Matthew 3:16 Commentary - Abbott's Illustrated New TestamentVerse 16
Like a dove. But why in this form? The Scripture use of this emblem will be our best guide here. "My dove, my undefiled, is one," says the Song (Song of Solomon 6:9). This is chaste purity. Again, Be ye harmless as doves," says Christ himself (Matthew 10:16). Further, when we read the Song (Song of Solomon 2:14) "O my dove that art in the clefts of the rocks in the secret places of the stairs (see Isaiah 60:8), let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely,"--it is shrinking modesty, meekness gentleness, that is thus charmingly depicted. In a word, when we read (Psalms 68:13), "Ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold," it is beauteousness that is thus held forth. And was not such that "Holy, harmless, undefiled One," the "Separate from sinners"? And when with John 1:32-34 we compare the predicted descent of the Spirit upon Messiah (Isaiah 11:2), "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him," we cannot doubt that it was this permanent and perfect resting of the Holy Ghost upon the Son of God--now and thenceforward in his official capacity--that was here visibly manifested.
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Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
The electronic edition of John S. C. Abbott and Jacob Abbott's The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Translated Out of the Original Greek, and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised; with Explanatory Notes has been produced from a copy of the printed text published by O. A. Browning and Company (Toledo, OH, 1878). The title on the spine of the book is Abbott's Illustrated New Testament, and on the half-title page, The Pictorial New Testament; with Notes; by Jacob and John S. C. Abbott.