Matthew 23

Sit in Moses' seat; succeed him as teachers of the law of God.

Phylacteries; strips of parchment, upon which were written passages of Scripture, and worn ostentatiously upon the forehead or arm.—Borders of their garments; as directed Num. 15:38, 39. The Pharisees made them very large, to impress the people with an idea of their great sanctity.

Rooms; places. The subject of censure here is ostentation and parade, and excessive ambition. The language is not to be understood as condemning the just and proper distinctions of society, whether civil, social, or religious, as the whole tenor of the New Testament shows. In Luke 14:10, the honorable regard of our fellow-men, in the social intercourse of life, is represented as a good, and admirable directions are given to enable us to secure it.

All ye are brethren; that is, in respect to authority. This meaning the context plainly requires, and the passage would seem to be decisive against the supposition that any one of the apostles was invested with supreme authority over the rest, as the Roman Catholic church contends.

Call no man, father. This is to be interpreted on the same principles with the other verses. It forbids only an unreasonable and excessive subserviency to human authority, not a proper reverence for age and honorable standing. See 1 Tim. 5:1.

Shut up, &c.; by opposing the instructions of Christ, and teaching false views of religion.

Houses; estates.

Proselyte; convert to their opinions.

By these subterfuges the Pharisees attempted to evade the sanctity of an oath.

Tithe; tenth part, payable as a tax, according to the law of Moses (Lev. 27:30-33.)—Mint, anise, cumin; herbs of little value.

All these things; the judgments incurred by all these crimes.—Upon this generation; for by deeds similar to those committed by their fathers, they made the guilt and responsibility of them their own.—The whole of this denunciation is characterized by a tone of calm, yet stern and terrible displeasure, consistent only with the idea that Jesus looked upon these men as having reached their final decision, and as involved in hopeless and irreconcilable hostility to God. "Fill ye up, then, the measure of your fathers." It is the language of utter abandonment; such as would be addressed only to those to whom no hope remained of pardon and salvation.

Your house, &c. A desolated house or home is a mournful and striking image of utter and irretrievable ruin.

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