Matthew 23 Modern English Version (MEV)
The Denouncing of the Scribes and Pharisees
23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do their works. For they speak, but do nothing. 4 They fasten heavy loads that are hard to carry and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
5 “They do all their works to be seen by men. They make their Scripture boxes broad and lengthen the tassels on their prayer shawls. 6 They love the places of honor at feasts, and the prominent seats in the synagogues, 7 and greetings in the marketplaces, and being called ‘Rabbi’ by men.
8 “But do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Nor be called teachers, for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 He who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 For he who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven against men. For you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and for pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive the greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing. But if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing. But if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is obligated.’ 19 You blind fools! Which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 But he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, but have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone. 24 You blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and greed. 26 You blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may also be clean.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets, and adorn the memorials of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have partaken with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
33 “You serpents! You generation of vipers! How can you escape the judgment of hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the 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 say to you, all these things will come on this generation.
The Lament Over Jerusalem
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you, how often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not! 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you shall not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’[a]”