And when they saw some of his disciples
An opportunity soon offered of giving them an handle against him: for observing some of his disciples to sit down to meat, they took notice that they
eat bread with defiled (that is to say, with unwashen) hands,
and they found fault;
with them, and charged them with the breach of the traditions of the elders, and took an occasion from hence of quarrelling with Christ. The Jews use the same phrase the evangelist here does, and interpret it in just the same manner: so, speaking of things eaten, (twbawom Mydyb) , "with defiled hands"; that is, says the commentator F9, it is all one as if it was said, (Mydy tlyjn alb) , "without washing of hands"; which was esteemed a very great crime, and especially if done in a contemptuous way: for they say F11,
``he that despiseth washing of hands, shall be rooted out of the world; for in it is the secret of the decalogue:''and particularly to eat with unwashed hands, was unpardonable in a disciple of a wise man; for they looked upon this to be the characteristic of one of the vulgar people, a common and illiterate man: for they ask F12,
``who is one of the people of the earth, or a plebeian? he that does not eat his common food with purity.''By this also they distinguished a Jew from a Gentile; if he washed his hands, and blessed, he was known to be an Israelite, but if not, a Gentile F13; (See Gill on Matthew 15:2).
F9 Bartenora in Misn. Cholin, c. 2. sect. 5.
F11 Zoharin Numb fol. 100. 3.
F12 T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 61. 1.
F13 Bevaidbar Rabba, fol. 228. 4.