Matthew 23:28

Matthew 23:28

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous
By making broad their phylacteries, enlarging the borders of their garments, praying long prayers, compassing sea and land to make one proselyte, paying tithes of all manner of herbs, and cleansing the outside of the cup and platter, and doing all their works, prayers, fastings, and alms deeds, to be seen of men. This is the accommodation of the above simile; by reason of these things they looked like whited sepulchres, outwardly beautiful: so these appeared outwardly righteous, they looked like righteous persons, and were not; they were what Hagar, as the Jews say, charged her mistress with being; for so they interpret these words, "her mistress was despised in her eyes", ( Genesis 16:4 ) F2.

``She said, this Sarah is not secretly, what she is openly; she appears (tqdu ayh wlyak) , "as if she was righteous" and she is not righteous.''

The same they say of F3 Leah. This was a misrepresentation; but the representation Christ gives of these men, is right; they were of that sort of the Pharisees, which they call (Nyewbuh) , "the dyed", or "coloured" ones: it is said of Jannai the king, that he should say to those of his family F4;

``Do not be afraid of them that are Pharisees, (that are truly so,) nor of them that are not Pharisees; but of them that are, (Nyewbuh) , "dyed", for they are like to Pharisees; for their works are as the works of Zimri, (adulterers, as these were,) and they expect the reward as Phinehas.''

The gloss upon it is,

``the Pharisees hated him, because he had slain many of their wise men, and was turned Sadducee; and when he was dying, his wife was afraid of them, lest they should take away the kingdom from her sons, and she desired him to seek their favour for her; but he said unto her, do not be afraid of the Pharisees, for they are "righteous", and will not render evil to thee, nor to thy sons; for they have not sinned against them; nor of them that are not Pharisees, for they are their friends; but of "the dyed ones": as if he had said, their appearance is not according to their nature, but they are dyed without, (Mrbk Mkwt Nyaw) , "and their inside is not as their outside": for their works are as the work of Zimri, for they are ungodly; and they expect the reward as Phinehas, saying to men, to honour them as Phinehas.''

But this outward show and appearance of righteousness, was only "unto men", not unto God: they did not appear so to him, who is the searcher of hearts, and knows what is in man, and knew all the secret wickedness that was in them; for though they imposed upon, and deceived men, they could not deceive God; nor was their iniquity hid from Christ, who adds, "but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity": and which was evident from their ambition and vain glory, in desiring the uppermost rooms at feasts, the chief places in the synagogue, greetings in the markets, and titles of honour and grandeur; from their avarice and cruel oppression of the widows, and fatherless, under a pretence of long prayers; from their neglecting the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith, and practising extortion and excess: that saying of their's F5, may be applied to themselves;

``every disciple of a wise man, (wrbk wkwt Nyav) , "whose inside is not as his outside", is no disciple of a wise man.''

And it is expressly ascribed by some of their writers to one sort of the Pharisees, of whom they say F6,

``they are desirous to appear to men to be holy, but their inside is not as their outside;''

which is much the same Christ here says of them. What our Lord charges these men with, is owned by their own doctors; they say F7, that

``the iniquity of those that were under the first temple, was open and manifest, but the iniquity of those that were under the second temple, was not open.''

But as the gloss says,

``the children of the second temple, (rtob wyh Myevr) , "were secretly wicked".''


F2 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 40. 3. Jarchi in Gert. xvi. 4.
F3 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 71. fol. 63. 2.
F4 T. Bab. Sota, fol. 22. 2.
F5 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 72. 2.
F6 Bartenora in Misn. Sota, c. 3. sect. 4.
F7 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 9. 2.