And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak to the people concerning John…
The ordinary interpretation of this expression has been this: "Did you suppose that John was one of the weaklings of this world, a mere courtier with delicate words and flowing robes, who would be tremulously seeking popular approval, who would turn and trim in order to secure favour, now one thing and now another, like a rush shivering in the breeze? "But lately, a new suggestion has been made by one who was born in Palestine, and who has been educated in the Greek language. He says that shepherd-boys often shelter them. selves among the tall grass, and while away the hours of hot sunshine by playing on their native flutes; hence one frequently almost stumbles upon such a musician by the rivers or along the hillsides. So soft is the tone of the feeble instrument that it appears effeminate, and might well be the symbol of a gentle sweetness of entertainment without vigour or force. So here the exposition may be somewhat like this — " Did ye come down here beside the Jordan to hear a timid little flute-player, a reed blown with one's breath?"
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?