CAN YOU EXPLAIN “OF LATE” IN JOHN 11:8?
by Shawn Brasseaux
The Bible relates to us in John 11:8: “His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?” Of course, we do know what “late” means, so that helps us some. In this case though, it forms part of an English idiom that goes back to the early 1400s, and functions as a noun (thing) instead of an adjective (description).
Back in chapter 10, just a few months earlier, the apostate Jews in Jerusalem tried to murder Jesus Christ because of His claim of being the JEHOVAH God of their Old Testament Scriptures: “ My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  I and my Father are one.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.  Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?  The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” Finally, verse 39: “Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,….” Jesus Christ left the area of Jerusalem.
In chapter 11, when Jesus’ friend Lazarus is sick near Jerusalem, messengers are sent to ask Jesus to come back to Judaea to help him. His disciples react most adversely: “His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?” (John 11:8). The Jews “of late” are those who “lately” or “recently” sought to murder Jesus in chapter 10. Christ’s followers could not comprehend why He would desire to return to Judaea where, just a few months earlier, He was close to death.