3:10 So 1 the crowds were asking 2 him, “What then should we do?” 3:11 John 3 answered them, 4 “The person who has two tunics 5 must share with the person who has none, and the person who has food must do likewise.” 3:12 Tax collectors 6 also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 3:13 He told them, “Collect no more 7 than you are required to.” 8 3:14 Then some soldiers 9 also asked him, “And as for us – what should we do?” 10 He told them, “Take money from no one by violence 11 or by false accusation, 12 and be content with your pay.”
1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the people’s response.
2 tn Though this verb is imperfect, in this context it does not mean repeated, ongoing questions, but simply a presentation in vivid style as the following verbs in the other examples are aorist.
3 tn Grk “he”; the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 tn Grk “Answering, he said to them.” This construction with passive participle and finite verb is pleonastic (redundant) and has been simplified in the translation to “answered them.”
5 tn Or “shirt” (a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin). The name for this garment (χιτών, citwn) presents some difficulty in translation. Most modern readers would not understand what a ‘tunic’ was any more than they would be familiar with a ‘chiton.’ On the other hand, attempts to find a modern equivalent are also a problem: “Shirt” conveys the idea of a much shorter garment that covers only the upper body, and “undergarment” (given the styles of modern underwear) is more misleading still. “Tunic” was therefore employed, but with a note to explain its nature.
6 sn The tax collectors would bid to collect taxes for the Roman government and then add a surcharge, which they kept. Since tax collectors worked for Rome, they were viewed as traitors to their own people and were not well liked. Yet even they were moved by John’s call.
7 tn In the Greek text μηδὲν πλέον (mhden pleon, “no more”) is in an emphatic position.
sn By telling the tax collectors to collect no more than…required John was calling for honesty and integrity in a business that was known for greed and dishonesty.
8 tn Or “than you are ordered to.”
9 tn Grk “And soldiers.”
10 tn Grk “And what should we ourselves do?”
11 tn Or “Rob no one.” The term διασείσητε (diaseishte) here refers to “shaking someone.” In this context it refers to taking financial advantage of someone through violence, so it refers essentially to robbery. Soldiers are to perform their tasks faithfully. A changed person is to carry out his tasks in life faithfully and without grumbling.
12 tn The term translated “accusation” (συκοφαντήσητε, sukofanthshte) refers to a procedure by which someone could bring charges against an individual and be paid a part of the fine imposed by the court. Soldiers could do this to supplement their pay, and would thus be tempted to make false accusations.