Mark 7:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.

New Living Translation
(The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions.

English Standard Version
(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders,

Berean Study Bible
Now in holding to the tradition of the elders, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat until they wash their hands ceremonially.

Berean Literal Bible
For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash the hands carefully, holding the tradition of the elders;

New American Standard Bible
(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders;

King James Bible
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
(For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders.

International Standard Version
(The Pharisees—and indeed all the Jewish people—don't eat unless they wash their hands properly, following the tradition of their elders.

NET Bible
(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing, holding fast to the tradition of the elders.

New Heart English Bible
(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For all the Judeans and the Pharisees do not eat unless they wash their hands carefully because they keep the tradition of the Elders.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
(The Pharisees, like all other Jewish people, don't eat unless they have properly washed their hands. They follow the traditions of their ancestors.

New American Standard 1977
(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders;

Jubilee Bible 2000
(For the Pharisees and all the Jews, unless they wash their hands often, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

King James 2000 Bible
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands often, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

American King James Version
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

American Standard Version
(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands diligently, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders;

Douay-Rheims Bible
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews eat not without often washing their hands, holding the tradition of the ancients:

Darby Bible Translation
(for the Pharisees and all the Jews, unless they wash their hands diligently, do not eat, holding what has been delivered by the ancients;

English Revised Version
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands diligently, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders:

Webster's Bible Translation
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands often eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

Weymouth New Testament


World English Bible
(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, don't eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders.

Young's Literal Translation
for the Pharisees, and all the Jews, if they do not wash the hands to the wrist, do not eat, holding the tradition of the elders,
Study Bible
Tradition and Worship
2and they saw some of His disciples eating with hands that were defiled—that is, unwashed. 3Now in holding to the tradition of the elders, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat until they wash their hands ceremonially. 4And on returning from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions for them to observe, including the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and couches for dining.…
Cross References
Mark 7:5
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus: "Why do Your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders? Instead, they eat with defiled hands."

Mark 7:8
You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men."

Mark 7:9
He went on to say, "You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition.

Mark 7:13
Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition you have handed down. And you do so in many such matters."

Luke 11:38
But the Pharisee was astonished to see that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

John 2:6
Now six stone water jars had been set there for the Jewish rites of purification. Each could hold from twenty to thirty gallons.

Galatians 1:14
I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
Treasury of Scripture

For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

oft. or, diligently. Gr. With the fist. Up to the elbow. Theophylact. [Pugme,] the fist; which Dr. Lightfoot illustrates by a tradition from the Talmudical tracts, that when they washed their hands, they washed the fist up to the joint of the arm, [ad perek.] The Jews laid great stress on these washings, or baptisms, [baptismos,] considering eating with unwashen hands no ordinary crime, and feigning that an evil spirit, called Shibta, has a right to sit on the food of him who thus eats, and render it hurtful.

the tradition.

Mark 7:7-10,13 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments …

Matthew 15:2-6 Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for …

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in my own …

Colossians 2:8,21-23 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, …

1 Peter 1:18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible …

(3) For the Pharisees, and all the Jews.--For the sake of the same class of readers, St. Mark adds another explanatory note. The custom of which he speaks was not, he says, peculiar to the Pharisees as a sect; it had passed, through their influence, to the whole body of the people.

Oft.--The Greek MSS. present two readings, one of which this is the natural meaning; another, which means literally, "with the fist," and figuratively, "with might and main." The evidence is, on the whole, in favour of the former.

Verse 3. - Except they wash their hands oft. The Greek word here rendered "oft" is πυγμῇ: literally, with the fist, i.e. with the closed hand, rubbing one against the other. This word has caused a vast amount of criticism; and the difficulty of explaining it seems to have led to the adoption of a conjectural reading (πυκνῷς or πυκνῇ) rendered "oft;" crebro in the Vulgate. But the Syriac Peshito Version renders the Greek word by a word which means "diligently," and it is interesting and helpful, as a matter of exegesis, to know that it also renders the Greek word (ἐπιμελῶς) in Luke 15:8 by the same Syriac synonym, "diligently." The "clenched fist" implies vigor and resolution, and points to "diligence," and there are very high authorities in favor of this rendering, as, Epiphanius, Isaac Casaubon, and Cornelius a Lapide, to say nothing of our best modern expositors. It is also adopted in the Revised Version. Holding the tradition of the elders. The Pharisees pretended that this tradition had been orally delivered by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, and then transmitted orally down to their time. These oral precepts were afterwards embodied in the Talmud. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews,.... The far greater part of them; all, excepting the Sadducees; and especially the Pharisees, were very tenacious of this tradition of washing hands before eating: hence Pharisees are described as such, , "that eat their common food with cleanness" (n), i.e. of hands: these,

except they wash their hands oft, eat not; or except they wash very cautiously, with great care, diligence, and exactness, as the Syriac version suggests; and about which there are various rules given, to be observed with great strictness (o). Some render the words, "they wash their hands to the elbow"; and this is a rule with the Jews, which is closely to be abode by, that the washing of hands is to be, , "to the joint", which joins the hand and arm together (p): particularly it is observed (q), that

"washing of the hands for the eating of the offering, is unto the elbow, and for common food, to the joints of the fingers: he that eats with an ancient man, and does not wash his hands to the elbow, he may not eat with him.''

Well may it be added,

holding the tradition of the elders; nor do the Jews pretend the authority of the Scriptures as obliging them to such rules; for, they say, the command concerning washing of hands is, , "from the words of the Scribes" (r); and is , "a command of the wise men" (s). The tradition is this:

"they wash hands for common food, but for the tithe, and for the first offering, and for that which is holy, they dip them, and for the sin offering; for if the hands are defiled; the body is defiled (t).''

And this tradition of the elders, the Scribes, and Pharisees, strictly observed.

(n) Gloss in T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 18. 2. Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Chagiga, c. 2. sect. 7. (o) Vid. Maimon. Hilch. Bcracot, c. 6. (p) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 106. 1, 2. Maimon. Hilch. Beracot, c. 6. 4. Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Eracin, c. 5. sect. 1. Zohar in Deut. fol. 115. 2.((q) T. Hieros. Betacot, fol. 12. 1.((r) Maimon. Hilch. Mikvaot, c. 11. sect. 1.((s) Ib. Beracot, c. 6. sect. 2.((t) Misn. Chagiga, c. 2. sect. 5. 7:1-13 One great design of Christ's coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God's making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.
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