Then they reviled him
Called him an impertinent, saucy, impudent fellow, for talking in this pert manner to them, the great sanhedrim of the nation; or, as the Vulgate Latin version reads, they cursed him; they thundered out their anathemas against him, and pronounced him an execrable and an accursed fellow:
and said, thou art his disciple;
for they looked upon it a reproach and scandal to be called a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth; though there is nothing more honourable than to be a follower of him the Lamb whithersoever he goes: wherefore these Jews threw off what they thought a term of reproach from themselves to the blind man; and perhaps they might say this to ensnare him, hoping that he would own himself to be a disciple of Jesus, and profess him to be the Christ, that they might, according to their own act, excommunicate him. The Vulgate Latin, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, "be thou his disciple"; if thou wilt, we despise the character; far be it from us that we should be followers of him:
but we are Moses's disciples.
Thus they preferred Moses to Christ, and chose to be the disciples of Moses the servant, rather than of Christ the Son; though indeed they were not the genuine disciples of Moses; for if they had, they would have been the disciples of Christ, and believers in him, since Moses wrote and testified of him: they might indeed be so far the disciples of Moses, or of his law, since they sought for righteousness and justification by obedience to his law. This was a phrase in use among the Jews: so the Targumist F9 on ( Numbers 3:2 ) says,
``these are the names of they sons of Aaron the priests, (hvmd aydymlt) , "the disciples of Moses", the master of the Israelites;''particularly the Pharisees, as here, claimed this title to themselves: for it is said F11,
``all the seven days (before the day of atonement) they delivered to him (the high priest) two of the disciples of the wise men, to instruct him in the service (of that day), who were, (hvm lv wydymltm) , "of the disciples of Moses", in opposition to the Sadducees:''from whence it appears, that these disciples of Moses were of the sect of the Pharisees, who assumed this character as peculiar to themselves; sometimes they call themselves the disciples of Abraham, though the description they give of such, by no means belongs to them; (See Gill on John 8:39). They say F12,
``whoever has three things in him, is (Mhrba lv wydymltm) , "of the disciples of Abraham" our father, and who has three other things is of the disciples of Balaam the wicked: he that has a good eye, (beneficence, or temperance, or contentment,) a lowly spirit, and an humble soul, he is of "the disciples of Abraham" our father; but he that has evil eye, and a proud spirit, and a large soul (lustful or covetous), is of the disciples of Balaam.''This last character best agrees with those very persons, who would be thought to be the disciples of Abraham and of Moses.
F9 Jonathan ben Uzziel in ib.
F11 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 4. 1.
F12 Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 19.