John 5:2


King James Version (KJV)

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

American Standard Version (ASV)

Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

Now in Jerusalem near the sheep-market there is a public bath which in Hebrew is named Beth-zatha. It has five doorways.

Webster's Revision

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches.

World English Bible

Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, "Bethesda," having five porches.

English Revised Version (ERV)

Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches.

Clarke's John 5:2 Bible Commentary

There Is - This is thought by some to be a proof that John wrote his Gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem; and that the pool and its porticoes were still remaining. Though there can be little doubt that Jerusalem was destroyed many years before John wrote, yet this does not necessarily imply that the pool and its porticoes must have been destroyed too. It, or something in its place, is shown to travelers to the present day. See Maundrell's Jour. p. 108. But instead of εϚι, Is, both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Persic, Armenian, and Nonnus, read ην, Was; which is to me some proof that it did not exist when these versions were made, and that the pool which is shown now is not the original.

By the sheep market - Rather, gate: see Nehemiah 3:1, Nehemiah 3:32; Nehemiah 12:39. This was in all probability the gate through which the sheep were brought which were offered in sacrifice in the temple.

A pool - Bp. Pearce thinks the word κολυμβηθρα should be translated bath, and that this place was built for the purpose of bathing and swimming in. He observes that κολυμβᾳν signifies to swim, in Acts 27:43. In proof of this, he cites three of the old Itala, which have natatoria, a bathing or swimming place.

Bethesda - This word is variously written in the MSS. and versions: Bezatha - Bethzatha - Betzetha - Belzetha - Belzatha - Berzeta; and many have Bethsaida. But the former reading is the genuine one. Bethesda, or according to the Hebrew ביתחסדה Bethchasdah, signifies literally, the house of mercy. It got this name probably from the cures which God mercifully performed there. It is likely the porticoes were built for the more convenient reception of the poor and distressed, who came hither to be healed. It does not appear that any person was obliged to pay man for what the mercy of God freely gave. Wicked as the Jewish people were, they never thought of levying a tax on the poor and afflicted, for the cures they received in these healing waters. How is it that a well-regulated state, such as that of Great Britain, can ever permit individuals or corporations to enrich themselves at the expense of God's mercy, manifested in the sanative waters of Bristol, Bath, Buxton, etc.? Should not the accommodations be raised at the expense of the public, that the poor might enjoy without cost, which they are incapable of defraying, the great blessing which the God of nature has bestowed on such waters? In most of those places there is a profession that the poor may drink and bathe gratis; but it is little better than a pretense, and the regulations relative to this point render the whole nearly inefficient. However, some good is done.

Barnes's John 5:2 Bible Commentary

The sheep-market - This might have been rendered the "sheep-gate," or the gate through which the sheep were taken into the city for sacrifice. The marginal rendering is "gate," and the word "market" is not in the original, nor is a "sheep-market" mentioned in the Scriptures or in any of the Jewish writings. A "sheep-gate" is repeatedly mentioned by Nehemiah Neh 3:1, Nehemiah 3:32; Nehemiah 12:39, being that by which sheep and oxen were brought into the city. As these were brought mainly for sacrifice, the gate was doubtless near the temple, and near the present place which is shown as the pool of Bethesda.

A pool - This word may either mean a small lake or pond in which one can swim, or a place for fish, or any waters collected for bathing or washing.

Hebrew tongue - Hebrew language. The language then spoken, which did not differ essentially from the ancient Hebrew.

Bethesda - The house of mercy. It was so called on account of its strong healing properties - the property of restoring health to the sick and infirm.

Five porches - The word "porch" commonly means a covered place surrounding a building, in which people can walk or sit in hot or wet weather. Here it probably means that there were five covered places, or apartments, in which the sick could remain, from each one of which they could have access to the water. This "pool" is thus described by Professor Hackett ("Illustrations of Scripture," pp. 291, 292): "Just to the east of the Turkish garrison, and under the northern wall of the mosque, is a deep excavation, supposed by many to be the ancient pool of Bethesda, into which the sick descended after the troubling of the water, and were healed, John 5:1 ff. It is 360 feet long, 130 feet wide, and 75 deep. The evangelist says that this pool was near the sheep-gate, as the Greek probably signifies, rather than sheep-market, as rendered in the English version. That gate, according to Nehemiah 3:1 ff, was on the north side of the temple, and hence, the situation of this reservoir would agree with that of Bethesda. The present name, Birket Israil, Pool of Israil, indicates the opinion of the native inhabitants in regard to the object of the excavation. The general opinion of the most accurate travelers is that the so-called pool was originally part of a trench or fosse which protected the temple on the north.

Though it contains no water at present except a little which trickles through the stones at the west end, it has evidently been used at some period as a reservoir. It is lined with cement, and adapted in other respects to hold water." Dr. Robinson established by personal inspection the fact of the subterranean connection of the pool of "Siloam" with the "Fountain of the Virgin," and made it probable that the fountain under the mosque of Omar is connected with them. This spring is, as he himself witnessed, an "intermittent" one, and there "may" have been some artificially constructed basin in connection with this spring to which was given the name of "Bethesda." He supposes, however, that there is not the slightest evidence that the place or reservoir now pointed out as "Bethesda" was the Bethesda of the New Testament (Bib. Res., i. 501, 506, 509). In the time of Sandys (1611) the spring was found running, but in small quantities; in the time of Maundrell (1697) the stream did not run. Probably in his time, as now, the water which had formerly filtered through the rocks was dammed up by the rubbish.

Wesley's John 5:2 Bible Commentary

5:2 There is in Jerusalem - Hence it appears, that St. John wrote his Gospel before Jerusalem was destroyed: it is supposed about thirty years after the ascension. Having five porticos - Built for the use of the sick. Probably the basin had five sides!Bethesda signifies the house of mercy.

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