Stood upon a pulpit of wood - מגדל migdal, a tower, a platform, raised up for the purpose, to elevate him sufficiently for the people both to see and hear him; for it is said, Nehemiah 8:5, that he was above all the people. This is the first intimation we have of a pulpit, or structure of this kind. But we must not suppose that it was any thing similar to those tubs or barrels ridiculously set up in churches and chapels, in which a preacher is nearly as much confined, during the time of his preaching, as if he was in the stocks.
The 13 persons mentioned were probably the chief priests of the course (shift) which was at the time performing the temple service.
To the desert prophet all this seemed a mystery beyond his fathoming. There were hours when the whisperings of demons tortured his spirit, and the shadow of a terrible fear crept over him. Could it be that the long-hoped-for Deliverer had not yet appeared? Then what meant the message that he himself had been impelled to bear? John had been bitterly disappointed in the result of his mission. He had expected that the message from God would have the same effect as when the law was read in the days of Josiah and of Ezra (2 Chronicles 34; Nehemiah 8, 9); that there would follow a deep-seated work of repentance and returning unto the Lord. For the success of this mission his whole life had been sacrificed. Had it been in vain? DA 216.1
John was troubled to see that through love for him, his own disciples were cherishing unbelief in regard to Jesus. Had his work for them been fruitless? Had he been unfaithful in his mission, that he was now cut off from labor? If the promised Deliverer had appeared, and John had been found true to his calling, would not Jesus now overthrow the oppressor's power, and set free His herald? DA 216.2
But the Baptist did not surrender his faith in Christ. The memory of the voice from heaven and the descending dove, the spotless purity of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit that had rested upon John as he came into the Saviour's presence, and the testimony of the prophetic scriptures,—all witnessed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised One. DA 216.3Read in context »