Matthew 23:16-22. Wo unto you, ye blind guides Before he had styled them hypocrites, from their personal character; now he gives them another title respecting their false doctrine and influence upon others. Both these appellations are severely put together in Matthew 23:23-25: and this severity rises to the height in Matthew 23:33. Here we have the fourth reason of the woes denounced. Which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing It constitutes no obligation to tell the truth or to perform one’s oath. But whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple That is, by the treasure kept there, he is a debtor Gr. οφειλει , he oweth, that is, is obliged to perform his oath. “It seems,” says Dr. Doddridge, “the Pharisees taught, that oaths by the creatures might be used on trifling occasions, and violated without any great guilt. But they excepted oaths by the corban,
(the gift,) and by sacrifices; in which it is plain that, without any regard to common sense or decency, they were influenced merely by a view to their own interest; and therefore represented these to the people as things of more eminent sanctity than even the temple or altar itself.” Whoso shall swear by the altar, sweareth by all things thereon Not only by the altar, but by the holy fire and the sacrifices, and above all by that God to whom they belonged; inasmuch as every oath by a creature, if it has any meaning, is an implicit appeal to the Creator himself. Whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by him that dwelleth therein Consequently, the oath is a solemn wishing that he, who dwells in the temple, may hinder him from ever worshipping there, if he be telling a falsehood or neglect his vow. He that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, &c. And therefore his oath is a solemn wishing that God, who dwells in heaven, may exclude him out of that blessed place for ever, if he falsify his oath. For a further explanation of the subject of oaths, see the note on Matthew 5:33-37.
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