That he had not first washed before dinner (oti ou prwton ebaptisqh pro tou aristou). The verb is first aorist passive indicative of baptizw, to dip or to immerse. Here it is applied to the hands. It was the Jewish custom to dip the hands in water before eating and often between courses for ceremonial purification. In Galilee the Pharisees and scribes had sharply criticized the disciples for eating with unwashed hands ( Mark 7:1-23 ; Matthew 15:1-20 ) when Jesus had defended their liberty and had opposed making a necessity of such a custom (tradition) in opposition to the command of God. Apparently Jesus on this occasion had himself reclined at the breakfast (not dinner) without this ceremonial dipping of the hands in water. The Greek has "first before" (prwton pro), a tautology not preserved in the translation.