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Matthew 3:1-6

Context
The Ministry of John the Baptist

3:1 In those days John the Baptist came into the wilderness 1  of Judea proclaiming, 3:2 “Repent, 2  for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3:3 For he is the one about whom Isaiah the prophet had spoken: 3 

The voice 4  of one shouting in the wilderness,

Prepare the way for the Lord, make 5  his paths straight.’” 6 

3:4 Now John wore clothing made from camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. 7  3:5 Then people from Jerusalem, 8  as well as all Judea and all the region around the Jordan, were going out to him, 3:6 and he was baptizing them 9  in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.

1 tn Or “desert.”

2 tn Grk “and saying, ‘Repent.’” The participle λέγων (legwn) at the beginning of v. 2 is redundant in English and has not been translated.

3 tn Grk “was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying.” The participle λέγοντος (legonto") is redundant and has not been translated. The passive construction has also been rendered as active in the translation for the sake of English style.

4 tn Or “A voice.”

5 sn This call to “make paths straight” in this context is probably an allusion to preparation through repentance.

6 sn A quotation from Isa 40:3.

7 sn John’s lifestyle was in stark contrast to many of the religious leaders of Jerusalem who lived in relative ease and luxury. While his clothing and diet were indicative of someone who lived in the desert, they also depicted him in his role as God’s prophet (cf. Zech 13:4); his appearance is similar to the Prophet Elijah (2 Kgs 1:8). Locusts and wild honey were a common diet in desert regions, and locusts (dried insects) are listed in Lev 11:22 among the “clean” foods.

8 tn Grk “Then Jerusalem.”

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

9 tn Grk “they were being baptized by him.” The passive construction has been rendered as active in the translation for the sake of English style.



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