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Geneva Notes on Matthew 23:1-12

Geneva Notes:

Mt 23:2
23:2 {1} Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees {a} sit in Moses'

(1) We ought to listen to whatever we are truly taught from the
word of God, even by wicked teachers, but in a way so that
we abstain from their evil behaviour.
(a) Because God appointed the order, the Lord would
therefore have his word to be heard even from the mouth
of hypocrites and hirelings.

Mt 23:3
23:3 {b} All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, [that]
observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they
say, and do not.

(b) Provided always that they deliver the doctrine of
Moses which they profess, which thing the metaphor of
the seat shows, which they occupied as teachers of
Moses' teaching.

Mt 23:4
23:4 {2} For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne,
and lay [them] on men's shoulders; but they [themselves]
will not move them with one of their fingers.

(2) For the most part hypocrites most severely exact those
things which they themselves chiefly neglect.

Mt 23:5
23:5 {3} But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they
make broad their {c} phylacteries, and enlarge {d} the
borders of their garments,

(3) Hypocrites are ambitious.
(c) It was a thread or ribband of blue silk in the fringe
of a corner, the beholding of which made them remember
the laws and ordinances of God: and therefore it was
called a phylactery, or as you would say, a container.
See Nu 15:38 De 6:8, a commandment which the Jews
abused afterwards, as those do today who hang the
gospel of John around their necks, which was condemned
many years ago in the Council of Antioch.
(d) Literally, "Twisted tassels of thread which hung at the
outermost hems of their garments."

Mt 23:6
23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in
the {e} synagogues,

(e) When assemblies and councils are gathered together.

Mt 23:7
23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi,
{f} Rabbi.

(f) This word "Rabbi" signifies one that is above his
fellows, and is as good as any of them: and we may see
by the repeating of it how proud a title it was. Now
they were called Rabbi who, by the laying on of hands,
were uttered and declared to the world to be wise men.

Mt 23:8
23:8 {4} But be not ye {g} called Rabbi: for {h} one is your
Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.

(4) Modesty is a singular ornament of God's minsters.
(g) Seek not ambitiously after it: for our Lord does not
forbid us to give the magistrate and our masters the
honour that is due to them; Augustine in a sermon on
the words of God from Mt 11:1-30.
(h) He seems to allude to references in Isa 54:13 and
Jer 31:34.

Mt 23:9
23:9 And call no [man] your {i} father upon the earth: for one
is your Father, which is in heaven.

(i) He attacks a custom of the Jews, for they called the
rabbis "our fathers".

Mt 23:10
23:10 Neither be ye called {k} masters: for one is your Master,
[even] Christ.

(k) It seems that the scribes hunted very greatly after
such titles, these scribes being the ones whom he
called blind guides in Mt 23:16.

Mt 23:12
23:12 And whosoever {l} shall exalt himself shall be abased; and
he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

(l) He seems to allude to the position of the rabbis, for
rabbi signifies one that is in a high position.

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