Matthew 12:39
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

New Living Translation
But Jesus replied, "Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.

English Standard Version
But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Berean Study Bible
Jesus replied, "A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Berean Literal Bible
And answering He said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, and no sign will be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet.

New American Standard Bible
But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

King James Bible
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But He answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

International Standard Version
But he replied to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves a sign. Yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah,

NET Bible
But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

New Heart English Bible
But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But he answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign and a sign will not be given to it except the sign of Jonah the Prophet.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
He responded, "The people of an evil and unfaithful era look for a miraculous sign. But the only sign they will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah.

New American Standard 1977
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

Jubilee Bible 2000
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there no sign shall be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah;

King James 2000 Bible
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah:

American King James Version
But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

American Standard Version
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

Darby Bible Translation
But he, answering, said to them, A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it save the sign of Jonas the prophet.

English Revised Version
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet:

Webster's Bible Translation
But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh for a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Weymouth New Testament
"Wicked and faithless generation!" He replied, "they clamour for a sign, but none shall be given to them except the sign of the Prophet Jonah.

World English Bible
But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.

Young's Literal Translation
And he answering said to them, 'A generation, evil and adulterous, doth seek a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet;
Study Bible
The Sign of Jonah
38Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39Jesus replied, “A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.…
Cross References
2 Kings 14:25
He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher.

Jonah 1:1
The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

Matthew 16:4
A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Then He left them and went away.

Mark 8:12
Jesus sighed deeply in His spirit and said, "Why does this generation demand a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."

Luke 11:29
As the crowds were increasing, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
Treasury of Scripture

But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

adulterous.

Isaiah 57:3 But draw near here, you sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer …

Mark 8:38 Whoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this …

James 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship …

no sign.

Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there …

Luke 11:29,30 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, …

(39) An evil and adulterous generation.--The true relation between Israel and Jehovah had been represented by the prophets as that of the wife to her husband (Jeremiah 3; Ezekiel 16, 23; Hosea 1, 2). The adulterous generation was therefore one that was unfaithful to its Lord--demanding a sign, instead of finding sufficient proofs of faithfulness and love in what He had already done.

There shall no sign be given to it.--The words seem at first to place our Lord's miracles of healing outside the category of signs, and yet it was to these that He referred the messengers of the Baptist as proof that the Christ had indeed come (Matthew 11:5). They must, however, be interpreted by the context. One sign and only one, such as they demanded, should be given to those for whom the other notes of Messiahship were insufficient, and that should be the sign of the prophet Jonas.

Verse 39. - Of the passages mentioned in the introductory note on vers. 38-42, Matthew 16:4 is verbally identical with the answer of our present verse, except the omission of the words, "the prophet," which occur nowhere else but in this passage. But he answered and said to them, An evil (πονηρά, ch. 6:13, note) and adulterous generation. However frequent the sin of adultery may then have been, the common metaphorical sense of spiritual unfaithfulness to God and the practical worship of some other than Jehovah seems the more probable here (cf. James 4:4; Revelation 2:20-23). Seeketh after (ἐπιζητεῖ); Matthew 6:32. A sign; but there shall no sign be given to it. In Mark 8:12 our Lord's reply ends here. But the sign of the Prophet Jonas; Jonah the prophet (Revised Version). In Matthew 16:4 and Luke 11:29 "the prophet" has been added in the Received Text. But he answered and said unto them,.... Not to the Pharisees, who were unworthy of an answer from him; having, in such an imperious manner, and with a sole view to tempt him, and after such miracles were wrought by him, required of him a sign from heaven; but to the multitude, the throng of people gathered thick together on this occasion, see Matthew 12:45 he turns himself from the Scribes and Pharisees, to the common people, and says to them concerning the former,

an evil and adulterous generation; not only in a spiritual sense, being degenerated from the faith, religion, and piety of their ancestors; but literally, which appeared not only in their polygamy, and frequent divorces on trivial occasions, but by criminal conversation with other women; see John 8:9 and this, with the Jews themselves, is a character of the generation in which the Messiah comes: for they say (h),

"that just when the Messiah comes, or in the age the son of David comes, "impudence shall be increased", corn and wine shall be dear, the government shall be heretics, , "and the synagogue shall become a brothel house".''

Their meaning is, that the chief magistrates should be Sadducees, and those that pretended to religion and holiness would be adulterers, which was now the case. Their writings (i) frequently speak of the increase and abounding of adulteries, under the second temple, and about this time; which obliged Jochanan ben Zaccai and the sanhedrim, to leave off the use of the bitter waters.

Seeketh after a sign; this is perfectly Talmudic language, the language of the Jews (k).

"The disciples of R. Jose ben Kismai, asked him, when the Son of David came? He replied, I am afraid, lest , "ye should seek of me a sign"; they say unto him, we will not "seek of thee a sign".''

This the Jews sought of Christ, time after time; not content with one, sought another, though such wonderful ones were wrought, which most fully demonstrated him to be the Messiah; and therefore he would not indulge this temper in them; but declared, that

there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. Not that no miracles should afterwards be wrought amongst them; for, after this, many wondrous works were done by Christ; but no such signs should be given they desired, not one from heaven; but one particularly should be given them, out of the earth, and should be, not for their conviction, but condemnation; and would seem very much like that which was done to the prophet Jonas, or Jonah; for so is his name in the Hebrew language, the other being the Greek termination of it.

(h) Misn. Sota c. 9. sect. 15. T. Bab. Sanhed. fol. 97. 1.((i) Misn. Sota, c. 9. sect. 9. & Maimon. Hilch. Sota, c. 3. sect. 19. (k) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 98. 1. so , "seeketh a sign", Shemot Rabba, Parash. 9. fol. 97. 2.39. But he answered and said unto them—"when the people were gathered thick together" (Lu 11:29).

an evil and adulterous generation—This latter expression is best explained by Jer 3:20, "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord." For this was the relationship in which He stood to the covenant-people—"I am married unto you" (Jer 3:14).

seeketh after a sign—In the eye of Jesus this class were but the spokesmen of their generation, the exponents of the reigning spirit of unbelief.

and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.12:38-45 Though Christ is always ready to hear and answer holy desires and prayers, yet those who ask amiss, ask and have not. Signs were granted to those who desired them to confirm their faith, as Abraham and Gideon; but denied to those who demanded them to excuse their unbelief. The resurrection of Christ from the dead by his own power, called here the sign of the prophet Jonah, was the great proof of Christ's being the Messiah. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale, and then came out again alive, thus Christ would be so long in the grave, and then rise again. The Ninevites would shame the Jews for not repenting; the queen of Sheba, for not believing in Christ. And we have no such cares to hinder us, we come not to Christ upon such uncertainties. This parable represents the case of the Jewish church and nation. It is also applicable to all those who hear the word of God, and are in part reformed, but not truly converted. The unclean spirit leaves for a time, but when he returns, he finds Christ is not there to shut him out; the heart is swept by outward reformation, but garnished by preparation to comply with evil suggestions, and the man becomes a more decided enemy of the truth. Every heart is the residence of unclean spirits, except those which are temples of the Holy Ghost, by faith in Christ.
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