The Traditions of the Elders

The(A) Pharisees(B) and some of the scribes(C) who had come from Jerusalem(D) gathered around him. They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with unclean(E)—that is, unwashed—hands. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace,(F) they do not eat unless they have washed.(G) And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.[a](H)) So the Pharisees(I) and the scribes(J) asked him, “Why don’t your disciples live[b] according to the tradition of the elders,(K) instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean[c] hands?”

He answered them, “Isaiah(L) prophesied(M) correctly about you hypocrites,(N) as it is written: (O)

This people honors(P) me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.
They worship me in vain,
teaching(Q) as doctrines(R) human commands.[d](S)

Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.”[e] He also said to them, “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up[f] your tradition! 10 For Moses(T) said: Honor your father and your mother; [g](U) and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.[h](V) 11 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit(W) you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering(X) devoted to God), 12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 You nullify the word of God(Y) by your tradition that you have handed(Z) down. And you do many other similar things.”

14 Summoning(AA) the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand:(AB) 15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”[i]

17 When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach(AC) and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean(AD)). 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities,(AE) thefts, murders,(AF) 22 adulteries,(AG) greed,(AH) evil actions, deceit,(AI) self-indulgence,(AJ) envy,[j] slander,(AK) pride,(AL) and foolishness.(AM) 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

A Gentile Mother’s Faith

24 He got up and departed from(AN) there to the region of Tyre.[k](AO) He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but he could not escape notice. 25 Instead, immediately after hearing about him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit(AP) came and fell at his feet.(AQ) 26 The woman was a Gentile,[l](AR) a Syrophoenician by birth, and she was asking him to cast the demon(AS) out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”(AT)

28 But she replied to him, “Lord,(AU) even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.

Jesus Does Everything Well

31 Again, leaving the region of Tyre,(AV) he went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,(AW) through[m] the region of the Decapolis.(AX) 32 They brought to him a deaf(AY) man who had difficulty speaking(AZ) and begged Jesus to lay his hand on(BA) him. 33 So he took him away from the crowd in private. After putting his fingers in the man’s ears and spitting,(BB) he touched his tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven,(BC) he sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!”[n] (that is, “Be opened!”). 35 Immediately his ears were opened,(BD) his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly.(BE) 36 He ordered them to tell no one,(BF) but the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed it.(BG)

37 They were extremely astonished and said, “He has done everything well.(BH) He even makes the deaf(BI) hear and the mute speak.”(BJ)


  1. 7:4 Other mss omit and dining couches
  2. 7:5 Lit walk
  3. 7:5 Other mss read with unwashed
  4. 7:6–7 Is 29:13
  5. 7:8 Other mss add The washing of jugs, and cups, and many other similar things you practice.
  6. 7:9 Or to maintain
  7. 7:10 Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16
  8. 7:10 Ex 21:17; Lv 20:9
  9. 7:15 Some mss include v. 16: “If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”
  10. 7:22 Or evil eye
  11. 7:24 Many early mss add and Sidon
  12. 7:26 Or a Greek (speaker)
  13. 7:31 Or into
  14. 7:34 An Aramaic expression

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