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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Matthew 3



Other Authors
Verse 1

In = And in. Greek. en de. See App-104.

In those days. Hebrew idiom for an indefinite time (Exodus 2:11, Exodus 2:23. Isaiah 38:1, &c): while the Lord, being grown up, was still dwelling in Nazareth. App-169. Compare Matthew 2:23.

came. Greek comes: i.e. presenteth himself.

came John, &c. Because "the word of God" had come to him (Luke 3:2).

John the Baptist = John the baptizer.

preaching = proclaiming as a herald. App-121.

in. Greek. en. App-104.

wilderness = country parts, which were not without towns or villages. David passed much of his time there. So John, probably in some occupation also; John now thirty years old. He was the last and greatest of the prophets, and would have been reckoned as Elijah himself, or as an Elijah (Matthew 11:14. Compare Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5) had the nation obeyed his proclamation.

Verse 2

Repent. Greek. metanoeo. See App-111.

the kingdom of heaven. See App-114.

of. Genitive of origin = from. App-17.

heaven = the heavens (plural) See note on Matthew 6:9, Matthew 6:10.

is at hand = had drawn nigh. What draws nigh may withdraw. See Matthew 21:43. Acts 1:6; Acts 3:20.

Verse 3

spoken. As well as written.

by. Greek. hupo. App-104., but all the Greek texts read "dia".

Esaias = Isaiah. The first of twenty-one occurrences of the name in N.T. See App-79.

The voice, &c. Quoted from Isaiah 40:3. See note there. App-107.

the LORD = Jehovah in Isaiah 40:3. See App-98.

Verse 4

had his raiment, &c. Compare 2 Kings 1:8.

leathern girdle. Worn to-day by peasants in Palestine.

meat = food.

locusts. Locusts form the food of the people today; and, being provided for in the Law, are

Verse 5

to = unto. Greek. pros. App-104.

Jerusalem . . . Judeea. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), App-6, for their inhabitants.

all. Put by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Genus), for the greater part.

all the region. Put by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of the Whole), for the greater part of the country.

Verse 6

were baptized = were being baptized.

baptized of. See App-115.

of = by. Greek. hupo. App-104.

Verse 7

Pharisees and Sadducees. See App-120.

saw. App-133.

come = coming.

baptism. See App-115.

generation = brood or offspring.

vipers = serpents. Not ordinary snakes, but venomous vipers.

who . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis (App-6), for emphasis.

warned, &c. = forewarned; or who hath suggested or given you the hint?

from = away from. Greek. apo. App-104.

the Wrath to come. The reference is to Ma Matthew 1:4, Matthew 1:1. The coming of Messiah was always connected with judgment; which would have come to pass had the nation repented at the preaching of "them that heard Him" (Hebrews 2:3. Compare Matthew 22:4). The "times of refreshing", and "the restoration of all things" of Acts 3:19-26, would have followed. Hence 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:9. See notes there; and compare Matthew 10:23; Matthew 16:28; Matthew 24:34. Luke 21:22, Luke 21:23. Acts 28:25, Acts 28:28.

to come = about to come.

Verse 8

meet for = worthy of.

Verse 9

think = think not for a moment (Aorist). This is an idiom to be frequently met with in the Jerusalem Talmud = be not of that opinion.

not. Greek. me. App-105.

within = among. Greek. en. App-104.

We have, &c. Compare John 8:39. Romans 4:1-6; Romans 9:7. Galatians 1:3, Galatians 1:9.

God. App-98.

of = out of. Greek. ek. App-104.

children. Greek plural of teknon. App-108.

Verse 10

now = already.

also. Omitted by all the texts (App-94.)

is laid = is lying at. The Jerusalem Talmud (Beracoth, fo Matthew 1:5, Matthew 1:1) refers Isaiah 10:33, Isaiah 10:34 to the destruction of Jerusalem; and argues from Isaiah 11:1 that Messiah would be born shortly before it

unto = at. Greek. pros. App-104.

is hewn down = getteth hewn down.

Verse 11

with. Greek. en. The literal rendering of the Hebrew (Beth = B). Matthew 7:6; Matthew 9:34. Romans 15:6. 1 Corinthians 4:21, &c.

shoes = sandals.

worthy = fit or equal. Not the same word as "meet for" in Matthew 3:8.

bear = bring or fetch. Mark: "stoop down and unloose". Luke: "unloose". Probably repeated often in different forms.

He shall baptize. "He" is emph. = He Himself will, and no other. See App-115. See Acts 1:4, Acts 1:5; Acts 2:3; Acts 11:15. Isaiah 44:3. Compare Ezekiel 36:26, Ezekiel 36:27. Joel 2:28.

baptize . . . with. See App-115.

the Holy Ghost = pneuma hagion, holy spirit, or "power from on high". No Articles. See App-101.

fire. See Acts 2:3. Note the Figure of speech Hendiadys (App-6) = with pneuma hagion = yea, with a burning (or purifying) spirit too, separating the chaff from the wheat (Matthew 3:12), not mingling them together in water. "Fire" in Matthew 3:11. Matthew 3:35 symbolic (see Isaiah 4:3. Ma Matthew 1:3, Matthew 1:1-4; Matthew 4:1. Compare Psalms 1:4; Psalms 35:5. Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 30:24; Isaiah 41:16. Jeremiah 51:2. Hosea 13:3). In Matthew 3:12, the "fire" is literal; for destroying, not for purging. Note the seven emblems of the Spirit (or of pneuma hagion) in Scripture. "FIRE" (Matthew 3:11. Acts 2:3); "WATER" (Ezekiel 36:25. John 3:5; John 7:38, John 7:39); "WIND" (Ezekiel 37:1-10); "OIL" (Isaiah 61:1. Hebrews 1:9); a "SEAL" (Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30); an "EARNEST" (Ephesians 1:14); a "DOVE" (Matthew 3:16).

Verse 12

fan = winnowing shovel. God fans to get rid of the chaff; Satan sifts to get rid of the wheat (Luke 22:31).

thoroughly = thoroughly.

floor = threshing-floor.

gather = gather together.

burn up. Greek. katakaio = burn down, or quite up.

Verse 13

Jesus. See App-98.

from = away from. Greek. apo.

Jordan = the Jordan.

Verse 14

forbad = was hindering. Greek. diakoluo. Occurs only here.

Verse 15

it to be so: or, supply the Ellipsis by "[Me]". The Lord was now, and here, recognized by John (John 1:31-34).

thus. In fulfilling this duty.

it becometh us. This duty was incumbent on John as the minister of that Dispensation; likewise on the Lord: hence the word "thus". The reason is given in John 1:31.

all righteousness: or every claim of righteous duty. This was the anointing of Messiah (see note on Matthew 3:17), and anointing was accompanied by washing or immersion (Exodus 29:4-7; Exodus 40:12. Leviticus 8:6).

Verse 16

out of = away from. Greek. apo. App-104.

from. Greek. apo.

lo. Figure of speech Asterismos (App-6), for emphasis.

He saw: i.e. the Lord saw.

the Spirit of God. Note the Articles, and see App-101.

God. See App-98.

like = as if. Greek. hosei = sis it were (not homoios = resembling in form or appearance): referring to the descent, not to bodily form as in Mark 1:10. In Luke 3:22 hosei may still be connected with the manner of descent, the bodily form referring to the Spirit.

dove. See note on "fire", Matthew 3:11.

lighting = coming.

upon. Greek. epi. App-104.

Verse 17

a voice. There were two voices: the first "Thou art", &c. (Mark 1:11. Luke 3:22), while the Spirit in bodily form was descending; the second (introduced by the word "lo"), "this is", &c, after it remained ("abode", John 1:32). This latter speaking is mentioned by John for the same reason as that given in John 12:30. Only one voice at the Transfiguration.

from = out of. Greek. ek. App-104.

My beloved Son. Not Joseph"s or Mary"s son = My Son, the beloved [Son]. See App-99.

in. See note on "with", Matthew 3:11.

I am, well pleased = I have found delight. Hebrew idiom, as in 2 Samuel 22:20. Psalms 51:16. Compare Isaiah 42:1. Isaiah 12:18. "This is My beloved Son" was the Divine formula of anointing Messiah for the office of Prophet (Matthew 3:17); also for that of Priest (Matthew 17:5. See App-149); and "Thou art My Son" for that of King (Psalms 2:7. Acts 13:33. Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 5:5).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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