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Seven Woes

23 Then Yeshua spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying, “The Torah scholars and Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses. So whatever they tell you, do and observe. But don’t do what they do; for what they say, they do not do. They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry,[a] and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. All their works they do to be noticed by men. They make their tefillin wide and their tzitziyot long. [b] They love the place of honor at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called rabbi by men.

“But you are not to be called rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man on earth your father; for One is your Father, who is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Messiah. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not enter yourselves, nor do you let those enter who are trying to go in. (14 )[c]

15 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel over land and sea to make one convert. And when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of Gehenna as yourself.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘Whoever swears by the Temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the Temple, he is obligated.’ 17 O fools and blind ones! Which is greater, the gold or the Temple that made the gold holy? [d] 18 And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19 O blind ones! Which is greater, the offering or the altar that makes the offering holy? [e] 20 Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the Temple, swears both by the Temple and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe[f] mint and dill and cumin, yet you have neglected the weightier matters of Torah—justice and mercy and faithfulness. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others. 24 O blind guides, straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and uncontrolled desire. 26 O blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside may become clean as well.

27 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, you appear righteous to men on the outside, but are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the tzaddikim. 30 And you say, ‘If we’d been alive in the days of our forefathers, we wouldn’t have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers! 33 O snakes, you brood of vipers! How will you escape the condemnation of Gehenna?

34 “Because of this, behold, I’m sending you prophets and wise men and Torah scholars. Some of them you will kill and execute at the stake, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city. 35 And so, upon you shall come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berechiah,[g] whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar. [h] 36 Amen, I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation.”

Holy Temple to Be Destroyed

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate! [i] 39 For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”[j]


  1. Matthew 23:4 Some mss. omit hard to carry.
  2. Matthew 23:6 cf. Exod. 13:9, 16; Deut. 6:8; 11:18; Num. 15:37-41.
  3. Matthew 23:14 Some manuscripts add v. 14: Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, while praying at length as a show. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. cf. Mk. 12:40; Lk. 20:47.
  4. Matthew 23:18 cf. Exod. 30:29.
  5. Matthew 23:20 cf. Exod. 29:37.
  6. Matthew 23:23 cf. Lev. 27:30; Deut. 12:6, 17; 14:22-23; Mal. 3:8-10.
  7. Matthew 23:35 Some mss. omit son of Berechiah.
  8. Matthew 23:36 cf. Gen. 4:8; Zech. 1:1; 2 Chr. 24:21.
  9. Matthew 23:39 cf. Jer. 12:7; 22:5
  10. Matthew 23:39 Ps. 118:26.