Matthew 12:39
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

King James Bible
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Darby Bible Translation
But he, answering, said to them, A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it save the sign of Jonas the prophet.

World English Bible
But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.

Young's Literal Translation
And he answering said to them, 'A generation, evil and adulterous, doth seek a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet;

Matthew 12:39 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

An evil and adulterous generation - The relation of the Jews to God was often represented as a marriage contract - God as the husband, and the Jewish people as the wife.

See Isaiah 57:3; Hosea 3:1; Ezekiel 16:15. Hence, their apostasy and idolatry are often represented as adultery. This is the meaning, probably, here. They were evil, and unfaithful to the covenant or to the commandments of God - an apostate and corrupt people. There is, however, evidence that they were literally an adulterous people.

There shall no sign be given to it ... - They sought some direct miracle "from heavens." Jesus replied that no "such" miracle should be given. He did not mean to say that he would work no more miracles, or give no more evidence that he was the Christ, but he would give "no such miracle" as they required. "He would give one that ought to be as satisfactory evidence to them that he was from God, as the miraculous preservation of Jonah was to the Ninevites that he was divinely commissioned." As Jonah was preserved three days by miracle and then restored alive, so he would be raised from the dead after three days. As on the ground of this preservation the Ninevites believed Jonah and repented, so, on the ground of his resurrection, the people of an adulterous and wicked generation ought to repent, and believe that he was from God. "The sign of the prophet Jonas" means the "sign" or "evidence" which was given to the people of Nineveh that he was from God - to wit, that he had been miraculously preserved, and was therefore divinely commissioned. The word "Jonas" is the Greek way of writing the Hebrew word "Jonah," as "Elias" is for "Elijah."

Matthew 12:39 Parallel Commentaries

Library
'A Greater than Jonas'
'A greater than Jonas is here.'--MATT. xii. 41. There never was any man in his right mind, still more of influence on his fellows, who made such claims as to himself in such unmistakable language as Jesus Christ does. To say such things of oneself as come from His lips is a sign of a weak, foolish nature. It is fatal to all influence, to all beauty of character. It is not only that He claims official attributes as a fanatical or dishonest pretender to inspiration may do. He does that, but He does
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xii. 32, "Whosoever Shall Speak a Word against the Holy Spirit, it Shall not be Forgiven Him, Neither In
1. There has been a great question raised touching the late lesson of the Gospel, to the solution of which I am unequal by any power of mine own; but "our sufficiency is of God," [2335] to whatever degree we are capable of receiving His aid. First then consider the magnitude of the question; that when ye see the weight of it laid upon my shoulders, ye may pray in aid of my labours, and in the assistance which is vouchsafed to me, may find edification for your own souls. When "one possessed with a
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Blasphemous Accusations of the Jews.
(Galilee.) ^A Matt. XII. 22-37; ^B Mark III. 19-30; ^C Luke XI. 14-23. ^b 19 And he cometh into a house. [Whose house is not stated.] 20 And the multitude cometh together again [as on a previous occasion--Mark ii. 1], so that they could not so much as eat bread. [They could not sit down to a regular meal. A wonderful picture of the intense importunity of people and the corresponding eagerness of Jesus, who was as willing to do as they were to have done.] 21 And when his friends heard it, they went
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
(Galilee on the Same Day as the Last Section.) ^A Matt. XII. 38-45; ^C Luke XI. 24-36. ^c 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, ^a 38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. [Having been severely rebuked by Jesus, it is likely that the scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign that they might appear to the multitude more fair-minded and open to conviction than Jesus had represented them to be. Jesus had just wrought
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Cross References
2 Kings 14:25
He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher.

Jonah 1:1
The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

Matthew 16:4
"An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them and went away.

Mark 8:12
Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, "Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."

Luke 11:29
As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.

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