But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
Read Chapter 11
George Leo Haydock
Is like to children This similtude signifies that there was nothing necessary for their salvation, which God had not abundantly provided for; but they had pertinaciously continued in their incredulity. To explain this, he uses a similitude taken from morose children, whom nothing can please; he appears to refer to some custom of that time with which we are little acquainted. (Menochius)
The comparison of children sitting in the marketplace, shouting and saying to their peers, “We sang for you and you did not dance, we lamented and you did not mourn” is made with that generation of Jews in mind. Recall the Scripture that says, “To what will I compare this generation? It is like the children sitting in the marketplace,” and the rest. We are not offered a complete understanding or a shared interpretation of allegory. But whatever we say about children should be related to their comparison with “this generation.” Those children who are sitting in the marketplace are the ones of whom the prophet Isaiah speaks: “Behold, I and my children, whom God has given me.” And also the psalm: “The testimony of God is faithful, giving wisdom to children.” And elsewhere: “Out of the mouth of babies and sucklings you have achieved glory.” So those children sat in the marketplace or in the agora, which is described in Greek more plainly as where there are many items for sale. Because the ...
This again seems to be unconnected with what came before, but it is the most natural consequence thereof. Yea, He still keeps to the same point, the showing that John is acting in harmony with Himself, although the results were opposite; as indeed with respect to his inquiry also. And He implies that there was nothing that ought to have been done for their salvation, and was omitted; which thing the prophet says of the vineyard; What ought I to have done to this vineyard, and have not done it? For whereunto, says He, shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the market, and saying, We have piped unto you, and you have not danced, we have mourned unto you, and you have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a devil. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.