|New International Version (©2011)|
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
New Living Translation (©2007)
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. "You brood of snakes!" he exclaimed. "Who warned you to flee God's coming wrath?
English Standard Version (©2001)
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
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?
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
International Standard Version (©2012)
But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he told them, "You children of serpents! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
NET Bible (©2006)
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?
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and the Sadducees who came to be baptized, he said to them, “Offspring of vipers, who has instructed you to flee from the wrath that is coming?”
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, he said to them, "You poisonous snakes! Who showed you how to flee from God's coming anger?
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
American King James Version
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
American Standard Version
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto them, Ye offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them: Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come?
Darby Bible Translation
But seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, Offspring of vipers, who has forewarned you to flee from the coming wrath?
English Revised Version
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto them, Ye offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Webster's Bible Translation
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Weymouth New Testament
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he exclaimed, "O vipers' brood, who has warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
World English Bible
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Young's Literal Translation
And having seen many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming about his baptism, he said to them, 'Brood of vipers! who did shew you to flee from the coming wrath?
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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 outward observances, neglecting the weightier matters of the moral law, and the spiritual meaning of their legal ceremonies. Others of them were detestable hypocrites, making their pretences to holiness a cloak for iniquity. The Sadducees ran into the opposite extreme, denying the existence of spirits, and a future state. They were the scornful infidels of that time and country. There is a wrath to come. It is the great concern of every one to flee from that wrath. God, who delights not in our ruin, has warned us; he warns by the written word, by ministers, by conscience. And those are not worthy of the name of penitents, or their privileges, who say they are sorry for their sins, yet persist in them. It becomes penitents to be humble and low in their own eyes, to be thankful for the least mercy, patient under the greatest affliction, to be watchful against all appearances of sin, to abound in every duty, and to be charitable in judging others. Here is a word of caution, not to trust in outward privileges. There is a great deal which carnal hearts are apt to say within themselves, to put aside the convincing, commanding power of the word of God. Multitudes, by resting in the honours and mere advantages of their being members of an outward church, come short of heaven. Here is a word of terror to the careless and secure. Our corrupt hearts cannot be made to produce good fruit, unless the regenerating Spirit of Christ graft the good word of God upon them. And every tree, however high in gifts and honours, however green in outward professions and performances, if it bring not forth good fruit, the fruits meet for repentance, is hewn down and cast into the fire of God's wrath, the fittest place for barren trees: what else are they good for? If not fit for fruit, they are fit for fuel. John shows the design and intention of Christ's appearing, which they were now speedily to expect. No outward forms can make us clean. No ordinances, by whomsoever administered, or after whatever mode, can supply the want of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire. The purifying and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit alone can produce that purity of heart, and those holy affections, which accompany salvation. It is Christ who baptizes with the Holy Ghost. This he did in the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit sent upon the apostles, Ac 2:4. This he does in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, given to those that ask him, Lu 11:13; Joh 7:38,39; see Ac 11:16. Observe here, the outward church is Christ's floor, Isa 21:10. True believers are as wheat, substantial, useful, and valuable; hypocrites are as chaff, light and empty, useless and worthless, carried about with every wind; these are mixed, good and bad, in the same outward communion. There is a day coming when the wheat and chaff shall be separated. The last judgment will be the distinguishing day, when saints and sinners shall be parted for ever. In heaven the saints are brought together, and no longer scattered; they are safe, and no longer exposed; separated from corrupt neighbours without, and corrupt affections within, and there is no chaff among them. Hell is the unquenchable fire, which will certainly be the portion and punishment of hypocrites and unbelievers. Here life and death, good and evil, are set before us: according as we now are in the field, we shall be then in the floor.
Verses 7-12. - The faithful warning. (Parallel passage: Luke 3:7-9, 16, 17.) Observe that this is before the baptism of our Lord, while the witness in John 1:19-27 is after. Verse 7. - But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The typical Jews, considered as one class (τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων), in contrast to the multitudes. Pharisees. Their characteristic is shown in their name, "Separatists;" i.e. from anything that would hinder exact obedience to the Mosaic Law. Hence they are the strict adherents of tradition. They ultimately gained the ascendancy, and, in consequence, the standard Jewish books represent the result of their teaching, They belonged almost entirely to the middle classes. Sadducees. They were chiefly of the noblest, especially the high-priestly, families. Hence their first thought was political quiet, and with this they not unnaturally combined the love of Greek culture. They set the plain meaning of the Law far above all tradition, even that of the Prophets and the Hagiographa. Come (Obtains, Revised Version) to his baptism; ἐρχομένους ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα (omit αὐτοῦ). They were apparently not merely coming to see what took place, but with the purpose of receiving his baptism (cf. Thayer, ἐπί c. 1:2, g. γ aa.); cf. Matthew 26:50 (ἐφ δ); Luke 23:48. The marginal reading, however, proposed by the American Revisers "for baptism," does not do justice to the article. The Gospel according to the Hebrews (Resch, 'Agrapha.' p. 343) says that they were in fact baptized, but we can hardly suppose this to have been the case after John's words to them. Observe that the Pharisees, with their self-conscious sanctity, were hardly likely to come to confess their sins, or the Sadducees to even listen to so ascetic a teacher. He said unto them; i.e. to the Pharisees and Sadducees; Luke, less exactly, "to the multitudes that went out to be baptized of him." There is, indeed, nothing, save the opening sentence, which refers solely to the Pharisees and Sadducees; but this fact does not show (Bleek) that the words were really spoken to all, and that Matthew's expression is wrong. John doubtless addressed the Pharisees and Sadducees primarily; but as, after all, they only formed the apex of ordinary Jewish thought, what he said to them fitted also the majority of his listeners. O generation (ye offspring, Revised Version) of vipers! The simile not only expresses the thought that, behind their smooth exterior, the outward legal strictness of the Pharisees, and the worldly decorum of the Sadducees, lay hidden malice and venom, but also that this is due to their very nature. It may have directly implied that they belonged in a true sense to the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15); cf. our Lord's words (Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33). Who hath (omitted by the Revised Version) warned you? The verb (ὑπέδειξεν) has elsewhere in the New Testament (St. Luke's writings only) no thought of warning, nor of secrecy, but of teaching, of placing the matter under the eyes of others (cf. especially Acts 9:16; Acts 20:35; Luke 6:47). John is making no inquiry for information, but only utters surprise at seeing them (cf. Matthew 23:33, πῶς φύγητε). Whoever can have told you of your danger? He might have saved himself the trouble, you being what you are! Yet the very violence of his expression was such as to call their attention to the depth of their sinfulness, and after all to lead them perhaps to repentance. For this reason he adds, "Bring forth therefore." To flee; aorist, not exactly indicating "the activity as momentary, setting forth the point of time when the wrath breaks forth, in which the flight also is realized" (Meyer), but the flight as one single action, without any reference to the time of the breaking forth of the wrath. From. The wrath is pictured as coming on them from without. In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 St. Paul says that Jesus delivers out of (ἐκ) it, implying that he himself and all men are naturally in and under it (but see Matthew 6:13, note). The wrath to come. Perhaps connected in John's mind with the wrath of the Messianic age (Isaiah 63:3-6). If so, it would find its primary fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem, but its complete fulfilment only in the manifestation of the wrath at the last judgment - (Acts 24:25; cf. Romans 2:5; Romans 5:9; Revelation 6:16, 17; Revelation 11:18). Wrath. Not merely punishment. The thought is of the feeling of anger against sin in him who punishes it (cf. Matthew 18:34; Matthew 22:7; Mark 3:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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 pharatz to "divide", to "make a breach", from whence Phares had his name Genesis 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 , 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 "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 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. 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. "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. 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. 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. 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. "the Pharisee of fear"; who does what he does from fear of punishment.
7. "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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them—astonished at such a spectacle.
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 principles and spirit, the stern prophet charges both alike with being the poisoners of the nation's religious principles. In Mt 12:34; 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.
who hath warned you—given you the hint, as the idea is.
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 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!
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