[L So; Therefore] To the crowds of people who came to be baptized by John, he said, “You ·are all snakes [T brood/offspring of vipers]! Who warned you to ·run [slither; L flee] away from God’s coming ·punishment [wrath; retribution]?
So John used to say to the crowds who came out to be baptised by him, “Who warned you, you serpent’s brood, to escape from the wrath to come? See that you do something to show that your hearts are really changed! Don’t start thinking that you can say to yourselves, ‘We are Abraham’s children’, for I tell you that God could produce children of Abraham out of these stones! The axe already lies at the root of the tree, and the tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
When crowds of people came out for baptism because it was the popular thing to do, John exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God’s judgment? It’s your life that must change, not your skin. And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as ‘father.’ Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there—children of Abraham are a dime a dozen. God can make children from stones if he wants. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.”
Therefore, Yochanan was saying to the multitudes coming out to have the mikveh mayim’s tevilah supervised by him, You banim of nachashim, who warned you to flee from the charon af [Hashem] habah (the coming burning wrath of Hashem)?
In fulfillment of those words, crowds streamed out from the villages and towns to be baptized by John at the Jordan. John the Baptist: You bunch of venomous snakes! Who told you that you could escape God’s coming wrath?
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