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John 10:39

ESV Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
NIV Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
NASB Therefore they were seeking again to arrest Him, and He eluded their grasp.
CSB Then they were trying again to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
NLT Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them.
KJV Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

What does John 10:39 mean?

This statement is both amazing and frustrating. According to prior verses, Jesus was walking in a specific part of the temple, the colonnade of Solomon. This was a porch-like structure, on the eastern side of the temple grounds, consisting of a roof supported by columns. One side of this walkway was open to the temple area. The other was blocked by a solid wall in some places, or ended in a steep drop in others. This means that Jesus was in an area from which there was no "escape" if cornered. According to the prior verses, the hostile crowd pressed in on Jesus, using a Greek word related to the siege of a city (John 10:22–24). They apparently came looking for blood, since they lift stones to throw (John 10:31). Since they are standing in an area where there would have been no stones to pick up, they brought the stones with them.

Jesus partly diffuses the mob by turning their own approach to Scripture against them. He shows that His words need to be judged according to His actions. And, that His actions—His miracles—clearly prove He is divinely empowered (John 10:34–38). All the same, the men try again to seize Jesus.

Despite being surrounded by men with murder on their mind, and in an area with no outlet, this verse simply says Jesus "escaped from their hands." This is not the first time such attempts have failed (John 5:13; 7:30; 8:20; 8:59). This is, however, the first time when the situation strongly suggests a supernatural element to the escape. Whether this was, in fact, a miracle, or there was some other interruption, John chooses not to say. For whatever reason, that information must not have served his purposes in writing this gospel. As other verses indicate, we can know "why" Jesus escaped: it wasn't yet the time God appointed for His death. We can't know "how," simply because we're not told.
What is the Gospel?
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