Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:9

and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abraham;   Genealogy;   Gentiles;   Heredity;   Judaism;   Minister, Christian;   Pharisees;   Reproof;   Sadducees;   Salvation;   Self-Delusion;   Scofield Reference Index - Gospel;   Repentance;   Thompson Chain Reference - Common Delusions;   The Topic Concordance - Baptism;   John the Baptist;   Repentance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Baptism;   Hypocrites;   Jews, the;   Self-Delusion;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Baptism;   John the baptist;   Matthew, gospel of;   Mission;   Nation;   Prophecy, prophet;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abraham;   Baptize, Baptism;   Messiah;   Nahum, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Hutchinsonians;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Father;   John the Baptist;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Luke, Gospel of;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jesus Christ;   John the Baptist;   Jordan;   Mss;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abraham;   Asceticism (2);   Cosmopolitanism;   Doctrines;   Elect, Election ;   Faith ;   Fathers;   Jacob;   John the Baptist;   Logia;   Nation (2);   Old Testament (Ii. Christ as Student and Interpreter of).;   Paradox;   Paronomasia ;   Poet;   Trust;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Kingdom of christ of heaven;   Kingdom of god;   Kingdom of heaven;   Levi;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Apostasy, the;   John, the Baptize;   Jesus of Nazareth;   Kingdom or Church of Christ, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Heredity;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Raise;   Salvation;   Think;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Baptism;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And think not to say … - They regarded it as sufficient righteousness that they were descended from so holy a man as Abraham. Compare John 8:33-37, John 8:53. John assured them that this was a matter of small consequence in the sight of God. Of the very stones of the Jordan he could raise up children to Abraham. The meaning seems to be this: God, from these stones, could more easily raise up those who should be worthy children of Abraham, or be like him, than simply, because you are descendants of Abraham, make you, who are proud and hypocritical, subjects of the Messiah‘s kingdom. Or, in other words, mere nativity, or the privileges of birth, avail nothing where there is not righteousness of life. Some have supposed, however, that by these stones he meant the Roman soldiers, or the pagan, who might also have attended on his ministry; and that God could “of them” raise up children to Abraham.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Matthew 3:9

Abraham to our father.

Trees marked for falling

I. That God’s test of all moral life is practical, not theoretic, nor circumstantial. His demand is for fruitfulness. Jews could boast:-

1. Their national lineage. The true element in this:

2. Another substitute for fruitfulness upon which the Jews relied was ecclesiastical prerogative.

3. Another substitute upon which they relied was doctrinal orthodoxy.

II. That God puts us upon our probation in respect of these practical things to see whether we will do them or not. (H. Allon.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 3:9". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/matthew-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And think not to say within yourselves,.... John knew the sentiments of their minds, and the prevailing opinion they had given into, against which he cautions them; as, that because they were Abraham's seed, they were in a state of salvation, in the favour of God, and had a right to all privileges and ordinances: this they trusted in, and boasted of, and would often think of it within themselves, pleasing themselves with the thoughts of it, and speak of it to others;

we have Abraham for our father. The Baptist was aware how ready they would be to object this to him; and therefore prevents their plea from hence in favour of their admission to baptism, by assuring them, that this would have no weight with him, nor give them any right to the ordinance he administered: hence it appears that it is not a person's being born of believing parents that can entitle him to water baptism; or be a reason why it ought to be administered to him: if nothing more than this can be said in his favour, it is a plain case from hence, he ought to be debarred from it. The reason John gives why such a plea as this would be insufficient is,

for I say unto you; I assure you of it; you may depend on it as a certain truth,

that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. To "raise up children" is an Hebrew way of speaking, and the same with שם or להקים זרע to "raise up seed", or a "name" to another, Genesis 38:8 and signifies to beget children for another, who are to be called by his name. Some by "the stones" understand the Gentiles, comparable to stones, both for the hardness of their hearts, and their idolatry in worshipping stocks and stones; of and among whom God was able to raise, and has raised up, a spiritual seed to Abraham; who are of the same faith with him, who walk in his steps, and whose father he is: but then it must be supposed, according to this sense, that there were some Gentiles present, since John calls them "these" stones, pointing to some persons or things, that were before him; wherefore I rather think that this phrase is to be taken literally, and that John pointed to some certain stones that were near him, within sight, and which lay upon the banks of Jordan, where he was baptizing; for what is it that the omnipotent God cannot do? He could as easily of stones make men, as make Adam out of the dust of the earth, and then make these men, in a spiritual sense, children of Abraham; that is, believers in Christ, and partakers of his "grace; for if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise", Galatians 3:29. So that God stood in no need of these persons, nor had they any reason to boast of their natural descent from Abraham; since this in spiritual matters, and in things relating to the Gospel dispensation, would stand them in no stead, or be of any advantage to them.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

4 And i think not to say k within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

(4) The faith of the fathers does not benefit you unbelieving children at all: and yet for all that, God does not play the liar, nor deal unfaithfully in his covenant which he made with the holy fathers.

(i) Think not that you have any reason to be proud of Abraham.

(k) In your hearts.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/matthew-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father — that pillow on which the nation so fatally reposed, that rock on which at length it split.

for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham — that is, “Flatter not yourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in need of you, to make good His promise of a seed to Abraham; for I tell you that, though you were all to perish, God is as able to raise up a seed to Abraham out of those stones as He was to take Abraham himself out of the rock whence he was hewn, out of the hole of the pit whence he was digged” (Isaiah 51:1). Though the stern speaker may have pointed as he spoke to the pebbles of the bare clay hills that lay around (so Stanley‘s Sinai and Palestine), it was clearly the calling of the Gentiles - at that time stone-dead in their sins, and quite as unconscious of it - into the room of unbelieving and disinherited Israel that he meant thus to indicate (see Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:20, Romans 11:30).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

9. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

[Think not to say.] A Jerusalem phrase, to be met with everywhere in the Talmud: To think a word, or to be of that opinion.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/matthew-3.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

Think not to say... We have Abraham to our father. They believed that Abraham's race was to be saved, if all else were destroyed. John destroys this refuge of sin.

Of these stones. Pointing, perhaps, to the stones of the Jordan. In thus sinking the higher claims of Judaism, John points to the Gentiles, who were to become Abraham's children by faith. (See Galatians 3:29.)

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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.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-3.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

And think not to say within yourselves (και μη δοχητε λεγειν εν εαυτοιςkai mē doxēte legein en heautois). John touched the tender spot, their ecclesiastical pride. They felt that the “merits of the fathers,” especially of Abraham, were enough for all Israelites. At once John made clear that, reformer as he was, a breach existed between him and the religious leaders of the time.

Of these stones (εκ των λιτων τουτωνek tōn lithōn toutōn). “Pointing, as he spoke to the pebbles on the beach of the Jordan” (Vincent).

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/matthew-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

These stones

Pointing, as he spoke, to the pebbles on the beach of the Jordan.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/matthew-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

And say not confidently — The word in the original, vulgarly rendered, Think not, seems here, and in many places, not to diminish, but rather add to the force of the word with which it is joined.

We have Abraham to our father — It is almost incredible, how great the presumption of the Jews was on this their relation to Abraham. One of their famous sayings was, "Abraham sits near the gates of hell, and suffers no Israelite to go down into it." I say unto you - This preface always denotes the importance of what follows.

Of these stones — Probably pointing to those which lay before them.

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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 3:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/matthew-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

and think not1 to say within yourselves2, We have Abraham to our father3: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham4.

  1. And think not. John nips their self-excuse in the bud.

  2. To say within yourselves. Speaking to your conscience to quiet it.

  3. We have Abraham to our father. The Jews thought that Messiah would rule over them as a nation, and that all Jews would, therefore, be by birthright citizens of his kingdom. They thought that descent from Abraham was all that would be necessary to bring them into that kingdom. John's words must have been very surprising to them. The Talmud is full of expressions showing the extravagant value which Jews of a later age attached to Abrahamic descent. It says,

    "Abraham sits next the gates of hell, and doth not permit any wicked Israelite to go down into it."

    Again, it represents God as saying to Abraham,

    "If thy children were like dead bodies without sinews or bones, thy merit would avail for them."

    Again,

    "A single Israelite is worth more before God than all the people who have been or shall be."

    Again,

    "The world was made for their [Israel's] sake."

    The pride was the more inexcusable because the Jews were clearly warned by their prophets that their privileges were not exclusive, and that they would by no means escape just punishment for their sins (Jeremiah 7:3,4; Micah 3:11; Isaiah 48:2). John repeated this message, and Jesus reiterated it (Matthew 8:11,12; Luke 16:23). We should note that in this preparation for the gospel a blow was struck at confidence and trust in carnal descent. Birth gives no man any privileges in the kingdom of God, for all are born outside of it, and all must be born again into it (John 1:13; John 3:3); yet many still claim peculiar rights from Christian parentage, and infant baptism rests on this false conception. The New Testament teaches us that we are children of Abraham by faith, and not by blood; by spiritual and not carnal descent (Romans 4:12-16; Galatians 3:26; Galatians 6:15; John 8:39). It had been better for the Jews never to have heard of Abraham, than to have thus falsely viewed the rights which they inherited from him.

  4. God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. John meant that their being children of Abraham by natural descent gave them no more merit than children of Abraham made out of stone would have. He pointed to the stones along the bank of Jordan as he spoke.

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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 3:9". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The meaning is, Do not imagine that God regards you with favor because you are the descendants of Abraham. From the very stones of the Jordan, God is able to raise up servants and friends.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/matthew-3.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Ver. 9. And think not to say within yourselves] Hypocrites are never without their holes of refuge, out of which they must be ferreted. There are infinite turnings and windings in the heart of man, studious of deceiving itself by some paralogism ( παραλογιζομενοι εαυτους, James 1:22). Therefore the apostle so often premiseth, "Be not deceived," when he reckons up reprobates, 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:6-8.

We have Abraham to our father] What of that? so had Ishmael, an outcast, -Esau, a castaway, &c. External privileges profit not where nothing better can be pleaded. Nabal, the fool, was of the line of faithful Caleb, Qui implevit post me, " followed me fully," saith God, Numbers 14:24. Virtue is not, as lands, inheritable. Why should these men brag they had Abraham to their father, when they might have observed that God had raised up of this stone a son to Caleb?

God is able] His power Isaiah 1:1-31. Absolute, whereby he can do more than he doth. 2. Actual, whereby he doth that only which he willeth. Some things he can do, but will not, as here, and Matthew 26:53; Romans 9:18. Some things he neither will nor can, as to lie, to die, to deny himself, 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18, for these things contradict his essence, and imply impotence. But whatsoever he willeth, without impediment he effecteth, Isaiah 46:10; Psalms 115:3.

Of these stones to raise up children to Abraham] This he could do, though he will not. And yet he doth as much as this, when he takes the stone out of the heart; when of carnal he makes us a people created again, Psalms 102:18; when out of a hollow person (one as empty and void of heart as the hollow of a tree is of substance) is fetched out a heart of oak, and of a wild asscolt born, is made a man: see both these similitudes, Job 11:12. It was a strange change that Satan mentioned and motioned to our Saviour of turning stones into bread. But nothing so strange as turning stony hearts into hearts of flesh. This is a work of God’s almighty power, the same that he put forth in raising Christ from the dead, Ephesians 1:19; (where the apostle, the better to set forth the matter, useth a six-fold gradation in the original), and in creating the world, Psalms 51:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17. The prophet Isaiah tells us, "that he plants the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, that he may say to Zion, Thou art my people," Isaiah 51:16. And although man’s heart be an emptiness, as in the creation, as herbs in winter, or as a breathless clod of earth, yet that hinders not, saith the prophet.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Matthew 3:9. Think not to say, &c.— Dr. Whitby has shewn fully how great was the presumption of the Jews, on their relationship to Abraham. Munster upon this text quotes a remarkable passage from the Talmud, wherein it is said, "That Abraham sits next the gates of hell, and does not permit any wicked Israelite to go down into it." These Jews might perhaps pervert the promise in Jeremiah 31:35-36 to support this vain and dangerous confidence, in opposition to the most express and awful warnings; particularly Deuteronomy 30:19-20. The Baptist, taking his ideas from the objects before him, (as we shall find, in the course of this work, was familiar with our blessed Saviour,) intended to say thus much only to the Pharisees: "I declare it unto you, as a certain and solemn truth, that God is able, of these very stones, here before your eyes, which he can animate and sanctify whenever he sees fit, to raise up those, who, though not descended from human parents, shall be,in a much nobler sense than you, children of Abraham, as being made the heirs of his faith and obedience; and he would sooner work such a miracle as this, than suffer hispromise to fail, or admit you to the blessings of his approaching kingdom, merely because you have the abused honour to descend from that holy and favoured patriarch." See Doddridge.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/matthew-3.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

9. μὴ δόξητε λ.] Not pleonastic: but, Do not fancy you may say, &c. In Justin Martyr’s dialogue with Trypho the Jew, § 140, p. 230, we read: εἰσὶ δὲ λάκκοι συντετριμμένοι καὶ ὕδωρ μὴ συνέχοντες, οὓς ὤρυξαν ὑμῖν οἱ διδάσκαλοι ὑμῶν αὐτῶνκαὶ πρὸς τούτοις ἑαυτοὺς καὶ ὑμᾶς βουκολοῦσιν, ὑπολαμβάνοντες ὅτι πάντως τοῖς ἀπὸ τῆς σπορᾶς τῆς κατὰ σάρκα τοῦ ἀβραὰμ οὖσι, κἂν ἁμαρτωλοὶ ὦσι, καὶ ἄπιστοι, καὶ ἀπειθεῖς πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ἡ βασιλεία ἡ αἰώνιος δοθήσεται. The expression λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, as similar expressions in Scripture (e.g., Psalms 9:6 (27), 11 (32); Matthew 13:1 : Ecclesiastes 1:16; Ecclesiastes 2:15 a(22). fr.), is used to signify the act by which outward circumstances are turned into thoughts of the mind. See Beck, Biblische Seelenlehre, p. 83.

ἐκ τῶν λ. τ.] The pebbles or shingle on the beach of the Jordan. He possibly referred to Isaiah 51:1-2. This also is prophetic, of the admission of the Gentile Church. See Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:29. Or we may take the interpretation which Chrysostom prefers, also referring to Isaiah 51:1-2; μὴ νομίζετε, φησίν, ὅτι ἐὰν ὑμεῖς ἀπόλησθε, ἄπαιδα ποιήσετε τὸν πατριάρχην. οὐκ ἔστι τοῦτο, οὐκ ἔστι. τῷ γὰρ θεῷ δυνατὸν καὶ ἀπὸ λίθωι ἀνθρώπους αὐτῷ δοῦναι, καὶ εἰς συγγένειαν αὐτοῦ ἀγαγεῖν, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς οὕτως ἐγένετο. τῷ γὰρ ἐκ λίθων ἀνθρώπους γενέσθαι ὅμοιον ἦν τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς μήτρας ἐκείνης τῆς σκληρᾶς προελθεῖν παιδίον.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/matthew-3.html. 1863-1878.

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

Matthew 3:9. δόξητε] Do not allow yourselves to suppose, do not say to yourselves, 1 Corinthians 11:16; Philippians 3:4.

λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς] אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ, cogitare secum. It objectively represents reflection as the language of the mind. Psalms 4:5, Psalms 10:6. Psalms 14:1; Matthew 9:21; Luke 3:8; Luke 7:49. Delitzsch, Psych, p. 180 [E. T. 213]. Comp. λέγειν πρὸς ἑαυτόν in Plat. Phaed. p. 88 C.

πατέραἀβραάμ] The Jews of the common sort and their party leaders believed that the descendants of Abraham would, as such, become participators of salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom, because Abraham’s righteousness would be reckoned as theirs. Sanhedrin, f. 901: לכל ישראל יש להם חלק לעולם הבא. Bereschith, R. xviii. 7. Wetstein on the passage. Bertholdt, Christol. p. 206 ff. Comp. in the N. T., especially John 8:33 ff.

ὅτι δύναται, κ. τ. λ.] God is able, notwithstanding your descent from Abraham, to exclude you from the Messiah’s salvation; and, on the other hand, to create and bring forth out of these stones, which lie here around on the bank of the Jordan, such persons as are GENUINE children of Abraham,—that is, as Euth. Zigabenus strikingly expresses it: οἱ τὰς ἀρετὰς αὐτοῦ μιμούμενοι καὶ τῆς αὐτῆς αὐτῷ καταξιούμενοι μερίδος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν. Comp. Romans 4; Romans 9:6 ff.; Galatians 4; John 8:39 f. It is an anticipation, however, to find the calling of the heathen here indicated. It follows first from this axiom.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 3:9. ΄ὴ δόξητε, think not) The verb δοκῶ, to appear or imagine (in the same manner as φάσκω, to allege or suppose, the particle ὡς, as; and the Latin expressions, præ mefero, to profess; ostendo, to declare; puto, to suppose; videor, to seem; apparet, it appears; species, appearance), sometimes denotes a thing which is true, and at the same apparent; sometimes an empty appearance, which any one presents to himself or others. And thus the meaning in this passage is, “You may indeed say this, in some degree, with truth, but you must not plume yourselves upon it.”(125)λέγειν, to say) i.e. with safety.— τὸν ἀβραὰμ, Abraham) as there is no lack of his posterity.— λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν, for I say unto you) A most solemn formula, employed by a great man, on an occasion of the highest importance.—Cf. Gnomon on ch. Matthew 5:18.— δύναται, is able) The Jews supposed that they could not fall utterly away.— ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων, from these stones) and from any other material, as He produced Adam from the clod. God is not tied to the law of succession in the Church.— τούτων, these) The stones to which John pointed were perhaps those which had been placed there in the time of Joshua, that they might be for a testimony that the people of Israel had crossed the river Jordan, and entered the Land of Promise, and that they owed the land, not to themselves, but to God. The words sound like a proverbial expression, as well as those in Luke 19:40.— τέκνα, children) i.e. according to the spirit. They were indeed children according to the flesh, who are called nevertheless broods of vipers.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

All hypocrites bear up themselves upon something, upon which they promise good to themselves, and a freedom from the judgments of God. The Jews rested much upon their descent from Abraham, as appeareth also from John 8:39, by which means they entitled themselves to the covenant, Genesis 8:10, extended to his seed as well as to himself, as also to the name of the church, Abraham’s posterity by Isaac being all the visible church which God had upon the earth at that time. It is the great work of ministers to drive hypocrites from their vain confidences. This John doth here; as if he should say, I know what you trust to, you think with yourselves that, because you are the only church of God upon the earth, judgment shall not come upon you, God would then have no seed of Abraham to show mercy to, and to keep his covenant with; but mistake not, God, of stones, if he please, can raise up Abraham a seed. To keep covenant with papists and formalists have much the same presumption, though with this difference, the Jews were the true, the only church of God, these do but arrogate the name to themselves.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-3.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

«отец у нас Авраам» См. Ин.8:39-44. Они думали, что уже одно то, что они были потомками Авраама и принадлежали к богоизбранному народу, обеспечивало им допуск в Царствие Небесное. Но настоящими потомками Авраама являются те, кто разделял его веру (ср. Рим.4:16). И «верующие суть сыны Авраама» (Гал.3:7, 29), см. пояснение к Лк.3:8.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/matthew-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Think not; depend not on the piety of your ancestors, but become pious yourselves. Piety is not hereditary, and none can safely depend on the goodness of others; but in order to be saved, each one must become pious himself.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/matthew-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9.Abraham to our father — Abraham is but poorly the father of a brood of serpents. John warns them that bodily descent will not save them; they will be tried under the severe law of an individual responsibility. Of these stones —Pointing, perhaps, to the stones of the Jordan. In thus sinking the high claims of Judaism, John, no doubt, indicates the coming rejection of the Jewish race.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/matthew-3.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 3:9. Think not to say, or, ‘that you may say.’ Do not say, nay, do not think that this is a plausible defence, even within yourselves, in your own hearts: We have Abraham to our father, or ‘for a father,’ i.e., we shall escape, or be saved, because we are natural heirs to the promise made to him. This was the Jewish boast, the Jewish error; John’s preaching went to the heart of the matter.

For. The reason the Jewish boast was not valid.

God is able of (or, ‘out of’) these stones, i.e., lying loose on the banks of Jordan, where the words were uttered—sarcastic. No figurative reference to heathen, or to monuments.

To raise up children unto Abraham. Very emphatic. God could create others to take their place as heirs of the promise. Probably a reference to the spiritual offspring of the patriarch (Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:7). John, either consciously or unconsciously, predicts the calling of the Gentiles. Spiritual succession not dependent on natural or ecclesiastical (even ‘apostolic’) succession.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-3.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Matthew 3:9. And think not to say — Or, as the words, μη δοξητε λεγειν, rather signify, Presume not to say, or, Say not confidently, within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father — As if he had said, Being called upon to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, begin not to obstruct the efficacy of the admonition with those thoughts which are so common among you, that you are secure from wrath by being the children of Abraham. It is almost incredible how great the presumption of the Jews was, on this their relation to Abraham. “Abraham,” says the Talmud, (a book in high repute among them,) “sits near the gates of hell, and does not permit any wicked Israelite to go down into it.” And Justin informs us, that the Jewish rabbins assured them, “That, being Abraham’s seed, though they continued in disobedience to God, and in infidelity, the kingdom of heaven should still be given them.” And it is to be feared that many professors of Christianity build their hopes of salvation on a foundation equally false, depending on their baptism, their knowledge, their orthodoxy, their forms of godliness, their deeds of charity, or their fancied interest in the merits of Christ, while they live in sin, and are lukewarm and negligent in pursuit of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

For I say unto you — This preface always denotes the importance of what follows: God is able of these stones — He probably pointed to those which lay before them: to raise up children to Abraham — You think that because you are the only Church of God upon earth, and if you were destroyed God would then have no seed of Abraham to show mercy to, and keep his covenant with, therefore judgment shall not come upon you: but mistake not; that God who raised Adam from the dust of the earth, and children to Abraham from the dead womb of Sarah, can, if he please, animate and sanctify these very stones, which are before your eyes, and transform them into children of Abraham; into persons who shall inherit Abraham’s faith and piety, and who, by imitating his obedience, shall become his spiritual seed, to whom the promises made to him shall be fulfilled, and in whom the church shall still subsist, though all you should be destroyed. And he would sooner work such a miracle as this, than he would suffer his promise to fail, or admit you to the blessings of his approaching kingdom, merely because you have the abused honour to descend from that peculiar favourite of Heaven. Thus the Baptist took from those presumptuous men the ground of their confidence, by affirming that God could perform his promises to Abraham, though the whole Jewish nation should be rejected by him; the seed, like the stars for multitude, that was principally intended in the promise, being a spiritual progeny.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/matthew-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

not, therefore, wantonly imagine, that the fear of destroying the posterity of this patriarch, and of annulling the promises which God had made to him and to his seed, will hinder Him from punishing you. (Bible de Vence)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/matthew-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

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

not. Greek. me. App-105.

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

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

God. App-98.

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

children. Greek plural of teknon. App-108.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/matthew-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father - that pillow on which the nation so fatally reposed, that rock on which at length it spliterally (John 8:33; John 8:39; John 8:53, etc.)

For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham - q.d., 'Flatter not yourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in need of you, to make good his promise of a seed to Abraham; for I tell you that, though you were all to perish, God is as able to raise up a seed to Abraham out of those stones as He was to take Abraham himself out of the rock whence he was hewn, out of the hole of the pit whence he was digged' (Isaiah 51:1.) Though the stern speaker may have pointed as he spake to the pebbles of the bare clay hills that lay around (so Stanley's "Sinai and Palestine"), it was clearly the calling of the Gentiles-at that time stone-dead in their sins, and quite as unconscious of it-into the room of unbelieving and disinherited Israel that he meant thus to indicate. (See Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:20; Romans 11:30.)

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

9. And don’t think you can excuse yourselves. They believed Abraham would keep them from being lost eternally, even in their sin. John destroys this. God can take these rocks. Perhaps pointing to the rocks in the Jordan. In destroying the higher claims of Judaism, John points to the Gentiles who become God’s children by faith in Christ (see Galatians 3:29).

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9) We have Abraham to (better, as) our father.—The boast seems to have been common, as in John 8:33-39, and was connected with the belief that this alone, or taken together with the confession of the creed of Israel “the Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4), would be enough to ensure for every Jew an admission into Paradise. The “bosom” of Abraham was wide enough to receive all his children. “We have Abraham as our father” was to the Jew all and more than all that “civis Romanus sum” was to the Romans.

Of these stones.—The words were obviously dramatised by gesture, pointing to the pebbles on the banks of the Jordan. In their spiritual application, they are remarkable as containing the germs of all the teaching of our Lord, and of St. Paul, and of St. John, as to the calling of the Gentiles, and the universality of God’s kingdom.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
think
Mark 7:21; Luke 3:8; 5:22; 7:39; 12:17
We
Ezekiel 33:24; Luke 16:24; John 8:33,39,40,53; Acts 13:26; Romans 4:1,11-16; Romans 9:7,8; Galatians 4:22-31
God
8:11,12; Luke 19:40; Acts 15:14; Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 1:27,28; Galatians 3:27-29; Ephesians 2:12,13
Reciprocal: Genesis 18:14 - Is;  Numbers 16:3 - all the;  1 Samuel 4:3 - Let us;  Job 8:19 - out of the earth;  Psalm 22:30 - it shall;  Proverbs 5:1 - attend;  Isaiah 41:8 - the seed;  Isaiah 49:20 - children;  Jeremiah 3:16 - say;  Jeremiah 5:15 - O house;  Jeremiah 7:4 - Trust;  Ezekiel 16:15 - thou didst;  Ezekiel 20:38 - I will purge;  Micah 3:11 - yet;  Zephaniah 3:11 - that rejoice;  Haggai 1:8 - and build;  Malachi 2:10 - all;  Matthew 15:22 - a woman;  Matthew 25:8 - Give;  Mark 12:9 - he will;  Luke 13:7 - why;  Luke 13:30 - GeneralJohn 1:13 - not;  Acts 2:38 - Repent;  Acts 3:25 - the children;  Acts 13:40 - Beware;  Romans 2:17 - thou art;  Romans 2:28 - For he;  Romans 4:12 - to them;  Romans 11:22 - otherwise;  2 Corinthians 11:22 - the seed;  Ephesians 3:20 - able;  James 2:21 - Abraham;  1 Peter 4:17 - judgment

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-3.html.

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

John was an inspired man and could read the thoughts of these boastful pretenders. But aside from this truth, the language at these Jews indicated thelr pride of ancestry. (See John 8:33.) John did not intend to belittle the importance ot Abraham, but he meant that having descended through the line of that great patriach did not entitle them to any special favors in their wrong doing. It was God"s will that Abraham"s lineal descendants become the special race for His purposes, but that was not because no other plan would have been possible. As far as power or ability was concerned, He could have caused the stones to .become impregnated with the divine germ of life so that they could give birth to children to be enrolled in the register of Abraham"s seed. Such a possibility as described above existed though the Lord never intended to do such a thing. There was another feat. however. that was as wonderful as that, which was to convert Gentile heathen into descendants of Abraham by faith. (See Romans 4:11.) .

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-3.html. 1952.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 3:9.And think not to say within yourselves. Luke 3:8.And begin not to say within yourselves. As the import of both phrases is undoubtedly the same, it is easy to ascertain what John meant. Till hypocrites are hard pressed, they either sleep in their sins, or indulge in licentious mirth. (268) But when they are summoned to the tribunal of God, they eagerly seek for some subterfuge or concealment, or some covering to interpose between God and them. John’s address to the Pharisees and Sadducees amounts to this: Now that I have sharply upbraided you, do not, as persons of your stamp are wont to do endeavor to find a remedy in an empty and deceitful title.”

He thus tears from them the wicked confidence, by which they had been bewitched. The covenant, which God had made with Abraham, was employed by them as a shield to defend a bad conscience: not that they rested their salvation on the person of one man, but that God had adopted all the posterity of Abraham. Meanwhile, they did not consider, that none are entitled to be regarded as belonging to “the seed of Abraham,” (John 8:33,) but those who follow his faith, and that without faith the covenant of God has no influence whatever in procuring salvation. And even the little word, in yourselves, is not without meaning: for though they did not boast in words, that they were Abraham’s children, yet they were inwardly delighted with this title, as hypocrites are not ashamed to practice grosser impositions on God than on men.

God is able. The Jews flattered themselves with nearly the same pretenses, as are now brought forward insolently by the Papists. “There must be some Church in the world; because it is the will of God that he be acknowledged, and his name invoked, in the world. But the Church can be nowhere else than among us, to whom God has entrusted his covenant.” (269) This arrogance was chiefly displayed by the high priests, and by others who had any share of government or authority. The common people were treated by them as profane and accursed,(John 7:49,) and they looked upon themselves as the holy first-fruits; just as, in our own day, mitred Bishops, Abbots, Canons, Monks, Sorbonnists, and every description of Priests, glorying in the proud title of Clergy, regard the Laity with contempt. This error, of relying too much on the promise of God, John exposes and refutes, by saying that, though God passes by them, he will not want a Church.

The meaning of the words, therefore, is: “God has made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his seed. In one point you are mistaken. While you are worse than bastards, (270) you imagine that you are the only children of Abraham. But God will raise up elsewhere a new seed of Abraham, which does not now appear.” He says in the dative case, children To ABRAHAM, ( τῶ ᾿Αβραὰμ,) to inform us, that the promise of God will not fail, and that Abraham, who relied on it, was not deceived, though his seed be not found in you. Thus from the beginning of the world the Lord has been faithful to his servants, and has never failed to fulfill the promise which he made to them, that he would extend mercy to their children, though he rejected hypocrites. Some imagine, that John spoke of the calling of the Gentiles. This appears to me to be without foundation: but as proud men did not believe it to be possible that the Church should be removed to another place, he reminds them, that God has in his power ways of preserving his Church, which they did not think of, any more than they believed that he could create children out of stones.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:9". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/matthew-3.html. 1840-57.