Converts (Mt 23:15-23:15)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You cross the sea.

You cross the dry land

To make a single convert.

You make

The new convert

Twice as much

A child of hell

As yourselves.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι περιάγετε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηρὰν ποιῆσαι ἕνα προσήλυτον, καὶ ὅταν γένηται, ποιεῖτε αὐτὸν υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν.

 

This first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse in this unique saying of Matthew.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  These Pharisees were trying to convert many of the Romans to Judaism.  They would cross seas and dry lands trying to make a single convert or proselyte (ὅτι περιάγετε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηρὰν ποιῆσαι ἕνα προσήλυτον).  However, in doing so (καὶ ὅταν γένηται), they had made these new converts to Pharisaic Judaism twice as much a child of Gehenna or hell as themselves (ποιεῖτε αὐτὸν υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν).