In John 15:25, it is written

25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

Where in the Old Testament (in the exact phrasing) was Jesus quoting from? Scholars and theologians usually say that it is Psalm 69:4, where it is written

4Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.

Yet while I can see the resemblance, I don't exactly think it matches up with what Jesus said. Since this isn't an exact matching translation, can we then assume that there must have existed a manuscript of Old Testament literature (most likely the Psalms) that had that exact phrasing? Or should we stick with Psalm 69:4? Or perhaps there are some other verses in the Psalms or elsewhere?

  • 2
    The Septuagint translation gives Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head. for Psalm 69:4,
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 1:18
  • As fleshly incarnation of the Word itself Jesus perfectly took upon himself the teaching role of Rabbi. He had authority to rephrase because He was the original author; see the "You have heard it said...but I say..." format of Matthew chapter 5. Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 13:24

3 Answers 3


NWT Psalm 35:19 "Do not let those who for no reason are my enemies gloat over me; Do not let those hating me without cause wink their eyes maliciously."

This do?


When the NT "quotes" the OT, two things must be remembered:

  1. The version of the OT that we use (in English) is a translation of the Hebrew OT. However, when the NT quotes the OT, it most often uses the LXX which is regularly slightly different from the Hebrew. (Some argue that some of these passages are older than the Masoretic text and are to be preferred but that is quite debateable.)
  2. When the NT quotes, even the LXX it very rarely verbatim but most often a slight paraphrase. Therefore, "exact wording" is rarely found. This is true here.

UBS5 lists two verses (Ps 35:19, 69:4) that may have been amalgamated/merged to create the phrase on John 15:25 - just 3 words in the Greek. The phrase in John 15:25 does not occur "exactly" in the OT as far as I could find. However, it appears to be a verbal allusion or parallel to the texts listed.


Jesus said in John 15:25 "But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law:"‘They hated me without reason.’" and many translations that say the same thing, kind of "resemble"to some and still do not see Psalm 35:19 - NIV "hate me without reason" ASV "hating me without cause" KJV "neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause" For me this resembles Mark 4:12


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