Q. I was reading your answer titled One Messiah Or Two. It was well written. Can I ask you why you think John the Baptist was hanging out with Essenes?
A. The idea that John spent time with the Essenes is a matter of tradition rather than Biblical evidence. While it’s by no means unanimous, a number of scholars have concluded the tradition has merit for the following reasons:
The Essenes frequently adopted orphans and since John’s parents were elderly when he was born it’s likely that he was orphaned at an early age.
John spent his adolescence in the Judean wilderness; the Essenes were locally based at Qumran in the Judean desert.
John the Baptist and the Essenes had a shared interest in priestly matters and a priestly Messiah and a shared focus on Isaiah 40:3 (a voice in the wilderness).
Both adhered to Spartan diets and ascetical behavior.
John’s water baptism was comparable to Qumran ablution rites.