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The Scribes and Pharisees Denounced

23 (A)Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: (B)The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and keep, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. (C)And they tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds (D)to be noticed by men; for they (E)broaden their [a]phylacteries and lengthen (F)the tassels of their garments. And they (G)love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the marketplaces, and being called (H)Rabbi by men. But (I)do not be called (J)Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for (K)One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called instructors; for One is your Instructor, that is, Christ. 11 (L)But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 (M)And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees

13 (N)But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, (O)because you shut off the kingdom of heaven [b]from [c]people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 [d][Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because (P)you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one [e](Q)proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of [f](R)hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, (S)blind guides, who say, ‘(T)Whoever swears by the [g]sanctuary, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the [h]sanctuary is obligated.’ 17 You fools and blind men! For (U)which is [i]more important, the gold or the sanctuary that sanctified the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the [j]offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19 You blind men, (V)which is [k]more important, the [l]offering, or the altar that sanctifies the [m]offering? 20 Therefore, [n]whoever swears by the altar, swears both by [o]the altar and by everything on it. 21 And [p]whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears both by the [q]sanctuary and by Him who (W)dwells within it. 22 And [r]whoever swears by heaven, (X)swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

23 (Y)Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and [s]cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You (Z)blind guides, who strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For (AA)you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full [t]of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first (AB)clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

27 (AC)Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 In this way, you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 (AD)Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you bear witness against yourselves, that you (AE)are [u]sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, (AF)you brood of vipers, how [v]will you escape the [w]sentence of [x](AG)hell?

34 (AH)On account of this, behold, (AI)I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will (AJ)flog in your synagogues, and (AK)persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous (AL)Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the (AM)son of Berechiah, whom (AN)you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon (AO)this generation.

Lament over Jerusalem

37 (AP)Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who (AQ)kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, (AR)the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you did not want it. 38 Behold, (AS)your house is being left to you desolate! 39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘(AT)Blessed is He who comes in the name of the [y]Lord!’”


  1. Matthew 23:5 Small cases containing Scripture texts worn on the left arm and forehead for religious purposes
  2. Matthew 23:13 Lit in front of
  3. Matthew 23:13 Gr anthropoi
  4. Matthew 23:14 Early mss omit this v
  5. Matthew 23:15 Or convert
  6. Matthew 23:15 Gr Gehenna
  7. Matthew 23:16 The inner part of the temple
  8. Matthew 23:16 The inner part of the temple
  9. Matthew 23:17 Lit greater
  10. Matthew 23:18 Or gift
  11. Matthew 23:19 Lit greater
  12. Matthew 23:19 Or gift
  13. Matthew 23:19 Or gift
  14. Matthew 23:20 Lit he who
  15. Matthew 23:20 Lit it
  16. Matthew 23:21 Lit he who
  17. Matthew 23:21 Lit it
  18. Matthew 23:22 Lit he who
  19. Matthew 23:23 Similar to caraway seeds
  20. Matthew 23:25 Or as a result of
  21. Matthew 23:31 Or descendants
  22. Matthew 23:33 Lit would
  23. Matthew 23:33 Or judgment
  24. Matthew 23:33 Gr Gehenna
  25. Matthew 23:39 In OT, Yahweh, cf. Ps 118:26