Matthew 3:4

And the same John had his clothing of camel's hair, and a leather belt about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
His garment of camels' hair, not wrought camlet as some would have it, but made of the skin of a camel, with the hair on it. Thus Elias (4 Kings, i. 8,) is called an hairy man, with a leathern girdle about him. Locusts, not sea-crabs, as others again expound it; but a sort of flies, or grasshoppers, frequent in hot countries. They are numbered among eatables. (Leviticus xi. 22) St. Jerome and others mention them as a food of the common people, when dried with smoke and salt. Theophylactus, by the Greek word, understands the tops of trees or buds. (Witham) ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
For the preaching of John no place more suitable, no clothing more useful, no food more fitted. The preacher of Christ is clad in the skins of unclean beasts, to which the Gentiles are compared, and so by the Prophets’ dress is sanctified whatever inthem was useless or unclean. The girdle is a thing of much efficacy to every good work, that we may be girt for every ministry of Christ. For his food are chosen locusts, which fly the face of man, and escape from every approach, signifying ourselves who were borne away from every word or speech of good by aspontaneous motion of the body, weak in will, barren in works, fretful in speech, foreign in abode, are now become the food of the Saints, chosen to fillthe Prophets’ desire, furnishing our most sweet food not from the hives of the law, but from the trunks of wild trees. ...


AD 420
His raiment of camel’s hair, not of wool - the one the mark of austerity indress, the other of a delicate luxury. Food moreover suited to a dweller in the desert, no choice viands, but such as satisfied the necessities of the body. He also relates, that in the same desert there is a kind of tree, with a large round leaf, of the colour of milk and taste of honey, so friable as to rub to powder in the hand, and this is what is intended by wild honey. His girdle of skin, which Elias also bare, is the mark of mortification. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Having said that he is the voice of one crying in the desert, the Evangelist well adds, “John had his clothing of camel’s hair;” thus shewing what his lifewas; for he indeed testified of Christ, but his life testified of himself. No one is fit to be another’s witness till he has first been his own. It becomes the servants of God to use a dress not for elegant appearance, or for cherishing of the body, but for a covering of the nakedness. Thus John wears a garment not soft and delicate, but hairy, heavy, rough, rather wounding the skin than cherishing it, that even the very clothing of his body told of the virtue of his mind. It was the custom of the Jews to wear girdles of wool; so he desiring something less indulgent wore one of skin. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Observe, how the prophets foretold some things, others they left to the evangelists. Wherefore also Matthew both sets down the prophecies, and adds his own part, not accounting even this superfluous, to speak of the dress of the righteous man. For indeed it was a marvellous and strange thing to behold so great austerity in a human frame: which thing also particularly attracted the Jews, seeing in him the great Elijah, and guided by what they then beheld, to the memory of that blessed man; or rather, even to a greater astonishment. For the one indeed was brought up in cities and in houses, the other dwelt entirely in the wilderness from his very swaddling clothes. For it became the forerunner of Him who was to put away all the ancient ills, the labor, for example, the curse, the sorrow, the sweat; himself also to have certain tokens of such a gift, and to come at once to be above that condemnation. Thus he neither ploughed land, nor opened furrow, he ate not his bread by the sweat of...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
His dress and diet express the quality of his inward conversation. His garment was of an austere quality, because he rebuked the sinner’s life. He ate locusts and honey, because his preaching was sweet tot he multitude, but was of short continuance; and honey has sweetness, locusts a swift flight but soon fall to the ground. ...

Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
In this clothing and this poor food, he shows that he sorrows for the sins of the whole human race. In John (which name is interpreted ‘the grace of God,’) is figured Christ who brought grace into the world; in his clothing, the Gentile Church.

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Even by his appearance John called them to repentance, for he wore the garb of mourning. It is said that the camel is somewhere between a clean and unclean animal: it is clean in that it chews its cud, but it is unclean in that its hoof is not cloven (Levit. 11:1-8). Another reason, then, that John wore camel’s hair is that he was leading to God both the Jewish people, who appeared clean, and the Gentiles, who were unclean, and he was a mediator between the Old and the New Testaments. All the saints appear in Scripture girt about the waist with a belt, for they labored continuously; but the careless and the gluttonous are not girt, but let their robes flow to the ground, like the Saracens of today. Or, the saints are girt because they have mortified the desires of the flesh, for leather is a part of a dead animal. Some say that "locusts" refer to a type of herb; others say that the word refers to the fruit of wild pod-bearing trees. Wild honey is produced by wild bees, and is to be...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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