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Matthew 11:9-15

Context
11:9 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more 1  than a prophet. 11:10 This is the one about whom it is written:

Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 2 

who will prepare your way before you. 3 

11:11 “I tell you the truth, 4  among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least 5  in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. 11:12 From 6  the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and forceful people lay hold of it. 7  11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John appeared. 8  11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, who is to come. 11:15 The one who has ears had better listen! 9 

1 tn John the Baptist is “more” because he introduces the one (Jesus) who brings the new era. The term is neuter, but may be understood as masculine in this context (BDAG 806 s.v. περισσότερος b).

2 tn Grk “before your face” (an idiom).

3 sn The quotation is primarily from Mal 3:1 with pronouns from Exod 23:20. Here is the forerunner who points the way to the arrival of God’s salvation. His job is to prepare and guide the people, as the cloud did for Israel in the desert.

4 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

5 sn After John comes a shift of eras. The new era is so great that the lowest member of it (the one who is least in the kingdom of God) is greater than the greatest one of the previous era.

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

7 tn Or “the kingdom of heaven is forcibly entered and violent people take hold of it.” For a somewhat different interpretation of this passage, see the note on the phrase “urged to enter in” in Luke 16:16.

8 tn The word “appeared” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

9 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).



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