Mark 7:3
Parallel Verses
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.

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;

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,

Mark 7:3 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Except they wash their hands oft - Our word "oft" means frequently, often. The Greek wore translated oft has been rendered various ways. Some have said that it means "up to the wrist" - unless they wash their hands up to the wrist. Others have said up to the elbow." There is evidence that the Pharisees had some such foolish rule as this about washing, and it is likely that they practiced it faithfully. But the Greek Word πυγμή pugmē - means properly the "fist," and the meaning here is, "Unless they wash their hands (rubbing them) with the fist" - that is, not merely dipping the finger or hands in water as a sign of ablution, but rubbing the hands together as a ball or fist, in the usual Oriental manner when water is poured over them. Hence, the phrase comes to mean "diligently, carefully, sedulously." - Robinson, Lexicon. The idea is, unless they pay the utmost attention to it, and do it carefully and according to rule.

The tradition - What had been handed down; not what was delivered "by writing" in the law of Moses, but what had been communicated from father to son as being proper and binding.

The elders - The ancients; not the old men "then living," but those who had lived formerly.

Mark 7:3 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Influence of Tradition.
"Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions: and many such like things ye do."--ST. MARK vii. 13. Such was our Lord's word to the Pharisees; and if we turn to our own life it is difficult if not impossible for us fully to estimate the influence which traditions exercise upon it. They are so woven into the web of thought and opinion, and daily habits and practices, that none of us can claim to escape them. Moreover, as any institution or society grows older, this influence of the
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby

Perfection to be Sought.
12th Sunday after Trinity. S. Mark vii., 37. "He hath done all things well." INTRODUCTION.--It was said by an old heathen writer that God cares for Adverbs rather than for Substantives. That is to say, God had rather have things done well, than that the things should be merely done. He had rather have you pray earnestly than pray, communicate piously than merely communicate, forgive your enemies heartily than say you forgive, work diligently than spend so many hours at work, do your duty thoroughly
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

Protesting Our Innocence?
We have all become so used to condemning the proud self-righteous attitude of the Pharisee in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican,[footnote1:Luke 18:9-14] that we can hardly believe that the picture of him there is meant to apply to us--which only shows how much like him we really are. The Sunday School teacher was never so much a Pharisee, as when she finished her lesson on this parable with the words, "And now, children, we can thank God that we are not as this Pharisee!" In particular
Roy Hession and Revel Hession—The Calvary Road

Second Withdrawal from Herod's Territory.
^A Matt. XV. 21; ^B Mark VII. 24. ^b 24 And from thence ^a Jesus ^b arose, and went ^a out ^b away ^a and withdrew into the parts { ^b borders} of Tyre and Sidon. [The journey here is indicated in marked terms because it differs from any previously recorded, for it was the first time that Jesus ever entered a foreign or heathen country. Some commentators contend from the use of the word "borders" by Mark that Jesus did not cross over the boundary, but the point is not well taken, for Mark vii. 31
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Cross References
Mark 7:5
The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?"

Mark 7:8
"Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."

Mark 7:9
He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

Mark 7:13
thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that."

Luke 11:38
When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal.

John 2:6
Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.

Galatians 1:14
and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.

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