Matthew 23:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;

New Living Translation
"Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.

English Standard Version
They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,

New American Standard Bible
"But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.

King James Bible
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
They do everything to be observed by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.

International Standard Version
"They do everything to be seen by people. They increase the size of their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.

NET Bible
They do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And they do all their works to be seen by the children of men, for they enlarge their phylacteries and they extend the blue fringes of their robes.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"They do everything to attract people's attention. They make their headbands large and the tassels on their shawls long.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But they do all their works that they may be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments

King James 2000 Bible
But all their works they do to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

American King James Version
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

American Standard Version
But all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments ,

Douay-Rheims Bible
And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes.

Darby Bible Translation
And all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders [of their garments],

English Revised Version
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Webster's Bible Translation
But all their works they do to be seen by men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Weymouth New Testament
And everything they do they do with a view to being observed by men; for they widen their phylacteries and make the tassels large,

World English Bible
But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad, enlarge the fringes of their garments,

Young's Literal Translation
'And all their works they do to be seen by men, and they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the fringes of their garments,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

23:1-12 The scribes and Pharisees explained the law of Moses, and enforced obedience to it. They are charged with hypocrisy in religion. We can only judge according to outward appearance; but God searches the heart. They made phylacteries. These were scrolls of paper or parchment, wherein were written four paragraphs of the law, to be worn on their foreheads and left arms, Ex 13:2-10; 13:11-16; De 6:4-9; 11:13-21. They made these phylacteries broad, that they might be thought more zealous for the law than others. God appointed the Jews to make fringes upon their garments, Nu 15:38, to remind them of their being a peculiar people; but the Pharisees made them larger than common, as if they were thereby more religious than others. Pride was the darling, reigning sin of the Pharisees, the sin that most easily beset them, and which our Lord Jesus takes all occasions to speak against. For him that is taught in the word to give respect to him that teaches, is commendable; but for him that teaches, to demand it, to be puffed up with it, is sinful. How much is all this against the spirit of Christianity! The consistent disciple of Christ is pained by being put into chief places. But who that looks around on the visible church, would think this was the spirit required? It is plain that some measure of this antichristian spirit prevails in every religious society, and in every one of our hearts.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - For to be seen of men. The second bad principle in their religion was ostentation and vanity. Acts done professedly in the honour of God were animated by self-seeking and ambition. They never penetrated beyond externalism. See this spirit reproved in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:1, 2, etc.). "They loved the glory of men more than the glory of God" (John 12:43). Christ then gives proofs of this spirit of ostentation in religion and in private life. Phylacteries; φυλακτήρια: literally, preservatives; equivalent to "amulets;" the translation of the Hebrew word tephillin, "prayer fillets." These were either strips of parchment or small cubes covered with leather, on or in which were written four sections of the Law, viz. Exodus 13:1-10, 11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21. They were worn fastened either to the forehead, or inside the left arm, so as to be near the heart. Their use arose from a literal and superstitious interpretation of Exodus 13:9; Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:18. Their dimensions were defined by rabbinical rules, but the extra pious formalists of the day set these at naught, and increased the breadth of the strips or of the bands by which they were fastened, in order to draw attention to their religiousness and their strict attention to the least observances of the Law. These phylacteries are still in use among the Jews. Thus in a 'Class Book for Jewish Youth' we read, "Every boy, three months before he attains the age of thirteen, commences to make use of the tephillin, which must be worn at least during the time of the morning prayers. The ordinance of the tephillin is one of the signs of the covenant existing between the Almighty and ourselves, that we may continually bear in mind the miracles God wrought for our forefathers." Enlarge the borders of their garments; τὰ κράσπεδα τῶν ἱματίων αὐτῶν, the fringes of their outer garments. The best manuscripts have merely their fringes. So the Vulgate, magnificant fimbrias. These fringes or tassels (zizith, zizijoth) were fastened to the corners of the garments, in accordance with Numbers 15:38-41, and were composed of white and blue threads. They were intended to remind the wearers of the commandments of the Lord, and were regarded as peculiarly sacred (see Matthew 9:20). Christ condemns the ostentatious enlargement of these fringes as a badge of extraordinary piety and obedience. We quote again from the Jewish 'Class. Book:' "Every male of the Jewish nation must wear a garment [not usually an undergarment] made with four corners, having fringes fixed at each corner. These fringes are called tsetsis, or, memorial fringes. In the synagogue, during the morning prayers, a scarf with fringes attached to it is worn, which is called tollece, 'scarf or veil.' These memorial fringes typically point out the six hundred and thirteen precepts contained in the volume of the sacred Law. They are also intended to remind us of the goodness of the Almighty in having delivered our forefathers from the slavery in Egypt."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But all their works they do for to be seen of men,.... All their prayers, alms deeds, and fastings, were all done in a public manner, that men might behold them, and they might have applause and glory from them: they sought neither the glory of God, nor the good of their fellow creatures, nor any spiritual advantage and pleasure to themselves, in their performances; they neither attended to moral duties, nor ceremonious rites, nor the traditions of their fathers, any further than they could be seen by men in them, and keep up their credit and esteem among them. Hence,

they make broad their phylacteries: these were four sections of the law, wrote on parchments, folded up in the skin of a clean beast, and tied to the head and hand. The four sections were these following, viz. the "first", was Exodus 13:2 the "second", was Exodus 13:11 the "third", was Deuteronomy 6:4 the "fourth", was Deuteronomy 11:13. Those that were for the head, were written and rolled up separately, and put in four distinct places, in one skin, which was fastened with strings to the crown of the head, towards the face, about the place where the hair ends, and where an infant's brain is tender; and they took care to place them in the middle, that so they might be between the eyes. Those that were for the hand, were written in four columns, on one parchment, which being rolled up, was fastened to the inside of the left arm, where it is fleshy, between the shoulder and the elbow, that so it might be over against the heart (u). These, they imagined, were commanded them by God, in Exodus 13:16 whereas the sense of these passages only is, that the goodness of God in delivering them out of Egypt, and the words of the law, should be continually before them, in their minds and memories, as if they had tokens on their hands, and frontlets between their eyes; but they understood them literally, and observed them in the above manner. These the Jews call "Tephillin", because they use them in time of prayer, and look upon them as useful, to put them in mind of that duty: they are here called "phylacteries", because they thought they kept them in the fear of God, preserved in them the memory of the law, and them from sin; yea, from evil spirits, and diseases of the body. They imagined there was a great deal of holiness in, and valued themselves much upon the use of them (w); and the Pharisees, because they would be thought to be more holy and religious, and more observant of the law than others, wore these things broader than the rest of the people;

and enlarge the borders of their garments. These were the fringes which they put upon the borders of their garments, and on them a ribbon of blue, to put them in mind of the commandments, to obey them, Numbers 15:38. The observance of this law is of so much consequence with the Jews, that they make all the commandments to depend on it (x); and say, that it is equal to them all, and that he that is guilty of the breach of it, is worthy of death (y): they ascribe the like virtue to these fringes, as to their phylacteries, and think themselves much the better for the wearing them; and the Pharisees, because they would appear with a greater air of sanctity and devotion than others, made their's larger. We (z) read of one Ben Tzitzith Hacceseth, a man of this complexion, who was so called, because his Tzitzith, or fringes, were drawn upon, a pillow; and there are some that say, that the pillow was bore between the great men of Rome: it was drawn after him, not upon the ground, but upon a cloth or tapestry, and the train supported by noblemen, as is pretended. This was one of those, that enlarged the Tzitzith, or fringes, beyond the ordinary size; hence Mark calls it, "long clothing."

(u) Targ. Jon. Jarchi, & Baal Hatturim in Exodus 13.16. & Deut. vi. 8. Maimon. Hilch. Tephillin, c. 1. sect. 1. & c. 2. sect. 2. & c. 3. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. & c. 4. sect. 1, 2.((w) Maimon. ib. c. 4. sect. 25, 26. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 3. 23. Targ. in Cant. viii. 3.((x) Maimon. Hilch. Tzitzith, c. 3. sect. 12. (y) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 25, 1. Shebuot, fol. 29. 1. & Menachot, fol. 43. 2.((z) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 56. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5. But all their works they do for to be seen of men—Whatever good they do, or zeal they show, has but one motive—human applause.

they make broad their phylacteries—strips of parchment with Scripture-texts on them, worn on the forehead, arm, and side, in time of prayer.

and enlarge the borders of their garments—fringes of their upper garments (Nu 15:37-40).

Matthew 23:5 Additional Commentaries
Context
Woes to Scribes and Pharisees
4"They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5"But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6"They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,…
Cross References
Exodus 13:9
This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.

Numbers 15:38
"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.

Deuteronomy 6:8
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Deuteronomy 11:18
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Deuteronomy 22:12
Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.

Matthew 6:1
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:2
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Matthew 6:5
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Matthew 9:20
Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.
Treasury of Scripture

But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

all.

Matthew 6:1-16 Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: …

2 Kings 10:16 And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they …

Luke 16:15 And he said to them, You are they which justify yourselves before …

Luke 20:47 Which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers: the …

Luke 21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

John 5:44 How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek …

John 7:18 He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeks …

John 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness …

2 Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that …

they make.

Deuteronomy 6:8 And you shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be …

Proverbs 3:3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you: bind them about your neck; write …

Proverbs 6:21-23 Bind them continually on your heart, and tie them about your neck…

the borders.

Matthew 9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve …

Numbers 15:38,39 Speak to the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them …

Deuteronomy 22:12 You shall make you fringes on the four quarters of your clothing, …

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