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Matthew 23:14

    Matthew 23:14 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows houses, even while for a pretence ye make long prayers: therefore ye shall receive greater condemnation.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

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    Webster's Revision

    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows houses, even while for a pretence ye make long prayers: therefore ye shall receive greater condemnation.

    World English Bible

    "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don't enter in yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to enter.

    Definitions for Matthew 23:14

    Damnation - Condemnation.
    Woe - An expression of grief or indignation.

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 23:14

    Ye devour widows' houses - On this subject I am in possession of nothing better than the following note of Dr. Whitby.

    "This sect," says Josephus, (Ant. l. xvii. chap. 3), "pretended to a more exact knowledge of the law, on which account the women were subject to them, as pretending to be dear to God. And when Alexandra obtained the government, (Jewish War, b. I. ch. 4), they insinuated themselves into her favor, as being the exactest sect of the Jews, and the most exact interpreters of the law, and, abusing her simplicity, did as they listed, remove and dispose, bind and loose, and even cut off men. They were in vogue for their long prayers, which they continued sometimes three hours; that perhaps they sold them, as do the Roman priests their masses, or pretended others should be more acceptable to God for them; and so might spoil devout widows by the gifts or salaries they expected from them.

    Now this being only a hypocritical pretense of piety, must be hateful to God, and so deserve a greater condemnation."

    Long prayer - For proofs of long prayers and vain repetitions among Jews, Mohammedans, and heathens, see the notes on Matthew 6:7.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 23:14

    Devour widows' houses - The word "houses" is used here to denote "property" or possessions of any kind. You take away or get possession of the property of widows by improper arts and pretences. This was done in two ways:

    1. They claimed a very exact knowledge of the law and a perfect observance of it. They pretended to extraordinary justice toward the poor, friendship for the distressed, and willingness to aid those who were in embarrassed circumstances. They thus induced "widows" and poor people to commit the management of their property to them as guardians and executors, and then took advantage of them and defrauded them.

    2. They put on the appearance of great sanctity, and induced many conscientious but credulous women to give them much, under pretence of devoting it to religious purposes.

    Long prayer - Their prayers are said to have been often three hours in length. One rule among them, says Lightfoot, was to meditate an hour, then pray an hour, and then meditate another hour - all of which was included in their "long prayers or devotions."

    Damnation - Condemnation. The word here probably refers to future punishment. It does not always, however. It means, frequently, no more than "condemnation," or the divine disapprobation of a certain course of conduct, as in 1 Corinthians 11:29; "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh "damnation" to himself;" that is, he that eateth and drinketh in an unworthy manner disorderly, not with reverence - is guilty, and his conduct will be disapproved or condemned by God referring solely to the impropriety of the manner of partaking of the Lord's supper, and not at all to the worthiness or unworthiness of the person. See the notes at that place. Compare Romans 14:23.

    For a pretence - For appearance or show; in order that they might the better defraud poor people. They would not be condemned for "making" long prayers, but because they did it with an evil design. Public prayers should, however, be short, and always to the point. A man praying in a Sunday school should pray for the school, and, usually, not for everything else.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 23:14

    23:14 Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47.