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Matthew 23:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Prominence and Humility

Matthew 23:1-12 – Prominence and Humility

|| Mark 12:38, 39; Luke 20:45, 46

MT23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds as well as his disciples, saying: MT23:2 “The Scribes and Pharisees sat down on the seat of Moses.[1] MT23:3 So, everything they preach to you, do and observe;[2] but do not imitate their actions,[3] for they do not practice what they preach.[4] MT23:4 They tie on heavy burdens[5] and impose these on the shoulders of humankind while they are unwilling to budge [these loads] with a single finger.[6] MT23:5 All their [religious] works they do to be viewed by humans.[7] They broaden their phylacteries[8] and they enlarge the fringes of their garments.[9] MT23:6 They prefer the prominent place at suppers[10] and the front seats in the synagogues.[11] MT23:7 [They enjoy] greetings in the market square[12] and to be called ‘Rabbi’[13] by people. MT23:8 But, you [disciples] should not be addressed as ‘Rabbi’ for only One is your teacher.[14] All of you [disciples] are brothers.[15] MT23:9 Nor should [you disciples permit others] on earth to address you as ‘Father’[16] for One is your Father – the Heavenly One. MT23:10 Nor should you disciples be addressed as ‘Leaders’[17] because your Leader is only the Messiah. MT23:11 But the ‘greatest’ among you will be your servant. MT23:12 For whoever will exalt self will be humiliated;[18] and whoever humbles self will be exalted.

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[1] Sat down on the seat of Moses: Or, KNX: the place from which Moses used to teach; TCNT: now occupy the chair of Moses; PME: speak with the authority of Moses. Compare Exodus 18:13.

[2] Do and observe: Or, RSV: so practice and observe whatever they tell you. Jesus does not undermine their teaching of the Law of Moses.

[3] Do not imitate their actions: Or, BER: do not behave as they do; TCNT: do not follow their example.

[4] They do not practice what they preach: Or, KJV: they say, and do not; RSV: they preach, but do not practice; KNX: for they tell you one thing and do another.

[5] They tie on heavy burdens: Or, KJV: they bind heavy burdens; KNX: they fasten up packs too heavy; PME: they pile up back-breaking burdens.

[6] They are unwilling to budge [these loads] with a single finger: Or, TCNT: they decline themselves to lift a finger to move them.

[7] To be viewed by humans: Or, NEB: whatever they do is done for show.

[8] They broaden their phylacteries: The Greek is PHYLACTERIA. The Jewish Encyclopedia (1976, Vol. X, p. 21) states: “The laws governing the wearing of phylacteries were derived by the Rabbis from four Biblical passages (Deuteronomy 6:8; 11:18; Exodus 13:9). While these passages were interpreted literally by most commentators,… the Rabbis held that the general law only was expressed in the Bible, the application and elaboration of it being entirely matters of tradition and inference.” These were small boxes containing Bible verses strapped around the forehead and wrist. These Jewish clergy made them large for show of their extreme religiosity. Or, KNX: boldly written are the texts they carry; GDSP: they wear wide Scripture texts as charms; TAY: they act holy by wearing on their arms large prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside.

[9] They enlarge the fringes of their garments: See Numbers 15:38; Deuteronomy 22:12. Or, KNX: deep is the hem of their garments; GDSP: they wear large tassels; TAY: by lengthening the memorial fringes of their robes.

[10] They prefer the prominent place at suppers: Or, KJV: they love the uppermost rooms at feasts; RHM: the first couch in the chief meals; RSV: place of honor; RIEU: the best places at banquets; PME: seats of honor at dinner parties. Compare the counsel of the Nazarene at Luke 14:7, 10.

[11] The front seats in the synagogues: Note this was still a problem among Christians (James 2:2-4).

[12] [They enjoy] greetings in the market square: Or, NASB: respectful greetings; WMS: to be greeting with honor in public places. We can see these self-righteous, condescending clergy bestowing their weak smiles and blessings upon those who raise their voices in praise.

[13] Rabbi: The term occurs 18 times in three Gospels and is absent from the Gospel of Luke. The title is a surrogate for “teacher.” (John 1:38) In time the title was elevated to “my great one; my excellent one.” Research the word Rabbi.

[14] Only One is your teacher: While all Christians should be teachers (Hebrews 5:12; Titus 2:3), and while there are among them those recognized as “teachers” (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; James 3:1-3) the entire Body of Christ understands who the real Teacher is: Jesus of Nazareth.

[15] Brothers: Jesus speaks to his male disciples. See notes on Matthew 12:50. Despite gifts and offices the general atmosphere in the church must be a brotherhood.

[16] Address you as ‘Father’: Unfortunately later in the history of the Church clergy accepted the title “Father” despite the command of their Lord. They will have to bear this responsibility. Often it is a matter of a teacher or leader refusing certain titles. Job 32:21 declares, “And on an earthling man I shall not bestow a title.” (NWT)

[17] Leaders: Or, KJV: neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master. In Spanish such a man is called Maestro and this is not fitting for a shepherd of the flock. There is a different between a “Leader” and one who takes the lead. Compare Hebrews 13:7, 17.

[18] Whoever will exalt self will be humiliated: Or, KJV: whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased.

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Preceding

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Matthew 23 – A Jeremiad against the religious hypocrites

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Related articles

  1. Matthew Chapter A Day – 23
  2. Read Matt 23 before saying anything
  3. Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1
  4. “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant.” ~Jesus
  5. Who were the pharisees?
  6. The Good & Bad of the Pharisees
  7. Pharisees and Scribes
  8. “Stay Humble – God Will Expose”

Praise Jehovah, ​You people

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Praise Jah, ​YOU​ people,
For it is good to make melody to our God;
For it is pleasant—praise is fitting. Jehovah is building Jerusalem;
The dispersed ones of Israel he brings together.

He is healing the brokenhearted ones,
And is binding up their painful spots.

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“5  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— the LORD, who remains faithful for ever.” (Psalms 146:5-6 NIV)

“8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” (Psalms 146:8-9 NIV)

“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16 NIV)

“If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.” (Revelation 11:5 NIV)

“[A psalm of David.] O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you.” (Psalms 141:1 NIV)

“2 I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. 3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.” (Psalms 142:2-3 NIV)

“1  [A song of ascents.] Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. 3 May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.” (Psalms 134:1-3 NIV)

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” (Deuteronomy 10:17 NIV)

“1  Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD, 2 you who minister in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. 3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. 4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession. 5  I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. 6 The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. 7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.” (Psalms 135:1-7 NIV)

“For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.” (Psalms 95:3 NIV)

“For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.” (Psalms 96:4 NIV)

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalms 139:14 NIV)

“1  [For the director of music. To [the tune of] “The Death of the Son”. A psalm of David.] I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalms 9:1-2 NIV)

“All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.” (Psalms 86:9 NIV)

“From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD.” (Isaiah 66:23 NIV)

“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:” (Psalms 22:7 NIV)

“1  [For the director of music. A song. A psalm.] Shout with joy to God, all the earth! 2 Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! 3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. 4 All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Selah” (Psalms 66:1-4 NIV)

“Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.” (Psalms 117:1 NIV)

“Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.” (Psalms 48:10 NIV)

“1  [For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.] Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. 2 O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.” (Psalms 65:1-2 NIV)

“The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with corn; they shout for joy and sing.” (Psalms 65:13 NIV)

“13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. 14 I will fulfil my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. 16 O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. 17 I will sacrifice a thank-offering to you and call on the name of the LORD. 18 I will fulfil my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.” (Psalms 116:13-19 NIV)

“21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. 146:1  Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.” (Psalms 145:21-146:1 NIV)

“I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalms 146:2 NIV)

“11 the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. 12  Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, 13 for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. 14 He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. 15 He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.” (Psalms 147:11-15 NIV)

“1  Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. 2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. 3 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. 4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. 6 He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. 7  Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,” (Psalms 148:1-7 NIV)

“1  Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints. 2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. 3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. 4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. 5 Let the saints rejoice in this honour and sing for joy on their beds. 6  May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands,” (Psalms 149:1-6 NIV)

“1  Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. 2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. 6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” (Psalms 150:1-6 NIV)

“Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.” (Psalms 21:13 NIV)

“1  Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. 2 Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?”” (Psalms 115:1-2 NIV)

“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” (Psalms 16:5 NIV)

“Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.” (Psalms 80:18 NIV)

“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Saviour, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,” (Psalms 65:5 NIV)

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Preceding: Bring praise to the Creator

Afrikaans: Ek sal u prys, o Jehovah, met my hele hart

Deutsch: Preiset Jehova, Denn es ist gut, unserem Gott Melodien zu spielen

Français: Répondez à Jéhovah par des actions de grâces

Neerlands: Looft Jehovah en bezingt Hem met melodieën

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Find also to read:

  1. For Jehovah is greatly to be praised
  2. Praise be to God
  3. Song of Praise for the Elohim Set-Apart
  4. Songs of Moses and the servants of God
  5. Worship and worshipping
  6. Jehovah God Almighty greater than all gods
  7. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  8. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  10. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  11. Looking at the Source of joy
  12. God our refuge
  13. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  14. Best intimate relation to look for
  15. Look for your Refuge by God
  16. Attributes to God, names and titles
  17. Believe in only One God
  18. God is one

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Please do find also of interest:

  1. Contents of the Book of Revelation
  2. The Song of The Lamb #1 Visions, symbols and suggested meanings
  3. The Song of The Lamb #2 Sevens
  4. The Song of The Lamb #3 Daniel and Revelation
  5. The Song of The Lamb #4 Methods of Interpretation
  6. The song of the lamb #5 Revelation 5
  7. The Song of The Lamb #6 Revelation 14
  8. The Song of The Lamb #7 Revelation 15
  9. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  10. Kingdom Visions of Rainbowed angel, Lamb in Mount Zion
  11. Kingdom Visions of God’s judgements and Marriage of the Lamb
  12. 144 000 following the Lamb
  13. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  14. Seals, a flying scroll, a statue and blessings
  15. Songs of Moses and the servants of God

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