But avoid foolish questions
Such as were started in the schools of the Jews; see ( 2 Timothy 2:23 )
of their elders, Rabbins, and doctors, by whom their traditions are handed down from one to another, in fixing which they greatly laboured; see ( 1 Timothy 1:4 ) and contentions and strivings about the law; the rites and ceremonies of it, and about the sense of it, and its various precepts, as litigated in the schools of Hillell and Shammai, the one giving it one way, and the other another; and what one declared to be free according to the law, the other declared forbidden; which occasioned great contentions and quarrels between the followers of the one, and of the other, as both the Misna and Talmud show: and agreeably to this sense, the Syriac version renders it, "the contentions and strifes of the scribes"; the Jewish doctors, who were some on the side of Hillell, and others on the side of Shammai; as well as went into parties and strifes among themselves, and oftentimes about mere trifles; things of no manner of importance; wherefore it follows,
for they are unprofitable and vain;
empty things, of no manner of use, to inform the judgment, improve the mind, or influence the life and conversation.