The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and
saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean,"1 that is, unwashed.
(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.2
When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. )3
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders4 instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.
(New International Version Bible Online)