The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleMatthew 23:14
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…
same character is given as before, and the same woe denounced, and a
fresh reason given of it:
for ye devour widows' houses;
that is, the goods in the houses of
such as were left with fatherless children, and but little to support
them; who being left alone, and none to advise them, and being weak,
and prone to superstition; these greedy dogs, as Isaiah calls them, who
could never have enough, easily imposed upon them, wormed them out of
all their substance, stripped them bare of the necessaries of life,
prevailed on them to sell their houses and goods, and bestow them on
them; or got their little estates into their hands, pretending to take
care, and dispose of them for them, to their advantage:
and for a pretence make long prayers:
as if they were very holy,
good men; or pretended that the substance of these widows, which they
got into their hands, was for their long prayers for them; or they made
long prayers for them in return for their substance. Maimonides F24
``the ancient saints, or good men, used to stay an hour
before prayer, and an hour after prayer, (hev hlptb Mkyramw)
and "prolonged", or "held an hour in prayer":''
and this being three times a day, nine hours every day, as is observed
in the Talmud F25, were spent in this manner; and on this account they
got the character of very devout and religious men, and hereby covered
all their avarice, rapine, and oppression of the poor: but God will not
therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation;
both on account of
their plundering and distressing the poor, the widows, and the
fatherless; and also because of their hypocrisy in doing this under
the cover of religion and holiness. Hence it appears, that there are
degrees of punishment in hell, and that hypocrites, and all such who
oppress the poor, under the mask of godliness, supposing gain to be
that, will be partakers of the greatest degree of it. In Munster's
Hebrew Gospel it is called (Kwra jpvm) , "a long judgment", or
"damnation", in allusion to their long prayers: and is the very
reverse of what they expect on account of them: they say F26
``three things prolong a man's days and years, (wtlptb)
(Kyramh) , "he that is long in his prayer"''
is the first mentioned; and he that is long at his prayer, it is an
excellency, they say; but instead of a long and happy life, he shall
have a long damnation. This verse is left out in some copies, and in
others it stands before the former; in which order it is read in the
Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions.
F24 Hilch. Tephillah, c. 4. sect. 16.
F25 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 32. 2.
F26 Ib. fol. 54. 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 23:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=023&verse=014>. 1999.