The woman saith unto him
Not knowing well what to say to these things Christ had been discoursing about, as the place, object, and manner of worship; and being undetermined in her judgment of them, by what he had said, was willing to refer them to the Messiah's coming; of which she, and the Samaritans, had some knowledge,
I know that Messias cometh which is called Christ:
the last clause, "which is called Christ", are not the words of the woman explaining the Hebrew word Messiah; for as, on the one hand, she did not understand Greek, so, on the other, she could not think that the person she was conversing with, who she knew was a Jew, needed that word to be explained to him; but they are the words of the evangelist, interpreting the Hebrew word "Messiah", by the Greek word "Christ", in which language he wrote: hence this clause is left out in the Syriac version, as unnecessary to a Syriac reader, not needing the word to be explained to him. The Arabic and Ethiopic versions, and some copies, read in the plural number, "we know that Messias cometh"; the knowledge of the coming of the Messiah was not peculiar to this woman, but was common to all the Samaritans; for as they received the five books of Moses, they might learn from thence, that a divine and excellent person was to come, who is called the seed of the woman, that should bruise the serpent's head; Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the people should be; and a prophet like unto Moses: and though the word "Messiah" is not found in those books, yet, as it was usual with the Jews to call the same person by this name, they might easily take it from them, and make use of it; and they not only knew that there was a Messiah to come, and expected him, but that he was coming, just ready to come; and this they might conclude, not only from the general expectation of the Jewish nation about this time, but from ( Genesis 49:10 ) . And it is certain, that the Samaritans to this day do expect a Messiah, though they know not his name, unless it be (bhvh) ; the meaning of which they do not understand
when he is come he will tell us all things;
the whole mind and will of God; all things relating to the worship of God, and to the salvation of men. This the Samaritans might conclude from his general character as a prophet, like unto Moses, to whom men were to hearken, ( Deuteronomy 18:15 ) , and from a common prevailing notion among the Jews, that the times of the Messiah would be times of great knowledge, founded on several prophecies, as ( Isaiah 2:3 ) ( Isaiah 11:2 Isaiah 11:9 ) ( Jeremiah 31:34 ) , and which they sometimes express in the following manner F14:
``in the days of the Messiah, even the little children in the world shall find out the hidden things of wisdom, and know in it the ends and computations (of times), and at that time he shall be made manifest unto all.''And again F15,
``says R. Judah, the holy blessed God will reveal the deep mysteries of the law in the times of the King Messiah; for "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord" and it is written, "they shall not teach every man his brother"''And elsewhere F16,
``the whole world shall be filled with the words of the Messiah, and with the words of the law, and with the words of the commandments; and these things shall extend to the isles afar off; to many people, the uncircumcised in heart, and the uncircumcised in flesh; and they shall deal in the secrets of the law.--And there shall be no business in the world, but to know the Lord only; wherefore the Israelites shall be exceeding wise, and know secret things, and comprehend the knowledge of their Creator, as much as is possible for a man to do, as it is said, "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord"''Accordingly, the Messiah is come, who lay in the bosom of the Father, and has made known all things to his disciples, he hath heard of him; he has declared him to them, his love, grace, and mercy. God has spoken all he has to say that appertains to his own worship, and the salvation of the children of men by his Son Jesus Christ.
F13 1 Epist. Samar. ad Scaliger, in Antiq. Eccl. Oriental, p. 125.
F14 Zohar in Gen. fol, 74. 1.
F15 Zohar in Lev. x. 1.
F16 Maimon. Hilch. Melachim, c. 11. sect. 4. & 12. 5.