A warning against doing things for the wrong reasons
1Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples.2‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat,’ he said.3‘So you must be careful to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do. They don’t practise what they preach.4They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry. Then they put them on other people’s shoulders. But they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them.5‘Everything they do is done for others to see. On their foreheads and arms they wear little boxes that hold Scripture verses. They make the boxes very wide. And they make the tassels on their coats very long.6They love to sit down in the place of honour at dinners. They also love to have the most important seats in the synagogues.7They love to be greeted with respect in the markets. They love it when people call them “Rabbi”.8‘But you shouldn’t be called “Rabbi”. You have only one Teacher, and you are all brothers.9Do not call anyone on earth “father”. You have one Father, and he is in heaven.10You shouldn’t be called “teacher”. You have one Teacher, and he is the Messiah.11The most important person among you will be your servant.12People who lift themselves up will be made humble. And people who make themselves humble will be lifted up.
How terrible for the teachers of the law and the Pharisees
13-14‘How terrible it will be for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter. And you will not let those enter who are trying to.15‘How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You travel everywhere to win one person to your faith. Then you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.16‘How terrible for you, blind guides! You say, “If anyone makes a promise in the name of the temple, it means nothing. But anyone who makes a promise in the name of the gold of the temple must keep that promise.”17You are blind and foolish! Which is more important? Is it the gold? Or is it the temple that makes the gold holy?18You also say, “If anyone makes a promise in the name of the altar, it means nothing. But anyone who makes a promise in the name of the gift on the altar must keep that promise.”19You are blind! Which is more important? Is it the gift? Or is it the altar that makes the gift holy?20So anyone making a promise in the name of the altar makes a promise in the name of it and everything on it.21And anyone making a promise in the name of the temple makes a promise in the name of it and the one who lives in it.22And anyone making a promise in the name of heaven makes a promise in the name of God’s throne and the one who sits on it.23‘How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You give God a tenth of your spices, like mint, dill and cummin. But you have not practised the more important things of the law, which are fairness, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the last things without failing to do the first.24You blind guides! You remove the smallest insect from your food. But you swallow a whole camel!25‘How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You clean the outside of a cup and dish. But on the inside you are full of greed. You only want to satisfy yourselves.26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish. Then the outside will also be clean.27‘How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You are like tombs that are painted white. They look beautiful on the outside. But on the inside they are full of the bones of the dead. They are also full of other things that are not pure and “clean”.28It is the same with you. On the outside you seem to be doing what is right. But on the inside you are full of what is wrong. You pretend to be what you are not.29‘How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You build tombs for the prophets. You decorate the graves of the godly.30And you say, “If we had lived in the days of those who lived before us, we wouldn’t have done what they did. We wouldn’t have helped to kill the prophets.”31So you are witnesses against yourselves. You admit that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets.32So go ahead and finish the sins that those who lived before you started!33‘You nest of poisonous snakes! How will you escape from being sentenced to hell?34So I am sending you prophets, wise people, and teachers. You will kill some of them. You will nail some to a cross. Others you will whip in your synagogues. You will chase them from town to town.35So you will pay for all the godly people’s blood spilled on earth. I mean from the blood of godly Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berekiah. Zechariah was the one you murdered between the temple and the altar.36What I’m about to tell you is true. All this will happen to those who are now living.37‘Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and throw stones in order to kill those who are sent to you. Many times I have wanted to gather your people together. I have wanted to be like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. And you would not let me!38Look, your house is left empty.39I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” ’ (Ps 118:26)
English Standard Version
Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees
1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, (Mt 23:5; Mr 12:38; Lu 11:43; Lu 20:45)2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, (De 17:10; Ezr 7:6; Ezr 7:10; Ezr 7:25; Ne 8:4; Joh 9:28)3so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. (Mt 5:20; Mt 15:3; Ro 2:17)4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. (Mt 11:28; Lu 11:46; Ac 15:10)5They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, (Ex 13:9; De 6:8; De 11:18; Mt 6:1; Mt 6:16; Mt 9:20; Mt 23:1; Joh 5:44)6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues (Lu 11:43; Lu 14:7)7and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. (Mt 11:16; Mt 20:3; Mt 23:6; Joh 1:38)8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. (Lu 22:32; Joh 21:23; Phm 1:16; Jas 3:1)9And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Mal 1:6; Mt 6:9; Mt 7:11; 1Co 1:12; 1Co 3:4)10Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. (Mt 1:17)11The greatest among you shall be your servant. (Mt 20:26)12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Pr 29:23; Eze 21:26; Mt 18:4; Lu 14:11; Lu 18:14; Jas 4:6; Jas 4:10; 1Pe 5:5)13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. (Mt 5:20; Mt 16:19; Mt 21:31; Lu 7:30; Lu 11:52)15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. (Mt 5:29; Joh 17:12; Ac 2:10; Ac 6:5; Ac 13:43; 2Th 2:3)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 bound by his oath.’ (Mt 5:33; Mt 15:14; Mt 23:17; Mt 23:19; Mt 23:26; Joh 9:39; Ro 2:19; 2Pe 1:9; Re 3:17)17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? (Ex 30:29)18And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ (Mt 5:23)19You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? (Ex 29:37)20So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.21And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. (1Ki 8:13; 2Ch 6:2; Ps 26:8; Ps 132:14)22And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. (Mt 5:34; Mt 21:25; Re 4:2)23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (De 14:22; 1Sa 15:22; Ps 33:5; Isa 28:25; Isa 28:27; Jer 5:1; Mic 6:8; Zec 7:9; Lu 11:42; Lu 18:12)24You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! (Mt 19:24)25“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. (Mt 15:11; Mr 7:4; Lu 11:39; Lu 16:14; Lu 20:47)26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. (Mt 23:25)27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. (Nu 19:16; 2Ki 23:16; Lu 11:44; Ac 23:3; Eph 5:3)28So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Mt 23:5; Lu 12:1)29“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, (Lu 11:47)30saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’31Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. (Ac 7:51)32Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. (Ge 15:16; Da 8:23; 1Th 2:15)33You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Mt 3:7; Mt 12:34; Mt 23:15)34Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, (Mt 10:16; Mt 10:17; Mt 10:23; Mt 13:52; Mt 21:35; Mr 13:9; Lu 11:49; Lu 12:11; Lu 21:12; Ac 13:1; Ac 22:19; Ac 26:11; 1Co 12:28)35so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. (Ge 4:4; Ge 4:8; Ex 40:6; 2Ki 16:14; Eze 40:47; Zec 1:1; Lu 1:9; Heb 11:4; 1Jo 3:12; Re 18:24)36Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Mt 10:23; Mt 16:28; Mt 24:34)