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January 23

Reading for Today:

  • Genesis 45:1–46:34
  • Psalm 12:1-8
  • Proverbs 4:14-17
  • Matthew 15:1-20


Genesis 45:1–8 Stunned by the revelation of who it really was with whom they dealt, the brothers then heard expressed a masterpiece of recognition of and submission to the sovereignty of God, i.e., His providential rule over the affairs of life, both good and bad.

Genesis 46:31–34 Joseph’s instructions about his preparatory interview with Pharaoh were designed to secure his relatives a place somewhat separate from the mainstream of Egyptian society. The social stigma regarding the Hebrews (43:32), who were shepherds, also (v. 34), played a crucial role in protecting Israel from intermingling and losing their identity in Egypt.

DAY 23: What were the “traditions of the elders”?

The “tradition of the elders” (Matt. 15:2) was a body of extra-biblical law that had existed only in oral form and only since the time of the Babylonian captivity. Later it was committed to writing in the Mishna near the end of the second century. The Law of Moses contained no commandment about washing one’s hands before eating—except for priests who were required to wash before eating holy offerings (Lev. 22:6, 7).

Jesus’ problem with the Pharisees is that they used these traditions to dishonor their parents in a cleverly devised way (vv. 4–6). The commandments of God were clear (Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Deut. 5:16); but to circumvent them, some people claimed they could not financially assist their parents because they had dedicated a certain sum of money to God, who was greater than their parents. The rabbis had approved this exception to the commandments of Moses and thus in effect nullified God’s law (v. 6).

Hypocritically, they made the commandment of God of no effect by their traditions (v. 6). “Making…of no effect” means, “to deprive of authority” or “to cancel.” Jesus condemned this practice by showing that the Pharisees and scribes were guilty of canceling out God’s Word through their tradition.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,