Matthew 3:1
New International Version
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea

New Living Translation
In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was,

English Standard Version
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

Berean Study Bible
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea

Berean Literal Bible
Now in those days John the Baptist comes, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

New American Standard Bible
Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,

King James Bible
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

Christian Standard Bible
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea

Contemporary English Version
Years later, John the Baptist started preaching in the desert of Judea.

Good News Translation
At that time John the Baptist came to the desert of Judea and started preaching.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea

International Standard Version
About this time, John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the Judean wilderness,

NET Bible
In those days John the Baptist came into the wilderness of Judea proclaiming,

New Heart English Bible
And in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And in those days Yohannan The Baptizer came and was preaching in the desert of Judaea.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Later, John the Baptizer appeared in the desert of Judea. His message was,

New American Standard 1977
Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,

Jubilee Bible 2000
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea

King James 2000 Bible
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

American King James Version
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

American Standard Version
And in those days cometh John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, saying,

Douay-Rheims Bible
AND in those days cometh John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea.

Darby Bible Translation
Now in those days comes John the baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

English Revised Version
And in those days cometh John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

Webster's Bible Translation
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

Weymouth New Testament
About this time John the Baptist made his appearance, preaching in the Desert of Judaea.

World English Bible
In those days, John the Baptizer came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,

Young's Literal Translation
And in those days cometh John the Baptist, proclaiming in the wilderness of Judea,
Study Bible
The Mission of John the Baptist
1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”…
Cross References
Joshua 15:61
These were in the wilderness: Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah,

Judges 1:16
Now the descendants of Moses' father-in-law, the Kenite, went up with the men of Judah from the City of Palms to the Wilderness of Judah in the Negev near Arad. They went to live among the people.

1 Kings 2:34
So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up, struck down Joab, and killed him. He was buried at his own home in the wilderness.

Matthew 11:7
As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind?

Matthew 11:11
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 16:14
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

Mark 1:2
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "Behold, I will send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way."

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

Luke 3:2
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

John 1:6
There came a man who was sent from God. His name was John.

John 1:19
And this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you?"

Treasury of Scripture

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

those.

Luke 3:1,2
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, …

John.

Matthew 11:11
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 14:2-12
And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him…

Matthew 16:14
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

preaching.

Isaiah 40:3-6
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God…

Mark 1:7
And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

Luke 1:17
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

the wilderness.

Matthew 11:7
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

Joshua 14:10
And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.

Joshua 15:61,62
In the wilderness, Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah, …







Lexicon
In
Ἐν (En)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

those
ἐκείναις (ekeinais)
Demonstrative Pronoun - Dative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 1565: That, that one there, yonder. From ekei; that one (neuter) thing); often intensified by the article prefixed.

days
ἡμέραις (hēmerais)
Noun - Dative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 2250: A day, the period from sunrise to sunset.

John
Ἰωάννης (Iōannēs)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2491: Of Hebrew origin; Joannes, the name of four Israelites.

the
(ho)
Article - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

Baptist
βαπτιστὴς (baptistēs)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 910: From baptizo; a baptizer, as an epithet of Christ's forerunner.

came,
παραγίνεται (paraginetai)
Verb - Present Indicative Middle or Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 3854: From para and ginomai; to become near, i.e. Approach; by implication, to appear publicly.

preaching
κηρύσσων (kēryssōn)
Verb - Present Participle Active - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2784: To proclaim, herald, preach. Of uncertain affinity; to herald, especially divine truth.

in
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

the
τῇ (tē)
Article - Dative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

wilderness
ἐρήμῳ (erēmō)
Adjective - Dative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2048: Lonesome, i.e. waste.

of Judea
Ἰουδαίας (Ioudaias)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2449: Judea, a Roman province, capital Jerusalem. Feminine of Ioudaios; the Judaean land, a region of Palestine.
III.

(1) John the Baptist.--For the birth and early life of the forerunner of the Christ, see Notes on. Luke 1. The manner in which he is mentioned here shows that his name was already well known to all readers of the Gospel. So, in like manner, Josephus names him as popularly known by the same title (Ant. xviii. 5, ? 2), and describes his work as that of a preacher of repentance in nearly the same terms as St. Matthew. The symbolism of ablution as the outward sign of inward purification was, of course, derived from the Mosaic ritual. It was ordered for the consecration of the priests (Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 8:6), for the purification of the leper and other unclean persons (Leviticus 14:8; Leviticus 15:31-32). It had received a fresh prominence from the language of Isaiah 1:16, of Ezekiel 36:25, of Zechariah 13:1, and probably (though the date of the practice cannot be fixed with certainty) from its being used on the admission of proselytes, male or female, from heathenism. The question asked by the priests and Levites in John 1:25 implies that it was expected as one of the signs of the coming of the Messiah, probably as the result of the prophecies just referred to. That which distinguished the baptism of John from all previous forms of the same symbolism was, that it was not for those only who were affected by a special uncleanness, nor for the heathen only, but for all. All were alike unclean, and needed purification, and their coming to the baptism was in itself a confession that they were so. The baptism was, as the name implied, an immersion, and commonly, though not necessarily, in running water.

The abrupt way in which the narrative is introduced "in those days," after an interval of thirty years from the close of Matthew 2, may be explained as referring to the well-known period of the commencement of John's ministry; or it may loosely refer to Matthew 1:23, and imply that time had gone on with no change in the general circumstances. (Comp. Exodus 2:11. See Excursus on the intervening History in the Notes on this Gospel.)

Came.--Literally, with the vividness of the historic present, cometh.

Preaching.--Here, as everywhere in the New Testament, the word implies proclaiming after the manner of a herald.

In the wilderness of Judaea.--The name was commonly applied to the thinly populated region in the southern valley of the Jordan, and so was equivalent to "the country about Jordan" of Luke 3:3, including even part of the district east of the river. In this region John had grown up (Luke 1:80).

Verses 1-12. - THE HERALD. (Parallel passages: Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18.) His public appearance and proclamation (vers. 1, 2), as foretold by Scripture (ver. 3). His Elijah-like dress (ver. 4). He is listened to by multitudes (vers. 5, 6). His faithful warning to typical Jews, and his pointing not to himself, but to the Coming One (vers. 7-12). The date at which he appeared is stated, in Luke 3:1, to have been "in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar; i.e. between August, A.D. 28, and August, A.D. 29" (Schurer, I. 2, p. 31). Verse 1. - In those days; and in those days (Revised Version). Probably merely contrasting those past days of the beginning of the gospel with the present, when the evangelist wrote (cf. Matthew 24:19, 22, where the days yet future are contrasted with those present). In Mark 1:9 the expression is used directly of the Lord's baptism. And (Revised Version); δέ; Hebrew usage taking up the narrative (cf. Joshua 1:1; Judges 1:1; Ruth 1:1; Esther 1:1). Came; cometh (Revised Version); historic present (cf. Matthew 2:19); παραγίνεται, here equivalent to "come forward publicly," make one's public appearance (cf. especially Luke 12:51; Hebrews 9:11; also especially 1 Macc. 4:46; also infra, ver. 13 and Matthew 2:1). John; Johanan. The name occurs first as that of a high priest in, apparently, the days of Rehoboam (1 Chronicles 6:9, 10, Authorized Version). "The Lord is gracious" was a fitting title for one born by the special grace of God, and sent to be the herald of his grace to all men (Titus 2:11). The Baptist.

(1) The Jews were far from having attained the simplicity of our present system, by which each person has both a family and a Christian name, and is thus designated with sufficient exactness for all the ordinary purposes of life. Their custom of name-giving was, and still largely is, as follows:

(a) A Hebrew name is given to the child at circumcision. This is the holy name, and is used at all strictly religious ceremonies; e.g. when called to read the Law in the synagogue.

(b) Each person has a name whereby he is known among the Gentiles. This is, at the present time, the name used for business and social purposes, and may be either Hebrew or of some ether language. It is usually connected, either in sound or meaning, with the holy name. So Paul and Saul, Didymus and Thomas (for numerous examples, cf. Hamburger, 'Real-Encycl.,' vol. 2. pp. 831-836. Lowe, 'Memorbook of Nurnberg,' pp. 18-28: 1881).

(c) He may have, either as well as or instead of the last, a name which designates him more exactly

(α) by mentioning his father or some other relation; e.g. Bartimaeus, Barsabbas (probably); (β) by mentioning some physical, mental, moral, or other peculiarity; e.g. James the Little, Simon the Zealot, Barnabas (the son of exhortation), and, from non-biblical authors, James the Just, Rabbi Judah the Holy, Samuel the Astronomer, John the Shoemaker. The title "the Baptist" belongs, of course, to this last class, and must have been given him partly because of the number of persons whom he baptized, and still more because baptism was the visible and external aim and result of his preaching.

(2) What was there new in John's baptism? In considering this it must be remembered that

(a) dipping in water had been commanded in the Law as a religious rite to priests (Exodus 30:20; Exodus 40:12; cf. Leviticus 8:6) on their first consecration to their office, and on each occasion that they fulfilled the holiest parts of their duties (cf. the sprinklings of the Levites on their consecration, Numbers 8:5-22); and to all Israelites in cases of ceremonial uncleanness (Leviticus 14:8; Numbers 19:13).

(b) It was very frequent among the Essenes (cf. especially the quotations from Josephus in Bishop Lightfoot, 'Colossians,' p. 171, edit. 1875).

(c) It was, we can hardly doubt, already customary at the admission of proselytes. There are, indeed, no certain allusions in Josephus, Philo, and the older Targumists (cf. Leyrer, in Cremer, s.v. βαπτίζω) to the baptism of proselytes properly so called; but (α) it is distinctly mentioned in the Mishna, and in such a way as to imply that it was an ancient custom, for the schools of both Shammai and Hillel assume it as a matter of course ('Pes,' 8:8); (β) as with books, so with customs, acceptance in two bodies originally one, as the Jewish and Christian Churches were, throws back the book or custom before the date of the separation. In other words, it is most improbable that Jews would only have begun to practise baptism at the admission of proselytes after it had been practised by a body which had separated from them. Jews would not be likely to adopt the distinguishing rite of Christians.

(d) Thus already, before John's time, baptism was largely practised as a symbol of purification from sin and of entrance on a new and holier life. Wherein, then, lay the distinguishing feature of John's baptism? Apparently in its being extended to all Israelites, without their having any personal ceremonial hindrance, and more particularly in the special aim and purpose to which it now referred. It signified the entrance upon a new life of expectation of Messiah. As of old, the nation had accepted the offer of God's kingdom, and, having washed their garments (Exodus 19:10, 14), had been sprinkled with blood (Exodus 24:8), so now, when this kingdom, was about to be more fully manifested, not the nation, indeed, considered as a whole, but (in harmony with the individualization of the gospel) those persons who responded to the invitation, came forward and publicly renounced their sins and professed their expectation of the kingdom (Edersheim, 'Life,' etc., 1:274). It is thus easy to account for the deep and widespread impression made by John the Baptist (cf. Acts 18:25; Acts 19:3), and for the important position that he holds in summaries of the origins of Christianity. John's baptism was treated by our Lord himself as the first stage in his earthly ministry, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), and naturally by the apostles as the historical introduction to the teaching and work of Messiah. Josephus's account of John the Baptist is well known, but too interesting to be omitted. "Now, some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army [by Aretas] came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John that was called the Baptist. For Herod had had him put to death, though he was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue both as to righteousness towards one another and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for baptism would be acceptable to God, if they made use of it, not in order to expiate some sins, but for the purification of the body, provided that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now, as many flocked to him, for they were greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod, fearing that the great influence John had over the people might lead to some rebellion (for the people seemed ready to do anything he should advise), thought it far best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of his leniency when it should he too late. Accordingly, he was sent a prisoner, in consequence of Herod's suspicious temper, to Machaerus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. So the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and was a mark of God's displeasure against him" ('Ant,' 18:5. 2, Shilleto's Whiston). Observe that

(1) Josephus confirms the Gospel account of the extent of John's influence over his countrymen; but

(2) attributes his imprisonment and death to a political, not a moral, cause. It is quite possible, on the one hand, that political reasons were not altogether wanting; and, on the other, that Josephus was ignorant of the more personal and stronger motive of Herod's action. Preaching (κηρύσσων). Unlike εὐαγγελίζομαι this word refers, not to the matter, but to the manner, the openness, of the proclamation. In contrast to the esoteric methods alike of heathen philosophers and of Jewish teachers, whether Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes. The herald proclaims as a herald; cf. Isaiah 40:9 (the original context of our ver. 3); Genesis 41:43 (LXX.). In the wilderness. By this term is not necessarily meant absolute desert, but "des lieux pen habites ou non cultives" (Neubauer, 'Geogr. du Talm.,' p. 52: 1868). The very place in which John preached was part of the symbolism of his whole life. The expectation of Messiah must lead to separation, but separation deeper than that of those who called themselves the "separated" (Pharisees). Of Judea. The exact expression comes elsewhere only in the title of Psalm 63, and in Judges 1:16, where it is defined as "in the south of Arad." It seems that, while different parts of the rugged district from Jericho southwards (Joshua 16:1), immediately on the west and north of the Dead Sea, had their distinctive titles - the wilderness of Siph (1 Samuel 23:14, 15), of Maon (1 Samuel 23:24), of Engedi (1 Samuel 24:1), of Jeruel (2 Chronicles 20:16), of Tekoa (2 Chronicles 20:20) - the whole district was, as belonging to the tribe and even more certainly to the kingdom and province of Judah, known by the name of "the wilderness of Judaea." According to tradition, John was now preaching near Jericho. We find him soon after this at Bethany beyond Jordan (John 1:28), and later still at tenon, near Salim, in, or on the borders of, Samaria (John 3:23)." 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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