St. Matthew 11: 7-9


#1

Whenever I come across these two verses I am slightly befuddled as to what Christ means. In the context of Christ speaking to the crowds “…concerning John (The Baptist)…”.

7 - …"What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind?

8 - …“Why then did you go out? To see a man dressed in soft robes? Behold, those who wear soft robes are in kings houses”…

Is Christ trying to emphasize that John the Baptist’s followers should not be looking for someone who is flaunting their glory? A scribe-ish dilettante?

Particularly “…a reed shaken by the wind…” has me pondering. Considering the Aramaic source of the discourses in Matthew’s Gospel is this an allusion to someone effeminate and ineffectual?

I suppose I could pull out my RSVCE-NT Study Edition, but I wanted to hear others opinions.

(Source:RSVCE)


#2

New Living Translation
"As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind?”


#3

=James82;12113064]Whenever I come across these two verses I am slightly befuddled as to what Christ means. In the context of Christ speaking to the crowds “…concerning John (The Baptist)…”.

7 - …"What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind?

8 - …“Why then did you go out? To see a man dressed in soft robes? Behold, those who wear soft robes are in kings houses”…

Is Christ trying to emphasize that John the Baptist’s followers should not be looking for someone who is flaunting their glory? A scribe-ish dilettante?

Particularly “…a reed shaken by the wind…” has me pondering. Considering the Aramaic source of the discourses in Matthew’s Gospel is this an allusion to someone effeminate and ineffectual?

I suppose I could pull out my RSVCE-NT Study Edition, but I wanted to hear others opinions.

(Source:RSVCE)

NO, not at all. Christ is asking if they seek ONLY a “man”? John being MUCH MORE as the LAST OT Prophet.

FROM Haydock’s Catholic Commentary:
V 8: “Clothed in soft, &c. That the Baptist was not like the reeds, changeable by nature, the respect that the whole Jewish people paid him sufficiently evinced. Our Redeemer, therefore, proceeds to shew that S.** John was not changeable by his manner of life. Delicacies and effeminacy (the ordinary sources of fickleness of behaviour,) being found in the houses of kings, and the great ones of this earth, were far from being desired by the precursor. **This he shewed to the world by his garments of camels’ hair, his habitation in the wilderness, his slender and insipid food of wild honey and locusts, and the prisons to which his constancy brought him. S. Chrys. hom. xxxviii.”

V 9 “**More than a prophet. John was a prophet, because he foretold the coming of Christ; and he was more than a prophet, because he saw him, which was a privilege that none of the ancient prophets enjoyed; **and not only did he see him, but pointed him out, before he was acknowledged in that character. Again, he was more than a prophet, in as much as he was the precursor of the Messias, who even deigned to receive baptism at his hands. M”

God Bless you,
Patrick


#4

Pneuma - I appreciate your help with the more literal translation. However, the NLT (I believe) is a Protestant/Evangelical doctrinal Bible that has been skewed in places to fit erroneous doctrine.

Have you tried a KJV (with deuterocanonical books)? Or even an RSV (ecumenical or Catholic versions are both sound).

PJM - Thank you for the insight you have brought. This brings even more glory to St. John the Baptist on his Nativity Feast Day. Thank you. Much to contemplate and pray on.


#5

The reed shaken in the wind is a reference to the reeds in the Old Testament.

a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.

(Isaiah 42:3)

There are other verses like this throughout the Old Testament which speak of things like a staff made of reeds which when leaned upon will break and injure the user.

Jesus was bringing these verses and their surrounding context to his listener’s attention in order to teach. It was a rabbinical teaching technique called remez which means “to hint.”

Jesus was hinting at Old Testament themes to teach his audience.

-Tim-


closed #6

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