“these stones.” The Jews claimed salvation in large part due to their being descendants of Abraham, and John was repudiating that belief. His sharp rebuke was made even sharper by his reference to “these stones.” If anything is common in Israel it is stones, and the Bible has many, many references to them. Solomon’s wealth was described by saying that he made silver to be in Jerusalem as “stones” (1 Kings 10:27). Dashing one’s foot against a stone was common and painful (Ps. 91:12). When a dignitary would come through the area, the roads would have to be cleared of stones (Isa. 62:10), and to plant one would have to get the stones out of the vineyard (Isa. 5:1-2).