Matthew 15:7
You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
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(7) Ye hypocrites.—See Note on Matthew 7:5.

Matthew 15:7-9. Ye hypocrites — To substitute superstitious observances of man’s invention, in the place of obedience to God’s commands, is downright hypocrisy; it is, however, the prerogative of Him who searches the heart, and knows what is in man, to pronounce who are hypocrites. And as hypocrisy is a sin which only his eye discovers, so it is a sin which above all others he abhors. Well did Esaias prophesy of you — That is, the words which Isaiah addressed to your fathers are exactly applicable to you: his description of them is a prophecy with regard to you. Observe, reader, the reproofs of sin and sinners, which we find in the Scriptures, were designed to be applied to similar persons and practices to the end of the world; for they are not of private interpretation, 2 Peter 1:20. Threatenings directed against others belong to us, if we be guilty of the same sins. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouths, &c. — They make a great profession, and pretend to much devotion and piety; but their heart is far from me — They do not sincerely love and obey me. They do not give me their hearts; and, if the heart be not given to God, all outward worship is no better than a mockery of him. In vain they do worship me — That is, idly, unprofitably, and to no purpose. Their worship does not attain the end for which divine worship was appointed. It neither pleases God nor profits themselves. For if it be not in spirit, it is not in truth, and so it is all nothing. Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men — As equal with, nay, superior to, those of God. What can be a more heinous sin?15:1-9 Additions to God's laws reflect upon his wisdom, as if he had left out something which was needed, and which man could supply; in one way or other they always lead men to disobey God. How thankful ought we to be for the written word of God! Never let us think that the religion of the Bible can be improved by any human addition, either in doctrine or practice. Our blessed Lord spoke of their traditions as inventions of their own, and pointed out one instance in which this was very clear, that of their transgressing the fifth commandment. When a parent's wants called for assistance, they pleaded, that they had devoted to the temple all they could spare, even though they did not part with it, and therefore their parents must expect nothing from them. This was making the command of God of no effect. The doom of hypocrites is put in a little compass; In vain do they worship me. It will neither please God, nor profit themselves; they trust in vanity, and vanity will be their recompence.Ye hypocrites! - See the notes at Matthew 7:5. Hypocrisy is the concealment of some base principle under the pretence of religion. Never was there a clearer instance of it than this an attempt to get rid of the duty of providing for needy parents under an appearance of piety toward God.

Esaias - That is, Isaiah. This prophecy is found in Isaiah 29:13.

Prophesy of you - That is, he spoke of the people of his day of the Jews, as Jews - in terms that apply to the whole people. He properly characterized the nation in calling them hypocrites. The words are applicable to the nation at all times, and they apply, therefore, to you. He did not mean particularly to speak of the nation in the time of Christ, but he spoke of them as having a national character of hypocrisy. Compare the notes at Matthew 1:22-23.

7. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying—(Isa 29:13). See Poole on "Matthew 15:9". Ye hypocrites,.... After our Lord had given so full a proof of their making void the commandments of God by their traditions, he might very justly, as he does, call them hypocrites; who pretended to so much religion and holiness, and yet scrupled not, upon occasion, to set aside a divine command; who affected so much sanctity, as to be displeased with the disciples, for not complying with an order of their elders, when they themselves made no account of a divine precept; and plainly showed they had more regard to men than God, and to the precepts of men, than to the commands of God, and to approve themselves to men more than to God; and that they sought the praise and applause of men, and not the honour which comes from God; and that their religion lay in mere rituals and externals, and those of men's devising, and not in the spiritual worship and service of God. Nor can it be thought that Christ, in calling them hypocrites, bears too hard upon them; when one of their own doctors, who lived not very distant from this age, says (a) of the men of Jerusalem, that

"if the hypocrites of the world were divided into ten parts, nine of them would belong to Jerusalem, and one to the rest of the world.''

Well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, in Isaiah 29:13 which prophecy, though it was directed to, and suited with many in that generation in which the prophet lived, yet had a further view to the Jews in after times: their own writers (b) acknowledge, that the whole prophecy is spoken of that nation; for by Ariel they understand the altar at Jerusalem, the city in which David dwelt,

(a) R. Nathan in Rabba, sect. 1.((b) Abarbinel, Jarchi, Kimchi, & Aben Ezra.

{3} Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

(3) The same men are condemned for hypocrisy and superstition, because they made the kingdom of God to consist of outward things.

Matthew 15:7 ff. Καλῶς] admirably, appropriately characterizing.

προεφήτ.] has predicted, which de Wette unwarrantably denies to be the meaning of the word in the present instance, understanding προφ. in the sense of the inspired utterance generally. Jesus regards Isaiah 29:13 (not strictly in accordance with the LXX.) as a typical prediction, which has found its fulfilment in the conduct of the scribes and Pharisees.

μάτην δέ] δέ denotes a continuation of the matter in hand; and μάτην indicates, according to the usual explanation, that their σέβεσθαι is attended with no beneficial result (2Ma 7:18, and classical writers), produces no moral effect upon their heart and life, because they teach as doctrines the commandments of men. But seeing that the μάτην σέβεσθαι consists of mere lip-service in which the heart plays no part, thus according with the idea involved in ὑποκριταί,—and inasmuch as διδάσκοντες, etc., is evidence that such is the nature of the service, the interpretation: sine causa, found so early as in the Vulgate, is better suited to the context. Their σέβεσθαι of God is meaningless (temere, comp. Soph. Aj. 634, and Lobeck’s note, Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 285), because they do not teach divine, but human doctrine, the consequence of which is that the σέβεσθαι has no motive principle in the heart, where, on the contrary, human interest takes the place of the fear of God. Comp. the μάταιος θρησκεία of Jam 1:26. For the opposite of such worship, consult John 4:24. See Apol. Conf. A., pp. 206, 256.

There is no Hebrew word corresponding to μάτην in the above quotation from Isaiah; probably the text made use of by the LXX. contained a different reading.

ἐντάλμ. ἀνθρ.] promulgating as doctrines, precepts of a merely human origin; comp. Colossians 2:22.Matthew 15:7. ὑποκριταί: no thought of conciliation; open war at all hazards. “Actors,” in their zeal for God, as illustrated in the case previously cited. God first, parents second, yet God not in all their thoughts.—καλῶς, appositely, to the purpose. Isaiah might not be thinking of the Pharisees, but certainly the quotation is very felicitous in reference to them, exactly describing their religious character. Mt. follows Mk. in quoting; neither follows closely the Sept[91] (Isaiah 29:13).

[91] Septuagint.7. well did Esaias prophesy] A common Jewish formula for quoting a saying of the prophets.Matthew 15:7. Προεφήτευσε, prophesied) i.e. foretold.Verse 7. - Ye hypocrites. He called them by this name because, while they pretended that zeal for God's glory led them to these explanations and amplifications of the Law, they were really influenced by covetousness and avarice, and virtually despised that which they professed to uphold. A Jewish proverb said that if hypocrites were divided into ten parties, nine of them would be found in Jerusalem, and one in the rest of the world. Well did Esaias prophesy of you (Isaiah 29:13). That is, their conduct fulfilled the saying of the prophet, as Matthew 13:14. Such "prophecies" were for all time, and were suitable for various circumstances, characters, and events. Christ is wont to fortify his arguments by the authority of Scripture, often rather explaining the mind of the Spirit than quoting the exact words. Well (καλῶς)


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