And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?…
John's touch was throughout light but firm, and quite infallible in particulars, just because he appealed to simple and universally intelligible principles of right and wrong. Listen to his answer to the people generally. "You want to know what to do? Do the right thing now. There's a man without a cloak, the sun's going down, he's over-heated, he'll catch fever — you've got an extra wrap, give it him. That woman yonder is fainting for a little food, she was so eager to be baptized she forgot her provision basket — you have more than you want, give her some. To the publican, or portitor, who paid so much to the Government for the right of collecting the taxes, and then got as much more as he could by squeezing the people: "You tyrants, you extortioners, every one knows your trade, and is willing to give you your margin of profit; well, don't exact more." To the soldiers: "You Jacks-in-office, don't levy blackmail by threatening to accuse innocent persons. Don't use the prestige of the Roman arms to oppress the civilian in the provinces, and don't mutiny and keep striking for higher pay; respect the people whom you ought to protect, and the master whom you profess to serve." This was pretty smart and practical teaching. The man of the crowd could not go home and say that the man of the desert knew nothing about him. He could go home and "repent"!
(H. R. Haweis, M. A. .)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?