Table customs of the Pharisees (7:1-8) continue the theme of eating. Jesus recalls the words of Isaiah, pointing to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees' tradition (7:6-7, citing Isaiah 29:13). Keeping one tradition to violate an obligation to parents illustrates the hypocrisy of tradition (7:9-13). Jesus states that the issue is not about clean or unclean foods, but it is what comes out of a person that defiles (7:14-23).
Once again in contrast to the Pharisaic concerns for purity, Jesus goes north to the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon, where a woman falls at his feet and begs him to cast a demon out of her daughter. Jesus answers by indicating that his ministry is first to his own people. She replies that even the crumbs that fall from the children's (Jewish) table would be sufficient. Jesus commends her faith and responds by healing her daughter (7:24-30). Jesus continues to travel in Gentile territory to the Decapolis, where he is met by a deaf and mute man. With the word Ephphatha, Jesus opens his ears and releases his tongue. The secrecy of Jesus' healing is broken by the proclamation of the people who are "astounded beyond measure" (7:31-37).
7Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him,
2they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them.
3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands,* thus observing the tradition of the elders;
4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it;* and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.*)
5So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, Why do your disciples not live* according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?
6He said to them, Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
This people honours me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.
8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.
9 Then he said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10For Moses said, Honour your father and your mother; and, Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die. 11But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban (that is, an offering to God*) 12then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.
14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.*
17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable.
18He said to them, Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
19since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
20And he said, It is what comes out of a person that defiles.
21For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder,
22adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.
23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre.* He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He said to her, Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the childrens food and throw it to the dogs. 28But she answered him, Sir,* even the dogs under the table eat the childrens crumbs. 29Then he said to her, For saying that, you may gothe demon has left your daughter. 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36Then Jesus* ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
10 February 2011