Skip to main content

Ferrar Fenton Bible: Matthew 23

The Pharisees and the Jewish Nation

Jesus then addressing the people and His own disciples, said:

"The professors and the Pharisees have usurped the place of Moses. All, therefore, that they tell you to observe, observe and do: but do not imitate their doings; for they do not practise what they preach. On the contrary, they pack up heavy and unendurable loads upon men's shoulders; but they take care not to touch them with their own fingers. All their actions are done merely for the sake of being seen by men: they widen their phylacteries, and extend the fringes of their cloaks; they delight to secure the places of honour at banquets, the principal seats in the synagogues, the salutations in the markets; and to be addressed by men as 'My lord, my lord.' You, however, must not be called 'Teacher'; because I alone am your Teacher", and you are all brothers! And upon earth call none your father; for One is your Father, He Who is in heaven. Neither select leaders; for One is your Leader, the Messiah. But the greatest among you shall become an attendant: and whoever sets himself up shall be brought low; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

"Woe to you, play-acting professors and Pharisees! because you lock up the Kingdom of Heaven in the face of mankind; while you yourselves neither enter, nor allow those arriving to go in.

"Alas for you, play-acting professors and Pharisees! because you devour the property of the widows by the pretence of long prayers; for which you will receive a heavier punishment. Woe to you, play-acting professors and Pharisees! who scour the sea and the desert in order to secure one convert? and, finding one, you make him a son of the Pit twice as much as yourselves!

"Woe to you, blind guides! who say, 'If one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if a man swears by the gold in the temple, that oath must be kept'!

"Fools and blind! which is the greater? — the gold, or the temple which sanctifies the gold?

"You say, 'If one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if a man swears by the gift upon it, that oath must be kept'!

"Fools and blind! which is greater? — the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

"A man, however, who swears by the altar, swears by all that is upon it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears by the One Who inhabits it. And whoever swears by the heaven, swears by the throne of God, and the One Who sits upon it.

"Woe to you, canting professors and Pharisees! because you pay tithes on mint, dill, and cummin, ignoring the more important statutes of the lawhumanity, sympathy, faith; these you ought to have observed, and not to have cast the others aside. Blind guides! who strain out a gnat, and gulp down a camel!

"Woe to you, hypocritical professors and Pharisees! because you wash the outside of the cup and the plate, but fill the inside with extortion and injustice. Blind Pharisee! cleanse first the inside of the cup and the plate, so that their outside may also become clean.

"Woe to you, shamming professors and Pharisees! you are just like white washed tombs — pretty enough out side, but inside full of dead men's bones and every kind of corruption. So you too outwardly appear to men to be religious; but inwardly you are crammed with false pretence, and every form of lawlessness.

"Woe to you, professors and Pharisees, you hypocrites! because you erect monuments to the prophets; decorate the tombs of the martyrs; and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have aided them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Thus, then, you give evidence against yourselves that you are the sons of the murderers of the prophets! Fill up, then, the measures of your fathers! Serpents! spawn of vipers! how can you escape the, fury of hell?

"Lo, I will therefore send you prophets, and thinkers, and scholars: and some of them you will murder and crucify; while others you will flog in your synagogues, and drive from town to town, in such a way that all the righteous blood shed upon the earth — from the blood of the just Abel, down to the blood of Zachariah, son of Barachiah, whom you assassinated between the entrance of the temple and the altar — may rest upon you. Indeed, I tell you, that all these shall come upon the present generation.

"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! who mas sacred the prophets, and stoned those sent to her! how often would I have gathered your children together, like the bird that collects her nestlings under her wings, and you would not! Now see your house left to yourselves. Yes, I tell you that after this you shall not see Me again until you say,

Bless Him Who comes in the Name of the Lord!"1


  1. Psalms 118:26

Transcribed by Mark Hicks on 01-01-2015