Howbeit - But. They proceeded to state a reason why they supposed that he could not be the Messiah, whatever the rulers might think.
We know this man whence he is - We know the place of his birth and residence.
No man knoweth whence he is - From Matthew 2:5, it appears that the common expectation of the Jews was that the Messiah would be born at Bethlehem; but they had also feigned that after his birth he would be hidden or taken away in some mysterious manner, and appear again from some unexpected quarter. We find allusions to this expectation in the New Testament, where our Saviour corrects their common notions, Matthew 24:23; "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not." And again John 7:26, "If they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not." The following extracts from Jewish writings show that this was the common expectation: "The Redeemer shall manifest himself, and afterward be hid. So it was in the redemption from Egypt. Moses showed himself and then was hidden." So on the passage, Song of Songs 2:9 - "My beloved is like a roe or a young hart" - they say: "A roe appears and then is hid; so the Redeemer shall first appear and then be concealed, and then again be concealed and then again appear." "So the Redeemer shall first appear and then be hid, and then, at the end of 45 days, shall reappear, and cause manna to descend." See Lightfoot. Whatever may have been the source of this opinion, it explains this passage, and shows that the writer of this gospel was well acquainted with the opinions of the Jews, however improbable those opinions were.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing John 7:27:
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