John ii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. The Mother of Jesus was present. It is supposed she was then a widow, since in all the rest of the history of Jesus, not a single word occurs respecting St. Joseph. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. They have no wine. The blessed virgin Mother was not ignorant of the divine power of her Son, and that the time was come when he designed to make himself known to the world. She could not make her request in more modest terms. (Witham)

Ver. 4. Some of the Fathers have spoken without sufficient precaution on this action of the blessed Virgin; supposing she was actuated by some inclination to vanity, in begging her Son to perform a miracle on this occasion; that some of the glory of it might accrue to her, and that on this account our Saviour answers her with severity, saying, Woman, (not Mother) what is it to thee or me. Other Fathers, with more reason, attribute the interference of the blessed Virgin to her charity and compassion for the new married couple. Whatever turn be given to our Saviour’s answer, it must be acknowledged it has in it the appearance of something severe. But the Fathers have explained it with mildness, observing that our Saviour only meant to say, Mother, what affair is it of ours if they want wine? Ought we to concern ourselves about that? Others think that he wished, by these words, to let his Mother know that she must not forestall the time appointed by the heavenly Father, as if her demand were unseasonable and out of time. But most of the Fathers and best commentators understand, that he speaks here not as man and Son of Mary, but as God; and in that quality, he observes to his Mother, I have nothing in common with you. It is not for you to prescribe when miracles are to be performed, which are not to be expected in compliance with any human respect. I know when my power is to be manifested for the greater glory of God. (Calmet) —See the like forms of speech, Mark i. 24; Luke iv. 34; &c. — My hour is not yet come. It is not yet time. He waited till the wine was quite done, lest any should believe that he had only increased the quantity, or had only mixed water with the wine. He would have his first miracle to be incontestable, and that all the company should be witnesses of it. (St. Augustine, et alii patres passim. — Christ’s first miracle in the New Testament, was a kind of transubstantiation in changing water into wine; the first miracle Moses performed when sent to the Jews, was transubstantiation. (Exodus iv.) The first Moses and Aaron performed, when sent to the Egyptians, was transubstantiation. (Exodus vii.)

Ver. 6. Two or three measures,[1] called metreta. Both the Latin and Greek text, by the derivation, may signify a measure in general, according to the Rhemish translation: but metreta was a particular measure of liquids: yet, not corresponding to our firkins, I could not think it proper with the Protestant and M. N. to put two or three firkins. (Witham)

Ver. 10. When men have well drank,[2] or plentifully; this is the literal sense: nor need we translate, when they are drunk, being spoken of such company, where our Saviour, Christ, his blessed Mother, and his disciples, were present. See Genesis xliii. 34; 1 Machabees xvi. ver. 16, where the same word may be taken in the same sense. (Witham)

Ver. 11. This was the first miracle which Jesus had performed in public, and to manifest his glory; but Maldonatus is of opinion that he had before wrought many miracles, known to the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph; which gave her the confidence to ask one now. This opinion is no way contrary to the evangelist. His disciples believed in him. They had believed in him before or they would not have followed him. This confirmed their faith. (Calmet)

Ver. 15. He drove them all out of the temple. According to St. Chrysostom (hom. lxvii. in Matt.) this casting out was different from that which is there related, [Matthew?] chap. xxi. ver. 12. (Witham) — How could the Son of the carpenter, Joseph, whose divinity was yet unknown to the people, succeed in expelling so great a multitude from the temple! There was undoubtedly something divine in his whole conduct and appearance, which deterred all from making resistance. The evangelist seems to insinuate this by putting these words: “The house of my Father,” into our Saviour’s mouth, which was making himself immediately the Son of God. This made Origen consider this miracle, in overcoming the unruly dispositions of so many, as a superior manifestation of power to what he had shewn in changing the nature of water at Cana. (Haydock) — Jesus Christ here shews the respect he requires should be shewn to the temple of God; and St. Paul, speaking of the profaners of God’s Church, saith: If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy. (1 Corinthians iii. 17.) Which in a spiritual sense may be understood of the soul of man, which is the living temple of the living God. (Haydock)

Ver. 20. Six and forty years, &c. This many understand of the time the second temple was building, from the edict of Cyrus to the sixth year of Darius Hystaspes. Others, of the enlarging and beautifying the temple, which was begun by Herod the great, forty-six years before the Jews spoke this to our Saviour. (Witham) — Interpreters are much embarrassed by these words; as the building of the temple, which then existed, had been finished in much less than 46 years. Herod renewed the temple from the foundations, and spent in that work only nine years and a half. It was begun 46 years before the first Pasch at which our Saviour appeared. (Usher, ad an. Mundi 3987.) — But this prince, according to Josephus, continued to make new building and embellishments to the very time in which the Jews uttered these words: it is now 46 years, &c.

Ver. 24. Trust himself to them. The Fathers generally understand these words, to them, to refer to those who believed in him, mentioned in the preceding verse. Though they believed in him, he did not trust himself to them, because he knew them. He knew their weakness, their inconstancy, their unsteadiness. He knew they would abandon him on the first occasion; and that his passion, his cross, his doctrines, would be a subject of scandal. St. Augustine compares these first believers to catechumens. They believe in Christ, confess his name, and sign their foreheads with his cross: but Jesus Christ does not trust himself to them; he does not trust to them the knowledge of his mysteries; he does not reveal to them the secrets of his religion. (Calmet) — The catechumens were not allowed to be present at the holy mysteries of the sacrifice of the mass, but went out after the instruction of the gospel; whence the first part of the mass was frequently called the mass of the catechumens.


[1] Ver. 6. Metretas binas vel ternas, ana metretas duo e treis. See Walton’s preface to his first volume, p. 42, and others, de ponderibus et mensuris.

[2] Ver. 10. When they have drank well: cum inebriati fuerint, otan methusthosi. See Legh. Crit. Sac. on the word methuo.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Christ changes water into wine. He casts the sellers out of the temple.

1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana, of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there.

2 And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.

3 And wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.

4 Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is it to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.

5 His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures a-piece.

7 Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

8 And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it.

9 And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water, the chief steward calleth the bridegroom,

10 And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: But thou hast kept the good wine until now.

11 This beginning of the miracles did Jesus in Cana, of Galilee: and he manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

12 After this, he went down to Capharnaum, he and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they remained there not many days.

13 And the Pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem:

14 And he found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting.

15 And when he had made as it were a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and he poured out the changers’ money, and the tables he overthrew.

16 And he said to them that sold doves: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic.

17 And his disciples remembered that it was written: *The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.

18 The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: What sign dost thou shew to us, seeing thou dost these things?

19 Jesus answered, and said to them: *Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

20 The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?

21 But he spoke of the temple of his body.

22 When, therefore, he was risen again from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, *and they believed the Scripture, and the word that Jesus had said.

23 Now when he was at Jerusalem, at the Pasch, upon the festival day, many believed in his name, seeing his miracles, which he did.

24 But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men.

25 And because he needed not that any should give testimony of man: for he knew what was in man.



17: Psalm lxviii. 10.

19: Matthew xxvi. 61. and xxvii. 40.; Mark xiv. 58. and xv. 29.

22: Psalm iii. 6. and lvi. 9.