Posted by: thaishin | October 11, 2015

Jesus asked the Israelites to do what the Pharisees says?

Matthew 23

23 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.  -kjv

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.  -niv

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.  -hcsb

Comments and Observations

  1. It seemed in verse 3 that Jesus is asking the Israelites to obey what the scribes and pharisees say when they sit in Moses’ seat, which is puzzling because Jesus certainly did not say anything that is remotely positive of the scribes and pharisees anywhere else in the gospels.
  2. In most synagogues, there is this chair called the seat of Moses. The scribes and pharisees function as legal authorities in addition to their religious authorities, so they would be the attorneys, judges in their so called court cases in their time and they would sit in these ceremonial chairs which are called the Moses’ seat to oversee the court case.
  3. As per Exodus 18:13, Moses used to sit to judge the legal problems of the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 17, it becomes apparent that that authority get distributed and delegated to other leaders and when these leaders render judicial decisions, the Israelites must do and observe what they say.
  4. So what Jesus is saying here is that the Israelites are not to listen to the scribes and Pharisees with regards to religious matters but when they function as the legal and judicial authority, their decisions are binding.
  5. There is no commandment in this verse that we are to keep the law but with regards to the Israelites back in Jesus’ time, they are to observe and do what scribes and Pharisees say in the courts.

Learned this from moody radio openline on Oct 3, 2015.



  1. Very interesting texts of scripture. I have thought of this one verse myself. I keep thinking that I should be very careful in my life as to what I say. Only say if I plan to do…and that is my practice. I do remember the scriptures you have quoted here.

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