Summary: the 8 woes of sin as displayed by the Pharisees in Jesus time. They profess to be the only guide in religion, but are blind to truth and practical Christianity. They strain at gnats and swallow camels.
Eight Woes Upon The Pharisees
Marks of a Pharisee
Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Matthew 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
a [Moses’ seat]
Twenty-one Characteristics of Hypocrites
1. They demand respect as teachers (Matthew 23:2).
2. They teach, but do not practice (Matthew 23:3).
3. They demand service; not give it (Matthew 23:4).
4. They seek praise of men (Matthew 23:5).
5. They parade their religion (Matthew 23:5).
6. They seek chief banquet places (Matthew 23:6).
7. They seek chief places in church (Matthew 23:6).
8. They glory in personal attention (Matthew 23:7).
9. They glory in titles (Matthew 23:7).
10. They rob men of truth and life (Matthew 23:13).
11. They reject truth and life (Matthew 23:13).
12. They take advantage of widows (Matthew 23:14).
13. They exhibit long prayers (Matthew 23:14).
14. They are zealous to win men to their sect, but not to God (Matthew 23:15).
15. They root and ground converts in hypocrisy, but not to God (Matthew 23:15).
16. They profess to be the only guide in religion, but are blind to truth and practical Christianity (Matthew 23:16-22).
17. They propagate those parts of religion from which they receive most personal gain and honor (Matthew 23:16-22).
18. They strain at gnats and swallow camels; stress minor details and omit the fundamentals of religion (Matthew 23:23-24).
19. They glory in physical cleanliness, but live in moral filth (Mt. v23:25-26).
20. They exhibit outward religion and self-righteousness and ignore inward holiness in life and conduct (Matthew 23:2,7-28).
21. They pretend to be more righteous than their forefathers (Matthew 23:29-33).
Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
a [whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not] Obey God’s Word even if it comes from hypocrites, but do not live like them.
Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
a [they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers] They point out the narrowest road to destruction. Practicing religion is not in itself condemned, but focussing only on its outward forms—the acts of piety to be seen of men—is wrong.
Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
a [works they do for to be seen of men] The works of the hypocrites were done to be seen by others. Like many today, outward style in dress and beautiful forms of religion made the sum of their godliness.
b [seen of men] To be looked at as a clown or actor.
c [phylacteries] A small square box containing a parchment or skin (about 1 1/2 x 18 inches) on which were written Exodus 13:1-10; Deut. 6:4-9; Deut. 11:13-21. Worn on the arm and forehead by men only. Common people wore them only during prayers, but they were worn continually by the Pharisees who sought to enlarge the boxes so as to attract attention. Jesus did not condemn the wearing of them but the show made of them in public. They became badges of vanity and hypocrisy and amulets to drive away evil spirits.
d [borders of their garments]
b[hem] Greek: kraspedon (GSN-2899), a tassel of twisted wool (Matthew 9:20;
Matthew 14:36; Matthew 23:5; Mark 6:56; Luke 8:44). One was required at each of the four corners of the outer garment (Numbers 15:38-41; Deut. 22:12). Pharisees considered tassels special marks of sanctity and sought to enlarge them (Matthew 23:5). One thread of each tassel was to be deep blue to remind them of their duty to keep the law.
Matthew 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Matthew 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
a [greetings in the markets] Loved formal salutations in public.
b [Rabbi] A title of a teacher (John 3:2; note, §Luke 9:38). A favorite title claimed by Pharisees (Matthew 23:7). One was made a rabbi by laying on of hands by the Sanhedrin who gave him a key as a sign of the authority conferred upon him to teach others, and a table-book as a sign of diligence in study. The key was worn as a badge of honor and was buried with him. Jews called John (John 3:26) and Jesus such (John 1:38,49; John 3:2; John 6:25) even though they were not ordained as rabbis (cp. John 20:16).