And he said unto them
That is, Jesus said unto them, as the Syriac and Persic versions express it: "ye are they which justify yourselves before men": from the sins of injustice, unfaithfulness, covetousness, and all others; and would be thought, and appear to be righteous; but it is only in the sight of men, who can only see the outside of things, and judge thereby:
but God knoweth your hearts;
and what is in them, the deceitfulness, hypocrisy, covetousness, and cruelty of them, which are hid from the eyes of men:
for that which is highly esteemed among men;
or what is high in the account and esteem of men, as the outward appearance of these men for morality, religion, and holiness; their zeal for the ceremonies of the law, and the traditions of the elders:
is abomination in the sight of God;
who knew full well from what principles, and with what views they acted, to gain popular applause, and amass riches to themselves, without any concern for the glory of God, and the good of men: see ( Isaiah 65:5 ) .