John 9:24 - A Hebrew Idiom.

In John 9, Jesus heals a man that was born blind, on the Sabbath day. This angered the legalistic Jews and they wanted to bring charges against Him, so they dragged in the man and his parents for questioning. During the interrogation, they said to the man "Give glory to God." (John 9:24), which seems to be a rather strange thing to say in this context. So, what does it actually mean? The problem is that this clause is a rather literal translation of the underlying Greek. Now Greek and English have very different grammar and Greek words rarely have an exact English equivalent so a strictly literal translation often fails to communicate the intended meaning. Often, words and phrases mean something quite different to what they appear to mean. These are known as idioms and they occur in virtually all languages (eg. "stone the crows" or "chill out"). In this case, "Give glory to God" is actually a Hebrew idiom, meaning a solemn oath of truthfulness (note that the NIV has a footnote indicating this). Therefore a translation like "Promise to tell the truth" would make much more sense of the whole verse.

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