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Matthew 15:5-6

Context
15:5 But you say, ‘If someone tells his father or mother, “Whatever help you would have received from me is given to God,” 1  15:6 he does not need to honor his father.’ 2  You have nullified the word of God on account of your tradition.

1 tn Grk “is a gift,” that is, something dedicated to God.

2 tc The logic of v. 5 would seem to demand that both father and mother are in view in v. 6. Indeed, the majority of mss (C L W Θ 0106 Ë1 Ï) have “or his mother” (ἢ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ, h thn mhtera autou) after “honor his father” here. However, there are significant witnesses that have variations on this theme (καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ [kai thn mhtera autou, “and his mother”] in Φ 565 1241 pc and ἢ τὴν μητέρα [“or mother”] in 073 Ë13 33 579 700 892 pc), which is usually an indication of a predictable addition to the text rather than an authentic reading. Further, the shorter reading (without any mention of “mother”) is found in early and important witnesses (א B D sa). Although it is possible that the shorter reading came about accidentally (due to the repetition of –ερα αὐτοῦ), the evidence more strongly suggests that the longer readings were intentional scribal alterations.

tn Grk “he will never honor his father.” Here Jesus is quoting the Pharisees, whose intent is to release the person who is giving his possessions to God from the family obligation of caring for his parents. The verb in this phrase is future tense, and it is negated with οὐ μή (ou mh), the strongest negation possible in Greek. A literal translation of the phrase does not capture the intended sense of the statement; it would actually make the Pharisees sound as if they agreed with Jesus. Instead, a more interpretive translation has been used to focus upon the release from family obligations that the Pharisees allowed in these circumstances.

sn Here Jesus refers to something that has been set aside as a gift to be given to God at some later date, but which is still in the possession of the owner. According to contemporary Jewish tradition, the person who made this claim was absolved from responsibility to support or assist his parents, a clear violation of the Mosaic law to honor one’s parents (v. 4).



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