These things said he
In answer to his disciples, and made a pause.
And after that he saith unto them, our friend Lazarus sleepeth;
meaning, that he was dead; in which sense the word is often used in the Old Testament, and in the common dialect of the Jews, and frequently in their writings; and especially it is so used of good men: and it is an observation of theirs F2, that
``it is usual to say of the righteous, that there is no death in them, (hnyv ala) , "but sleep";''(See Gill on Matthew 9:24), (See Gill on 1 Corinthians 15:18), (See Gill on 1 Corinthians 15:20), (See Gill on 1 Thessalonians 4:13), (See Gill on 1 Thessalonians 4:14);
but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep;
that is, to raise him from the dead, for, the resurrection of the dead is expressed by awaking; see ( Psalms 17:15 ) ( Isaiah 26:19 ) ( Daniel 12:2 ) ; which for Christ to do, was as easy as to awake a man out of natural sleep: these words respecting Lazarus's sleeping and awaking, express both the omniscience and omnipotence of Christ; his omniscience, that he should know that Lazarus was dead; when at such a distance from him; and his omnipotence, that he could raise him from the dead; and yet his great modesty to signify it in, such covert language, though not difficult to be understood.
F2 Gloss in T. Hieros. Celaim in En Yaacob, fol. 4. 4.