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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 11 - Verse 16

Verses 16-19. But whereunto shall I liken, etc. Christ proceeds to reprove the inconsistency and fickleness of that age of men. He says they were like children. Nothing pleased them. tie refers here to the plays or sport of children. Instrumental music, or piping, and dancing, were used in marriages and festivals, as a sign of joy. Children imitate their parents and others, and act over in play what they see done by others. Among their childish sports, therefore was probably an imitation of a wedding, or festival occasion. We have seen also, See Barnes "Mt 9:23"

that funerals were attended with mournful music, and lamentation, and howling. It is not improbable that children also, in play, imitated a mournful funeral procession. One part are represented as sullen and dissatisfied. They would not enter into the play. Nothing pleased them. The others complained of it. We have, said they, taken all pains to please you. We have piped to you, played lively tunes, and engaged in cheerful sports, but you would not join with us; and then we have played different games, and imitated the mourning at funerals, and you are equally sullen; you have not lamented; you have not joined with us. Nothing pleases you. So, said Christ, is this generation of men. John came one way; neither eating nor drinking, abstaining as a Nazarene, and you were not pleased with him. I, the Son of man, have come in a different manner, eating and drinking; not practicing any austerity, but living like other men, and you are equally dissatisfied. Nay, you are less pleased, You calumniate him, and abuse me for not doing the very thing which displeased you in John. Nothing pleases you. You are fickle, changeable, inconstant, and abusive.

Markets. Places to sell provisions; places of concourse, where also children flocked together for play.

We have piped. We have played on musical instruments. A pipe was a wind instrument of music, often used by shepherds.

Neither eating nor drinking. That is, abstaining from some kinds of food, and wine, as a Nazarene. It does not mean that he did not eat at all, but that he was remarkable for abstinence.

He hath a devil. He is actuated by a bad spirit. He is irregular, strange, and cannot be a good man.

The Son of man came eating and drinking. That is, living as others do; not practicing austerity; and they accuse him of being fond of excess, and seeking the society of the wicked.

Gluttonous. One given to excessive eating.

Wine-bibber. One who drinks much wine. A great drinker. Jesus undoubtedly lived according to the general customs of the people of his time. He did not affect singularity; he did not separate himself as a Nazarene; he did not practise severe austerities. He ate that which was common, and drank that which was common. As wine was a common article of beverage among the people, he drank it. It was the pure juice of the grape, and, for anything that can be proved, it was without fermentation, In regard to the kind of wine which was used, See Barnes "Joh 2:10".

No one should plead this example, at any rate, in favour of making use of the wines that are commonly used in this country—wines, many of which are manufactured here, and without a particle of the pure juice of the grape, and most of which are mixed with brandy, or with noxious drugs, to give them colour and flavour.

Wisdom is justified of her children. The children of wisdom are the wise—those who understand. He means, that though that generation of Pharisees and fault-finders did not appreciate the conduct of John and himself, yet the wise, the candid—those who understood the reason of their conduct—would approve of, and do justice to it.

{o} "But whereunto" Lu 7:31

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