And when the Pharisee saw [it], he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
Related Topics and Bible Verses
(Mark 7:1-9). The Jews, like other Orientals, used their fingers
when taking food, and therefore washed their hands before doing
so, for the sake of cleanliness. Here the reference is to the
ablutions prescribed by tradition, according to which "the
disciples ought to have gone down to the side of the lake,
washed their hands thoroughly, 'rubbing the fist of one hand in
the hollow of the other, then placed the ten finger-tips
together, holding the hands up, so that any surplus water might
flow down to the elbow, and thence to the ground.'" To neglect
to do this had come to be regarded as a great sin, a sin equal
to the breach of any of the ten commandments. Moses had
commanded washings oft, but always for some definite cause; but
the Jews multiplied the legal observance till they formed a
large body of precepts. To such precepts about ceremonial
washing Mark here refers. (See ABLUTION ¯T0000051.)
or washing, was practised, (1.) When a person was initiated into
a higher state: e.g., when Aaron and his sons were set apart to
the priest's office, they were washed with water previous to
their investiture with the priestly robes (Lev. 8:6).
(2.) Before the priests approached the altar of God, they were
required, on pain of death, to wash their hands and their feet
to cleanse them from the soil of common life (Ex. 30:17-21). To
this practice the Psalmist alludes, Ps. 26:6.
(3.) There were washings prescribed for the purpose of
cleansing from positive defilement contracted by particular
acts. Of such washings eleven different species are prescribed
in the Levitical law (Lev. 12-15).
(4.) A fourth class of ablutions is mentioned, by which a
person purified or absolved himself from the guilt of some
particular act. For example, the elders of the nearest village
where some murder was committed were required, when the murderer
was unknown, to wash their hands over the expiatory heifer which
was beheaded, and in doing so to say, "Our hands have not shed
this blood, neither have our eyes seen it" (Deut. 21:1-9). So
also Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Jesus by
washing his hands (Matt. 27:24). This act of Pilate may not,
however, have been borrowed from the custom of the Jews. The
same practice was common among the Greeks and Romans.
The Pharisees carried the practice of ablution to great
excess, thereby claiming extraordinary purity (Matt. 23:25).
Mark (7:1-5) refers to the ceremonial ablutions. The Pharisees
washed their hands "oft," more correctly, "with the fist" (R.V.,
"diligently"), or as an old father, Theophylact, explains it,
"up to the elbow." (Compare also Mark 7:4; Lev. 6:28; 11: 32-36;
15:22) (See WASHING ¯T0003788.)