Matthew 11:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

New Living Translation
"To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends,

English Standard Version
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,

Berean Study Bible
To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

Berean Literal Bible
But to what will I compare this generation? It is like little children sitting in the markets and calling out to others,

New American Standard Bible
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,

King James Bible
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"To what should I compare this generation? It's like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to each other:

International Standard Version
"To what can I compare the people living today? They're like little children who sit in the marketplaces and shout to each other,

NET Bible
"To what should I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to one another,

New Heart English Bible
"But to what should I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the street and calling their playmates,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"How can I describe the people who are living now? They are like children who sit in the marketplaces and shout to other children,

New American Standard 1977
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,

Jubilee Bible 2000
But unto whom shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets and shouting unto their fellows

King James 2000 Bible
But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

American King James Version
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like to children sitting in the markets, and calling to their fellows,

American Standard Version
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the marketplaces, who call unto their fellows

Douay-Rheims Bible
But whereunto shall I esteem this generation to be like? It is like to children sitting in the market place.

Darby Bible Translation
But to whom shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the markets, which, calling to their companions,

English Revised Version
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the marketplaces, which call unto their fellows,

Webster's Bible Translation
But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like to children sitting in the markets, and calling to their fellows,

Weymouth New Testament
"But to what shall I compare the present generation? It is like children sitting in the open places, who call to their playmates.

World English Bible
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions

Young's Literal Translation
'And to what shall I liken this generation? it is like little children in market-places, sitting and calling to their comrades,
Study Bible
Jesus Testifies about John
15He who has ears, let him hear. 16To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: 17‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.’…
Cross References
Matthew 11:15
He who has ears, let him hear.

Matthew 11:17
We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.'

Matthew 23:7
the greetings in the marketplaces, and the title of 'Rabbi' by which they are addressed.

Mark 12:38
In His teaching Jesus also said, "Watch out for the scribes. They like to walk around in long robes, to receive greetings in the marketplaces,

Luke 11:43
Woe to you Pharisees! You love the chief seats in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces.
Treasury of Scripture

But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like to children sitting in the markets, and calling to their fellows,

whereunto.

Lamentations 2:13 What thing shall I take to witness for you? what thing shall I liken …

Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with …

Luke 13:18 Then said he, To what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall …

this.

Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? …

Matthew 23:36 Truly I say to you, All these things shall come on this generation.

Matthew 24:34 Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these …

It is.

Luke 7:31-35 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? …

(16) It is like unto children sitting in the markets.--The comparison is drawn from one of the common amusements of the children of an Eastern city. They form themselves into companies, and get up a dramatic representation of wedding festivities and funeral pomp. They play their pipes, and expect others to dance; they beat their breasts in lamentation, and expect others to weep. They complain if others do not comply with their demands. To such a company our Lord likens the evil generation in which He and the Baptist lived. They were loud in their complaints of the Baptist because he would not share their self-indulgent mirth; they were bitter against Jesus because He would not live according to the rules of their hypocritical austerity. Thus interpreted, the whole passage is coherent. The more common explanation inverts the comparison, and sees in our Lord and the Baptist those who invite to mourning and to mirth respectively, and are repelled by their sullen playmates. This would in itself give an adequate meaning, but it does not fall in with our Lord's language, which specifically identifies the children who invite the others (this rather than "their fellows," is the true reading) with the "generation" which He condemns. The verses that follow, giving the language in which the same generation vented its anger and scorn against the two forms of holiness, agree better with the interpretation here adopted.

Verses 16-19. - Yet both John and he himself are rejected, though the results of their efforts were such as to fully justify the apparent difference of their methods. Parallel passage. Luke 7:31-35. Verses 16, 17. - But. In contrast to the obedience asked for in ver. 15, this generation closes its ears. Whereunto shall I liken. A common rabbinic phrase, which is often found in the fuller form recorded in Luke, "Whereunto shall I liken... and to what are they like?" (see Matthew 7:24, note). This generation?. It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. There are two ways of understanding the illustration which our Lord here uses.

(1) Many modern commentators (e.g. Meyer; Trench,' Studies,' p. 148) insist on the grammar and on the historical order in which the complaints are made, and believe that the Jews correspond to the pipers and the mourners, while it is John that refuses to rejoice, and our Lord that will not be sad.

(2) But the more usual interpretation is preferable. For

(a) in an illustrative saying one has chiefly to regard its general sense;

(b) in vers. 18, 19 the action of John and of our Lord in "coming" corresponds to the activity of the children;

(c) this interpretation seems much more in accordance with the context. The verses are therefore to be understood as meaning- John mourned in urging repentance, our Lord rejoiced in gospel liberty and preaching, but both alike were only ridiculed by the Jews. Markets; marketplaces (Revised Version); for there is no thought of the children helping their elders in traffic. And calling (which call, Revised Version) unto their fellows. Addressing them, but not necessarily noisily (Luke 6:13; Luke 13:12). But whereunto shall I liken this generation? The men of that age, the stubborn and perverse Jews; who were pleased with nothing, with no man's ministry, neither with John's, nor with Christ's, but found fault with whatever they heard, or saw done:

it is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling to their fellows: that is, the case of such persons may be fitly represented by children in a public market, calling to their companions, to pipe or mourn with them, and who are so morose and sullen as to do neither: for the men of that generation, are not the good natured children, that called to their fellows, and were willing to join in innocent diversions and exercises; but rather John the Baptist, Christ and his disciples, who may be compared to "children", for their harmlessness and simplicity; and are represented as "sitting in markets", places of concourse, where much people met together; which may intend the synagogues and temple, and other public places, which they made use of to publish their doctrines in, to preach to, and exhort the people; and as "calling to their fellows", to their contemporaries, to those of their own nation, by the external ministry of the word. 11:16-24 Christ reflects on the scribes and Pharisees, who had a proud conceit of themselves. He likens their behaviour to children's play, who being out of temper without reason, quarrel with all the attempts of their fellows to please them, or to get them to join in the plays for which they used to assemble. The cavils of worldly men are often very trifling and show great malice. Something they have to urge against every one, however excellent and holy. Christ, who was undefiled, and separate from sinners, is here represented as in league with them, and polluted by them. The most unspotted innocence will not always be a defence against reproach. Christ knew that the hearts of the Jews were more bitter and hardened against his miracles and doctrines, than those of Tyre and Sidon would have been; therefore their condemnation would be the greater. The Lord exercises his almighty power, yet he punishes none more than they deserve, and never withholds the knowledge of the truth from those who long after it.
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