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Matthew 11:7

    Matthew 11:7 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And as they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, What went you out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And as these went their way, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? a reed shaken with the wind?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And when they were going away, Jesus, talking of John, said to all the people, What went you out into the waste land to see? a tall stem moving in the wind?

    Webster's Revision

    And as these went their way, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? a reed shaken with the wind?

    World English Bible

    As these went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And as these went their way, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? a reed shaken with the wind?

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 11:7

    What went ye out into the wilderness to see? - The purport of our Lord's design, in this and the following verses, is to convince the scribes and Pharisees of the inconsistency of their conduct in acknowledging John Baptist for a divinely authorized teacher, and not believing in the very Christ which he pointed out to them. He also shows, from the excellencies of John's character, that their confidence in him was not misplaced, and that this was a farther argument why they should have believed in him, whom the Baptist proclaimed as being far superior to himself.

    A reed shaken with the wind? - An emblem of an irresolute, unsteady mind, which believes and speaks one thing to-day, and another to-morrow. Christ asks these Jews if they had ever found any thing in John like this: Was he not ever steady and uniform in the testimony he bore to me? The first excellency which Christ notices in John was his steadiness; convinced once of the truth, he continued to believe and assert it. This is essentially necessary to every preacher, and to every private Christian. He who changes about from opinion to opinion, and from one sect or party to another, is never to be depended on; there is much reason to believe that such a person is either mentally weak, or has never been rationally and divinely convinced of the truth.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 11:7

    And as they departed ... - Jesus took occasion, from the inquiries made by John's disciples, to instruct the people respecting the true character of John. Multitudes had gone out to hear him when he preached in the desert Matthew 3, and it is probable that many had been attracted by the novelty of his appearance or doctrines, or had gone simply to see and hear a man of singular habits and opinions. Probably many who followed Christ had been of that number. He took occasion, therefore, by some striking questions, to examine the motives by which they had been drawn to his ministry.

    A reed shaken with the wind? - The region of country in which John preached, being overflowed annually by the Jordan, produced great quantities of "reeds" or "canes," of a light fragile nature, easily shaken by the wind. They were therefore an image of a light, changing, inconstant man. John's sending to Christ to inquire his character might have led some to suppose that he was changing and inconstant, like a reed. He had once acknowledged him to be the Messiah, and now, being in prison and sending to him to inquire into the fact, they might have supposed he had no firmness or fixed principles. Jesus, by asking this question, declared that, notwithstanding this appearance, this was not the character of John.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 11:7

    11:7 As they departed, he said concerning John - Of whom probably he would not have said so much when they were present. A reed shaken by the wind? - No; nothing could ever shake John in the testimony he gave to the truth. The expression is proverbial.