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. Chapter 23.

The Denouncing of the Scribes and Pharisees (Jerusalem) - [ Mt.23.1-36 → ] - Mk.12.38-40, Lk.11.37-52, Lk.20.45-47

1 JESUS THEN ADDRESSED the people and his disciples in these words: 2 'The doctors of the law and the Pharisees sit in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore do what they tell you; pay attention to their words. But do not follow their practice; for they say one thing and do another. 4 They make up heavy packs and pile them on men's shoulders, but will not raise a finger to lift the load themselves. 5 Whatever they do is done for show. They go about with broad phylacteries [See Deuteronomy 6. 8-9 and Exodus 13.9.] and with large tassels on their robes; 6 they like to have places of honour at feasts and the chief seats in synagogues, 7 to be greeted respectfully in the street, and to be addressed as "rabbi".

8 'But you must not be called "rabbi"; for you have one Rabbi, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call any man on earth "father"; for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor must you be called "teacher"; you have one Teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled; and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 'Alas, alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites that you are! You shut the door of the kingdom of Heaven in men's faces; you do not enter yourselves, and when others are entering, you stop them. 14 [Some witnesses add: (14) Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites! You eat up the property of widows, while you say long prayers for appearance' sake. You will receive the severest sentence.]
15 'Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over sea and land to win one convert; and when you have won him you make him twice as fit for hell as you are yourselves.

16 'Alas for you, blind guides! You say, "If a man swears by the sanctuary, that is nothing; but if he swears by the gold in the sanctuary, he is bound by his oath." 17 Blind fools! Which is the more important, the gold, or the sanctuary which sanctifies the gold? 18 Or you say, "If a man swears by the altar, that is nothing; but if he swears by the offering that lies on the altar, he is bound by his oath." 19 What blindness! Which is the more important, the offering, or the altar which sanctifies it? 20 To swear by the altar, then, is to swear both by the altar and by whatever lies on it; 21 to swear by the sanctuary is to swear both by the sanctuary and by him who dwells there; 22 and to swear by heaven is to swear both by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23 'Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin; but you have overlooked the weightier demands of the Law, justice, mercy, and good faith. It is these you should have practised, without neglect 24 Blind guides! You strain off a midge, yet gulp down a camel! 25 'Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of cup and dish, which you have filled inside by robbery and self-indulgence! 26 Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of the cup first; then the outside will be clean also.

27 'Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like tombs covered with whitewash; they look well from outside, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all kinds of filth. 28 So it is with you: outside you look like honest men, but inside you are brim-full of hypocrisy and crime.

29 'Alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build up the tombs of the prophets and embellish monuments of the saints, 30 and you say, "If we had been alive in our fathers' time, we should never have taken part with them in the murder of the prophets." 31 So you acknowledge that you are the sons of the men who killed the prophets. 32 Go on then, finish off what your fathers began! [Or: You too must come up to your fathers' standards.]

33 'You snakes, you vipers' brood, how can you escape being condemned to hell? 34 I send you therefore prophets, sages, and teachers; some of them you will kill and crucify, others you will flog in your synagogues and hound from city to city. 35 And so, on you will fall the guilt of all the innocent blood spilt on the ground, from innocent Abel to Zechariah son of Berachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Believe me, this generation will bear the guilt of it all.

The Lament over Jerusalem - [ Mt.23.37-39 → ] - Lk.13.34-35

37 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that murders the prophets and stones the messengers sent to her! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings; but you would not let me. 38 [ 1Kgs.9.7-8, Jr.22.5. ] Look, look! there is your temple, forsaken by God. [Or: Look, your home is desolate. Some witnesses add: and laid waste.] 39 [ Ps.118.26. ] And I tell you, you shall never see me until the time when you say, "Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord." '

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NEBNew English Bible: © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press & the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1961. This Webpage layout © Paul Ingram 2009. Any mismatches, truncated verses, other mistakes? Please e-mail me.