Pharisees and Scribes come from Jerusalem (Mk 7:1-7:1)

“Now the Pharisees

And some of the Scribes,

Who had come

From Jerusalem,

Gathered around him.”

 

Καὶ συνάγονται πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καί τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐλθόντες ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:1.  Once again, there was a confrontation with the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Mark said that the Pharisees and some of the Scribes gathered around Jesus (Καὶ συνάγονται πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καί τινες τῶν γραμματέων).  However, this time, these Pharisees and Scribes came from Jerusalem (ἐλθόντες ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων).  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  The Pharisees, on the other hand, were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had their own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  These Pharisees in the New Testament continually engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples.

Would Jesus heal on the Sabbath? (Mk 3:2-3:2)

“They watched him,

To see whether

He would cure him

On the Sabbath.

Thus,

They might accuse him.”

 

καὶ παρετήρουν αὐτὸν εἰ τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεύσει αὐτόν, ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ.

 

Matthew, chapter 12:10, and Luke, chapter 6:7, are similar to this incident in Mark.  However, Matthew had the Pharisees confront Jesus with a question, while Luke followed Mark in saying that the Scribes and Pharisees were watching to see if Jesus would cure this man with the withered hand on the Sabbath.  Mark said that the unnamed “they” were watching Jesus (καὶ παρετήρουν αὐτὸν) to see if he would cure the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath (εἰ τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεύσει αὐτόν).  Then they would accuse Jesus (ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ). They were trying to see if they could charge Jesus of breaking the Sabbath.  However, Jewish law allowed people to help in cases of distress on the Sabbath.

Scribes and Pharisees complained (Mk 2:16-2:16)

“When the Scribes

And the Pharisees,

Saw

That he was eating

With sinners

And tax collectors,

They said

To his disciples.

‘Why does he eat

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων ἰδόντες ὅτι ἐσθίει μετὰ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ τελωνῶν, ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Ὅτι μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει;

 

Luke, chapter 5:30, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this incident.  In Matthew, it is only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining.  These Pharisees and Scribes saw this dinner party (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων ἰδόντες) from the outside.  They saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors (ὅτι ἐσθίει μετὰ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ τελωνῶν).  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus (ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners (Ὅτι μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει)?  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?  Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag.  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.

Jesus cures the leper (Mk 1:41-1:42)

“Moved with pity,

Jesus stretched out

His hand.

He touched him.

He said to him.

‘I do choose!

Be made clean!’

Immediately,

The leprosy

Left him.

He was made clean.”

 

καὶ σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ ἥψατο καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Θέλω, καθαρίσθητι.

καὶ εὐθὺς ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα, καὶ ἐκαθερίσθη.

 

Luke, chapter 5:13, has something similar, but there was no mention of pity in Luke or the similar story in Matthew, chapter 8:3.  Mark said that Jesus was moved with pity or compassion (καὶ σπλαγχνισθεὶς).  Jesus stretched out his hand (ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ) and touched the leper (ἥψατο), since it was not against Jewish law to touch a leper.  Then he said that he willed or wanted (λέγων αὐτῷ Θέλω) to cleanse the leper (καθαρίσθητι).  Immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), the leprosy went away (ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα).  This leper became clean (καὶ ἐκαθερίσθη), so that there was a prophetic cleansing of a leper, because Jesus had this healing touch.

Two witnesses come forward (Mt 26:60-26:61)

“At last,

Two witnesses

Came forward.

They said.

‘This fellow said.

‘I am able

To destroy

The Temple of God,

And to build it

In three days.’”

 

ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο

εἶπαν Οὗτος ἔφη Δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:57-58, but Mark has more details and does not explicitly mention 2 witnesses, but only some witnesses.  There is nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that finally 2 witnesses came forward (ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο), an important number under Jewish law.  They said that this man had said (εἶπαν Οὗτος ἔφη) that he was able to destroy the Temple of God (Δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ) and rebuild it in three days (καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι).  Jesus had mentioned destroying this Temple in chapter 24:2.  He had also spoken about his resurrection in three days in chapters 16:21, 17:23, and 20:19.  There was no indication of when the 2 witnesses said that Jesus had uttered these words.

Looking for false testimony (Mt 26:59-26:60)

“Now the chief priests

And the whole council

Sought

False testimony

Against Jesus.

Thus,

They might put him

To death.

But they found none.

Even though

Many false witnesses

Came forward.”

 

Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον ἐζήτουν ψευδομαρτυρίαν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὅπως αὐτὸν θανατώσωσιν,

καὶ οὐχ εὗρον πολλῶν προσελθόντων ψευδομαρτύρων.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:55-56.  However, this is not in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Matthew and Mark said that the chief priests (Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς) and the whole council (καὶ τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον) sought false testimony against Jesus (ἐζήτουν ψευδομαρτυρίαν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  They did this so that they might put him to death (ὅπως αὐτὸν θανατώσωσιν).  However, they could not find any witnesses (καὶ οὐχ εὗρον), even though many false witnesses came forward (πολλῶν προσελθόντων ψευδομαρτύρων).  According to Jewish law in Deuteronomy, chapters 17:6 and 19:15, it took 2 witnesses to convict anyone.  This sounds more like a trial than an informal meeting.  Not only were they seeking pseudo or false witnesses, the whole council meeting may have been illegal, since they were not allowed to meet during the festivals, including Passover.  The whole council would have included the elders or presbyters and the Scribes of Jerusalem, along with priests and high priests.  The dreaded Pharisees and Sadducees were not part of this council or meeting.

Pharisees question him about divorce (Mt 19:3-19:3)

“Some Pharisees

Came to Jesus.

They tested him.

They asked.

‘Is it lawful

For a man

To divorce

His wife

For any cause?’”

 

Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι πειράζοντες αὐτὸν καὶ λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν;

 

This questioning of the Pharisees about divorce can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:2, almost word for word, with some minor changes.  Once again, some Pharisees show up on the scene (Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι) testing or tempting Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτὸν).  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  They asked Jesus if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause (καὶ λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν), since this was a disputed question among many Jewish rabbis.

The yeast of the Pharisees (Mt 16:11-16:12)

“How could you fail

To perceive

That I was not speaking

To you

About bread?

Beware of the yeast

Of the Pharisees

And Sadducees!’

Then they understood

That he had not told them

To beware

Of the yeast of the bread,

But of the teaching

Of the Pharisees

And Sadducees.”

 

πῶς οὐ νοεῖτε ὅτι οὐ περὶ ἄρτων εἶπον ὑμῖν; προσέχετε δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων.

τότε συνῆκαν ὅτι οὐκ εἶπεν προσέχειν ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν ἄρτων, ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ τῆς διδαχῆς τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, asked the disciples how they could not perceive or understand (πῶς οὐ νοεῖτε) that he was not speaking to them about bread (ὅτι οὐ περὶ ἄρτων εἶπον ὑμῖν).  Instead, he was warning them about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (προσέχετε δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων).  Finally, they understood (τότε συνῆκαν) that he was not talking to them about the yeast in bread (ὅτι οὐκ εἶπεν προσέχειν ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν ἄρτων), but the yeast of the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees (ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ τῆς διδαχῆς τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων.).  Once again, Jesus, via Matthew, took a shot at both the Pharisees and Sadducees, but not the Scribes.  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Sadducees, on the other hand, were generally aristocratic priestly officials, tied to the Temple and ritual purifications.  They were less concerned about oral traditions, so that they might have been political religious rivals to the Pharisees.  However, Jesus warned his disciples against both groups and their teaching yeasts.

Jesus warns about the yeast of the Pharisees (Mt 16:6-16:6)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Watch out!

Beware of the yeast

Of the Pharisees

And Sadducees.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὁρᾶτε καὶ προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων.

 

Now this saying about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees can be found in Mark, chapter 8:15, and Luke, chapter 12:1, but there are slight differences.  Mark and Luke did not mention the Sadducees.  Jesus told his disciples (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) to watch out for and be aware (Ὁρᾶτε καὶ προσέχετε) of the yeast (ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης) of the Pharisees and Sadducees (ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης).  Matthew has this as a clear rebuff of both these groups and their growing yeast, leaven, or power that was expanding.  Like earlier in this chapter, there was no mention of the Scribes.  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Sadducees, on the other hand, were generally aristocratic priestly officials, tied to the Temple and ritual purifications.  They were less concerned about oral traditions, so that they might have been political religious rivals to the Pharisees.  However, Jesus warned his disciples against both groups.

The Pharisees ask for a sign from heaven (Mt 16:1-16:1)

“The Pharisees

And the Sadducees came.

They wanted

To test Jesus.

They asked him

To show them

A sign from heaven.”

 

Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι πειράζοντες ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτοῖς.

 

The asking for signs can be found in Mark, chapter 8:11, and Luke, chapter 11:16, and earlier in Matthew, chapter 12:38, plus here, but there are slight differences.  The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus (Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι).  They wanted to test or tempt him (πειράζοντες).  They asked him to show them a sign from heaven or a heavenly validation of his work (ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτοῖς).  Instead of the Scribes and Pharisees wanting a sign, as earlier in this work, here it is the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  There had been no mention of the Sadducees since the story about John the Baptist in chapter 3:7, while the Pharisees were present all over the place.  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit, with a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Sadducees, on the other hand, were generally aristocratic priestly officials, tied to the Temple and ritual purifications.  They were less concerned about oral traditions, so that they might have been political religious rivals to the Pharisees.  Rarely did they agree on anything, since there may have been only about 6.000 in each group.  However, here both these groups wanted to see a sign from Jesus.  John the Baptist had been critical of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees earlier in Matthew, chapter 3:7.