“The neighbours, therefore, and those seeing him before, that he was blind, said, ‘Is not this he who is sitting and begging?” (John 9:8 YNG)
I have used Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible here because he captures an interesting description of the man who is blind from birth—who, by the way, is never named. The guy turns up seeing and an argument immediately breaks out whether or not this is the guy who was born blind [it rapidly descends into farce as the witnesses weigh in with their opinions, even though the guy is standing there going, “I’m the guy!”].
His neighbors and those who had seen him before have an interesting description of the blind man which bears on the whole rest of the chapter, which is why we do not want to miss it. They say, “isn’t this the guy who is sitting and begging?”
This is a poignant description of no doubt, most of the guy’s entire life up to that moment. He was born blind. He had never seen colors, or light, or palm trees, or bushes, or the sun, or moon, or stars. He did not know what red or blue was. He could feel what a tree was like, but not know the color and majesty of one. What do you do if you are that guy? You can’t work. You sit and beg.
Did he have any type of education? Most likely not. A blind man can hardly read or write, so what was the point? The only job he really could do was to sit and beg.
What fascinates me about this description is his behavior after his eyes are opened. He turns out to be the wiliest, wisest, funniest, ex-blind man in the history of the world! Where did his humor come from? His wit? His intelligence? We don’t know.
Somehow, the result of all that sitting and begging, was a guy who confounded the best attempts of the intellectuals and most religious people of the day. He saw what they did not see. He could understand what they did not understand. Indeed, he even makes fun of them.
I like this guy!!