Matthew 11:10
For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
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(10) This is he, of whom it is written.—The words in the Greek are not taken from the LXX. version of Malachi 3:1, but are a free translation from the Hebrew. In the original it is Jehovah Himself who speaks of His own coming: “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me.” In the Evangelist’s paraphrase it is Jehovah who speaks to the Christ—“shall prepare Thy way before Thee.” The reference to the prophecy of Malachi in the song of Zacharias (Luke 1:76) had from the first connected it with the Baptist’s work, and our Lord in thus adopting that reference, stamps the whole chapter with the character of a Messianic prophecy.

11:7-15 What Christ said concerning John, was not only for his praise, but for the people's profit. Those who attend on the word will be called to give an account of their improvements. Do we think when the sermon is done, the care is over? No, then the greatest of the care begins. John was a self-denying man, dead to all the pomps of the world and the pleasures of sense. It becomes people, in all their appearances, to be consistent with their character and their situation. John was a great and good man, yet not perfect; therefore he came short of glorified saints. The least in heaven knows more, loves more, and does more in praising God, and receives more from him, than the greatest in this world. But by the kingdom of heaven here, is rather to be understood the kingdom of grace, the gospel dispensation in its power and purity. What reason we have to be thankful that our lot is cast in the days of the kingdom of heaven, under such advantages of light and love! Multitudes were wrought upon by the ministry of John, and became his disciples. And those strove for a place in this kingdom, that one would think had no right nor title to it, and so seemed to be intruders. It shows us what fervency and zeal are required of all. Self must be denied; the bent, the frame and temper of the mind must be altered. Those who will have an interest in the great salvation, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing. The things of God are of great and common concern. God requires no more from us than the right use of the faculties he has given us. People are ignorant, because they will not learn.For this is he ... - The passage of Scripture here quoted is found in Malachi 3:1. The substance of it is contained also in Isaiah 40:3.

Prepare thy way - That is, to prepare "the people;" to make them ready, by proper instructions, to receive the Messiah.

2. Now when John had heard in the prison—For the account of this imprisonment, see on [1261]Mr 6:17-20.

the works of Christ, he sent, &c.—On the whole passage, see on [1262]Lu 7:18-35.

See Poole on "Matthew 11:11".

For this is he of whom it is written,.... Malachi 3:1

Behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. That these words belong , to the world to come, or the times of the Messiah, that is, the Gospel dispensation, the Jews (z) themselves own; but as to the particular person meant by the "messenger", or "angel", because they are not willing to acknowledge the right person, are at the utmost loss. Jarchi makes him to be the angel of death, who is to destroy the wicked; Aben Ezra conjectures it may be Messiah the son of Joseph, who they fancy will come before Messiah the son of David. Kimchi thinks an angel from heaven is designed; and Abarbinel Malachi himself: but the more ancient sense of the synagogue was, that the same person is meant, as in Mark 9:5 under the name of Elijah the prophet; and some have thought, that Elijah the Tishbite himself, is intended; though others think, that some great prophet of equal degree with him, and who is called by his name, is what the prophecy has regard unto (a); which last is the true sense of the passage: nor should it be once called in question, when our Lord himself has applied it to John the Baptist; to whom the things said in it perfectly agree. He was an "angel", not by nature, but by office; a "messenger" sent by God, "before the face" of the Messiah; six months before him: such a space of time he was born before him; and such a space of time he entered on his public ministry before him; and "prepared" his "way before" him, by preaching the doctrine of repentance, administering the ordinance of baptism, pointing at the Messiah, and exhorting persons to believe on him. All which proves him to be, what Christ says he was, "more than a prophet".

(z) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 15. fol. 219. 4. (a) Vid. Pocock in Malachi 3.1.

For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Matthew 11:10 is not an interpolation by the evangelist (Weizsäcker); on the contrary, it forms the connecting link between Matthew 11:9; Matthew 11:11. The passage is Malachi 3:1, and is a free rendering of the Hebrew and not from the LXX. In Malachi, Jehovah speaks of His messenger going before Himself; here, He addresses the Messiah; before Him will He send the messenger (not an angel). A free application without any substantial change in the contents of the passage, also without any special design in view; comp. remark on Matthew 3:3.

Matthew 11:10. οὑτοςγέγραπται. The περισσότερον verified and explained by a prophetic citation. The oracle is taken from Malachi 3, altered so as to make the Messianic reference apparent—μου changed into σου. By applying the oracle to John, Jesus identifies him with the messenger whom God was to send to prepare Messiah’s way. This is his distinction, περισσότερον, as compared with other prophets. But, after all, this is an external distinction, an accident, so to speak. Some prophet must be the forerunner, if Messiah is to come at all, the last in the series who foretell His coming, and John happens to be that one—a matter of good fortune rather than of merit. Something more is needed to justify the περισσότερον, and make it a proper subject for eulogy. That is forthcoming in the sequel.

10. Behold, I send, &c.] Quoted from the Hebrew of Malachi 3:2. The LXX. rendering of the passage is different.

Matthew 11:10. Οὗτος γάρ ἐστι, κ.τ.λ., for this is he, etc.) This makes John much greater than that what is spoken of[518] in Matthew 11:7-8, could.—ἸΔΟῪ ἘΓῺ ἈΠΟΣΤΈΛΛΩ ΤῸΝ ἌΓΓΕΛΌΝ ΜΟΥ ΠΡῸ ΠΡΟΣΏΠΟΥ ΣΟΥ, Ὃς ΚΑΤΑΣΚΕΥΆΣΕΙ ΤῊΝ ὉΔΌΝ ΣΟΥ ἜΜΠΡΟΣΘΈΝ ΣΟΥ, behold I send my messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee) In the S. V. of Malachi 3:1, we read, ἰδοὺ ἐξαποστελῶ τὸν ἄγγελόν Μου, καὶ ἐπιβλέψεται ὀδὸν πρὸ προσώπου Μου, καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἥξει, κ.τ.λ., behold I will send forth My messenger, and he shall survey the road before My face, and suddenly shall arrive, etc.—Ἐγὼ, I) The Father addressing the Son.—τὸν ἄγγελόν Μου, My messenger) John was sent by God as a messenger, after whom came the Messenger of the Covenant Himself.—πρὸ προσώπου Σου, before Thy face) Immediately before Thee. The LXX. have ἐξαίφνης (immediately) in the passage just quoted. John was not a prophet of distant events.—See Luke 1:76. The advent of the Father and of the Son are the same, and so is the language which applies to them. It is one of the strongest arguments for the divinity of Christ, that those things which are said of Christ in the New Testament are quoted from the Old Testament, where they are predicated as exclusively belonging to God.—See Gnomon on John 12:41; Acts 2:33; Romans 9:33; Romans 14:11; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 1 Corinthians 10:9; Ephesians 4:8; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 1:8; Hebrews 1:10-11; Revelation 1:8; Revelation 1:17.

[518] viz. His being “a reed shaken by the wind,” or “a man clothed in soft raiment.”—See Gnomon in loc.—(I. B.)

Verse 10. - For. Omitted in the Revised Version. It is here an explanatory gloss, though genuine in Matthew 3:3. This is he, of whom it is written. Our Lord justifies his assertion of John's unique position. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Malachi 3:1, not from the LXX., but freely from the Hebrew, which runs, "Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me." Observe in Matthew

(1) "thy way"

(2) "before thee," instead of "before me;"

(3) the first clause is made to end with nearly the same phrase as the second, Matthew's form is the more rhythmical, perhaps because of oral repetition (cf. Introduction, p. 10.). Luke (Luke 7:27), save for the omission of ἐγώ, is the same; Mark (Mark 1:2) only omits ἐγώ and "before thee." Christ does not hesitate to apply to himself a prophecy of the coming of God, nor did the early Church shrink from recording this of him. Such an application of an Old Testament passage Bengel calls "luclentissimum argumentum Deitatis Christi." (On this subject, cf. Bishop Westcott, Add. Note on Hebrews 3:7.) Matthew 11:10
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