kum'-fert-les (orphanous, "orphans"): The Greek original is found but twice in the New Testament; rendered "comfortless" in Joh 14:18, the Revised Version (British and American) "desolate"; "fatherless" in Jas 1:27 (compare Ps 68:5). The term signifies bereft of a father, parents, guardian, teacher, guide, and indicates what must be the permanent ministry of the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus, in comforting their hearts. In harmony with these parting words Jesus had called the chosen twelve "little children" (Joh 13:33); without Him they would be "orphans," comfortless, desolate. The coming of the Holy Spirit would make Christ and the Father forever real to them, an abiding spiritual presence.
Dwight M. Pratt