And as [Jesus] passed by
The word "Jesus" is not in the Greek text, but is rightly supplied by us, as it is in the Vulgate Latin, and as the word "Christ" is in the Persic version; for of his passing from the temple, and by the multitude that were there, and on his way to the place he designed to make to, is this said, as appears from the close of the preceding chapter; though some think this is to be understood of his passing by at another time and place, since the preceding fact of the woman's being taken in adultery, and the discourse of our Lord with the Jews, were quickly after the feast of tabernacles; whereas the following ones, both in this, and the next chapter, seem to be at the feast of dedication, ( John 10:22 ) , which was some months after: but it may be, that the parable of the sheep, though it runs in connection with what is said in this chapter, might be delivered then; or what follows, ( John 10:22 ) , might be said at the feast of dedication, when the parable, and what is related here, might be delivered before, seeing there is so very strict a connection between this, and the preceding chapter; and the Ethiopic version is very express, rendering it, "and departing from thence"; that is, from the temple, at that time when the Jews took up stones to stone him:
he saw a man which was blind from his birth;
which man was an emblem of God's elect in a state of nature, who being conceived in sin, are transgressors from the womb, and so are alienated from the life of God through their ignorance and blindness: they are blind as to any true and spiritual knowledge of God in Christ; as to any true sight of sin, or sense of their own estate and condition; and with respect to Christ, and the way of peace, righteousness, and salvation by him; and as to the Spirit, and the operations of his grace, and with regard to the Scriptures, and the doctrines of the Gospel: and as Christ saw this man first, and not the man him, for he was blind, so Christ first looks upon his chosen ones with an eye of love and mercy, as he passes by them, and both enlightens and quickens them, ( Ezekiel 16:6 Ezekiel 16:8 ) . He saw Matthew the publican first, as he passed along, and called him from the receipt of custom to be a follower of him, ( Matthew 9:10 ) .