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Luke 7:24-35


7:24 When 1  John’s messengers had gone, Jesus 2  began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness 3  to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 4  7:25 What 5  did you go out to see? A man dressed in fancy 6  clothes? 7  Look, those who wear fancy clothes and live in luxury 8  are in kings’ courts! 9  7:26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more 10  than a prophet. 7:27 This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 11  who will prepare your way before you.’ 12  7:28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater 13  than John. 14  Yet the one who is least 15  in the kingdom of God 16  is greater than he is.” 7:29 (Now 17  all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, 18  acknowledged 19  God’s justice, because they had been baptized 20  with John’s baptism. 7:30 However, the Pharisees 21  and the experts in religious law 22  rejected God’s purpose 23  for themselves, because they had not been baptized 24  by John. 25 ) 26 

7:31 “To what then should I compare the people 27  of this generation, and what are they like? 7:32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another, 28 

‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance; 29 

we wailed in mourning, 30  yet you did not weep.’

7:33 For John the Baptist has come 31  eating no bread and drinking no wine, 32  and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 33  7:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him, 34  a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35  7:35 But wisdom is vindicated 36  by all her children.” 37 

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

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Or “desert.”

4 tn There is a debate as to whether one should read this figuratively (“to see someone who is easily blown over?”) or literally (Grk “to see the wilderness vegetation?…No, to see a prophet”). Either view makes good sense, but the following examples suggest the question should be read literally and understood to point to the fact that a prophet drew them to the desert.

5 tn Grk “But what.” Here ἀλλά (alla, a strong contrastive in Greek) produces a somewhat awkward sense in English, and has not been translated. The same situation occurs at the beginning of v. 26.

6 tn Or “soft”; see L&N 79.100.

7 sn The reference to fancy clothes makes the point that John was not rich or powerful, in that he did not come from the wealthy classes.

8 tn See L&N 88.253, “to revel, to carouse, to live a life of luxury.”

9 tn Or “palaces.”

10 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.).

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

12 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.

13 sn In the Greek text greater is at the beginning of the clause in the emphatic position. John the Baptist was the greatest man of the old era.

14 tc The earliest and best mss read simply ᾿Ιωάννου (Iwannou, “John”) here (Ì75 א B L W Ξ Ë1 579 pc). Others turn this into “John the Baptist” (K 33 565 al it), “the prophet John the Baptist” (A [D] Θ Ë13 Ï lat), or “the prophet John” (Ψ 700 [892 1241] pc). “It appears that προφήτης was inserted by pedantic copyists who wished thereby to exclude Christ from the comparison, while others added τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ, assimilating the text to Mt 11.11” (TCGNT 119).

15 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.

16 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ proclamation. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21. It is not strictly future, though its full manifestation is yet to come. That is why membership in it starts right after John the Baptist.

17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the parenthetical nature of the comment by the author.

18 sn See the note on tax collectors in 3:12.

19 tn Or “vindicated God”; Grk “justified God.” This could be expanded to “vindicated and responded to God.” The point is that God’s goodness and grace as evidenced in the invitation to John was justified and responded to by the group one might least expect, tax collector and sinners. They had more spiritual sensitivity than others. The contrastive response is clear from v. 30.

20 tn The participle βαπτισθέντες (baptisqente") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.

21 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.

22 tn That is, the experts in the interpretation of the Mosaic law (see also Luke 5:17, although the Greek term is not identical there, and Luke 10:25, where it is the same).

23 tn Or “plan.”

24 tn The participle βαπτισθέντες (baptisqente") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle; it could also be translated as means (“for themselves, by not having been baptized”). This is similar to the translation found in the NRSV.

25 tn Grk “by him”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

26 sn Luke 7:29-30 forms something of an aside by the author. To indicate this, they have been placed in parentheses.

27 tn Grk “men,” but this is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"). The comparison that follows in vv. 32-34 describes “this generation,” not Jesus and John.

28 tn Grk “They are like children sitting…and calling out…who say.”

29 snWe played the flute for you, yet you did not dance…’ The children of this generation were making the complaint (see vv. 33-34) 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.

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

31 tn The perfect tenses in both this verse and the next do more than mere aorists would. They not only summarize, but suggest the characteristics of each ministry were still in existence at the time of speaking.

32 tn Grk “neither eating bread nor drinking wine,” but this is somewhat awkward in contemporary English.

33 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.

34 tn Grk “Behold a man.”

35 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.

36 tn Or “shown to be right.” This is the same verb translated “acknowledged… justice” in v. 29, with a similar sense – including the notion of response. Wisdom’s children are those who respond to God through John and Jesus.

37 tn Or “by all those who follow her” (cf. CEV, NLT). Note that the parallel in Matt 11:19 reads “by her deeds.”

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