But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the wrath and indignation [of God against disobedience] that is coming?
Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You ·are snakes [T brood/offspring of vipers]! Who warned you to ·run [slither; L flee] away from God’s coming ·punishment [wrath; retribution]?
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said: “Who warned you, you serpent’s brood, to escape from the wrath to come? Go and do something to show that your hearts are really changed. Don’t suppose 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!
When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he 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 make any difference? 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 descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a dime a dozen. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.
He saw many proud religious law-keepers and other people of the religious group who believe no one will be raised from the dead. They were coming to him to be baptized. He said to them, “You family of snakes! Who told you how to keep from God’s anger that is coming?
But when he saw many of the Perushim and Tzedukim coming to where he was using the Yarden as a mikveh mayim, Yochanan said to them, You banim (sons) of nachashim (snakes)! Who warned you to flee from the charon af [Hashem] habah (the coming burning wrath of Hashem)?
But he saw many of the Pharisees and of Sadducees coming to his baptism, and said to them, Generation of adders, who showed to you to flee from the wrath that is to come? [Soothly he seeing many of Pharisees and of Sadducees coming to his baptism, said to them, Generations of adders, who showed to you to flee from wrath to come?]
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