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Matthew 23 Lexham English Bible (LEB)

Seven Woes Pronounced on the Scribes and Pharisees

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses. Therefore do and observe everything that they tell you, but do not do as they do,[a] for they tell others to do something[b] and do not do it themselves.[c] And they tie up heavy burdens[d] and put them[e] on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing with their finger to move them. And they do all their deeds in order to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries broad and make their[f] tassels long. And they love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people. But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ because one is your teacher, and you are all brothers, And do not call anyone[g] your father on earth, for one is your heavenly Father. 10 And do not be called teachers, because one is your teacher, the Christ. 11 And the greatest among you will be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you shut the kingdom of heaven before people! For you do not enter, nor permit those wanting to go in[h] to enter.[i]

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you travel around the sea and the dry land to make one convert, and when he becomes one,[j] you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are!

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing! But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound by his oath.’[k] 17 Fools and blind people! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold holy? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing! But whoever swears by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.’[l] 19 Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift holy? 20 Therefore the one who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything that is on it. 21 And the one who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And the one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you pay a tenth of mint and dill and cumin, and neglect the more important matters of the law—justice and mercy and faithfulness! It was necessary[m] to do these things while not neglecting those.[n] 24 Blind guides who filter out a gnat and swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the dish,[o] so that the outside of it may become clean also.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean! 28 In the same way, on the outside you also appear righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in the blood of the prophets!’ 31 Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets! 32 And you—fill up the measure of your fathers! 33 Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How will you escape from the condemnation to hell? 34 For this reason, behold, I am sending to you prophets and wise men and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and will pursue from town to town, 35 so that upon you will come all the righteous blood shed on the earth from the blood of righteous Abel up to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation!

The Lament over Jerusalem

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How many times I wanted to gather your children together the way[p] a hen gathers her young together under her[q] wings, and you were not willing! 38 Behold, your house has been left to you desolate! 39 For I tell you, you will never see me from now on until you say,

‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”[r]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 23:3 Literally “their deeds”
  2. Matthew 23:3 The words “others to do something” are not in the Greek text but are implied
  3. Matthew 23:3 *The words “it themselves” are not in the Greek text but are implied
  4. Matthew 23:4 Some manuscripts have “burdens that are heavy and hard to bear”
  5. Matthew 23:4 Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  6. Matthew 23:5 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  7. Matthew 23:9 Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  8. Matthew 23:13 Here the present tense has been translated as voluntative (“wanting to go in”)
  9. Matthew 23:13 The most important Greek manuscripts omit v. 14, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you devour widows’ houses and for show you pray long prayers! Therefore you will receive the greater condemnation.”
  10. Matthew 23:15 *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  11. Matthew 23:16 The phrase “by his oath” is not in the Greek text but is implied
  12. Matthew 23:18 The phrase “by his oath” is not in the Greek text but is implied
  13. Matthew 23:23 Some manuscripts have “But it was necessary”
  14. Matthew 23:23 Literally “and those not to neglect”
  15. Matthew 23:26 Some manuscripts omit “and the dish”
  16. Matthew 23:37 Literally “in the manner in which”
  17. Matthew 23:37 Literally “the”; the Greek article is used here as a possessive pronoun
  18. Matthew 23:39 A quotation from Ps 118:26
Lexham English Bible (LEB)

2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software

Matthew 23 New International Version (NIV)

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 23:5 That is, boxes containing Scripture verses, worn on forehead and arm
  2. Matthew 23:14 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.
  3. Matthew 23:39 Psalm 118:26
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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