Matthew 15:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"

King James Bible
Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

Darby Bible Translation
Why do thy disciples transgress what has been delivered by the ancients? for they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.

World English Bible
"Why do your disciples disobey the tradition of the elders? For they don't wash their hands when they eat bread."

Young's Literal Translation
'Wherefore do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they do not wash their hands when they may eat bread.'

Matthew 15:2 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Elders - Rulers and magistrates among the Jews. For they wash not their hands - What frivolous nonsense! These Pharisees had nothing which their malice could fasten on in the conduct or doctrine of our blessed Lord and his disciples, and therefore they must dispute about washing of hands! All sorts of Pharisees are troublesome people in religious society; and the reason is, they take more pleasure in blaming others than in amending themselves.

The tradition of the elders - The word παραδοσις, tradition, has occupied a most distinguished place, both in the Jewish and Christian Church. Man is ever fond of mending the work of his Maker; and hence he has been led to put his finishing hand even to Divine revelation! This supplementary matter has been called παραδοσις, from παραδιδομαι, to deliver from hand to hand - to transmit; and hence the Latin term, tradition, from trado, to deliver, especially from one to another; - to hand down. Among the Jews Tradition signifies what is also called the oral law, which they distinguish from the written law: this last contains the Mosaic precepts, as found in the Pentateuch: the former, the traditions of the elders, i.e. traditions, or doctrines, that had been successively handed down from Moses through every generation, but not committed to writing. The Jews feign that, when God gave Moses the written law, he gave him also the oral law, which is the interpretation of the former. This law, Moses at first delivered to Aaron then to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar; and, after these to the seventy-two elders, who were six of the most eminent men chosen out of each of the twelve tribes. These seventy-two, with Moses and Aaron, delivered it again to all the heads of the people, and afterwards to the congregation at large. They say also that, before Moses died, he delivered this oral law, or system of traditions, to Joshua, and Joshua to the Elders which succeeded him, They to the Prophets, and the Prophets to each other, till it came to Jeremiah, who delivered it to Baruch his scribe, who repeated it to Ezra, who delivered it to the men of the great synagogue, the last of whom was Simon the Just. By Simon the Just it was delivered to Antigonus of Socho; by him to Jose the son of Jochanan; by him to Jose, the son of Joezer; by him to Nathan the Arbelite, and Joshua the son of Perachiah; and by them to Judah the son of Tabbai, and Simeon, the son of Shatah; and by them to Shemaiah and Abtalion; and by them to Hillel; and by Hillel to Simeon his son, the same who took Christ in his arms when brought to the temple to be presented to the Lord: by Simeon it was delivered to Gamaliel his son, the preceptor of St. Paul, who delivered it to Simeon his son, and he to Rab. Judah Hakkodesh his son, who compiled and digested it into the book which is called the Mishna; to explain which the two Talmuds, called the Jerusalem and Babylyonish Talmuds, were compiled, which are also called the Gemera or complement, because by these the oral law or Mishnah is fully explained. The Jerusalem Talmud was completed about a.d. 300; and the Babylonish Talmud about the beginning of the sixth century. This Talmud was printed at Amsterdam in 12 vols. folio. These contain the whole of the traditions of the elders, and have so explained, or rather frittered away, the words of God, that our Lord might well say, Ye have made the word of God of no effect by your traditions. In what estimation these are held by the Jews, the following examples will prove: "The words of the scribes are lovely beyond the words of the law: for the words of the law are weighty and light, but the words of the scribes are all weighty." Hierus. Berac. fol. 3.

"He that shall say, There are no phylacteries, though he thus transgress the words of the law, he is not guilty; but he that shall say, There are five Totaphot, thus adding to the words of the scribes, he is guilty."

"A prophet and an elder, to what are they likened! To a king sending two of his servants into a province; of one he writes thus: Unless he show you my seal, believe him not; for thus it is written of the prophet: He shall show thee a sign; but of the elders thus: According to the law which they shall teach thee, for I will confirm their words." - See Prideaux. Con. vol. ii. p. 465, and Lightfoot's Hor. Talmud.

They wash not their hands - On washing of hands, before and after meat, the Jews laid great stress: they considered eating with unwashed hands to be no ordinary crime; and therefore, to induce men to do it, they feigned that an evil spirit, called Shibta שיבתא, who sits on the hands by night, has a right to sit on the food of him who eats without washing his hands, and make it hurtful to him! They consider the person who undervalues this rite to be no better than a heathen, and consequently excommunicate him. See many examples of this doctrine in Schoettgen and Lightfoot.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

transgress.

Mark 7:2,5 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashed, hands, they found fault...

Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs...

Colossians 2:8,20-23 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world...

1 Peter 1:18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...

tradition. Tradition, in Latin traditio, from trado, I deliver, hand down, exactly agreeing with the original [paradosis,] from [paradidomi,] I deliver, transmit. Among the Jews it signifies what is called oral law, which they say has been successively handed down from Moses, through every generation, to Judah the Holy, who compiled and digested it into the Mishneh, to explain which the two Gemaras, or Talmuds, called the Jerusalem and Babylonish, were composed. Of the estimation in which these were held by the Jews, the following may serve as an example: 'The words of the Scribes are lovely beyond the words of the law, for the words of the law are weighty and light, but the words of the Scribes are all weighty.'

Library
Mother's Love
Eversley, Second Sunday in Lent, 1872. St Matthew xv. 22-28. "And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying,
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

The Perseverance of Faith
"Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."--Matthew 15:28. I HAVE frequently spoken to you concerning the faith of this Canaanitish woman, of the way in which Christ tried it, and of the manner in which, at length, he honoured it, and granted all that the suppliant sought. The story is so full of meaning, that one might turn it this way, and that way, and the other way, and always see
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

The Deaf Stammerer Healed and Four Thousand Fed.
^A Matt. XV. 30-39; ^B Mark VII. 32-VIII. 9. ^b 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech [The man had evidently learned to speak before he lost his hearing. Some think that defective hearing had caused the impediment in his speech, but verse 35 suggests that he was tongue-tied]; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue [He separated
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Third Withdrawal from Herod's Territory.
Subdivision A. Pharisaic Leaven. A Blind Man Healed. (Magadan and Bethsaida. Probably Summer, a.d. 29.) ^A Matt. XV. 39-XVI. 12; ^B Mark VIII. 10-26. ^b 10 And straightway he entered into the boat with his disciples, ^a and came into the borders of Magadan. ^b into the parts of Dalmanutha. [It appears from the context that he crossed the lake to the west shore. Commentators, therefore, pretty generally think that Magadan is another form of the name Magdala, and that Dalmanutha was either another
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Cross References
Matthew 15:3
Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?

Mark 7:2
and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed.

Mark 7:5
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?"

Luke 11:38
But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

Galatians 1:14
I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

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