Like Children Complaining

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Were Jesus and John the Baptist like children who played a dance and a dirge? Or was Jesus' generation one that complained like whining children about the prophets who came to warn it?

Matt. 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35

(Huck 65, 82; Aland 107; Crook 126)[1]

לְפִיכָךְ לְמָה אֲדַמֶּה אֶת הַדּוֹר הַזֶּה וּלְמַה הֵם דּוֹמִים לִילָדִים יוֹשְׁבִים בַּשּׁוּק שֶׁקּוֹרְאִים זֶה לָזֶה וְאוֹמְרִים הִכִּינוּ לִפְנֵיכֶם בֶּחָלִיל וְלֹא רִקַּדְתֶּם קוֹנַנּוּ לִפְנֵיכֶם קִינָה וְלֹא סְפַדְתֶּם שֶׁבָּא יוֹחָנָן הַמַּטְבִּיל אֵינוּ אוֹכֵל וְאֵינוּ שׁוֹתֶה וְאוֹמְרִים הַשֵּׁד בּוֹ בָּא בַּר אֱנָשׁ אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה וְאוֹמְרִים הֲרֵי אִישׁ רַעַבְתָן וְגַרְגְּרָן אוֹהֵב שֶׁלְּמוֹכְסִים וּרְשָׁעִים וְנִזְדַּכָּה הֶחָכְמָה מִבָּנֶיהָ

“So, what comparison can I make that will describe the behavior of this generation? What are they like? They are like children playing in a market who complain about their friends with the chant, ‘We struck up a tune for you on the pipe, but you would not dance! We sang you a sorrowful tune, but you would not show signs of grief!’

“For when Yohanan the Immerser came partaking of neither food nor drink with them, this generation said, ‘He must be possessed by a demon!’ But when the Son of Man came partaking of both food and drink with them, this generation said, ‘He must be a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of toll collectors and sinners!’

“But Lady Wisdom is vindicated by her sons and daughters.”[2]

Updated: 19 May 2022

A reproduction of our reconstruction in an ancient Hebrew script. Font, based on the Isaiah Scroll from Qumran (1QIsaa), created by Kris Udd.


To view the reconstructed text of Like Children Complaining click on the link below:

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Like Children Complaining compares the resentment and jealousy people harbored against John the Baptist and Jesus to children who complained that their friends would not play with them.

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  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
    [Read more about author]

    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton studied at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies (2002). Joshua continued his studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, where he obtained a Master of Divinity degree in 2005. After seminary…
    [Read more about author]

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