The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleMatthew 23:25
Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…
Lord cannot be thought to bear too hard upon these men, nor does he
continue this character of them, and denunciations of woe against
them, without a reason:
for ye make clean the outside of the cup and platter, but within they
are full of extortion and excess.
The allusion is to their
traditions about washing their cups and pots, and brazen vessels;
see (Mark 7:4) which they strictly observed. In their oral law is a
whole tract, called "Mikvaot", which gives rules about the places
where they washed, the things to be washed, and the manner of
washing them; about which they were very nice, pretending to much
outward cleanness, but had no regard to inward purity. Christ's
sense is, that they took much pains, and were very careful, that the
cup they drank out of, and the platter, or dish they ate out of,
should be very clean; when at the same time, the food and drink that
were within them, were got by oppression and rapine; by devouring
widows' houses, by making undue claims upon, and extorting unjust
sums from the fatherless, the poor, and the needy; and were abused
by them, to luxury and intemperance. In like manner the Jews
themselves say of hypocrites F23;
``They make show of a pure and clean soul, but under it lies
hid a leprosy: they are like to "vessels full of
uncleanness"; they are outwardly washed with the water of
fraud and craftiness; but whatsoever is within, in the
midst or them, is unclean.''
The Vulgate Latin version of the text, instead of "excess", reads
"uncleanness", and so does Munster's Hebrew Gospel: many copies read
"unrighteousness". Excess is thought to be a sin the Pharisees were not
guilty of, though they were of extortion, injustice, and uncleanness.
F23 R. Sol Gabirol in Cether Malcuth apud L. Capell in loc.