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a Bible passage
1. There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. As this narrative contains the first miracle which Christ performed, it would be proper for us, were it on this ground alone, to consider the narrative attentively; though — as we shall afterwards see — there are other reasons which recommend it to our notice. But while we proceed, the various advantages arising from it will be more clearly seen. The Evangelist first mentions Cana of Galilee, not that which was situated towards Zare-phath (1 Kings 17:9; Obadiah 20; Luke 4:26) or Sarepta, between Tyre and Sidon, and was called the greater in comparison of this latter Cana, which is placed by some in the tribe of Zebulun, and by others in the tribe of Asher. For Jerome too assures us that, even in his time, there existed a small town which bore that name. There is reason to believe that it was near the city of Nazareth, since the mother of Christ came there to attend the marriage. From the fourth chapter of this book it will be seen that it was not more than one day’s journey distant from Capernaum. That it lay not far from the city of Bethsaida may also be inferred from the circumstance, that three days after Christ had been in those territories, the marriage was celebrated — the Evangelist tells us — in Cana of Galilee. There may have been also a third Cana, not far from Jerusalem, and yet out of Galilee; but I leave this undetermined, because I am unacquainted with it.
And the mother of Jesus was there. It was probably one of Christ’s near relations who married a wife; for Jesus is mentioned as having accompanied his mother. From the fact that the disciples also are invited, we may infer how plain and frugal was his way of living; for he lived in common with them. It may be thought strange, however, that a man who has no great wealth or abundance (as will be made evident from the scarcity of the wine) invites four or five other persons, on Christ’s account. But the poor are readier and more frank in their invitations; because they are not, like the rich, afraid of being disgraced, if they do not treat their guests with great costliness and splendor; for the poor adhere more zealously to the ancient custom of having an extended acquaintance.
Again, it may be supposed to show a want of courtesy, that the bridegroom allows his guests, in the middle of the entertainment, to be in want of wine; for it looks like a man of little thoughtfulness not to have a sufficiency of wine for his guests. I reply, nothing is here related which does not frequently happen, especially when people are not accustomed to the daily use of wine. Besides, the context shows, that it was towards the conclusion of the banquet that the wine fell short, when, according to custom, it might be supposed that they had already drunk enough; for the master of the feast thus speaks, Other men place worse wine before those who have drunk enough, but thou hast kept the best till now. Besides, I have no doubt that all this was regulated by the Providence of God, that there might be room for the miracle.
3. The mother of Jesus saith to him. It may be doubted if she expected or asked any thing from her Son, since he had not yet performed any miracle; and it is possible that, without expecting any remedy of this sort, she advised him to give some pious exhortations which would have the effect of preventing the guests from feeling uneasiness, and at the same time of relieving the shame of the bridegroom. I consider her words to be expressive of (συμπαθεία) earnest compassion; for the holy woman, perceiving that those who had been invited were likely to consider themselves as having been treated with disrespect, and to murmur against the bridegroom, and that the entertainment might in that way be disturbed, wished that some means of soothing them could be adopted. Chrysostom throws out a suspicion that she was moved by the feelings of a woman to seek I know not what favor for herself and her Son; but this conjecture is not supported by any argument.