Marriage at Cana

Arriving at Cana of Galilee, tbe Lord, at a marriage John ii. 1-11. feast, changes water into wine. Afterwards He goes down with His mother, and brethren, and disciples, to Caper* Johnh. 12,13. naum, but remains there only a few days, as the Passover was at hand. From Capernaum He goes up to Jerusalem to attend this feast.

" And the third day there was a marriage," (v. 1.) It is disputed from what point of time this third day is to be reckoned. Some would make it the third day after His arrival in Galilee;1 others, as Alford, the third day from the calling of Nathanael, but one day intervening; and others, as Lange, identify it with the day last mentioned, (v. 43.) Blunt2 supposes the Evangelist to have some event,in his mind from which he dates, but which he does not mem tion. But most count from the day of the departure to Galilee, (v. 43.)3 The order of events may be thus given (John i. 19—ii. 1): the 1st day, verse 19, the visit of the deputation from Jerusalem; the 2d clay, verse 29, Jesus returns from the temptation, and John bears witness to Him; the 3d day, verse 35, the two disciples visit Him; the 4th day, verse 43, He begins His journey to Galilee; the 5th and 6th days are spent upon the way. According to Luthardt, on the third day the two disciples visit Jesus; on the fourth Simon is brought to Him; on the fifth Philip and Nathanael; on the 6th He is on His way; on the seventh He reaches Cana. Thus, the Lord's ministry begins as it ends, with seven days, whose events are specifically mentioned.

* So Friedlieb, Leben Jesu, 189; Trench, Mir., 83,

a Script. Coincidences, 261.

3 So Robinson, Meyer, Lichtenstein, Ellicott.

At least two days must have been spent on the way, as the distance from Bethabara to Nazareth was not far from 60 miles.1

It is probable that the Lord passed through Nazareth on His way to Cana. Ewald supposes that the family of Joseph had at this time left Nazareth, and were already settled at Cana.* But it seems conclusive against this that Philip should speak to Nathanael of Jesus as Jesus of Nazareth, (John i. 45,) and that Nathanael, who was of Cana, should know nothing of Him. The mother of Jesus seems to have been intimate in the family where the wedding took place, from which it has been inferred that she was a relative of one of the parties. One tradition makes Alpheus and Mary, the sister of the Lord's mother, to have resided at Cana, and the marriage to have been that of one of their sons. According to Greswell, it was the marriage of Alpheus and Mary themselves. Another tradition, current among the Mohammedans, and maintained by some in the Church, makes John the apostle to have been the bridegroom ; another that the bridegroom was Simon the Cananite, the latter epithet being a designation of his residence, not of his character. As no allusion is made to Joseph, the most obvious inference is that he was already dead. From the fact that His disciples were invited with the Lord, it would appear that they were friends of the married pair, or that they were present as friends of Jesus. It is not certain that all the disciples are here included; perhaps only Philip and Nathanael went with Him.3 Some, however, find in the six water pots an allusion to the Lord and His five disciples.4

1 Epiphanius puts the miracle at the wedding on the 6th January, but this is rightly rejected by Baronius.

2 So Stanley, 859, note. 3 Trench, Mir., 84. * See Luthardt, i. 77

The marriage took place at " Cana of Galilee." The name signifies, in Hebrew, a " place of reeds," and is once used in the Old Testament as the name of a stream on the borders of Ephraim and Manasseh, (Josh. xvi. 8,) and of a city in Asher, (Josh. xix. 28.) With this city of Asher Greswell identifies the Cana Qf the Gospels. The addition " of Galilee " here seems designed to distinguish it from some other Cana. There are now two Canas in Galilee; one Kana el Jelil, north ; the other Kefr Kenna, north-east from Nazareth, and it is disputed which is meant. Robinson (ii. 347) shows that upon etymological grounds the former is to be preferred, the present Arabic name Kana el Jelil being identical with Cana of Galilee, while Kefr Kenna " can only be twisted by force into a like shape." He shows also that the former was by early tradition pointed out as the true site of the miracle, and that only since the 16th century, and for the convenience of monks and travellers, was the latter selected. In this view of Robinson most now agree.1 De Saulcy, however, (ii. 376,) maintains the claims of Kefr Kenna, affirming that the present name of Kana el Jelil does not mean Cana of Galilee, but Cana the great, or illustrious. He also objects that this village is too far from Nazareth, and in the wrong direction, to answer to the narrative.2 Stanley speaks of the claims of the two Canas as " being about equally balanced." Thomson speaks hesitatingly. Making inquiries, when in the neighborhood, of all he met, where the water was made wine, "with one consent they pointed to Kefr Kenna. Some of them knew of a ruin called Kanna on the north side .of the great plain of Buttauf, but only one had ever heard of the word ' Jelil' as a part of the name, and from the hesitancy with which this one admitted it, I was left in doubt whether he did not merely acquiesce in it at my suggestion. It is certain that very few^ even of the Moslems, know the full name of Kana el Jelil; and yet I think Dr. Robinson has about settled the question in its favor."

1 So Winer, Kaumer, Ritter, Meyer, Porter, Van de Velde, Sepp.

2 See Robinson's Reply, iii. 108, note. Ewaid, Christus, 170, note, decides against De Saulcy.

Osborne says that at Kefr Kenna he inquired its name of his guides and Arabs, who said it was also called Kenna el Jelil. Also one of the natives called it Jelil. He consid ered it, however, a new name, devised to preserve the character of the place as Cana of Galilee.

This village lies 12 or 15 miles north of Nazareth, on the southern declivity of a hill that overlooks the plain El Biittauf. According to Robinson : " The situation is fine. It was once a considerable village, of well-built houses, now deserted. Many of the dwellings are in ruins; we could discover no traces of antiquity." Thomson says that there is not now a habitable house in the village, though some of them may have been inhabited within the last fifty years. There are many ancient cisterns about it, and fragments of water-jars in abundance, not, however, of stone, but of baked earth. Not only is the village deserted, but the near neighborhood is so wild, that it is the favorite hunting ground for the inhabitants of Kefr Kenna.

Kefr Kenna lies 4 or 5 miles north-east of Nazareth, in a small valley upon the border of a plain. At the entrance of the village is a fountain made out of an ancient sarcophagus, which the inhabitants show as the fountain from which the water-pots were filled. A Greek church is built upon the site of the miracle, but is a modern structure. In this church are shown two enormous stone vases, as two of the six water-pots. De Saulcy maintains that they are as old as the period at which the miracle took place. There are some ruins apparently ancient, and among them is shown the house of Simon the Cananite.

The marriage festivities among the Jews usually continued six or seven days, and it is not certain upon which of these days the miracle was wrought, but probably toward the last. At their expiration Jesus went with His mother and brethren and disciples to Capernaum. The occasion of this journey is not mentioned ; perhaps, because invited by Peter and Andrew, who seem now to have resided there. Friedlieb (191) suggests that, as the Passover was now not distant, they might have desired to join a party of pilgrims going up to the feast from that city. The fact that He did not remain there many days, is mentioned as indicating that His public ministry had not yet begun. There is no intimation that He taught, or made any public manifestation of Himself while at Capernaum. Probably His time w^s spent in private intercourse with His disciples. Lightfoot, (iii. 44,) who makes four months to intervene between the temptation and first Passover, supposes Him to have spent this interval in a " perambulation of Galilee." Of this there is no hint in the narrative. As the Passover drew nigh, He went up to Jerusalem. Whether the disciples accompanied Him is not stated ; but as they would naturally attend the feast, and as afterward they are found with Him, (John ii. 22,) we infer that they did so.