And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
And they answered,.... That some said he was
John the Baptist; which was the opinion of Herod, and others:
but some say Elias; that is the "Tishbite", whom the Jews in general expected in person before the coming of the Messiah and imagined that Jesus was he:
and others one of the prophets; as Jeremiah or Isaiah or some other. The Vulgate Latin reads, "as one of the prophets"; and so Beza's ancient copy as in Mark 6:15. All spake highly and honourably of him: the people in common did not look upon him as a mean person; they perceived by his doctrine and more especially by his miracles that he was an extraordinary one: the several persons which they differently took him to be and make mention of were such as were of great repute; as John the Baptist, who had lately, been among them and whom all held to be a prophet, and indeed was more than a prophet; and Elias who was so very zealous for the Lord of hosts and wrought many miracles in his day; and whose coming the Jews were in expectation of to usher in the Messiah; and none thought him less than one of the prophets; and all agreed he was an uncommon man; even one raised from the dead as he must be, if he was John the Baptist or Elias or one of the old prophets; but they knew him not at least did not confess him to be the Messiah; he not appearing as a temporal prince, they were taught to believe he would be;
See Gill on "Matthew 16:14".