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, 2 saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses. 3 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] 4 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. 5 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. 6 And they love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and the greetings in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people. 8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ because one is your teacher, and you are all brothers, 9 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.
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]