Matthew 15:8
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
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(8) This people draweth nigh unto me.—The quotation is given substantially from the Greek version of Isaiah. We have already seen in Matthew 13:14 how the Pharisees were taught to see their own likeness in the language of the prophet. Now the mirror is held up once more, and they are seen to have been anticipated in that very substitution of human for divine ordinances for which our Lord reproves them.

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.Draweth nigh unto me with their mouth ... - That is, they are regular in the forms of worship; they are strict in ceremonial observances, and keep the law outwardly; but God requires the heart, and that they have not rendered.8. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, &c.—By putting the commandments of men on a level with the divine requirements, their whole worship was rendered vain—a principle of deep moment in the service of God. "For," it is added in Mr 7:8, "laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups; and many other such like things ye do." The drivelling nature of their multitudinous observances is here pointedly exposed, in contrast with the manly observance of "the commandment of God"; and when our Lord says, "Many other such like things ye do," it is implied that He had but given a specimen of the hideous treatment which the divine law received, and the grasping disposition which, under the mask of piety, was manifested by the ecclesiastics of that day. See Poole on "Matthew 15:9".

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth,.... The preface to these words, or the form in which they are introduced by the prophet; "wherefore the Lord said", is left out in this citation, being unnecessary here, though of the greatest importance there; partly to show, that what was about to be said, was not the prophet's own words, but the words of the Lord, of which the Jews in Christ's time made no doubt; and partly to give a reason why that judicial blindness, threatened in the context, should be inflicted on them, which is no part of Christ's design here; but which is only to show, that the description here given exactly agrees with them, and so proves, and confirms the character he gives of them as hypocrites. They approached the ordinances of God, and drew nigh to him, and attended him in outward worship; they prayed unto him publicly, and constantly, in the streets, in the synagogues, and temple, and with much seeming devotion and sanctity:

and honoureth me with their lips: they owned him to be their creator and preserver; they made their boast of him, and of their knowledge of him, as the one only living, and true God, and as the God of Israel; they brought their sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, even the fruit of their lips, unto him, for their many peculiar mercies, privileges, and favours, as a nation, church, and people, and with much seeming sincerity and affection.

But their heart is far from me; they had no true love to God, nor faith in him, nor fear of him; they were not at all concerned for his presence with them, or for communion with him, or for his honour and glory; their hearts were in the world, and after their covetousness; they made religion a tool to their secular purposes, supposing gain to be godliness; sought the applause of men, and contented themselves with bodily exercise; having no regard to internal religion, powerful godliness, or where their hearts were, so be it, their bodies were presented to God in public worship; and what they did it was to be seen and approved of men, not caring what the searcher of hearts knew concerning them, or what he required of them.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Matthew 15:8. ἡ δὲ καρδία, etc.: at this point the citation is particularly apposite. They were far from the true God in their thoughts who imagined that He could be pleased with gifts made at the expense of filial piety. Christ’s God abhorred such homage, still more the hypocritical pretence of it.

8, 9. Isaiah 29:13. The quotation does not follow precisely either the LXX. version or the Hebrew text.

Matthew 15:8. Ὁ λαὸς οὗτος, κ.τ.λ., This people, etc.) In the S. V. of Isaiah 29:13, it stands thus, ἐγγίζει Μοι ὁ λαὸς οὗτος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τοῖς χείλεσιν αὐτῶν τιμῶσί Με, ἡ δὲ καρδίαδιδάσκοντες ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων καὶ διδασκαλίας,—This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and they honour Me with their lips: but their heart—teaching precepts and doctrines of men.—οὗτος, this) The pronoun here implies contempt; see 1 Corinthians 14:21.—Με, Me) sc. God, speaking by the mouth of Isaiah.—καρδία, heart) by the approach of which[686] (cujus accessu) God is truly and fully worshipped.[687]

[686] i.e. by the drawing nigh of which, as well as with the lips.—ED.

[687] Most stress is indeed made to rest on the heart. See Matthew 15:19.—V. g.

Verse 8. - The quotation is from the Septuagint Version, with a slight variation from the text at the end. The Hebrew also differs a little; but the general meaning is not affected. With their mouth. They use the prescribed forms of worship, guard with much care the letter of Scripture, observe its legal and ceremonial enactments, are strict in the practice of all outward formalities. But their heart. This is what the prophets so constantly object. Prayers, sacrifices, etc., are altogether unacceptable unless inspired by inward devotion, and accompanied by purity of heart. Matthew 15:8Is far (ἀπέχει)

Lit., holds off from me.

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