Isaiah 40:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

New Living Translation
Listen! It's the voice of someone shouting, "Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!

English Standard Version
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

New American Standard Bible
A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

King James Bible
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.

International Standard Version
A voice cries out: 'In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; and in the desert a straight highway for our God.'

NET Bible
A voice cries out, "In the wilderness clear a way for the LORD; construct in the desert a road for our God.

New Heart English Bible
The voice of one who calls out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the LORD. Make his roads straight.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
A voice cries out in the desert: "Clear a way for the LORD. Make a straight highway in the wilderness for our God.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Hark! one calleth: 'Clear ye in the wilderness the way of the LORD, Make plain in the desert A highway for our God.

New American Standard 1977
A voice is calling,
            “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
            Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

King James 2000 Bible
The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

American King James Version
The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

American Standard Version
The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah; make level in the desert a highway for our God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.

Darby Bible Translation
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in the desert a highway for our God!

English Revised Version
The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Webster's Bible Translation
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

World English Bible
The voice of one who calls out, "Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our God.

Young's Literal Translation
A voice is crying -- in a wilderness -- Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, Make straight in a desert a highway to our God.
Study Bible
Prepare the Way for the Lord
2"Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the LORD'S hand Double for all her sins." 3A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. 4"Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;…
Cross References
Matthew 3:3
This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'"

Mark 1:3
"A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'"

Luke 3:4
as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord; make straight paths for Him.'

John 1:23
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: "I am a voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

Psalm 68:4
Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.

Isaiah 11:16
And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.

Isaiah 35:8
A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.

Isaiah 40:4
"Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;

Malachi 3:1
"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 4:5
"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.
Treasury of Scripture

The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

the voice

Matthew 3:1-3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea…

Mark 1:2-5 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before …

Luke 3:2-6 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to …

John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight …

prepare

Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called …

Isaiah 57:14 And shall say, Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up …

Isaiah 62:10,11 Go through, go through the gates; prepare you the way of the people; …

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before …

Malachi 4:5,6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the …

Luke 1:16,17,76,77 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God…

make

Isaiah 11:15,16 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; …

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you …

Isaiah 49:11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

Psalm 68:4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rides on the …

(3) The voice of him that crieth . . .--The laws of Hebrew parallelism require a different punctuation: A voice of one crying, In the wilderness, prepare ye . . . The passage is memorable as having been deliberately taken by the Baptist as defining his own mission (John 1:23). As here the herald is not named, so he was content to efface himself--to be a voice or nothing. The image is drawn from the march of Eastern kings, who often boast, as in the Assyrian inscriptions of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal (Records of the Past, i. 95, vii. 64), of the roads they have made in trackless deserts. The wilderness is that which lay between the Euphrates and Judah, the journey of the exiles through it reminding the prophet of the older wanderings in the wilderness of Sin (Psalm 68:7; Judges 5:4). The words are an echo of the earlier thought of Isaiah 35:8. We are left to conjecture to whom the command is addressed: tribes of the desert, angelic ministers, kings and rulers--the very vagueness giving a grand universality. So, again, we are not told whether the "way of Jehovah" is that on which He comes to meet His people, or on which He goes before and guides them. The analogy of the marches of the Exodus makes the latter view the more probable.

Verse 3. - The voice of him that crieth; rather, the voice of one that crieth. A voice sounds in the prophet's ear, crying to repentance. For God to come down on earth, for his glory to be revealed in any signal way, by the restoration of a nation, or the revelation of himself in Christ, or the final establishment of his kingdom, the "way" must be first "prepared" for him. The hearts of the disobedient must be turned to the wisdom of the just. In the wilderness; either, "the wilderness of this world" (Kay), or "the wilderness separating Babylonia from Palestine" (Delitzsch), in a part of which John the Baptist afterwards preached. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. The "way of the Lord" is "the way of holiness" (Isaiah 35:8). There is one only mode of "preparing" it - the mode adopted by John Baptist (Matthew 3:2-12), the mode pointed out by the angel who announced him (Luke 1:17), the mode insisted on in the Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent. The voice enjoins on the prophets of the captive nation to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming manifestation of God. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,.... Not the voice of the Holy Ghost, as Jarchi; but of John the Baptist, as is attested by all the evangelists, Matthew 3:3 and by John himself, John 1:23, who was a "voice" not like the man's nightingale, "vox et praeterea nihil" a voice and nothing else; he had not only a sonorous, but an instructive teaching voice; he had the voice of a prophet, for he was a prophet: we read of the voices of the prophets, their doctrines and prophecies, Acts 13:27, his voice was the voice of one that crieth, that published and proclaimed aloud, openly and publicly, with great eagerness and fervency, with much freedom and liberty, what he had to say; and this was done "in the wilderness", in the wilderness of Judea, literally taken, Matthew 3:1, and when Judea was become a Roman province, and the Jews were brought into the wilderness of the people, Ezekiel 20:35 and when they were, as to their religious affairs, in a very forlorn and wilderness condition (m): what John was to say, when he came as a harbinger of Christ, and did, follows:

prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God: by whom is meant the Messiah to whose proper deity a noble testimony is here bore, being called "Jehovah" and "our God": whose way John prepared himself, by preaching the doctrine of repentance, administering the ordinance of baptism, pointing at the Messiah, and exhorting the people to believe in him; and he called upon them likewise to prepare the way, and make a plain path to meet him in, by repenting of their sins, amending their ways, and cordially embracing him when come, laying aside all those sentiments which were contrary to him, his Gospel, and kingdom. The sense of this text is sadly perverted by the Targum, and seems to be, done on purpose, thus,

"prepare the way before the people of the Lord, cast up ways before the congregation of our God;''

whereas it is before the Lord himself. The allusion is to pioneers, sent before some great personage to remove all obstructions out of his way, to cut down trees, level the way, and clear all before him, as in the following verse.

(m) Though, according to the accents, the phrase, "in the wilderness", belongs to what follows, "in the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord"; where it is placed by Junius and Tremellius, commended for it by Reinbeck, de Accent, Heb. p. 416. though the accent seems neglected in Matthew 3.3. Mark 1. 3. 3. crieth in the wilderness—So the Septuagint and Mt 3:3 connect the words. The Hebrew accents, however, connect them thus: "In the wilderness prepare ye," etc., and the parallelism also requires this, "Prepare ye in the wilderness," answering to "make straight in the desert." Matthew was entitled, as under inspiration, to vary the connection, so as to bring out another sense, included in the Holy Spirit's intention; in Mt 3:1, "John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness," answers thus to "The voice of one crying in the wilderness." Maurer takes the participle as put for the finite verb (so in Isa 40:6), "A voice crieth." The clause, "in the wilderness," alludes to Israel's passage through it from Egypt to Canaan (Ps 68:7), Jehovah being their leader; so it shall be at the coming restoration of Israel, of which the restoration from Babylon was but a type (not the full realization; for their way from it was not through the "wilderness"). Where John preached (namely, in the wilderness; the type of this earth, a moral wilderness), there were the hearers who are ordered to prepare the way of the Lord, and there was to be the coming of the Lord [Bengel]. John, though he was immediately followed by the suffering Messiah, is rather the herald of the coming reigning Messiah, as Mal 4:5, 6 ("before the great and dreadful day of the Lord"), proves. Mt 17:11 (compare Ac 3:21) implies that John is not exclusively meant; and that though in one sense Elias has come, in another he is yet to come. John was the figurative Elias, coming "in the spirit and power of Elias" (Lu 1:17); Joh 1:21, where John the Baptist denies that he was the actual Elias, accords with this view. Mal 4:5, 6 cannot have received its exhaustive fulfilment in John; the Jews always understood it of the literal Elijah. As there is another consummating advent of Messiah Himself, so perhaps there is to be of his forerunner Elias, who also was present at the transfiguration.

the Lord—Hebrew, Jehovah; as this is applied to Jesus, He must be Jehovah (Mt 3:3).40:1-11 All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the most so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles are removed in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement of the death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the glory of his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitents receive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for the satisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and follow him, proving ourselves his sheep.
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