Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Here St. John the Baptist spent long years of solitary musing on the things of God, till his soul kindled into irresistible ardour, which drove him forth among men to plead with them to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. During the hot months it is a land of scorpions, lizards, and snakes, Be that his experience readily supplied him with a comparison for his wicked contemporaries, whom he denounced as "a generation of vipers." Wild bees make their combs in the hollows of the limestone rocks; the aromatic thymes, mints, and other labiate plants, sprinkled over the face of the wilderness, furnishing them with honey, which is more plentiful in the wilderness of Judaea than in any other part of Palestine. They thus provided for him a main article of his diet, while in one wady or another, or in soma cleft, there was always water enough to quench his thirst. Locusts, the other article of his food, are never wanting in this region, and, indeed, are to this day eaten by the Arabs in the south-east of Judaea, the very district where John lived; by those of the Jordan valley, and by some tribes in Gilead. They stew them with butter, and travellers say — for I myself have never tasted them — that they are very like shrimps in flavour.
(Dr. C. Geikie.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.