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Matthew 23:13-33

Context

23:13 “But woe to you, experts in the law 1  and you Pharisees, hypocrites! 2  You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! 3  For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in.

23:14 [[EMPTY]] 4 

23:15 “Woe to you, experts in the law 5  and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make one convert, 6  and when you get one, 7  you make him twice as much a child of hell 8  as yourselves!

23:16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple is bound by nothing. 9  But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound by the oath.’ 23:17 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 23:18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing. 10  But if anyone swears by the gift on it he is bound by the oath.’ 23:19 You are blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 23:20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 23:21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and the one who dwells in it. 23:22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and the one who sits on it.

23:23 “Woe to you, experts in the law 11  and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth 12  of mint, dill, and cumin, 13  yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You 14  should have done these things without neglecting the others. 23:24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel! 15 

23:25 “Woe to you, experts in the law 16  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, 17  so that the outside may become clean too!

23:27 “Woe to you, experts in the law 18  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. 19  23:28 In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

23:29 “Woe to you, experts in the law 20  and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You 21  build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves 22  of the righteous. 23:30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, 23  we would not have participated with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 23:31 By saying this you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 23:32 Fill up then the measure of your ancestors! 23:33 You snakes, you offspring of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 24 

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

2 tn Grk “Woe to you…because you…” The causal particle ὅτι (Joti) has not been translated here for rhetorical effect (and so throughout this chapter).

3 tn Grk “because you are closing the kingdom of heaven before people.”

4 tc The most important mss (א B D L Z Θ Ë1 33 892* pc and several versional witnesses) do not have 23:14 “Woe to you experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ property, and as a show you pray long prayers! Therefore you will receive a more severe punishment.” Part or all of the verse is contained (either after v. 12 or after v. 13) in W 0102 0107 Ë13 Ï and several versions, but it is almost certainly not original. The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number as well, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations. Note also that Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47 are very similar in wording and are not disputed textually.

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

6 tn Or “one proselyte.”

7 tn Grk “when he becomes [one].”

8 tn Grk “a son of Gehenna.” Expressions constructed with υἱός (Juios) followed by a genitive of class or kind denote a person belonging to the class or kind specified by the following genitive (L&N 9.4). Thus the phrase here means “a person who belongs to hell.”

sn See the note on the word hell in 5:22.

9 tn Grk “Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing.”

10 tn Grk “Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing.”

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

12 tn Or “you tithe mint.”

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

14 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.

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

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

17 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.

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

19 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.

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

21 tn Grk “Because you.” Here ὅτι (Joti) has not been translated.

22 tn Or perhaps “the monuments” (see L&N 7.75-76).

23 tn Grk “fathers” (so also in v. 32).

24 tn Grk “the judgment of Gehenna.”

sn See the note on the word hell in 5:22.



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