33. Matthew 23:14. “The rebuke of the Pharisees”
The NIV leave this verse out and put it in the margin. Why? What are the facts leading to this alteration from the well known verse in the KJV?
Let us look at the facts.
Let us look at the facts recorded in the manuscripts available:
Matthew 23:14; “The rebuke of the Pharisees”:
|Witness||Greek:||Translations||Church Fathers||Greek||Translations||Church Fathers|
|301-400||א, B||Vulgate , 2 Syriac||Eusebius||2 Syriac ,Boharic|
|401-500||D||6 Old Latin , Armenian ,Georgian||Jerome||2 Syriac||Chrysostom|
|501-600||3 Old Latin|
|601-700||2 Old Latin|
|801-900||Θ, 33||K, Δ Π,|
|Minuscules||f1, 2Minuscules||f13, 28, Many lateMinuscules|
When we look at the textual evidence it is obvious that the older manuscripts do not have these words in Matthew. The first time these words are included in a Greek manuscript is after 800 A.D.
These words were most probably interpolated from Mark 12:40 or Luke 20:47 where Jesus warns his disciples to be on the look out for the false teachers of the law, exulting themselves, yet they are in fact hypocrites who devour the houses of the widows.
In Matthew we find a long list of statements revealing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. But when we look at the way these are constructed, we notice a certain pattern. In the first half of the statement, a certain real matter to which the Pharisees should pay attention is mentioned. In the second half of the statement, Jesus reveals the false intention or incorrect application of the principle. This is clear in all statements except the one in vs. 14 where there is no mention of some principle that should be addressed by the Pharisees.
Looking superficially, vs. 14 seems to fit, but in depth, it is clear that it causes a break in the structure of the rest of the list in the chapter.
In Mark and Luke, it fits in perfectly. In Matthew, it does not fit.
As so often this interpolation from Mark does not add to either the understanding of the passage or to the message we should derive from it. Instead it tends to take our attention away from the real issue.