on John 7 :22
But of the fathers - That is, it came from the patriarchs. Circumcision was not, properly speaking, one of the laws of the Mosaic institution, it having been given at first to Abraham, and continued among his posterity till the giving of the law: Genesis 17:9, Genesis 17:10, etc.
Ye - circumcise a man - That is, a male child: for every male child was circumcised when eight days old; and if the eighth day after its birth happened to be a Sabbath, it was nevertheless circumcised, that the law might not be broken, which had enjoined the circumcision to take place at that time, Leviticus 12:3. From this and several other circumstances it is evident that the keeping of the Sabbath, even in the strictest sense of the word, ever admitted of the works of necessity and mercy to be done on it; and that those who did not perform such works on that day, when they had opportunity, were properly violators of every law founded on the principles of mercy and justice. If the Jews had said, Why didst thou not defer the healing of the sick man till the ensuing day? He might have well answered, Why do ye not defer the circumcising of your children to the ensuing day, when the eighth day happens to be a Sabbath? - which is a matter of infinitely less consequence than the restoration of this long-afflicted man.
on John 7 :22
Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision - Moses commanded you to circumcise your children, Leviticus 12:3. The word "therefore" in this place - literally "on account of this" - means, "Moses on this account gave you circumcision, not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;" that is, the reason was not that he himself appointed it as a new institution, but he found it already in existence, and incorporated it in his institutions and laws.
Not because ... - Not that it is of Moses. Though Jesus spoke in accordance with the custom of the Jews, who ascribed the appointment of circumcision to Moses, yet he is careful to remind them that it was in observance long before Moses. So, also, the Sabbath was kept before Moses, and alike in the one case and the other they ought to keep in mind the design of the appointment.
Of the fathers - Of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Genesis 17:10.
Ye on the sabbath-day ... - The law required that the child should be circumcised on the eighth day. If that day happened to be the Sabbath, yet they held that he was to be circumcised, as there was a positive law to that effect; and as this was commanded, they did not consider it a breach of the Sabbath.
A man - Not an adult man, but a man-child. See John 16:21; "She remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world."
on John 7 :22
7:22 Moses gave you circumcision - The sense is, because Moses enjoined you circumcision (though indeed it was far more ancient than him) you think it no harm to circumcise a man on the Sabbath: and are ye angry at me (which anger had now continued sixteen months) for doing so much greater a good, for healing a man, body and soul, on the Sabbath?