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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 12 - Verse 6

Verse 6. Had the bag. The word translated bag is compounded of two words, meaning "tongue," and "to keep or preserve." It was used to denote the bag in which musicians used to keep the tongues or reeds of their pipes when travelling. Hence it came to mean any bag or purse in which travellers put their money or their most precious articles. The disciples appear to have had such a bag or purse in common, in which they put whatever money they had, and which was designed especially for the poor, Lu 8:3; Mt 27:55; Ac 2:44.

The keeping of this, it seems, was intrusted to Judas; and it is remarkable that the only one among them who appears to have been naturally avaricious should have received this appointment. It shows us that every man is tried according to his native propensity. This is the object of trial—to bring out man's native character; and every man will find opportunity to do evil according to his native disposition, if he is inclined to it.

And bare, &c. The word translated bare means literally to carry as a burden. Then it means to carry away, as in Joh 20:15: "If thou hast borne him hence." Hence it means to carry away as a thief does, and this is evidently its meaning here. It has this sense often in classic writers. Judas was a thief, and stole what was put into the bag. The money he desired to be intrusted to him, that he might secretly enrich himself. It is clear, however, that the disciples did not at this time know that this was his character, or they would have remonstrated against him. They learned it afterward. We may learn here,

1st. That it is not a new thing for members of the church to be covetous. Judas was so before them.

2nd. That such members will be those who complain of the great waste in spreading the gospel.

3rd. That this deadly, mean, and grovelling passion will work all evil in a church. It brought down the curse of God on the children of Israel in the case of Achan (Jos 7:1), and it betrayed our Lord to death. It has often since brought blighting on the church; and many a time it has betrayed the cause of Christ, and drowned men in destruction and perdition, 1 Ti 6:9.

{d} "he was a thief" 2 Ki 5:20-27; Ps 50:18 {e} "had the bag" Joh 13:29

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