Matthew 11:16
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,

King James Bible
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

Darby Bible Translation
But to whom shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the markets, which, calling to their companions,

World English Bible
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions

Young's Literal Translation
'And to what shall I liken this generation? it is like little children in market-places, sitting and calling to their comrades,

Matthew 11:16 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But whereunto shall I liken ... - Christ proceeds to reprove the inconsistency and fickleness of that age of people. He says they were like children - nothing pleased them. He refers here to the "plays" or "sports" of children. Instrumental music, or piping and dancing, were used in marriages and festivals as a sign of joy. See the notes at Isaiah 5:11-12. Compare Job 21:11; 2 Samuel 6:14; Judges 11:34; Luke 15:25. 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 festal occasion. We have seen also (the notes at Matthew 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, have played lively tunes, and have 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 joked with us. Nothing pleases you. So, said Christ, is this generation of people. "John" came one way, "neither eating nor drinking," abstaining as a Nazarite, 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 people, 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 Nazarite. 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. 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 Nazarite; he did not practice 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 the notes at John 2:10. No one should plead the example, at any rate, in favor 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 noxious drugs to give them color and flavor.

Wisdom is justified of her children - The children of wisdom are the wise - those who understand. The Saviour 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 reasons of their conduct - would approve of and do justice to it.

Matthew 11:16 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Christ's Strange Thanksgiving
'I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.' --MATT. xi. 25. When Jesus was about to cure one dumb man, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and sighed. Sorrow filled His soul in the act of working deliverance. The thought of the depth of the miseries He had come to heal, and of the ocean of them which He was then diminishing but by one poor drop, saddened Him. When Jesus thought of the woes that had
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Rest for the Weary
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. W hich shall we admire most -- the majesty, or the grace, conspicuous in this invitation? How soon would the greatest earthly monarch be impoverished, and his treasures utterly exhausted, if all, that are poor and miserable, had encouragement to apply freely to him, with a promise of relief, fully answerable to their wants and wishes! But the riches of Christ are unsearchable and inexhaustible. If millions and millions
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Meek and Lowly One
I. First, then, I am to consider THE FIRST QUALITY WHICH JESUS CHRIST CLAIMS. He declares that he is "MEEK." Christ is no egotist; he takes no praise to himself. If ever he utters a word in self-commendation, it is not with that object; it is with another design, namely that he may entice souls to come to him. Here, in order to exhibit this meekness, I shall have to speak of him in several ways. 1. First, Christ is meek, as opposed to the ferocity of spirit manifested by zealots and bigots. Take,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Powerful Persuasives
I HAVE preached to you, dear friends, several times from the words, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." There is such sweetness in the precept, such solace in the promise, that I could fain hope to preach from it many times more. But I have no intention just now to repeat what I have said in any former discourse, or to follow the same vein of thought that we have previously explored. This kindly and gracious invitation needs only to be held up in different
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

Cross References
Matthew 11:15
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 11:17
and say, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'

Matthew 23:7
and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

Mark 12:38
In His teaching He was saying: "Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places,

Luke 11:43
"Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the chief seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places.

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