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Matthew 11:15-19

Context
11:15 The one who has ears had better listen! 1 

11:16 “To 2  what should I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to one another, 3 

11:17 ‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance; 4 

we wailed in mourning, 5  yet you did not weep.’

11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 6  11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him, 7  a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors 8  and sinners!’ 9  But wisdom is vindicated 10  by her deeds.” 11 

1 tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

2 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

3 tn Grk “who call out to one another, saying.” The participle λέγουσιν (legousin) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

4 snWe played the flute for you, yet you did not dance…’ The children of this generation were making the complaint (see vv. 18-19) that others were not playing the game according to the way they played the music. John and Jesus did not follow “their tune.” Jesus’ complaint was that this generation wanted things their way, not God’s.

5 tn The verb ἐθρηνήσαμεν (eqrhnhsamen) refers to the loud wailing and lamenting used to mourn the dead in public in 1st century Jewish culture.

6 sn John the Baptist was too separatist and ascetic for some, and so he was accused of not being directed by God, but by a demon.

7 tn Grk “Behold a man.”

8 sn See the note on tax collectors in 5:46.

9 sn Neither were they happy with Jesus (the Son of Man), even though he was the opposite of John and associated freely with people like tax collectors and sinners. Either way, God’s messengers were subject to complaint.

10 tn Or “shown to be right.”

11 tc Most witnesses (B2 C D L Θ Ë1 33 Ï lat) have “children” (τέκνων, teknwn) here instead of “deeds” (ἔργων, ergwn), but since “children” is the reading of the parallel in Luke 7:35, scribes would be motivated to convert the less colorful “deeds” into more animate offspring of wisdom. Further, ἔργων enjoys support from א B* W (Ë13) as well as early versional and patristic support.



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