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Teks -- Matthew 3:1-17 (NET)

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Konteks
The Ministry of John the Baptist
3:1 In those days John the Baptist came into the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3:3 For he is the one about whom Isaiah the prophet had spoken: “The voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.’” 3:4 Now John wore clothing made from camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. 3:5 Then people from Jerusalem, as well as all Judea and all the region around the Jordan, were going out to him, 3:6 and he was baptizing them in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 3:7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 3:8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, 3:9 and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 3:10 Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 3:11 “I baptize you with water, for repentance, but the one coming after me is more powerful than I am– I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clean out his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire.”
The Baptism of Jesus
3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. 3:14 But John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” 3:15 So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him. 3:16 After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.”
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Nama Orang, Nama Tempat, Topik/Tema Kamus

Nama Orang dan Nama Tempat:
 · Abraham a son of Terah; the father of Isaac; ancestor of the Jewish nation.,the son of Terah of Shem
 · Galilee the region of Palestine north of Sameria and west of the upper Jordan River,a region west of Lake Galilee and north of the Jezreel Valley
 · Isaiah a son of Amoz; a prophet active in Judah from about 740 to 701 B.C.,son of Amoz; a major prophet in the time of Hezekiah
 · Jerusalem the capital city of Israel,a town; the capital of Israel near the southern border of Benjamin
 · John a son of Zebedee; younger brother of James; the beloved disciple of Christ,a relative of Annas the high priest,a son of Mary the sister of Barnabas, and surnamed Mark,the father of Simon Peter
 · Jordan the river that flows from Lake Galilee to the Dead Sea,a river that begins at Mt. Hermon, flows south through Lake Galilee and on to its end at the Dead Sea 175 km away (by air)
 · Judea a region that roughly corresponded to the earlier kingdom of Judah
 · Pharisee a religious group or sect of the Jews
 · Sadducee a group/sect of the Jews


Topik/Tema Kamus: John the Baptist | Repentance | JESUS CHRIST, 4A | MATTHEW, THE GOSPEL OF | Minister | John | Baptism | Jesus, The Christ | Reproof | Fire | Sadducees | Pharisees | BAPTISM (LUTHERAN DOCTRINE) | Camel | Jordan | ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, VI-X | Holy Spirit | Leather | BAPTISM (THE BAPTIST INTERPRETATION) | Locust | selebihnya
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Robertson , Vincent , Wesley , JFB , Clarke , Calvin , Defender , TSK

Catatan Kata/Frasa
Poole , Lightfoot , PBC , Haydock , Gill

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NET Notes , Geneva Bible

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Maclaren , MHCC , Matthew Henry , Barclay , Constable , College , McGarvey , Lapide

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Evidence

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Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Kata/Frasa (per frasa)

Robertson: Mat 3:1 - And in those days cometh John the Baptist And in those days cometh John the Baptist ( en de tais hēmerais paraginetai Iōanēs ho Baptistēs ). Here the synoptic narrative begins with th...

And in those days cometh John the Baptist ( en de tais hēmerais paraginetai Iōanēs ho Baptistēs ).

Here the synoptic narrative begins with the baptism of John (Mat 3:1; Mar 1:2; Luk 3:1) as given by Peter in Act 1:22, "from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us"(cf. also Act 10:37-43, Peter’ s summary to Cornelius very much like the outline of Mark’ s Gospel). Matthew does not indicate the date when John appeared as Luke does in ch. 3 (the fifteenth year of Tiberius’ s reign). It was some thirty years after the birth of John, precisely how long after the return of Joseph and Mary to Nazareth we do not know. Moffatt translates the verb (paraginetai ) "came on the scene,"but it is the historical present and calls for a vivid imagination on the part of the reader. There he is as he comes forward, makes his appearance. His name John means "Gift of Jehovah"(cf. German Gotthold ) and is a shortened form of Johanan. He is described as "the Baptist,""the Baptizer"for that is the rite that distinguishes him. The Jews probably had proselyte baptism as I. Abrahams shows ( Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels , p. 37). But this rite was meant for the Gentiles who accepted Judaism. John is treating the Jews as Gentiles in demanding baptism at their hands on the basis of repentance.

Robertson: Mat 3:1 - Preaching in the wilderness of Judea Preaching in the wilderness of Judea ( Kērussōn en tēi erēmōi tēs Ioudaias ). It was the rough region in the hills toward the Jordan and ...

Preaching in the wilderness of Judea ( Kērussōn en tēi erēmōi tēs Ioudaias ).

It was the rough region in the hills toward the Jordan and the Dead Sea. There were some people scattered over the barren cliffs. Here John came in close touch with the rocks, the trees, the goats, the sheep, and the shepherds, the snakes that slipped before the burning grass over the rocks. He was the Baptizer, but he was also the Preacher, heralding his message out in the barren hills at first where few people were, but soon his startling message drew crowds from far and near. Some preachers start with crowds and drive them away.

Robertson: Mat 3:2 - Repent Repent ( metanoeite ). Broadus used to say that this is the worst translation in the New Testament. The trouble is that the English word "repent"mean...

Repent ( metanoeite ).

Broadus used to say that this is the worst translation in the New Testament. The trouble is that the English word "repent"means "to be sorry again"from the Latin repoenitet (impersonal). John did not call on the people to be sorry, but to change (think afterwards) their mental attitudes (metanoeite ) and conduct. The Vulgate has it "do penance"and Wycliff has followed that. The Old Syriac has it better: "Turn ye."The French (Geneva) has it "Amendez vous."This is John’ s great word (Bruce) and it has been hopelessly mistranslated. The tragedy of it is that we have no one English word that reproduces exactly the meaning and atmosphere of the Greek word. The Greek has a word meaning to be sorry (metamelomai ) which is exactly our English word repent and it is used of Judas (Mat 27:3). John was a new prophet with the call of the old prophets: "Turn ye"(Joe 2:12; Isa 55:7; Eze 33:11, Eze 33:15).

Robertson: Mat 3:2 - For the kingdom of heaven is at hand For the kingdom of heaven is at hand ( ēggiken gar hē Basileia tōn ouranōn ). Note the position of the verb and the present perfect tense. It...

For the kingdom of heaven is at hand ( ēggiken gar hē Basileia tōn ouranōn ).

Note the position of the verb and the present perfect tense. It was a startling word that John thundered over the hills and it re-echoed throughout the land. The Old Testament prophets had said that it would come some day in God’ s own time. John proclaims as the herald of the new day that it has come, has drawn near. How near he does not say, but he evidently means very near, so near that one could see the signs and the proof. The words "the kingdom of heaven"he does not explain. The other Gospels use "the kingdom of God"as Matthew does a few times, but he has "the kingdom of heaven"over thirty times. He means "the reign of God,"not the political or ecclesiastical organization which the Pharisees expected. His words would be understood differently by different groups as is always true of popular preachers. The current Jewish apocalypses had numerous eschatological ideas connected with the kingdom of heaven. It is not clear what sympathy John had with these eschatological features. He employs vivid language at times, but we do not have to confine John’ s intellectual and theological horizon to that of the rabbis of his day. He has been an original student of the Old Testament in his wilderness environment without any necessary contact with the Essenes who dwelt there. His voice is a new one that strikes terror to the perfunctory theologians of the temple and of the synagogue. It is the fashion of some critics to deny to John any conception of the spiritual content of his words, a wholly gratuitous criticism.

Robertson: Mat 3:2 - For this is he that was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet For this is he that was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet ( houtos gar estin ho rhētheis dia Esaiou tou prophētou ). This is Matthew’ s way of...

For this is he that was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet ( houtos gar estin ho rhētheis dia Esaiou tou prophētou ).

This is Matthew’ s way of interpreting the mission and message of the Baptist. He quotes Isa 40:3 where "the prophet refers to the return of Israel from the exile, accompanied by their God"(McNeile). He applies it to the work of John as "a voice crying in the wilderness"for the people to make ready the way of the Lord who is now near. He was only a voice, but what a voice he was. He can be heard yet across the centuries.

Robertson: Mat 3:4 - Now John himself Now John himself ( autos de ho Iōanēs ). Matthew thus introduces the man himself and draws a vivid sketch of his dress (note eichen , imperfect t...

Now John himself ( autos de ho Iōanēs ).

Matthew thus introduces the man himself and draws a vivid sketch of his dress (note eichen , imperfect tense), his habit, and his food. Would such an uncouth figure be welcome today in any pulpit in our cities? In the wilderness it did not matter. It was probably a matter of necessity with him, not an affectation, though it was the garb of the original Elijah (2Ki 1:8), rough sackcloth woven from the hair of camels. Plummer holds that "John consciously took Elijah as a model."

Robertson: Mat 3:6 - And they were baptized And they were baptized ( kai ebaptizonto ). It is the imperfect tense to show the repetition of the act as the crowds from Judea and the surrounding ...

And they were baptized ( kai ebaptizonto ).

It is the imperfect tense to show the repetition of the act as the crowds from Judea and the surrounding country kept going out to him (exeporeueto ), imperfect again, a regular stream of folks going forth. Moffatt takes it as causative middle, "got baptized,"which is possible. "The movement of course was gradual. It began on a small scale and steadily grew till it reached colossal proportions"(Bruce). It is a pity that baptism is now such a matter of controversy. Let Plummer, the great Church of England commentator on Matthew, speak here of John’ s baptising these people who came in throngs: "It is his office to bind them to a new life, symbolized by immersion in water."That is correct, symbolized, not caused or obtained. The word "river"is in the correct text, "river Jordan."They came "confessing their sins"(exomologoumenoi ), probably each one confessing just before he was baptized, "making open confession"(Weymouth). Note ex . It was a never to be forgotten scene here in the Jordan. John was calling a nation to a new life. They came from all over Judea and even from the other side of El Ghor (the Jordan Gorge), Perea. Mark adds that finally all Jerusalem came.

Robertson: Mat 3:7 - The Pharisees and Sadducees The Pharisees and Sadducees ( tōn Pharisaiōn kai Saddoukaiōn ). These two rival parties do not often unite in common action, but do again in Ma...

The Pharisees and Sadducees ( tōn Pharisaiōn kai Saddoukaiōn ).

These two rival parties do not often unite in common action, but do again in Mat 16:1. "Here a strong attraction, there a strong repulsion, made them for the moment forget their differences"(McNeile). John saw these rival ecclesiastics "coming for baptism"(erchomenous epi to baptisma ). Alford speaks of "the Pharisees representing hypocritical superstition; the Sadducees carnal unbelief."One cannot properly understand the theological atmosphere of Palestine at this time without an adequate knowledge of both Pharisees and Sadducees. The books are numerous besides articles in the Bible dictionaries. I have pictured the Pharisees in my first (1916) Stone Lectures, The Pharisees and Jesus. John clearly grasped the significance of this movement on the part of the Pharisees and Sadducees who had followed the crowds to the Jordan. He had welcomed the multitudes, but right in the presence of the crowds he exposes the hypocrisy of the ecclesiastics.

Robertson: Mat 3:7 - Ye offspring of vipers Ye offspring of vipers ( gennēmata echidnōn ). Jesus (Mat 12:34; Mat 23:33) will use the same language to the Pharisees. Broods of snakes were of...

Ye offspring of vipers ( gennēmata echidnōn ).

Jesus (Mat 12:34; Mat 23:33) will use the same language to the Pharisees. Broods of snakes were often seen by John in the rocks and when a fire broke out they would scurry (phugein ) to their holes for safety. "The coming wrath"was not just for Gentiles as the Jews supposed, but for all who were not prepared for the kingdom of heaven (1Th 1:10). No doubt the Pharisees and Sadducees winced under the sting of this powerful indictment.

Robertson: Mat 3:8 - Fruit worthy of repentance Fruit worthy of repentance ( Karpon axion tēs metanoias ). John demands proof from these men of the new life before he administers baptism to them....

Fruit worthy of repentance ( Karpon axion tēs metanoias ).

John demands proof from these men of the new life before he administers baptism to them. "The fruit is not the change of heart, but the acts which result from it"(McNeile). It was a bold deed for John thus to challenge as unworthy the very ones who posed as lights and leaders of the Jewish people. "Any one can do (poiēsate ,vide Gen 1:11) acts externally good but only a good man can grow a crop of right acts and habits"(Bruce).

Robertson: Mat 3:9 - And think not to say within yourselves And think not to say within yourselves ( kai mē doxēte legein en heautois ). John touched the tender spot, their ecclesiastical pride. They felt ...

And think not to say within yourselves ( kai mē doxēte legein en heautois ).

John touched the tender spot, their ecclesiastical pride. They felt that the "merits of the fathers,"especially of Abraham, were enough for all Israelites. At once John made clear that, reformer as he was, a breach existed between him and the religious leaders of the time.

Robertson: Mat 3:9 - Of these stones Of these stones ( ek tōn lithōn toutōn ). "Pointing, as he spoke to the pebbles on the beach of the Jordan"(Vincent).

Of these stones ( ek tōn lithōn toutōn ).

"Pointing, as he spoke to the pebbles on the beach of the Jordan"(Vincent).

Robertson: Mat 3:10 - Is the axe laid Is the axe laid ( hē axinē keitai ). This verb keitai is used as the perfect passive of tithēmi . But the idea really is, "the axe lies at (p...

Is the axe laid ( hē axinē keitai ).

This verb keitai is used as the perfect passive of tithēmi . But the idea really is, "the axe lies at (pros , before) the root of the trees."It is there ready for business. The prophetic present occurs also with "is hewn down"and "cast."

Robertson: Mat 3:11 - Mightier than I Mightier than I ( ischuroteros mou ). Ablative after the comparative adjective. His baptism is water baptism, but the Coming One "will baptize in the...

Mightier than I ( ischuroteros mou ).

Ablative after the comparative adjective. His baptism is water baptism, but the Coming One "will baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire.""Life in the coming age is in the sphere of the Spirit. Spirit and fire are coupled with one preposition as a double baptism"(McNeile). Broadus takes "fire"in the sense of separation like the use of the fan. As the humblest of servants John felt unworthy to take off the sandals of the Coming One. About bastazō see Mat 8:17.

Robertson: Mat 3:12 - Will burn up with unquenchable fire Will burn up with unquenchable fire ( katakausei puri asbestōi ). Note perfective use of kata . The threshing floor, the fan, the wheat, the garner...

Will burn up with unquenchable fire ( katakausei puri asbestōi ).

Note perfective use of kata . The threshing floor, the fan, the wheat, the garner, the chaff (achuron , chaff, straw, stubble), the fire furnish a life-like picture. The "fire"here is probably judgment by and at the coming of the Messiah just as in Mat 3:11. The Messiah "will thoroughly cleanse"(diakathariei , Attic future of ̇izō and note diȧ ). He will sweep from side to side to make it clean.

Robertson: Mat 3:13 - Then cometh Jesus Then cometh Jesus ( tote paraginetai ho Iēsous ). The same historical present used in Mat 3:1. He comes all the way from Galilee to Jordan "to be b...

Then cometh Jesus ( tote paraginetai ho Iēsous ).

The same historical present used in Mat 3:1. He comes all the way from Galilee to Jordan "to be baptized by him"(tou baptisthēnai hupo autou ). The genitive articular infinitive of purpose, a very common idiom. The fame of John had reached Nazareth and the hour has come for which Jesus has waited.

Robertson: Mat 3:14 - Would have hindered Would have hindered ( diekōluen ). Rather "tried to prevent"as Moffatt has it. It is the conative imperfect. The two men of destiny are face to fac...

Would have hindered ( diekōluen ).

Rather "tried to prevent"as Moffatt has it. It is the conative imperfect. The two men of destiny are face to face for the first time apparently. The Coming One stands before John and he recognizes him before the promised sign is given.

Robertson: Mat 3:15 - To fulfil all righteousness To fulfil all righteousness ( plērōsai pāsan dikaiosunēn ). The explanation of Jesus satisfies John and he baptizes the Messiah though he has...

To fulfil all righteousness ( plērōsai pāsan dikaiosunēn ).

The explanation of Jesus satisfies John and he baptizes the Messiah though he has no sins to confess. It was proper (prepon ) to do so else the Messiah would seem to hold aloof from the Forerunner. Thus the ministries of the two are linked together.

Robertson: Mat 3:16 - The Spirit of God descending as a dove The Spirit of God descending as a dove ( pneuma theou katabainon hōsei peristeran ). It is not certain whether Matthew means that the Spirit of God...

The Spirit of God descending as a dove ( pneuma theou katabainon hōsei peristeran ).

It is not certain whether Matthew means that the Spirit of God took the form of a dove or came upon Jesus as a dove comes down. Either makes sense, but Luke (Luk 3:22) has it "in bodily form as a dove"and that is probably the idea here. The dove in Christian art has been considered the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

Robertson: Mat 3:17 - A voice out of the heavens A voice out of the heavens ( phōnē ek tōn ouranōn ). This was the voice of the Father to the Son whom he identifies as His Son, "my beloved S...

A voice out of the heavens ( phōnē ek tōn ouranōn ).

This was the voice of the Father to the Son whom he identifies as His Son, "my beloved Son."Thus each person of the Trinity is represented (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) at this formal entrance of Jesus upon his Messianic ministry. John heard the voice, of course, and saw the dove. It was a momentous occasion for John and for Jesus and for the whole world. The words are similar to Psa 2:7 and the voice at the Transfiguration (Mat 17:5). The good pleasure of the Father is expressed by the timeless aorist (eudokēsa ).

Vincent: Mat 3:1 - In those days In those days The phrase is indefinite, but always points back to a preceding date; in this case to the date of the settlement of the family at N...

In those days

The phrase is indefinite, but always points back to a preceding date; in this case to the date of the settlement of the family at Nazareth. " In those days," i.e., some time during the nearly thirty years since that settlement.

Vincent: Mat 3:1 - John John Hebrew, meaning God has dealt graciously. Compare the German Gotthold.

John

Hebrew, meaning God has dealt graciously. Compare the German Gotthold.

Vincent: Mat 3:1 - Came Came ( παραγίνεται ) Rev., cometh. The verb is used in what is called the historical present, giving vividness to the narrative,...

Came ( παραγίνεται )

Rev., cometh. The verb is used in what is called the historical present, giving vividness to the narrative, as Carlyle (" French Revolution" ). " But now also the National Deputies from all ends of France are in Paris with their commissions." " In those days appears John the Baptist."

Vincent: Mat 3:1 - Preaching Preaching ( κηρύσσων ) See on 2Pe 2:5.

Preaching ( κηρύσσων )

See on 2Pe 2:5.

Vincent: Mat 3:1 - Wilderness Wilderness ( τῇ ἐήμω ) Not suggesting absolute barrenness but unappropriated territory affording free range for shepherds and their...

Wilderness ( τῇ ἐήμω )

Not suggesting absolute barrenness but unappropriated territory affording free range for shepherds and their flocks. Hepworth Dixon (" The Holy Land" ) says, " Even in the wilderness nature is not so stern as man. Here and there, in clefts and basins, and on the hillsides, grade on grade, you observe a patch of corn, a clump of olives, a single palm."

Vincent: Mat 3:2 - Repent Repent ( μετανοεῖτε ) A word compounded of the preposition μετά , after, with; and the verb νοέω , to perceive, and to...

Repent ( μετανοεῖτε )

A word compounded of the preposition μετά , after, with; and the verb νοέω , to perceive, and to think, as the result of perceiving or observing. In this compound the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by after and different; so that the whole compound means to think differently after. Μετάνοια ( repentance ) is therefore, primarily, an after-thought, different from the former thought; then, a change of mind which issues in regret and in change of conduct. These latter ideas, however, have been imported into the word by scriptural usage, and do not lie in it etymologically nor by primary usage. Repentance, then, has been rightly defined as " Such a virtuous alteration of the mind and purpose as begets a like virtuous change in the life and practice." Sorrow is not, as is popularly conceived, the primary nor the prominent notion of the word. Paul distinguishes between sorrow ( λύπη ) and repentance (μετάνοια ) , and puts the one as the outcome of the other. " Godly sorrow worketh repentance " (2Co 7:10).

Vincent: Mat 3:2 - The kingdom of heaven The kingdom of heaven Lit., the kingdom of the heavens (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ) . An expression peculiar to Matt...

The kingdom of heaven

Lit., the kingdom of the heavens (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ) . An expression peculiar to Matthew. The more usual one is the kingdom of God. It is a kingdom of heaven because its origin, its end, its king, the character and destiny of its subjects, its laws, institutions, and privileges - all are heavenly. In the teaching of Christ and in the apostolic writings the kingdom of the Messiah is the actual consummation of the prophetic idea of the rule of God, without any national limitation, so that participation therein rests only on faith in Jesus Christ, and on the moral renewal which is conditioned by the same. It is the combination of all rights of Christian citizenship in this world, and eternal blessedness in the next. All its senses are only different sides of the same great idea - the subjection of all things to God in Christ.

Vincent: Mat 3:2 - Voice Voice John's personality is thrown into shadow behind Christ. " What would be the duty of a merely human teacher of the highest moral aim, entrus...

Voice

John's personality is thrown into shadow behind Christ. " What would be the duty of a merely human teacher of the highest moral aim, entrusted with a great spiritual mission and lesson for the benefit of mankind? The example of St. John Baptist is an answer to this iniquity. Such a teacher would represent himself as a mere 'voice,' crying aloud in the moral wilderness around him, and anxious, beyond aught else, to shroud his own insignificant person beneath the majesty of his message" (Liddoll, " Our Lord's Divinity" ).

Vincent: Mat 3:6 - Were baptized Were baptized ( ἐβαπτίζοντο ) See on Mar 7:4.

Were baptized ( ἐβαπτίζοντο )

See on Mar 7:4.

Vincent: Mat 3:6 - Confessing their sins Confessing their sins ( ἐξομολογούμενοι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν ) The words imply: 1. That confession was...

Confessing their sins ( ἐξομολογούμενοι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν )

The words imply: 1. That confession was connected with baptism. They were baptized while in the act of confessing. 2. An open confession, not a private one to John (ἐξ , compare Act 19:18; Jam 5:16). 3. An individual confession; possibly a specific one. (See Luk 3:10-15.)

Vincent: Mat 3:9 - These stones These stones Pointing, as he spoke, to the pebbles on the beach of the Jordan.

These stones

Pointing, as he spoke, to the pebbles on the beach of the Jordan.

Vincent: Mat 3:10 - Is laid Is laid ( καῖται ) Not, is applied, as " She layeth her hands to the spindle" (Pro 31:19), but is lying.

Is laid ( καῖται )

Not, is applied, as " She layeth her hands to the spindle" (Pro 31:19), but is lying.

Vincent: Mat 3:10 - Is hewn down and east Is hewn down and east The present tense is graphic, denoting what is to happen at once and certainly.

Is hewn down and east

The present tense is graphic, denoting what is to happen at once and certainly.

Vincent: Mat 3:11 - To bear To bear Compare to unloose, Mar 1:7. John puts himself in the position of the meanest of servants. To bear the sandals of their masters, that...

To bear

Compare to unloose, Mar 1:7. John puts himself in the position of the meanest of servants. To bear the sandals of their masters, that is, to bring and take them away, as well as to fasten or to take them off, was, among the Jews, Greeks, and Romans, the business of slaves of the lowest rank.

Vincent: Mat 3:12 - Fan, floor Fan, floor (Wyc. has corn-floor ) The picture is of a farmer at his threshing-floor, the area of hard-beaten earth on which the sheaves are spread ...

Fan, floor (Wyc. has corn-floor )

The picture is of a farmer at his threshing-floor, the area of hard-beaten earth on which the sheaves are spread and the grain trodden out by animals. His fan, that is his winnowing-shovel or fork, is in his hand, and with it he throws up the mingled wheat and chaff against the wind in order to separate the grain.

Vincent: Mat 3:12 - Throughly cleanse Throughly cleanse ( διακαθαριεῖ ) Throughly (retained by Rev.) obsolete form of thoroughly, is the force of the preposition δ...

Throughly cleanse ( διακαθαριεῖ )

Throughly (retained by Rev.) obsolete form of thoroughly, is the force of the preposition διά ( through ) . In that preposition lies the picture of the farmer beginning at one side of the floor, and working through to the other, cleansing as he goes.

The whole metaphor represents the Messiah as separating the evil from the good, according to the tests of his kingdom and Gospel, receiving the worthy into his kingdom and consigning the unworthy to destruction (compare Mat 13:30, Mat 13:39-43, Mat 13:48-50).

Vincent: Mat 3:14 - Forbad Forbad ( διεκώλυεν ) The A. V., following Wyc. and Tynd., misses the meaning of the verb. As in so many instances, it overlooks the fo...

Forbad ( διεκώλυεν )

The A. V., following Wyc. and Tynd., misses the meaning of the verb. As in so many instances, it overlooks the force of the imperfect tense, which expresses past action, either in progress or in process of conception, in the agent's mind. John did not forbid Jesus, but had it in mind to prevent him: was for hindering him. Hence Rev., properly, would have hindered him. Again, the preposition (διά ) intensifies the verb, and represents strong feeling on John's part. He was moved to strenuous protest against Jesus' baptism by him.

Vincent: Mat 3:16 - As a dove As a dove ( ὡσεί περιστερὰν ) In the form of a dove, and not, as some interpret, referring merely to the manner of the desc...

As a dove ( ὡσεί περιστερὰν )

In the form of a dove, and not, as some interpret, referring merely to the manner of the descent - swiftly and gently as a dove (compare Luk 3:22 " In a bodily form, as a dove " ) . The dove was an ancient symbol of purity and innocence, adopted by our Lord in Mat 10:16. It was the only bird allowed to be offered in sacrifice by the Levitical law. In Christian art it is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and that in his Old Testament manifestations as well as in those of the New Testament. From a very early date the dove brooding over the waters was the type of the opening words of Genesis. An odd fresco on the choir-walls of the Cathedral of Monreale, near Palermo, represents a waste of waters, and Christ above, leaning forward from the circle of heaven with extended arms. From beneath him issues the divine ray along which the dove is descending upon the waters. So Milton:

" Thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss

And mad'st it pregnant."

In art, the double-headed dove is the peculiar attribute of the prophet Elisha. A window in Lincoln College, Oxford, represents him with the double-headed dove perched upon his shoulder. The symbol is explained by Elisha's prayer that a double portion of Elijah's spirit might rest upon him.

It has been asserted that, among the Jews, the Holy Spirit was presented under the symbol of a dove, and a passage is cited from the Talmud; " The Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters like a dove." Dr. Edersheim (" Life and Times of Jesus the Messia" ) vigorously contradicts this, and says that the passage treats of the supposed distance between the upper and the lower waters, which was only three finger-breadths. This is proved by Gen 1:2, where the Spirit of God is said to brood over the face of the waters, " just as a dove broodeth over her young without touching them." " Thus the comparison is not between the Spirit and the dove, but between the closeness with which a dove broods over her young without touching them, and the supposed proximity of the Spirit to the lower waters without touching them." He goes on to say that the dove was not the symbol of the Holy Spirit, but of Israel. " If , therefore, rabbinic illustration of' the descent of the Holy Spirit with the visible appearance of a dove must be sought for, it would lie in the acknowledgment of Jesus as the ideal typical Israelite, the representative of his people."

Wesley: Mat 3:1 - In those days that is, while Jesus dwelt there.

that is, while Jesus dwelt there.

Wesley: Mat 3:1 - In the wilderness of Judea This was a wilderness properly so called, a wild, barren, desolate place as was that also where our Lord was tempted. But, generally speaking, a wilde...

This was a wilderness properly so called, a wild, barren, desolate place as was that also where our Lord was tempted. But, generally speaking, a wilderness in the New Testament means only a common, or less cultivated place, in opposition to pasture and arable land. Mar 1:1; Luk 3:1.

Wesley: Mat 3:2 - -- The kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God, are but two phrases for the same thing. They mean, not barely a future happy state, in heaven, but a st...

The kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God, are but two phrases for the same thing. They mean, not barely a future happy state, in heaven, but a state to be enjoyed on earth: the proper disposition for the glory of heaven, rather than the possession of it.

Wesley: Mat 3:2 - Is at hand As if he had said, God is about to erect that kingdom, spoken of by Daniel Dan 2:44; Dan 7:13-14; the kingdom of the God of heaven. It properly signif...

As if he had said, God is about to erect that kingdom, spoken of by Daniel Dan 2:44; Dan 7:13-14; the kingdom of the God of heaven. It properly signifies here, the Gospel dispensation, in which subjects were to be gathered to God by his Son, and a society to be formed, which was to subsist first on earth, and afterward with God in glory. In some places of Scripture, the phrase more particularly denotes the state of it on earth: in ,others, it signifies only the state of glory: but it generally includes both. The Jews understood it of a temporal kingdom, the seat of which they supposed would be Jerusalem; and the expected sovereign of this kingdom they learned from Daniel to call the Son of man. Both John the Baptist and Christ took up that phrase, the kingdom of heaven, as they found it, and gradually taught the Jews (though greatly unwilling to learn) to understand it right. The very demand of repentance, as previous to it, showed it was a spiritual kingdom, and that no wicked man, how politic, brave, or learned soever, could possibly be a subject of it.

Wesley: Mat 3:3 - The way of the Lord Of Christ.

Of Christ.

Wesley: Mat 3:3 - Make his paths straight By removing every thing which might prove a hinderance to his gracious appearance. Isa 40:3.

By removing every thing which might prove a hinderance to his gracious appearance. Isa 40:3.

Wesley: Mat 3:4 - John had his raiment of camels' hair Coarse and rough, suiting his character and doctrine.

Coarse and rough, suiting his character and doctrine.

Wesley: Mat 3:4 - A leathern girdle Like Elijah, in whose spirit and power he came.

Like Elijah, in whose spirit and power he came.

Wesley: Mat 3:4 - His food was locusts and wild honey Locusts are ranked among clean meats, Lev 11:22. But these were not always to be had. So in default of those, he fed on wild honey.

Locusts are ranked among clean meats, Lev 11:22. But these were not always to be had. So in default of those, he fed on wild honey.

Wesley: Mat 3:6 - Confessing their sins Of their own accord; freely and openly. Such prodigious numbers could hardly be baptized by immerging their whole bodies under water: nor can we think...

Of their own accord; freely and openly. Such prodigious numbers could hardly be baptized by immerging their whole bodies under water: nor can we think they were provided with change of raiment for it, which was scarcely practicable for such vast multitudes. And yet they could not be immerged naked with modesty, nor in their wearing apparel with safety. It seems, therefore, that they stood in ranks on the edge of the river, and that John, passing along before them, cast water on their heads or faces, by which means he might baptize many thousands in a day. And this way most naturally signified Christ's baptizing them with the Holy Ghost and with fire, which John spoke of, as prefigured by his baptizing with water, and which was eminently fulfilled, when the Holy Ghost sat upon the disciples in the appearance of tongues, or flames of fire.

Wesley: Mat 3:7 - -- The Pharisees were a very ancient sect among the Jews. They took their name from a Hebrew word, which signifies to separate, because they separated th...

The Pharisees were a very ancient sect among the Jews. They took their name from a Hebrew word, which signifies to separate, because they separated themselves from all other men. They were outwardly strict observers of the law, fasted often, made long prayers, rigorously kept the Sabbath, and paid all tithe, even of mint, anise, and cummin. Hence they were in high esteem among the people. But inwardly, they were full of pride and hypocrisy. The Sadducees were another sect among the Jews, only not so considerable as the Pharisees. They denied the existence of angels, and the immortality of the soul, and by consequence the resurrection of the dead.

Wesley: Mat 3:7 - Ye brood of vipers In like manner, the crafty Herod is styled a fox, and persons of insidious, ravenous, profane, or sensual dispositions, are named respectively by him ...

In like manner, the crafty Herod is styled a fox, and persons of insidious, ravenous, profane, or sensual dispositions, are named respectively by him who saw their hearts, serpents, dogs, wolves, and swine; terms which are not the random language of passion, but a judicious designation of the persons meant by them. For it was fitting such men should be marked out, either for a caution to others, or a warning to themselves.

Wesley: Mat 3:8 - -- Repentance is of two sorts; that which is termed legal, and that which is styled evangelical repentance. The former (which is the same that is spoken ...

Repentance is of two sorts; that which is termed legal, and that which is styled evangelical repentance. The former (which is the same that is spoken of here) is a thorough conviction of sin. The latter is a change of heart (and consequently of life) from all sin to all holiness.

Wesley: Mat 3:9 - And say not confidently The word in the original, vulgarly rendered, Think not, seems here, and in many places, not to diminish, but rather add to the force of the word with ...

The word in the original, vulgarly rendered, Think not, seems here, and in many places, not to diminish, but rather add to the force of the word with which it is joined.

Wesley: Mat 3:9 - We have Abraham to our father It is almost incredible, how great the presumption of the Jews was on this their relation to Abraham. One of their famous sayings was, "Abraham sits n...

It is almost incredible, how great the presumption of the Jews was on this their relation to Abraham. One of their famous sayings was, "Abraham sits near the gates of hell, and suffers no Israelite to go down into it." I say unto you - This preface always denotes the importance of what follows.

Wesley: Mat 3:9 - Of these stones Probably pointing to those which lay before them.

Probably pointing to those which lay before them.

Wesley: Mat 3:10 - But the axe also already lieth That is, there is no room for such idle pretences. Speedy execution is determined against all that do not repent. The comparison seems to be taken fro...

That is, there is no room for such idle pretences. Speedy execution is determined against all that do not repent. The comparison seems to be taken from a woodman that has laid down his axe to put off his coat, and then immediately goes to work to cut down the tree. This refers to the wrath to come in Mat 3:7.

Wesley: Mat 3:10 - Is hewn down Instantly, without farther delay.

Instantly, without farther delay.

Wesley: Mat 3:11 - He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire He shall fill you with the Holy Ghost, inflaming your hearts with that fire of love, which many waters cannot quench. And this was done, even with a v...

He shall fill you with the Holy Ghost, inflaming your hearts with that fire of love, which many waters cannot quench. And this was done, even with a visible appearance as of fire, on the day of pentecost.

Wesley: Mat 3:12 - Whose fan That is, the word of the Gospel.

That is, the word of the Gospel.

Wesley: Mat 3:12 - His floor That is, his Church, which is now covered with a mixture of wheat and chaff.

That is, his Church, which is now covered with a mixture of wheat and chaff.

Wesley: Mat 3:12 - He will gather the wheat into the garner Will lay up those who are truly good in heaven.

Will lay up those who are truly good in heaven.

Wesley: Mat 3:13 - -- Mar 1:9; Luk 3:21

Wesley: Mat 3:15 - It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness It becometh every messenger of God to observe all his righteous ordinances. But the particular meaning of our Lord seems to be, that it becometh us to...

It becometh every messenger of God to observe all his righteous ordinances. But the particular meaning of our Lord seems to be, that it becometh us to do (me to receive baptism, and you to administer it) in order to fulfil, that is, that I may fully perform every part of the righteous law of God, and the commission he hath given me.

Wesley: Mat 3:16 - And Jesus being baptized Let our Lord's submitting to baptism teach us a holy exactness in the observance of those institutions which owe their obligation merely to a Divine c...

Let our Lord's submitting to baptism teach us a holy exactness in the observance of those institutions which owe their obligation merely to a Divine command. Surely thus it becometh all his followers to fulfil all righteousness. Jesus had no sin to wash away. And yet he was baptized. And God owned his ordinance, so as to make it the season of pouring forth the Holy Spirit upon him. And where can we expect this sacred effusion, but in an humble attendance on Divine appointments? Lo, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God - St. Luke adds, in a bodily form - Probably in a glorious appearance of fire, perhaps in the shape of a dove, descending with a hovering motion, till it rested upon him. This was a visible token of those secret operations of the blessed Spirit, by which he was anointed in a peculiar manner; and abundantly fitted for his public work.

Wesley: Mat 3:17 - And lo, a voice We have here a glorious manifestation of the ever - blessed Trinity: the Father speaking from heaven, the Son spoken to, the Holy Ghost descending upo...

We have here a glorious manifestation of the ever - blessed Trinity: the Father speaking from heaven, the Son spoken to, the Holy Ghost descending upon him.

Wesley: Mat 3:17 - In whom I delight What an encomium is this! How poor to this are all other kinds of praise! To he the pleasure, the delight of God, this is praise indeed: this is true ...

What an encomium is this! How poor to this are all other kinds of praise! To he the pleasure, the delight of God, this is praise indeed: this is true glory: this is the highest, the brightest light, that virtue can appear in.

JFB: Mat 3:1 - In those days Of Christ's secluded life at Nazareth, where the last chapter left Him.

Of Christ's secluded life at Nazareth, where the last chapter left Him.

JFB: Mat 3:1 - came John the Baptist, preaching About six months before his Master.

About six months before his Master.

JFB: Mat 3:1 - in the wilderness of Judea The desert valley of the Jordan, thinly peopled and bare in pasture, a little north of Jerusalem.

The desert valley of the Jordan, thinly peopled and bare in pasture, a little north of Jerusalem.

JFB: Mat 3:2 - And saying, Repent ye Though the word strictly denotes a change of mind, it has respect here (and wherever it is used in connection with salvation) primarily to that sense ...

Though the word strictly denotes a change of mind, it has respect here (and wherever it is used in connection with salvation) primarily to that sense of sin which leads the sinner to flee from the wrath to come, to look for relief only from above, and eagerly to fall in with the provided remedy.

JFB: Mat 3:2 - for the kingdom of heaven is at hand This sublime phrase, used in none of the other Gospels, occurs in this peculiarly Jewish Gospel nearly thirty times; and being suggested by Daniel's g...

This sublime phrase, used in none of the other Gospels, occurs in this peculiarly Jewish Gospel nearly thirty times; and being suggested by Daniel's grand vision of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of days, to receive His investiture in a world-wide kingdom (Dan 7:13-14), it was fitted at once both to meet the national expectations and to turn them into the right channel. A kingdom for which repentance was the proper preparation behooved to be essentially spiritual. Deliverance from sin, the great blessing of Christ's kingdom (Mat 1:21), can be valued by those only to whom sin is a burden (Mat 9:12). John's great work, accordingly, was to awaken this feeling and hold out the hope of a speedy and precious remedy.

JFB: Mat 3:3 - For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying (Mat 11:3).

JFB: Mat 3:3 - The voice of one crying in the wilderness (See on Luk 3:2); the scene of his ministry corresponding to its rough nature.

(See on Luk 3:2); the scene of his ministry corresponding to its rough nature.

JFB: Mat 3:3 - Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight This prediction is quoted in all the four Gospels, showing that it was regarded as a great outstanding one, and the predicted forerunner as the connec...

This prediction is quoted in all the four Gospels, showing that it was regarded as a great outstanding one, and the predicted forerunner as the connecting link between the old and the new economies. Like the great ones of the earth, the Prince of peace was to have His immediate approach proclaimed and His way prepared; and the call here--taking it generally--is a call to put out of the way whatever would obstruct His progress and hinder His complete triumph, whether those hindrances were public or personal, outward or inward. In Luke (Luk 3:5-6) the quotation is thus continued: "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." Levelling and smoothing are here the obvious figures whose sense is conveyed in the first words of the proclamation--"Prepare ye the way of the Lord." The idea is that every obstruction shall be so removed as to reveal to the whole world the salvation of God in Him whose name is the "Saviour." (Compare Psa 98:3; Isa 11:10; Isa 49:6; Isa 52:10; Luk 2:31-32; Act 13:47).

JFB: Mat 3:4 - And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair Woven of it.

Woven of it.

JFB: Mat 3:4 - and a leathern girdle about his loins The prophetic dress of Elijah (2Ki 1:8; and see Zec 13:4).

The prophetic dress of Elijah (2Ki 1:8; and see Zec 13:4).

JFB: Mat 3:4 - and his meat was locusts The great, well-known Eastern locust, a food of the poor (Lev 11:22).

The great, well-known Eastern locust, a food of the poor (Lev 11:22).

JFB: Mat 3:4 - and wild honey Made by wild bees (1Sa 14:25-26). This dress and diet, with the shrill cry in the wilderness, would recall the stern days of Elijah.

Made by wild bees (1Sa 14:25-26). This dress and diet, with the shrill cry in the wilderness, would recall the stern days of Elijah.

JFB: Mat 3:5 - Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan From the metropolitan center to the extremities of the Judean province the cry of this great preacher of repentance and herald of the approaching Mess...

From the metropolitan center to the extremities of the Judean province the cry of this great preacher of repentance and herald of the approaching Messiah brought trooping penitents and eager expectants.

JFB: Mat 3:6 - And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins Probably confessing aloud. This baptism was at once a public seal of their felt need of deliverance from sin, of their expectation of the coming Deliv...

Probably confessing aloud. This baptism was at once a public seal of their felt need of deliverance from sin, of their expectation of the coming Deliverer, and of their readiness to welcome Him when He appeared. The baptism itself startled, and was intended to startle, them. They were familiar enough with the baptism of proselytes from heathenism; but this baptism of Jews themselves was quite new and strange to them.

JFB: Mat 3:7 - But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them Astonished at such a spectacle.

Astonished at such a spectacle.

JFB: Mat 3:7 - O generation of vipers "Viper brood," expressing the deadly influence of both sects alike upon the community. Mutually and entirely antagonistic as were their religious prin...

"Viper brood," expressing the deadly influence of both sects alike upon the community. Mutually and entirely antagonistic as were their religious principles and spirit, the stem prophet charges both alike with being the poisoners of the nation's religious principles. In Mat 12:34; Mat 23:33, this strong language of the Baptist is anew applied by the faithful and true Witness to the Pharisees specifically--the only party that had zeal enough actively to diffuse this poison.

JFB: Mat 3:7 - who hath warned you Given you the hint, as the idea is.

Given you the hint, as the idea is.

JFB: Mat 3:7 - to flee from the wrath to come? "What can have brought you hither?" John more than suspected it was not so much their own spiritual anxieties as the popularity of his movement that h...

"What can have brought you hither?" John more than suspected it was not so much their own spiritual anxieties as the popularity of his movement that had drawn them thither. What an expression is this, "The wrath to come!" God's "wrath," in Scripture, is His righteous displeasure against sin, and consequently against all in whose skirts sin is found, arising out of the essential and eternal opposition of His nature to all moral evil. This is called "the coming wrath," not as being wholly future--for as a merited sentence it lies on the sinner already, and its effects, both inward and outward, are to some extent experienced even now--but because the impenitent sinner will not, until "the judgment of the great day," be concluded under it, will not have sentence publicly and irrevocably passed upon him, will not have it discharged upon him and experience its effects without mixture and without hope. In this view of it, it is a wrath wholly to come, as is implied in the noticeably different form of the expression employed by the apostle in 1Th 1:10. Not that even true penitents came to John's baptism with all these views of "the wrath to come." But what he says is that this was the real import of the step itself. In this view of it, how striking is the word he employs to express that step--fleeing from it--as of one who, beholding a tide of fiery wrath rolling rapidly towards him, sees in instant flight his only escape!

JFB: Mat 3:8 - Bring forth therefore fruits The true reading clearly is "fruit";

The true reading clearly is "fruit";

JFB: Mat 3:8 - meet for repentance That is, such fruit as befits a true penitent. John now being gifted with a knowledge of the human heart, like a true minister of righteousness and lo...

That is, such fruit as befits a true penitent. John now being gifted with a knowledge of the human heart, like a true minister of righteousness and lover of souls here directs them how to evidence and carry out their repentance, supposing it genuine; and in the following verses warns them of their danger in case it were not.

JFB: Mat 3:9 - And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father That pillow on which the nation so fatally reposed, that rock on which at length it split.

That pillow on which the nation so fatally reposed, that rock on which at length it split.

JFB: Mat 3:9 - for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham That is, "Flatter not yourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in need of you, to make good His promise of a seed to Abraham; for I tell you ...

That is, "Flatter not yourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in need of you, to make good His promise of a seed to Abraham; for I tell you that, though you were all to perish, God is as able to raise up a seed to Abraham out of those stones as He was to take Abraham himself out of the rock whence he was hewn, out of the hole of the pit whence he was digged" (Isa 51:1). Though the stem speaker may have pointed as he spoke to the pebbles of the bare clay hills that lay around (so STANLEY'S Sinai and Palestine), it was clearly the calling of the Gentiles at that time stone-dead in their sins, and quite as unconscious of it--into the room of unbelieving and disinherited Israel that he meant thus to indicate (see Mat 21:43; Rom 11:20, Rom 11:30).

JFB: Mat 3:10 - And now also And even already.

And even already.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - the axe is laid unto "lieth at."

"lieth at."

JFB: Mat 3:10 - the root of the trees As it were ready to strike: an expressive figure of impending judgment, only to be averted in the way next described.

As it were ready to strike: an expressive figure of impending judgment, only to be averted in the way next described.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire Language so personal and individual as this can scarcely be understood of any national judgment like the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with th...

Language so personal and individual as this can scarcely be understood of any national judgment like the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with the breaking up of the Jewish polity and the extrusion of the chosen people from their peculiar privileges which followed it; though this would serve as the dark shadow, cast before, of a more terrible retribution to come. The "fire," which in another verse is called "unquenchable," can be no other than that future "torment" of the impenitent whose "smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever," and which by the Judge Himself is styled "everlasting punishment" (Mat 25:46). What a strength, too, of just indignation is in that word "cast" or "flung into the fire!"

The third Gospel here adds the following important particulars in Luk 3:10-16.

Luk 3:10 :

JFB: Mat 3:10 - And the people The multitudes.

The multitudes.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - asked him, saying, What shall we do then? That is, to show the sincerity of our repentance. Luk 3:11 :

That is, to show the sincerity of our repentance.

Luk 3:11 :

JFB: Mat 3:10 - He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat Provisions, victuals.

Provisions, victuals.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - let him do likewise This is directed against the reigning avarice and selfishness. (Compare the corresponding precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, Mat 5:40-42). Luk 3:12...

This is directed against the reigning avarice and selfishness. (Compare the corresponding precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, Mat 5:40-42).

Luk 3:12 :

JFB: Mat 3:10 - Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master Teacher.

Teacher.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - what shall we do? In what special way is the genuineness of our repentance to be manifested? Luk 3:13 :

In what special way is the genuineness of our repentance to be manifested?

Luk 3:13 :

JFB: Mat 3:10 - And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you This is directed against that extortion which made the publicans a byword. (See on Mat 5:46; Luk 15:1). Luk 3:14 :

This is directed against that extortion which made the publicans a byword. (See on Mat 5:46; Luk 15:1).

Luk 3:14 :

JFB: Mat 3:10 - And the soldiers Rather, "And soldiers"--the word means "soldiers on active duty."

Rather, "And soldiers"--the word means "soldiers on active duty."

JFB: Mat 3:10 - likewise demanded Asked.

Asked.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man Intimidate. The word signifies to "shake thoroughly," and refers probably to the extorting of money or other property.

Intimidate. The word signifies to "shake thoroughly," and refers probably to the extorting of money or other property.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - neither accuse any falsely By acting as informers vexatiously on frivolous or false pretexts.

By acting as informers vexatiously on frivolous or false pretexts.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - and be content with your wages Or "rations." We may take this, say WEBSTER and WILKINSON, as a warning against mutiny, which the officers attempted to suppress by largesses and dona...

Or "rations." We may take this, say WEBSTER and WILKINSON, as a warning against mutiny, which the officers attempted to suppress by largesses and donations. And thus the "fruits" which would evidence their repentance were just resistance to the reigning sins--particularly of the class to which the penitent belonged--and the manifestation of an opposite spirit.

Luk 3:15 :

JFB: Mat 3:10 - And as the people were in expectation In a state of excitement, looking for something new

In a state of excitement, looking for something new

JFB: Mat 3:10 - and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not Rather, "whether he himself might be the Christ." The structure of this clause implies that they could hardly think it, but yet could not help asking ...

Rather, "whether he himself might be the Christ." The structure of this clause implies that they could hardly think it, but yet could not help asking themselves whether it might not be; showing both how successful he had been in awakening the expectation of Messiah's immediate appearing, and the high estimation and even reverence, which his own character commanded.

Luk 3:16 :

JFB: Mat 3:10 - John answered Either to that deputation from Jerusalem, of which we read in Joh 1:19, &c., or on some other occasion, to remove impressions derogatory to his blesse...

Either to that deputation from Jerusalem, of which we read in Joh 1:19, &c., or on some other occasion, to remove impressions derogatory to his blessed Master, which he knew to be taking hold of the popular mind.

JFB: Mat 3:10 - saying unto them all In solemn protestation. (We now return to the first Gospel.)

In solemn protestation.

(We now return to the first Gospel.)

JFB: Mat 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance (See on Mat 3:6);

(See on Mat 3:6);

JFB: Mat 3:11 - but he that cometh after me is mightier than I In Mark and Luke this is more emphatic--"But there cometh the Mightier than I" (Mar 1:7; Luk 3:16).

In Mark and Luke this is more emphatic--"But there cometh the Mightier than I" (Mar 1:7; Luk 3:16).

JFB: Mat 3:11 - whose shoes Sandals.

Sandals.

JFB: Mat 3:11 - I am not worthy to bear The sandals were tied and untied, and borne about by the meanest servants.

The sandals were tied and untied, and borne about by the meanest servants.

JFB: Mat 3:11 - he shall baptize you The emphatic "He": "He it is," to the exclusion of all others, "that shall baptize you."

The emphatic "He": "He it is," to the exclusion of all others, "that shall baptize you."

JFB: Mat 3:11 - with the Holy Ghost "So far from entertaining such a thought as laying claim to the honors of Messiahship, the meanest services I can render to that "Mightier than I that...

"So far from entertaining such a thought as laying claim to the honors of Messiahship, the meanest services I can render to that "Mightier than I that is coming after me" are too high an honor for me; I am but the servant, but the Master is coming; I administer but the outward symbol of purification; His it is, as His sole prerogative, to dispense the inward reality. Beautiful spirit, distinguishing this servant of Christ throughout!

JFB: Mat 3:11 - and with fire To take this as a distinct baptism from that of the Spirit--a baptism of the impenitent with hell-fire--is exceedingly unnatural. Yet this was the vie...

To take this as a distinct baptism from that of the Spirit--a baptism of the impenitent with hell-fire--is exceedingly unnatural. Yet this was the view of ORIGEN among the Fathers; and among moderns, of NEANDER, MEYER, DE WETTE, and LANGE. Nor is it much better to refer it to the fire of the great day, by which the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Clearly, as we think, it is but the fiery character of the Spirit's operations upon the soul-searching, consuming, refining, sublimating--as nearly all good interpreters understand the words. And thus, in two successive clauses, the two most familiar emblems--water and fire--are employed to set forth the same purifying operations of the Holy Ghost upon the soul.

JFB: Mat 3:12 - Whose fan Winnowing fan.

Winnowing fan.

JFB: Mat 3:12 - is in his hand Ready for use. This is no other than the preaching of the Gospel, even now beginning, the effect of which would be to separate the solid from the spir...

Ready for use. This is no other than the preaching of the Gospel, even now beginning, the effect of which would be to separate the solid from the spiritually worthless, as wheat, by the winnowing fan, from the chaff. (Compare the similar representation in Mal 3:1-3).

JFB: Mat 3:12 - and he will throughly purge his floor Threshing-floor; that is, the visible Church.

Threshing-floor; that is, the visible Church.

JFB: Mat 3:12 - and gather his wheat His true-hearted saints; so called for their solid worth (compare Amo 9:9; Luk 22:31).

His true-hearted saints; so called for their solid worth (compare Amo 9:9; Luk 22:31).

JFB: Mat 3:12 - into the garner "the kingdom of their Father," as this "garner" or "barn" is beautifully explained by our Lord in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Mat 13:30, M...

"the kingdom of their Father," as this "garner" or "barn" is beautifully explained by our Lord in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Mat 13:30, Mat 13:43).

JFB: Mat 3:12 - but he will burn up the chaff Empty, worthless professors of religion, void of all solid religious principle and character (see Psa 1:4).

Empty, worthless professors of religion, void of all solid religious principle and character (see Psa 1:4).

JFB: Mat 3:12 - with unquenchable fire Singular is the strength of this apparent contradiction of figures:--to be burnt up, but with a fire that is unquenchable; the one expressing the utte...

Singular is the strength of this apparent contradiction of figures:--to be burnt up, but with a fire that is unquenchable; the one expressing the utter destruction of all that constitutes one's true life, the other the continued consciousness of existence in that awful condition.

Luke adds the following important particulars (Luk 3:18-20) :

Luk 3:18 :

JFB: Mat 3:12 - And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people Showing that we have here but an abstract of his teaching. Besides what we read in Joh 1:29, Joh 1:33-34; Joh 3:27-36, the incidental allusion to his ...

Showing that we have here but an abstract of his teaching. Besides what we read in Joh 1:29, Joh 1:33-34; Joh 3:27-36, the incidental allusion to his having taught his disciples to pray (Luk 11:1) --of which not a word is said elsewhere--shows how varied his teaching was.

Luk 3:19 :

JFB: Mat 3:12 - But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done In this last clause we have an important fact, here only mentioned, showing how thoroughgoing was the fidelity of the Baptist to his royal hearer, and...

In this last clause we have an important fact, here only mentioned, showing how thoroughgoing was the fidelity of the Baptist to his royal hearer, and how strong must have been the workings of conscience in that slave of passion when, notwithstanding such plainness, he "did many things, and heard John gladly" (Mar 6:20).

Luk 3:20 :

JFB: Mat 3:12 - Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison This imprisonment of John, however, did not take place for some time after this; and it is here recorded merely because the Evangelist did not intend ...

This imprisonment of John, however, did not take place for some time after this; and it is here recorded merely because the Evangelist did not intend to recur to his history till he had occasion to relate the message which he sent to Christ from his prison at Machærus (Luk 7:18, &c.).

JFB: Mat 3:13 - Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him Moses rashly anticipated the divine call to deliver his people, and for this was fain to flee the house of bondage, and wait in obscurity for forty ye...

Moses rashly anticipated the divine call to deliver his people, and for this was fain to flee the house of bondage, and wait in obscurity for forty years more (Exo 2:11, &c.). Not so this greater than Moses. All but thirty years had He now spent in privacy at Nazareth, gradually ripening for His public work, and calmly awaiting the time appointed of the Father. Now it had arrived; and this movement from Galilee to Jordan is the step, doubtless, of deepest interest to all heaven since that first one which brought Him into the world. Luke (Luk 3:21) has this important addition--"Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus being baptized," &c.--implying that Jesus waited till all other applicants for baptism that day had been disposed of, ere He stepped forward, that He might not seem to be merely one of the crowd. Thus, as He rode into Jerusalem upon an ass "whereon yet never man sat" (Luk 19:30), and lay in a sepulchre "wherein was never man yet laid" (Joh 19:41), so in His baptism, too. He would be "separate from sinners."

JFB: Mat 3:14 - But John forbade him Rather, "was (in the act of) hindering him," or "attempting to hinder him."

Rather, "was (in the act of) hindering him," or "attempting to hinder him."

JFB: Mat 3:14 - saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? (How John came to recognize Him, when he says he knew Him not, see Joh 1:31-34). The emphasis of this most remarkable speech lies all in the pronouns:...

(How John came to recognize Him, when he says he knew Him not, see Joh 1:31-34). The emphasis of this most remarkable speech lies all in the pronouns: "What! Shall the Master come for baptism to the servant--the sinless Saviour to a sinner?" That thus much is in the Baptist's words will be clearly seen if it be observed that he evidently regarded Jesus as Himself needing no purification but rather qualified to impart it to those who did. And do not all his other testimonies to Christ fully bear out this sense of the words? But it were a pity if, in the glory of this testimony to Christ, we should miss the beautiful spirit in which it was borne--"Lord, must I baptize Thee? Can I bring myself to do such a thing?"--reminding us of Peter's exclamation at the supper table, "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" while it has nothing of the false humility and presumption which dictated Peter's next speech. "Thou shall never wash my feet" (Joh 13:6, Joh 13:8).

JFB: Mat 3:15 - And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now "Let it pass for the present"; that is, "Thou recoilest, and no wonder, for the seeming incongruity is startling; but in the present case do as thou a...

"Let it pass for the present"; that is, "Thou recoilest, and no wonder, for the seeming incongruity is startling; but in the present case do as thou art bidden."

JFB: Mat 3:15 - for thus it becometh us "us," not in the sense of me and thee," or "men in general," but as in Joh 3:11.

"us," not in the sense of me and thee," or "men in general," but as in Joh 3:11.

JFB: Mat 3:15 - to fulfil all righteousness If this be rendered, with SCRIVENER, "every ordinance," or, with CAMPBELL, "every institution," the meaning is obvious enough; and the same sense is b...

If this be rendered, with SCRIVENER, "every ordinance," or, with CAMPBELL, "every institution," the meaning is obvious enough; and the same sense is brought out by "all righteousness," or compliance with everything enjoined, baptism included. Indeed, if this be the meaning, our version perhaps best brings out the force of the opening word "Thus." But we incline to think that our Lord meant more than this. The import of circumcision and of baptism seems to be radically the same. And if our remarks on the circumcision of our Lord (see on Luk 2:21-24) are well founded, He would seem to have said, "Thus do I impledge Myself to the whole righteousness of the Law--thus symbolically do enter on and engage to fulfil it all." Let the thoughtful reader weigh this.

JFB: Mat 3:15 - Then he suffered him With true humility, yielding to higher authority than his own impressions of propriety. Descent of the Spirit upon the Baptized Redeemer (Mat 3:16-17...

With true humility, yielding to higher authority than his own impressions of propriety.

Descent of the Spirit upon the Baptized Redeemer (Mat 3:16-17).

JFB: Mat 3:16 - And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water Rather, "from the water." Mark has "out of the water" (Mar 1:10). "and"--adds Luke (Luk 3:21), "while He was praying"; a grand piece of information. C...

Rather, "from the water." Mark has "out of the water" (Mar 1:10). "and"--adds Luke (Luk 3:21), "while He was praying"; a grand piece of information. Can there be a doubt about the burden of that prayer; a prayer sent up, probably, while yet in the water--His blessed head suffused with the baptismal element; a prayer continued likely as He stepped out of the stream, and again stood upon the dry ground; the work before Him, the needed and expected Spirit to rest upon Him for it, and the glory He would then put upon the Father that sent Him--would not these fill His breast, and find silent vent in such form as this?--"Lo, I come; I delight to do Thy will, O God. Father, glorify Thy name. Show Me a token for good. Let the Spirit of the Lord God come upon Me, and I will preach the Gospel to the poor, and heal the broken-hearted, and send forth judgment unto victory." While He was yet speaking--

JFB: Mat 3:16 - lo, the heavens were opened Mark says, sublimely, "He saw the heavens cleaving" (Mar 1:10).

Mark says, sublimely, "He saw the heavens cleaving" (Mar 1:10).

JFB: Mat 3:16 - and he saw the Spirit of God descending That is, He only, with the exception of His honored servant, as he tells us himself (Joh 1:32-34); the by-standers apparently seeing nothing.

That is, He only, with the exception of His honored servant, as he tells us himself (Joh 1:32-34); the by-standers apparently seeing nothing.

JFB: Mat 3:16 - like a dove, and lighting upon him Luke says, "in a bodily shape" (Luk 3:22); that is, the blessed Spirit, assuming the corporeal form of a dove, descended thus upon His sacred head. Bu...

Luke says, "in a bodily shape" (Luk 3:22); that is, the blessed Spirit, assuming the corporeal form of a dove, descended thus upon His sacred head. But why in this form? The Scripture use of this emblem will be our best guide here. "My dove, my undefiled is one," says the Song of Solomon (Son 6:9). This is chaste purity. Again, "Be ye harmless as doves," says Christ Himself (Mat 10:16). This is the same thing, in the form of inoffensiveness towards men. "A conscience void of offense toward God and toward men" (Act 24:16) expresses both. Further, when we read in the Song of Solomon (Son 2:14), "O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rocks, in the secret places of the stairs (see Isa 60:8), let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely"--it is shrinking modesty, meekness, gentleness, that is thus charmingly depicted. In a word--not to allude to the historical emblem of the dove that flew back to the ark, bearing in its mouth the olive leaf of peace (Gen 8:11) --when we read (Psa 68:13), "Ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold," it is beauteousness that is thus held forth. And was not such that "holy, harmless, undefiled One," the "separate from sinners?" "Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into Thy lips; therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever!" But the fourth Gospel gives us one more piece of information here, on the authority of one who saw and testified of it: "John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and IT ABODE UPON HIM." And lest we should think that this was an accidental thing, he adds that this last particular was expressly given him as part of the sign by which he was to recognize and identify Him as the Son of God: "And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending AND REMAINING ON HIM, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God" (Joh 1:32-34). And when with this we compare the predicted descent of the Spirit upon Messiah (Isa 11:2), "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him," we cannot doubt that it was this permanent and perfect resting of the Holy Ghost upon the Son of God--now and henceforward in His official capacity--that was here visibly manifested.

JFB: Mat 3:17 - And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is Mark and Luke give it in the direct form, "Thou art." (Mar 1:11; Luk 3:22).

Mark and Luke give it in the direct form, "Thou art." (Mar 1:11; Luk 3:22).

JFB: Mat 3:17 - my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased The verb is put in the aorist to express absolute complacency, once and for ever felt towards Him. The English here, at least to modern ears, is scarc...

The verb is put in the aorist to express absolute complacency, once and for ever felt towards Him. The English here, at least to modern ears, is scarcely strong enough. "I delight" comes the nearest, perhaps, to that ineffable complacency which is manifestly intended; and this is the rather to be preferred, as it would immediately carry the thoughts back to that august Messianic prophecy to which the voice from heaven plainly alluded (Isa 42:1), "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, IN WHOM MY SOUL DELIGHTETH." Nor are the words which follow to be overlooked, "I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." (The Septuagint perverts this, as it does most of the Messianic predictions, interpolating the word "Jacob," and applying it to the Jews). Was this voice heard by the by-standers? From Matthew's form of it, one might suppose it so designed; but it would appear that it was not, and probably John only heard and saw anything peculiar about that great baptism. Accordingly, the words, "Hear ye Him," are not added, as at the Transfiguration.

Clarke: Mat 3:1 - John the Baptist John the Baptist - John, surnamed The Baptist, because he required those to be baptized who professed to be contrite because of their sins, was the ...

John the Baptist - John, surnamed The Baptist, because he required those to be baptized who professed to be contrite because of their sins, was the son of a priest named Zacharias, and his wife Elisabeth, and was born about A. M. 3999, and about six months before our blessed Lord. Of his almost miraculous conception and birth, we have a circumstantial account in the Gospel of Luke, chap. 1: to which, and the notes there, the reader is requested to refer. For his fidelity in reproving Herod for his incest with his brother Philip’ s wife, he was cast into prison, no doubt at the suggestion of Herodias, the profligate woman in question. He was at last beheaded at her instigation, and his head given as a present to Salome, her daughter, who, by her elegant dancing, had highly gratified Herod, the paramour of her incestuous mother. His ministry was short; for he appears to have been put to death in the 27th or 28th year of the Christian era

Clarke: Mat 3:1 - Came - preaching Came - preaching - Κηρυσσων, proclaiming, as a herald, a matter of great and solemn importance to men; the subject not his own, nor of hims...

Came - preaching - Κηρυσσων, proclaiming, as a herald, a matter of great and solemn importance to men; the subject not his own, nor of himself, but from that God from whom alone he had received his commission. See on the nature and importance of the herald’ s office, at the end of this chapter. Κηρυσσειν, says Rosenmuller, de iis dicitur, qui in Plateis, in Campis, in Aere aperto, ut a multis audiantur, vocem tollunt , etc. "The verb κηρυσσειν is applied to those who, in the streets, fields, and open air, lift up their voice, that they may be heard by many, and proclaim what has been committed to them by regal or public authority; as the Kerukes among the Greeks, and the Precones among the Romans.

Clarke: Mat 3:1 - The wilderness of Judea The wilderness of Judea - That is, the country parts, as distinguished from the city; for in this sense the word wilderness, מדבר midbar or ...

The wilderness of Judea - That is, the country parts, as distinguished from the city; for in this sense the word wilderness, מדבר midbar or מדבריות midbarioth , is used among the rabbins. John’ s manner of life gives no countenance to the eremite or hermit’ s life, so strongly recommended and applauded by the Roman Church.

Clarke: Mat 3:2 - Repent Repent - Μετανοειτε . This was the matter of the preaching. The verb μετανοεω is either compounded of μετα, after, and ν...

Repent - Μετανοειτε . This was the matter of the preaching. The verb μετανοεω is either compounded of μετα, after, and νοειν to understand, which signifies that, after hearing such preaching, the sinner is led to understand, that the way he has walked in was the way of misery, death, and hell. Or the word may be derived from μετα after, and ανοια, madness, which intimates that the whole life of a sinner is no other than a continued course of madness and folly: and if to live in a constant opposition to all the dictates of true wisdom; to wage war with his own best interests in time and eternity; to provoke and insult the living God; and, by habitual sin, to prepare himself only for a state of misery, be evidences of insanity, every sinner exhibits them plentifully. It was from this notion of the word, that the Latins termed repentance resipiscentia , a growing wise again, from re and sapere ; or, according to Tertullian, Resipiscentia, quasi receptio mentis ad se , restoring the mind to itself: Contra Marcion, lib. ii. Repentance, then, implies that a measure of Divine wisdom is communicated to the sinner, and that he thereby becomes wise to salvation. That his mind, purposes, opinions, and inclinations, are changed; and that, in consequence, there is a total change in his conduct. It need scarcely be remarked, that, in this state, a man feels deep anguish of soul, because he has sinned against God, unfitted himself for heaven, and exposed his soul to hell. Hence, a true penitent has that sorrow, whereby he forsakes sin, not only because it has been ruinous to his own soul, but because it has been offensive to God

Clarke: Mat 3:2 - The kingdom of heaven is at hand The kingdom of heaven is at hand - Referring to the prophecy of Daniel, Dan 7:13,Dan 7:14, where the reign of Christ among men is expressly foretold...

The kingdom of heaven is at hand - Referring to the prophecy of Daniel, Dan 7:13,Dan 7:14, where the reign of Christ among men is expressly foretold. This phrase, and the kingdom of God, mean the same thing, viz. the dispensation of infinite mercy, and manifestation of eternal truth, by Christ Jesus, producing the true knowledge of God, accompanied with that worship which is pure and holy, worthy of that God who is its institutor and its object. But why is this called a kingdom? Because it has its laws, all the moral precepts of the Gospel: its subjects, all who believe in Christ Jesus: and its king, the Sovereign of heaven and earth. N. B. Jesus Christ never saved a soul which he did not govern; nor is this Christ precious or estimable to any man who does not feel a spirit of subjection to the Divine will

But why is it called the kingdom of Heaven? Because God designed that his kingdom of grace here should resemble the kingdom of glory above. And hence our Lord teaches us to pray, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, says St. Paul, Rom 14:17; does not consist in the gratification of sensual passions, or worldly ambition; but is righteousness, peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost. Now what can there be more than this in glory? Righteousness, without mixture of sin; peace, without strife or contention; joy, in the Holy Ghost, spiritual joy, without mixture of misery! And all this, it is possible, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, to enjoy here below. How then does heaven itself differ from this state? Answer. It makes the righteousness eternal, the peace eternal, and the joy eternal. This is the heaven of heavens! The phrase, kingdom of heaven, מלכות שמים malcuth shamayim , is frequently used by the rabbinical writers, and always means, the purity of the Divine worship, and the blessedness which a righteous man feels when employed in it

It is farther added, This kingdom is at hand. The dispensation of the glorious Gospel was now about to be fully opened, and the Jews were to have the first offers of salvation. This kingdom is also at hand to us; and wherever Christ crucified is preached, there is salvation to be found. Jesus is proclaimed to thee, O man! as infinitely able and willing to save. Believe in his name - cast thy soul upon his atonement, and enter into rest!

Clarke: Mat 3:3 - The voice of one crying in the wilderness The voice of one crying in the wilderness - Or, A voice of a crier in the wilderness. This is quoted from Isa 40:3, which clearly proves that John t...

The voice of one crying in the wilderness - Or, A voice of a crier in the wilderness. This is quoted from Isa 40:3, which clearly proves that John the Baptist was the person of whom the prophet spoke

The idea is taken from the practice of eastern monarchs, who, whenever they entered upon an expedition, or took a journey through a desert country, sent harbingers before them, to prepare all things for their passage; and pioneers to open the passes, to level the ways, and to remove all impediments. The officers appointed to superintend such preparations were called by the Latins, stratores

Diodorus’ s account of the march of Semiramis into Media and Persia, will give us a clear notion of the preparation of the way for a royal expedition

"In her march to Ecbatane, she came to the Zarcean mountain, which, extending many furlongs, and being full of craggy precipices and deep hollows, could not be passed without making a great compass about. Being therefore desirous of leaving an everlasting memorial of herself, as well as shortening the way, she ordered the precipices to be digged down, and the hollows to be filled up; and, at a great expense, she made a shorter and more expeditious road, which, to this day, is called from her, The road of Semiramis. Afterwards she went into Persia, and all the other countries of Asia, subject to her dominion; and, wherever she went, she ordered the mountains and precipices to be leveled, raised causeways in the plain country, and, at a great expense, made the ways passable."Diod. Sic. lib. ii. and Bp. Lowth

The Jewish Church was that desert country, to which John was sent, to announce the coming of the Messiah. It was destitute at that time of all religious cultivation, and of the spirit and practice of piety; and John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord, by preaching the doctrine of repentance. The desert is therefore to be considered as affording a proper emblem of the rude state of the Jewish Church, which is the true wilderness meant by the prophet, and in which John was to prepare the way of the promised Messiah. The awful importance of the matter, and the vehemence of the manner of the Baptist’ s preaching, probably acquired him the character of the crier, Βοων . For the meaning of the word John, see the note on Mar 1:4.

Clarke: Mat 3:4 - His raiment of camel’ s hair His raiment of camel’ s hair - A sort of coarse or rough covering, which, it appears, was common to the prophets, Zec 13:4. In such a garment w...

His raiment of camel’ s hair - A sort of coarse or rough covering, which, it appears, was common to the prophets, Zec 13:4. In such a garment we find Elijah clothed, 2Ki 1:8. And as John had been designed under the name of this prophet, Mal 4:5, whose spirit and qualifications he was to possess, Luk 1:17, he took the same habit and lived in the same state of self-denial

Clarke: Mat 3:4 - His meat was locusts His meat was locusts - Ακριδες . Ακρις may either signify the insect called the locust, which still makes a part of the food in the l...

His meat was locusts - Ακριδες . Ακρις may either signify the insect called the locust, which still makes a part of the food in the land of Judea; or the top of a plant. Many eminent commentators are of the latter opinion; but the first is the most likely. The Saxon translator has grasshoppers

Clarke: Mat 3:4 - Wild honey Wild honey - Such as he got in the rocks and hollows of trees, and which abounded in Judea: see 1Sa 14:26. It is most likely that the dried locusts,...

Wild honey - Such as he got in the rocks and hollows of trees, and which abounded in Judea: see 1Sa 14:26. It is most likely that the dried locusts, which are an article of food in Asiatic countries to the present day, were fried in the honey, or compounded in some manner with it. The Gospel according to the Hebrews, as quoted by Epiphanius, seems to have taken a similar view of the subject, as it adds here to the text, Ου η γευσις ην του μαννα, ως εγκρις εν ελαιω . And its taste was like manna, as a sweet cake baked in oil.

Clarke: Mat 3:5 - Jordan Jordan - Many of the best MSS. and versions, with Mar 1:5, add ποταμω, the river Jordan; but the definitive article, with which the word is g...

Jordan - Many of the best MSS. and versions, with Mar 1:5, add ποταμω, the river Jordan; but the definitive article, with which the word is generally accompanied, both in the Hebrew and the Greek, is, sufficient; and our article the, which should ever be used in the translation, expresses the force of the other.

Clarke: Mat 3:6 - Were baptized Were baptized - In what form baptism was originally administered, has been deemed a subject worthy of serious dispute. Were the people dipped or spr...

Were baptized - In what form baptism was originally administered, has been deemed a subject worthy of serious dispute. Were the people dipped or sprinkled? for it is certain βαπτω and βαπτιζω mean both. They were all dipped, say some. Can any man suppose that it was possible for John to dip all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea, and of all the country round about the Jordan? Were both men and women dipped, for certainly both came to his baptism? This could never have comported either with safety or with decency. Were they dipped in their clothes? This would have endangered their lives, if they had not with them change of raiment: and as such a baptism as John’ s (however administered) was, in several respects, a new thing in Judea, it is not at all likely that the people would come thus provided. But suppose these were dipped, which I think it would be impossible to prove, does it follow that, in all regions of the world, men and women must be dipped, in order to be evangelically baptized? In the eastern countries, bathings were frequent, because of the heat of the climate, it being there so necessary to cleanliness and health; but could our climate, or a more northerly one, admit of this with safety, for at least three-fourths of the year? We may rest assured that it could not. And may we not presume, that if John had opened his commission in the north of Great Britain, for many months of the year, he would have dipped neither man nor woman, unless he could have procured a tepid bath? Those who are dipped or immersed in water, in the name of the Holy Trinity, I believe to be evangelically baptized - those who are washed or sprinkled with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, I believe to be equally so; and the repetition of such a baptism I believe to be profane. Others have a right to believe the contrary, if they see good. After all, it is the thing signified, and not the mode, which is the essential part of the sacrament. See the note on Mar 10:16

Clarke: Mat 3:6 - Confessing their sins Confessing their sins - Εξομολογουμενοι, earnestly acknowledging that their sins were their own. And thus taking the whole blame upo...

Confessing their sins - Εξομολογουμενοι, earnestly acknowledging that their sins were their own. And thus taking the whole blame upon themselves, and laying nothing to the charge of God or man. This is essential to true repentance; and, till a man take the whole blame on himself, he cannot feel the absolute need he has of casting his soul on the mercy of God, that he may be saved.

Clarke: Mat 3:7 - Pharisees Pharisees - A very numerous sect among the Jews, who, in their origin, were, very probably, a pure and holy people. It is likely that they got the n...

Pharisees - A very numerous sect among the Jews, who, in their origin, were, very probably, a pure and holy people. It is likely that they got the name of Pharisees, i.e. Separatists, (from פרש pharash , to separate), from their separating themselves from the pollution of the Jewish national worship; and hence, the word in the Anglo-saxon version is, holy persons who stand apart, or by themselves: but, in process of time, like all religious sects and parties, they degenerated: they lost the spirit of their institution, they ceased to recur to first principles, and had only the form of godliness, when Jesus Christ preached in Judea; for he bore witness, that they did make the outside of the cup and platter clean - they observed the rules of their institution, but the spirit was gone

Clarke: Mat 3:7 - Sadducees Sadducees - A sect who denied the existence of angels and spirits, consequently all Divine influence and inspiration, and also the resurrection of t...

Sadducees - A sect who denied the existence of angels and spirits, consequently all Divine influence and inspiration, and also the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees of that time were the Materialists and Deists of the Jewish nation. When the sect of the Pharisees arose cannot be distinctly ascertained; but it is supposed to have been some time after the Babylonish captivity. The sect of the Sadducees were the followers of one Sadok, a disciple of Antigonus Sochaeus, who flourished about three centuries before Christ. There was a third sect among the Jews, called the Essenes or Essenians, of whom I shall have occasion to speak on Mat 19:12

Clarke: Mat 3:7 - Come to his baptism Come to his baptism - The Ethiopic version adds the word privately here, the translator probably having read λαθρα in his copy, which gives a...

Come to his baptism - The Ethiopic version adds the word privately here, the translator probably having read λαθρα in his copy, which gives a very remarkable turn to the passage. The multitudes, who had no worldly interest to support, no character to maintain by living in their usual way, came publicly, and openly acknowledged that they were Sinners; and stood in need of mercy. The others, who endeavored to secure their worldly interests by making a fair show in the flesh, are supposed to have come privately, that they might not be exposed to reproach; and that they might not lose their reputation for wisdom and sanctity, which their consciences, under the preaching of the Baptist, told them they had no right to. See below

Clarke: Mat 3:7 - O generation of vipers O generation of vipers - Γεννηματα εχιδνων . A terribly expressive speech. A serpentine brood, from a serpentine stock. As their fa...

O generation of vipers - Γεννηματα εχιδνων . A terribly expressive speech. A serpentine brood, from a serpentine stock. As their fathers were, so were they, children of the wicked one. This is God’ s estimate of a Sinner, whether he wade in wealth, or soar in fame. The Jews were the seed of the serpent, who should bruise the heel of the woman’ s seed, and whose head should be bruised by him

Clarke: Mat 3:7 - Who hath warned you Who hath warned you - Or, privately shown you. Τις υπεδιξεν - from υπο, under, and δεικνυμαι, to show. Does not this seem...

Who hath warned you - Or, privately shown you. Τις υπεδιξεν - from υπο, under, and δεικνυμαι, to show. Does not this seem to allude to the reading of the Ethiopic noticed above? They came privately: and John may be supposed to address them thus: "Did any person give you a private warning? No, you received your convictions under the public ministry of the word. The multitudes of the poor and wretched, who have been convinced of sin, have publicly acknowledged their crimes, and sought mercy - God will unmask you - you have deceived the people - you have deceived yourselves - you must appear just what you are; and, if you expect mercy from God, act like the penitent multitude, and bring forth Fruit worthy of repentance. Do not begin to trifle with your convictions, by thinking, that because you are descendants of Abraham, therefore you are entitled to God’ s favor; God can, out of these stones (pointing probably to those scattered about in the desert, which he appears to have considered as an emblem of the Gentiles) raise up a faithful seed, who, though not natural descendants of your excellent patriarch, yet shall be his worthy children, as being partakers of his faith, and friends of his God."It should be added, that the Greek word also signifies plain or ample information. See on Luk 6:47 (note)

Clarke: Mat 3:7 - The wrath to come? The wrath to come? - The desolation which was about to fall on the Jewish nation for their wickedness, and threatened in the last words of their own...

The wrath to come? - The desolation which was about to fall on the Jewish nation for their wickedness, and threatened in the last words of their own Scriptures. See Mal 4:6. Lest I come and smite the earth את הארץ (et ha -arets , this very land) with a curse. This wrath or curse was coming: they did not prevent it by turning to God, and receiving the Messiah, and therefore the wrath of God came upon them to the uttermost. Let him that readeth understand.

Clarke: Mat 3:10 - And now also the axe is laid And now also the axe is laid - Or, Even now the axe lieth. As if he had said, There is not a moment to spare - God is about to cut off every impenit...

And now also the axe is laid - Or, Even now the axe lieth. As if he had said, There is not a moment to spare - God is about to cut off every impenitent soul - you must therefore either turn to God immediately, or be utterly and finally ruined. It was customary with the prophets to represent the kingdoms, nations, and individuals, whose ruin they predicted, under the notion of forests and trees, doomed to be cut down. See Jer 46:22, Jer 46:23; Eze 31:3, Eze 31:11, Eze 31:12. The Baptist follows the same metaphor: the Jewish nation is the tree, and the Romans the axe, which, by the just judgment of God, was speedily to cut it down. It has been well observed, that there is an allusion here to a woodman, who, having marked a tree for excision, lays his axe at its root, and strips off his outer garment, that he may wield his blows more powerfully, and that his work may be quickly performed. For about sixty years before the coming of Christ, this axe had been lying at the root of the Jewish tree, Judea having been made a province to the Roman empire, from the time that Pompey took the city of Jerusalem, during the contentions of the two brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, which was about sixty-three years before the coming of Christ. See Joseph. Antiq. l. xiv. c. 1-5. But as the country might be still considered as in the hands of the Jews, though subject to the Romans, and God had waited on them now nearly ninety years from the above time, expecting them to bring forth fruit, and none was yet produced; he kept the Romans as an axe, lying at the root of this tree, who were ready to cut it down the moment God gave them the commission.

Clarke: Mat 3:11 - But he that cometh after me But he that cometh after me - Or, I coming after me, who is now on his way, and will shortly make his appearance. Jesus Christ began his ministry wh...

But he that cometh after me - Or, I coming after me, who is now on his way, and will shortly make his appearance. Jesus Christ began his ministry when he was thirty years of age, Luk 3:23, which was the age appointed by the law, Num 4:3. John the Baptist was born about six months before Christ; and, as he began his public ministry when thirty years of age, then this coming after refers to six months after the commencement of John’ s public preaching, at which time Christ entered upon his

Clarke: Mat 3:11 - Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear - This saying is expressive of the most profound humility and reverence. To put on, take off, and carry the shoe...

Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear - This saying is expressive of the most profound humility and reverence. To put on, take off, and carry the shoes of their masters, was, not only among the Jews, but also among the Greeks and Romans, the work of the vilest slaves. This is amply proved by Kypke, from Arrian, Plutarch, and the Babylonian Talmud

Clarke: Mat 3:11 - With the Holy Ghost, and with fire With the Holy Ghost, and with fire - That the influences of the Spirit of God are here designed, needs but little proof. Christ’ s religion was...

With the Holy Ghost, and with fire - That the influences of the Spirit of God are here designed, needs but little proof. Christ’ s religion was to be a spiritual religion, and was to have its seat in the heart. Outward precepts, however well they might describe, could not produce inward spirituality. This was the province of the Spirit of God, and of it alone; therefore he is represented here under the similitude of fire, because he was to illuminate and invigorate the soul, penetrate every part, and assimilate the whole to the image of the God of glory. See on Joh 3:5 (note)

Clarke: Mat 3:11 - With fire With fire - Και πυρι . This is wanting in E. S. (two MSS. one of the ninth, the other of the tenth century) eight others, and many Evangelis...

With fire - Και πυρι . This is wanting in E. S. (two MSS. one of the ninth, the other of the tenth century) eight others, and many Evangelistaria, and in some versions and printed editions; but it is found in the parallel place, Luk 3:16, and in the most authentic MSS. and versions. It was probably the different interpretations given of it by the fathers that caused some transcribers to leave it out of their copies

The baptism of fire has been differently understood among the primitive fathers. Some say, it means the tribulations, crosses, and afflictions, which believers in Christ are called to pass through. Hence the author of the Opus Imperfectum, on Matthew, says, that there are three sorts of baptism

1.    that of water

2.    that of the Holy Ghost; and

3.    that of tribulations and afflictions, represented under the notion of fire

He observes farther, that our blessed Lord went through these three baptisms

1.    That of water, he received from the hands of John

2.    That of the Holy Spirit he received from the Father. And

3.    That of fire, he had in his contest with Satan in the desert

St. Chrysostom says; it means the superabundant graces of the Spirit. Basil and Theophilus explain it of the fire of hell. Cyril, Jerome, and others, understand by it the descent of the Holy Spirit, on the day of pentecost

Hilary says, it means a fire that the righteous must pass through in the day of judgment, to purify them from such defilements as necessarily cleaved to them here, and with which they could not be admitted into glory

Ambrose says, this baptism shall be administered at the gate of paradise, by John Baptist; and he thinks that this is what is meant by the flaming sword, Gen 3:24

Origen and Lactantius conceive it to be a river of fire, at the gate of heaven, something similar to the Phlegethon of the heathens; but they observe, that when the righteous come to pass over, the liquid flames shall divide, and give them a free passage: that Christ shall stand on the brink of it, and receive through the flames all those, and none but those, who have received in this world the baptism of water in his name: and that this baptism is for those who, having received the faith of Christ, have not, in every respect, lived conformably to it; for, though they laid the good foundation, yet they built hay, straw, and stubble upon it, and this work of theirs must be tried, and destroyed by this fire. This, they think, is St. Paul’ s meaning, 1Co 3:13-15. If any man build on this foundation (viz. Jesus Christ) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’ s work shall be made manifest: and the fire shall try every man’ s work, of what sort it is. - If any man’ s work be burnt, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as By Fire. From this fire, understood in this way, the fathers of the following ages, and the schoolmen, formed the famous and lucrative doctrine of Purgatory. Some in the primitive Church thought that fire should be, in some way or other, joined to the water in baptism; and it is supposed that they administered it by causing the person to pass between two fires, or to leap through the flame; or by having a torch, or lighted candle, present. Thus have those called Doctors of the Church trifled. The exposition which I have given, I believe to be the only genuine one.

Clarke: Mat 3:12 - Whose fan is in his hand Whose fan is in his hand - The Romans are here termed God’ s fan, as, in Mat 3:10, they were called his axe, and, in Mat 22:7, they are termed ...

Whose fan is in his hand - The Romans are here termed God’ s fan, as, in Mat 3:10, they were called his axe, and, in Mat 22:7, they are termed his troops or armies

The winnowing fan of the Hindoos is square, made of split bamboo; and the corn is winnowed by waving the fan backwards with both hands - "Whose fan is in his hand.

Clarke: Mat 3:12 - His floor His floor - Does not this mean the land of Judea, which had been long, as it were, the threshing-floor of the Lord? God says, he will now, by the wi...

His floor - Does not this mean the land of Judea, which had been long, as it were, the threshing-floor of the Lord? God says, he will now, by the winnowing fan (viz. the Romans) thoroughly cleanse this floor - the wheat, those who believe in the Lord Jesus, he will gather into his garner, either take to heaven from the evil to come, or put in a place of safety, as he did the Christians, by sending them to Pella, in Coelosyria, previously to the destruction of Jerusalem. But he will burn up the chaff - the disobedient and rebellions Jews, who would not come unto Christ, that they might have life

Clarke: Mat 3:12 - Unquenchable fire Unquenchable fire - That cannot be extinguished by man.

Unquenchable fire - That cannot be extinguished by man.

Clarke: Mat 3:14 - John forbad him John forbad him - Earnestly and pressingly opposed him: this is the proper import of the words διεκωλευεν αυτον . I have observed th...

John forbad him - Earnestly and pressingly opposed him: this is the proper import of the words διεκωλευεν αυτον . I have observed that δια, in composition, most frequently, if not always, strengthens the signification in classic authors. - Wakefield.

Clarke: Mat 3:15 - To fulfill all righteousness To fulfill all righteousness - That is, Every righteous ordinance: so I think the words πασαν δικαιοσυνην should be translated; an...

To fulfill all righteousness - That is, Every righteous ordinance: so I think the words πασαν δικαιοσυνην should be translated; and so our common version renders a similar word, Luk 1:6. The following passage, quoted from Justin Martyr, will doubtless appear a strong vindication of this translation. "Christ was circumcised, and observed all the other ordinances of the law of Moses, not with a view to his own justification; but to fulfill the dispensation committed to him by the Lord, the God and Creator of all things."- Wakefield

How remarkable are the following words of Creeshna (an Incarnation of the Supreme God, according to the Hindoo theology) related in the Bhagvat Geeta, p. 47. Addressing his disciple Arjoon, he says, "I myself, Arjoon, have not, in the three regions of the universe, any thing which is necessary for me to perform; nor any thing to obtain, which is not obtained; and yet I live in the exercise of the moral duties. If I were not vigilantly to attend to those duties, all men would presently follow my example. If I were not to perform the moral actions, this world would fail in their duties: I should be the cause of spurious births, and should drive the people from the right way. As the ignorant perform the duties of life from a hope of reward, so the wise man, out of respect to the opinions and prejudices of mankind, should perform the same without motives of interest. The wise man, by industriously performing all the duties of life, should induce the vulgar to attend to them.

The Septuagint use this word often for the Hebrew משפת mishpat , judgment, appointment. And in Eze 18:19, Eze 18:21, the person who δικαιοσυνην και ελεος πεποιηκε - hath done righteousness and mercy, is he who sacredly attended to the performance of all the religious ordinances mentioned in that chapter, and performed them in the genuine spirit of mercy. Δικαιωματα is used 1 Maccabees 1:13, 49; 2:21, and in Heb 10:1, Heb 10:10, to denote religious ceremonies. Michaelis supposes that כל חק kol chok , all religious statutes or ordinances, were the words used in the Hebrew original of this Gospel

But was this an ordinance? Undoubtedly: it was the initiatory ordinance of the Baptist’ s dispensation. Now, as Christ had submitted to circumcision, which was the initiatory ordinance of the Mosaic dispensation, it was necessary that he should submit to this, which was instituted by no less an authority, and was the introduction to his own dispensation of eternal mercy and truth. But it was necessary on another account: Our Lord represented the high priest, and was to be the high priest over the house of God: - now, as the high priest was initiated into his office by washing and anointing, so must Christ: and hence he was baptized, washed, and anointed by the Holy Ghost. Thus he fulfilled the righteous ordinance of his initiation into the office of high priest, and thus was prepared to make an atonement for the sins of mankind

Clarke: Mat 3:15 - Then he suffered him Then he suffered him - In the Opus Imperfectum, quoted by Griesbach, there is the following addition, which, at least, may serve to show the opinion...

Then he suffered him - In the Opus Imperfectum, quoted by Griesbach, there is the following addition, which, at least, may serve to show the opinion of its author: Et Johannes quidem baptizauit ilium in aqua, ille autem Johannem cum Spiritu . "Then John baptized him with water, and he baptized John with the Spirit."

Clarke: Mat 3:16 - The heavens were opened unto him The heavens were opened unto him - That is, to John the Baptist - and he, John, saw the Spirit of God - lighting upon him, i.e. Jesus. There has bee...

The heavens were opened unto him - That is, to John the Baptist - and he, John, saw the Spirit of God - lighting upon him, i.e. Jesus. There has been some controversy about the manner and form in which the Spirit of God rendered itself visible on this occasion. St. Luke, Luk 3:22, says it was in a bodily shape like to a dove: and this likeness to a dove some refer to a hovering motion, like to that of a dove, and not to the form of the dove itself: but the terms of the text are too precise to admit of this far-fetched interpretation

This passage affords no mean proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. That three distinct persons are here, represented, there can be no dispute

1.    The person of Jesus Christ, baptized by John in Jordan

2.    The person of the Holy Ghost in a bodily shape, ( σωματικω ειδει, Luk 3:22) like a dove

3.    The person of the Father; a voice came out of heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, etc

The voice is here represented as proceeding from a different place to that in which the persons of the Son and Holy Spirit were manifested; and merely, I think, more forcibly to mark this Divine personality.

Clarke: Mat 3:17 - In whom I am well pleased In whom I am well pleased - Εν ω ενδακησα in whom I have delighted - though it is supposed that the past tense is here used for the pre...

In whom I am well pleased - Εν ω ενδακησα in whom I have delighted - though it is supposed that the past tense is here used for the present: but see the note on Mat 17:5. By this voice, and overshadowing of the Spirit, the mission of the Lord Jesus was publicly and solemnly accredited; God intimating that he had before delighted in him: the law, in all its ordinances, having pointed him out, for they could not be pleasing to God, but as they were fulfilled in, and showed forth, the Son of man, till, he came

As the office of a herald is frequently alluded to in this chapter, and also in various other parts of the New Testament, I think it best to give a full account of it here, especially as the office of the ministers of the Gospel is represented by it. Such persons can best apply the different correspondences between their own and the herald’ s office

At the Olympic and Isthmian games, heralds were persons of the utmost consequence and importance. Their office was: -

1.    To proclaim from a scaffold, or elevated place, the combat that was to be entered on

2.    To summon the Agonistae, or contenders, to make their appearance, and to announce their names

3.    To specify the prize for which they were to contend

4.    To admonish and animate, with appropriate discourses, the athletae, or combatants

5.    To set before them, and explain, the laws of the agones, or contenders; that they might see that even the conqueror could not receive the crown or prize, unless he had strove lawfully

6.    After the conflict was ended, to bring the business before the judges, and, according to their determination, to proclaim the victor

7.    To deliver the prize to the conqueror, and to put the crown on his head, in the presence of the assembly

8.    They were the persons who convoked all solemn and religious assemblies, and brought forth, and often slew, the sacrifices offered on those occasions

9.    They frequently called the attention of the people, during the sacrifices, to the subject of devotion, with hoc age! τουτο πραττε : mind what you are about, don’ t be idle; think of nothing else. See Plutarch in Coriolanus

The office, and nearly the word itself, was in use among the ancient Babylonians, as appears from Dan 3:4, where the Chaldee word כרוזא caroza , is rendered by the Septuagint κηρυξ kerux , and by our translation, very properly, herald. His business in the above place was to call an assembly of the people, for the purpose of public worship; to describe the object and nature of that worship, and the punishment to be inflicted on those who did not join in the worship, and properly assist in the solemnities of the occasion

Dan 3:4, is the only place in our translation, in which the word herald is used: but the word κηρυξ, used by St. Paul, 1Ti 2:7; 2Ti 1:11, and by St. Peter, 2Pe 3:5, is found in the Septuagint, Gen 41:43, as well as in Dan 3:4, and the verb κηρυσσω is found in different places of that version, and in a great number of places in the New Testament

It is worthy of remark, that the office of the κηρυξ, kerux , or herald, must have been anciently known, and indeed established, among the Egyptians: for in Gen 41:43, where an account is given of the promotion of Joseph to the second place in the kingdom, where we say, And they cried before him, saying, Bow the knee; the Septuagint has και εκηρυξεν εμπροσθεν αυτου κηρυξ· And a Herald made proclamation before him. As the Septuagint translated this for Ptolemy Philadelphus, the Egyptian king, and were in Egypt when they translated the law, we may safely infer that the office was not only known, but in use among the Egyptians, being denominated in their language אברק abrek , which our translators, following the Vulgate, have rendered, Bow the knee; but which the Septuagint understood to be the title of an officer, who was the same among the Egyptians as the κηρυξ among the Greeks. This is a probable meaning of the word, which escaped me when I wrote the note on Gen 41:43

As every kind of office had some peculiar badge, or ensign, by which it was known among the ancients, so the heralds were known by generally carrying a caduceus. This was a rod with two spread wings at the top, and about which two serpents were entwined. The poets fabled that this rod was given by Apollo, the god of wisdom and music, to Mercury, the god of eloquence, and the messenger of the gods. To it wonderful properties are ascribed - especially that it produces sleep, and that it raises the dead. Who does not at once see, that the caduceus and its properties clearly point out the office, honor, and influence of the herald? As persons of strong voice, and ready speech, and copious eloquence, were always chosen for heralds, they were represented as endued with wisdom and eloquence from above. They lulled men to sleep, i.e. by their persuasive powers of speech, they calmed the turbulent dispositions of an inflamed populace, when proceeding to acts of rebellion and anarchy; or they roused the dormant zeal of the community, who, through long oppression, despairing of succor or relief, seemed careless about their best interests being stupidly resolved to sink under their burdens, and expect release only in death

As to the caduceus itself, it was ever the emblem of peace among the ancients: the rod was the emblem of power; the two serpents, of wisdom and prudence; and the two wings, of diligence and despatch. The first idea of this wonderful rod seems to have been borrowed from the rod of Moses. See the note on Exo 4:17

The word κηρυξ kerux , or herald, here used, is evidently derived from κηρυσσειν, to proclaim, call aloud; and this from γηρυς, the voice; because these persons were never employed in any business, but such only as could not be transacted but by the powers of speech, and the energy of ratiocination

For the derivation of the word herald, we must look to the northern languages. Its meaning in Junius, Skinner, and Minshieu, are various, but not essentially different; they all seem to point out different parts of the herald’ s office

1.    In the Belgic, heer signifies army. Hence heer -alt , a senior officer, or general, in the army

2.    Or heer -held , the hero of the army: he who had distinguished himself most in his country’ s behalf

3.    Or from the Gallo-teutonic herr -haut , the high lord, because their persons were so universally respected, as we have already seen

4.    Or from the simple Teutonic herr -hold , he who is faithful to his lord

5.    And, lastly, according to Minshieu, from the verb hier -holden , stop here; because, in proclaiming peace, they arrested bloodshed and death, and prevented the farther progress of war

These officers act an important part in all heroic history, and particularly in the Iliad and Odyssey, from which, as the subject is of so much importance, I shall make a few extracts

I.    Their character was sacred. Homer gives them the epithet of divine, θειοι

- Δολων, Ευμηδεος υιος

Κηρυκος θειοιο

Iliad x. 31

"Dolon, son of Eumedes, the divine herald.

    They were also termed inviolable, ασυλοι ; also, great, admirable, etc. In the first book of the Iliad, we have a proof of the respect paid to heralds, and the inviolability of their persons. Agamemnon commands the heralds, Talthybius and Eurybates, his faithful ministers, to go to the tent of Achilles, seize the young Briseis, and bring her to him. They reluctantly obey; but, when they come into the presence of Achilles, knowing the injustice of their master’ s cause, they are afraid to announce their mission. Achilles, guessing their errand, thus addresses them: -

Χαιρετε, κηρυκες, Διος αγγελοι, ηδε και ανδρων. κ. τ. λ.

"Hail, O ye heralds, messengers of God and of men! come forward. I cannot blame you - Agamemnon only is culpable, who has sent you for the beautiful Briseis. But come, O godlike Patroclus, bring forth the damsel, and deliver her to them, that they may lead her away,"etc., Iliad i. 334, etc

II. Their functions were numerous; they might enter without danger into besieged cities, or even into battles

III. They convoked the assemblies of the leaders, according to the orders they received from the general or king

IV. They commanded silence, when kings were to address the assembly, (Iliad xviii. 503. Κηρυκες δ αρα λαων ερητυον . See also Iliad ii. 280), and delivered the scepter into their hands, before they began their harangue

Ην δ απα κηρυξ

Χερσι σκηπτρον εθηκε, σιωπησαι τ εκελευσεν

Iliad xxiii. 56

V. They were the carriers and executors of the royal commands, (Iliad i. 320), and went in search of those who were summoned to appear, or whose presence was desired

VI. They were entrusted with the most important missions; and accompanied princes in the most difficult circumstances. Priam, when he went to Achilles, took no person besides a herald with him. (Iliad xxiv. 674, 689). When Ulysses sent two of his companions to treat with the Lestrygons, he sent a herald at the same time. (Odys. x. 102). Agamemnon, when he wished to soften Achilles, joined Eurybates and Hodius, his heralds, to the deputation of the princes. (Iliad ix. 170)

VII. Heralds were employed to proclaim and publish whatever was to be known by the people. (Odys. xx. 276)

VIII. They declared war and proclaimed peace. (Odys. xviii. 334)

IX. They took part in all sacred ceremonies: they mingled the wine and water in the large bowls for the libations, which were made at the conclusion of treaties. They were the priests of the people in many cases; they led forth the victims, cut them in pieces, and divided them among those engaged in the sacrifices. (Odys. i. 109, etc)

X. In Odyssey lib. xvii., a herald presents a piece of flesh to Telemachus, and pours out his wine

XI. They sometimes waited on princes at table, and rendered them many other personal services. (Iliad ii. 280; Odys. i. 143, etc., 146, 153; ii. 6, 38). In the Iliad, lib. x. 3, Eurybates carries the clothes to Ulysses. And a herald of Alcinous conducts Demodocus, the singer, into the festive hall. (Odys. viii. 470). Many others of their functions, services, and privileges, the reader may see, by consulting Damm’ s Homeric Lexicon, under Κρω .

Calvin: Mat 3:1 - Now in those days Mat 3:1Now in those days Luk 3:1. And in the fifteenth year It could not be gathered from Matthew and Mark in what year of his age John began to pr...

Mat 3:1Now in those days Luk 3:1. And in the fifteenth year It could not be gathered from Matthew and Mark in what year of his age John began to preach: but Luke shows sufficiently, that he was about thirty years of age. The ancient writers of the Church are almost unanimously agreed, that he was born fifteen years before the death of Augustus. His successor Tiberius had held the government of the Roman Empire for fifteen years, when the same John began to preach. In this way are made up the thirty years which I have mentioned. Hence it follows, that he did not long discharge the office of teacher, but, in a short time, gave way to Christ; for we shall soon find, that Christ also was baptized in the thirtieth year of his age, when he was immediately installed into the discharge of his public office. Now as John, the morning-star, or dawn, was immediately followed by Christ, “the Sun of Righteousness,” (Mal 4:2,) there is no reason to wonder, that John disappeared, in order that Christ might shine alone in greater brightness.

Calvin: Mat 3:2 - Repent ye Mat 3:2.Repent ye Matthew differs from the other two Evangelists in this respect, that he relates the substance of John’s doctrine, as uttered by Jo...

Mat 3:2.Repent ye Matthew differs from the other two Evangelists in this respect, that he relates the substance of John’s doctrine, as uttered by John himself, while they relate it in their own words; though Mark has one word more than Luke: for he says, he came Baptizing, and preaching the baptism of repentance But in substance there is the most perfect agreement: for they all connect repentance with the forgiveness of sins. The kingdom of God among men is nothing else than a restoration to a happy life; or, in other words, it is true and everlasting happiness. When John says, that the kingdom of God is at hand, his meaning is, that men, who were alienated from the righteousness of God, and banished from the kingdom of heaven, must be again gathered to God, and live under his guidance. This is accomplished by a free adoption and the forgiveness of sins, by which he reconciles to himself those who were unworthy. In a word, the kingdom of heaven is nothing else than “newness of life,” (Rom 6:4,) by which God restores us to the hope of a blessed immortality. Having rescued us from the bondage of sin and death, he claims us as his own; that, even while our pilgrimage on earth continues, we may enjoy the heavenly life by faith: for he

“hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,”
(Eph 1:3.)

Though we are like dead men, yet we know that our life is secure; for it “is hid with Christ in God,” (Col 3:3.)

From this doctrine, as its source, is drawn the exhortation to repentance. For John does not say, “Repent ye, and in this way the kingdom of heaven will afterwards be at hand;” but first brings forward the grace of God, and then exhorts men to repent Hence it is evident, that the foundation of repentance is the mercy of God, by which he restores the lost. In no other sense is it stated by Mark and Luke, that he preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins Repentance is not placed first, as some ignorantly suppose, as if it were the ground of the forgiveness of sins, or as if it induced God to begin to be gracious to us; but men are commanded to repent, that they may receive the reconciliation which is offered to them. Now, as the undeserved love of God — by which he receives into his favor wretched men, “not imputing their trespasses unto them,” (2Co 5:19) — is first in order; so it must be observed, that pardon of sins is bestowed upon us in Christ, not that God may treat them with indulgence, but that he may heal us from our sins. And, indeed, without hatred of sin and remorse for transgressions, no man will taste the grace of God. But a definition of repentance and faith may explain more fully the manner in which both are connected; which leads me to handle this doctrine more sparingly.

With regard to the meaning of the present passage, it is proper to observe, that the whole Gospel consists of two parts, — forgiveness of sins, and repentance Now, as Matthew denominates the first of these the kingdom of heaven, we may conclude, that men are in a state of deadly enmity with God, and altogether shut out from the heavenly kingdom, till God receives them into favor. Though John, when he introduces the mention of the grace of God, exhorts men to repentance, yet it must not be forgotten that repentance, not less than the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom, is the gift of God. As he freely pardons our sins, and delivers us, by his mercy, from the condemnation of eternal death, so also does he form us anew to his image, that we may live unto righteousness. As he freely adopts us for his sons, so he regenerates us by his Spirit, that our life may testify, that we do not falsely, 245 address him as our Father. In like manner, Christ washes away our sins by his blood, and reconciles our Heavenly Father to us by the sacrifice of his death; but, at the same time, in consequence of

“our old man being crucified with him, and the body of sin destroyed,”
(Rom 6:6)

he makes us “alive” unto righteousness. The sum of the Gospel is, that God, through his Son, takes away our sins, and admits us to fellowship with him, that we, “denying ourselves ” and our own nature, may “live soberly, righteously, and godly,” and thus may exercise ourselves on earth in meditating on the heavenly life.

Calvin: Mat 3:3 - The yoke of one crying in the wilderness // Prepare the way of the Lord Mat 3:3.The yoke of one crying in the wilderness Though this passage of the prophet Isaiah (40:3) ought not to be limited exclusively to John, yet he ...

Mat 3:3.The yoke of one crying in the wilderness Though this passage of the prophet Isaiah (40:3) ought not to be limited exclusively to John, yet he is one of the number of those to whom it certainly refers. After having spoken of the destruction of the city, and of the awful calamities that would befall the people, he promises a restoration that would follow. His words are,

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God,”
(Isa 40:1.)

When the temple had been thrown down, and sacrifices abolished, and the people led away into captivity, their affairs seemed to be desperate. And as their ears had been deaf to the uninterrupted voice of the prophets, the Lord kept silence for a time. 247 That pious minds may not be cast down during this melancholy silence, the prophet announces, that other preachers of grace will yet arise, to awaken in the people a hope of salvation. Such were Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi, and the like. 248 But as the restoration promised is perpetual, and not for a time only, and as Isaiah refers chiefly to the redemption, which was to be expressed at the coming of Christ, John the Baptist is justly considered the chief minister of consolation.

Next follows in the words of the prophet, The voice of one crying That voice is contrasted with the temporary silence, 249 which I have just mentioned: for the Jews were to be deprived, for a time, of the instruction, which they had wickedly despised. The word wilderness is here used metaphorically for desolation, or the frightful ruin of the nation, such as existed in the time of the captivity. It was so dismally shattered, that it might well be compared to a wilderness The prophet magnifies the grace of God. “Though the people,” says he, “have been driven far from their country, and even excluded from the society of men, yet the voice of God will yet be heard in the wilderness, to revive the dead with joyful consolation.” When John began to preach, Jerusalem was in this sense a wilderness: for all had been reduced to wild and frightful confusion. But the very sight of a visible wilderness must have had a powerful effect on stupid and hardened men, leading them to perceive that they were in a state of death, and to accept the promise of salvation, which had been held out to them. We now see, that this prediction actually relates to John, and is most properly applied to him.

Prepare the way of the Lord The prophet undoubtedly addresses Cyrus and the Persians, whose agency the Lord employed in this matter. The meaning is: by his wonderful power, God will open a way to his people through impassable forests, through broken rocks, through a sandy desert; for he will have at hand the ministers of his grace, to remove all hindrances out of the way. But that was a shadowy anticipation of redemption. When the spiritual truth is about to appear, John is sent to remove obstacles. And even now the same voice sounds in our ears, that we may prepare the way of the Lord: that is, that we may take out of the way those sins which obstruct the kingdom of Christ, and thus may give access to his grace. To the same purpose are the following words of the prophet: the crooked shall be made straight, (Isa 40:4.) All that they mean is: there are intricate and crooked windings in the world, but through such appalling difficulties the Lord makes a way for himself, and breaks through, by incredible means, to accomplish our salvation.

Calvin: Mat 3:4 - And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair Mat 3:4.And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair The Evangelist does not desire us to reckon it as one of John’s chief excellencies, that...

Mat 3:4.And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair The Evangelist does not desire us to reckon it as one of John’s chief excellencies, that he followed a rough and austere way of living, or even that he avoided a moderate and ordinary degree of elegance: but, having already stated that he was an inhabitant of the mountains, he now adds, that his food and clothing were adapted to his residence. And he mentions this, not only to inform us, that John was satisfied with the food and dress of the peasants, and partook of no delicacies; but that, under a mean and contemptible garb, he was held in high estimation by men of rank and splendor. Superstitious persons look upon righteousness as consisting almost entirely of outward appearances, and have commonly thought, that abstinence of this kind was the perfection of holiness. Nearly akin to this is the error, of supposing him to be a man who lived in solitude, and who disdained the ordinary way of living; as the only superiority of hermits and monks is, that they differ from other people. Nay, gross ignorance has gone so far that, out of camel’s hair they have made an entire skin.

Now, there can be no doubt, that the Evangelist here describes a man of the mountains, 252 widely distant from all the refinement and delicacies of towns,—not only satisfied with such food as could be procured, but eating only what was fit to be used in its natural state, such as wild honey, which is supplied by that region in great abundance, and locusts, with which it also abounds. Or he may have intended to point out that, when a man of mean aspect, and without any polite accomplishments, appeared in public life, it was attended by this advantage, that the majesty of God shone alone in him, and yet struck all with admiration. For we must observe what is added, that there was a great concourse of people from all directions; from which we infer, that his fame was very widely spread. 253 Or the Evangelist may have signified the design of God, to present, in the person of John, a singular instance of frugality, and, in this manner, to fill the Jews with reverence for his doctrine, or at least to convince them of ingratitude, according to that saying of our Lord, John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, (Luk 7:33.)

Calvin: Mat 3:6 - And were baptized, confessing their sins Mat 3:6; Mar 1:5. And were baptized, confessing their sins This confession was a testimony of repentance: for, as the Lord, in the sacraments, b...

Mat 3:6; Mar 1:5. And were baptized, confessing their sins This confession was a testimony of repentance: for, as the Lord, in the sacraments, brings himself under obligation to us, as if he had given his own hand-writing, so it is our duty, on the other hand, to reply to him. In Baptism, he declares that our sins are forgiven, and calls us to repentance. That men may come forward, in a right manner, to be baptized, confession of sins is demanded from them: otherwise the whole performance would be nothing but an idle mockery 254 Let it be observed, that we are here speaking of adults, who ought not, we. are aware, to be admitted indiscriminately into the Church, or introduced by Baptism into the body of Christ, 255 till an examination has been previously made. 256

Hence it is obvious, how absurdly this passage has been tortured by the Papists, to support auricular confession. There were no priests at hand, in whose ears each individual might privately mutter 257 his sins; nor is it said that they enumerated all their sins; nor are we told that John left in charge to his disciples an ordinary rule for confession. Even granting to Papists all that they ask, confession will belong to Catechumens alone, 258 and will have no place after Baptism. At all events, the law which they lay down for confession after Baptism, derives no countenance from John’s example. 259

Calvin: Mat 3:7 - And when he saw many of the Pharisees Mat 3:7.And when he saw many of the Pharisees It is here related by Matthew and Luke, that John did not merely preach repentance in a general manner, ...

Mat 3:7.And when he saw many of the Pharisees It is here related by Matthew and Luke, that John did not merely preach repentance in a general manner, but that he also applied his discourse to individuals. And the manner of teaching will, in point of fact, be very unprofitable, if instructors do not judiciously inquire what the season demands, and what belongs to individuals. Nothing can be more unequal, in this respect, than a constant equality. 261 For this reason John, we are told, addressed the Pharisees and Sadducees with greater severity: because he saw that their hypocrisy, and swelling pride, rendered them liable to be more severely censured than the common people. To comprehend more fully his design, we must understand, that none are more stupid than hypocrites, who deceive themselves and others by the outward mask of holiness. While God thunders, on all sides, against the whole world, they construct a refuge for themselves in their own deceitful fancy; for they are convinced that they have nothing to do with the judgment of God. Does any one suppose, that John acted improperly, in treating them with so much harshness at the first interview? I reply: They were not unknown to him, 262 and the knowledge he had of them was derived, not from acquaintance or experience, but, on the contrary, from a secret revelation of the Spirit. It was therefore necessary that he should not spare them, lest they might return home more inflated with pride. Is it again objected, that they ought not to have been terrified by such severity of reproof, because they made a profession, in baptism, that they would afterwards be different persons from what they had formerly been? The reply is still easy. Those whose habits of uttering falsehood to God, and of deceiving themselves, lead them to hold out hypocrisy and pretension, instead of the reality, ought to be urged, with greater sharpness than other men, to true repentance. There is an astonishing pertinacity, as I have said, in hypocrites; and, until they have been flayed by violence, they obstinately keep their skin.

Calvin: Mat 3:8 - Yield therefore fruits worthy of repentance Mat 3:8; Luk 3:8. Yield therefore fruits worthy of repentance He confirms what I have already said, that the repentance, which is attested by words,...

Mat 3:8; Luk 3:8. Yield therefore fruits worthy of repentance He confirms what I have already said, that the repentance, which is attested by words, is of no value, unless it be proved by the conduct: for it is too important a matter to be estimated lightly, or at random. And so John affirms, that the solemn declaration, which they made, is not enough, but that, in process of time, their works will make it evident, whether or not they have seriously repented. 266 It ought to be observed, that good works ( Titus 3:8) are here called fruits of repentance: for repentance is an inward matter, which has its seat in the heart and soul, but afterwards yields its fruits in a change of life. 267 But as the whole of this part of doctrine has been grievously corrupted by Popery, we must attend to this distinction, that repentance is an inward renewal of the man, which manifests itself in the outward life, as a tree produces its fruit.

Calvin: Mat 3:9 - And think not to say within yourselves // God is able Mat 3:9.And think not to say within yourselves Luk 3:8. And begin not to say within yourselves. As the import of both phrases is undoubtedly the sa...

Mat 3:9.And think not to say within yourselves Luk 3:8. And begin not to say within yourselves. As the import of both phrases is undoubtedly the same, it is easy to ascertain what John meant. Till hypocrites are hard pressed, they either sleep in their sins, or indulge in licentious mirth. 268 But when they are summoned to the tribunal of God, they eagerly seek for some subterfuge or concealment, or some covering to interpose between God and them. John’s address to the Pharisees and Sadducees amounts to this: Now that I have sharply upbraided you, do not, as persons of your stamp are wont to do endeavor to find a remedy in an empty and deceitful title.”

He thus tears from them the wicked confidence, by which they had been bewitched. The covenant, which God had made with Abraham, was employed by them as a shield to defend a bad conscience: not that they rested their salvation on the person of one man, but that God had adopted all the posterity of Abraham. Meanwhile, they did not consider, that none are entitled to be regarded as belonging to “the seed of Abraham,” (Joh 8:33,) but those who follow his faith, and that without faith the covenant of God has no influence whatever in procuring salvation. And even the little word, in yourselves, is not without meaning: for though they did not boast in words, that they were Abraham’s children, yet they were inwardly delighted with this title, as hypocrites are not ashamed to practice grosser impositions on God than on men.

God is able The Jews flattered themselves with nearly the same pretenses, as are now brought forward insolently by the Papists. “There must be some Church in the world; because it is the will of God that he be acknowledged, and his name invoked, in the world. But the Church can be nowhere else than among us, to whom God has entrusted his covenant.” 269 This arrogance was chiefly displayed by the high priests, and by others who had any share of government or authority. The common people were treated by them as profane and accursed, (Joh 7:49,) and they looked upon themselves as the holy first-fruits; just as, in our own day, mitred Bishops, Abbots, Canons, Monks, Sorbonnists, and every description of Priests, glorying in the proud title of Clergy, regard the Laity with contempt. This error, of relying too much on the promise of God, John exposes and refutes, by saying that, though God passes by them, he will not want a Church.

The meaning of the words, therefore, is: “God has made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his seed. In one point you are mistaken. While you are worse than bastards, 270 you imagine that you are the only children of Abraham. But God will raise up elsewhere a new seed of Abraham, which does not now appear.” He says in the dative case, children To ABRAHAM, (τῶ ᾿Αβραὰμ,) to inform us, that the promise of God will not fail, and that Abraham, who relied on it, was not deceived, though his seed be not found in you. Thus from the beginning of the world the Lord has been faithful to his servants, and has never failed to fulfill the promise which he made to them, that he would extend mercy to their children, though he rejected hypocrites. Some imagine, that John spoke of the calling of the Gentiles. This appears to me to be without foundation: but as proud men did not believe it to be possible that the Church should be removed to another place, he reminds them, that God has in his power ways of preserving his Church, which they did not think of, any more than they believed that he could create children out of stones.

Calvin: Mat 3:10 - And now also the axe Mat 3:10; Luk 3:9. And now also the axe After having stripped hypocrites of the covering of a vain confidence, John announces the approaching judgme...

Mat 3:10; Luk 3:9. And now also the axe After having stripped hypocrites of the covering of a vain confidence, John announces the approaching judgment of God. He had formerly said that, though they were rejected, God would not want a people: and he now adds, that God is just about to drive out unworthy persons from the Church, as barren trees are wont to be cut down. His statement amounts to this, that God has already displayed his power for purifying the Church. The grace of God is never manifested for the salvation of the godly, till his judgment first appears for the destruction of the world: and for two reasons; because God then separates his own people from the reprobate, and because his wrath is kindled anew by the ingratitude of the world. So that we have no reason to wonder, if the preaching of the gospel and the coming of Christ laid the axe for cutting down barren trees, or if the same causes 271 daily advance the wrath of God against the wicked.

Calvin: Mat 3:11 - He who cometh after me is stronger than I The three Evangelists relate the Baptist’s discourse in the same words. In one respect, Luke’s account is more full: for he opens it by explainin...

The three Evangelists relate the Baptist’s discourse in the same words. In one respect, Luke’s account is more full: for he opens it by explaining the occasion on which this discourse was delivered. It arose from the people being in danger of being led, by a false opinion, to convey to him the honor which was due to Christ. To remove, as soon as possible, every occasion of such a mistake, he expressly declares, that he is not the Christ, and draws such a distinction between Christ and himself as to maintain Christ’s prerogative. He would have done this of his own accord, by handing them over, to use a common expression, as disciples to Christ: but he takes up the matter at an earlier stage, lest, by remaining silent any longer, he should confirm the people in an error.

He who cometh after me is stronger than I Christ is thus declared to be so far superior in power and rank, that, with respect to him, John must occupy a private station. 282 He uses ordinary forms of speech to magnify the glory of Christ, in comparison of whom he declares that he himself is nothing. The chief part of his statement is, that he represents Christ as the author of spiritual baptism, and himself as only the minister of outward baptism. He appears to anticipate an objection, which might be brought forward. What was the design of the Baptism which he had taken upon himself? For it was no light matter to introduce any innovation whatever into the Church of God, and particularly to bring forward a new way of introducing persons into the Church, which was more perfect than the law of God. He replies, that he did not proceed to do this without authority; but that his office, as minister of an outward symbol, takes nothing away from the power and glory of Christ.

Hence we infer, that his intention was not at all to distinguish between his own baptism, and that which Christ taught his disciples, and which he intended should remain in perpetual obligation in his Church. He does not contrast one visible sign with another visible sign, but compares the characters of master and servant with each other, and shows what is due to the master, and what is due to the servant. It ought not to have any weight with us, that an opinion has long and extensively prevailed, that John’s baptism differs from ours. We must learn to form our judgment from the matter as it stands, and not from the mistaken opinions of men. And certainly the comparison, which they imagine to have been made, would involve great absurdities. It would follow from it, that the Holy Spirit is given, in the present day, by ministers. Again, it would follow that John’s baptism was a dead sign, and had no efficacy whatever. Thirdly, it would follow, that we have not the same baptism with Christ: for it is sufficiently evident, that the fellowship, which he condescends to maintain with us, was ratified by this pledge, 283 when he consecrated baptism in his own body.

We must therefore hold by what I have already said, that John merely distinguishes, in this passage, between himself and the other ministers of baptism, on the one hand, and the power of Christ, on the other, and maintains the superiority of the master over the servants. And hence we deduce the general doctrine, as to what is done in baptism by men, and what is accomplished in it by the Son of God. To men has been committed nothing more than the administration of an outward and visible sign: the reality dwells with Christ alone. 284

Scripture does sometimes, though not in a literal sense, 285 ascribe to men what John here declares not to belong to men, but claims exclusively for Christ. In such cases, however, the design is not to inquire, what man has separately and by himself, but merely to show, what is the effect and advantage of signs, and in what manner God makes use of them, as instruments, by his Spirit. Here also is laid down a distinction between Christ and his ministers, that the world may not fall into the mistake, of giving to them what is justly due to him alone: for there is nothing to which they are more prone, than to adorn creatures with what has been taken from God by robbery. A careful attention to this observation will rid us of many difficulties. We know what disputes have arisen, in our own age, about the advantage and efficacy of signs, all of which may be disposed of in a single word. The ordinance of our Lord, viewed as a whole, includes himself as its Author, and the power of the Spirit, together with the figure and the minister: but where a comparison is made between our Lord and the minister, the former must have all the honor, and the latter must be reduced to nothing.

Mat 3:11. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire It is asked, why did not John equally say, that it is Christ alone who washes souls with his blood? The reason is, that this very washing is performed by the power of the Spirit, and John reckoned it enough to express the whole effect of baptism by the single word Spirit The meaning is clear, that Christ alone bestows all the grace which is figuratively represented by outward baptism, because it is he who “sprinkles the conscience” with his blood. It is he also who mortifies the old man, and bestows the Spirit of regeneration. The word fire is added as an epithet, and is applied to the Spirit, because he takes away our pollutions, as fire purifies gold. In the same manner, he is metaphorically called water in another passage, (Joh 3:5.)

Calvin: Mat 3:12 - Whose winnowing-fan is in his hand // He will thoroughly cleanse his thrashing-floor 12.Whose winnowing-fan is in his hand In the former verse, John preached concerning the grace of Christ, that the Jews might yield themselves to him ...

12.Whose winnowing-fan is in his hand In the former verse, John preached concerning the grace of Christ, that the Jews might yield themselves to him to be renewed: now he discourses of judgment, that he may strike despisers with terror. As there are always many hypocrites who proudly reject the grace of Christ offered to them, it is also necessary to denounce the judgment that awaits them. For this reason John here describes Christ as a severe judge against unbelievers. And this is an order which must be observed by us in teaching, that hypocrites may know, that their rejection of Christ will not go unpunished. They will thus be roused from their lethargy, and begin to dread him as an avenger, whom they despised as the author of salvation.

I have no doubt, that John intended also to show, what Christ accomplishes by means of his Gospel. The preaching of the Gospel, then, is the winnowing-fan Before the Lord sifts us, the whole world is involved in confusion, every one flatters himself, and the good are mixed with the bad in short, it is only necessary that the chaff be blown. But when Christ comes forward with his Gospels, — when he reproves the consciences and summons them to the tribunal of God, the chaff is sifted out, 286 which formerly occupied a great part of the thrashing-floor It is true that, in the case of individuals, the Gospel effects a separation from the chaff: but in this passage, John compares the reprobate to chaff, and believers to wheat The thrashing floor accordingly denotes — not the world, (as some people imagine,) but the Church: for we must attend to the class of persons whom John addresses. The mere title filled the Jews with pride, 287 but John tells them that it is foolish in them to be proud of it, because they hold but a temporary place in the Church of God, from which they are soon to be thrown out, like chaff from the thrashing-floor. In this way, he gives a rapid glance at the corrupt state in which the Church then was: for it was covered with husks, and straws, and other rubbish, but would soon be cleansed by the strong breeze of the Gospel. But how is Christ said to separate the chaff from the wheat, when he can find nothing in men but mere chaff? The answer is easy. The elect are formed into wheat, 288 and are then separated from the chaff, and collected into the granary

He will thoroughly cleanse his thrashing-floor This work was begun by Christ, and is daily going forward: but the full accomplishment of it will not be seen till the last day. This is the reason why John draws our attention to the subject. But let us remember, that believers even now enter, by hope, into the granary of God, in which they will actually have their everlasting abode; while the reprobate experience, in their convictions of guilt, the heat of that fire, the actual burning of which they will feel at the last day.

Many persons, I am aware, have entered into ingenious debates about the eternal fire, by which the wicked will be tormented after the judgment. But we may conclude from many passages of Scripture, that it is a metaphorical expression. For, if we must believe that it is real, or what they call material fire, we must also believe that the brimstone and the fan are material, both of them being mentioned by Isaiah.

“For Tophet is ordained of old; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it,” (Isa 30:33.)

We must explain the fire in the same manner as the worm, (Mar 9:44.) and if it is universally agreed that the worm is a metaphorical term, we must form the same opinion as to the fire. Let us lay aside the speculations, by which foolish men weary themselves to no purpose, and satisfy ourselves with believing, that these forms of speech denote, in a manner suited to our feeble capacity, a dreadful torment, which no man can now comprehend, and no language can express.

Calvin: Mat 3:13 - That he might be baptized by him Mat 3:13.That he might be baptized by him For what purpose did the Son of God wish to be baptized? This may be learned, in some measure, from his answ...

Mat 3:13.That he might be baptized by him For what purpose did the Son of God wish to be baptized? This may be learned, in some measure, from his answer. We have already assigned a special reason. He received the same baptism with us, in order to assure believers, that they are ingrafted into his body, and that they are “buried with him in baptism,” that they may rise to “newness of life,” (Rom 6:4.) But the end, which he here proposes, is more extensive: for thus it became him to fulfill all righteousness, (Mat 3:15.) The word righteousness frequently signifies, in Scripture, the observation of the law: and in that sense we may explain this passage to mean that, since Christ had voluntarily subjected himself to the law, it was necessary that he should keep it in every part. But I prefer a more simple interpretation. “Say nothing for the present,” said our Lord, “about my rank: 292 for the question before us is not, which of us deserves to be placed above the other. 293 Let us rather consider what our calling demands, and what has been enjoined on us by God the Father.” The general reason why Christ received baptism was, that he might render full obedience to the Father; and the special reason was, that he might consecrate baptism in his own body, that we might have it in common with him.

Calvin: Mat 3:14 - I have need to be baptized by thee 14.I have need to be baptized by thee It is certain, that John acknowledged Christ to be not only a distinguished prophet, as many foolishly dream, b...

14.I have need to be baptized by thee It is certain, that John acknowledged Christ to be not only a distinguished prophet, as many foolishly dream, but the Son of God, as he really was: for otherwise he would have dishonored God by lowering his holy calling to a mortal man. How he came to know this, the reader will learn by consulting John’s Gospel, (Joh 1:15) There was, no doubt, plausibility in this ground of refusal, that Christ had no need of his baptism: but John was mistaken in not considering, that it was for the sake of others that baptism was asked. 294 And so Christ bids him consider, what was suitable to the character of a servant, (Phi 2:7,) which he had undertaken; for a voluntary subjection takes nothing from his glory. Though the good man 295 remained ignorant, for a time, of some part of his public duty, this particular error did not prevent him from discharging, in a proper and lawful manner, his office of Baptist. This example shows, that we do not act rashly, in undertaking the commission which the Lord has given us, according to the light we enjoy, though we do not immediately comprehend all that belongs to our calling, or that depends upon it. We must also observe his modesty, in giving up his opinion, and immediately obeying Christ.

Calvin: Mat 3:16 - NO PHRASE 16.=== And, lo, the heavens were opened to him. === The opening of the heavens sometimes means a manifestation of heavenly glory; but here it means ...

16.=== And, lo, the heavens were opened to him. === The opening of the heavens sometimes means a manifestation of heavenly glory; but here it means also a cleft, or opening, of the visible heaven, so that John could see something beyond the planets and stars. The words of Mark can have no other meaning, he saw the heavens cleft asunder 296 An exact inquiry into the way in which this opening was made, would be of no importance, nor is it necessary. It is sufficient for us to believe, that it was a symbol of the Divine presence. As the Evangelists say that John saw the Holy Spirit, it is probable that the opening of the heavens was chiefly on his account. Yet I do not hesitate to admit that Christ also, so far as he was man, received from it additional certainty as to his heavenly calling. This appears to be the tendency of the words of Luke: while Jesus was praying, the heaven was opened, (Luk 3:21 :) for, though his prayers were always directed towards the benefit of others, yet as man, when he commenced a warfare of so arduous a description, he needed to be armed with a remarkable power of the Spirit.

But here two questions arise. The first is, why did the Spirit, who had formerly dwelt in Christ, descend upon him at that time? This question is answered by a passage of the prophet Isaiah, which will be handled in another place.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord God hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,” (Isa 61:1.)

Though the grace of the Spirit was bestowed on Christ in a remarkable and extraordinary manner, (Joh 3:34,) yet he remained at home as a private person, till he should be called to public life by the Father. Now that the full time is come, for preparing to discharge the office of Redeemer, he is clothed with a new power of the Spirit, and that not so much for his own sake, as for the sake of others. It was done on purpose, that believers might learn to receive, and to contemplate with reverence, his divine power, and that the weakness of the flesh might not make him despised.

Calvin: Mat 3:17 - lo, a voice from heaven 17. And, lo, a voice from heaven From that opening of the heavens, which has been already mentioned, a loud voice was heard, that its majesty might...

17. And, lo, a voice from heaven From that opening of the heavens, which has been already mentioned, a loud voice was heard, that its majesty might be more impressive. The public appearance of Christ, to undertake the office of Mediator, was accompanied by this announcement, 300 in which he was offered to us by the Father, that we may rely on this pledge of our adoption, and boldly call God himself our Father. The designation of Son belongs truly and naturally to Christ alone: but yet he was declared to be the Son of God in our flesh, that the favor of Him, whom he alone has a right to call Father, may be also obtained for us. And thus when God presents Christ to us as Mediator, accompanied by the title of Son, he declares that he is the Father of us all, (Eph 4:6.)

Such, too, is the import of the epithet beloved: for in ourselves we are hateful to God, and his fatherly love must flow to us by Christ. The best expounder of this passage is the Apostle Paul, when he says

“who hath predestinated us into adoption by Jesus Christ in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will; to the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath accepted us in the Beloved,”
(Eph 1:5)

that is, in his beloved Son. It is still more fully expressed by these words, in whom I am well pleased They imply, that the love of God rests on Christ in such a manner, as to diffuse itself from him to us all; and not to us only, but even to the angels themselves. Not that they need reconciliation, for they never were at enmity with God: but even they become perfectly united to God, only by means of their Head, (Eph 1:22.) For the same reason, he is also called “the first-born of every creature,” (Col 1:5;) and Paul likewise states that Christ came

“to reconcile all things to himself, both those which are on earth, and those which are in heavens,” (Col 1:20.)

Defender: Mat 3:1 - John the Baptist Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born up to His day (Mat 11:11). Yet, for some strange reason, John is almost ignored by modern b...

Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born up to His day (Mat 11:11). Yet, for some strange reason, John is almost ignored by modern believers. In a very real sense, he was the first Christian, the first Christian witness, the first Christian preacher, the first Christian prophet, and, finally, the first Christian martyr. He was the first to baptize converts and could have even started the first local church since the disciples of Christ were already largely organized and ministering together under John before they were instructed to follow Christ (Joh 1:35-37; Act 1:15-26)."

Defender: Mat 3:2 - kingdom of heaven This is the first of thirty-two occurrences of the phrase "the kingdom of heaven," all found only in Matthew. The same statement is found in Mar 1:15,...

This is the first of thirty-two occurrences of the phrase "the kingdom of heaven," all found only in Matthew. The same statement is found in Mar 1:15, except that "the kingdom of heaven" is there called "the kingdom of God." The two phrases are often used synonymously (Mat 13:33; Luk 13:20, Luk 13:21), so there seems no adequate reason to try to distinguish between them. Often it is called "the kingdom of the Father" or simply "the kingdom." It has a spiritual aspect, a present physical aspect, and a future eternal aspect, depending on context, but always refers to God's reign over His created and redeemed world and its believing inhabitants."

Defender: Mat 3:3 - the prophet Esaias Prophets Isaiah and Malachi predicted the coming of John, just as they did that of Christ (Isa 40:3-5; Mal 3:1). The angel announced John's imminent c...

Prophets Isaiah and Malachi predicted the coming of John, just as they did that of Christ (Isa 40:3-5; Mal 3:1). The angel announced John's imminent coming, as He did that of Jesus (Luk 1:13, Luk 1:30, Luk 1:31)."

Defender: Mat 3:6 - baptized The Greek word is baptizo, which means "dip" or "immerse," although all English translations, old or new, seem to prefer to transliterate it rather th...

The Greek word is baptizo, which means "dip" or "immerse," although all English translations, old or new, seem to prefer to transliterate it rather than to translate its actual meaning. Even though its full symbolic meaning (death, burial and resurrection as in Rom 6:5) could not yet be fully understood since Christ had not yet died and risen, it should be considered genuine Christian baptism. The disciples of John, baptized by him in Jordan, were not re-baptized, either when John told them to follow Christ, or when they later received the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mat 3:11). Instead they themselves baptized those who came to Christ, whether before or after Pentecost (Joh 3:22-30; Joh 4:1, Joh 4:2; Act 2:37-41). (See note on Act 19:1-7 for an apparent exception.)"

Defender: Mat 3:7 - generation of vipers This exceptionally harsh language was later used by Christ Himself (Mat 12:34; Mat 23:33). The sect of the Pharisees had become, in many cases, legali...

This exceptionally harsh language was later used by Christ Himself (Mat 12:34; Mat 23:33). The sect of the Pharisees had become, in many cases, legalistic hypocrites. The Sadducees were rationalists, denying the supernatural, especially the resurrection. Yet many of the priests were Sadducees. Presumably, both John and Christ would regard modern legalistic and rationalistic religionists with similar severity."

Defender: Mat 3:8 - fruits meet for repentance John's baptism was conditioned on repentance - that is, a genuine change of mind and attitude toward God. It symbolized a washing away of fleshly sins...

John's baptism was conditioned on repentance - that is, a genuine change of mind and attitude toward God. It symbolized a washing away of fleshly sins, as well as a new life following death to the old life. Peter's exhortation after Pentecost was very similar (Act 2:38). In both cases, true repentance, as well as faith in God and His promises, are assumed as conditions for forgiveness of sins. Without these, baptism is meaningless."

Defender: Mat 3:11 - Holy Ghost This is the first promise of the Holy Spirit and His baptism. Thus, John did preach this doctrine, although John's professed disciples in Ephesus (Act...

This is the first promise of the Holy Spirit and His baptism. Thus, John did preach this doctrine, although John's professed disciples in Ephesus (Act 19:1-5) somehow had not heard it."

Defender: Mat 3:15 - fulfil all righteousness Jesus had no need for repentance or forgiveness, but was baptized "to fulfil all righteousness." That is, it was right for men to be baptized, and Jes...

Jesus had no need for repentance or forgiveness, but was baptized "to fulfil all righteousness." That is, it was right for men to be baptized, and Jesus would leave us "an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1Pe 2:21). Furthermore, although He "knew no sin," He knew He would be made sin for us (2Co 5:21), and thus would have to die, be buried and then rise again. His baptism would symbolize this at the very beginning of his ministry."

Defender: Mat 3:16 - out of the water The wording here shows clearly that Jesus was immersed in the waters of the river, going up "out of the water," not out of the river.

The wording here shows clearly that Jesus was immersed in the waters of the river, going up "out of the water," not out of the river.

Defender: Mat 3:16 - like a dove The dove is only a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of course, but it was vital that the people should get some confirmation here at the start of Christ's p...

The dove is only a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of course, but it was vital that the people should get some confirmation here at the start of Christ's public ministry that John's promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit would surely be fulfilled. The voice from heaven would provide this assurance from God Himself."

Defender: Mat 3:17 - a voice from heaven With the Father's voice from heaven testifying of the Son, and the Spirit testifying through the dove, all three Persons of the Trinity are portrayed ...

With the Father's voice from heaven testifying of the Son, and the Spirit testifying through the dove, all three Persons of the Trinity are portrayed at Jesus' baptism.

Defender: Mat 3:17 - my beloved Son Jesus here is proclaimed as the Son of God for the benefit of the world in which He had come to dwell for a time. He did not become the Son at His bap...

Jesus here is proclaimed as the Son of God for the benefit of the world in which He had come to dwell for a time. He did not become the Son at His baptism, however, as some have assumed, for the Father had loved the Son "before the foundation of the world" (Joh 17:24). This heavenly testimony reflected that of Psa 2:7 : "the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son." Similarly, His anointing by the Spirit reflected the testimony of Isa 42:1 : "Behold my servant, whom I uphold...I have put my spirit upon him." He had eternally been the beloved Son, but had now come to be also the suffering Servant."

TSK: Mat 3:1 - those // John // preaching // the wilderness those : Luk 3:1, Luk 3:2 John : Mat 11:11, Mat 14:2-14, Mat 16:14, Mat 17:12, Mat 17:13, Mat 21:25-27, Mat 21:32; Mar 1:4, Mar 1:15, Mar 6:16-29; Luk ...

TSK: Mat 3:2 - Repent // for Repent : Mat 4:17, Mat 11:20, Mat 12:41, Mat 21:29-32; 1Ki 8:47; Job 42:6; Eze 18:30-32; Eze 33:11; Mar 1:4, Mar 1:15, Mar 6:12; Luk 13:3, Luk 13:5, L...

TSK: Mat 3:3 - by // Prepare by : Isa 40:3; Mar 1:3; Luk 3:3-6; Joh 1:23 Prepare : Isa 57:14, Isa 57:15; Mal 3:1; Luk 1:17, Luk 1:76

TSK: Mat 3:4 - his raiment // and his // wild his raiment : Mat 11:8; 2Ki 1:8; Zec 13:4; Mal 4:5; Mar 1:6; Luk 1:17; Rev 11:3 and his : Mat 11:18; Lev 11:22 wild : Deu 32:13; 1Sa 14:25-27

TSK: Mat 3:5 - -- Mat 4:25, Mat 11:7-12; Mar 1:5; Luk 3:7, Luk 16:16; Joh 3:23, Joh 5:35

TSK: Mat 3:6 - were // confessing were : Mat 3:11, Mat 3:13-16; Eze 36:25; Mar 1:8, Mar 1:9; Luk 3:16; Joh 1:25-28, Joh 1:31-33, Joh 3:23-25; Act 1:5, Act 2:38-41, Act 10:36-38, Act 11...

TSK: Mat 3:7 - the Pharisees // O generation // who // flee the Pharisees : Mat 5:20, Mat 12:24, Mat 15:12, Mat 16:6, Mat 16:11, Mat 16:12, Mat 22:15, Mat 22:23, Mat 22:34, 23:13-28; Mar 7:3-5, Mar 8:15, Mar 12...

TSK: Mat 3:8 - forth // fruits // meet forth : Mat 21:28-30,Mat 21:32; Isa 1:16, Isa 1:17; Luk 3:8, Luk 3:10-14; Act 26:20; Rom 2:4-7; 2Co 7:10,2Co 7:11; 2Pe 1:4-8 fruits : Gal 5:22, Gal 5:...

TSK: Mat 3:9 - think // We // God think : Mar 7:21; Luk 3:8, Luk 5:22, Luk 7:39, Luk 12:17 We : Eze 33:24; Luk 16:24; Joh 8:33, Joh 8:39, Joh 8:40,Joh 8:53; Act 13:26; Rom 4:1, Rom 4:1...

TSK: Mat 3:10 - now // the ax // therefore // is hewn now : Mal 3:1-3, Mal 4:1; Heb 3:1-3, Heb 10:28-31, Heb 12:25 the ax : Luk 3:9, Luk 23:31 therefore : Psa 1:3, Psa 92:13, Psa 92:14; Isa 61:3; Jer 17:8...

TSK: Mat 3:11 - baptize // but // whose // he shall baptize : Mat 3:6; Mar 1:4, Mar 1:8; Luk 3:3, Luk 3:16; Joh 1:26, Joh 1:33; Act 1:5, Act 11:16, Act 13:24, Act 19:4 but : Luk 1:17; Joh 1:15, Joh 1:26...

TSK: Mat 3:12 - fan // he will thoroughly // and gather // but // with fan : Isa 30:24, Isa 41:16; Jer 4:11, Jer 15:7, Jer 51:2; Luk 3:17 he will thoroughly : Mat 13:41, Mat 13:49, Mat 13:50; Mal 3:2, Mal 3:3, Mal 4:1; Jo...

TSK: Mat 3:13 - -- Mat 2:22; Mar 1:9; Luk 3:21

TSK: Mat 3:14 - John // I have John : Luk 1:43; Joh 13:6-8 I have : Joh 1:16, Joh 3:3-7; Act 1:5-8; Rom 3:23, Rom 3:25; Gal 3:22, Gal 3:27-29, Gal 4:6; Eph 2:3-5; Rev 7:9-17

TSK: Mat 3:15 - Suffer // for Suffer : Joh 13:7-9 for : Psa 40:7, Psa 40:8; Isa 42:21; Luk 1:6; Joh 4:34, Joh 8:29, Joh 13:15, Joh 15:10; Phi 2:7, Phi 2:8; Heb 7:26; 1Pe 2:21-24; 1...

TSK: Mat 3:16 - Jesus // lo // and he Jesus : Mar 1:10 lo : Eze 1:1; Luk 3:21; Act 7:56 and he : Isa 11:2, Isa 42:1, Isa 59:21, Isa 61:1; Luk 3:22; Joh 1:31-34, Joh 3:34; Col 1:18, Col 1:1...

TSK: Mat 3:17 - lo // This lo : Joh 5:37, Joh 12:28-30; Rev 14:2 This : Mat 12:18, Mat 17:5; Psa 2:7; Isa 42:1, Isa 42:21; Mar 1:11, Mar 9:7; Luk 3:22, Luk 9:35; Eph 1:6; Col 1:...

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Poole: Mat 3:1 - In those days // Came John the Baptist // Preaching // In the wilderness of Judea Mat 3:1-4 The preaching of John the Baptist; his office, and manner of living. Mat 3:5,6 He baptizeth in Jordan, Mat 3:7-12 and rebuketh the P...

Mat 3:1-4 The preaching of John the Baptist; his office, and

manner of living.

Mat 3:5,6 He baptizeth in Jordan,

Mat 3:7-12 and rebuketh the Pharisees.

Mat 3:13-17 Christ is baptized, and receiveth a witness from heaven.

That is, in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, (as Luke expounds it, Luk 3:1 ) when John the Baptist and Christ also were about thirty years of age, Luk 3:23 , for there was no great difference betwixt the age of Christ and John, as may be learned from Luk 1:31,41,57 .

In those days while Joseph and Mary, and our blessed Lord, dwelt in Nazareth. See Exo 2:11 . This phrase in those days is the same with in those years. It is an ordinary thing in the Hebrew to confound the words signifying a day and a year, and the Greeks did the same, as appears by the seventy interpreters, 1Sa 1:3,7 . The evangelists pass over with a great deal of silence our Saviour’ s minority, only mentioning his disputing with the doctors in the temple, Luk 2:46 .

Came John the Baptist John the son of Zacharias, Luk 3:2 , called the Baptist, either because he baptized Christ, or because by him God instituted the ordinance of baptism, which before that time the Jews used in the admission of their proselytes.

Preaching according to his commission, Luk 3:2 , where it is said the word of the Lord came to him.

In the wilderness of Judea some parts of Judea, where houses and inhabitants were very few. None must think that the history of the second chapter is continued in this, there was a distance of twenty-eight or twenty-nine years; the evangelist designing not to satisfy men’ s curiosity, but only to give us that part of Christ’ s story which might be profitable to us to know.

Poole: Mat 3:2 - For the kingdom of heaven is at hand The evangelist only gives us the sum and scope of the Baptist’ s doctrine, the other evangelists give us a more full account of his pressing al...

The evangelist only gives us the sum and scope of the Baptist’ s doctrine, the other evangelists give us a more full account of his pressing also faith in Christ, Joh 1:29 3:29,36 so Act 19:4 . Repentance, faith, and new obedience ought to be the substance and scope of all our sermons. Repentance signifieth the change of the heart and reformation of the life, a turning from sin unto God.

For the kingdom of heaven is at hand that blessed state of the church (foretold by the prophets) under the Messias, wherein God will exhibit his Son as the King in Zion, and exert his power and kingdom, both extensively, subduing all nations to the obedience of his gospel, and intensively, in all the administrations of his government; for the kingdom of heaven is not to be understood here of the kingdom of glory, but of the kingdom of grace, in all the administrations of it. This passage containeth the argument upon which the Baptist in his sermons pressed, repentance and faith, and obedience to the will of God revealed.

Poole: Mat 3:3 - Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight It is not much material whether we understand these words as the words of the evangelist concerning John, as it should seem by Mar 1:3 Luk 3:4 , or ...

It is not much material whether we understand these words as the words of the evangelist concerning John, as it should seem by Mar 1:3 Luk 3:4 , or the words of John himself, for he thus spake, Joh 1:23 . As the words of the prophet they are found Isa 40:3 . The words are judged literally, but typically, to concern Cyrus and Darius, and either these princes, who were instrumental in the restoring of the Jews to their liberty from the captivity of Babylon, or those prophets who encouraged them to their return, or upon their return to build the temple and city. But they are confirmed by all the four evangelists, Mar 1:3 Luk 3:4 Joh 1:23 , to have a special relation also to John the Baptist, who was to come more immediately before Christ, and with the fervency and in the spirit of Elias, Luk 1:17 , crying,

Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight As the harbingers of great princes are sent before them to call to persons to remove things out of the way which may hinder their free passage, so John was sent before this great King in Zion, now coming forth to show himself, and to set up his kingdom in the world; to cry fervently to all people, by a true and timely repentance, to cast off those sinful courses, and to reject those false opinions, of which they were possessed, the holding of and to which might hinder the progress of this spiritual kingdom.

Poole: Mat 3:4 - -- There are great and insignificant disputes about the habit and the diet of John the Baptist. The evangelists doubtless designed no more than to let ...

There are great and insignificant disputes about the habit and the diet of John the Baptist. The evangelists doubtless designed no more than to let us know, that John Baptist’ s habit was not of soft raiment, like those who are in princes’ houses, but a plain country habit, suited to the place in which he lived; and his diet plain, such as the country afforded. In vain therefore do some contend that John wore watered stuff, fine and splendid, as art in our days hath improved camel’ s hair; and others as vainly contend that he went in a camel’ s skin raw and undressed: but he was habited in a plain suit of camel’ s hair, such as ordinary persons of that country used, or else such a rough garment as is mentioned Zec 13:4 , used by the prophets. Elijah had much such a habit, 2Ki 1:8 . There is likewise a variety of opinions about these locusts which John did eat; the most probable is, that they were true locusts, for locusts might be eaten, Lev 11:22 . Nor is it to be thought that John did eat nothing else; all that is intended is, to let us know that John was a man not at all curious as to his meat or clothes, but was habited plainly, and fared ordinarily, as the men of that country fared; if there were any difference in his habit, it was to proportion himself to Elijah and the habit of prophets. In this the evangelist teacheth us what the ministers of the gospel should be and do. They should be men contemning the gaudery and delicacies of the world, and by their habit and diet, as well as other things, set an example of severity and gravity to others.

Poole: Mat 3:5 - -- The preacher being described, the evangelist proceedeth to tell us what auditors he had. The term all here twice repeated, is enough to let us kno...

The preacher being described, the evangelist proceedeth to tell us what auditors he had. The term all here twice repeated, is enough to let us know, that it is often in Scripture significative no further then many, for it cannot be imagined that every individual person in Jerusalem and the region about Jordan went to hear John the Baptist, but a great many did. It is not to be wondered that there went out such a concourse of people to hear John the Baptist,

1. If it be true, that from Ezra’ s time till now no prophet had appeared. Our Saviour speaking of John, What went ye out for to see? A prophet? Seems to hint that a prophet was a great rarity amongst them.

2. If we consider the severity of his life. Our Saviour saith he came neither eating nor drinking, that is, as other men.

3. If we consider the new doctrine he brought, and his fervency in the pressing it: he came to preach the Messias, whom the Jews had long expected; to tell them his kingdom was at hand.

4. Especially if we consider the new rite of baptizing, which he brought in. For admit their washing of proselytes in use before, yet he baptized Jews. He was sent to baptize with water, Joh 1:33 . So as from this time the institution of the sacrament of baptism must be dated, and he did baptize many.

Poole: Mat 3:6 - -- A great part of those who went out to hear John were baptized that is dipped, in Jordan; but from hence it will not follow that dipping is essen...

A great part of those who went out to hear John were baptized that is dipped, in Jordan; but from hence it will not follow that dipping is essential to baptism, the washing of the soul with the blood of Christ (the thing signified by baptism) being expressed by sprinkling or pouring water, as well as by dipping or being buried in water, Isa 44:3 Eze 36:25 Col 2:12 . Whether they confessed their sins, man by man, by word of mouth, or by submitting to the doctrine of the gospel declared their renunciation of the righteousness of the law, and their engagement to a holy life, is not expressed; but it is most certain, that a profession of faith and repentance was ordinarily required before the baptism of adult persons. It may be wondered that this new practice of John (if it were wholly new) made no more stir amongst the Jews. Either (as some think) baptism was in use before that time, as an appendix to circumcision, (though circumcision only be mentioned), or they had some notion that Christ, Elias, and that prophet, when they came, should baptize; for, Joh 1:25 , they asked John, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet. That which seemeth to me most probable is, that before that time there was a baptism in ordinary use amongst them after circumcising the child, beside the baptizing of proselytes. And as in the other sacrament Christ left out the typical part, and blessed the bread, used at last in that administration, and made use of that for the institution of the sacrament of the supper; so as to the ordinance of circumcision, he in the institution of that gospel ordinance left out circumcision, (which was typical also), and retained only the washing of the person with water, and so instituted the other sacrament of the New Testament. But yet there was so much new in the Baptist’ s practice, (for he did not baptize proselytes only, but Jews, nor did he use it as an appendix to circumcision preceding, but baptized adult Jews), that if the state of the Jewish church had not been declining, and their power of discipline very little, (if any), they would more than have sent to John to know by whose authority he baptized: but they were under the Roman power, and their ecclesiastical officers were more pragmatical than mischievous, God in the wisdom of his providence having so ordered it, that the change of worship should be at such a time brought in when it should be least potently opposed.

Poole: Mat 3:7 - He said unto them, O generation of vipers // Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? We shall often meet with the mention of these Pharisees and Sadducees; we will therefore inquire here a little more largely concerning them. There w...

We shall often meet with the mention of these Pharisees and Sadducees; we will therefore inquire here a little more largely concerning them. There were three more eminent religious sects among the Jews. The Essenes, of whom we read nothing in Holy writ: their main doctrine was fate, they ascribed all things to it. The two others are here mentioned, and often in other parts of the New Testament we read of the Pharisees and Sadducees: the latter were most acceptable to the great men amongst the Jews; the former were more popular, and acceptable to the people. The Sadducees were directly opposite to the Essenes; they ascribed nothing to fate, but maintained the liberty and power of man’ s will in the most extravagant height: they denied the immortality of the soul, the resurrection, angels, &c., all which the Pharisees owned: this we may learn from Act 23:8 where Paul wrought his own escape by setting these two factions on quarrelling about these points. In short, these were no better than atheists, for what must they be less that deny spirits and the resurrection? The Pharisees, as to their doctrine, were much more sober; they owned spirits and the resurrection; and though they held much of the freedom of, and a power in, man’ s will, yet they also ascribed much to the providence and grace of God. They were the interpreters of the law, and, as Mr. Calvin thinks, had their name from thence, not from their dividing and separating themselves from others, as some think. They spent much of their time in fasting and prayer; but,

1. They held a righteousness by the works of the law to be our righteousness for which we are accepted of God.

2. They made a very jejune interpretation of the law, as may appear from our Saviour’ s correcting it, Mat 5:17-48 .

3. They held many unwritten traditions of equal force with the law of God.

4. They were very hypocrites in their practice, neglecting the weighty things of the law, making long prayers for a pretence for their wickedness, and doing all they did but to be seen of men.

Some of these Sadducees and Pharisees came to John’ s baptism, and no wonder, for, Mar 6:20 : Herod observed him, heard him, did many things, and heard him gladly; but, Luk 7:30 , it is said the Pharisees were not baptized of him. It is like they came out of curiosity.

He said unto them, O generation of vipers the very language which Christ used to them, Mat 12:34 23:33 . The viper, to which he compares them, is the worst and most dangerous of serpents. We need give no account of the Baptist’ s treating them so roughly, because our Saviour justifieth the term by applying it to them. Corrupt teachers are the worst of men, and of all orders of sinners, fewest of them repent and have their hearts changed.

Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? What comes in your mind, who think there is no resurrection, no hell, or who think you are so righteous that you need fear none, to do any thing that might testify you are afraid of wrath to come?

Poole: Mat 3:8 - Fruits meet You come here and thrust yourselves into a crowd of penitents, but this is not enough, true repentance is not a barren thing; neither are your leave...

You come here and thrust yourselves into a crowd of penitents, but this is not enough, true repentance is not a barren thing; neither are your leaves of external profession a sufficient indication of it, you must bring forth the fruits of holiness, fruits that may answer the nature of true repentance. The proper products of habits are called their fruits; thus we read of the fruit of sin, and the fruit of righteousness .

Fruits meet (answerable to amendment of life)

for repentance are works that are the proper product of repentance, or justly answering an external profession of repentance. As faith, so repentance, without works is dead.

Poole: Mat 3:9 - -- All hypocrites bear up themselves upon something, upon which they promise good to themselves, and a freedom from the judgments of God. The Jews rest...

All hypocrites bear up themselves upon something, upon which they promise good to themselves, and a freedom from the judgments of God. The Jews rested much upon their descent from Abraham, as appeareth also from Joh 8:39 , by which means they entitled themselves to the covenant, Gen 8:10 , extended to his seed as well as to himself, as also to the name of the church, Abraham’ s posterity by Isaac being all the visible church which God had upon the earth at that time. It is the great work of ministers to drive hypocrites from their vain confidences. This John doth here; as if he should say, I know what you trust to, you think with yourselves that, because you are the only church of God upon the earth, judgment shall not come upon you, God would then have no seed of Abraham to show mercy to, and to keep his covenant with; but mistake not, God, of stones, if he please, can raise up Abraham a seed. To keep covenant with papists and formalists have much the same presumption, though with this difference, the Jews were the true, the only church of God, these do but arrogate the name to themselves.

Poole: Mat 3:10 - -- A prediction, as some think, of that dreadful destruction which within a few years came by the Romans upon the whole Jewish nation. The sense is, Th...

A prediction, as some think, of that dreadful destruction which within a few years came by the Romans upon the whole Jewish nation. The sense is, The vengeance of God is very near to be revealed, men must repent now or never, for

every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire judgment now is as nigh unto men, as the tree is to falling, to the root of which the axe is already applied: whether it be to be understood of the judgment common to all unbelievers, all that know not God, and obey not the gospel of Christ, as 2Th 1:8,9 , or the particular destruction of this nation of the Jews. I shall not determine, though I rather judge the latter probable. The latter part of the text is made use of by our Saviour, Mat 7:19 , in the latter part of his sermon upon the mount. It letteth us know, that it is not improper, nor dissonant to the style of John Baptist, and Christ, and others the most eminent first gospel preachers, to press repentance, faith, and holiness of life, from arguments of terror.

Poole: Mat 3:11 - With the Holy Ghost I am not the Christ, Mar 1:8 Luk 3:15,16 Joh 1:15,26 , I am but the messenger and forerunner of Christ, sent before him to baptize men with the bapt...

I am not the Christ, Mar 1:8 Luk 3:15,16 Joh 1:15,26 , I am but the messenger and forerunner of Christ, sent before him to baptize men with the baptism of water, in testimony of their repentance; but there is one immediately coming after me, who is infinitely to be preferred before me, so much, that I am not worthy to carry his shoes, or unloose his shoe latchet. He shall baptize men with another kind of baptism, the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire.

With the Holy Ghost inwardly washing away their sins with his blood, and sanctifying their hearts: the Holy Ghost working in their hearts like fire, purging out their lusts and corruptions, warming and inflaming their hearts with the sense of his love, and kindling in them all spiritual habits. Or, with the Holy Ghost, as in the days of Pentecost, there appearing to them cloven tongues like as of fire, as Act 2:3 : thus the term fire is made exegetical of the term the Holy Ghost. Or, with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; changing and renewing the hearts of those that believe in him, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, and consuming and destroying others, that will not believe, as with fire.

Poole: Mat 3:12 - thoroughly purge his floor // with unquenchable fire Judea is at present God’ s floor, the only church he hath upon the earth; but there is chaff upon this floor, as well as wheat. Now he is come ...

Judea is at present God’ s floor, the only church he hath upon the earth; but there is chaff upon this floor, as well as wheat. Now he is come who will make a separation between the chaff and the wheat; who by his preaching the gospel will distinguish between Israel and those that are of Israel, Rom 9:6 ; between those who, living in the true expectation of the Messias, shall receive him now he is come, and those who, by their not owning and receiving him, shall declare that they never had any true expectation of him: shall separate them into distinct heaps, raising up a gospel church, and shall at the last day make yet a stricter discrimination, and

thoroughly purge his floor taking true believers into heaven, and burning unbelievers

with unquenchable fire casting them into torments like unquenchable fire.

Poole: Mat 3:13 - -- Christ, who now was about thirty years of age, Luk 3:23 , cometh from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, where Joseph lived, Luk 2:4 , and whither he went...

Christ, who now was about thirty years of age, Luk 3:23 , cometh from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, where Joseph lived, Luk 2:4 , and whither he went with, Joseph and Mary, Luk 2:39 , and again after he had disputed with the doctors at twelve years of age, Luk 2:46 ; cometh from thence to Jordan, the great river, where John was baptizing disciples, offering himself to be baptized of him. He showed his humility by going to him, and also made the action public. If any ask to what end Christ, who had no sin, was baptized, himself gives us an account, Mat 3:15 , to fulfil all righteousness (of which more in its place). He thus owned John’ s ministry and mission to baptize, and confirmed the institution of baptism by water, and offered himself to that testimony which he knew his Father would give of him. He thus initiated himself in the Christian church, as by circumcision he had made himself of the Jewish church, and so was the Head both of the believing Jews and Gentiles. He was not (as others) baptized in testimony of his repentance, or for the remission of sins, for he was without sin.

Poole: Mat 3:14 - -- He did not absolutely repel him, but modestly excused himself for a time, knowing that Christ was already baptized with a more excellent baptism tha...

He did not absolutely repel him, but modestly excused himself for a time, knowing that Christ was already baptized with a more excellent baptism than he could administer to him, for God gave him the Spirit not by measure, Joh 3:34 .

Poole: Mat 3:15 - Jesus said unto him, Suffer it to be so now // Then he suffered him Jesus said unto him, Suffer it to be so now The question is not whether thou or I be more excellent. It is thy duty to baptize, for my Father hath se...

Jesus said unto him, Suffer it to be so now The question is not whether thou or I be more excellent. It is thy duty to baptize, for my Father hath sent thee to baptize. It is my pleasure and duty to be obedient to my Father, whose will I know, though it be hidden from thee. Baptism is a new law of the gospel church, of which though I be the Head, yet I must be conformed to the members of it, concerning which my Father’ s will is, that they should be baptized with water, as well as with the Holy Ghost. Besides that, I am to put an end to the Jewish typical circumcision, and to put a new face upon the church, by instituting another sacrament of initiation. It is therefore both just and equal that I should be baptized (though not for those ends for which others, that are my members, are baptized, not for remission of sins, but) for the fulfilling of all righteousness, in obeying my Father’ s will.

Then he suffered him: he that erreth through ignorance will correct his error upon better information. We may learn from this example of Christ, that being baptized with the Holy Ghost will excuse none for contempt or neglect of baptism by water, because it is the revealed will of God, that all the members of his church should come under that ordinance; so as there is a fulfilling of righteousness in our case, as well as in Christ’ s, though in a different measure.

Poole: Mat 3:16-17 - And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him // This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased Ver. 16,17. This story is also related Mar 1:10,11 Lu 3:21 . Luke saith that Jesus praying, the heaven was opened. Mark saith, cloven asunder. It i...

Ver. 16,17. This story is also related Mar 1:10,11 Lu 3:21 . Luke saith that Jesus praying, the heaven was opened. Mark saith, cloven asunder. It is most probable that the opening of the heavens mentioned (though possibly far more glorious) bare a proportion to that opening of the heavens which we often see in a time of great lightning, when the air seemeth to divide to make the fuller and clearer way for the light.

Unto him; that is, unto John.

And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him The Spirit of God is an invisible substance, and cannot be seen by human eyes, but the shape assumed by any person of the Trinity may be seen. Whether it was a real dove, or only the appearance of a dove, is little material for us to know. It was certainly one or the other; nor could any representation at this time be more fit, either to let the world know the dove like nature of Christ, Isa 42:2 , or what should be the temper of all those who receive the same Spirit, though by measure, and are by it taught to be innocent as doves. Not that Christ had not received the Spirit before, but that his receiving of it might be notified to others. This dove, or appearance of a dove, lighted upon Christ, thereby showing for whose sake this apparition was. Christ was not confirmed only to be the Son of God by this appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and lighting upon him, but also by a voice from the excellent glory, saith Peter, 2Pe 1:17 ; God forming a voice in the air which spake, saying,

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased The word signifieth, a dearly beloved Son. The same voice was repeated at Christ’ s transfiguration, Mat 17:5 . Peter from it concludes the certainty of the faith of the gospel, in the aforementioned text.

In whom I am well pleased: the word signifieth a special and singular complacency and satisfaction: I am pleased in his person, according to that, Pro 8:30 ; I am well pleased in his undertaking, in all that he shall do and suffer in the accomplishment of the redemption of man. We are made accepted in the Beloved, Eph 1:6 . This text (as is generally observed) is a clear proof of the trinity of persons or subsistences in the one Divine Being: here was the Father speaking from heaven, the Son baptized and come out of the water, the Holy Ghost descending in the form or shape of a dove.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:1 - John The Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,   [John The Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea.] Tha...

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,   

[John The Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea.] That John was born in Hebron, one may not unfitly conjecture by comparing Luk 1:39 with Jos 21:11; and that he was born about the feast of the Passover, namely, half a year before the nativity of our Saviour, Luk 1:36. So the conceptions and births of the Baptist and our Saviour ennobled the four famous tekuphas [revolutions] of the year: one being conceived at the summer solstice, the other at the winter; one born at the vernal equinox, the other at the autumnal.   

"John lived in the deserts, until he made himself known unto Israel," Luk 1:80. That is, if the pope's school may be interpreter, he led the life of a hermit. But,   

I. Be ashamed, O papist, to be so ignorant of the sense of the word wilderness; or desert; which in the common dialect sounds all one as if it had been said, "He lived in the country, not in the city; his education was more coarse and plain in the country, without the breeding of the university, or court at Jerusalem." An oblation for thanksgiving consists of five Jerusalem seahs, which were in value six seahs of the wilderness; that is, six country seahs.   

"A Jerusalem seah exceeds a seah of the wilderness by a sixth part."   

" The trees of the wilderness are those which are common, and not appropriate to one master": that is, trees in groves and common meadows.   

So 2Co 11:26; "in perils in the city, and in perils in the country."   

II. The wildernesses of the land of Canaan were not without towns and cities; nor was he presently to be called an Eremite who dwelt in the wilderness. The hill-country of Judea, John's native soil, is called by the Talmudists, The royal mountain; or hill; and by the Psalmist, The desert hill-country; Psa 75:6; and yet "in the royal mountain were a myriad of cities."   

III. David passed much of his youth in the wilderness, 1Sa 17:28; but yet, who will call him an eremite? In the like sense I conceive John living in the deserts, not only spending his time in leisure and contemplation, but employing himself in some work, or studies. For when I read, that the youth of our Saviour was taken up in the carpenter's trade, I scarcely believe his forerunner employed his youth in no calling at all.   

Beginning now the thirtieth year of his age, when, according to the custom of the priests, he ought to have come to the chief Sanhedrim to undergo their examination, and to be entered into the priesthood by them, "the word of God coming unto him," Luk 3:2; as it had done before to the prophets, he is diverted to another ministry.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:2 - Repent ye. // For the kingdom of heaven is at hand And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.   [Repent ye.] A doctrine most fit for the gospel, and most suitable to the...

And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.   

[Repent ye.] A doctrine most fit for the gospel, and most suitable to the time, and the word or the phrase as agreeable to the doctrine.   

I. A nation leavened with the error of the Pharisees, concerning justification by the works of the law, was necessarily to be called off to the contrary doctrine of repentance. No receiving of the gospel was otherwise to be expected.   

II. However the schools of the Pharisees had illy defined repentance, which we observe presently, yet they asserted that repentance itself was necessary to the reception of the Messias. Concerning this matter the Babylonian Gemarists do dispute: whom Kimchi also upon Isa 54:19 [This Scriptural Reference is in all versions online] cites, and determines the question: "From the words of our Rabbins (saith he) it is plain there arose a doubt among them concerning this matter, namely, whether Israel were to be redeemed with repentance or without repentance. And it sprang from this occasion, that some texts of Scripture seemed to go against them: such as those; 'He saw, and there was no man, and he wondered, that there was none to intercede; therefore, his own arm brought salvation.' And also, 'Not for your sake, O Israel, do I this.' And again, 'I will remember for them my old covenant,' etc. And these places, on the other hand, make for repentance: 'Thou shalt return to the Lord thy God, and shalt hearken to his voice.' And again; 'And thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, and shalt find him, if thou seekest him with all thy heart,' etc. But these may be reconciled after this manner; namely, that many of Israel shall repent, when they shall see the signs of redemption. And hence is that which is said, 'And he saw that there was no man,' because they will not repent until they see the beginning of redemption."   

"If Israel shall repent but one day, forthwith the Redeemer cometh" (Taanith).   

Therefore, it is very fitly argued by the Baptist, and by our Saviour after him, Mat 4:17; from the approach of the kingdom of heaven to repentance, since they themselves to whom this is preached do acknowledge that thus the kingdom of heaven, or the manifestation of the Messias, is to be brought in. For however the Gemarists who dispute of this were of a later age, yet for the most part they do but speak the sense of their fathers.   

III. The word repentance as it does very well express the sense of true repentance, so among the Jews it was necessary that it should be so expressed, among whom repentance, for the most part, was thought to consist in the confession of the mouth only.   

"Whosoever, out of error or presumption, shall transgress the precepts of the law, whether they be those that command or those that forbid, when he repents and returns from his sins, he is bound to make confession. Whosoever brings an offering for a sin, committed either out of ignorance or presumption, his sin is not expiated by the offering, until he makes an oral confession. Or whosoever is guilty of death, or of scourging by the Sanhedrim, his sin is not taken away by his death, or by his scourging, if he do not repent and make confession. And because the scape-goat is the expiation for all Israel, therefore the high priest makes confession over him for all Israel."   

It is worthy observing, that, when John urgeth those that came to his baptism to repent, it is said, that they were baptized, "confessing their sins": which was a sign of repentance highly requisite among the Jews, and necessary for those that were then brought in to the profession of the Gospel; that hereby they might openly profess that they renounced the doctrine of justification by the works of the law.   

It is worthy of observing also, that John said not, "Repent, and believe the gospel," which our Saviour did, Mat 4:17; (and yet John preached the gospel, Mar 1:1-2; Joh 1:7); for his office, chiefly, was to make Christ known, who when he should come was to be the great preacher of the gospel.   

Therefore the Baptist doth very properly urge repentance upon those that looked for the Messias; and the text of the Gospel used a very proper word to express true and lively repentance.   

[For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.] I. The kingdom of heaven; in Matthew, is the kingdom of God; for the most part, in the other evangelists. Compare these places:   

" The kingdom of heaven is at hand," Mat 4:17.

"The poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven;" Mat 5:3.

"The least in the kingdom of heaven;" Mat 11:11.

"The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven;" Mat 13:11.

"Little children, of such is the kingdom of heaven;" Mat 19:14.

" The kingdom of God is at hand," Mar 1:15.

"Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God;" Luk 6:20.

"The least in the kingdom of God;" Luk 7:28.

"The mysteries of the kingdom of God;" Luk 8:10.

"Little children, of such is the kingdom of God;" Mar 10:14.

And so we have it elsewhere very often, For Heaven is very usually, in the Jewish dialect, taken for God; Dan 4:23; Mat 21:25; Luk 15:21; Joh 3:27. And, in these and such-like speeches, scattered in the Talmudists: Death by the hand of heaven: The name of heaven is profaned: The worship of heaven: by the help of heaven; etc. "For they called God by the name of Heaven; because his habitation is in heaven" (Tishbi).   

The story of the Jews is related, groaning out under their persecution these words, O Heavens! that is, as the Gloss renders it, Ah! Jehovah!   

II. This manner of speech, the kingdom of heaven; is taken from Daniel, Dan 7:13-14; where, after the description of the four earthly and tyrannical monarchies, that is, the Babylonian, Mede-Persian, Grecian, and Syro-Grecian, and the destruction of them at last; the entrance and nature of the reign of Christ is described, as it is universal over the whole world, and eternal throughout all ages: "under whom the rule, and dominion, and authority of kingdoms under the whole heaven is given to the people of the saints of the Most High," Mat 3:27; that is, "Whereas, before, the rule had been in the hands of heathen kings, under the reign of Christ there should be Christian kings." Unto which that of the apostle hath respect, 1Co 6:2; "know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?"   

Truly I admire that the fulfilling of that vision and prophecy in Daniel should be lengthened out still into I know not what long and late expectation, not to receive its completion before Rome and antichrist shall fall; since the books of the Gospel afford us a commentary clearer than the sun, that that kingdom of heaven took its beginning immediately upon the preaching of the Gospel. When both the Baptist and Christ published the approach of the kingdom of heaven from their very first preaching; certainly, for any to think that the fulfilling of those things in Daniel did not then begin, for my part, I think it is to grope in the dark, either through wilfulness or ignorance.   

III. The kingdom of heaven implies, 1. The exhibition and manifestation of the Messias, Mat 12:28; "But if I, by the finger of God, cast out devils, the kingdom of God is come upon you": that is, 'Hence is the manifestation of the Messias.' See Joh 3:3; Joh 12:13; etc. 2. The resurrection of Christ; death, hell, Satan, being conquered: whence is a most evident manifestation that he is that 'eternal King,' etc.: see Mat 26:29; Rom 1:4. 3. His vengeance upon the Jewish nation, his most implacable enemies: this is another, and most eminent manifestation of him: see Mat 16:28; Mat 19:28. 4. His dominion by the sceptre of the gospel among the Gentiles, Mat 21:43. In this place which is before us it points out the exhibition and revelation of the Messias.   

IV. The phrase the kingdom of heaven very frequently occurs in the Jewish writers. We will produce some places; let the reader gather the sense of them:   

"R. Joshua Ben Korcha saith, In reciting the phylacteries, why is Hear, O Israel; [ul Deu_6:4; etc.] recited before that passage And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken [ul Deu_11:13], etc. To wit, that a man first take upon himself the kingdom of heaven; and then the yoke of the precept." So the Jerusalem Misna hath it; but the Babylonian thus: "That a man first take upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven; and then the yoke of the precept."   

"Rabh said to Rabbi Chaijah, We never saw Rabbi [Judah] taking upon himself the kingdom of heaven. Bar Pahti answered, At that time when he put his hands to his face, he took upon himself the kingdom of heaven." Where the Gloss speaks thus: "We saw not that he took upon himself the kingdom of heaven; for until the time came of reciting the phylacteries, he instructed his scholars; and when that time was come, I saw him not interposing any space."   

"Doth any ease nature? Let him wash his hands, put on his phylacteries, repeat them, and pray, and this is the kingdom of heaven fulfilled." "If thou shalt have explained Shaddai, and divided the letters of the kingdom of heaven; thou shalt make the shadow of death to be cool to thee"; that is, "If, in the repeating of that passage of the phylacteries [ul Deu_6:4], 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord,' etc., you shall pronounce the letters distinctly and deliberately, so that you shall have sounded out the names of God rightly, 'thou shalt make cool the shades of death.' " For the same Gloss had said, The repeating of that passage; 'Hear, O Israel,' etc., is the taking of the kingdom of heaven upon thee. But the repeating of that place, 'And it shall be, if thou shalt hearken,' etc. [ul Deu_19:13] is the taking of the yoke of the precept upon thee.   

"Rabban Gamaliel recited his phylacterical prayers on the very night of his nuptials. And when his scholars said unto him, 'Hast thou not taught us, O our master, that a bridegroom is freed from the reciting of his phylacteries the first night?' he answered, 'I will not hearken to you, nor will I lay aside the kingdom of heaven from me, no, not for an hour.' "   

"What is the yoke of the kingdom of heaven?" In like manner as they lay the yoke upon an ox, that he may be serviceable; and if he bear not the yoke, he becomes unprofitable: so it becomes a man first to take the yoke upon himself, and to serve in all things with it: but if he casts it off, he is unprofitable: as it is said, 'Serve the Lord in fear.' What means, 'in fear?' the same that is written, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' And this is the kingdom of heaven."   

"The scholars of Jochanan Ben Zaccai asked, Why a servant was to be bored through the ear, rather than through some other part of the body? He answered, When he heard with the ear those words from mount Sinai, 'Thou shalt have no other Lord before my face,' he broke the yoke of the kingdom of heaven from him, and took upon himself the yoke of flesh and blood."   

If by the kingdom of heaven; in these and other such-like places, which it would be too much to heap together, they mean the inward love and fear of God, which indeed they seem to do; so far they agree with our gospel sense, which asserts the inward and spiritual kingdom of Christ especially. And if the words of our Saviour, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you," Luk 17:21; be suited to this sense of the nation concerning the kingdom of heaven; there is nothing sounds hard or rough in them: for it is as much as if he had said "Do you think the kingdom of heaven shall come with some remarkable observation, or with much show? Your very schools teach that the kingdom of God is within a man."   

But, however they most ordinarily applied this manner of speech hither, yet they used it also for the exhibition and revelation of the Messiah in the like manner as the evangelical history doth. Hence are these expressions, and the like to them, in sacred writers: "The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God should come." "They thought that the kingdom of God should presently be manifested." "Josephus of Arimathea waited for the kingdom of God."   

And these words in the Chaldee paraphrast, "Say ye to the cities of Judah, The kingdom of your God is revealed," Isa 40:9; "They shall see the kingdom of their Messiah," Isa 53:11.   

The Baptist, therefore, by his preaching, stirs up the minds of his hearers to meet the coming of the Messiah, now presently to be manifested, with that repentance and preparation as is meet.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:4 - His food was locusts And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.   [His ...

And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.   

[His food was locusts.] He that by vow tieth himself from flesh, is forbidden the flesh of fish and of locusts. See the Babylonian Talmud ( Cholin) concerning locusts fit for food.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:5 - The region round about Jordan Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan.   [The region round about Jordan.] The word the r...

Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan.   

[The region round about Jordan.] The word the region round about; is used by the Jerusalem Gemara: "From Beth-horon to the sea is one region round about;" or, one circumjacent region. Perhaps, both in the Talmudist and in the evangelist, is one and the same thing with a coast; or a country along a coast; in Pliny: "The country (saith he) along the coast is Samaria": that is, the sea-coast, and the country further, lying along by that coast: which may be said also concerning the region round about Jordan. Strabo, concerning the plain bordering on Jordan, hath these words; "It is a place of a hundred furlongs, all well watered and full of dwellings."

Lightfoot: Mat 3:6 - And were baptized. // In Jordan iA few things concerning Baptism.    And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.   [And were baptized.] It is no un...

iA few things concerning Baptism.   

And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.   

[And were baptized.] It is no unfit or unprofitable question, whence it came to pass that there was so great a conflux of men to the Baptist, and so ready a reception of his baptism?   

I. The first reason is, Because the manifestation of the Messias was then expected, the weeks of Daniel being now spent to the last four years. Let us consult a little his text: --   

Dan 9:24. "Seventy weeks [of years] are decreed concerning thy people," etc. That is, four hundred and ninety years, from the first of Cyrus to the death of Christ. These years are divided into three parts, and they very unequal.   

1. Into seven weeks, or forty-nine years, from the giving of Cyrus' patent for the rebuilding Jerusalem, to the finishing the rebuilding of it by Nehemiah.   

2. Into sixty-two weeks, or four hundred thirty-four years, -- namely, from the finishing the building of the city to the beginning of the last week of the seventy. In which space of time, the times of the Persian empire (which remained after Nehemiah, if indeed there was any time now remaining), and the times of the Grecian empire, and of the Syro-Grecian, were all run out, and those times also, wherein the Romans ruled over the Jews.   

3. The holy text divides the last week, or the last seven years, into two equal parts, Mat 3:27; which I thus render; "And he shall strengthen, or confirm; the covenant with many in that one week: and the half of that week shall make the sacrifice and oblation to cease: or; in the half of that week he shall make to cease," etc. Not in the middle of that week, but in the latter half, that is, the latter three years and a half of the seven.   

First, seven weeks having been reckoned up before, and then sixty-two weeks, Mat 3:25; -- now there remained one only of the seventy; and in reference to that, in the middle of it the Messias shall begin his ministry; which being finished in three years and a half (the latter halved part of that week), "he shall make the sacrifice and oblation to cease," etc.   

The nation could not but know, could not but take great notice of, the times so exactly set out by the angel Gabriel. Since, therefore, the coming of the Messias was the great wish and desire of all, -- and since the time of his appearing was so clearly decreed by the angel that nothing could be more, -- and when the latter half of the last seven years, chiefly to be observed, was now, within a very little, come: -- it is no wonder if the people, hearing from this venerable preacher that the kingdom of heaven was now come, should be stirred up beyond measure to meet him, and should flock to him. For, as we observed before, "They thought that the kingdom of God would immediately be manifested," Luk 19:11.   

II. Another reason of it was this, -- the institution of baptism, for an evangelical sacrament, was first in the hand of the Baptist, who, "the word of the Lord coming to him," (Luk 3:2) went forth, backed with the same authority as the chiefest prophets had in times past. But yet the first use of baptism was not exhibited at that time. For baptism, very many centuries of years backwards, had been both known and received in most frequent use among the Jews, -- and for the very same end as it now obtains among Christians, -- namely, that by it proselytes might be admitted into the church; and hence it was called Baptism for proselytism; and was distinct from Baptism [or washing] from uncleanness. See the Babylonian Talmud in Jevamoth.   

I. I ascribe the first use of it, for this end, to the patriarch Jacob, when he chose into his family and church the young women of Sychem, and other heathens who then lived with him. "Jacob said to his family, and to all who were with him, Put away from you the strange gods, and be ye clean, and change your garments," etc. Gen 35:2. What that words means, and be ye clean; Aben Ezra does very well interpret to be the washing of the body; or baptism; which reason itself also persuades us to believe.   

II. All the nation of Israel do assert, as it were with one mouth, that all the nation of Israel were brought into the covenant, among other things, by baptism. "Israel (saith Maimonides, the great interpreter of the Jewish law) was admitted into the covenant by three things, -- namely, by circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice. Circumcision was in Egypt; as it is said, 'None uncircumcised shall eat of the passover.' Baptism was in the wilderness before the giving of the law; as it is said, 'Thou shalt sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their garments.' "   

III. They assert, that that infinite number of proselytes in the day of David and Solomon were admitted by baptism: "The Sanhedrims received not proselytes in the days of David and Solomon: not in the days of David, lest they should betake themselves to proselytism out of a fear of the kingdom of Israel: not in the days of Solomon, lest they might do the same by reason of the glory of the kingdom. And yet abundance of proselytes were made in the days of David and Solomon before private men; and the great Sanhedrim was full of care about this business: for they would not cast them out of the church, because they were baptized," etc.   

IV. "Whensoever any heathen will betake himself, and be joined to the covenant of Israel, and place himself under the wings of the divine Majesty, and take the yoke of the law upon him, voluntary circumcision, baptism, and oblation, are required: but if it be a woman, baptism and oblation."   

That was a common axiom No man is a proselyte until he be circumcised and baptized. It is disputed by the Babylonian Gemara, "A proselyte, that is circumcised and not baptized, what of him? R. Eliezer saith Behold, he is a proselyte: for so we find concerning our fathers, that they were circumcised, but not baptized. One is baptized, but not circumcised; what of him? R. Joshua saith, Behold, he is a proselyte: for so we find concerning the maidservants, who were baptized, but not circumcised. But the wise men say, Is he baptized, and not circumcised? Or, Is he circumcised, and not baptized? He is not a proselyte, until he be circumcised and baptized."   

But baptism was sufficient for women so far forth as this held good, " One baptizeth a heathen woman in the name of a woman, we can assert that for a deed rightly done." Where the Gloss is this; "To be baptized in the name of a woman, was to be baptized with the washing of a woman polluted; and not with the baptism to proselytism. But we may, nevertheless, assert her, who is so baptized, for a complete proselytess; because that baptism of washing for uncleanness serves for proselytism to her; for a heathen woman is not baptized [or washed] for uncleanness."   

V. They baptized also young children (for the most part with their parents). They baptize a little proselyte according to the judgment of the Sanhedrim; that is, as the Gloss renders it, "If he be deprived of his father, and his mother brings him to be made a proselyte, they baptize him [because none becomes a proselyte without circumcision and baptism] according to the judgment [or right] of the Sanhedrim; that is, that three men be present at the baptism, who are now instead of a father to him."   

And the Gemara a little after; If with a proselyte his sons and his daughters are made proselytes also, that which is done by their father redounds to their good. R. Joseph saith, When they grow into years, they may retract. Where the Gloss writes thus; "This is to be understood of little children, who are made proselytes together with their father."   

"A heathen woman, if she is made a proselytess, when she is now big with child, -- the child needs not baptism: for the baptism of his mother serves him for baptism." Otherwise, he were to be baptized.   

" If an Israelite take a Gentile child, or find a Gentile infant; and baptizeth him in the name of a proselyte, -- behold, he is a proselyte."   

We cannot also pass over that, which indeed is worthy to be remembered: "Any one's servant is to be circumcised, though he be unwilling; but any one's son is not to be circumcised, if he be unwilling. R. Jochanan inquired, Behold a little son; do you circumcise him by force? Yea, although he be as the son of Urcan. R. Hezekiah saith, Behold, a man finds an infant cast out, and he baptizeth him in the name of a servant: in the name of a freeman, do you also circumcise him in the name of a freeman."   

We have therefore alleged these things the more largely, not only that you may receive satisfaction concerning the people flocked, in so universal a concourse, to John's baptism (because baptism was no strange thing to the Jews); but that some other things may be observed hence, which afford some light to certain places of Scripture, and will help to clear some knotty questions about baptism.   

First, You see baptism inseparably joined to the circumcision of proselytes. There was, indeed, some little distance of time; for "they were not baptized till the pain of circumcision was healed, because water might be injurious to the wound." But certainly baptism ever followed. We acknowledge, indeed, that circumcision was plainly of divine institution; but by whom baptism, that was inseparable from it, was instituted, is doubtful. And yet it is worthy of observation, our Saviour rejected circumcision, and retained the appendix to it: and when all the Gentiles were now to be introduced into the true religion, he preferred this 'proselytical introductory' (pardon the expression) unto the sacrament of entrance into the gospel.   

One might observe the same almost in the eucharist. The lamb in the Passover was of divine institution, and so indeed was the bread. But whence was the wine? But yet, rejecting the lamb, Christ instituted the sacrament in the bread and wine.   

Secondly, Observing from these things which have been spoken, how very known and frequent the use of baptism was among the Jews, the reason appears very easy why the Sanhedrim, by their messengers, inquired not of John concerning the reason of baptism, but concerning the authority of the baptizer; not what baptism meant, but whence he had a license so to baptize, Joh 1:25.   

Thirdly, Hence also the reason appears why the New Testament doth not prescribe, by some more accurate rule, who the persons are to be baptized. The Anabaptists object, 'It is not commanded to baptize infants, -- therefore they are not to be baptized.' To whom I answer, 'It is not forbidden to baptize infants, -- therefore they are to be baptized.' And the reason is plain. For when Paedobaptism in the Jewish church was so known, usual, and frequent, in the admission of proselytes, that nothing almost was more known, usual, and frequent, --   

1. There was no need to strengthen it with any precept, when baptism was now passed into an evangelical sacrament. For Christ took baptism into his hands, and into evangelical use, as he found it; this only added, that he might promote it to a worthier end and a larger use. The whole nation knew well enough that little children used to be baptized: there was no need of a precept for that which had ever, by common use, prevailed. If a royal proclamation should now issue forth in these words, "Let every one resort, on the Lord's day, to the public assembly in the church"; certainly he would be mad, who, in times to come, should argue hence that prayers, sermons, singing of psalms, were not to be celebrated on the Lord's day in the public assemblies, because there is no mention of them in the proclamation. For the proclamation provided for the celebration of the Lord's day in the public assemblies in general: but there was no need to make mention of the particular kinds of the divine worship to be celebrated there, when they were always, and every where, well known and in daily use before the publishing of the proclamation, and when it was published. The case is the very same in baptism. Christ instituted it for an evangelical sacrament, whereby all should be admitted into the possession of the gospel, as heretofore it was used for admission into proselytism to the Jewish religion. The particulars belonging to it, -- as, the manner of baptizing, the age, the sex to be baptized, etc. -- had no need of a rule and definition; because these were, by the common use of them, sufficiently known even to mechanics and the most ignorant men.   

2. On the other hand, therefore, there was need of a plain and open prohibition that infants and little children should not be baptized, if our Saviour would not have had them baptized. For, since it was most common, in all ages foregoing, that little children should be baptized, if Christ had been minded to have that custom abolished, he would have openly forbidden it. Therefore his silence, and the silence of the Scripture in this matter, confirms Paedobaptism, and continueth it unto all ages.   

Fourthly, It is clear enough, by what hath been already said, in what sense that is to be taken in the New Testament which we sometimes meet with, -- namely, that the master of the family was baptized with his whole family, Act 16:15; uk Act_16:33; etc. Nor is it of any strength which the Anti-paedobaptists contend for, that it cannot be proved there were infants in those families; for the inquiry is not so proper, whether there were infants in those families, as it is concluded truly and deservedly, -- if there were, they had all been to be baptized. Nor do I believe this people, that flocked to John's baptism, were so forgetful of the manner and custom of the nation, that they brought not their little children also with them to be baptized.   

Some things are now to be spoken of the manner and form which John used.   

First, In some things he seems to have followed the manner whereby proselytes were baptized; in other things, not to have followed them. Concerning it the Talmudic Canons have these sayings: --   

I. They do not baptize a proselyte by night. Nor, indeed, "were the unclean to be washed but in the day-time." Maimonides adds, "They baptized not a proselyte on the sabbath, nor on a holy-day, nor by night."   

II. A proselyte hath need of three; that is, it is required, that three men, who are scholars of the wise men, be present at the baptism of a proselyte; who may take care that the business be rightly performed, and may briefly instruct the catechumen [the person to be baptized], and may judge of the matter itself. For the admission of a proselyte was reckoned no light matter; Proselytes are dangerous to Israel, like the itch; was an axiom. For they, either tenacious of their former customs, or ignorant of the law of Israel, have corrupted others with their example; or, being mingled with Israel, were the cause that the divine glory did rest the less upon them; because it resteth not on any but upon families of a nobler pedigree. These reasons the Glossers give. When, therefore, the admission of proselytes was of so great moment, they were not to be admitted but by the judicial consistory of three.   

III. They baptize a proselyte in such a confluence of waters as was fit for the washing of a menstruous woman. Of such a confluence of waters the lawyers have these words: "A man that hath the gonorrhea is cleansed nowhere but in a fountain: but a menstruous woman, as also all other unclean persons, were washed in some confluence of waters; in which so much water ought to be as may serve to wash the whole body at one dipping. Our wise men have esteemed this proportion to be a cubit square, and three cubits depth: and this measure contains forty seahs of water."   

When it is said, that "he that hath the gonorrhea is to wash in a spring [or a stream]; but a menstruous woman, and all other unclean persons, in some confluence of waters," -- it forbids not a menstruous woman, and other unclean persons, to wash in streams, where they might: but it permits, where they might not, to wash in some confluence of water; which was not lawful for a man that had the gonorrhea to do. The same is to be understood concerning the baptism of a proselyte, who was allowed to wash himself in streams: and was allowed also, where there were no streams, to wash in a confluence of waters.   

IV. When a proselyte was to be circumcised, they first asked him concerning the sincerity of his conversion to Judaism: whether he offered not himself to proselytism for the obtaining riches, for fear, or for love to some Israelite woman, etc. And when they saw that he came out of love of the law, they instructed him concerning the various articles of the law, of one God, of the evil of idolatry, of the reward of obedience, of the world to come, of the privileges of Israel, etc. All which, if he professed that he embraced them he is forthwith circumcised.   

"As soon as he grows whole of the wound of circumcision, they bring him to baptism; and being placed in the water, they again instruct him in some weightier and in some lighter commands of the law. Which being heard, he plunges himself, and comes up, and behold, he is as an Israelite in all things. The women place a woman in the waters up to the neck; and two disciples of the wise men, standing without, instruct her about some lighter precepts of the law and some weightier, while she, in the meantime, stands in the waters. And then she plungeth herself; and they, turning away their faces, go out, while she comes up out of the water."   

In the baptizing of a proselyte, this is not to be passed over, but let it be observed, namely, that others baptized him; and that he baptized himself; or dipped, or plunged himself in the waters. Now, what that plunging was, you may understand from those things which Maimonides speaks in Mikvaoth in the place before cited. " Every person baptized" [or dipped; whether he were washed from pollution, or baptized into proselytism], "must dip his whole body, now stripped and made naked, at one dipping. And wheresoever in the law washing of the body or garments is mentioned, it means nothing else than the washing of the whole body. For if any wash himself all over, except the very top of his little finger, he is still in his uncleanness. And if any hath much hair, he must wash all the hair of his head, for that also was reckoned for the body. But if any should enter into the water with their clothes on, yet their washing holds good; because the water would pass through their clothes, and their garments would not hinder it."   

And now, a little to compare the baptism of John with that proselytical baptism, and ours with both, these things are to be considered: --   

I. If you compare the washing of polluted persons, prescribed by the law, with the baptism of proselytes, -- both that and this imply uncleanness, however something different, that implies legal uncleanness, -- this, heathen, -- but both polluting. But a proselyte was baptized not only into the washing-off of that Gentile pollution, nor only thereby to be transplanted into the religion of the Jews; but that by the most accurate rite of translation that could possibly be, he might so pass into an Israelite, that, being married to an Israelite woman, he might produce a free and legitimate seed, and an undefiled offspring. Hence, servants that were taken into a family were baptized, -- and servants also that were to be made free: not so much because they were defiled with heathen uncleanness, as that, by that rite becoming Israelites in all respects; they might be more fit to match with Israelites, and their children be accounted as Israelites. And hence the sons of proselytes, in following generations, were circumcised indeed, but not baptized. They were circumcised, that they might take upon themselves the obligation of the law; but they needed not baptism, because they were already Israelites. From these things it is plain that there was some difference as to the end, between the Mosaical washings of unclean persons, and the baptism of proselytes; and some between the baptism of proselytes and John's baptism: not as though they concurred not in some parallel end; but because other ends were added over and above to this or that, or some ends were withdrawn.   

II. The baptism of proselytes was the bringing over of Gentiles into the Jewish religion; the baptism of John was the bringing over of Jews into another religion. And hence it is the more to be wondered at, that the people so readily flocked to him, when he introduced a baptism so different from the known proselytical baptism. The reason of which is to be fetched from hence, -- that at the coming of the Messias they thought, not without cause, that the state of things was plainly to be changed; and that, from the oracles of the prophets, who, with one mouth, described the times of the Messias for a new world. Hence was that received opinion, That God, at that time, would renew the world for a thousand years...And that also, that they used the world to come by a form of speech very common among them, for the times of the Messias; which we observe more largely elsewhere.   

III. The baptism of proselytes was an obligation to perform the law; that of John was an obligation to repentance. For although proselytical baptism admitted of some ends, -- and circumcision of others, -- yet a traditional and erroneous doctrine at that time had joined this to both, that the proselytes covenanted in both, and obliged himself to perform the law; to which that of the apostle relates, Gal 5:3; "I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law."   

But the baptism of John was a 'baptism of repentance'; Mar 1:4; which being undertaken, they who were baptized professed to renounce their own legal righteousness; and, on the contrary, acknowledged themselves to be obliged to repentance and faith in the Messias to come. How much the Pharisaical doctrine of justification differed from the evangelical, so much the obligation undertaken in the baptism of proselytes differed from the obligation undertaken in the baptism of John: which obligation also holds amongst Christians to the end of the world.   

IV. That the baptism of John was by plunging the body (after the same manner as the washing of unclean persons, and the baptism of proselytes was), seems to appear from those things which are related of him; namely, that he "baptized in Jordan"; that he baptized "in Aenon, because there was much water there"; and that Christ, being baptized, "came up out of the water": to which that seems to be parallel, Act 8:38; "Philip and the eunuch went down into the water," etc. Some complain, that this rite is not retained in the Christian church, as though it something derogated from the truth of baptism; or as though it were to be called an innovation, when the sprinkling of water is used instead of plunging. This is no place to dispute of these things. Let us return these three things only for a present answer: --   

1. That the notion of washing in John's baptism differs from ours, in that he baptized none who were not brought over from one religion, and that an irreligious one too, -- into another, and that a true one. But there is no place for this among us who are born Christians: the condition, therefore, being varied, the rite is not only lawfully, but deservedly, varied also. Our baptism argues defilement, indeed, and uncleanness; and demonstrates this doctrinally, -- that we, being polluted, have need of washing: but this is to be understood of our natural and sinful stain, to be washed away by the blood of Christ and the grace of God: with which stain, indeed, they were defiled who were baptized by John. But to denote this washing by a sacramental sign, the sprinkling of water is as sufficient as the dipping into water, -- when, in truth, this argues washing and purification as well as that. But those who were baptized by John were blemished with another stain, and that an outward one, and after a manner visible; that is, a polluted religion, -- namely, Judaism or heathenism; from which, if, according to the custom of the nation, they passed by a deeper and severer washing, -- they neither underwent it without reason; nor with any reason may it be laid upon us, whose condition is different from theirs.   

2. Since dipping was a rite used only in the Jewish nation and proper to it, it were something hard, if all nations should be subjected under it; but especially, when it is neither necessarily to be esteemed of the essence of baptism, and is moreover so harsh and dangerous, that, in regard of these things, it scarcely gave place to circumcision. We read that some, leavened with Judaism to the highest degree, yet wished that dipping in purification might be taken away, because it was accompanied with so much severity. "In the days of R. Joshua Ben Levi, some endeavoured to abolish this dipping, for the sake of the women of Galilee; because, by reason of the cold, they became barren. R. Joshua Ben Levi said unto them, Do ye go about to take away that which hedges in Israel from transgression?" Surely it is hard to lay this yoke upon the neck of all nations, which seemed too rough to the Jews themselves, and not to be borne by them, men too much given to such kind of severer rites. And if it be demanded of them who went about to take away that dipping, Would you have no purification at all by water? It is probable that they would have allowed of the sprinkling of water, which is less harsh, and not less agreeable to the thing itself.   

3. The following ages, with good reason, and by divine prescript, administered a baptism differing in a greater matter from the baptism of John; and therefore it was less to differ in a less matter. The application of water was necessarily of the essence of baptism; but the application of it in this or that manner speaks but a circumstance: the adding also of the word was of the nature of a sacrament; but the changing of the word into this or that form, would you not call this a circumstance also? And yet we read the form of baptism so changed, that you may observe it to have been threefold in the history of the New Testament.   

Secondly, In reference to the form of John's baptism [which thing we have propounded to consider in the second place], it is not at all to be doubted but he baptized "in the name of the Messias now ready to come": and it may be gathered from his words, and from his story. As yet he knew not that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messias; which he confesseth himself, Joh 1:31; yet he knew well enough, that the Messias was coming; therefore, he baptized those that came to him in his name, instructing them in the doctrine of the gospel, concerning faith in the Messias, and repentance; that they might be the readier to receive the Messias when he should manifest himself. Consider well Mal 3:1; Luk 1:17; Joh 1:7; Joh 1:31; etc. The apostles, baptizing the Jews, baptized them "in the name of Jesus"; because Jesus of Nazareth had now been revealed for the Messias; and that they did, when it had been before commanded them by Christ, "Baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." So you must understand that which is spoken, Joh 3:23; 4:2, concerning the disciples of Christ baptizing; namely, that they baptized in 'the name of Jesus,' that thence it might be known that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messias, in the name of whom, suddenly to come, John had baptized. That of St. Peter is plain, Act 2:38; "Be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ": and that, Act 8:16; "They were baptized in the name of Jesus."   

But the apostles baptized the Gentiles, according to the precept of our Lord, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," Mat 28:19. For since it was very much controverted among the Jews about the true Messias, and that unbelieving nation denied, stiffly and without ceasing, that Jesus of Nazareth was he (under which virulent spirit they labour even to this day), it was not without cause, yea, nor without necessity, that they baptized in the name of Jesus; that by that seal might be confirmed this most principal truth in the gospel, and that those that were baptized might profess it; that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messias. But among the Gentiles, the controversy was not concerning the true Messias, but concerning the true God: among them, therefore, it was needful that baptism should be conferred in the name of the true God, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."   

We suppose, therefore, that men, women, and children came to John's baptism, according to the manner of the nation in the reception of proselytes; namely, that they standing in Jordan were taught by John that they were baptized into the name of the Messias, that was now immediately to come; and into the profession of the doctrine of the gospel concerning faith and repentance; that they plunged themselves into the river, and so came out. And that which is said of them, that they were baptized by him "confessing their sins," is to be understood according to the tenour of the Baptist's preaching; not that they did this man by man, or by some auricular confession made to John, or by openly declaring some particular sins; but when the doctrine of John exhorted them to repentance and to faith in the Messias, they renounced and disowned the doctrine and opinion of justification by their works, wherewith they had been beforetime leavened, and acknowledged and confessed themselves sinners.   

[In Jordan.] John could not baptize in any part of Jordan, so it were within the bounds of Judea (which the evangelists assert), which had not been dried up, and had afforded a passage to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, and were now entering into the promised land.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:7 - And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees. // Generation of vipers. // To fly from the wrath to come But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee fr...

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?   

[And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees.] To attempt a history of the Pharisees and Sadducees; after so many very learned men, who have treated of their original, manners, and institutions, would be next to madness: we will briefly touch at a few things, and those, perhaps, less obvious.   

1. That the Pharisees do not derive their name (as some would have it) from the word which signifies to expound is sufficiently evinced by this, that there were women-Pharisees as well as men. "R. Joshua saith, A religious man foolish, a wicked man crafty, a woman-Pharisee; and the dashing of the Pharisees [against the stones], destroy the world." Those things are worthy observing, which are spoke by the Babylonian Gemarists on that clause, A woman-Pharisee. "The Rabbins teach. A praying [procax] maid, a gadding widow, and a boy whose months are not fulfilled, these corrupt the world. But R. Jochanan saith, We learn the shunning of sin from a maid, and the receiving of a reward from a widow. 'The shunning of sin from a maid'; for R. Jochanan heard a certain maid prostrate on her face thus praying; Eternal Lord, thou hast created Paradise, thou hast created hell also, thou hast created the righteous, and thou hast created the wicked: let it be thy good pleasure that I be not a scandal to men. 'The receiving of a reward from a widow'; for there was a certain widow, who, when there were synagogues nearer everywhere, she always resorted to the school of R. Jochanan to pray: to whom R. Jochanan said, O my daughter, are there not synagogues at hand round about you? But she answered, Will there not be a reward for my steps [or, for my journey hither]? For [the tradition] saith, These destroy the world, as Joanna, the daughter of Retib."   

...[O]ne Gloss [says] a maid given to prayer; or a maid of many prayers. By another it is rendered, a maid given to fasting: losing her virginity by fasting.   

A gadding widow they call her, "who always goes about from place to place to visit her neighbours"; they are the words of the Gloss. "And these corrupt the world, because they are no other but bawds and sorceresses, and yet they pretend sanctity."   

"Joanna the daughter of Retib [the Gloss also being witness] was a certain sorceress widow, who, when the time of any child's birth drew near, shut up the womb of the child-bearing woman with magic arts, that she could not be delivered. And when the poor woman had endured long and great torments, she would say, 'I will go and pray for you; perhaps my prayers will be heard': when she was gone, she would dissolve the enchantments, and presently the infant would be born. On a certain day as a hired man wrought in her house, she being gone to a woman's labour, he heard the charms tinkling in a pan; and, taking off the cover, the charms presently came out, and strait the infant is born; and hence it was known that she was a witch."   

I have therefore cited these passages, not only that it may be shown that there were women-Pharisees; and so that the name is not take from interpreting or expounding; but that it may be observed also what kind of women, for the most part, embrace Pharisaism; namely, widows and maids, under the veil of sanctity and devotion, hiding and practising all manner of wickedness. And so much we gain of the history of the Pharisees; while we are tracing the etymology of the word.   

II. That the Pharisees therefore were so called from the word signifying separation; is more commonly asserted, and more truly; and the thing itself, as well as the word, speaks it. So that by a word more known to us, you might rightly call the Pharisees, Separatists; but in what sense, has need of more narrow inquiry. The differences of the Jewish people are to be disposed here into diverse ranks: and, first, we will begin with the women.   

1. It were an infinite task to search particularly, how their canons indulged (shall I say?) or prescribed the woman a freedom from very many rites, in which a great part of the Jewish religion was placed. How numberless are the times that that occurs in the Talmudic pandect, " Women, servants, and children, are not bound to these things. Women, servants, and children, are not bound to recite their phylacteries, nor to wear them. The Passovers of women are at their own will." And, not to dwell upon things that are obvious, let this one serve instead of many: "A certain matron asked R. Eleazar, Why, when Aaron sinned in making the golden calf, the people are punished with a threefold death? He answered, Let not a woman be learned beyond her distaff. Hircanus his son said unto him, Because no answer is given her in one word out of the law, she will withdraw from us three hundred tenth cori yearly. To whom he replied, Let them rather go and be burnt, than the words of the law be delivered to women."   

From hence it appears that the women that embraced Pharisaism did it of their own free will and vow, not by command: which the men-Pharisees also did.   

2. Pass we from the women to the men; and, first, to the lowest degrees of men in the distinction relating to religion; namely, to them whom they ordinarily called illiterate; and the people of the earth; or the plebeians. Of them, thus the Gemara in Sotah newly cited: "One reads the Scriptures, and recites the Misna, and yet he waits not upon the scholars of the wise men; what of him? R. Eleazar said, This is one of the people of the earth. R. Samuel Bar Nachmani saith, Behold, this is an illiterate man. R. Jannai saith, 'Behold, this is a Cuthean.' R. Achabar saith, 'Behold, this is a magician.' " And a little after, "Who is the people of the earth?" R. Meith saith, 'He that recites not his phylacteries morning and evening with his prayers.' But the wise men say, 'He, whosoever he be, that lays not up his phylacteries.' Ben Azzai saith, 'He who hath not a fringe on his garment.' R. Jochanan Ben Joseph saith, 'He that instructs not his sons in the doctrine of the law.' Others say, 'He who, although he read the Scriptures, and repeats the traditions, yet attends not on the scholars of the wise men, this is, the people of the earth [or the plebeians]. Does he read the Scriptures, and not repeat the tradition? Behold, this man is illiterate.' " The Gloss upon the place speaks thus, " The people of the earth are they of whom there is suspicion of tenths and cleanness": that is, lest they tithe not rightly, nor take care aright concerning cleansings. And the illiterate person is " more vile than, or inferior to, the people of the earth." Compare that, Joh 7:49; "this people that knoweth not the law is cursed."   

The colleagues or associates; and scholars of the wise men; were opposed to these vulgar persons. Under the title of scholars of the wise men are comprehended all that were learned and studious: under the title of religious; as well learned as unlearned. There were some of the learned whom they commonly called colleagues of the Rabbins; who as yet were candidates, and not preferred to the public office of teaching or judging. The thing may be illustrated by one example: " Do the colleagues enter in to appoint the new moon?" R. Hoshaia said, When I was a colleague; R. Samuel Ben R. Isaac led me in to the appointment of the new moon, but I knew not whether I were of the number or no." And a little later; "Do the colleagues [or fellows] go in to intercalate the year? Let us learn this from the example of Rabban Gamaliel, who said, Let the seven seniors meet me in the chamber. But eight entered, 'Who came in hither,' saith he, 'without leave?' 'I,' answered Samuel the Little."   

In this sense the word a colleague; differs nothing from a scholar of a wise man; in that both signify a student and a learned man. But the word a colleague; hath a wider sense, denoting all such who have more professedly devoted themselves to religion, and have professed a more devout life and rule than the common people, whether they were learned or unlearned, whether of the sect of the Pharisees; or of the Sadducees; or some other. Hence you have mention of a religious Samaritan; and of a religious baker. And the phrase seems to be drawn from Psa 119:63; "I am a companion of all those that fear thee": They take upon them the habit of religion. See the Babylonian Talmud in Avodah Zarah in the Gloss. That distinction also is worthy of consideration, of The greater and the less religious.   

Yet the word seems sometimes to be appropriated to the Pharisees; as being men who, above all others, put on a splendidly cloaked religion, which appears enough from the history of the Gospel. So, perhaps, is that to be understood, The religious Galileans purify; that is, as the Gloss explains it, "They cleanse their wine and their oil for a drink-offering, if perhaps the Temple may be built in their days." Which, nevertheless, the Aruch citing, thus explains them, The religious eat their common food in cleanness. By which very thing the Gloss defines Pharisees; To the Pharisees; that is, to them that eat their common food in cleanness. Behold, how the word religious; and Pharisees; are convertible terms; and how this was the proper notion whereby a Pharisee was defined, "That he ate his common food in cleanness": that is, that he washed his hands when he ate.   

III. We must not think that Pharisaism arose altogether and at once, but it was long a-conceiving, and of not fixed form when it was brought forth. The same may, in a manner, be said of this, which is of the traditions: both these and that were the issue of many years. The traditionarians do refer the first conception of the Traditions to the times of Ezra. But how many centuries of years passed before the birth of this whole monster was full ripe? In like manner, the first seeds of Pharisaism were cast long before its birth; and being now brought forth, was a long time growing, before it came to maturity; if so be any can define what its maturity was.   

We observe presently, that the foundations of Sadduceeism were laid in the days of Ezra, before there were any Sadducees: in his days also, I suspect, the foundations of Pharisaism were laid long before there were any Pharisees. For, since the Pharisees were marked with that title because they separated themselves from other men, as more profane; and since, in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, it was the great care, and that a holy care too, to separate the seed of Israel from the heathen inhabitants of the land, to wit, the Samaritans, the Ashdodites, the Moabites, etc., not much after; some men, arrogating too much for themselves, took occasion hence of separating themselves from the men of the Israelitic seed, as too profane, and very unfit (alas!) for their communion. Which very thing we experience in our present Separatists. For when the Scripture commands Christians that they communicate not "with unbelievers, with those who are without," etc., that is, with heathens; some do hence make a pretence of withdrawing themselves from the assemblies of Christians: by what right, by what foundation, let themselves look to it.   

We shall not trace the time wherein the name of Pharisee first arose; this is done by learneder men: and therefore let it be enough to have observed that only. After once this pretence of religion was received, "that it was a pious matter to separate a man's self from the common people," superstition increased every day, which served for a stay and patronage to this sect and separation. For when they had espoused a religion so supercilious, that they commonly said, "Stand off, I am holier than thou" (which was also foretold by the prophet with an execration, Isa 65:5), and that they place the highest sanctimony in this, to withdraw themselves from the common people, as profane; it was certainly necessary to circumscribe, and to put themselves under a more austere rule and discipline, that they might retain the name and fame of religious person in other things besides that separation, that argued so much pride and arrogancy. Hence the troubles about tithings and washings arose, and increased age after age: hence sprang the frequent fasting and prayers, the cares of the phylacteries, fringes, and other matters without number: so that (a thing fatal to Separatists) this sect, at last, was crumbled into sects, and a Pharisee was, in a manner, the same to a Pharisee; that the people of the earth was to a Pharisee.   

Both Talmuds reckon seven sects of Pharisees; and so does the Aruch; which it will not be irksome to describe with their pencil, that the reader may see to what a degree of madness this sect was come, as well as to what a degree of hypocrisy. The Pharisees are seven:   

1. A Shechemite Pharisee. This [Pharisee] does as Shechem Where the Gloss is, "Who is circumcised, but not for the honour of God." He carrieth his precepts upon his shoulders; that is, as the Aruch explains it, "wood to make a booth [in the feast of Tabernacles], or something of that nature."   

2. A Pharisee struck or dashing. Who dasheth his feet. The Gloss is, "He who walketh in humility, the heel of one foot touching the great toe of the other: nor did he lift up his feet from the earth, so that his toes were dashed against the stones." The Aruch writes, "Who withdrew himself a great way off, that he might not press upon men in the ways, and dashed his feet against the stones." Strike me (or surround me), and yet I will perform the command.   

3. A Pharisee that lets out his blood. "He strikes out his blood against the walls." The Gloss is; "He shows himself such a one as if his eyes were hoodwinked, that he might not look upon a woman; and hereupon dashed his head against the walls, and let out his blood." The Aruch writes, "He so pressed up himself against the walls, that he might not touch those that passed by, that by the dashing he fetched blood of himself." -- "He performed one precept, and one duty, and struck out blood at each."   

4. A Pharisee of the mortar. The Aruch thus describes him; "He went in a loose coat, resembling a mortar with the mouth turned downwards. So he, with his loose garment, was straiter above and broader below." In the Jerusalem Talmud he is called "who saith, I withdraw whatsoever is mine and fulfil the command."   

5. " The Pharisee which saith, Let me know what my duty is, and I will do it." "I have done my duty, that the command may be performed according to it." The Aruch thus; "As though he should say, There is no man can show me wherein I have transgressed."   

6. A Pharisee of fear; such was Job.   

7. A Pharisee of love: Among all these, none is worthy to be loved but the Pharisee of love: as Abraham.   

Whether Pharisaism ran out into any of these sects in the days of the Baptist, we dispute not. Let it be granted, that the best and the most modest of that order came to his baptism: the best of the Pharisees certainly were the worst of men. And it is so much the more to be wondered at that these men should receive his baptism after that manner as they did; when it was highly contrary to the rule of the Pharisees to converse among the common people, of whom there was so great a concourse to John; and highly contrary to the doctrine of the Pharisees; so much as to dream of any righteousness, besides that which was of the works of the law, which the doctrine of John diametrically contradicted.   

The original of the Sadducees; learned men as well Jews as Christians, do, for the most part, refer to one Zadoc; a scholar of Antigonus Socheus; which Antigonus took the chief seat in the Sanhedrim after the death of Simeon the Just. Of him thus speaks the tract Avoth; "Antigonus of Socho received traditions of Simeon the Just. He said, Be not as servants, who wait upon their master for the sake of the reward; but be ye like servants who wait upon their master not for the sake of the reward: but let the fear of the Lord rule you."   

"This wise man (saith Rambam upon the place) had two scholars, Zadoc and Baithus; who, when they heard this from their master, said among themselves, when they were gone away. Our master in his exposition teacheth us that there is neither reward nor punishment, nor any expectation at all [for the future]: for they understood not what he meant: therefore, they mutually strengthened one another, and departed from the rule, and forsook the law: and some company adhered to both. The wise men, therefore, called them Sadducees and Baithusees." And a little after; "But in these countries, namely in Egypt, they call them Karaites; but Sadducees and Baithusees are their names among the wise men." See also the Avoth of R. Nathan.   

Yet that raiseth a scruple here: "At the conclusion of all prayers in the Temple they said, for ever. But when the heretics brake in and said, There was no age but one, it was appointed to be said, for ever and ever; or from age to age." Upon these words thus the Gloss; "In the first Temple they said only, 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever.' But when the heretics brake in and said there was no age but this, Ezra and his consistory appointed that it should be said, for ever and ever; or from age to age; to imply there is a double world [this, and one to come], to root out of the heart the opinion of those that deny the resurrection of the dead."   

Take notice, reader, that "there were some who denied the resurrection of the dead in the days of Ezra," when as yet Zadoc, the father of the Sadducees; was not born. After Ezra, and his great synagogue (which endured many a year after Ezra was dead), sat Simeon the Just, performing the office of the high-priest, for the space of forty years: and Antigonus Socheus, the master of Zadoc, succeeded him in the chair of the Sanhedrim. So that although the Sadducees, with good reason, do bear an ill report for denying the resurrection, and that was their principal heresy; yet that heresy was, when as yet there were no heretics, called by the name of Sadducees. To which, perhaps, those words do agree (which sufficiently taste of such a heresy), "Ye have said, It is in vain to serve God," etc., Mal 3:14.   

It is not, therefore, to be denied that the Sadducee-heretics were so named from Zadoc; but that the heresy of the Sadducees; concerning the resurrection, was older than that name, one may suppose not without reason; nor that that cursed doctrine first arose from the words of Antigonus, illy understood by Zadoc and Baithus, but was of an ancienter original, when as yet the prophets Zecharias, Malachi, and Ezra himself, were alive, if that Ezra were not the same with Malachi, as the Jews suppose. Therefore I do rather think that heresy sprang from the misunderstanding of the words of Ezekiel, Ezekiel_37; which some understanding according to the letter, and, together with it, seeing no resurrection, dreamt that there would be none afterward. And this doctrine increased, and exalted itself into a sect; when, at length, Zadoc and Baithus asserted that it was so determined out of the chair by their master Antigonus, the president of the Sanhedrim.   

When I fetch the rise of the Sadducees not much after the death of Simeon the Just, that does not unseasonably come into my mind, which is mentioned by the Talmudists, that the state of things became worse after his death. "All the days of Simeon the Just, the scape-goat had scarce come to the middle of the precipice of the mountain [whence he was cast down], but he was broken into pieces: but, when Simeon the Just was dead, he fled away [alive] into the desert, and was eaten by Saracens. While Simeon the Just lived, the lot of God [in the day of expiation] went forth always to the right hand: Simeon the Just being dead, it went forth sometimes to the right hand and sometimes to the left. All the days of Simeon the Just, the little scarlet tongue looked always white; but when Simeon the Just was dead, it sometimes looked white and sometimes red. All the days of Simeon the Just, the west light always burnt; but when he was dead, it sometimes burnt and sometimes went out. All the days of Simeon the Just, the fire upon the altar burnt clear and bright; and, after two pieces of wood laid on in the morning, they laid on nothing else the whole day: but when he was dead, the force of the fire languished in that manner that they were compelled to supply it all the day. All the days of Simeon the Just, a blessing was sent upon the two loaves and the show-bread, so that a portion came to every priest, to the quantity of an olive at least; and there were some others to whom something remained after they had eaten their fill: but when Simeon the Just was dead, that blessing was withdrawn, and so little remained to each, that those that were modest withdrew their hands, and those that were greedy still stretched them out."   

For more info on Pharisees and Sadducees see "Sketches of Jewish Social Life," chapter 13. Among the People, and with the Pharisees, chapter 14. The "Fraternity" of Pharisees and chapter 15. Relation of the Pharisees to the Sadducees and Essenes, and to the Gospel of Christ by Alfred Edersheim.  

[Generation of vipers.] I. Serpents,; Mat 23:33. Not so much "the seed of Abraham," which ye boast of, as "the seed of the serpent," "O, the Antichrist, the Opposer; 2Th 2:4. A nation and offspring diametrically opposite, and an enemy to that seed of the woman, and which was to bruise his heel."   

II. Hence, not without ground, it is concluded that that nation was rejected and given over to a reprobate sense, even before the coming of Christ. They were not only a generation; but an offspring of vipers, serpents sprung from serpents. Nor is it wonder that they were rejected by God, when they had long since rejected God, and God's word, by their traditions. See that Mat 13:13-15; 1Pe 2:10; "Ye were not a people."   

There was, indeed, a certain remnant among them to be gathered by Christ: and when that was gathered, the rest of the nation as delivered over to everlasting perdition. This is that remnant of the apostle, Rom 11:5; which then was, when he writ those things; which then as to be gathered, before the destruction of that nation.   

[To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, "lest I smite the earth with a curse," Malachi_4; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.   

The receiving of John's baptism signed and fenced those that received it from the ruin that was just coming. To this belongs that of St. Peter, Epistle 1, 1Pe 3:20-21; in that manner as Noah and his sons were by water delivered from the flood, "so also baptism now, the antitype of that type, saveth us" from the deluge of divine indignation, which in a short time is to overflow the Jewish nation. Think here, if those that came to baptism brought not their little ones with them to baptism: when, by the plain words of the Baptist, those that are baptized are said to "fly from the wrath to come?" that is, 'the wrath of God,' that was not long hence to destroy the nation by a most sad overthrow.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:9 - Think not to say And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children ...

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.   

[Think not to say.] A Jerusalem phrase, to be met with everywhere in the Talmud: To think a word; or to be of that opinion.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:10 - The axe is laid to the root And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fi...

And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.   

[The axe is laid to the root.] These words seem to be taken from Isa 5:23-24. The destruction of the nation was to proceed from the Romans, who had now a great while held them under the yoke. That axe, now laid to the root of the tree, shall certainly cut it down, if from this last dressing by the gospel it bears not fruit. In the Talmud, those words of Isaiah are applied to the destruction of the city; and thence it is argued, that the Messias should be born not much after the time of that destruction, because presently after the threatening of that ruin follows, "A Branch shall arise out of the stock of Jesse," Isa 11:1.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:11 - Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall bap...

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:   

[Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.] In Luke it is to unloose the latchet of his shoes; which comes to the same thing: both sound to the same import, as if he had said, 'Whose servant I am not worthy to be.'   

"A Canaanite servant is like a farm, in respect of buying: for he is bought with money, or with a writing, or by some service done as a pledge or pawn. And what is such a pawning in the buying of servants? Namely, that he looseth the shoe of him [who buys], or binds on his shoe, or carries to the bath such things as be necessary for him," etc. These things Maimonides produceth out of the Talmud, where these words are, "How is a servant bought by service? He looseneth the buyer's shoe; he carrieth such things after him as are necessary for the bath; he unclothes him; washes, anoints, rubs, dresses him; puts on his shoes, and lifts him up from the earth," etc. See also the Tosaphta.   

This, by the way, is to be noted, which the Gloss intimates, that all servants, of what heathen nation soever, bought by the Jews, were called 'Canaanite servants,' because it is said of Canaan, "Canaan a servant of servants."

Lightfoot: Mat 3:15 - Thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.   ...

And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.   

[Thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness.] That is, 'that we fulfil every thing that is just.' Now in the baptism of Christ there were these two just things especially: -- I. That this great priest, being initiated into his ministerial office, should answer the type of the admission of the Levitical priests, who were initiated by washing and anointing; so was he by baptism, and the Holy Ghost. II. When, by the institution of Christ, those that entered into the profession of the gospel were to be introduced by baptism, it was just, yea, necessary, that Christ, being to enter into the same profession, and to preach it too, should be admitted by baptism.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:16 - And Jesus being baptized And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God ...

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:   

[And Jesus being baptized.] I. That Christ conversed upon earth two-and-thirty years and a half (as many years as David lived at Jerusalem; compare 2Sa 5:5), is proved hence: -- 1. That he was baptized when he had now completed his twenty-ninth year, and had newly begun his thirtieth. That the words of Luke imply, He began to be about thirty years old. Which words, although they are applied by some Christians to I know not what large latitude, -- yet in the Jewish schools, and among that nation, they would not admit, certainly, of another sense than we produce. For there this axiom holds, The first day of the year is reckoned for that year. And, questionless, Luke speaks with the vulgar. For let it be supposed that the evangelist uttered these words in some Jewish school, "N. was baptized beginning to be about thirty years old": how could it be understood by them of the thirtieth complete (much less of the thirty-first, or thirty-second, as some wrest it)? When the words beginning to be about; do so harmoniously agree with the said axiom, as scarcely any thing can do more clearly. 2. That, from his baptism to his cross, he lived three years and a half. This is intimated by the angel Gabriel, Dan 9:27; "In the half of a week" (that is, in three years and a half) "he shall make the sacrifice and oblation to cease"; and it is confirmed from the computation in the evangelists, but especially in John, who clearly mentioneth four Passovers (Joh 2:13; Joh 5:1; Joh 6:4; and Joh 13:1) after his forty days' fast, and not a little time spent in Galilee.   

II. Therefore, we suppose Christ was baptized about the feast of Tabernacles, in the month Tisri, at which time we suppose him born; and that John was born about the feast of the Passover, and at that time began to baptize. For when Christ lived two-and-thirty years and a half, and died at the feast of the Passover, you must necessarily reduce his birth to the month Tisri, and about the time of the feast of Tabernacles: and when John the Baptist was elder than he by half a year, you must necessarily suppose him born about the feast of the Passover. But of these things we have said something already.

Lightfoot: Mat 3:17 - And behold, a voice from heaven And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.   [And behold, a voice from heaven.] Christ was ...

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.   

[And behold, a voice from heaven.] Christ was honoured with a threefold testimony, pronounced by a voice from heaven, according to his threefold office. See what we say at Mat 17:2.   

You find not a voice sent from heaven between the giving of the law and the baptism of Christ. What things the Jews relate of Bath Kol; they must pardon me if I esteem them, partly, for Jewish fables, -- partly, for devilish witchcrafts. They hold it for a tradition: "After the death of the last prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, the Holy Spirit departed from Israel [which was most true] but they used thenceforth the Bath Kol." "The Bath Kol was this: When a voice (or thunder) came out of heaven, another voice came out from it."   

But why, I pray, was prophecy withdrawn, if heavenly oracles were to be continued? Why, also, was Urim and Thummim taken away? Or rather, why was it not restored after the Babylonian captivity? For "Five things (say they) were wanting under the second Temple, which were under the first; namely, the fire from heaven, the ark, Urim and Thummim, the oil of anointing, and the Holy Spirit." It would certainly be a wonder, if God, taking away from his people his ordinary oracles, should bestow upon them a nobler oracle, or as noble; and that when the nation had degenerated, and were sunk into all kind of impiety, superstition, heresy. When the last prophets, Haggai and the rest, were dead, the Sadducean heresy, concerning the resurrection crept in, and the Pharisaical heresy also, weakening all Scripture, and making it of none effect by vain traditions. And shall I believe that God should so indulge his people, when they were guilty of so grievous apostasy, as to vouchsafe to talk familiarly with them from heaven, and to afford them oracles so sublime, so frequent, as the prophets themselves had not the like? If I may speak plainly what I think, I should reduce those numberless stories of the Bath Kol which occur everywhere under these two heads; namely, that very many are mere fables, invented for this purpose, that hence the worth of this or that Rabbin or story may be illustrated: the rest are mere magical and diabolical delusions.   

When I read these and such-like passages, that the Bath Kol in Jericho gave witness to Hillel, that he was worthy to have the Holy Ghost abide upon him; that the Bath Kol in Jabneh yielded the same testimony to Samuel the Little; that the Bath Kol again in Jabneh determined the controversies between the schools of Shammai and Hillel, for those of Hillel; and innumerable other stories of that kind, I cannot but either suspect these to be tales, or that these voices were framed by art magic for the honour of the Rabbins.   

It is remarkable what is related in the Jerusalem Talmud; R. Eliezer saith, They follow the hearing of Bath Kol. And a little after; "R. Jochanan, and R. Simeon Ben Lachish, desired to see the face of Samuel [the Babylonian Doctor]; Let us follow, say they, the hearing of Bath Kol. Travelling therefore, near a school, they heard a boy's voice reading [in 1Sa_25:1] And Samuel died. They observed this, and so it came to pass, for Samuel of Babylon was dead."   

"R. Jonah and R. Josah went to visit R. Acha lying sick: Let us follow, say they, the hearing of Bath Kol. They heard the voice of a certain woman speaking to her neighbour, 'The light is put out.' To whom she said, 'Let it not be put out, nor let the light of Israel be quenched.' "   

Behold! Reader, a people very well contented to be deceived with a new kind of Bath Kol. Compare these things with Virgil's lots; of which the Roman historians speak frequently. Not to be more tedious therefore in this matter, let two things only be observed: 1. That the nation, under the second Temple was given to magical arts beyond measure. And, 2. That it was given to an easiness of believing all manner of delusions beyond measure. And one may safely suspect, that those voices which they thought to be from heaven, and noted with the name of Bath Kol; were either formed by the devil in the air to deceive the people, or by magicians by devilish art to promote their own affairs. Hence the apostle Peter saith with good reason, that "the word of prophecy was surer than a voice from heaven"; 2Pe 1:19.   

The very same which I judge of the Bath Kol; is my opinion also of the frequent appearances of Elias, with which the leaves of the Talmud do every where abound; namely, that in very many places the stories are false, and, in the rest, the apparitions of him were diabolical. See the notes on Mat 17:10.

PBC: Mat 3:15 - -- On this occasion, we are given the manifested authentication of the principle of water baptism as it is authorized, directed, and taught by the Godhea...

On this occasion, we are given the manifested authentication of the principle of water baptism as it is authorized, directed, and taught by the Godhead. Don’t you believe that Jesus requested, submitted to, and received that baptism in His own name, and not only so, but also in the name of His Father, and in the name of the Holy Ghost? For when Jesus came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and lit upon Him, and the voice of God the Father in Heaven echoed through all the spacious galaxies of the heavens, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." {Mt 3:17} What an event that was! What a Saviour!

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PBC: Mat 3:16 - -- At this solemn occasion, the Spirit condescended within the sphere of His own sovereignty without being directed by any external source or force, as H...

At this solemn occasion, the Spirit condescended within the sphere of His own sovereignty without being directed by any external source or force, as He sanctioned the baptism of Jesus Christ, the very One Whom the Spirit had Himself Fathered in the Son’s humanity. Lu 1:35

See PBtop: THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT A Brief Study

PBC: Mat 3:17 - -- The Son does not do his own will, but the Will of the Father. The Son does not please himself Ro 15:3. The Son does always do the things that please t...

The Son does not do his own will, but the Will of the Father. The Son does not please himself Ro 15:3. The Son does always do the things that please the Father Joh 8:29. The Father is always pleased with the actions and executions of His Son Mt 3:17; 17:5. This is a shared line or link of harmony and unity in the issue of, or the name of sovereignty. Without doubt, the Holy Spirit has, is and does only those things that please the Son. So this link of harmony and unity is equally shared in the name of sovereignty within the Absolute Sovereignty of the Holy Trinity, and no single (or one person) in this Holy Trinity is separately functional independently. Yes, there is deity in the sovereignty of only the Holy Trinity as a unit of harmony- always.

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From PBtop: WILL, MIND, WAY, PLEASING of the HOLY TRINITY

Haydock: Mat 3:1 - In the desert "In those days," i.e. at the time of Jesus Christ, whose history this book contains. This expression does not always mean that what is going to be na...

"In those days," i.e. at the time of Jesus Christ, whose history this book contains. This expression does not always mean that what is going to be narrated, happened immediately after that which precedes. (Bible de Vence) ---

'Tis a way of speaking used by the Hebrews, even when there is no connection of time, as here are passed over 30 years of Christ's life. John the Baptist was so called from his baptizing the people in water. The Jews took this for some token of their Messias: for they said to him, (John i. 25,) why dost thou baptize if thou art not the Christ? ---

In the desert, not in the house of his Father Zacharias, as some pretend, but in a true wilderness, as appears by the circumstances of his food, apparel, &c. (Witham) ---

The Baptist was about 30 years of age. He, as well as our Lord, in conformity with the Jewish law, did not enter upon his public ministry before that age. (Haydock)

Haydock: Mat 3:2 - Do penance // The kingdom of heaven "Desert," in Greek eremos, hence hermit. St. John the Baptist is praised by St. John Chrysostom, as a perfect model, and the prince of an Eremitic...

"Desert," in Greek eremos, hence hermit. St. John the Baptist is praised by St. John Chrysostom, as a perfect model, and the prince of an Eremitical life. (Hom. i. in Mar. and hom. i. in J. Bap.) Several sectarists do not approve of what St. John Chrysostom advances in favour of an ascetic life, and doing penance for past sins. (Bristow) ---

Do penance. [1] Beza would have it translated repent. We retain the ancient expression, consecrated in a manner by the use of the Church; especially since a true conversion comprehends not only a change of mind, and a new life, but also a sorrow for past offences, accompanied with self-denials, and some severities of a penitential life. ---

The kingdom of heaven, which many times signifies the present condition of Christ's Church. (Witham) ---

In this and other places of holy writ, instead of "do penance," Protestants give "repent ye;" but general use has rendered Greek: metanoia, by pœnitentia, or penance; and in this text, not any kind of penance, or grief for sins committed, but that which is joined with a desire of appeasing Him who has been offended by sin; and this also by some external signs and works. For as many as heard this Greek: metanoeite, obeyed the voice, received from him the baptism of penance, confessed their sins, and it was said to them: Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, ver. 8. Therefore, all this was contained in the penance preached by the baptist. And here we must not omit, that while sectarists preach faith alone, both the baptist and Jesus Christ begin their ministry which practising and preaching penance. (Tirinus) ---

Pœnitentiam agite, Greek: metanoeite. Which word, according to the use of the Scriptures and the holy fathers, does not only signify repentance and amendment of life, but also punishing past sins by fasting, and such like penitential exercises. (Challoner)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Pœnitentiam agite. Greek: metanoeite. There is no need of translating in Latin, recipiscite, though more according to the etymology of the word. The judicious Mr. Bois, prebend. of Ely, in his book entitled, Veteris Interpretis cum Beza, &c. Collatio. Londini. an. 1655, commended by Walton in his Polyglot, declares he would not have this common translation of pœnitentiam agite changed: and brings these words of Melancthon, Let us not be ashamed of our mother tongue; the Church is our Mother, an so speaks the Church.

Haydock: Mat 3:3 - -- Isaias spoke these words of the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon; but this was a figure of the freedom of mankind through Jesus Christ. The Jews ...

Isaias spoke these words of the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon; but this was a figure of the freedom of mankind through Jesus Christ. The Jews expected Elias would come in person to prepare the ways of the Messias; but John the Baptist was raised up by God in the spirit and power of Elias, to precede the first coming of Jesus Christ, as Elias in person was to precede the second coming of this divine Saviour. (Bible de Vence)

Haydock: Mat 3:4 - His garment of camels' hair // Locusts His garment of camels' hair, [2] not wrought camlet as some would have it, but made of the skin of a camel, with the hair on it. Thus Elias (4 Kings,...

His garment of camels' hair, [2] not wrought camlet as some would have it, but made of the skin of a camel, with the hair on it. Thus Elias (4 Kings, i. 8,) is called an hairy man, with a leathern girdle about him. ---

Locusts, not sea-crabs, as others again expound it; but a sort of flies, or grasshoppers, frequent in hot countries. They are numbered among eatables. (Leviticus xi. 22) St. Jerome and others mention them as food of the common people, when dried with smoke and salt. Theophylactus, by the Greek word, understands the tops of trees or buds. (Witham)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

St. Hierom. [St. Jerome] lib. 2. con. Jovin. tom. 4. part. 2. p. 201. Orientales, et Libyæ populos . . . locustis vesci, moris est. Theophylactus by Greek: akrides, understands buds of trees.

Haydock: Mat 3:5 - -- So great was the celebrity of St. John's sanctity, so much did his mortified life, and powerful preaching, weigh upon the minds of the people, that al...

So great was the celebrity of St. John's sanctity, so much did his mortified life, and powerful preaching, weigh upon the minds of the people, that all wished to receive baptism at his hands. (Haydock)

Haydock: Mat 3:6 - Baptized // Confessing their sins Baptized. the word baptism signifies a washing, particularly when it is done by immersion, or by dipping, or plunging a thing under water, w...

Baptized. the word baptism signifies a washing, particularly when it is done by immersion, or by dipping, or plunging a thing under water, which was formerly the ordinary way of administering the sacrament of baptism. But the Church, which cannot change the least article of the Christian faith, is not so tied up in matters of discipline and ceremonies. Not only the Catholic Church, but also the pretended reformed churches, have altered this primitive custom in giving the sacrament of baptism, and now allow of baptism by pouring or sprinkling water on the person baptized; nay may of their ministers do it now-a-days, by filliping a wet finger and thumb over the child's head, or by shaking a wet finger or two over the child, which it is hard enough to call a baptizing in any sense. ---

Confessing their sins. [3] We bring not this as a proof for sacramental auricular confession; yet we may take notice, with Grotius, that it is a different thing for men to confess their sins, and to confess themselves sinners. And here is expressed a declaring of particular sins, (as also Acts xix. 18,) such as is recommended in the Protestant Prayer Book, in the visitation of the sick. (Witham) ---

As the baptism of John was an external profession of penance, to this it was mett to add an external or oral confession of sins; and the more so, because such as were baptized by John, sought of him also, as we read in St. Luke, instructions how they were to amend their lives; now it is naturally expected of whoever asks for similar advice, that he should expose the defects of his past life. It is thus patients act with their physicians. (Haydock)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

confitentes peccata sua. Greek: exomologoumenoi tas amartias auton.

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Haydock: Mat 3:7 - Pharisees and Sadducees // Brood of vipers // the wrath to come Pharisees and Sadducees. These are the names of two sects at that time among the Jews. There are different conjectures about the name of the Sadduc...

Pharisees and Sadducees. These are the names of two sects at that time among the Jews. There are different conjectures about the name of the Sadducees. This at least we find by the Gospels, and by the Acts of the Apostles, that they were a profane sort of men, that made a jest of the resurrection, and of the existence of spirits, and of the immortality of souls. To these the Pharisees were declared adversaries, as being a more religious sect, who pretended to be exact observers of the law, and also of a great many traditions, which they had, or pretended to have, from their forefathers. St. Epiphanius (hær. 16, p. 34,) derives their name from the Hebrew word Pharas, signifying separated, divided, or distinguished from others by a more holy way of living. So the proud Pharisee (Luke xviii.) said of himself, I am not like the rest of men, &c. ---

Brood of vipers. St. John the Baptist, and also our Saviour himself, (Matthew xxii. 33,) made use of this sharp reprehension to such as come to them full of hypocrisy. ---

the wrath to come: meaning punishments for the wicked after death. Or as some expound it, the destruction that was shortly to fall on the city of Jerusalem, on the temple, and the whole nation of the Jews. (Witham)

Haydock: Mat 3:8 - -- See note for ver. 2.

See note for ver. 2.

Haydock: Mat 3:9 - -- Do not, therefore, wantonly imagine, that the fear of destroying the posterity of this patriarch, and of annulling the promises which God had made to ...

Do not, therefore, wantonly imagine, that the fear of destroying the posterity of this patriarch, and of annulling the promises which God had made to him and to his seed, will hinder Him from punishing you. (Bible de Vence)

Haydock: Mat 3:10 - -- Without the least attention to its origin, or other advantages. Hence you must not rest your hopes of salvation on your birth alone, nor on the bapti...

Without the least attention to its origin, or other advantages. Hence you must not rest your hopes of salvation on your birth alone, nor on the baptism alone you receive at my hands. (Bible de Vence)

Haydock: Mat 3:11 - Whose shoes I am not worthy to carry // He shall baptize you in My baptism is only calculated to lead you to a penitential life, and not to give you true justice; but he who comes after me, is stronger than I, and ...

My baptism is only calculated to lead you to a penitential life, and not to give you true justice; but he who comes after me, is stronger than I, and whose shoes I am not worthy to carry: (it was customary with the attendant slave to carry a change of shoes for his master) he will baptize you in the Holy Ghost, and in the fire of his divine charity, which he will infuse into your hearts, to purify you from all your sins. (Bible de Vence) ---

Here St. John tacitly insinuates the divinity of Jesus Christ. He acknowledges his unworthiness, and it is this his humility that makes him the more acceptable to God, "I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me?" (Tirinus) ---

Whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. In St. Mark, (chap. i. 7.) and in St. Luke, (iii. 21.) we read, the latchet of whose shoes . . . I am not worthy to untie. The sense is the same, and St. John might use both these expression. His meaning is, that he was not worthy to do him the least, or the lowest service. ---

He shall baptize you in, or with the Holy Ghost, i.e. by his baptism, he will give you the remission of your sins, and the graces of the Holy Ghost, signified also by fire, which may allude to the coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, in the shape of fiery tongues. (Witham)

Haydock: Mat 3:12 - -- Address yourselves then to Him, and prevent, by a prompt and sincere conversion, that dreadful judgment which the just and severe Judge, whom I now an...

Address yourselves then to Him, and prevent, by a prompt and sincere conversion, that dreadful judgment which the just and severe Judge, whom I now announce to you, will most undoubtedly pass upon sinners, when he shall remove the chaff from the good grain, i.e. the bad from the good, calling the latter with him to his heavenly kingdom, and sending the former to burn in unquenchable fire. (Haydock)

Haydock: Mat 3:16 - He . . . went up // As a dove He . . . went up, &c. Christ was in the river when he was baptized. As soon as he went out, and was praying, says St. Luke, (iii. 21,) the heave...

He . . . went up, &c. Christ was in the river when he was baptized. As soon as he went out, and was praying, says St. Luke, (iii. 21,) the heavens were opened to him, or in favour of him; and he saw the Spirit of God descending: i.e. Christ himself saw the shape of the dove, which was also seen by the Baptist, as we find, John i. 33. And it was perhaps seen by all that were present. ---

As a dove, or like a dove in a bodily shape. The dove was an emblem of Christ's meekness and innocence. (Witham) ---

Calmet supposes that it was St. John that saw the Spirit of God descend thus upon Jesus Christ. The Greek text is favourable to this interpretation. But the Vulgate supposes it was Jesus Christ himself. St. John declares that he saw the Spirit; (John i. 32,) but this apparent disagreement is easily cleared, by supposing that both saw the shape of the dove, and also the surrounding crowd, and that they all heard the voice of the Father, as it was heard by the disciples in the transfiguration on Mount Thabor, (chap. xvii,) and by the crowd in the temple. John xii. (Tirinus)

Haydock: Mat 3:17 - -- This most solemn testimony of God the Father, relative to his own beloved Son, is repeated below in chap. xvii; and is of such great moment, that the ...

This most solemn testimony of God the Father, relative to his own beloved Son, is repeated below in chap. xvii; and is of such great moment, that the Holy Ghost would have it repeated not only by three evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, but also by St. Peter, as a fourth evangelist, 2nd epistle chap. i. (Tirinus) ---

In Greek, the emphatic article Greek: o uios mou o agapetos, strengthens the proof that Jesus Christ, upon whom the Spirit of God descended in the shape of a dove, was not the adoptive, but natural Son of God, born of Him before all ages, and should silence every blasphemous tongue and pen that can attempt to rob Jesus Christ of his divinity, and poor man of all hopes of salvation, through this God-man, Christ the Lord. But if it here be asked, why Jesus Christ, who was innocence itself, yes, and the very essence of sanctity, condescended so far as to be baptized with sinners, we answer, with the Holy Fathers, that it was, 1. to sanction the baptism and ministry of his precursor; 2. not to lose this opportunity of teaching humility, by placing himself among sinners, as if he had stood in need of the baptism of penance for the remission of sins; and lastly, with St. Ambrose, that it was to sanctify the waters, and to give to them the virtue of cleansing men from their sins by the laver of baptism. (Haydock)

Gill: Mat 3:1 - In those days came John the Baptist // in the wilderness of Judea In those days came John the Baptist,.... The Evangelist having given an account of the genealogy and birth of Christ; of the coming of the wise men fr...

In those days came John the Baptist,.... The Evangelist having given an account of the genealogy and birth of Christ; of the coming of the wise men from the east to him; of his preservation from Herod's bloody design against him, when all the infants at Bethlehem were slain; of the flight of Joseph with Mary and Jesus into Egypt, and of their return from thence, and settlement in Nazareth, where Christ continued till near the time of his baptism, and entrance on his public ministry; proceeds to give a brief relation of John, the harbinger and forerunner of Christ, and the administrator of baptism to him: and he describes him by his name John, in Hebrew יוחנן, "Jochanan", which signifies "gracious", or "the grace of the Lord", or "the Lord has given grace"; which agrees with him, both as a good man, on whom the Lord had bestowed much grace, and as a preacher, whose business it was to publish the grace of God in Christ, Luk 16:16. This name was given him by an angel before his conception, and by his parents at his birth, contrary to the mind of their relations and neighbours, Luk 1:13. He is called by some of the Jewish writers m, John the "high priest"; his father Zacharias was a priest of the course of Abia, and he might succeed him therein, and be the head of that course, and for that reason be called a "high" or "chief priest"; as we find such were called, who were the principal among the priests, as were those who were chosen into the sanhedrim, or were the heads of these courses; and therefore we read of many chief priests, Mat 2:4. From his being the first administrator of the ordinance of baptism, he is called John the Baptist; and this was a well known title and character of him. Josephus n calls him "John", who is surnamed ο βαπτιστης, "the Baptist"; and Ben Gorion having spoken of him, says o, this is that John who עשה טבילה, "made", instituted, or practised "baptism"; and which, by the way, shows that this was not in use among the Jews before, but that John was the first practiser this way. He is described by his work and office as a preacher, he "came" or "was preaching" the doctrines of repentance and baptism; he published and declared that the kingdom of the Messiah was at hand, that he would quickly be revealed; and exhorted the people to believe on him, which should come after him. The place where he preached is mentioned,

in the wilderness of Judea; not that he preached to trees and to the wild beasts of the desert; for the wilderness of Judea was an habitable place, and had in it many cities, towns, and villages, in which we must suppose John came preaching, at least to persons which came out from thence. There were in Joshua's time six cities in this wilderness, namely Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah, and Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi, Jos 15:61. Mention is made in the Talmud p of this wilderness of Judea, as distinct from the land of Israel, when the doctors say, that

"they do not bring up small cattle in the land of Israel, but they bring them up במדבר שביהודה, "in the wilderness which is in Judea".''

The Jews have an observation q of many things coming from the wilderness;

"the law, they say, came from the wilderness; the tabernacle from the wilderness; the sanhedrim from the wilderness; the priesthood from the wilderness; the office of the Levites from the wilderness; the kingdom from the wilderness; and all the good gifts which God gave to Israel were from the wilderness.''

So John came preaching here, and Christ was tempted here. The time of his appearance and preaching was in those days: not when Christ was newly born; or when the wise men paid their adoration to him; or when Herod slew the infants; or when he was just dead, and Archelaus reigned in his room; or when Christ first went to Nazareth; though it was whilst he dwelt there as a private person; but when John was about thirty years of age, and Christ was near unto it, Luk 3:23 an age in which ecclesiastical persons entered into service, Num 4:3. It was indeed, as Luke says, Luk 3:1 in the "fifteenth" year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar; Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea; and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee; and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea; and of the region of Trachonitis; and Lysanias, the tetrarch of Abilene; Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests.

Gill: Mat 3:2 - And saying, repent ye // for the kingdom of heaven is at hand And saying, repent ye,.... The doctrine which John preached was the doctrine of repentance; which may be understood either of amendment of life and ma...

And saying, repent ye,.... The doctrine which John preached was the doctrine of repentance; which may be understood either of amendment of life and manners; for the state of the Jews was then very corrupt, all sorts of men were grown very wicked; and though there was a generation among them, who were righteous in their own eyes, and needed no repentance; yet John calls upon them all, without any distinction, to repent; and hereby tacitly strikes at the doctrine of justification by works, which they had embraced, to which the doctrine of repentance is directly opposite: or rather, this is meant, as the word here used signifies, of a change of mind, and principles. The Jews had imbibed many bad notions. The Pharisees held the traditions of the elders, and the doctrine of justification by the works of the law; and the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead; and it was a prevailing opinion among them all, and seems to be what is particularly struck at by John, that the Messiah would be a temporal king, and set up an earthly kingdom in this world. Wherefore he exhorts them to change their minds, to relinquish this notion; assuring them, that though he would be a king, and would have a kingdom, which was near at hand, yet it would be a heavenly, and not an earthly one. Hence the manner in which John enforces his doctrine, or the reason and argument he uses to prevail upon them to regard it, is by saying,

for the kingdom of heaven is at hand: by which is meant not the kingdom of glory to be expected in another world; or the kingdom of grace, that is internal grace, which only believers are partakers of in this; but the kingdom of the Messiah, which was "at hand", just ready to appear, when he would be made manifest in Israel and enter upon his work and office: it is the Gospel dispensation which was about to take place, and is so called; because of the wise and orderly management of it under Christ, the king and head of his church by the ministration of the word, and administration of ordinances; whereby, as means, spiritual and internal grace would be communicated to many, in whose hearts it would reign and make them meet for the kingdom of glory; and because the whole economy of the Gospel, the doctrines and ordinances of it are from heaven. This phrase, "the kingdom of heaven" is often to be met with in Jewish writings; and sometimes it stands opposed to the "kingdom of the earth" r; by it is often meant the worship, service, fear, and love of God, and faith in him: thus in one of their books s having mentioned those words, "serve the Lord with fear": it is asked, what means this phrase, "with fear?" It is answered, the same as it is written, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"; and this is מלכות שמים "the kingdom of heaven". And elsewhere they t ask, "what is the kingdom of heaven?" To which is answered, "the Lord our God is one Lord". Yea, the Lord God himself is so called u, and sometimes the sanctuary; and sometimes they intend by it the times of the Messiah, as the Baptist here does; for so they paraphrase w those words,

"the time of the singing of birds, or of pruning, is come; the time for Israel to be redeemed is come; the time for the uncircumcision to be cut off is come; the time that the kingdom of the Cuthites (Samaritans or Heathens) shall be consumed is come; and the time של מלכות שמים שתגלה that "the kingdom of heaven shall be revealed" is come, as it is written, "and the Lord shall be king over all, the earth."''

Very pertinently does John make use of this argument to engage to repentance; since there cannot be a greater motive to it, whether it regard sorrow for sin, and confession of it, or a change of principles and practice, than the grace of God through Christ, which is exhibited in the Gospel dispensation: and very appropriately does he urge repentance previous to the kingdom of heaven; because without that there can be no true and cordial embracing or entering into the Gospel dispensation, or kingdom of heaven; that is, no real and hearty receiving the doctrines, and submitting to the ordinances of it. Nor ought the Jews above all people to object to John's method of preaching; since they make repentance absolutely necessary to the revelation of the Messiah and his kingdom, and redemption by him; for they say x in so many words, that

"if Israel do not repent, they will never be redeemed; but as soon as they repent, they will be redeemed; yea, if they repent but one day, immediately the son of David will come.''

Gill: Mat 3:3 - For this is he that was spoken of // the voice of one crying // prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight // repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand For this is he that was spoken of,.... These are not the words of the Baptist himself, as in Joh 1:23 but of the Evangelist, who cites and applies to ...

For this is he that was spoken of,.... These are not the words of the Baptist himself, as in Joh 1:23 but of the Evangelist, who cites and applies to John a passage in the Prophet Isaiah, Isa 40:3 and that very pertinently, since that "chapter" is a prophecy of the Messiah. The consolations spoken of in Isa 40:3, were to be in the days of the king Messiah, as a writer of note y among the Jews observes. The Messiah is more expressly prophesied of in Isa 40:9 as one that should appear to the joy of his people, and "come with a strong hand", vigorously prosecute his designs, faithfully perform his work, and then receive his reward; he is spoken of under the "character" of a "shepherd", who would tenderly discharge the several parts of his office as such, which character is frequently given to the Messiah in the Old Testament: now the person spoken of in Isa 40:3 was to be his harbinger to go before him, proclaim and make ready for his coming; and what is said of him agrees entirely with John the Baptist, as the character given of him,

the voice of one crying, Βοωντος, lowing like an ox; which expresses the austerity of the man, the roughness of his voice, the severity of his language; that he called aloud and spoke out, openly, publicly, and freely; and that he delivered himself in preaching with a great deal of zeal and fervency. The place where he preached was "in the wilderness", that is, of Judea, where he is said before, in Mat 3:1 to come preaching. The doctrine he preached was,

prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, which is best explained by what is said before, in Mat 3:2

repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The Lord whom ye have sought, the Messiah whom you have expected, is just coming, he will quickly appear; prepare to meet him by repentance, and receive him by faith, relinquish your former notions and principles, correct your errors, and amend your lives, remove all out of the way which may be offensive to him. The allusion is to a great personage being about to make his public appearance or entrance; when a harbinger goes before him, orders the way to be cleared, all impediments to be removed, and everything got ready for the reception of him.

Gill: Mat 3:4 - The same John had his raiment // the same // had his raiment of camel's hair // And a leathern girdle about his loins // And his meat was locusts and wild honey // And wild honey The same John had his raiment,.... The Evangelist goes on to describe this excellent person, the forerunner of our Lord, by his raiment; the same J...

The same John had his raiment,.... The Evangelist goes on to describe this excellent person, the forerunner of our Lord, by his raiment;

the same John of whom Isaiah prophesied, and who came preaching the doctrine in the place and manner before expressed,

had his raiment of camel's hair; not of camel's hair softened and dressed, which the Talmudists z call צמר גמלים "camel's wool"; of which wool of camels and of hares, the Jews say a the coats were made, with which God clothed Adam and Eve; and which being spun to a thread, and wove, and made a garment of, they call b חמילה, and we "camlet"; for this would have been too fine and soft for John to wear, which is denied of him, Mat 11:8 but either of a camel's skin with the hair on it, such was the "rough garment", or "garment of hair", the prophets used to wear, Zec 13:4 or of camels hair not softened but undressed; and so was very coarse and rough, and which was suitable to the austerity of his life, and the roughness of his ministry. And it is to be observed he appeared in the same dress as Elijah or Elias did, 2Ki 1:8 in whose spirit and power he came, and whose name he bore, Luk 1:17.

And a leathern girdle about his loins; and such an one also Elijah was girt with, 2Ki 1:8 and which added to the roughness of his garment, though it shows he was prepared and in a readiness to do the work he was sent about.

And his meat was locusts and wild honey; by the "locusts" some have thought are meant a sort of fish called "crabs", which John found upon the banks of Jordan, and lived upon; others, that a sort of wild fruit, or the tops of trees and plants he found in the wilderness and fed on, are designed; but the truth is, these were a sort of creatures "called locusts", and which by the ceremonial law were lawful to be eaten, see Lev 11:22. The Misnic doctors c describe such as are fit to be eaten after this manner;

"all that have four feet and four wings, and whose thighs and wings cover the greatest part of their body, and whose name is חגב "a locust."''

For it seems they must not only have these marks and signs, but must be so called, or by a word in any other language which answers to it, as the commentators d on this passage observe; and very frequently do these writers speak e of locusts that are clean, and may be eaten. Maimonides f reckons up "eight" sorts of them, which might be eaten according to the law. Besides, these were eaten by people of other nations, particularly the Ethiopians g, Parthians h, and Lybians i.

And wild honey: this was honey of bees, which were not kept at home, but such as were in the woods and fields; of this sort was that which Jonathan found, and eat of, 1Sa 14:25 now the honey of bees might be eaten, according to the Jewish laws k, though bees themselves might not.

Gill: Mat 3:5 - Then went out to him Jerusalem // all the region round about Jordan Then went out to him Jerusalem,.... The uncommon appearance of this person, the oddness of his dress, the austerity of his life, together with the awf...

Then went out to him Jerusalem,.... The uncommon appearance of this person, the oddness of his dress, the austerity of his life, together with the awfulness and importance of his doctrine, and the novelty of the ordinance of baptism he administered, and the Jews having had no prophet for some hundreds of years, and imagining he might be the Messiah, quickly drew large numbers of people to him. Some copies read "all Jerusalem": that is, the inhabitants of that city, a very large number of them; and "all Judea", a great number of people from all parts of that country. "All" is here put for "many". And

all the region round about Jordan; multitudes from thence, which seems to be the same country with that which is called "beyond Jordan", Mat 4:25 and is distinguished from Judea as here. The Septuagint in 2Ch 4:17 use the same phrase the Evangelist does here, and likewise in Gen 13:10.

Gill: Mat 3:6 - And were baptized of him // confessing their sins And were baptized of him,.... The place where they were baptized of him was, "in Jordan"; some copies read, "in the river Jordan", as in Mar 1:5. As t...

And were baptized of him,.... The place where they were baptized of him was, "in Jordan"; some copies read, "in the river Jordan", as in Mar 1:5. As to the name of this river, and the etymology of it, the Jews say l it was so called, שיורד מדן "because it descended" from Dan, i.e. Leshem Dan, or Pamias, which they say is a cave at the head of it. It was in John's time and long after a considerable river, a river to swim in; we m read that "Resh Lakish הוה סחי בירדנא was swimming in Jordan." And elsewhere n, that one day "R. Jochanan was swimming in Jordan." Also it was a river for boats and ships to pass in, so that it was a navigable river; hence we read o of עריבת הירדן "the boat of Jordan", and of ships in it, and of such and such things being forbidden to be carried over Jordan in a ship p; particularly,

"a man might not take the water of the sin offering, and the ashes of the sin offering, and carry them over Jordan in a ship.''

Pliny q, Pausanias r, Solinus s, and others, speak of it as a very considerable and delightful river; see Jos 3:15. The Christians of Christ's time are called by the Jews, in a way of contempt, apostates, that received the doctrine of baptism, and were טבולים בירדן "dipped in Jordan" t. The manner in which they were baptized by him was by immersion or plunging them in the water: this may be concluded from the signification of the word βαπτιζω where used, which in the primary sense of it signifies to dip or plunge; from the place in which they were baptized, "the river Jordan"; and from John's constant manner of baptizing elsewhere, who chose places for this purpose, where and because there was there much water; see Joh 1:28. The character of the persons baptized by him is this, they were such as were

confessing their sins. They were called to repentance by John's ministry, and had the grace of it bestowed upon them; being thoroughly convinced of sin, and truly sorry for it, they were ready to acknowledge and confess it to God and men; and such an abiding sense they had of it upon their minds, that they continued doing it: they were not only confessing their sins before baptism, which engaged John to administer it to them; since we find afterwards he refused to admit others, because of their want of repentance and fruits meet for it; but also whilst they were going into the water, and when they came up out of it, so full were they of a sense of sin, and so ready to own it. Even in baptism itself there is a tacit confession and acknowledgment of sin, for it represents the sufferings and death of Christ which were for sin, into which persons are baptized, and profess to be dead to sin thereby; and also the resurrection of Christ for justification from sin, which obliges the baptized person to walk in newness of life, see Rom 6:3 besides, in this ordinance believers are led to the blood of Christ, both for the cleansing and remission of their sins, which suppose filth and guilt, Act 22:16 and Act 2:38. Now this is the character given of the very first persons that were baptized by John, and ought surely to be attended to, by us; and as much care as possible should be taken, that none but such as have a true sense of sin, and are brought to an humble and hearty acknowledgment of it, be admitted to this ordinance.

Gill: Mat 3:7 - But when he saw many of the Pharisees // said unto them // O generation of vipers! // wrath to come But when he saw many of the Pharisees,.... This being the first place in which mention is made of the Pharisees and Sadducees, it may not be amiss to ...

But when he saw many of the Pharisees,.... This being the first place in which mention is made of the Pharisees and Sadducees, it may not be amiss to give some account of them once for all, and to begin with the Pharisees, and first with their name. Some derive this word from פרץ pharatz to "divide", to "make a breach", from whence Phares had his name Gen 38:29 so Jerom u, who observes, that

"the Pharisees, who separated themselves from the people as righteous persons, were called "divisi, the divided."''

And in w another place,

"because the Pharisees were "divided" from the Jews on account of some superfluous observations, they also took their name from their disagreement.''

Origen x seems to refer to this etymology of the word, when he says,

"the Pharisees, according to their name, were διηρημενοι τινες και στασιωδεις, certain divided and seditious persons.''

And true it is, that this sect often meddled with the affairs of the government, and were very ambitious of being concerned therein. Josephus y observes of queen Alexandra, that she governed others, and the Pharisees governed her; hence, though they were in great esteem with the people, they were rather dreaded than loved by the government. Others derive this name from פרש "Pharas" to "expand", or "stretch out"; either because they made broad their phylacteries, and enlarged the borders of their garments; or because they exposed themselves to public notice, did all they could to be seen of men, prayed in the corners of the streets, had a trumpet blown before them when they gave alms, chose the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, greetings in the markets, and to be called of men "Rabbi": all which to be sure are their just characters. Others derive it from the same word, as signifying to "explain" or "expound"; because it was one part of their work, and in which they excelled, to expound the law; but this cannot be the reason of their general name, because there were women Pharisees as well as men, who cannot be thought to be employed in that work. The more generally received opinion is, that this name is taken from the above word, as signifying to "separate"; because they separated themselves from the men and manners of the world, to the study of the law, and to a greater degree of holiness, at least in pretence, than other persons. They were strict observers of the traditions of the elders; are said, to hold both fate and free will; they owned the resurrection of the dead, and that there were angels and spirits, in which they differed from the Sadducees. Or rather they have their name from פרס, which signifies "a reward"; they being stiff defenders of the doctrine of rewards and punishments in a future state, which the Sadducees denied. The Talmudic writers z say, there were "seven" sorts of them, and if it would not be too tedious to the reader, I would give the names of them; and the rather, because some of them seem to tally with the complexion and conduct of the Pharisees mentioned in the scriptures. There were then,

1. פרוש שיכמי the "Shechemite Pharisee", who does as Shechem did; is circumcised, not on God's account, or for his glory, or because circumcision is a command of his, but for his own profit and advantage, and that he may get honour from men.

2. פרוש ניקפי "the dashing Pharisee"; who walks gently, the heel of one foot touching the great toe of the other; and scarce lifts up his feet from the earth, so that he dashes them against the stones, and would be thought hereby to be in deep meditation.

3. פרוש קיזאי the "Pharisee letting blood"; who makes as if he shut his eyes, that he may not look upon women, and so runs and dashes his head against the wall, till the blood gushes out, as though a vein was opened.

4. פרוש מדוכיא the "depressed Pharisee"; who went double, or bowed down, or as others render the phrase, "the mortar Pharisee"; either because he wore a garment like a mortar, with the mouth turned downwards; or a hat resembling such a vessel; so that he could not look upward, nor on either side, only downward, or right forward.

5. פרוש מה חובתי ואעשנה the Pharisee, that said, what is my duty and I will do it? the gloss upon it is, teach me what is my duty, and I will do it: Lo! this is his excellency, if he is not expert in the prohibitions and niceties of the commands, and comes to learn; or thus, what is more to be done and I have not done it? so that he shows himself, or would appear as if he had performed all.

6. פרוש יראה "the Pharisee of fear"; who does what he does from fear of punishment.

7. פרוש אהבה "the Pharisee of love"; who does what he does from love; which the gloss explains thus: for the love of the reward of the commandment, and not for the love of the commandment of his Creator; though they say of all these there is none to be beloved, but the Pharisee of love.

When this sect first began, and who was the first author of it, is not easy to say; it is certain there were great numbers of them in the times of John the Baptist, and of Christ, and for some time after. The Jews say a, that when the temple was destroyed the second time, the Pharisees increased in Israel.

Next let us consider the Sadducees, who they were, and from whence they sprung. These have their name not from צדיק "Saddik righteous" b, or צדק "Sedek righteousness", being self justitiaries; for though they were, yet this would not have distinguished them from the Pharisees, who were likewise such; but from צדוק Sadok or Saduk, a disciple of Antigonus, a man of Socho c. The occasion of this new sect was this; Antigonus, among the instructions he gave to his scholars, had this saying;

"be not as servants who serve their master for the sake of reward; but be ye as servants that serve their master not for the sake of reward, and let the fear of God be upon you.''

Which, when Sadok and a fellow scholar, whose name was Baithos, or Baithus, heard, not rightly understanding him, concluded that there was no future state of rewards and punishments; which notion they broached and had their followers, who from the one were called Sadducees, and sometimes from the other Baithuseans: these men held the Scriptures only, rejecting the traditions of the elders; they denied fate, and ascribed all to free will; they affirmed that there is no resurrection of the dead; that the soul dies with the body; that there is no future state after this life, and that there are neither angels nor spirits. Now when "John saw" or observed "many" of both these sects "come to his baptism"; not merely to see it administered, led thither by the novelty of the thing; but to submit to it, to which they might be induced by that very great character of a very holy good man, which John had got among the people; and they were desirous of being thought so too, and therefore desired to be baptized by him; but he knowing the men and their manners,

said unto them; addressed them in a very severe style, quite contrary to their expectation, and the opinion the people had of them,

O generation of vipers! It seems their parents before them were vipers, and they their offspring were like them, in hypocrisy and malice. The viper appears very beautiful outwardly, but is full of poison; it looks harmless and innocent, as if it neither could nor would do any hurt, its teeth being hid, but is a most deadly and hurtful creature: so these men, though they made specious pretences to religion and holiness, yet were full of the deadly poison of hypocrisy, malice, and error. A very disagreeable salutation this must be to men, who were desirous of being reckoned very religious, and who boasted of, and trusted in, their being the seed of Abraham; when they were the children of the devil, the seed of the old serpent, and the offspring of the worst of men, and in whom was verified the proverb, like father like son. John proceeds and asks, saying, "who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" who has suggested this to you? from whom have ye received this hint? who has pointed out the way to you to escape divine vengeance, or the ruin which will quickly come upon you? for by

wrath to come is not meant hell fire, everlasting destruction, from which baptism could not save them; but temporal calamity and destruction, the wrath which in a little time came upon that nation to the uttermost, for rejecting the Messiah, and the Gospel dispensation; from which they might have been saved, had they given credit to Jesus as the Messiah, though only with a bare assent; and had they entered into the kingdom of heaven, or Messiah, the Gospel dispensation, by receiving its doctrines, and submitting to its ordinances, though only externally.

Gill: Mat 3:8 - Bring forth therefore fruits // fruits meet for repentance Bring forth therefore fruits,.... That is, if you are truly penitent, if you have a proper sense of sin, and true repentance for it, do such works as ...

Bring forth therefore fruits,.... That is, if you are truly penitent, if you have a proper sense of sin, and true repentance for it, do such works as are suitable to it, and will show the genuineness of it; for

fruits meet for repentance are the same as "works meet for repentance", Act 26:20 and as a tree is known by its fruit, so repentance is known by good works; these are the fruits and effects of repentance, and which are proofs with men of the sincerity of it. Those which follow upon evangelical repentance are such as are mentioned in 2Co 7:11. Now let it be observed, that John insisted upon repentance, and a good conversation, attesting the truth of it as necessary prerequisites to the ordinance of baptism; and so Peter first urged repentance; and then proposed baptism, Act 2:38 from whence one should think it may be rationally and strongly concluded, that none but truly repenting sinners, and such who have given proofs that they are so, are to be admitted to this ordinance.

Gill: Mat 3:9 - And think not to say within yourselves // we have Abraham for our father // for I say unto you // that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham And think not to say within yourselves,.... John knew the sentiments of their minds, and the prevailing opinion they had given into, against which he ...

And think not to say within yourselves,.... John knew the sentiments of their minds, and the prevailing opinion they had given into, against which he cautions them; as, that because they were Abraham's seed, they were in a state of salvation, in the favour of God, and had a right to all privileges and ordinances: this they trusted in, and boasted of, and would often think of it within themselves, pleasing themselves with the thoughts of it, and speak of it to others;

we have Abraham for our father. The Baptist was aware how ready they would be to object this to him; and therefore prevents their plea from hence in favour of their admission to baptism, by assuring them, that this would have no weight with him, nor give them any right to the ordinance he administered: hence it appears that it is not a person's being born of believing parents that can entitle him to water baptism; or be a reason why it ought to be administered to him: if nothing more than this can be said in his favour, it is a plain case from hence, he ought to be debarred from it. The reason John gives why such a plea as this would be insufficient is,

for I say unto you; I assure you of it; you may depend on it as a certain truth,

that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. To "raise up children" is an Hebrew way of speaking, and the same with שם or להקים זרע to "raise up seed", or a "name" to another, Gen 38:8 and signifies to beget children for another, who are to be called by his name. Some by "the stones" understand the Gentiles, comparable to stones, both for the hardness of their hearts, and their idolatry in worshipping stocks and stones; of and among whom God was able to raise, and has raised up, a spiritual seed to Abraham; who are of the same faith with him, who walk in his steps, and whose father he is: but then it must be supposed, according to this sense, that there were some Gentiles present, since John calls them "these" stones, pointing to some persons or things, that were before him; wherefore I rather think that this phrase is to be taken literally, and that John pointed to some certain stones that were near him, within sight, and which lay upon the banks of Jordan, where he was baptizing; for what is it that the omnipotent God cannot do? He could as easily of stones make men, as make Adam out of the dust of the earth, and then make these men, in a spiritual sense, children of Abraham; that is, believers in Christ, and partakers of his "grace; for if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise", Gal 3:29. So that God stood in no need of these persons, nor had they any reason to boast of their natural descent from Abraham; since this in spiritual matters, and in things relating to the Gospel dispensation, would stand them in no stead, or be of any advantage to them.

Gill: Mat 3:10 - And now also the axe is laid // of the trees // Therefore every tree // flesh, which bringeth not forth good fruit // is hewn down and cast into the fire And now also the axe is laid,.... These words may be rendered, "for now also", and contain in them a reason why they might expect future wrath; why th...

And now also the axe is laid,.... These words may be rendered, "for now also", and contain in them a reason why they might expect future wrath; why they should bring forth good fruit; and why they should not trust to nor plead their descent from Abraham, because "the axe is now laid": by which is meant, not the Gospel which now began to be preached by John; though this was like an axe laid to the root of, and which cut down, their pride and vanity, their self-confidence and glorying in their righteousness, holiness, carnal wisdom, and fleshly privileges: but rather; the axe of God's judgment and vengeance is here designed, which, because of the certainty and near approach of it, is said to be "now laid"; and that not to some of the branches only, to lop them off, to take away from the Jews some particular privileges, but "to the root" of all their privileges, civil and ecclesiastical; even the covenant which God had made with that people as a nation, who was now about to write "Lo Ammi" upon them; so that henceforward they would have nothing to expect from their being the seed of Abraham, Israelites, or circumcised persons. The time was just at hand, when the Lord would take his "staff Beauty and cut it asunder, that he might break the covenant he had made with all the people", Zec 11:10 in a short time their civil polity and church state would be both at an end. The Romans, who were already among them and over them, would very quickly come upon them, and cut them off root and branch; and utterly destroy their temple, city, and nation: and this ruin and destruction was levelled not at a single tree, a single person, or family only, as Jesse's, or any others, but at the root

of the trees: of all the trees of the whole body of the people; for the covenant which was made with them all being broke, and which was their hedge and fence, they were all exposed to the wild boar of the forest.

Therefore every tree, every individual person, though one of Abraham's children, and made never such a fair show in the

flesh, which bringeth not forth good fruit; does not perform good works from a right principle, to a right end, such as are meet for repentance; particularly, does not believe in the Messiah now ready to be revealed, which is the main and principal work; and does not continue so doing, and thus believing,

is hewn down and cast into the fire. Temporal ruin and destruction shall come upon him; he shall not escape divine vengeance here, and shall be cast into everlasting burnings hereafter; which is quite contrary to a notion of theirs, that בזכותי דאברהם "by the merits of Abraham", the Israelites shall be delivered from the fire of hell d.

Gill: Mat 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water // I indeed baptize you // with water // unto repentance // but he that comes after me. // is mightier than I // whose shoes I am not worthy to bear // he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire I indeed baptize you with water,.... These words, at first view, look as if they were a continuation of John's discourse with the Pharisees and Sadduc...

I indeed baptize you with water,.... These words, at first view, look as if they were a continuation of John's discourse with the Pharisees and Sadducees, and as though he had baptized them; whereas by comparing them with what the other Evangelists relate, see Mar 1:5 they are spoken to the people, who, confessing their sins, had been baptized by him; to whom he gives an account of the ordinance of water baptism, of which he was the administrator, in what manner, and on what account he performed it:

I indeed baptize you; or, as Mark says, "I have baptized you"; I have authority from God so to do; my commission reaches thus far, and no farther; I can administer, and have administered the outward ordinance to you; but the inward grace and increase of it, together with the ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, I cannot confer. I can, and do baptize, upon a profession of repentance, and I can threaten impenitent sinners with divine vengeance; but I cannot bestow the grace of repentance on any, nor punish for impenitence, either here or hereafter; these things are out of my power, and belong to another person hereafter named: all that I do, and pretend to do, is to baptize

with water, or rather in water, as εν υδατι should be rendered. Our version seems to be calculated in favour of pouring, or sprinkling water upon, or application of it to the person baptized, in opposition to immersion in it; whereas the "preposition" is not instrumental, but local, and denotes the place, the river Jordan, and the element of water there, in which John was baptizing: and this he did

unto repentance, or "at", or upon "repentance": for so εις may be rendered, as it is in Mat 12:41 for the meaning is not that John baptized them, in order to bring them to repentance; since he required repentance and fruits meet for it, previous to baptism; but that he had baptized them upon the foot of their repentance; and so the learned Grotius observes, that the phrase may be very aptly explained thus: "I baptize you upon the `profession' of repentance which ye make." John gives a hint of the person whose forerunner he was, and of his superior excellency to him: he indeed first speaks of him as one behind him, not in nature or dignity, but in order of time as man;

but he that comes after me. John was born before Jesus, and began his ministry before he did; he was his harbinger; Jesus was now coming after him to Jordan from Galilee, to be baptized by him, and then enter on his public ministry: but though he came after him in this sense, he was not beneath, but above him in character; which he freely declares, saying,

is mightier than I; not only as he is the mighty God, and so infinitely mightier than he; but in his office and ministry, which was exercised with greater power and authority, and attended with mighty works and miracles, and was followed with the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. Not to mention the mighty work of redemption performed by him; the resurrection of his own body from the dead; and his exaltation in human nature, above all power, might, and dominion. The Baptist was so sensible of the inequality between them, and of his unworthiness to be mentioned with him, that he seems at a loss almost to express his distance from him; and therefore signifies it by his being unfit to perform one of the most servile offices to him,

whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; or as the other Evangelists relate it, "whose shoelatchet I am not worthy to unloose"; which amounts to the same sense, since shoes are unloosed in order to be taken from, or carried before, or after a person; which to do was the work of servants among the Jews. In the Talmud e it is asked,

"What is the manner of possessing of servants? or what is their service? He buckles his (master's) shoes; he "unlooses his shoes", and "carries them before him to the bath."''

Or, as is elsewhere f said,

"he unlooses his shoes, or carries after him his vessels (whatever he wants) to the bath; he unclothes him, he washes him, he anoints him, he rubs him, he clothes him, he buckles his shoes, and lifts him up.''

This was such a servile work, that it was thought too mean for a scholar or a disciple to do; for it is g said,

"all services which a servant does for his master, a disciple does for his master, חוץ מהתרת לו מנעל, "except unloosing his shoes".''

The gloss on it says, "he that sees it, will say, he is a "Canaanitish servant":''

for only a Canaanitish, not an Hebrew servant h, might be employed in, or obliged to such work; for it was reckoned not only, mean and servile, but even base and reproachful. It is one of their i canons;

"if thy brother is become poor, and is sold unto thee, thou shalt not make him do the work of a servant; that is, נגאי עבורת של, any reproachful work; such as to buckle his shoes, or unloose them, or carry his instruments (or necessaries) after him to the bath.''

Now John thought himself unworthy; it was too great an honour for him to do that for Christ, which was thought too mean for a disciple to do for a wise man, and too scandalous for an Hebrew servant to do for his master, to whom he was sold; which shows the great humility of John, and the high opinion he had of Christ. It has been controverted whether Christ wore shoes or not; Jerom affirmed that he did not: but it seems from hence that he did; nor were the Jews used to walk barefoot, but on certain occasions. The Baptist points at the peculiar work of this great person, in which he greatly exceeds anything done by him;

he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; referring, either to the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, to be bestowed on the disciples on the day of Pentecost, of which the cloven tongues, like as of fire, which appeared unto them, and sat upon them, were the symbols; which was an instance of the great power and grace of Christ, and of his exaltation at the Father's right hand. Or rather, this phrase is expressive of the awful judgments which should be inflicted by him on the Jewish nation; when he by his Spirit should "reprove" them for the sin of rejecting him; and when he should appear as a "refiner's fire", and as "fuller's soap"; when "the day of the Lord" should "burn as an oven"; when he should "purge the blood of Jerusalem", his own blood, and the blood of the Apostles and Prophets shed in it, "from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning"; the same with "the Holy Ghost and fire" here, or the fire of the Holy Ghost, or the holy Spirit of fire; and is the same with "the wrath to come", and with what is threatened in the context: the unfruitful trees shall be cut down, and cast into the fire", and the "chaff" shall be burnt with unquenchable fire". And as this sense best agrees with the context, it may the rather be thought to be genuine; since John is speaking not to the disciples of Christ, who were not yet called, and who only on the day of Pentecost were baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire, in the other sense of this phrase; but to the people of the Jews, some of whom had been baptized by him; and others were asking him questions, others gazing upon him, and wondering what manner of person he was; and multitudes of them continued obdurate and impenitent under his ministry, whom he threatens severely in the context. Add to all this, that the phrase of dipping or baptizing in fire seems to be used in this sense by the Jewish writers. In the Talmud k one puts the question, In what does he (God,) dip? You will say in water, as it is written, "who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand?" Another replies, בנורא טביל, "he dips in fire"; as it is written, "for behold the Lord will come with fire". What is the meaning of טבילותא בנורא, "baptism in fire?" He answers, according to the mind of Rabbah, the root of "dipping in the fire", is what is written; "all that abideth not the fire, ye shall make go" through the water. Dipping in the fire of the law, is a phrase used by the Jews l. The phrases of "dipping, and washing in fire", are also used by Greek m authors.

Gill: Mat 3:12 - Whose fan is in his hand Whose fan is in his hand,.... The Jews had their hand fans, and which were like a man's hand; their names were מגוב מעבר מורה; which, as M...

Whose fan is in his hand,.... The Jews had their hand fans, and which were like a man's hand; their names were מגוב מעבר מורה; which, as Maimonides says n, were three sorts of instruments used in the floor, in form of a man's hand; with which they cleansed the wheat and barley from the straw; and their names differ according to their form: some have many teeth, and with them they cleanse the wheat at the end of the work; and there are others that have few teeth, no more than three, and with these they purge the wheat at first, from the thick straw. By the "fan", here is meant, either the Gospel which Christ was just ready to publish; by which he would effectually call his chosen people among the Jews, and so distinguish and separate them from others, as well as purify and cleanse them, or rather the awful judgment of God, which Christ was ready to execute, and in a short time would execute on the unbelieving and impenitent Jews: hence it is said to be "in his hand"; being put there by his Father, who "hath committed all judgment to the Son". That this is the meaning of the "Baptist", seems evident, since "fanning" is always, when figuratively taken, used for judgments, Isa 41:16. By "his floor", is meant the land of Israel, where he was born, brought up, and lived; of which the Lord says, "O my threshing, and the corn of my floor!" Isa 21:10. This, he says, "he will thoroughly purge" of all his refuse and chaff, that is, by fanning: so fanning and cleansing, or purging, are joined together, Jer 4:11 so ברר is used for purging by fanning, in the Misnic writings o. By "his wheat", are meant his elect among the Jews, the chosen of God and precious; so called because of their excellency, purity, usefulness, solidity, and constancy: these he "will gather into his garner"; meaning either some place of protection, where he would direct his people to for safety from that wrath, ruin, and destruction; which should fall upon the Jewish nation; or else the kingdom of heaven, into which he would bring them, by taking them out of the world from the evil to come. By "the chaff", are meant wicked and ungodly persons, such as are destitute of the grace of God, whether professors, or profane; being empty, barren, and unfruitful; and so good for nothing but the fire, which therefore "he will burn with unquenchable fire", of divine wrath and vengeance: an allusion to a custom among the Jews, who, when they purified the increase of their unclean fields, gathered it together in an "area" or floor, in the midst of them, and then sifted it with sieves; one sort with two sieves, another with three, that they might thoroughly purge it, and burnt the chaff and stalks p; see Isa 5:24.

Gill: Mat 3:13 - Then cometh Jesus // then cometh Jesus from Galilee // to be baptized of him Then cometh Jesus,.... That is, when John had been some time preaching the doctrine of repentance, and administering the ordinance of baptism; for whi...

Then cometh Jesus,.... That is, when John had been some time preaching the doctrine of repentance, and administering the ordinance of baptism; for which, time must be allowed, since he went into all the country about Jordan, and preached unto them, and baptized such large numbers: very probably it might be six months from his first entrance on his ministry; since there was this difference in their age, and so might be in their baptism and preaching. Now when John had given notice of the Messiah's coming, and so had prepared his way; had declared the excellency of his person, the nature of his work, and office, and had raised in the people an expectation of him,

then cometh Jesus from Galilee; from Nazareth of Galilee, Mar 1:9 where he had lived for many years, as the Jews q themselves own; in great obscurity, in all obedience to God, in subjection to his parents, exercising a conscience void of offence towards God and man, and employing his time in devotion and business: from hence he came to Jordan to John, who was baptizing there; which shows the great humility of Christ, who comes to John, and does not send for him, though John was his servant, and he was his Lord and Master; and also his cheerful and voluntary subjection to the ordinance of baptism, since of himself, of his own accord, he took this long and fatiguing journey; for Nazareth, according to David de Pomis r, was three days journey from Jerusalem, though somewhat nearer Jordan; the end and design of his coming was

to be baptized of him. It may reasonably be inquired what should be Christ's view in desiring to be baptized; it could not be to take away original or actual sin, since he had neither; nor has baptism any such efficacy to do this, in those who have either or both: but, it was to show his approbation of John's baptism, and to bear a testimony of it, that it was from heaven; and also that he himself might receive a testimony both from heaven, and from John, that he was the Son of God and true Messiah, before he entered upon his public ministry, into which he was in some measure initiated and installed hereby; and moreover, to set an example to his followers, and thereby engage their attention and subjection to this ordinance; and, in a word, as he himself says, to fulfil all righteousness.

Gill: Mat 3:14 - But John forbad him, saying // I have need to be baptized of thee // and comest thou to me But John forbad him, saying,.... It appears from hence, that John knew Christ before he baptized him, and before he saw the Spirit descending and abid...

But John forbad him, saying,.... It appears from hence, that John knew Christ before he baptized him, and before he saw the Spirit descending and abiding on him, Joh 1:33 wherefore that was not a signal, whereby he should first know him but whereby his knowledge of him should be confirmed; which knowledge of him he had, not through his kindred to him, or by any conversation he had with him before, but by immediate, divine revelation: upon which account he "forbad him"; refused to administer the ordinance to him; earnestly entreated that he would not insist upon it; desired to be excused being concerned herein: and this he did, partly lest the people should think Christ was not so great a person as he had represented him to be; yea, that he was one of the penitent sinners John had admitted to his baptism; and chiefly because of the majesty and dignity of Christ's person, who he knew stood in no need of such an outward ordinance; and because of his own unworthiness to administer it to him, as is evident from what follows,

I have need to be baptized of thee; not with water baptism, which Christ never administered, but with the baptism of the Spirit, which was his peculiar office. Hence we learn, that though John was so holy a man, was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb, had such large measures of grace, and lived such an exemplary life and conversation; yet was far from thinking, that he was perfect and righteous in himself, but stood in need of Christ, and of more grace from him. He seems surprised that Christ should come to him, and make such a motion to him; when it was his duty and privilege to come to him daily for fresh supplies of grace, and always to trust in him for life and salvation;

and comest thou to me? who am of the earth, earthly, when thou art the Lord from heaven; "to me", a poor sinful creature, when thou art the Holy One of God; "to me", who am thy servant, when thou art Lord of all; "to me", who always stand in need of thy grace, when thou art God all sufficient.

Gill: Mat 3:15 - And Jesus answering, said unto him // suffer it to be so now // then he suffered him And Jesus answering, said unto him,.... This is an Hebrew way of speaking, often used in the Old Testament, and answers to ויאמר יען; see Job ...

And Jesus answering, said unto him,.... This is an Hebrew way of speaking, often used in the Old Testament, and answers to ויאמר יען; see Job 3:1. He replied to John, who had made use of very forbidding words, after this manner,

suffer it to be so now; let me have my request; do not go on to object, but comply with my desire; let it be done now, immediately, directly, at this present time; do not put me off with any excuse; it is a proper season for it, even "now", since the time is not yet come that I am to baptize with the Holy Ghost; and besides, thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. It became John to administer the ordinance of baptism to Christ, as he was his forerunner, and the only administrator of it, and that he might fulfil the ministry which he had received; and as it became Christ to fulfil all righteousness, moral and ceremonial, and baptism being a part of his Father's will, which he came to do, it became him to fulfil this also. And since it became Christ, it cannot be unbecoming us to submit to this ordinance; and since he looked upon it as a part of righteousness to be fulfilled by him, it ought to be attended to by all those who would be accounted followers of him. Christ having strongly urged the conveniency and equity of the administration of baptism to him, which showed his eager desire after it, and the lowliness of his mind; and John being convinced, and overcome by the force of his reasoning, agrees to his baptism;

then he suffered him, i.e. to be baptized in water by him, as he had requested, and accordingly did administer it to him.

Gill: Mat 3:16 - And Jesus, when he was baptized // went up straightway out of the water // lo the heavens were opened // and Jesus, when he was baptized, was scarcely come up out of the water, but lo // the heavens were opened to him // John, saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him And Jesus, when he was baptized,.... Christ, when he was baptized by John in the river Jordan, the place where he was baptizing, went up straightwa...

And Jesus, when he was baptized,.... Christ, when he was baptized by John in the river Jordan, the place where he was baptizing,

went up straightway out of the water. One would be at a loss at first sight for a reason why the Evangelist should relate this circumstance; for after the ordinance was administered, why should he stay in the water? what should he do there? Everyone would naturally and reasonably conclude, without the mention of such a circumstance, that as soon as his baptism was over, he would immediately come up out of the water. However, we learn this from it, that since it is said, that he came up out of the water, he must first have gone down into it; must have been in it, and was baptized in it; a circumstance strongly in favour of baptism by immersion: for that Christ should go down into the river, more or less deep, to the ankles, or up to the knees, in order that John should sprinkle water on his face, or pour it on his head, as is ridiculously represented in the prints, can hardly obtain any credit with persons of thought and sense. But the chief view of the Evangelist in relating this circumstance, is with respect to what follows; and to show, that as soon as Christ was baptized, and before he had well got out of the water,

lo the heavens were opened: and some indeed read the word "straightway", in connection with this phrase, and not with the words "went up": but there is no need of supposing such a trajection, for the whole may be rendered thus;

and Jesus, when he was baptized, was scarcely come up out of the water, but lo, immediately, directly, as soon as he was out, or rather before,

the heavens were opened to him; the airy heaven was materially and really opened, parted, rent, or cloven asunder, as in Mar 1:10 which made way for the visible descent of the Holy Ghost in a bodily shape. A difficulty arises here, whether the words, "to him", are to be referred to Christ, or to John; no doubt but the opening of the heavens was seen by them both: but to me it seems that John is particularly designed, since this vision was upon his account, and for his sake, and to him the following words belong; "and he", that is,

John, saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: for this is what was promised to John, as a sign, which should confirm his faith in Jesus, as the true Messiah, and which he himself says he saw, and upon which he based the record and testimony he bore to Christ, as the Son of God; see Joh 1:32 not but that the descent of the Holy Ghost in this manner might be seen by Christ, as well as John, according to Mar 1:10. The Spirit of God, here said to descend and light on Christ, is the same, which in the first creation moved upon the face of the waters; and now comes down on Christ, just as he was coming up out of the waters of Jordan, where he had been baptized; and which the Jews r so often call המשיח רוח של מלד, "the Spirit of the king Messiah, and the spirit of the Messiah". The descent of him was in a "bodily shape", as Luke says in Luk 3:22 either in the shape of a dove, which is a very fit emblem of the Spirit of God who descended, and the fruits thereof, such as simplicity, meekness, love, &c. and also of the dove-like innocence, humility, and affection of Christ, on whom he lighted; or it was in some other visible form, not expressed, which pretty much resembled the hovering and lighting of a dove upon anything: for it does not necessarily follow from any of the accounts the Evangelists give of this matter, that the holy Spirit assumed, or appeared in, the form of a dove; only that his visible descent and lighting on Christ was ωσει περιστερα, as a dove descends, hovers and lights; which does not necessarily design the form of the creature, but the manner of its motion. However, who can read this account without thinking of Noah's dove, which brought in its mouth the olive leaf, a token of peace and reconciliation, when the waters were abated from off the earth? Give me leave to transcribe a passage I have met with in the book of Zohar s;

"a door shall be opened, and out of it shall come forth the dove which Noah sent out in the days of the flood, as it is written, "and he sent forth the dove", that famous dove; but the ancients speak not of it, for they knew not what it was, only from whence it came, and did its message; as it is written, "it returned not again unto him any more": no man knows whither it went, but it returned to its place, and was hid within this door; and it shall take a crown in its mouth, and put it upon the head of the king Messiah.''

And a little after, the dove is said to abide upon his head, and he to receive glory from it. Whether this is the remains of some ancient tradition, these men studiously conceal, concerning the opening of the heavens, and the descent of the Spirit of God, as a dove, upon the Messiah; or whether it is hammered out of the evangelic history, let the reader judge.

Gill: Mat 3:17 - And lo, a voice from heaven, saying // in whom I am well pleased And lo, a voice from heaven, saying,.... At the same time the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended as a dove, and lighted on Christ, a...

And lo, a voice from heaven, saying,.... At the same time the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended as a dove, and lighted on Christ, and whilst it abode upon him, an extraordinary voice was heard; hence the note of attention and admiration, "lo", is prefixed unto it, as before, to the opening of the heavens; being what was unusual and surprising; and as denoting something to be expressed of great moment and importance. The Jews, in order to render this circumstance less considerable, and to have it believed, that these voices from heaven heard in the time of Jesus, and in relation to him were common things, have invented a great many stories concerning בת קול משמים, "the voice", or "the daughter of the voice from heaven"; which they pretend came in the room of prophecy: their t words are,

"after the death of the latter prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the holy Spirit departed from Israel, and thenceforwards they used "Bath Kol", the "voice". One time they were sitting in the chamber of the house of Guria in Jericho, and there came to them בת קיל משמים, "the voice from heaven", (saying;) there is one here, who is fit to have the Shekinah (or divine majesty) abide on him, as Moses our master; but because his generation was not worthy, therefore the wise men set their eyes on Hillell, the elder; and when he died, they said concerning him, this was a holy man, a meek man, a disciple of Ezra. Again, another time they were sitting in a chamber in Jabneh, and there came to them "the voice from heaven", (saying;) there is one here, who is fit to have the Shekinah dwell on him; but because his generation was not worthy, therefore the wise men set their eyes on Samuel the little.''

I have cited this passage at large, partly because, according to them, it fixes the date and use of "the voice"; and partly, because it affords instances of it, wherefore more need not be mentioned; for, it would be endless to repeat the several things spoken by it; such as encouraging Herod to rebel, and seize his master's kingdom u; forbidding Ben Uzziel to go on with his paraphrase on the Hagiographa, or holy books, when he had finished his Targum on the prophets w; declaring the words of Hillell and Shammai to be the words of the living God x; signifying the conception, birth, and death of y persons, and the like; all which seem to be mere fiction and imagination, diabolical delusions, or satanical imitations of this voice, that was now heard, in order to lessen the credit of it. But, to proceed; this extraordinary voice from heaven, which was formed in articulate sounds for the sake of John; and, according to the other Evangelists, was directed to Christ, Mar 1:11 expressed the following words, "this is my beloved Son". "This" person, who had been baptized in water, on whom the holy Spirit now rested, is no other than the Son of God in human nature; which he assumed, in order to be obedient to this, and the whole of his Father's will: he is his own proper "son", not by creation, as angels, and men; nor by adoption, as saints; nor by office, as magistrates; but in such a way of filiation as no other is: he is the natural, essential, and only begotten Son of God; his beloved Son, whom the Father loved from everlasting, as his own Son; the image of himself, of the same nature with him, and possessed of the same perfections; whom he loved, and continued to love in time, though clothed with human nature, and the infirmities of it; appearing in the likeness of sinful flesh; being in his state of humiliation, he loved him through it, and all sorrows and sufferings that attended it. Christ always was, and ever will be considered, both in his person as the Son of God, and in his office as mediator, the object of his love and delight; wherefore he adds,

in whom I am well pleased. Jehovah the Father took infinite delight and pleasure in him as his own Son, who lay in his bosom before all worlds; and was well pleased with him in his office relation, and capacity: he was both well pleased in him as his Son, and delighted in him as his servant, Isa 42:1 he was pleased with his assumption of human nature; with his whole obedience to the law; and with his bearing the penalty and curse of it, in the room and stead of his people: he was well pleased with and for his righteousness, sacrifice and atonement; whereby his law was fulfilled, and his justice satisfied. God is not only well pleased in, and with his Son, but with all his people, as considered in him; in him he loves them, takes delight in them, is pacified towards them, and graciously accepts of them. It would be almost unpardonable, not to take notice of the testimony here given to the doctrine of the Trinity; since a voice was heard from the "father" in heaven, bearing witness to "the Son" in human nature on earth, on whom "the Spirit" had descended and now abode. The ancients looked upon this as so clear and full a proof of this truth, that they were wont to say; Go to Jordan, and there learn the doctrine of the Trinity. Add to all this, that since this declaration was immediately upon the baptism of Christ, it shows that his Father highly approved of, and was well pleased with his submission to that ordinance; and which should be an encouraging motive to all believers to follow him in it.

buka semua
Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Ayat / Catatan Kaki

NET Notes: Mat 3:1 Or “desert.”

NET Notes: Mat 3:2 Grk “and saying, ‘Repent.’” The participle λέγων (legwn) at the beginning of v. 2 is redundant in Eng...

NET Notes: Mat 3:3 A quotation from Isa 40:3.

NET Notes: Mat 3:4 John’s lifestyle was in stark contrast to many of the religious leaders of Jerusalem who lived in relative ease and luxury. While his clothing a...

NET Notes: Mat 3:5 For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

NET Notes: Mat 3:6 Grk “they were being baptized by him.” The passive construction has been rendered as active in the translation for the sake of English sty...

NET Notes: Mat 3:7 The Sadducees controlled the official political structures of Judaism at this time, being the majority members of the Sanhedrin. They were known as ex...

NET Notes: Mat 3:8 Grk “fruit worthy of.”

NET Notes: Mat 3:10 Laid at the root. That is, placed and aimed, ready to begin cutting.

NET Notes: Mat 3:11 With the Holy Spirit and fire. There are differing interpretations for this phrase regarding the number of baptisms and their nature. (1) Some see one...

NET Notes: Mat 3:12 The image of fire that cannot be extinguished is from the OT: Job 20:26; Isa 34:8-10; 66:24.

NET Notes: Mat 3:13 “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity.

NET Notes: Mat 3:14 The imperfect verb has been translated conatively.

NET Notes: Mat 3:15 Or “permitted him.”

NET Notes: Mat 3:16 The phrase like a dove is a descriptive comparison. The Spirit is not a dove, but descended like one in some sort of bodily representation.

NET Notes: Mat 3:17 The allusions in the remarks of the text recall Ps 2:7a; Isa 42:1 and either Isa 41:8 or, less likely, Gen 22:12,16. God is marking out Jesus as his c...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:1 In ( a ) those days came ( 1 ) John the Baptist, preaching in the ( b ) wilderness of Judaea, ( a ) Not when Joseph went to dwell at Nazareth, but a ...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:2 And saying, ( c ) Repent ye: for the ( d ) kingdom of heaven is at hand. ( c ) The word in the greek signifies a changing of our minds and heart from...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, ( e ) make...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was ( f ) locusts and wild honey. ( f ) Locust...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:5 Then went out to him ( g ) Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, ( g ) The people of Jerusalem.

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, ( h ) confessing their sins. ( h ) Acknowledging that they were saved only by free remission and forgiveness of t...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:7 ( 2 ) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee ...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:8 ( 3 ) Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: ( 3 ) True repentance is an inward thing which has its seat in the mind and heart.

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:9 ( 4 ) And ( i ) think not to say ( k ) within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to rai...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:11 ( 5 ) I indeed baptize you with water unto ( l ) repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he s...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:12 ( 6 ) Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly ( m ) purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff wit...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:13 ( 7 ) Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. ( 7 ) Christ sanctified our baptism in himself.

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil ( n ) all righteousness. Then he suffered him. ( n ) A...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto ( o ) him, and he saw the Spirit of God d...

Geneva Bible: Mat 3:17 ( 8 ) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am ( p ) well pleased. ( 8 ) Christ's full consecration and authorization...

buka semua
Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Rentang Ayat

Maclaren: Mat 3:1-12 - A Libation To Jehovah The Herald Of The King In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heave...

Maclaren: Mat 3:11 - A Libation To Jehovah The Baptism In Fire He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.'--Matt. 3:11. THERE is no more pathetic figure in Scripture than that of...

Maclaren: Mat 3:13-17 - A Libation To Jehovah The Baptism Of Jesus Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be ba...

Maclaren: Mat 3:16 - A Libation To Jehovah The Dove Of God He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him.' Matt. 3:16. THIS Gospel of Matthew is emphatically the gospe...

MHCC: Mat 3:1-6 - --After Malachi there was no prophet until John the Baptist came. He appeared first in the wilderness of Judea. This was not an uninhabited desert, but ...

MHCC: Mat 3:7-12 - --To make application to the souls of the hearers, is the life of preaching; so it was of John's preaching. The Pharisees laid their chief stress on out...

MHCC: Mat 3:13-17 - --Christ's gracious condescensions are so surprising, that even the strongest believers at first can hardly believe them; so deep and mysterious, that e...

Matthew Henry: Mat 3:1-6 - -- We have here an account of the preaching and baptism of John, which were the dawning of the gospel-day. Observe, I. The time when he appeared. In t...