John 2:17

17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”a

Read John 2:17 Using Other Translations

And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

What does John 2:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
John 2:17

And his disciples remembered that it was written
In ( Psalms 69:9 ) , which Psalm belongs to the Messiah, as is manifest from the citations out of it in the New Testament, and the application of them to Christ, as in ( John 15:25 ) ( 19:28 ) ( Romans 15:3 ) , compared with ( Psalms 69:4 Psalms 69:9 Psalms 69:21 ) . Christ is represented in it, as suffering for the sins of his people; for he himself was innocent; and was hated without a cause; but having the sins of his people imputed to him, he made satisfaction for them, and so restored what he took not away. His sufferings are spoken of in it as very great; and from it we learn, that they are fitly called, by himself, a baptism, which he desired to be baptized with, ( Luke 12:50 ) , since the waters are said to come into his soul, and he to be in deep waters, where the floods overflowed him; so that he was as one immersed in them: it is not only prophesied of him in it, that he should be the object of the scorn and contempt of the Jewish nation, and be rejected by them, and treated with the utmost indignity, and loaded with reproaches; but it foretold, that they should give him gall to eat, and vinegar to drink, which were literally fulfilled in him: and even the Jews themselves seem to be under some conviction, that the Psalm has respect to him; for Aben Ezra, a noted commentator of theirs, on the last words of the Psalm, has this note;

``the sense is, they and their children shall inherit it in the days of David, or in the days of the Messiah.''

It appears from hence, that the disciples of Christ were acquainted with the sacred writings, and had diligently read them, and searched into them, and had made them their study; and upon this wonderful action of Christ, called to mind, and reflected upon the following passage of Scripture, which they judged very proper and pertinent to him:

the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
This passage, so far as it is cited, agrees exactly, word for word, with the original text in ( Psalms 69:9 ) , wherefore it is very strange that Surenhusius F6 should remark a difference, and give himself a good deal of trouble to reconcile it: he observes, that in the Hebrew text, it is read, (hwhy) (tanq) , "the zeal of the Lord", in the third person; whereas it is there, (Ktyb tanq) , "the zeal of thine house", as here, in the second person: indeed, the word (yk) , "for", is left out, as he remarks, there being no need of it in the citation; the evangelist only historically relating the accommodation of it to Christ, by the disciples; whereas in the original text, the words contain a reason of the reproach and shame which Christ endured, and was put to by the Jews on account of his zeal for the house, honour, and worship of God; and the latter part of the text is not produced at all, being not for the present purpose, though very applicable to Christ; and is cited, and applied to him by the apostle, in ( Romans 15:3 ) . Such was Christ's regard to his Father's house, and which was typical of the church of God; and such his concern for his honour, ordinances, and worship, that when he saw the merchandise that was carried on in the temple, his zeal, which was a true and hearty affection for God, and was according to knowledge, was stirred up in him, and to such a degree, that it was like a consuming fire within him, that ate up his spirits; so that he could not forbear giving it vent, and expressing it in the manner he did, by driving those traders out of it. Phinehas and Elias were in their zeal, as well as other things, types of Christ; and in the Spirit and power of the latter he came; and Christ not only expressed a zeal for the house of God, the place of religious worship, but for the church and people of God, whose salvation he most earnestly desired, and most zealously pursued: he showed his strong, and affectionate regard to it, by his suretyship engagements for them, by his assumption of their nature, by his ardent desire to accomplish it, and by his voluntary and cheerful submission to death on account of it. And such was his zeal for it, that it eat him up, it inflamed his Spirit and affections, consumed his time and strength, and, at last, his life: and he also showed a zeal for the discipline of God's house, by his severe reflections on human traditions; by asserting the spirituality of worship; by commanding a strict regard to divine institutions; and by sharply inveighing against the sins of professors of religion: and he discovered a warm zeal for the truths of the Gospel, by a lively and powerful preaching of them; by his constancy and assiduity in it; by the many fatiguing journeys he took for that purpose; by the dangers he exposed himself to by it; and by the care he took to free the Gospel from prejudice and calumnies: and it becomes us, in imitation of our great master, to be zealous for his truths and ordinances, and for the discipline of his house, and not bear with either the erroneous principles, or the bad practices of wicked men.


FOOTNOTES:

F6 Biblos Katallages, p. 347.
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