Matthew 3:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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.'"

New Living Translation
The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, "He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the LORD's coming! Clear the road for him!'"

English Standard Version
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

Berean Study Bible
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.'"

Berean Literal Bible
For this is the one having been spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, saying, "A voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight His paths.'"

New American Standard Bible
For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!'"

King James Bible
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, make his paths straight.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!

International Standard Version
He was the one the prophet Isaiah was referring to when he said, "He is a voice calling out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way for the Lord! Make his paths straight!'"

NET Bible
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.'"

New Heart English Bible
For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one who calls out in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his roads straight.'"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For this was he of whom it was said by Isaiah the Prophet, “A voice that cries in the desert, 'Prepare the way of THE LORD JEHOVAH and level his paths'.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Isaiah the prophet spoke about this man when he said, "A voice cries out in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord! Make his paths straight!'"

New American Standard 1977
For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying,
            “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
            ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,
            MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’”



Jubilee Bible 2000
For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, who said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.

King James 2000 Bible
For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

American King James Version
For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

American Standard Version
For this is he that was spoken of through Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For this is he that was spoken of by Isaias the prophet, saying: A voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.

Darby Bible Translation
For this is he who has been spoken of through Esaias the prophet, saying, Voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: prepare ye the way of [the] Lord, make straight his paths.

English Revised Version
For this is he that was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight.

Webster's Bible Translation
For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Weymouth New Testament
He it is who was spoken of through the Prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying aloud, 'In the desert prepare ye a road for the Lord: make His highway straight.'"

World English Bible
For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight."

Young's Literal Translation
for this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'A voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, straight make ye His paths.'

Study Bible
The Mission of John the Baptist
2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3This 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.’” 4John wore a garment of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.…
Cross References
Isaiah 40:3
A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

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

Luke 1:17
And he will go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Luke 1:76
And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways,

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.'"
Treasury of Scripture

For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

by.

Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way …

Mark 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of …

Luke 3:3-6 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism …

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

Prepare.

Isaiah 57:14,15 And shall say, Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up …

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

Luke 1:17,76 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn …

(3) This is he.--The words are those of the Evangelist, not of the Baptist, though the latter also used them to describe his own office (John 1:23). In each case the reference shows how strongly the great second part of Isaiah had impressed itself on the minds of men. To the Baptist, brooding over the sins of his people, and the long-expected consolation of Israel, there had come "the word of the Lord" (Luke 3:2), bidding him identify himself with that "voice of one crying in the wilderness."

Historically, the connection of the opening chapters of this part of Isaiah with the protests against idolatry (Isaiah 40:18-24; Isaiah 41:7; Isaiah 44:9-20), and with the name of Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1), shows that the prophet blended his glorious visions of the ideal polity of the future with the return of the exiles from Babylon. The return came, and the ideal was not realised. The kingdom of heaven seemed still far off. Now, the Baptist came to proclaim its nearness.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord.--The imagery is drawn from the great strategical works of the conquerors of the East. They sent a herald before them to call the people of the countries through which they marched to prepare for their approach. A "king's highway" had to be carried through the open land of the wilderness, valleys filled up, and hills levelled (the words used are, of course, poetical in their greatness), winding bye-paths straightened, for the march of the great army. Interpreted in its spiritual application, the wilderness was the world lying in evil, and the making low the mountains and hills was the bringing down of spiritual pride. When the poor in spirit were received into the kingdom of heaven, the valleys were exalted; when soldier and publican renounced their special sins, the rough places were made plain and the crooked straight.

It is probable that the stress thus laid upon "the way of the Lord," in the first stage of the Gospel, led to the peculiar use of the term "the way" by St. Luke, to denote what we should call the "religion" of the Apostolic Church (Acts 9:2; Acts 18:25-26; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14; Acts 24:22).

Verse 3. - For. The reason for John's appearance and proclamation lies in prophecy. This is he that was spoken of (οῦτος γὰρ ἐστιν ὁ ῤηθείς). In John 1:23 the following quotation is uttered by the Baptist himself, and some commentators have supposed this to be the case also here. But

(1) this is against the parallel passages in Mark and Luke.

(2) The form of the expression in John arises directly from the context.

(3) In the Baptist's mouth the neuter (τοῦτο... τὸ ῤηθέν) rather than the masculine would have been more natural. The expression is doubtless that of the evangelist, suggested to him by John's own utterance, the "is" (ἐστιν) expressing John's permanent character. Contrast εϊχεν η΅ν, (ver. 4) of his clothing and food. [He that was] spoken of. The expression means, not a mere reference found in Isaiah, but the absolute content of the prophet's words. The utterance of God by means of the prophet is - John the:Baptist. The Prophet Esaias; Isaiah the prophet (Revised Version); the commoner Greek order (but cf. Luke 4:17). The voice, etc. (except "his" for "our God," from the LXX. of Isaiah 40:8). The Hebrew probably joins "in the wilderness" with "prepare ye," but St. Matthew with "crying" (cf ver. 1, "preaching in the wilderness," as probably the LXX.) In Isaiah the original meaning of the passage was probably, "prepare for the return to Jerusalem." The figure is that of the common and necessary process in semi-civilized countries of repairing roads before a great personage comes along them. Zechariah had; years before, applied the similar expression in Malachi 3:1 to his son (Luke 1:76; cf. Mark 1:2). (For a metaphor like in kind, but with contrasted meaning, cf. Galatians 5:7, ἐκόπτειν, breaking up a road to render it impassable.) Paths (τρίβους). According to Philo, the word is equivalent to "a carriage-road" (ἱππήλατος καὶ ἁμαξήλατος ὁδός, vide in Wetstein). It is thus equivalent to the Hebrew (m sillah, "a highway," "a made road"). Possibly the plural was employed by the LXX. rather than the singular of the original, from their interpreting the passage, not of the return of the Lord to Palestine, but his coming into many hearts. For this is he that was spoken of,.... These are not the words of the Baptist himself, as in John 1:23 but of the Evangelist, who cites and applies to John a passage in the Prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 40:3 and that very pertinently, since that "chapter" is a prophecy of the Messiah. The consolations spoken of in Isaiah 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 Isaiah 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 Isaiah 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, 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 Matthew 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 Matthew 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.

(y) R. David Kimchi in Isaiah 40.1.3. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying—(Mt 11:3).

The voice of one crying in the wilderness—(See on [1213]Lu 3:2); the scene of his ministry corresponding to its rough nature.

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 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 (Lu 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 Ps 98:3; Isa 11:10; 49:6; 52:10; Lu 2:31, 32; Ac 13:47).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 a part of the country not thickly peopled, nor much enclosed. No place is so remote as to shut us out from the visits of Divine grace. The doctrine he preached was repentance; Repent ye. The word here used, implies a total alteration in the mind, a change in the judgment, disposition, and affections, another and a better bias of the soul. Consider your ways, change your minds: you have thought amiss; think again, and think aright. True penitents have other thoughts of God and Christ, sin and holiness, of this world and the other, than they had. The change of the mind produces a change of the way. That is gospel repentance, which flows from a sight of Christ, from a sense of his love, and from hopes of pardon and forgiveness through him. It is a great encouragement to us to repent; repent, for your sins shall be pardoned upon your repentance. Return to God in a way of duty, and he will, through Christ, return unto you in the way of mercy. It is still as necessary to repent and humble ourselves, to prepare the way of the Lord, as it then was. There is a great deal to be done, to make way for Christ into a soul, and nothing is more needful than the discovery of sin, and a conviction that we cannot be saved by our own righteousness. The way of sin and Satan is a crooked way; but to prepare a way for Christ, the paths must be made straight, Heb 12:13. Those whose business it is to call others to mourn for sin, and to mortify it, ought themselves to live a serious life, a life of self-denial, and contempt of the world. By giving others this example, John made way for Christ. Many came to John's baptism, but few kept to the profession they made. There may be many forward hearers, where there are few true believers. Curiosity, and love for novelty and variety, may bring many to attend on good preaching, and to be affected for a while, who never are subject to the power of it. Those who received John's doctrine, testified their repentance by confessing their sins. Those only are ready to receive Jesus Christ as their righteousness, who are brought with sorrow and shame to own their guilt. The benefits of the kingdom of heaven, now at hand, were thereupon sealed to them by baptism. John washed them with water, in token that God would cleanse them from all their iniquities, thereby intimating, that by nature and practice all were polluted, and could not be admitted among the people of God, unless washed from their sins in the fountain Christ was to open, Zec 13:1.
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