Seven Woes: The Rejection of the Nation by Christ
Matthew 23


Instructions to the Crowd and Disciples Concerning the Pharisees (23:1-12)

They Assumed the Position of Oversight (23:1-2)

CHAPTER 23
 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 saying, The scribes and the Pharisees have set themselves down in Moses’ seat: 

(Do What They Say, Not What They Do) (23:3)

3 all things therefore, whatever they may tell you, do and keep. But do not after their works, for they say and do not, 

Demanding of Others, Yet Unwilling to Work (23:4)

4 but bind burdens heavy and hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of men, but will not move them with their finger. 

Much of What They Do is For An Outward Show (23:5)

5 And all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments, 

They Love to Considered to Be Teachers (23:6-7)

6 and love the chief place in feasts and the first seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market-places, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 

(An Alternative Lifestyle Prescribed for the Brethren) (23:8-12)

8 But *ye*, be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your instructor, and all *ye* are brethren. 9 And call not any one your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, he who is in the heavens. 10 Neither be called instructors, for one is your instructor, the Christ. 11 But the greatest of you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled, and whoever shall humble himself shall be exalted. 


Warnings to the Pharisees: The Seven Woes (23:13-32)

1st Woe: Making the Kingdom a Restrictive Religion (23:13)

 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for *ye* do not enter, nor do ye suffer those that are entering to go in. 

2nd Woe: Proselytizing and Corrupting Souls (23:15)

15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye compass the sea and the dry land to make one proselyte, and when he is become such, ye make him twofold more the son of hell than yourselves. 

3rd Woe: Being Blind Guides, Teaching to Incorrectly Value (23:16-22)

16 Woe to you, blind guides, who say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. 17 Fools and blind, for which is greater, the gold, or the temple which sanctifies the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gift that is upon it is a debtor. 19 Fools and blind ones, for which is greater, the gift, or the altar which sanctifies the gift? 20 He therefore that swears by the altar swears by it and by all things that are upon it. 21 And he that swears by the temple swears by it and by him that dwells in it. 22 And he that swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him that sits upon it. 

4th Woe: Focusing on Small Issues & Ignoring Large Ones (23:23-24)

23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and ye have left aside the weightier matters of the law, judgment and mercy and faith: these ye ought to have done and not have left those aside. 24 Blind guides, who strain out the gnat, but drink down the camel. 

5th Woe: Clean Exteriors & Defiled Interiors - Vessels (23:25-26)

25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within they are full of rapine and intemperance. 26 Blind Pharisee, make clean first the inside of the cup and of the dish, that their outside also may become clean. 

6th Woe: Clean Exteriors & Defiled Interiors - Tombs (23:27-28)

27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are like whited sepulchres, which appear beautiful outwardly, but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Thus also *ye*, outwardly ye appear righteous to men, but within are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 

7th Woe: Murderers Pretending to Honor the Prophets (23:29-33)

29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets and adorn the tombs of the just, 30 and ye say, If we had been in the days of our fathers we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 So that ye bear witness of yourselves that ye are sons of those who slew the prophets: 32 and *ye*, fill ye up the measure of your fathers. 33 Serpents, offspring of vipers, how should ye escape the judgment of hell? 


Indictment of the Scribes and Pharisees (23:34-36)

 34 Therefore, behold, *I* send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye will kill and crucify, and some of them ye will scourge in your synagogues, and will persecute from city to city; 35 so that all righteous blood shed upon the earth should come upon *you*, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.  


Lamentation Over Jerusalem (23:37-39)

 37 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those that are sent unto her, how often would I have gathered thy children as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; 39 for I say unto you, Ye shall in no wise see me henceforth until ye say, Blessed be he that comes in the name of the Lord.