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Matthew 23:23-28

Context

23:23 “Woe to you, experts in the law 1  and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth 2  of mint, dill, and cumin, 3  yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You 4  should have done these things without neglecting the others. 23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel! 5 

23:25 “Woe to you, experts in the law 6  and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 23:26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, 7  so that the outside may become clean too!

23:27 “Woe to you, experts in the law 8  and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean. 9  23:28 In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

1 tn Or “scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.

2 tn Or “you tithe mint.”

3 sn Cumin (alternately spelled cummin) was an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean region. Its seeds were used for seasoning.

4 tc ‡ Many witnesses (B C K L W Δ 0102 33 565 892 pm) have δέ (de, “but”) after ταῦτα (tauta, “these things”), while many others lack it (א D Γ Θ Ë1,13 579 700 1241 1424 pm). Since asyndeton was relatively rare in Koine Greek, the conjunction may be an intentional alteration, and is thus omitted from the present translation. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

5 tn Grk “Blind guides who strain out a gnat yet who swallow a camel!”

6 tn Or “scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.

7 tc A very difficult textual problem is found here. The most important Alexandrian and Byzantine, as well as significant Western, witnesses (א B C L W 0102 0281 Ë13 33 Ï lat co) have “and the dish” (καὶ τῆς παροψίδος, kai th" paroyido") after “cup,” while few important witnesses (D Θ Ë1 700 and some versional and patristic authorities) omit the phrase. On the one hand, scribes sometimes tended to eliminate redundancy; since “and the dish” is already present in v. 25, it may have been deleted in v. 26 by well-meaning scribes. On the other hand, as B. M. Metzger notes, the singular pronoun αὐτοῦ (autou, “its”) with τὸ ἐκτός (to ekto", “the outside”) in some of the same witnesses that have the longer reading (viz., B* Ë13 al) hints that their archetype lacked the words (TCGNT 50). Further, scribes would be motivated both to add the phrase from v. 25 and to change αὐτοῦ to the plural pronoun αὐτῶν (aujtwn, “their”). Although the external evidence for the shorter reading is not compelling in itself, combined with these two prongs of internal evidence, it is to be slightly preferred.

8 tn Or “scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.

9 sn This was an idiom for hypocrisy – just as the wall was painted on the outside but something different on the inside, so this person was not what he appeared or pretended to be (for discussion of a similar metaphor, see L&N 88.234; BDAG 1010 s.v. τοῖχος). See Deut 28:22; Ezek 13:10-16; Acts 23:3.



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