To properly exegete this scripture, you have to look at the history and who Jesus was talking to and the way he spoke in parables.


Jesus was talking directly to the Self-righteous Jewish leaders of the day - blind guides who would swallow all the “fence laws” which in our day could be the dress codes, no make up, hair, tithing and all the other little nit picking man made laws that are supposed to make you more righteous on the outside. But then they would strain out the more important things such as “love your neighbor as yourself” and taking care of their own families, i.e. “honor your mother and father.” In retrospect, the parable side of this scripture would reach out to all future leaders who practiced the same type of legalistic manipulation of God’s children.


Wanda (April 24, 2001)

I color-coded this so that you can see the correlation between the different words such as:


Blue = guides or teachers of the law, i.e. Jewish leaders……


Green = strain, i.e. = to filter out – And the highlighted green shows how they did this.


Yellow = swallow, i.e. drink down – gulp entire – devour – And the highlighted yellow shows how they did this.


Matthew 23:23-39 - "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 


[24] You blind *guides! You **strain out a gnat but ***swallow a camel.


*Guides - hodegos, hod-ayg-os', Greek 3595; from Greek 3598 (hodos) and Greek 2233 (hegeomai); a conductor (literal or figurative [teacher]) :- guide, leader.


**Strain - diulizo, dee-oo-lid'-zo, Greek 1368; from Greek 1223 (dia) and hulizo, hoo-lid'-zo (to filter); to strain out :- strain at [probably by misprint].


***swallow - katapino, kat-ap-ee'-no, Greek 2666; from Greek 2596 (kata) and Greek 4095 (pino); to drink down, i.e. gulp entire (literal or figurative) :- devour, drown, swallow (up).


[25] "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  [26] Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.


[27] "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 


[28] In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.


[29] "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 


[30] And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 


[31] So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 


[32] Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!


[33] "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”


[34] Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 


[35] And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.


[36] I tell you the truth; all this will come upon this generation.


[37] "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 


[38] Look, your house is left to you desolate. 


[39] For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”