revealed in him. 4 It is necessary [for] your [sake] that the great miracles of the one who sent me be worked [when] it is the morning of the day; night is coming when no one [miracle] will be able to be worked. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world [i.e. this is a miracle not only ‘in itself,’ to save the man from blindness, but also ‘for itself,’ to demonstrate that Jesus, as the light of the world, takes away the darkness of spiritual blindness].”

6 Saying these things, he sat down on the earth and made mud from a spit [‘of disgust,’ the wonderful verb πτυω carries the connotation] and smeared him with the mud upon the eyes 7 and said to him, “Go up to wash in the diving pool of Siloam,” which is interpreted [in Greek], ‘Sent’. [This is a reference to the Martyrdom of Isaiah, for whom the pool was named because at his execution, Isaiah asked for water and it was ‘sent’ immediately. Jesus is also recalling the meme of the martyred prophets as a statement about spiritual blindness, cf Isa 6:9-10, and, possibly, as a foreshadowing of the manner of his own death. The word is taken from the Hebrew, ‘Shiloah.’]

8 Then the neighbors and those who met him before when he was a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who sat and begged?” 9 Others were saying, “This is the one;” others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” That one said, “I am he.” 10 Then they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 That one answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and smeared my eyes [i.e., he used an ‘unclean’ thing (cf. crucifixion) to ‘cleanse’ him] and said to me, “Go up to Siloam and wash; I went up then and washing, received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is that one?” He said, “I do not know.”

13 They led him to the Pharisees, the one once blind. 14 Now it was the Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the mud [considered ‘work’] and opened his eyes. 15 Again the Pharisees asked him how he received sight. And he said, “He put mud upon my eyes and I washed and I can see.” 16 Then some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from god because he does not preserve the Sabbath.” But others said, “How is a sinful man able to do such a miracle?” And there was a schism among them. 17 Then they said to the blind [man] again, “What do you say concerning him, since he opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”

18 Then the Judeans did not believe concerning him, that he was blind and received sight, until they called his parents (of the one who received sight [sic]) 19 and asked them saying, “Is this your son whom you say was born blind? How then does he see now?” 20 His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind; 21 how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes; ask him, he’s an adult, he can speak for himself.” 22 These things his parents said because they feared the Judeans; for already the Judeans were united in case anyone should confess him the Messiah he should be put out of the synagogue [‘excommunicated’]. 23 This is why his parents said, “He is an adult ask him.”

24 Then they called the man who was blind a second time and said to him, “Give glory to god [or ‘give the credit for the miracle to god’]; we know that this man is a sinner.” 25 That one answered back, “I do not know if he is a sinner; all I know is that I was blind and now I see.” 26 They said to him, “Who did this to you? How were your eyes opened?”

27 He answered them, “I told you already but you did not listen; why do you wish to hear again? You don’t wish to be his disciples, do you?” [Think he’s being a bit sarcastic?] 28 So they were abusive to him and said, “You are a disciple of that one, but we are disciples of Moses; 29 we know that Moses has spoken to god, but we do not know where this one is from.”

30 The man answered back and said to them, “For this is the wonder [or ‘isn’t this marvelous’ – bit more sarcasm?] that you do not know where he is from but he opened my eyes. We know that god does not hear sinners, but if someone should be devout and should do his will, [god] hears this one. 32 I have never ever heard of the eyes of someone born blind being opened; 33 if that one was not from god he would not be able to do such a thing.” 34 They answered and said to him, “You were born entirely in sin and you would teach us?” and they cast him out.

35 Jesus heard that they cast him out and finding him said, “Do you believe in the son of man?” 36 That one answered and said, “Who is it, sir, that I might believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “Indeed, you have seen him, in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 So he said, “I believe, lord;” and he prostrated himself before him. 39 And Jesus said, “For discernment I came into this world, in order that those who do not see will see and those who ‘see’ will become blind.”

40 Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard and said to him, “We are not blind, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind you would not have sin; but now you say, ‘We see,’ so sin remains in you.”

@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.

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