Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:17

and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."
New American Standard

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Adam Clarke Commentary

In whom I am well pleased - Εν ω ενδακησα in whom I have delighted - though it is supposed that the past tense is here used for the present: but see the note on Matthew 17:5. By this voice, and overshadowing of the Spirit, the mission of the Lord Jesus was publicly and solemnly accredited; God intimating that he had before delighted in him: the law, in all its ordinances, having pointed him out, for they could not be pleasing to God, but as they were fulfilled in, and showed forth, the Son of man, till, he came.

As the office of a herald is frequently alluded to in this chapter, and also in various other parts of the New Testament, I think it best to give a full account of it here, especially as the office of the ministers of the Gospel is represented by it. Such persons can best apply the different correspondences between their own and the herald's office.

At the Olympic and Isthmian games, heralds were persons of the utmost consequence and importance. Their office was: -

  1. To proclaim from a scaffold, or elevated place, the combat that was to be entered on.
  • To summon the Agonistae, or contenders, to make their appearance, and to announce their names.
  • To specify the prize for which they were to contend.
  • To admonish and animate, with appropriate discourses, the athletae, or combatants.
  • To set before them, and explain, the laws of the agones, or contenders; that they might see that even the conqueror could not receive the crown or prize, unless he had strove lawfully.
  • After the conflict was ended, to bring the business before the judges, and, according to their determination, to proclaim the victor.
  • To deliver the prize to the conqueror, and to put the crown on his head, in the presence of the assembly.
  • They were the persons who convoked all solemn and religious assemblies, and brought forth, and often slew, the sacrifices offered on those occasions.
  • They frequently called the attention of the people, during the sacrifices, to the subject of devotion, with hoc age! τουτο πραττε : mind what you are about, don't be idle; think of nothing else. See Plutarch in Coriolanus.
  • The office, and nearly the word itself, was in use among the ancient Babylonians, as appears from Daniel 3:4, where the Chaldee word כרוזא caroza, is rendered by the Septuagint κηρυξ kerux, and by our translation, very properly, herald. His business in the above place was to call an assembly of the people, for the purpose of public worship; to describe the object and nature of that worship, and the punishment to be inflicted on those who did not join in the worship, and properly assist in the solemnities of the occasion.

    Daniel 3:4, is the only place in our translation, in which the word herald is used: but the word κηρυξ, used by St. Paul, 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11, and by St. Peter, 2 Peter 3:5, is found in the Septuagint, Genesis 41:43, as well as in Daniel 3:4, and the verb κηρυσσω is found in different places of that version, and in a great number of places in the New Testament.

    It is worthy of remark, that the office of the κηρυξ, kerux, or herald, must have been anciently known, and indeed established, among the Egyptians: for in Genesis 41:43, where an account is given of the promotion of Joseph to the second place in the kingdom, where we say, And they cried before him, saying, Bow the knee; the Septuagint has και εκηρυξεν εμπροσθεν αυτου κηρυξ· And a Herald made proclamation before him. As the Septuagint translated this for Ptolemy Philadelphus, the Egyptian king, and were in Egypt when they translated the law, we may safely infer that the office was not only known, but in use among the Egyptians, being denominated in their language אברק abrek, which our translators, following the Vulgate, have rendered, Bow the knee; but which the Septuagint understood to be the title of an officer, who was the same among the Egyptians as the κηρυξ among the Greeks. This is a probable meaning of the word, which escaped me when I wrote the note on Genesis 41:43.

    As every kind of office had some peculiar badge, or ensign, by which it was known among the ancients, so the heralds were known by generally carrying a caduceus. This was a rod with two spread wings at the top, and about which two serpents were entwined. The poets fabled that this rod was given by Apollo, the god of wisdom and music, to Mercury, the god of eloquence, and the messenger of the gods. To it wonderful properties are ascribed - especially that it produces sleep, and that it raises the dead. Who does not at once see, that the caduceus and its properties clearly point out the office, honor, and influence of the herald? As persons of strong voice, and ready speech, and copious eloquence, were always chosen for heralds, they were represented as endued with wisdom and eloquence from above. They lulled men to sleep, i.e. by their persuasive powers of speech, they calmed the turbulent dispositions of an inflamed populace, when proceeding to acts of rebellion and anarchy; or they roused the dormant zeal of the community, who, through long oppression, despairing of succor or relief, seemed careless about their best interests being stupidly resolved to sink under their burdens, and expect release only in death.

    As to the caduceus itself, it was ever the emblem of peace among the ancients: the rod was the emblem of power; the two serpents, of wisdom and prudence; and the two wings, of diligence and despatch. The first idea of this wonderful rod seems to have been borrowed from the rod of Moses. See the note on Exodus 4:17.

    The word κηρυξ kerux, or herald, here used, is evidently derived from κηρυσσειν, to proclaim, call aloud; and this from γηρυς, the voice; because these persons were never employed in any business, but such only as could not be transacted but by the powers of speech, and the energy of ratiocination.

    For the derivation of the word herald, we must look to the northern languages. Its meaning in Junius, Skinner, and Minshieu, are various, but not essentially different; they all seem to point out different parts of the herald's office.

    1. In the Belgic, heer signifies army. Hence heer -alt, a senior officer, or general, in the army.
  • Or heer -held, the hero of the army: he who had distinguished himself most in his country's behalf.
  • Or from the Gallo-teutonic herr -haut, the high lord, because their persons were so universally respected, as we have already seen.
  • Or from the simple Teutonic herr -hold, he who is faithful to his lord.
  • And, lastly, according to Minshieu, from the verb hier -holden, stop here; because, in proclaiming peace, they arrested bloodshed and death, and prevented the farther progress of war.
  • These officers act an important part in all heroic history, and particularly in the Iliad and Odyssey, from which, as the subject is of so much importance, I shall make a few extracts.
      I. Their character was sacred. Homer gives them the epithet of divine, θειοι .

    - Δολων, Ευμηδεος υιος,

    Κηρυκος θειοιο .

    Iliad x. 315

    "Dolon, son of Eumedes, the divine herald."

      They were also termed inviolable, ασυλοι ; also, great, admirable, etc. In the first book of the Iliad, we have a proof of the respect paid to heralds, and the inviolability of their persons. Agamemnon commands the heralds, Talthybius and Eurybates, his faithful ministers, to go to the tent of Achilles, seize the young Briseis, and bring her to him. They reluctantly obey; but, when they come into the presence of Achilles, knowing the injustice of their master's cause, they are afraid to announce their mission. Achilles, guessing their errand, thus addresses them: -

    Χαιρετε, κηρυκες, Διος αγγελοι, ηδε και ανδρων. κ. τ. λ.

    "Hail, O ye heralds, messengers of God and of men! come forward. I cannot blame you - Agamemnon only is culpable, who has sent you for the beautiful Briseis. But come, O godlike Patroclus, bring forth the damsel, and deliver her to them, that they may lead her away," etc., Iliad i. 334, etc.

      II. Their functions were numerous; they might enter without danger into besieged cities, or even into battles.

      III. They convoked the assemblies of the leaders, according to the orders they received from the general or king.

      IV. They commanded silence, when kings were to address the assembly, (Iliad xviii. 503. Κηρυκες δ 'αρα λαων ερητυον . See also Iliad ii. 280), and delivered the scepter into their hands, before they began their harangue.

    Ην δ 'απα κηρυξ

    Χερσι σκηπτρον εθηκε, σιωπησαι τ 'εκελευσεν .

    Iliad xxiii. 567

      V. They were the carriers and executors of the royal commands, (Iliad i. 320), and went in search of those who were summoned to appear, or whose presence was desired.

      VI. They were entrusted with the most important missions; and accompanied princes in the most difficult circumstances. Priam, when he went to Achilles, took no person besides a herald with him. (Iliad xxiv. 674, 689). When Ulysses sent two of his companions to treat with the Lestrygons, he sent a herald at the same time. (Odys. x. 102). Agamemnon, when he wished to soften Achilles, joined Eurybates and Hodius, his heralds, to the deputation of the princes. (Iliad ix. 170).

      VII. Heralds were employed to proclaim and publish whatever was to be known by the people. (Odys. xx. 276).

      VIII. They declared war and proclaimed peace. (Odys. xviii. 334).

      IX. They took part in all sacred ceremonies: they mingled the wine and water in the large bowls for the libations, which were made at the conclusion of treaties. They were the priests of the people in many cases; they led forth the victims, cut them in pieces, and divided them among those engaged in the sacrifices. (Odys. i. 109, etc).

      X. In Odyssey lib. xvii., a herald presents a piece of flesh to Telemachus, and pours out his wine.

    XI. They sometimes waited on princes at table, and rendered them many other personal services. (Iliad ii. 280; Odys. i. 143, etc., 146, 153; ii. 6, 38). In the Iliad, lib. x. 3, Eurybates carries the clothes to Ulysses. And a herald of Alcinous conducts Demodocus, the singer, into the festive hall. (Odys. viii. 470). Many others of their functions, services, and privileges, the reader may see, by consulting Damm's Homeric Lexicon, under Κρω .

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    A voice from heaven - A voice from God. This was probably heard by all who were present. This voice, or sound, was repeated on the mount of transfiguration, Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:35-36; 2 Peter 1:17. It was also heard just before his death, and was then supposed by many to be thunder, John 12:25-30. It was a public declaration that Jesus was the Messiah.

    My beloved Son - This is the title which God himself gave to Jesus. It denotes the nearness of his relation to God, and the love of God for him, Hebrews 1:2. It implies that he was equal with God, Hebrews 1:5-8; John 10:29-33; John 19:7. The term “Son” is expressive of love of the nearness of his relation to God, and of his dignity and equality with God.

    I am well pleased - or, I am ever delighted. The language implies that he was constantly or uniformly well pleased with him; and in this solemn and public manner he expressed his approbation of him as the Redeemer of the world.

    The baptism of Jesus has usually been regarded as a striking manifestation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or the doctrine that there are three Persons in the divine nature:

    (1) there is the Person of “Jesus Christ,” the Son of God, baptized in Jordan, elsewhere declared to be equal with God, John 10:30.

    (2) the Holy Spirit descending in a bodily form upon the Saviour. The Holy Spirit is also equal with the Father, or is also God, Acts 5:3-4.

    (3) the Father, addressing the Son, and declaring that He was well pleased with him.

    It is impossible to explain this transaction consistently in any other way than by supposing that there are three equal Persons in the divine nature or essence, and that each of these sustains an important part in the work of redeeming people.

    In the preaching of John the Baptist we are presented with an example of a faithful minister of God. Neither the wealth, the dignity, nor the power of his auditors deterred him from fearlessly declaring the truth respecting their character. He called things by their right names. He did not apologize for their sins. He set their transgressions fairly before them, and showed them faithfully and fearlessly what must be the consequence of a life of sin. So should all ministers of the Gospel preach. Rank, riches, and power should have nothing to do in shaping and gauging their ministry. In respectful terms, but without shrinking, all the truth of the Gospel must be spoken, or woe will follow the ambassador of Christ, 1 Corinthians 9:16.

    In John we also have an example of humility. Blessed with great success, attended by the great and noble, and with nothing but principle to keep him from turning it to his advantage, he still kept himself out of view, and pointed to a far greater Personage at hand. So should every minister of Jesus, however successful, keep the Lamb of God in his eye, and be willing - nay, rejoice - to lay all his success and honors at Jesus‘ feet.

    Everything about the work of Jesus was wonderful. No person had before come into the world under such circumstances. God would not have attended the commencement of his life with such wonderful events if it had not been of the greatest moment to our race, and if he had not possessed a dignity above all prophets, kings, and priests. His “name” was to be called “Wonderful, Councillor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace;” “of the increase of his government and peace” there was to be “no end;” “upon the throne of David and of his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice forever” Isaiah 9:6-7; and it was proper that a voice from heaven should declare that he was the long-promised prince and Saviour; that the angels should attend him, and the Holy Spirit signalize his baptism by his personal presence. And it is proper that we, for whom he came, should give to him our undivided affections, our time, our influence, our hearts, and our lives.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    And lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Three times, the Holy Scriptures represent God as speaking out of heaven in testimony for Jesus Christ: in this place, on the occasion of the transfiguration  (Matthew 17:5), and in  John 12:28-30.

    Voice out of heaven ... This passage is a stronghold of the Doctrine of the Trinity.  Discernible by man's senses, all three persons of the Godhead appear in this passage.  The Son is coming up from the waters of baptism, the Spirit of God in the form of a dove has alighted and remains upon Christ, and the Father himself speaks out of heaven!  It should be remembered that the Trinity as a doctrine is not stated in the Bible, but Scriptures such as this verse and  Matthew 28:18-20 strongly suggest it.  It should not be considered strange that God is a Trinity, because man himself, in a certain sense, is a trinity also.  For example, there are three institutions that minister to man's needs: (1) the asylum for the deranged, (2) the prison for the criminal, and (3) the hospital for the physically injured.  Man, created in God's image, and manifesting at least some characteristics of a trinity in His own nature, should not stumble at accepting the higher truth that God Himself is a Trinity of three Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  On this difficult question, Dr. Dummelow said, "Although the definition of the doctrine of the Trinity was the result of a long process of development which was not complete until the fifth century, the doctrine itself underlies the whole New Testament which everywhere attributes divinity to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and assigns to them distinct functions in the economy of redemption."Matthew 28:18-20, in which passage baptism is commanded in the "name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

    This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This declaration out of heaven in broad open daylight in the presence of a multitude was actually God's designation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  The sonship of Christ is unique.  He was the "only begotten" of the Father (John 3:18;  1 John 4:9).  Many men may claim to be sons of God, and properly so; but only One could have been "the only begotten" Son of God. Surely, this was a true "sign from heaven," given long before the Pharisees asked for such a sign. (See under  Matthew 16:1.)


    J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., 113:

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    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And lo, a voice from heaven, saying,.... At the same time the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended as a dove, and lighted on Christ, and whilst it abode upon him, an extraordinary voice was heard; hence the note of attention and admiration, "lo", is prefixed unto it, as before, to the opening of the heavens; being what was unusual and surprising; and as denoting something to be expressed of great moment and importance. The Jews, in order to render this circumstance less considerable, and to have it believed, that these voices from heaven heard in the time of Jesus, and in relation to him were common things, have invented a great many stories concerning בת קול משמים, "the voice", or "the daughter of the voice from heaven"; which they pretend came in the room of prophecy: theirF20T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 11. 1. Sota, fol. 48. 2. Yoma. fol. 9. 2. words are,

    "after the death of the latter prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the holy Spirit departed from Israel, and thenceforwards they used "Bath Kol", the "voice". One time they were sitting in the chamber of the house of Guria in Jericho, and there came to them בת קיל משמים, "the voice from heaven", (saying;) there is one here, who is fit to have the Shekinah (or divine majesty) abide on him, as Moses our master; but because his generation was not worthy, therefore the wise men set their eyes on Hillell, the elder; and when he died, they said concerning him, this was a holy man, a meek man, a disciple of Ezra. Again, another time they were sitting in a chamber in Jabneh, and there came to them "the voice from heaven", (saying;) there is one here, who is fit to have the Shekinah dwell on him; but because his generation was not worthy, therefore the wise men set their eyes on Samuel the little.'

    I have cited this passage at large, partly because, according to them, it fixes the date and use of "the voice"; and partly, because it affords instances of it, wherefore more need not be mentioned; for, it would be endless to repeat the several things spoken by it; such as encouraging Herod to rebel, and seize his master's kingdomF21T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 3. 2. ; forbidding Ben Uzziel to go on with his paraphrase on the Hagiographa, or holy books, when he had finished his Targum on the prophetsF23Megilla, fol. 3. 1. ; declaring the words of Hillell and Shammai to be the words of the living GodF24T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 3. 2. ; signifying the conception, birth, and death ofF25T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 22. 1. T. Hieros. Sabbat. fol. 8. 3. persons, and the like; all which seem to be mere fiction and imagination, diabolical delusions, or satanical imitations of this voice, that was now heard, in order to lessen the credit of it. But, to proceed; this extraordinary voice from heaven, which was formed in articulate sounds for the sake of John; and, according to the other Evangelists, was directed to Christ, Mark 1:11 expressed the following words, "this is my beloved Son". "This" person, who had been baptized in water, on whom the holy Spirit now rested, is no other than the Son of God in human nature; which he assumed, in order to be obedient to this, and the whole of his Father's will: he is his own proper "son", not by creation, as angels, and men; nor by adoption, as saints; nor by office, as magistrates; but in such a way of filiation as no other is: he is the natural, essential, and only begotten Son of God; his beloved Son, whom the Father loved from everlasting, as his own Son; the image of himself, of the same nature with him, and possessed of the same perfections; whom he loved, and continued to love in time, though clothed with human nature, and the infirmities of it; appearing in the likeness of sinful flesh; being in his state of humiliation, he loved him through it, and all sorrows and sufferings that attended it. Christ always was, and ever will be considered, both in his person as the Son of God, and in his office as mediator, the object of his love and delight; wherefore he adds,

    in whom I am well pleased. Jehovah the Father took infinite delight and pleasure in him as his own Son, who lay in his bosom before all worlds; and was well pleased with him in his office relation, and capacity: he was both well pleased in him as his Son, and delighted in him as his servant, Isaiah 42:1 he was pleased with his assumption of human nature; with his whole obedience to the law; and with his bearing the penalty and curse of it, in the room and stead of his people: he was well pleased with and for his righteousness, sacrifice and atonement; whereby his law was fulfilled, and his justice satisfied. God is not only well pleased in, and with his Son, but with all his people, as considered in him; in him he loves them, takes delight in them, is pacified towards them, and graciously accepts of them. It would be almost unpardonable, not to take notice of the testimony here given to the doctrine of the Trinity; since a voice was heard from the "father" in heaven, bearing witness to "the Son" in human nature on earth, on whom "the Spirit" had descended and now abode. The ancients looked upon this as so clear and full a proof of this truth, that they were wont to say; Go to Jordan, and there learn the doctrine of the Trinity. Add to all this, that since this declaration was immediately upon the baptism of Christ, it shows that his Father highly approved of, and was well pleased with his submission to that ordinance; and which should be an encouraging motive to all believers to follow him in it.

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    Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    8 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am p well pleased.

    (8) Christ's full consecration and authorization to the office of mediator is shown by the Father's own voice and a visible sign of the Holy Spirit.

    (p) The Greek word signifies a thing of great worth and such as highly pleases a man. So then the Father says that Christ is the only man whom when he beholds, looking at what opinion he had conceived of us, he lays it clean aside.

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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is — Mark and Luke give it in the direct form, “Thou art.” (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22).

    my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased — The verb is put in the aorist to express absolute complacency, once and for ever felt towards Him. The English here, at least to modern ears, is scarcely strong enough. “I delight” comes the nearest, perhaps, to that ineffable complacency which is manifestly intended; and this is the rather to be preferred, as it would immediately carry the thoughts back to that august Messianic prophecy to which the voice from heaven plainly alluded (Isaiah 42:1), “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, In Whom My Soul DelightethNor are the words which follow to be overlooked, “I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” (The Septuagint perverts this, as it does most of the Messianic predictions, interpolating the word “Jacob,” and applying it to the Jews). Was this voice heard by the by-standers? From Matthew‘s form of it, one might suppose it so designed; but it would appear that it was not, and probably John only heard and saw anything peculiar about that great baptism. Accordingly, the words, “Hear ye Him,” are not added, as at the Transfiguration.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

    John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

    17. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    [And behold, a voice from heaven.] Christ was honoured with a threefold testimony, pronounced by a voice from heaven, according to his threefold office. See what we say at chapter 17:2.

    You find not a voice sent from heaven between the giving of the law and the baptism of Christ. What things the Jews relate of Bath Kol, they must pardon me if I esteem them, partly, for Jewish fables,--partly, for devilish witchcrafts. They hold it for a tradition: "After the death of the last prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, the Holy Spirit departed from Israel [which was most true] but they used thenceforth the Bath Kol." "The Bath Kol was this: When a voice (or thunder) came out of heaven, another voice came out from it."

    But why, I pray, was prophecy withdrawn, if heavenly oracles were to be continued? Why, also, was Urim and Thummim taken away? Or rather, why was it not restored after the Babylonian captivity? For "Five things (say they) were wanting under the second Temple, which were under the first; namely, the fire from heaven, the ark, Urim and Thummim, the oil of anointing, and the Holy Spirit." It would certainly be a wonder, if God, taking away from his people his ordinary oracles, should bestow upon them a nobler oracle, or as noble; and that when the nation had degenerated, and were sunk into all kind of impiety, superstition, heresy. When the last prophets, Haggai and the rest, were dead, the Sadducean heresy, concerning the resurrection crept in, and the Pharisaical heresy also, weakening all Scripture, and making it of none effect by vain traditions. And shall I believe that God should so indulge his people, when they were guilty of so grievous apostasy, as to vouchsafe to talk familiarly with them from heaven, and to afford them oracles so sublime, so frequent, as the prophets themselves had not the like? If I may speak plainly what I think, I should reduce those numberless stories of the Bath Kol which occur everywhere under these two heads; namely, that very many are mere fables, invented for this purpose, that hence the worth of this or that Rabbin or story may be illustrated: the rest are mere magical and diabolical delusions.

    When I read these and such-like passages, that the Bath Kol in Jericho gave witness to Hillel, that he was worthy to have the Holy Ghost abide upon him; that the Bath Kol in Jabneh yielded the same testimony to Samuel the Little; that the Bath Kol again in Jabneh determined the controversies between the schools of Shammai and Hillel, for those of Hillel; and innumerable other stories of that kind, I cannot but either suspect these to be tales, or that these voices were framed by art magic for the honour of the Rabbins.

    It is remarkable what is related in the Jerusalem Talmud; R. Eliezer saith, They follow the hearing of Bath Kol. And a little after; "R. Jochanan, and R. Simeon Ben Lachish, desired to see the face of Samuel [the Babylonian Doctor]; Let us follow, say they, the hearing of Bath Kol. Travelling therefore, near a school, they heard a boy's voice reading [in 1 Samuel 25:1] And Samuel died. They observed this, and so it came to pass, for Samuel of Babylon was dead."

    "R. Jonah and R. Josah went to visit R. Acha lying sick: Let us follow, say they, the hearing of Bath Kol. They heard the voice of a certain woman speaking to her neighbour, 'The light is put out.' To whom she said, 'Let it not be put out, nor let the light of Israel be quenched.'"

    Behold! reader, a people very well contented to be deceived with a new kind of Bath Kol. Compare these things with Virgil's lots, of which the Roman historians speak frequently. Not to be more tedious therefore in this matter, let two things only be observed: 1. That the nation, under the second Temple was given to magical arts beyond measure. And, 2. That it was given to an easiness of believing all manner of delusions beyond measure. And one may safely suspect, that those voices which they thought to be from heaven, and noted with the name of Bath Kol, were either formed by the devil in the air to deceive the people, or by magicians by devilish art to promote their own affairs. Hence the apostle Peter saith with good reason, that "the word of prophecy was surer than a voice from heaven"; 2 Peter 1:19.

    The very same which I judge of the Bath Kol, is my opinion also of the frequent appearances of Elias, with which the leaves of the Talmud do every where abound; namely, that in very many places the stories are false, and, in the rest, the apparitions of him were diabolical. See the notes upon the tenth verse of the seventeenth chapter.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". 1675.

    People's New Testament

    A voice from heaven. Three times God speaks from heaven in connection with the ministry of Christ--at his baptism, his transfiguration, and in the temple just before his suffering.

    Thou art my beloved Son. The very words addressed to the Messiah in Psalm 2:7; and from which the {Son of God} became one of his standing appellations. Thus the baptism of Christ was the occasion of his public recognition. No reader should fail to observe the significance of the {time} chosen by God for the acknowledgment of the Son. It is just after he has humbled himself in an act of obedience, in baptism, that the Holy Spirit anoints him as the Christ, and God formally acknowledges him as his Son. No more forcible expression of the estimate set by God on this institution could be given. This example and the New Testament harmonizes in teaching-- 1. That we must be baptized if we would follow Christ. 2. That it is when we repent and are baptized that we receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). 3. That when we have obeyed the Lord he will recognize us as his children.

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    Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "People's New Testament". 1891.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    A voice out of the heavens (πωνη εκ των ουρανωνphōnē ek tōn ouranōn). This was the voice of the Father to the Son whom he identifies as His Son, “my beloved Son.” Thus each person of the Trinity is represented (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) at this formal entrance of Jesus upon his Messianic ministry. John heard the voice, of course, and saw the dove. It was a momentous occasion for John and for Jesus and for the whole world. The words are similar to Psalm 2:7 and the voice at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). The good pleasure of the Father is expressed by the timeless aorist (ευδοκησαeudokēsa).

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    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
    Bibliographical Information
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    And lo, a voice — We have here a glorious manifestation of the ever - blessed Trinity: the Father speaking from heaven, the Son spoken to, the Holy Ghost descending upon him.

    In whom I delight — What an encomium is this! How poor to this are all other kinds of praise! To he the pleasure, the delight of God, this is praise indeed: this is true glory: this is the highest, the brightest light, that virtue can appear in.

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

    The Fourfold Gospel

    and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    1. A voice from heaven, etc. See .

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "The Fourfold Gospel". Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    In whom I am well pleased. This English is scarcely strong enough. "I delight" comes nearer, perhaps, to that ineffable complacency which is manifestly intended; and this is rather preferable, as it would immediately carry the thoughts back to that august Messianic prophecy to which the voice from heaven plainly alluded (Isaiah 42:1), "Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, IN WHOM MY SOUL DELIGHTETH." Was this voice heard by the bystanders? From Matthew's form of it, one might suppose it so designed, but it would appear that it was and probably only John heard and saw anything peculiar in the great baptism. Accordingly the words "Hear ye Him" are not added as at the Transfiguration.

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    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Ver. 17. And, lo, a voice from heaven] Whereupon St Peter foundeth the certainty of Christian faith and doctrine, 2 Peter 1:17, especially since we have a more sure word of prophecy; for that former might have been slandered, or suspected for an imposture.

    Saying, This is my beloved] My darling, he on whom my love resteth; {a} so that I will seek no further. Zephaniah 3:17. When the earth was founded, Christ was with his Father as his daily delight, sporting or laughing, always before him, risum captans ac consilium, Proverbs 8:30. Jerome.

    In whom I am well pleased] The beloved, in whom he hath made us accepted, Ephesians 1:6. God’s Hephzibah, so the Church is called, Isaiah 62:4; the dearly beloved of his soul, Jeremiah 12:7; or, as the Septuagint render it, {b} his beloved soul, over whom he rejoiceth as the bridegroom over his bride, Isaiah 62:5. Yea, "he will rest in his love," as abundantly well pleased, "he will joy therein with singing," Zephaniah 3:17. So well thinketh God of his Son Christ, and of us through him, as some of the ancients rendered this word, ευδοκησα, In quo bene sensi. So (after Irenaeus) Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine interpret it. {c} And yet, as well as he thought of his only Son, he spared him not, but "delivered him up for us all," Romans 8:32, whereupon St Bernard thus cries out, O quantum dilecte, prae quo filius ipse aut non dilectus, aut saltem neglectus? God so loved his Son, that he gave him all the world for his possession, Psalms 2:6-8; but he so loved the world, that he gave Son and all for its redemption. One calls this a hyperbole, an excess of love, a miracle of mercy, a sic so, without a sicut. just as, God so loved the loved, so infinitely, so incomparably, so incomprehensibly, as that there is no similitude in nature whereby to express it. John 3:16; Ephesians 3:18-19. Abraham (God’s friend) showed his love to him in not withholding his only son Isaac: but what was Isaac to Christ? or what was Abraham’s love to God’s? He did that freely and voluntarily, that Abraham would never have done but upon a command: besides, Isaac was to be offered up after the manner of holy sacrifices, but Christ suffered after the manner of malefactors. And yet further, Isaac was in the hand of a tender and compassionate father; but Christ died by the wicked hands of barbarous and blood thirsty enemies, that thereby he might slay the enmity and reconcile us to God, Ephesians 2:15-16; so making peace, {d} and paving us "a new and living way," with his blood, to the throne of grace, "wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved," Ephesians 1:6. David saw the features of his friend Jonathan in lame Mephibosheth, and therefore loved him. He forgave Nabal at Abigail’s intercession; and was pacified toward Absalom at Joab’s. Pharaoh favoured Jacob’s house for Joseph’s sake. Shall not God do as much more for Jesus’ sake? Joseph was well pleased with his brethren when they brought Benjamin; bring but the child Jesus in our arms (as Simeon did, and as Themistocles did the king of Persia’s child) and he cannot but smile upon us. Were he never so much displeased before, yet upon the sight of this his well beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased, all shall be calm and quiet, as when Jonah was cast into the sea.

    {a} αγαπαν, quasi αγαν παυειν, αγαπρτος.

    {b} εδωκα την ηγαπημενην ψυχην μου. Dedi dilectam animam meam.

    {c} ευδοκιμοι Graecis dicuntur celebres, et de quibus magnifica est opinio. Erasm.

    {d} ειρηνη απο του εις εν ειρειν.

    Matthew 4:1-25

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Matthew 3:17. This is my beloved Son As both St. Mark and St. Luke have it, Thou art my beloved Son, one would be inclined to follow those copies of St. Matthew which agree with them, rather than the more common reading. See Mills and Wetstein. Chemnitz, however, and some others, imagine that both sentences were pronounced, the voice uttering the words, Thou art my beloved Son, &c. while the Spirit was descending, as if they had been directed to Jesus alone; and that after the Spirit rested on Jesus, the voice, speaking to the Baptist and the multitude, said, This is my beloved Son, &c. On this supposition, which, without doubt, renders the miracle very remarkable, the words of the preceding verse may be well referred to the Baptist, as we have there observed. The Greek word ' Αγαπητος is frequently used by authors to denote an only Son, and the LXX make use of it when the word in the Hebrew signifies only, Genesis 22:12. Zechariah 12:10 and elsewhere. The original word ευδοκησα, expresses an entire acquiescence in what we love and approve. This passage is taken from Isaiah 42:1 with very little variation. See Psalms 2:7; Psalms 43:3 and Psalms 44:4. Wetstein, and Beausobre and Lenfant; and for more in the Inferences. It may be proper just to observe, that we have here a glorious manifestation of the ever-blessed Trinity; the Father speaking from heaven, the Son spoken to, and the Holy Ghost descending upon him.

    Inferences.—It is surely matter of unspeakable thankfulness, that the kingdom of heaven should be erected among men, and that the only-begotten Son of God is the king and governor of that kingdom: how happy are we that it is preached among us, and we are called to it! It should be our great care to become not only nominal, but real members of it.

    Repentance is the true preparation for the kingdom of heaven. We should therefore every moment be prepared for it, because this kingdom is every moment approaching nearer to us. If this kingdom be a kingdom of love, the repentance which prepares us for it must likewise be a repentance of love; that is, evangelical repentance, which flows from a sight of Christ, from a sense of his love, and the hope of forgiveness through him. Kindness is conquering; abused kindness is humbling and melting. The language of the truly penitent heart is, "What a wretch was I, to sin against such grace! against the law and love of such a kingdom!"

    He who preaches repentance, ought to perform it himself, and to join the outward part to the inward: this persuades more than words. All is singular in St. John the Baptist (Matthew 3:4.), not to attract the esteem and praises of men, but to awaken their attention: with an awful severity of manners and of doctrine, he was sent before Christ to prepare his way. It is necessary that the law should introduce the Gospel; but the terrors of Moses and Elijah should render the mild and blessed Redeemer so much the more welcome to our souls. St. John the Baptist preaches in the wilderness: no place is so remote as to exclude us from the visits of divine grace; nay, commonly the sweetest intercourse which believers enjoy with heaven, is when they are withdrawn farthest from the noise and distractions of the world.

    Behold the dreadful danger of all hypocrites, and unfruitful hearers of the word, whatever their pretences or their external privileges may be! Miserable they who shall be found in their sins! Their covenant relation to Abraham, their baptism with water, their mere external professions, will avail them nothing: God will abandon them to unquenchable flames.

    Warned by this awful notice, may we forsake our sins, and bring forth the proper fruits of repentance: and that we may be prepared for the great and final trial, let us be earnest in our applications to our gracious Redeemer, that as we are baptized with water in his name, he would also baptize us with the Holy Ghost and with fire! That by the operations of his blessed Spirit, he would enkindle and quicken that divine life, that sacred love, that flaming yet well governed zeal for his glory, which distinguishes the true Christian from the hypocritical professor, and is indeed the real of God set upon the heart.

    Our Lord's submitting himself to baptism, Matthew 3:13 should teach us a holy exactness and care in the observance of those positive institutions, which owe their obligation merely to a divine command; for thus also it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness, "every thing just and needful in itself, as well as every thing meet, decent, regular, exemplary, and of good report."

    We behold at this baptism, the sacred Three, distinctly appearing in characters of personal and divine glory, and concurring in the great design of salvation! How inconsiderable and unworthy are the best of men, compared with Christ! And what exalted and endearing thoughts should we have of him, as the Son of God, and a Saviour of sinners; and as the Beloved of the Father, who makes us accepted in him!

    The heavens were opened when Christ was baptized; to teach us, that when we duly attend on God's ordinances, we may expect communion with him, and communications from him. What an encomium was that which was heard from the opening heavens: This is my beloved Son, in whom I delight! How poor are all other kinds of praise! To be the delight and joy of God, this is praise indeed; this is true glory; this is the highest, brightest light that holiness and virtue can appear in.

    That holiness, and the virtues which flow from that blessed source, are objects of divine complacence, as it is a most important truth, so it is obvious to every pious soul: Christ is the foundation; holiness with all its concomitant virtues is the superstructure; and therefore what the poet says of virtue, when built on this foundation, and flowing from this source, is both beautiful and true:

    If there's a Pow'r above us, (And that there is, all nature cries aloud Through all her works,) he must delight in virtue; And that which he delights in, must be happy.


    God must delight in holiness and its concomitant virtues, for the same reason that he delights in himself: for holiness is his own image and likeness, which, extinct in the first Adam, and revived in the second, even Jesus Christ our Lord, began her mysterious course at his incarnation, producing every virtuous fruit, and went on gradually through all her process, with the highest perfection in each degree; till she had finished the first stage, which is called the justice of the law, at his baptism by John, when the Almighty Father pronounced audibly to the lower world his approbation.

    REFLECTIONS.—1st, Prophesy under the Old Testament closed with the promise of the coming of Elijah, that is, of one in his spirit and temper; and here we find that prophesy accomplished in John the Baptist, so called from the ordinance of baptism which he administered to his disciples; who appeared in those days, not immediately after the events related in the preceding chapter, but at about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years distance, during which time we never but once hear any thing of our blessed Lord, who lived in obscurity, and not improbably maintained himself by manual labour. We have,

    1. The place where John opened his ministry, in the wilderness of Judaea; not a place literally uninhabited, but not so populous as the other parts of the country.

    2. The doctrine he preached: repentance; a change of mind and principles, and of manners and practice, in both which respects the Jewish people were exceedingly corrupt: and this he urges on that evangelical consideration, that the kingdom of heaven is at hand; the kingdom of the Messiah, the Gospel dispensation, which affords the strongest engagements to draw the minds of sinners to return to God, from the views of the riches of his grace therein revealed.

    3. Herein John fulfilled the prophesy delivered concerning him, Isaiah 40:3-4.—the voice of one crying, intimating the fervour and vehemence with which John preached, Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make his paths straight. As the harbinger, or herald, he goes before to clear the way for the King of glory, preaching that repentance which was so peculiarly needful at a time when the traditions of men had made God's word of no effect, and the corruption of the general practice was the natural effect of their corrupt principles; and pointing them from their sinful courses to him who was the way, the truth, and the life, by whom alone they could be saved. Note; (1.) The ways of sin are crooked ways, which lead down to death and hell. (2.) Nothing can save us from them, but repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    4. His garb and diet were austere, as his word was piercing. He seemed an uncouth courtier to prepare the way of the eternal King. A rough garment, girt with a leathern girdle, was his clothing, as being the promised Elias; and his meat was plain and abstemious, such as the wilderness afforded, locusts and wild honey. Note; They who preach mortification and repentance to others, should themselves show a becoming indifference to this world, and the gratifications of it.

    5. A numerous auditory attended his ministry, struck by the singularity of his appearance and manners, and, above all, by the power of the word he preached. Multitudes from Jerusalem, Judaea, and the country beyond Jordan, resorted to him, a general expectation of the Messiah being now raised through the land; and so far were many affected with his discourses, that they made profession of repentance, confessed their sins, and were baptized in Jordan. But among the multitude of professors, the sequel shewed there were few real penitents. Uncommon zeal and striking delivery will often collect an audience, and excite curiosity; but we must sincerely yield to the power of divine grace, before we can be really converted.

    It has been a much-disputed point, respecting the manner of administering the ordinance of baptism, whether by immersion or sprinkling; and where the form is rested upon, instead of the power of godliness, there is room open for abundant debate. I must confess, for my own part, I see no reason to suppose such immense multitudes were all dipped in Jordan, nor how it would be practicable to provide dipping garments for them; nor does the word βαπτιζω (baptizo) convey the same meaning as βαπτω (bapto), but rather seems to intimate sprinkling or pouring water upon them; and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which this baptism of John's prefigured, would lead us strongly to that meaning of the word. But while we should avoid all rigid censures on those who differ from us in these ceremonials, and see that, in whatever manner baptism be administered, we do not rest upon the ordinance, it is an essential concern, that our souls be really partakers of the thing signified, even sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, and saved by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

    2nd, The Pharisees and Sadducees were men of very different characters; the one pretended uncommon sanctity, and were rigid observers of the rituals of religion, deriving their name from that separation of themselves from other men in which they gloried. The Sadducees, on the other hand, so denominated from their master Sadok, were the very reverse; avowedly infidel in their principles, and, it is to be feared, as licentious in their practice. Yet many of both these sects, either struck with John's preaching, or more probably to gain the higher veneration with the people, who were strongly engaged in John's favour as a prophet sent from God, applied to him for baptism; and to them he addresses his discourse.

    1. He opens with a most severe reproof, and mortifying appellation: O generation of vipers, specious, yet venomous as a serpent, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? either from their temporal calamities which were approaching, and which their repentance might have averted; or from the eternal ruin which they had provoked by their pride, hypocrisy, infidelity, and wickedness. Note; (1.) To fly from the wrath to come, is every sinner's great concern; but none will take the warning, till they see and feel the imminence of their danger. (2.) Ministers must deal plainly and freely with men's consciences; nor must the self-righteous formalist be addressed with less severity than the abandoned sinner.

    2. He admonishes them of their duty. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: without which all the water in the river would never profit them any thing; for all who are baptized unto repentance must see, that in all humility and lowliness of mind, in all patience and perseverance in well-doing, in all holy conversation and godliness, they prove the truth of the grace which is in them; else shall the baptized sinner be as the heathen man and the publican.

    3. He cautions them against trusting on their external privileges, on which he knew they depended for acceptance before God. Because they were Abraham's children they flattered themselves with safety, and thought repentance in their case unnecessary: but John would undeceive them; and pointing perhaps to those stones which Joshua set up in Jordan, Joshua 4:20 assured them that God could from these raise up children to Abraham, and needed not his descendants after the flesh to compose his church. Note; (1.) Many flatter themselves, that their being members of the visible church, and having partaken of baptism and the Lord's supper, will stand them in stead in the day of God, who will find themselves woefully disappointed. (2.) Ministers must lay open those refuges of lies to which the self-righteous and the sinner betake themselves, and rouse those to a sense of their danger, who rock themselves asleep in vain imaginations. (3.) The nearer we are related to great and good men, so far from being a protection to us, it will but aggravate our guilt if we degenerate from their piety.

    4. He gives them fair warning. The time was short ere judgment would begin at the house of God; the axe was now laid to the root of the tree, by the preaching of the Gospel. If they rejected the counsel of God, and refused to repent and amend their ways, then they were marked for ruin, as trees which bear no fruit, fit only for fuel. The temporal judgments of God shall consume them with their city; or, worse, the eternal wrath of God shall overwhelm them in hell, Note; The day of grace is a precious season not to be trifled with; our eternity of happiness or misery depends on our neglect or improvement of it.

    5. He directs them to that glorious Personage whose forerunner he was, acknowledging his pre-eminence in all things. He could indeed call them to repentance, and administer baptism to those who made profession of it; but from a greater than himself the grace of repentance flows; concerning whom he owns that he was not worthy to perform the meanest offices to him, even to carry his shoes after him: so lowly are the saints of God in their own eyes. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; either at the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:3; Acts 2:47 or his influences, like fire, should purify, warm, and enliven their souls. Or, as some suggest, this baptism may refer to the judgments that he would pour out on the impenitent, when having, like the husbandman, separated the wheat, his faithful people, from the chaff of hypocrites and unfaithful professors, he would burn up the latter with unquenchable fire. Note; (1.) The operations of God's Spirit in the believer's heart, like fire, illuminate his understanding, consume his vile affections, and raise him, as the flame mounts upwards, to high and heavenly things. (2.) The church is Christ's floor; in it there is a mixed multitude of good and bad, faithful and hypocrites, as the chaff and wheat lying together: but the day is near when the separation shall be made; sometimes even here by the divine word and providence; assuredly at Christ's appearing, when the eternal state of men shall be determined. The faithful saints of God shall then be gathered as the wheat into God's garner in heaven, separated from all chaff for ever; and the impenitent be consigned to the everlasting burnings.

    3rdly, Christ, who had hitherto lived in obscurity, began now to enter upon his glorious work; and, in order thereto, comes to John to be baptized, whose preaching had raised men's expectations concerning the glorious Person of whom he spake. Not that Christ needed this baptism; but he would shew his approbation of it, as well as receive that public testimony which John on this occasion was appointed to bear to him.

    1. John, who knew Jesus by divine revelation, John 1:33 appears unwilling to admit his Master to the ordinance of baptism which he administered. He who had no sin, could surely need no repentance. Besides, counting himself unworthy of pouring water upon him, from whom himself needed the greater baptism of the Spirit, he would humbly have excused himself from the office. I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? Note; (1.) The most holy souls are ever the most humble. (2.) Christ's condescensions are so amazing, that our faith is sometimes ready to stagger at the view of them. (3.) The greatest saints and prophets have need of the baptism of Jesus; both of the sprinkling of his blood, and of the influences of his Spirit to purify their hearts, or to preserve them pure; and they are always most sensible of their wants. (4.) They who preach repentance to others, had need be deeply concerned to be baptized with the Holy Ghost themselves, lest, after having been the means of saving others, they themselves should be cast away.

    2. The Lord over-rules John's objection. In his present state of humiliation it became him to submit to this among other divine institutions, that he might in all things be a pattern of righteousness; and therefore John must for the present comply. Nor does he any longer hesitate, but admitted him to baptism accordingly, fully satisfied in the will and wisdom of his Lord. Note; (1.) It is becoming to countenance and encourage every good work; and those who may be higher in wisdom and grace than their teachers, are bound nevertheless to attend their ministry, and let an example to others. (2.) Christ fulfilled all righteousness, ceremonial as well as moral; and by his obedience to the death of the cross, is become the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (3.) There are often reasons for the divine procedure, concerning which we must be content to be ignorant. Thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.

    3. God is pleased to bear a signal attestation to the glory of the Redeemer on this occasion. Immediately as he went up from the river's brink, or from the water, where he had been baptized, the heavens were opened, a chasm being made in the firmament, as if the everlasting doors were wide unfolded; and John, as well as Jesus, beheld the visible descent of the Holy Ghost upon him, in a hovering, dove-like motion; and it rested upon or over his head. He being constituted the great prophet of his people, as the man Christ Jesus, had the Spirit without measure, bestowed upon him, to enable him for the discharge of his office; and in him, as the head of his church, all fulness dwells, that he may thence communicate both gifts and graces to his faithful members according to their wants. And besides the visible appearance here described, an audible voice was heard from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; God's Son, not by creation as angels, or by adoption as the saints, but by a filiation peculiar to himself, being eternal as the Father, yet standing in this relation towards him;—beloved, because the express image of his person, and now become incarnate for our redemption: therefore God the Father delighted in him, expressing his intire satisfaction in his undertaking: in whom I am well pleased; which he could never say in this high sense of any of the sons of men beside, all having sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jesus alone is the one glorious character on which God can look with intire approbation; and for whose sake it is, as having made the atonement, that any of the sons of men can find acceptance before God. Because he is well-pleased with Jesus, he has now opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers in him; and whosoever cometh to God by him shall be in no wise cast out. Thus, while every other character, considered in a state of nature, from the first man to the last, must be God's abhorrence, since altogether born in sin, we may notwithstanding be sure of acceptance in this Beloved, when we by faith receive him as God hath sent him forth to us, as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; our all in all.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

    Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospels

    And lo a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

    Aug., non occ.: Not as before by Moses and the Prophets, neither in type or figure did the Father teach that the Son should come, but openly shewed Him to be already come, "This is my Son."

    Hilary: Or, that from these things thus fulfilled upon Christ, we might learn that after the washing of water the Holy Spirit also descends on us from the heavenly gates, on us also is shed an unction of heavenly glory, and an adoption to be the sons of God, pronounced by the Father"s voice.

    Jerome: The mystery of the Trinity is shewn in this baptism. the Lord is baptized; the Spirit descends in the shape of a dove; the voice of the Father is heard giving testimony to the Son.

    Ambrose, Ambrosiaster, Serm. 10. 1: And no wonder that the mystery of the Trinity is not wanting to the Lord"s laver, when even our laver contains the sacrament of the Trinity. The Lord willed to shew in His own case what He was after to ordain for men.

    Pseudo-Aug., Fulgent. de Fide ad Petrum. c. 9: Though Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one nature, yet do thou hold most firmly that They be Three Persons; that it is the Father alone who said, "this is my beloved Son;" the Son alone over whom that voice of the Father was heard; and the Holy Ghost alone who in the likeness of a dove descended on Christ at His baptism.

    Aug., de Trin. 4. 21: Here are deeds of the whole Trinity. In their own substance indeed Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One without interval of either place or time; but in my mouth they are three separate words, and cannot be pronounced at the same time, and in written letters they fill each their several places. By this comparison may be understood how the Trinity in Itself indivisible may be manifested dividedly in the likeness of a visible creation. That the voice is that of the Father only is manifest from the words, "This is my Son."

    Hilary, de Trin. iii. 11: He witnesses that He is His Son not in name merely, but in very kindred. Sons of God are we many of us; but not as He is a Son, a proper and true Son, in verity, not in estimation, by birth, not adoption.

    Aug., in Joann. tr. 14. 11: The Father loves the Son, but as a father should, not as a master may love a servant; and that as an own Son, not an adopted; therefore He adds, "in whom I am well-pleased."

    Remig.: Or if it be referred to the human nature of Christ, the sense is, I am pleased in Him, whom alone I have found without sin. Or according to another reading, "It hath pleased me" to appoint Him, by whom to perform those things I would perform, i.e. the redemption of the human race.

    Aug., de Cons. Evan., ii, 14: These words Mark and Luke give in the same way; in the words of the voice that came from Heaven, their expression varies though the sense is the same. For both the words as Matthew gives them, "This is my beloved Son," and as the other two, "Thou art my beloved Son," express the same sense in the speaker; (and the heavenly voice, no doubt, uttered one of these,) but one shews an intention of addressing the testimony thus borne to the Son to those who stood by; the other of addressing it to Himself, as if speaking to Christ He had said, "This is my Son." Not that Christ was taught what He knew before, but they who stood by heard it, for whose sake the voice came.

    Again, when one says, "in whom I am well-pleased;" another, "in thee it hath pleased me," if you ask which of these was actually pronounced by that voice; take which you will, only remembering that those who have not related the same words as were spoken have related the same sense. That God is well-pleased with His Son is signified in the first; that the Father is by the Son pleased with men is conveyed in the second form, "in thee it hath well-pleased me."

    Or you may understand this to have been the one meaning of all the Evangelists, In Thee have I put My good pleasure, i.e. to fulfil all My purpose.

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    Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel".

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    17.] φων. λ. does not require ἐγένετο or any word to be supplied, nor the participle to be understood as a past tense. Lo, a voice from heaven, saying. See similar constructions, Luke 5:12; Luke 19:20 a(27). fr.

    εὐδόκησα] not the usitative aorist, but declarative of the definite past εὐδοκία of the Father in Him, Ephesians 1:4 :—see above. On the solemn import, as regards us, of our Blessed Lord’s baptism, cf. Athanas. Or. i., contra Arianos 47, vol. i. (ii. Migne) p. 355 f.: εἰ δὲ ἡμῶν χάριν ἑαυτὸν ἁγιάζει (John 17:18-19), καὶ τοῦτο ποιεῖ ὅτε γέγονεν ἄνθρωπος, εὔδηλον ὅτι καὶ ἡ εἰς αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἰορδάνῃ τοῦ πνεύματος γενομένη κάθοδος, εἰς ἡμᾶς ἦν γενομένη διὰ τὸ φορεῖν αὐτὸν τὸ ἡμέτερον σῶμα. καὶ οὐκ ἐπὶ τῇ βελτιώσει τοῦ λόγου γέγονεν, ἀλλʼ εἰς ἡμῶν πάλιν ἁγιασμόν, ἵνα τοῦ χρίσματος αὐτοῦ μεταλάβωμεντοῦ γὰρ κυρίου ὡς ἀνθρώπου λουομένου εἰς τὸν ἰορδάνην, ἡμεῖς ἦμεν οἱ ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ παρʼ αὐτοῦ λουόμενοι· καὶ δεχομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ τὸ πνεῦμα, ἡμεῖς ἦμεν οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ γενόμενοι τούτου δεικτικοί. What follows is well worth reading, shewing the pre-eminence of our Lord’s anointing over that of all others, Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38.

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    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    Matthew 3:17. φω νὴλέγουσα] Here neither is ἐγένετο to be supplied, after Luke 3:22; nor does the participle stand for the finite tense. See on Matthew 2:18. But literally: and lo, there, a voice from heaven which spoke. Comp. Matthew 17:5; Luke 5:12; Luke 19:20; Acts 8:27; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 6:2; Revelation 7:9.

    ἀγαπητός] dilectus, not unicus (Loesner, Fischer, Michaelis, and others). The article, however, does not express the strengthened conception (dilectissimus), as Wetstein and Rosenmüller assert, but is required by grammar; for the emphasis lies on υἱός μου, to which the characteristic attribute is added by way of distinction. Comp. Kühner, II. 1, p. 529 f. Exactly so in the same voice from heaven, Matthew 17:5.

    ἐν εὐδόκησα] Hebraistic construction imitative of חָפֵץ כְ. See Winer, p. 218 [E. T. 291]. Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 371 (Polybius ii. 12. 13 does not apply here); frequently in LXX. and Apocrypha.

    The aorist denotes: in whom I have had good pleasure (Ephesians 1:4; John 17:24), who has become the object of my good pleasure. See Hermann, ad Viger. p. 746; Bernhardy, p. 381 f.; Kühner, II. 1, p. 134 f. The opposite is ἐμίσησα, Romans 9:13; ἤχθηρε κρονίων, Hom. Il. xx. 306.

    The divine voice solemnly proclaims Jesus to be the Messiah, υἱός μου; which designation, derived from Psalms 2:7,(386) is in the divine and also in the Christian consciousness not merely the name of an office, but has at the same time a metaphysical meaning, having come forth from the Father’s being, κατὰ πνεῦμα, Romans 1:4, containing the Johannine idea, λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο (according to Matthew 1:20, Luke 1:35, also the origin of the corporeity). That the passage in Isaiah 62:1 (comp. Matthew 12:18) lies at the basis of the expression of that voice, either alone (Hilgenfeld) or with others (Keim), has this against it, that υἱός ΄ου is the characteristic point, which is wanting in Isaiah l.c., and that, moreover, the other words in the passage do not specifically correspond with those in Isaiah.


    The fact of itself that Jesus was baptized by John, although left doubtful by Fritzsche, admitted only as possible by Weisse, who makes it rather to be a baptism of the Spirit, while relegated by Bruno Bauer to the workshop of later religious reflection, stands so firmly established by the testimony of the Gospels that it has been recognised even by Strauss, although more on à priori grounds (L. J. I. p. 418). He rejects, however, the more minute points as unhistorical, while Keim sees in it powerful and speaking figures of spiritual occurrences which then took place on the Jordan; Schenkel again introduces thoughts which are very remote; and Weizsäcker recognises in it the representation of the installation of Jesus into His vocation as Ruler, and that by the transformation of a vision of Jesus into an external fact, and refers the narrative to later communications probably made by the Lord to His disciples. The historical reality of the more minute details is to be distinguished from the legendary embellishments of them. The first is to be derived from John 1:32-34, according to which the Baptist, after an address vouchsafed to him by God, in which was announced to him the descent of the Spirit as the Messianic σημεῖον of the person in question, saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descend upon Jesus, and abide upon Him, and, in accordance with this, delivered the testimony that Jesus was the Son of God. The seeing of the Baptist, and the testimony which he delivered regarding it, is accordingly to be considered as based on John 1:32-34, as the source of the tradition preserved in the Synoptics, in the simplest form in Mark. According to Ewald, it was in spirit that Jesus saw (namely, the Spirit, like a dove, consequently “in all its liveliness and fulness,” according to Isaiah 11:2) and heard what He Himself probably related at a later time, and that the Baptist himself also observed in Jesus, as He rose up out of the water, something quite different from what he noticed in other men, and distinguished Him at once by the utterance of some extraordinary words. But, considering the deviation of John’s narrative from that of the Synoptics, and the connection in which John stood to Jesus and the Baptist, there exists no reason why we should not find the original fact in John. Comp. Neander, L. J. p. 83 f.; Schleiermacher, p. 144 ff.; Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 230 f. Moreover, that seeing of the Spirit in the form of a dove is a spiritual act, taking place in a vision (Acts 7:55; Acts 10:10 ff.), but which was transformed by the tradition of the apostolic age into an external manifestation, as the testimony of John (John 1:34), which was delivered on the basis of this seeing of his, was changed into a heavenly voice (which therefore is not to be taken as Bath Kol, least of all “as in the still reverberation of the thunder and in the gentle echo of the air,” as Ammon maintains, L. J. p. 273 f.). The more minute contents of the heavenly voice were suggested from Psalms 2:7, to which also the old extension of the legend in Justin, c. Tryph. 88, and in the Ev. sec. Hebr. in Epiph. Haer. xxx. 13, points. Consequently the appearance of the dove remains as an actual occurrence, but as taking place in vision (Orig. c. Cels. i. 43–48. Theodore of Mopsuestia: ἐν εἴδει περιστερᾶς γενομένη τοῦ πνεύματος κάθοδος οὐ πᾶσιν ὤφθη τοῖς παροῦσιν, ἀλλὰ κατά τινα πνευματικὴν θεωρίαν ὤφθη μόνῳ τῷ ἰωάννῃ, καθὼς ἔθος ἦν τοῖς προφήταις ἐν μέσῳ πολλῶν τὰ πᾶσιν ἀθεώρητα βλέπεινὀπτασία γὰρ ἦν, οὐ φύσις τὸ φαινόμενον),—as also the opening of the heavens (Jerome: “Non reseratione elementorum, sed spiritualibus oculis”). Origen designates the thing as θεωρία νοητική. Comp. Grotius, Neander, Krabbe, de Wette, Bleek, Weizsäcker, Wittichen. Finally, the question(387) whether before the time of Christ the Jews already regarded the dove as a symbol of the Divine Spirit, is so far a matter of perfect indifference, as the Baptist could have no doubt, after the divine address vouchsafed to him, that the seeing the form of a dove descending from heaven was a symbolical manifestation of the Holy Spirit; yet it is probable, from the very circumstance that the ὀπτασία took place precisely in the form of a dove, that this form of representation had its point of connection in an already existing emblematic mode of regarding the Spirit, and that consequently the Rabbinical traditions relating thereto reach back in their origin to the pre-Christian age, without, however (in answer to Lücke on John), having to drag in the very remote figure of the dove descending down in order to brood, according to Genesis 1:2. Here it remains undetermined in what properties of the dove (innocence, mildness, and the like; Theodore of Mopsuestia: φιλόστοργον κ. φιλάνθρωπον ζῶον) the point of comparison was originally based. Moreover, according to John 1:32 ff., the purpose of what took place in vision does not appear to have been the communication of the Holy Spirit to Jesus (misinterpreted by the Gnostics as the reception of the λόγος), but the making known of Jesus as the Messiah to the Baptist on the part of God, through a ση΄εῖον of the Holy Spirit. In this the difficulty disappears which is derived from the divine nature of Jesus, according to which He could not need the bestowal of the Spirit, whether we understand the Spirit in itself, or as the communicator of a nova virtus (Calvin), or as πνεῦμα προφητικόν (Thomasius), or as the Spirit of the divine ἐξουσία for the work of the Messiah (Hofmann), as the spirit of office (Kahnis), which definite views are not to be separated from the already existing possession of the Spirit. The later doubts of the Baptist, Matthew 11:2 ff. (in answer to Hilgenfeld, Weizsäcker, Keim), as a momentary darkening of his higher consciousness in human weakness amid all his prophetic greatness, are to be regarded neither as a psychological riddle nor as evidence against his recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, which was brought about in a miraculous manner; and this is the more conceivable when we take into consideration the political element in the idea of the Messiah entertained by the imprisoned John (comp. John 1:29, Remark). If, however, after the baptism of Jesus, His Messianic appearance did not take place in the way in which the Baptist had conceived it, yet the continuous working of the latter, which was not given up after the baptism, can carry with it no well-founded objection to the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah, which is related in the passage before us. Comp. on John 3:23.

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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Matthew 3:17. φωνὴ, κ. τ. λ., a voice, etc.) A most open manifestation of God, such as those recorded in Acts 2:2-3; Exodus 19:4; Exodus 19:9; Exodus 19:16; Exodus 40:34-35; Numbers 16:31; Numbers 16:42; 1 Kings 8:10-11; 1 Kings 18:38.— οὗτός ἐστιν, This is) St Mark and St Luke record that it was said, σὺ εἶ,” “Thou art.” St Matthew has expressed the meaning. The words, οὗτόςεὐδόκησα,” occur again in Matthew 17:5. Faith assents, declaring, “Thou art the Son of God,” as in Matthew 16:16.— , the) The article introduced twice has great emphasis.— υἱὸς, Son) See John 1:18; John 3:16ἀγαπητὸς, beloved) This might appear to be a proper name (cf. ch. Matthew 12:18), so as to produce these two predications: (1.) This is My Son; (2.) He is the Beloved, in whom I am well pleased. It is clear, however, from Luke 3:22, that Beloved is an epithet. Love is something natural, because This is the Son; good-pleasure, something, as it were, additional, because He does the things which please the Father. He is the Beloved, the only one; He shares not the Father’s love with another.— ἐν , in whom) The preposition ἐν, in, indicates especially the object, and then also the cause of the Father’s good-pleasure. The Son is of Himself the object of the Father’s good-pleasure, and in the Son, all persons and all things. A phrase of the LXX.; cf. Gnomon on Colossians 2:18.— εὐδόκησα, I am well pleased) The verb εὐδοκῶ, to be well pleased, and the noun εὐδοκὶα, good-pleasure, are employed when one is pleased either by what one has, or does ones’s self, or by that which another has or does. Both parts of this notion agree with the present passage concerning the good-pleasure of the Father in the Son; for there is an eternal στοργὴ (natural affection) towards the only-begotten, a perpetual graciousness towards the Mediator, and in Him towards us, the sons of reconciliation. In ch. Matthew 27:5, are added the words, αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε,” “Hear Him;” for then He was about to speak of His passion: now they are not added; for, at the commencement of His ministry, He only taught that which the Father spake, “This is My Son.”

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Ver. 16,17. This story is also related Mark 1:10,11 Lu 3:21. Luke saith that Jesus praying, the heaven was opened. Mark saith, cloven asunder. It is most probable that the opening of the heavens mentioned (though possibly far more glorious) bare a proportion to that opening of the heavens which we often see in a time of great lightning, when the air seemeth to divide to make the fuller and clearer way for the light.

    Unto him; that is, unto John.

    And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. The Spirit of God is an invisible substance, and cannot be seen by human eyes, but the shape assumed by any person of the Trinity may be seen. Whether it was a real dove, or only the appearance of a dove, is little material for us to know. It was certainly one or the other; nor could any representation at this time be more fit, either to let the world know the dove like nature of Christ, Isaiah 42:2, or what should be the temper of all those who receive the same Spirit, though by measure, and are by it taught to be innocent as doves. Not that Christ had not received the Spirit before, but that his receiving of it might be notified to others. This dove, or appearance of a dove, lighted upon Christ, thereby showing for whose sake this apparition was. Christ was not confirmed only to be the Son of God by this appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and lighting upon him, but also by a voice from the excellent glory, saith Peter, 2 Peter 1:17; God forming a voice in the air which spake, saying,

    This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. The word signifieth, a dearly beloved Son. The same voice was repeated at Christ’s transfiguration, Matthew 17:5. Peter from it concludes the certainty of the faith of the gospel, in the aforementioned text.

    In whom I am well pleased: the word signifieth a special and singular complacency and satisfaction: I am pleased in his person, according to that, Proverbs 8:30; I am well pleased in his undertaking, in all that he shall do and suffer in the accomplishment of the redemption of man. We are made accepted in the Beloved, Ephesians 1:6. This text (as is generally observed) is a clear proof of the trinity of persons or subsistences in the one Divine Being: here was the Father speaking from heaven, the Son baptized and come out of the water, the Holy Ghost descending in the form or shape of a dove.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    Сын Мой возлюбленный, в котором Мое благоволение В этом месте сочетаются слова из Пс.2:7 и Ис.42:1 – пророчеств, хорошо известных тем, кто ожидал Мессию. Ср. 17:5; Мк.1:11; 9:7; Лк.3:22; 9:35.

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    A voice; the voice of God the father, acknowledging Christ as his beloved Son, and expressing his approbation of his character, office, and work.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    17.Voice from heaven — Proceeding as from the firmament, just as the dove-like form came from what, in optical language, all men would call the opening firmament or sky. My beloved Son — Here the whole Trinity united at the scene. The Son is consecrated by the Spirit, and proclaimed by the Father. So John passed through the three stages of ignorance, faith, and knowledge: ignorance, when he knew him not; faith, when first he saw him; knowledge, when God the Father acknowledged him from heaven. Now he could safely identify him to the world as Lamb of God.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘And lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, (or ‘My Son, the Beloved’) in whom I am well pleased.” ’

    And then the Voice spoke from Heaven. Here was no whisper of a voice, the quiet ‘bath qol’ (daughter of a voice) spoken of by the Scribes and Pharisees which had replaced the resounding words of the prophets. It was the voice of God Himself, loud and clear, although who it was clear to we are not told. Perhaps to many it sounded like thunder (compare John 12:29). But it was clear to both John and Jesus. This is made openly apparent by the evangelists. Matthew has John in mind when he translates as, ‘This is My beloved Son’. Mark and Luke had Jesus in mind when they translated as ‘You are My beloved Son’. The Aramaic (or even possibly Hebrew) was presumably less clear, with no initial pronoun in the sentence. The Voice may well have said, “My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased,” the indicating pronoun being assumed, as it often is in Aramaic. But when God is speaking who can dogmatise as to what is heard, or how it is heard?

    The Voice described Jesus in terms of two Old Testament figures. ‘You are My Son’ identifies Him with the anointed King in Psalms 2:7. ‘My beloved in Whom I am well pleased’ (see Matthew 12:18) identifies Him with the Servant of YHWH of Isaiah. And this is the pattern of Matthew’s Gospel. It begins and ends with great emphasis on Jesus as the Anointed One, the King, the Son of David par excellence (1-2; Matthew 3:3 - the way is prepared for a king; Matthew 4:15-16 in its Isaianic context; Matthew 21:5; Matthew 22:1-14; Matthew 22:44-45; Matthew 25:31-46; Matthew 26:63-64; Matthew 27:11; Matthew 27:17; Matthew 27:22; Matthew 27:37; Matthew 28:18). But in its central part his Gospel also lays great emphasis on Jesus as the Servant of the Lord (here, Matthew 8:17; Matthew 12:18-21; Matthew 20:28, and the contexts in which they are found). We will expand on these themes as we go through the Gospel.

    But the idea of sonship must be seen as going beyond that of just a son of David. He is ‘the beloved’, and the beloved is the Servant of YHWH (Matthew 12:18) and the transfigured One (Matthew 17:5). He is a unique eschatological figure. Furthermore the Devil will challenge Him with the fact of His awareness that He is the Son of God with almost limitless powers, powers that can create bread from stones, that can enable Him to throw Himself from the top of the Temple into the valley far beneath without hurt, and that can enable Him with the Devil’s assistance to conquer the world. And had Jesus not thought that He could do these things they would have been no temptation. (Most of us have never felt tempted to do any of them). And it is because He is the Son of God that evil spirits do His bidding (Matthew 8:29). Add to this that He is the only Son (in Luke ‘My beloved son’) in contrast with the prophets (Matthew 21:37-38, compare Matthew 22:2) and David’s Lord (Matthew 22:44) and we recognise that He stands alone uniquely apart as God’s Son, Whom no one knows but the Father (Matthew 11:27), and Who Himself uniquely knows the Father but can reveal Him to His own (Matthew 11:27), because he who has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:9).

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Matthew 3:17. And lo! — As a further token of the divine regard to Christ, and of the glorious dignity of his person, a voice from heaven, saying, to John, concerning Christ, This is my beloved Son, and to Christ himself, Thou art my beloved Son, Luke 3:22. For it is not improbable that both sentences were pronounced; the voice uttering the words, Thou art my beloved Son, &c. while the Spirit was descending, as if they had been directed to Jesus alone, in answer to his prayer; and, after the Spirit rested on Jesus, the voice, speaking to the Baptist and the multitude, said, This is my beloved Son, &c. St. Luke informs us, that he was praying when this happened, and it is observable that all the voices from heaven, by which the Father bore witness to Christ, were pronounced while he was praying, or quickly after. Luke 9:29; Luke 9:35; John 12:28. In whom I am well pleased — Or, in whom I delight, That is, whose character I perfectly approve, and in whom I acquiesce as the great Mediator, through whom will I show myself favourable unto sinful creatures. See Isaiah 42:1. The original word properly signifies an entire acquiescence, or a special and singular complacency and satisfaction. This the Father took, in the person and undertaking of Christ; and this, through him, he takes in all true believers, who, by faith, are united to him, and made members of his body. And O, how poor, in comparison of this, are all other kinds of praise, yea, and all other pleasures! To have the approbation, and be the delight of God; this is praise, this is pleasure indeed! This is, at once, true glory and true happiness, and is the highest and brightest light that virtue can appear in.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    most solemn testimony of God the Father, relative to his own beloved Son, is repeated below in chap. xvii; and is of such great moment, that the Holy Ghost would have it repeated not only by three evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, but also by St. Peter, as a fourth evangelist, 2nd epistle chap. i. (Tirinus) --- In Greek, the emphatic article Greek: o uios mou o agapetos, strengthens the proof that Jesus Christ, upon whom the Spirit of God descended in the shape of a dove, was not the adoptive, but natural Son of God, born of Him before all ages, and should silence every blasphemous tongue and pen that can attempt to rob Jesus Christ of his divinity, and poor man of all hopes of salvation, through this God-man, Christ the Lord. But if it here be asked, why Jesus Christ, who was innocence itself, yes, and the very essence of sanctity, condescended so far as to be baptized with sinners, we answer, with the Holy Fathers, that it was, 1. to sanction the baptism and ministry of his precursor; 2. not to lose this opportunity of teaching humility, by placing himself among sinners, as if he had stood in need of the baptism of penance for the remission of sins; and lastly, with St. Ambrose, that it was to sanctify the waters, and to give to them the virtue of cleansing men from their sins by the laver of baptism. (Haydock)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    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).

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is - Mark and Luke give it in the direct form, "Thou art" --

    My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, [ eudokeesa (Greek #2106)]. The verb is put in the aorist to express absolute complacency, once and forever felt toward Him. The English here, at least to modern ears, is scarcely strong enough. 'I delight' comes the nearest, perhaps, to that ineffable complacency which is manifestly intended; and this is the rather to be preferred, as it would immediately carry the thoughts back to that august Messianic prophecy to which the voice from heaven play alluded (Isaiah 42:1), "Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, IN WHOM MY SOUL DELIGHTETH" [raatstaah]. Nor are the words which follow to be overlooked, "I have put my Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to be Gentiles." (The Septuagint pervert this, as they do most of the Messianic predictions, interpolating the word "Jacob," and applying it to the Jews.) Was this voice heard by the by-standers? From Matthew's form of it, one might suppose it so designed; but it would appear that it was not, and probably John only heard and saw anything special about that great baptism. Accordingly, the words "Hear ye Him" are not added, as at the Transfiguration.


    (1) Here we have three of the most astonishing things which eye could behold and ear hear. First, We have Jesus formally entered and articled to His Father, contracted and engaged, going voluntarily under the yoke, and by a public deed sealed over to obedience. Next, We have Him consecrated and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure (John 3:34); and thus thoroughly furnished, divinely equipped for the work given Him to do. Thirdly, We have Him divinely attested by Him who knew Him best and cannot lie; and thus publicly inaugurated, formally installed in all the authority of His mediatorial office, as the Son of God in the flesh, and the Object of His Father's absolute complacency. (2) That the Holy Spirit, whose supernatural agency formed the human nature of Christ, and sanctified it from the womb, was a stranger to the breast of Jesus until now that He descended upon Him at His baptism, is not for a moment to be conceived. The whole analogy of Scripture, on the work of the Spirit and of sanctification, leads to the conclusion that as He "grew in favour with God and man," from infancy to youth, and from youth to manhood, His moral beauty, His spiritual loveliness, His faultless excellence, was enstamped and developed from stage to stage by the gentle yet efficacious energy of the Holy Spirit; though only at His full maturity was He capable of all that fullness which He then received. To use the words of Olshausen, 'Even the pure offspring of the Spirit needed the anointing of the Spirit; and it was only when His human nature had grown strong enough for the support of the fullness of the Spirit that it remained stationary, and fully endowed with power from above.' Knowing, therefore, as we do, that at His baptism He passed out of private into public life, we can have no doubt that the descent of the Spirit upon Christ at His baptism was for official purposes. But in this we include His whole public work-life, character, spirit, carriage, actings, endurances, everything that constituted and manifested Him to be the pure, inoffensive, gentle, beauteous "DOVE" - all this was of the Spirit of the Lord that "rested" - that "abode" - upon Him. How well may the Church now sing, "God, thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad!" (Psalms 45:7-8.)

    (3) Here, in the baptism of our blessed Head, we find ourselves in the presence at once of THE FATHER, THE SON, and THE HOLY GHOST, into whose adorable name we are baptized (Matthew 28:19). The early Fathers of the Church were struck with this, and often advert to it. 'Go to Jordan,' said Augustine to the heretic Marcion, 'and thou shalt see the Trinity' [I ad Jordanem, et videbis Trinitatem]. Nor is it to be overlooked, as Lange remarks, that as it is at Christ's own baptism that we have the first distinct revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity, so it is at the institution of baptism for His Church that this doctrine brightens into full glory.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    17. And then a voice. Three times God speaks from heaven in connection with Christ’s ministry: at his baptism; at his transfiguration; and in the temple just before his suffering. This Is my own dear Son. The words of Psalms 2:7. Note the time chosen by God to speak this, It is just after he humbles himself obediently in the act of baptism that the Holy Spirit anoints him as the Christ, and God formally identifies him as his Son. This very forcefully implies: that we must be baptized to follow Christ; that it is when we turn from sin and are baptized that we receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38); that when we reach out in obedient faith, God will declare us his children (2 Timothy 2:19).




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    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (17) A voice from heaven.—The words were heard, so far as the record goes, as the sign was seen, by our Lord and the Baptist only. It was a testimony to them, and not to the multitude. The precise force of the latter clause, in whom I was well pleased, points (to speak after the manner of men) rather to a definite divine act or thought, than to a continued ever-present acceptance. He who stood there was the beloved Son, in whom, “in the beginning,” the Father was well-pleased. To the Baptist this came as the answer to all questionings. This was none other than the King to whom had been spoken the words, “Thou art my Son” (Psalms 2:7), who was to the Eternal Father what Isaac was to Abraham (the very term “beloved son” is used in the Greek of Genesis 22:2, where the English version has “only”), upon whom the mind of the Father rested with infinite content. And we may venture to believe that the “voice” came as an attestation also to the human consciousness of the Son of Man. There had been before, as in Luke 2:49, the sense that God was His Father. Now, with an intensity before unfelt, and followed, as the sequel shows, with entire change in life and action, there is, in His human soul, the conviction that He is “the Son, the beloved.”

    Here, as before, it is instructive to note the legendary accretions that have gathered round the simple narrative of the Gospels. Justin (Dial. c., Tryph. p. 316) adds that “a fire was kindled in Jordan.” An Ebionite Gospel added to the words from heaven, “This day have I begotten thee,” and further adds, “a great light shone around the place, and John saw it, and said, ‘Who art thou, Lord?’ and again a voice from heaven, saying. ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And then John fell down, and said, ‘I beseech Thee, O Lord, baptise Thou me.’ But He forbade him, saying, ‘Suffer it, for thus it is meet that all things should be accomplished.’

    More important and more difficult is the question, What change was actually wrought in our Lord’s human nature by this descent of the Spirit? The words of the Baptist, “He giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him” (John 3:34) imply the bestowal of a real gift. The words that follow here, “He was led by the Spirit” (Matthew 4:1), “The Spirit driveth Him” (Mark 1:12), show, in part, the nature of the change. We may venture to think even there of new gifts, new powers, a new intuition (comp. John 3:11), a new constraint, as it were, bringing the human will that was before in harmony with the divine into a fuller consciousness of that harmony, and into more intense activity; above all, a new intensity of prayer, uttering itself in Him, as afterwards in His people, in the cry, “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). There also we may think of the Spirit as “making intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered.”

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    John 5:37; 12:28-30; Revelation 14:2
    12:18; 17:5; Psalms 2:7; Isaiah 42:1,21; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; Ephesians 1:6; Colossians 1:13; 2 Peter 1:17 Reciprocal: Genesis 41:55 - Go unto;  Leviticus 3:8 - sprinkle;  Leviticus 4:31 - a sweet;  Leviticus 15:15 - an atonement;  Numbers 15:3 - a sweet;  Deuteronomy 4:12 - only ye heard a voice;  2 Samuel 7:14 - I will be;  2 Samuel 12:25 - Jedidiah;  2 Samuel 22:20 - delighted;  2 Chronicles 7:16 - eyes;  Esther 6:6 - whom the king;  Job 42:8 - him;  Psalm 22:8 - seeing;  Psalm 60:5 - That;  Psalm 85:11 - righteousness;  Psalm 89:3 - my chosen;  Psalm 108:6 - That thy;  Proverbs 8:30 - I was daily;  Isaiah 49:5 - yet;  Isaiah 53:10 - pleased;  Jeremiah 30:21 - and I;  Daniel 4:31 - fell;  Matthew 4:3 - if;  Matthew 5:22 - I say;  Matthew 12:42 - behold;  Matthew 21:37 - last;  Matthew 28:19 - the name;  Mark 12:6 - his;  Mark 14:61 - the Son;  Luke 3:21 - the heaven;  Luke 20:13 - I will;  Luke 22:70 - the Son;  Luke 23:35 - Christ;  John 1:34 - this;  John 3:35 - Father;  John 5:20 - the Father;  John 5:32 - is another;  John 6:27 - for him;  John 8:29 - for;  Romans 1:3 - his Son;  Romans 8:8 - please;  Romans 8:32 - that;  2 Corinthians 1:19 - the Son;  Hebrews 1:2 - spoken;  Hebrews 10:6 - thou;  1 John 5:7 - The Father;  1 John 5:9 - for;  Revelation 2:18 - the Son;  Revelation 14:13 - a voice

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

    E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

    If only the eyes of John and Jesus saw the heavens open and the bodily shape of the dove, it would be reasonable to conclude that their ears only heard these words. It also indicates one reason why the words "hear ye him" were not added as they were at chapter17:5. The Father here acknowledged Jesus as his Son

    after he had fulfilled his righteous duty of being baptized. But his life"s work was only beginning and hence it was not time to give the command to hear him.

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    Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    17.And, lo, a voice from heaven From that opening of the heavens, which has been already mentioned, a loud voice was heard, that its majesty might be more impressive. The public appearance of Christ, to undertake the office of Mediator, was accompanied by this announcement, (300) in which he was offered to us by the Father, that we may rely on this pledge of our adoption, and boldly call God himself our Father. The designation of Son belongs truly and naturally to Christ alone: but yet he was declared to be the Son of God in our flesh, that the favor of Him, whom he alone has a right to call Father, may be also obtained for us. And thus when God presents Christ to us as Mediator, accompanied by the title of Son, he declares that he is the Father of us all, (Ephesians 4:6.)

    Such, too, is the import of the epithet beloved: for in ourselves we are hateful to God, and his fatherly love must flow to us by Christ. The best expounder of this passage is the Apostle Paul, when he says

    “who hath predestinated us into adoption by Jesus Christ in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will; to the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath accepted us in the Beloved,”
    Ephesians 1:5)

    that is, in his beloved Son. It is still more fully expressed by these words, in whom I am well pleased They imply, that the love of God rests on Christ in such a manner, as to diffuse itself from him to us all; and not to us only, but even to the angels themselves. Not that they need reconciliation, for they never were at enmity with God: but even they become perfectly united to God, only by means of their Head, (Ephesians 1:22.) For the same reason, he is also called “the first-born of every creature,” (Colossians 1:5;) and Paul likewise states that Christ came

    “to reconcile all things to himself, both those which are on earth, and those which are in heavens,” (Colossians 1:20.)

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.