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Sermon by the Rev. Dr. George Hermanson, "."
Contrary to Arthur Paul Boer's excellent advice, Never Call Them Jerks, I often have to resist adding as a personal aside while reading Verse 7, "You brood of vipers (and you know who you are) ..." But just as with Jonah and the Ninevites, it turns out that even vipers can heed warnings and repent.
However, as Malina and Rohrbaugh helpfully point out, this phrase would also be understood as, "you offspring of vipers." And since all of one's social standing derived from one's parents - this is a high insult indeed. An insult that would be strenuously challenged by those listening to John - and a challenge that John anticipates and cuts off by saying, "Don't say that Abraham is your ancestor ..."