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Seven Woes

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The[a] experts in the law[b] and the Pharisees[c] sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach.[d] They[e] tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. They[f] do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries[g] wide and their tassels[h] long. They[i] love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues[j] and elaborate greetings[k] in the marketplaces,[l] and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ.[m] 11 The[n] greatest among you will be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

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  1. Matthew 23:2 tn Grk “saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  2. Matthew 23:2 tn Or “The scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
  3. Matthew 23:2 sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.
  4. Matthew 23:3 tn Grk “for they say and do not do.”
  5. Matthew 23:4 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  6. Matthew 23:5 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  7. Matthew 23:5 sn Phylacteries were small leather cases containing OT scripture verses, worn on the arm and forehead by Jews, especially when praying. The custom was derived from such OT passages as Exod 13:9; 16; Deut 6:8; 11:18.
  8. Matthew 23:5 tn The term κράσπεδον (kraspedon) in some contexts could refer to the outer fringe of the garment (possibly in Mark 6:56). This edge could have been plain or decorated. L&N 6.180 states, “In Mt 23:5 κράσπεδον denotes the tassels worn at the four corners of the outer garment (see 6.194).”sn Tassels refer to the tassels that a male Israelite was obligated to wear on the four corners of his outer garment according to the Mosaic law (Num 15:38; Deut 22:12).
  9. Matthew 23:6 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  10. Matthew 23:6 sn See the note on synagogues in 4:23.
  11. Matthew 23:7 sn There is later Jewish material in the Talmud that spells out such greetings in detail. See H. Windisch, TDNT 1:498.
  12. Matthew 23:7 sn See the note on marketplaces in Matt 11:16.
  13. Matthew 23:10 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.
  14. Matthew 23:11 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.