The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleMatthew 23:3
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe…
must be restrained to things that were agreeable to the chair of
Moses, in which they sat, to the law of Moses, which they read and
explained, to other parts of Scripture and truth in general; for
otherwise many of their glosses and traditions were repugnant to the
law, and ought not to be observed, as appears from (Matthew 5:1-48) (15:6) .
The word "observe", in this clause, is omitted by the Vulgate Latin,
Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and
Beza says, it is wanting in one ancient copy, but is in others; and
is retained in the Syriac and Persic versions
that observe and do;
hearken to what they say, give diligent heed
unto it, take notice of it, and act according to it:
but do not ye after their works;
let their doctrine be the rule of
your lives, so far as it agrees with the law of Moses; but let not
their actions be drawn into an example by you; conform to their
instructions, but do not imitate their practices:
for they say, and do not;
they talk of good works, but do none; they
bid others do them, but do not practise them themselves; they very
strictly and severely enjoin them on others, but are very careless
themselves to observe them; and of this the Jews are so conscious,
that they suggest the same doctrine F14.
``The daughter of Ahar (a wicked man) came before Rabbi; she
said to him, Rabbi, supply me with the necessaries of
life: he replied to her, daughter, who art thou? she
answered him, the daughter of Ahar: he said to her, is
there any of his seed in the world? for lo! it is written,
(Job 18:19) . "He shall neither have son, nor nephew, among
his people, nor any remaining, in his dwellings": she
replied to him, (wyvem rwkzt law wtrwtl rwkz) , "remember his
law, or doctrine, but do not remember his works."--Says R.
Jochanan, what is that which is written, (Malachi 2:7) . "For
the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should
seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord
of hosts." If the doctor is like to an angel, or messenger of
the Lord of hosts, they should seek the law at his mouth; and
if not, they should not seek the law at his mouth. Says Resh
Lekish, R. Meir found and explained that Scripture, (Proverbs 22:17) .
"Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and
apply thine heart to my knowledge": to their knowledge it
is not said, but to my knowledge. R. Chanina says, hence,
(Psalms 45:10) . "Hearken, O daughter! and consider, incline
thine ear, forget thine own people, and thy father's
house": on which the gloss is, forget their works, and do
not learn them: he that knows how to take care not to
learn their works, may learn the law from their mouths.''
--And a little after,
``the disciples of the wise men are like to a nut; as a nut,
though it is defiled with mire and filth, yet that which
is within it is not to be rejected; so a scholar, or a
disciple of a wise man, though he act wickedly, his law,
or doctrine, is not to be despised.''
Good doctrine is not the worse for being taught by bad men; nor are
good works to be slighted and neglected, because they are not done
by all that teach them; but it must be owned that examples are very
useful and forcible, and practice greatly recommends doctrine; and
it is to be wished, that they both always went together.
F14 T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 15. 2.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 23:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=023&verse=003>. 1999.