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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 23

Bullinger's Companion Bible NotesBullinger's Companion Notes

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Verse 1

multitude = crowds. Note the Structure (p. 1857).

Verse 2

Pharisees. See App-120 . The Sadducees had their own "leaven" (Matthew 16:6 ) but not this.

sit = have taken [their] seat.

in = upon. Greek. epi.

Moses'. See note on Matthew 8:4 .

Verse 3

All = All things. This shows that the words following are not a command, for the whole chapter is taken up with a denunciation of the very things that they thus bade. Later (Matthew 27:20-23 ) they "bade" the People to ask Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

that. Omit this word as not being in the Greek, or required by the Figure of speech Ellipsis.

Observe and do = ye observe and do. The second person plural is exactly the same in the Indicative and Imperative, and nothing can determine which is the Mood but the context: and the Structure determines its meaning.

observe. Inwardly.

do. Outwardly.

but. Marking the contrast between "ye do"and"do ye not". after = according to. Greek. kata. App-104 .

they say = they say [ought to be done], but they do not do the works themselves.

Verse 4

For they bind, &c. By what they "bid you observe". A further proof that "observe and do" is not the Lord's command to carry these many burdens "grievous to be borne".

on . = upon. Greek. epi.

men's. Greek. anthropos. App-123 .

will not move = do not choose to touch.

will. See App-102 .

move. Much less bear.

their = their own.

Verse 5

for to be seen = to be gazed upon as a spectacle. Same word as "see" in Matthew 22:11 .

for = for the purpose. Greek. pros. App-104 .

phylacteries. Greek. phulakterion. Occ only here. See notes, &c, on Exodus 13:9 . Deuteronomy 6:8 . Reference to Pentateuch App-92 and App-117 .

the borders = the fringes. Reference to Pentateuch (Numbers 15:37-41 .Deuteronomy 22:12; Deuteronomy 22:12 ). Originally a mark of separation between Israel and the surrounding nations. Compare Luke 8:44 .

Verse 6

love = are fond of. Greek. phileo. App-135 .

uppermost rooms = the first place, as in next clause.

at = in. Greek. en . App-104 .

chief seats = first seats, as in preceding clause.

Verse 7

greetings = the formal salutations.

of = by. Greek. hupo .

Rabbi = my Master. Compare Matthew 23:8 . Note the Figure of speech Epizeuxis for Emph. ( App-6 ).

Verse 8

Master = Leader, Guide, or Director. Greek. kathgetes, Occurs only here and in Matthew 23:10 . All the texts read didlaskalos, Teacher.

even Christ. All the texts omit, with Syriac; but, Scrivener thinks, on insufficient authority.

Christ. See App-98 .

Verse 9

father. This is against those who loved to he so called.

upon. Greek. epi. App-104 .

Father. See App-98 .

heaven = the heavens. See note on Matthew 6:9 , Matthew 6:10 .

Verse 11

he that is greatest among you = the greater of you.

Verse 12

abased = humbled, as in next clause.

Verse 13

woe. The first of eight woes in (verses: Matthew 23:13-33 ). Compare Matthew 5:3 ; and see App-126 . All the texts (with Syriac) transpose Matthew 23:13 and Matthew 23:14 .

shut up. Compare Matthew 5:3 .

the kingdom of heaven. See App-114 .

heaven = the heavens. See note on Matthew 6:9 , Matthew 6:10 .

against = before: i.e. in men's faces.

neither = not, as in Matthew 23:4 .

Verse 14

Woe, &c. Compare Matthew 5:4 ; and see App-126 .

make long prayer = praying at great length.

therefore = on this account. Greek. dia ( App-104 .Matthew 23:2; Matthew 23:2 ).

greater = more abundant.

damnation = judgment or condemnation.

Verse 15

woe, &c. Compare Matthew 5:5 , and see App-126 .

land = dry [land].

proselyte. The Greek is transliterated, and means a comer over to. Used of a Gentile who came over to the Jews' religion. Occurs only here; and Acts 2:10 ; Acts 6:5 ; Acts 13:43 .

is made = becomes [one].

the child of hell = a son of Gehenna. A Hebraism = Gehenna's people. See App-131 . I; and note on Matthew 5:22 .

Verse 16

the Temple = the Sanctuary: i.e. the Naos, or actual Temple building, consisting of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Spelled in The Companion Bible with a capital "T", to distinguish it from hieron, the whole of the Temple courts, but translated temple also; this is spelled with a small "t" in The Companion Bible.

debtor = is bound [to fulfill the oath]. In Matthew 23:18 rendered "guilty"; whereby there is (in Eng.) the Figure of speech Parechesis = guilty [and must pay the geld, i.e. the penalty]. See App-6 .

Verse 22

heaven. Singular. See notes on Matthew 6:9 , Matthew 6:10 .

Verse 23

Woe, &c. Compare Matthew 5:7 , and see App-126 .

pay tithe = tithe, or take tithes. Eng. tithe = tenth; hence, a district containing ten families was called a tithing

anise = dill. Occurs only here.

cummin. Hebrew. kumin. Greek. kuminon. (Occurs only here.) Germ, kummel.

faith. Or, faithfulness, as in Romans 8:3 .Galatians 1:5 , Galatians 1:22 .

Verse 24

which, &c. Figure of speech Paroemia. App-6 .

strain = habitually filter out. Greek. diulizo. Occ- only here.

at. A mistake perpetuated in all editions of the Authorized Version. All "the former translations" had "out".

a = the: which makes it read like a proverb.

gnat. Greek. konops. Occurs only here.

swallow = gulp down: Eng. drink up.

camel. An unclean animal. See Leviticus 11:4 .

Verse 25

Woe, &c. Compare Matthew 5:8 , and see App-126 .

make clean = cleanse ceremonially.

platter = dish: i.e. a side dish. Greek. paropsis. Occurs only in these verses.

extortion = plunder.

excess = incontinence.

Verse 26

that which is within = the inside of.

be = become.

clean also. The "also" must be connected with outside: "that the outside also may become clean".

Verse 27

Woe, &c. Compare Matthew 5:9 , and see App-126 .

are like unto. Greek. paromoiazo. Occurs only here.

whited. Sepulchres were whitened a month before the Passover, to warn off persons from contracting uncleanness (Numbers 19:16 ).

dead men's bones = bones of dead people. See App-139 .

Verse 28

iniquity = lawlessness. App-128 .

Verse 29

Woe, &c. Compare Matthew 5:9 , and see App-126 .

tombs. Greek. taphoi. There are four at the base of Olivet: those of Zechariah, Absalom, Jehoshaphat, and St. James; but there is no authority for these names.

garnish = adorn or decorate. Perhaps being whitened just then, before the Passover.

sepulchers = mnemia = monuments.

Verse 30

If, &c. The condition being assumed as an actual fact.

Verse 31

Wherefore = so that.

children = sons. App-108 .

Verse 32

Fill ye up = And ye, fill ye up.

Verse 33

generation = offspring, or brood. Plural as in Matthew 3:7 ; Matthew 12:34 ; and Luke 3:7 .

escape = escape from (Greek. apo) . App-104 .

Verse 34

Wherefore = Because of this. Greek. dia ( App-104 .Matthew 23:2; Matthew 23:2 ) touto.

behold. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6 .

from = away from. Greek. apo . App-104 .

Verse 35

That = So that.

upon. Greek. epi.

blood. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of the Subject) for blood-guiltiness ( App-6 ).

righteous Abel = Abel the righteous [one]. Genesis 4:4 . Compare Hebrews 11:4 .

Zacharias son of Barachias. Not the son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20 , 2 Chronicles 24:21 ) but Zechariah the prophet (Zechariah 1:1 , Zechariah 1:7 ), who, we here learn (by Figure of speech Hysteresis, App-6 ) was killed in the same way. And why not? Are there not many examples of historical coincidences? Why should the Lord single out "Zacharias the son of Jehoiada" then Neh 800 years before, instead of the later Zacharias (the prophet) some 400 years before? And why may it not he prophetic of another "Zechariah, the son of Baruch" who was thus martyred some thirty-six years after? See Josephus ( Wars, iv. 5. 4. )

ye slew. This may be taken as the Figure of speech Prolepsis (Ampliatio), App-6 , speaking of future things as present. See Matthew 26:2 .Psalms 93:1 ; Psalms 97:1 ; Psalms 99:1 .Isaiah 37:22 ; Isaiah 48:5-7 . Luke 3:19 , Luke 3:20 . Compare Matthew 11:2 , &c.

Verse 36

Verily. See note on Matthew 5:18 .

this generation. See note on Matthew 11:16 ; Matthew 24:34 . Metonymy (of Adjunct), for the inhabitants.

children. Plural of teknon. App-108 .

Verse 37

chickens = brood. Greek. nossia. Occurs only here.

would not = were not willing. App-102 .

not. Greek. ou ( App-105 ), denying as a matter of fact.

Verse 38

your . . . you. Very emphatic. At the beginning of the Lord's ministry it was "My Father's house" (John 2:16 ); but at the end, after His rejection, it was "your house".

house: i.e. the Temple, where He was speaking.

is left = is being left. See Matthew 24:1 .

desolate. Every "house" and every place is "desolate" where Christ is not.

Verse 39

not = by no means, in no wise. Greek. ou me, App-105 .

see = behold. App-133 .

till. With an, implying uncertainty. The not seeing was certain: their saying it at that time was uncertain. Compare the four "untils" with ou me: Matthew 10:23 ; Matthew 16:28 ; Matthew 23:39 ; Matthew 24:34 .

Blessed, &c. Quoted from Psalms 118:26 ; compare Matthew 21:9 . See App-117 .

Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 23". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bul/matthew-23.html. 1909-1922.
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