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Augsburger Limited Stock. Limited Stock. Preaching according to his commission, Luke , where it is said the word of the Lord came to him. In the wilderness of Judea; some parts of Judea, where houses and inhabitants were very few. The Evangelist having given an account of the genealogy and birth of Christ; of the coming of the wise men from the east to him; of his preservation from Herod's bloody design against him, when all the infants at Bethlehem were slain; of the flight of Joseph with Mary and Jesus into Egypt, and of their return from thence, and settlement in Nazareth, where Christ continued till near the time of his baptism, and entrance on his public ministry; proceeds to give a brief relation of John, the harbinger and forerunner of Christ, and the administrator of baptism to him: and he describes him by his name John, in Hebrew "Jochanan", which signifies "gracious", or "the grace of the Lord", or "the Lord has given grace"; which agrees with him, both as a good man, on whom the Lord had bestowed much grace, and as a preacher, whose business it was to publish the grace of God in Christ, Luke This name was given him by an angel before his conception, and by his parents at his birth, contrary to the mind of their relations and neighbours, Luke He is called by some of the Jewish writers m , John the "high priest"; his father Zacharias was a priest of the course of Abia, and he might succeed him therein, and be the head of that course, and for that reason be called a "high" or "chief priest"; as we find such were called, who were the principal among the priests, as were those who were chosen into the sanhedrim, or were the heads of these courses; and therefore we read of many chief priests, Matthew From his being the first administrator of the ordinance of baptism, he is called John the Baptist; and this was a well known title and character of him.

Josephus n calls him "John", who is surnamed , "the Baptist"; and Ben Gorion having spoken of him, says o , this is that John who , "made", instituted, or practised "baptism"; and which, by the way, shows that this was not in use among the Jews before, but that John was the first practiser this way. He is described by his work and office as a preacher, he "came" or "was preaching" the doctrines of repentance and baptism; he published and declared that the kingdom of the Messiah was at hand, that he would quickly be revealed; and exhorted the people to believe on him, which should come after him.

The place where he preached is mentioned, in the wilderness of Judea; not that he preached to trees and to the wild beasts of the desert; for the wilderness of Judea was an habitable place, and had in it many cities, towns, and villages, in which we must suppose John came preaching, at least to persons which came out from thence.

There were in Joshua's time six cities in this wilderness, namely Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah, and Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi, Joshua Mention is made in the Talmud p of this wilderness of Judea, as distinct from the land of Israel, when the doctors say, that "they do not bring up small cattle in the land of Israel, but they bring them up , "in the wilderness which is in Judea". The time of his appearance and preaching was in those days: not when Christ was newly born; or when the wise men paid their adoration to him; or when Herod slew the infants; or when he was just dead, and Archelaus reigned in his room; or when Christ first went to Nazareth; though it was whilst he dwelt there as a private person; but when John was about thirty years of age, and Christ was near unto it, Luke an age in which ecclesiastical persons entered into service, Numbers It was indeed, as Luke says, Luke in the "fifteenth" year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar; Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea; and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee; and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea; and of the region of Trachonitis; and Lysanias, the tetrarch of Abilene; Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests.

Tzemach David, par. Chronicon Regum, fol. Bava Kama, fol, Indefinite determination of time, which, however, always points back to a date which has preceded it. Mark ; Luke Here: at the time when Jesus still sojourned at Nazareth. The evangelist passes over the history of the youth of Jesus, and at once goes onwards to the forerunner of the Messiah; for he might not have had at his command any written documents, and sufficiently trustworthy traditions regarding it, since the oldest manner of presenting the gospel history, as still retained in Mark, began first with John the Baptist, to which beginning our evangelist also turns without further delay.

It employs in so doing only the very indefinite transition with the same simplicity of unstudied historical writing, as in Exodus , where by the same expression is meant the time when Moses still sojourned at the court of Egypt, though not the time of his childhood Matthew , but of his manhood. Matthew has only the more general and indefinite expression: he arrives, he appears.

Luke ; Hebrews The mention of the locality is more precise in Luke f. Ebrard in answer to Strauss ; Keim, l. Compare in regard to our wilderness, Robinson, Pal. Expositor's Greek Testament Matthew John the Baptist appears Mark , Luke Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges 1. In those days ] See Luke , where the time is defined. The same word and the same tense as in Matthew Josephus mentions the great influence of John and speaks of the crowds that flocked to hear him preach and to be baptized of him. The term also includes the cliffs and Western shore of the Dead Sea.

In this wild and nearly treeless district there were formerly a few cities, and there are still some luxuriant spots. Matthew Mark ; Luke ; John St Luke does not name the Pharisees and Sadducees, he gives the particular exhortations to the various classes of people who came to hear John. John and his teaching respecting the person of Christ are reported more fully. Bengel's Gnomen Matthew Therefore, in the words of the text, the reference is to Him, of whom it was said by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. Pulpit Commentary Verses Parallel passages: Mark ; Luke His public appearance and proclamation vers.

His Elijah-like dress ver. He is listened to by multitudes vers. His faithful warning to typical Jews, and his pointing not to himself, but to the Coming One vers. The date at which he appeared is stated, in Luke , to have been "in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar; i. Verse 1. Probably merely contrasting those past days of the beginning of the gospel with the present, when the evangelist wrote cf.

Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries

Matthew , 22 , where the days yet future are contrasted with those present. In Mark the expression is used directly of the Lord's baptism. Joshua ; Judges ; Ruth ; Esther Came ; cometh Revised Version ; historic present cf. John; Johanan. The name occurs first as that of a high priest in, apparently, the days of Rehoboam 1 Chronicles , 10 , Authorized Version. The Baptist. Their custom of name-giving was, and still largely is, as follows: a A Hebrew name is given to the child at circumcision.

This is the holy name, and is used at all strictly religious ceremonies; e. This is, at the present time, the name used for business and social purposes, and may be either Hebrew or of some ether language. It is usually connected, either in sound or meaning, with the holy name.


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So Paul and Saul, Didymus and Thomas for numerous examples, cf. Hamburger, 'Real-Encycl. Lowe, 'Memorbook of Nurnberg,' pp. The title "the Baptist" belongs, of course, to this last class, and must have been given him partly because of the number of persons whom he baptized, and still more because baptism was the visible and external aim and result of his preaching. In considering this it must be remembered that a dipping in water had been commanded in the Law as a religious rite to priests Exodus ; Exodus ; cf. Leviticus on their first consecration to their office, and on each occasion that they fulfilled the holiest parts of their duties cf.

There are, indeed, no certain allusions in Josephus, Philo, and the older Targumists cf. Leyrer, in Cremer, s.

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In other words, it is most improbable that Jews would only have begun to practise baptism at the admission of proselytes after it had been practised by a body which had separated from them. Jews would not be likely to adopt the distinguishing rite of Christians.


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  5. Wherein, then, lay the distinguishing feature of John's baptism? Apparently in its being extended to all Israelites, without their having any personal ceremonial hindrance, and more particularly in the special aim and purpose to which it now referred. It signified the entrance upon a new life of expectation of Messiah. As of old, the nation had accepted the offer of God's kingdom, and, having washed their garments Exodus , 14 , had been sprinkled with blood Exodus , so now, when this kingdom, was about to be more fully manifested, not the nation, indeed, considered as a whole, but in harmony with the individualization of the gospel those persons who responded to the invitation, came forward and publicly renounced their sins and professed their expectation of the kingdom Edersheim, 'Life,' etc.

    It is thus easy to account for the deep and widespread impression made by John the Baptist cf. Acts ; Acts , and for the important position that he holds in summaries of the origins of Christianity.


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    8. John's baptism was treated by our Lord himself as the first stage in his earthly ministry, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit Acts , and naturally by the apostles as the historical introduction to the teaching and work of Messiah. Josephus's account of John the Baptist is well known, but too interesting to be omitted. For Herod had had him put to death, though he was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue both as to righteousness towards one another and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for baptism would be acceptable to God, if they made use of it, not in order to expiate some sins, but for the purification of the body, provided that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness.

      Now, as many flocked to him, for they were greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod, fearing that the great influence John had over the people might lead to some rebellion for the people seemed ready to do anything he should advise , thought it far best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of his leniency when it should he too late. Accordingly, he was sent a prisoner, in consequence of Herod's suspicious temper, to Machaerus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death.

      So the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and was a mark of God's displeasure against him" 'Ant,' Observe that 1 Josephus confirms the Gospel account of the extent of John's influence over his countrymen; but 2 attributes his imprisonment and death to a political, not a moral, cause.

      It is quite possible, on the one hand, that political reasons were not altogether wanting; and, on the other, that Josephus was ignorant of the more personal and stronger motive of Herod's action. In contrast to the esoteric methods alike of heathen philosophers and of Jewish teachers, whether Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes.

      The herald proclaims as a herald; cf.

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      Isaiah the original context of our ver. In the wilderness. By this term is not necessarily meant absolute desert, but "des lieux pen habites ou non cultives" Neubauer, 'Geogr. The very place in which John preached was part of the symbolism of his whole life. The expectation of Messiah must lead to separation, but separation deeper than that of those who called themselves the "separated" Pharisees. Of Judea.

      Matthew Henry

      The exact expression comes elsewhere only in the title of Psalm 63 , and in Judges , where it is defined as "in the south of Arad. We find him soon after this at Bethany beyond Jordan John , and later still at tenon, near Salim, in, or on the borders of, Samaria John John Hebrew, meaning God has dealt graciously.

      Compare the German Gotthold. The verb is used in what is called the historical present, giving vividness to the narrative, as Carlyle "French Revolution".