Matthew 3:6
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

King James Bible
And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Darby Bible Translation
and were baptised by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

World English Bible
They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

Young's Literal Translation
and they were baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins.

Matthew 3:6 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Were baptized - The word "baptize" βαπτίζω baptizo signifies originally to tinge, to dye, to stain, as those who dye clothes. It here means to cleanse or wash anything by the application of water. See the notes at Mark 7:4. Washing, or ablution, was much in use among the Jews, as one of the rites of their religion, Numbers 19:7; Hebrews 9:10. It was not customary, however, among them to baptize those who were converted to the Jewish religion until after the Babylonian captivity. At the time of John, and for some time previous, they had been accustomed to administer a rite of baptism, or washing, to those who became proselytes to their religion; that is, to those who were converted from being Gentiles. This was done to signify that they renounced the errors and worship of the pagans, and as significant of their becoming pure by embracing a new religion.

It was a solemn rite of washing, significant of cleansing from their former sins, and purifying them for the special service of Yahweh. John found this custom in use; and as he was calling the Jews to a new dispensation - to a change in their form of religion - he administered this rite of baptism (washing), to signify the cleansing from sin, the adopting of the new dispensation, or the fitness for the pure reign of the Messiah. He applied an old ordinance to a new purpose. As it was used by him it was a significant rite, or ceremony, intended to denote the putting away of impurity, and a purpose to be pure in heart and life. The Hebrew word טבל Tabal which is rendered by the word "baptize," occurs in the Old Testament in the following places, namely: Leviticus 4:6; Leviticus 14:6, Leviticus 14:51; Numbers 19:18; Ruth 2:14; Exodus 12:22; Deuteronomy 33:24; Joshua 3:15; Job 9:31; Leviticus 9:9; 1 Samuel 14:27 (twice); 2 Kings 5:14; 2 Kings 8:15; Genesis 37:31; Joshua 3:15.

It occurs in no other places; and from a careful examination of these passages its meaning among the Jews is to be derived. From these passages it will be seen that its radical meaning is neither to sprinkle nor to immerse. It is to dip, commonly for the purpose of sprinkling, or for some other purpose.

Thus, to dip the finger, i. e., a part of the finger, in blood enough to sprinkle with, Leviticus 4:6. To dip a living bird, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop, in the blood of the bird that was killed, for the purpose of sprinkling; where it could not be that all these would be immersed the blood of a single bird, Leviticus 14:6. To dip hyssop in the water, to sprinkle with, Numbers 19:18. To dip a portion of bread in vinegar, Ruth 2:14. To dip the feet in oil - an emblem of plenty, Deuteronomy 33:24. To dye, or stain, Ezekiel 23:15. To plunge into a ditch, so as to defile the clothes, Job 9:31. To dip the end of a staff in honey, 1 Samuel 14:27. To dip in Jordan - a declaration respecting Naaman the Syrian, 2 Kings 5:14. The direction of the prophet was to wash himself 2 Kings 5:10, and this shows that he understood washing and baptizing to mean the same thing. To dip a towel, or quilt, so as to spread it on the face of a man to smother him, 2 Kings 8:15.

In none of these cases can it be shown that the meaning of the word is to immerse entirely But in nearly all the cases the notion of applying the water to a part only of the person or object, though it was by dipping, is necessarily to be supposed.

In the New Testament the word βαπτίζω baptizo, in various forms, occurs 80 times; 57 with reference to persons. Of these 57 times, it is followed by "in" ἐν en 18 times, as in water, in the desert, in Jordan; 9 times by "into" εἰς eis, as into the name, etc., into Christ; once it is followed by ἐπί epi Acts 2:38, and twice by "for" ὑπέρ huper, 1 Corinthians 15:29.

The following remarks may be made in view of the investigation of the meaning of this word:

1. That in baptism it is possible, perhaps probable, that the notion of dipping would be the one that would occur to a Jew.

2. It would not occur to him that the word meant of necessity to dip entirely, or to immerse completely.

3. The notion of washing would be the one which would most readily occur, as connected with a religious rite. See the cases of Naaman, and Mark 7:4 (Greek).

4. It cannot be proved from an examination of the passages in the Old and New Testaments that the idea of a complete immersion was ever connected with the word, or that it ever occurred in any case. If those who were baptized went into the water, it is still not proved by that, that the only mode of baptism was by immersion, since it might have been by pouring, though they were in the water.

5. It is not positively enjoined anywhere in the New Testament that the only mode of baptism shall be by an entire submersion of the body under water. Without such a precept it cannot be made obligatory on people of all ages, nations, and climes, even if it were probable that in the mild climate of Judea it was the usual mode.

In Jordan - The River Jordan is the eastern boundary of Palestine or Judea. It rises in Mount Lebanon, on the north of Palestine, and runs in a southerly direction, underground, for 13 miles, and then bursts forth with a great noise at Cesarea Philippi. It then unites with two small streams, and runs some miles farther, and empties into the Lake Merom. From this small lake it flows 13 miles, and then falls into the Lake Gennesareth, otherwise called the Sea of Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee. Through the middle of this lake, which is 15 miles long and from 6 miles to 9 miles wide, it flows undisturbed, and preserves a southerly direction for about 70 miles, and then falls into the Dead Sea. The Jordan, at its entrance into the Dead Sea, is about 90 feet wide. It flows in many places with great rapidity, and when swollen by rains pours like an impetuous torrent. It formerly regularly overflowed its banks in time of harvest, that is, in March, in some places 600 paces, Joshua 3:15; 1 Chronicles 12:15. These banks are covered with small trees and shrubs, and afford a convenient dwelling for wild beasts. Allusion is often made to these thickets in the sacred Scriptures, Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44. On the reason why a river, or a place abounding in water, was selected for administering baptism, see the notes at John 3:23.

Matthew 3:6 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Dove of God
'He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him.' MATT. iii. 16. This Gospel of Matthew is emphatically the gospel of the Kingdom. It sets forth Jesus as the long-promised Messiah, the Son of David. And this conception of Him and of His work, whilst it runs through the whole of the Gospel, is more obviously influential in shaping the selection of incidents and colouring the cast of the language, in the early portion. Hence the genealogy with which the Gospel begins dwells
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Repentance,
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of Heaven is at band.--MATT. iii. 2. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.--MATT. iv. 17. "Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Qentiles, that they should repent and torn to God, and do works meet for repentance."--ACTS xxvi. 19,20. In the mouths of three
Catherine Booth—Godliness

My Beloved is White and Ruddy, the Chiefest among Ten Thousand.
My Well-beloved, replies the Spouse, is white by His purity, innocence and simplicity. He is ruddy by His charity, and because He has chosen to be dyed and purpled in His own blood. He is white by His frankness, ruddy by the fire of His love. He is chiefest among ten thousand, that is to say, He is above all I have chosen and preferred Him to every other. His Father has chosen Him above all the children of men as His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased (Matt. iii. 17). In short, if you would know,
Madame Guyon—Song of Songs of Solomon

"Because I have Lived So Many Years"
Monday, 20.--We embarked between three and four in the morning, in a very small, inconvenient sloop, and not a swift sailer; [38] so that we were seven hours in sailing what is called seven leagues. About eleven we landed at St. Helier, and went straight to Mr. Brackenbury's house. It stands very pleasantly, near the end of the town; it has a large, convenient garden, with a lovely range of fruitful hills, which rise at a small distance from it. I preached in the evening to an exceedingly serious
John Wesley—The Journal of John Wesley

Cross References
Ezra 10:1
Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly.

Matthew 3:11
"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 3:13
Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him.

Mark 1:5
And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

Luke 1:16
"And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.

John 1:25
They asked him, and said to him, "Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

John 1:26
John answered them saying, "I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.

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