The Wearing of the Garment and the Phylacteries
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Cor. 3:6.
“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward
appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7.
PHARISAICAL WISDOM LEADS AWAY FROM GOD
Having compared, in our last chapter, the teachings of the Saviour and those of the Pharisees, and having found that the teachings of the Saviour were the true application of the Scriptures, it may now be in place to consider
further some of the teachings of the Pharisees, and their misapplication of the word of God. Claiming to be wise and learned men, they depended upon their own logic and philosophy to expound the Bible, which they considered
explained the correct idea of righteousness, (Matt. 5:20) and the true way to worship God. (a) As a result, all their righteousness became self-righteousness; all their wisdom became folly, (1
Cor. 1:20) which often led to sensuality (James 3:13-15) all their impartings of Scripture knowledge became departings from the right ways of the Lord. Of the many instances in which this was manifest, we shall select the wearing of the garment, and the use of the phylacteries. On this subject, the Saviour said the following:
“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: They make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments.” (Matt. 23:5)
It should be observed that the Saviour did not condemn them for wearing either of the objects, as though it were sinful; but the condemnation pronounced upon them was for making the objects so prominent. Thus it must be clear that they considered there was something in these things which had a certain degree of virtue. That the people were thus taught, must be evident from certain scriptures, for we read:
“And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: for she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.” (Matt.
“And besought him, that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” (Matt. 14:36)
3. Jesus, however, did not consider that there was any virtue in the garment itself. When the woman touched it, He turned to the disciples and said:
“Who touched me?” “And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” (Luke 8:45, 46)
4. Upon these garments were borders of blue, and around them hung fringes. For the wearing of this, the Pharisee claimed that he had Scripture, and this is the proof:
“And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of the garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders
a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them.” (Num. 15:37–39)
5. After a time a degree of sacredness was thrown around the garment; finally it became part of the synagogue service. While the Lord commanded them to put upon it a border of blue, the rabbis permitted them to have one of white
instead, if they chose. There would come a time, possibly, when a person could not get the exact color, hence they could secure something in order to fulfil “an affirmative precept,” as a rabbi would express it, rather than
completely to violate the command.
6. The reason, no doubt, why God gave the color blue, was because this is the color of the heavens, as well as a representation of the royal covenant. This command to wear the garment, as well as many other of the commands of
God, was designed to teach the people a deep spiritual truth, if their eyes were only open to see it. There is a Pharisaical saying which declares that if a person should do this (wear the fringed garment with the border) it
would be almost as much as if he saw the throne of glory, which is like unto blue.
7. While the fringes might be all around the garment there was a special number that must be used; this was just four, one to be placed at each of the four corners. It is said that the reason for doing this is found in the
scripture which reads as follows:
“Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.” (Deut. 22:12)
8. This garment also must be of only one kind of material; there must be no mixture whatever in it. The following was used as a proof for this custom:
“Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.”
“Neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.” (Deut. 22:11; Lev. 19:19)
9. As these garments were brought into continual use it was found necessary to define their mission explicitly, for the rabbis said there must be some virtue in their use. Therefore a number of laws and ordinances were passed,
which finally became part of the daily worship, and if strictly followed, imparted to the worshiper a great deal of righteousness.
MANNER OF USE
10. As used by the Jews of today, this scarf, garment, Talith, is worn only at the morning service in the synagogue, and that alone by the males, and not till they reach the age of thirteen. It
should be remembered that the Pharisees had very little respect for the female sex, outside of their performing the home duties. In fact, they taught that every male ought to thank God every day for his belonging to the
masculine sex. Here is the prayer:
“Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God. King of the Universe, who hath not made me a woman.”
And the woman is obliged to say:
“Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who hath made me according to his will.” – Daily Prayer-book (b)
NUMBER OF PERSONS REQUIRED FOR SYNAGOGUE SERVICE
11. Furthermore, a service can not be held for the worship of God among the Jews unless there are ten males above the age of thirteen. That is to say, if there were in the synagogue one thousand or ten
thousand persons, and only nine of these were males above the age of thirteen, it would be unlawful to have a service.
12. Just when this custom came in among the Jews is not definitely known. Like many other laws which they follow, these were handed down from generation to generation, and no definite data was preserved of their origin. It is
evident that there is a foundation idea somewhere in the Scriptures, and this idea can be traced back to the days of the judges.
13. By reading the book of Ruth, we find the following:
Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! Turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men
of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.” (Ruth 4:1–11)
Can we not see some suggestive thought relating to this matter in the following words of the Saviour:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”? (Matt. 18:20)
14. The writer well remembers many a time in early life, of attending morning service at the synagogue where the worship would be delayed on account of there not being a Minyan, as the number of ten persons is called.
Such is tradition, the righteousness of men.
WHEN THE GARMENT IS WORN
15. This garment is worn every morning throughout the year, with the exception of one, - the ninth day of Av, the fast of the fifth month (Zech. 7:3,5; 8:19), generally occurring in the month of July, which
commemorates the destruction of the first and second temple. Instead of wearing it this day at morning service, it is worn before the sunset of the day; sometimes during the afternoon. (c) Before the garment is put on the
worshiper, the fringes at the four corners are gathered, and the first two verses of Psalm 104, are repeated. A prayer is then offered, in which is repeated the text containing the words:
They then request that, as the garment is wrapped around the body in this world, so the soul may be wrapped with the enjoyments of the world to come in the Garden of Eden. The garment is then thrown over the shoulders and the
following prayer is offered:
“Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath sanctified us in His commandments, and hath commanded us to be covered with fringes.” – Daily Prayer-book.
When this is done, verses 7 – 10 of the thirty-sixth psalm are repeated.
RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE GARMENT
16. It will be observed from these latter scriptures that the people regard the wearing of this garment as being associated with receiving righteousness. For did not the Lord say:
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation. He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.”? (Isa. 61:10)
17. Consequently the pious Pharisee was very particular in having a large garment, sufficient to cover himself, with very wide borders; because the larger the garment, and the greater the border, the more the righteousness. Thus
this very object that the Lord designed to use as a means to a great end, was perverted from its purpose, and substituted for the Creator Himself. (d) It is not at all surprising, then, that the Saviour should say:
“Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20)
18. They might have known, from the words of the prophets, that true righteousness was not found in the wearing of those objects; but in Him, “Jehovah, our righteousness.” (Jer. 23:5,6; 33:14–16) In several of the prophets it is
recorded that the righteousness of the people of God was in the Lord; and that this righteousness would be imparted to them by believing in God, and in obeying His will. (Ps. 4:1; 35:28; Isa. 45:24; 54:17; Dan. 9:7; Hosea 2:19;
Zeph. 2:3; Gen. 15:6; Deut. 6:25) (e)
19. While certain scriptures might be adduced as reason for wearing the fringes, the garment, and the border, this would hardly be said for the use of the phylacteries. Nevertheless there was no task
too Herculean for the scribe or the Pharisee to accomplish, if he thought that by so doing he could add some outward observance which would make him appear righteous overmuch (Matt. 6:16; 23:28), and a good logician in
Scripture. The basis for the wearing of the phylacteries is found in four different scriptures recorded in Ex. 13:1-10, 11-26; Deut. 11:13-20; 6:4-9. This last reference is known as the Shemang, a very precious service
to the Jew. The word, Shemang, is a Hebrew word, and means in the English, hear. It is found in the verse in Deut. 6:4, which begins:
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.”
This verse of Scripture is practically the basis and foundation of all Jewish belief. It is recognized as the cream of the creed. The central thought in each of these texts being the words:
“And bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.” (Deut. 11:18)
20. The teachers of the law concluded that these scriptures referred to something which was to be worn outwardly, which finally took form in the wearing of the phylacteries. It is claimed by some, however, that the phylacteries
were originally designed as amulets or charms, which these rabbis used to practice magic. (f) However, upon this matter we shall not dwell at length.
DIVISONS OF THE PHYLACTERIES
21. These phylacteries are of two parts; one for the arm, the other for the head. The one for the arm consists of a receptacle, resembling a small box, in which is a piece of parchment having written
upon it the four texts already mentioned, and having attached to it a long, narrow black strap. The capsule is placed on the left arm, on the biceps, pointing toward the heart. Before this is placed in its position, however, a
prayer is offered in which are mentioned the four scriptures cited above; it mentions the location of these objects, and concludes that these may be as acceptable in the sight of God as though the individual had performed every
command of God, even to the six hundred and thirteen commands, upon which depend the wearing of these things. (g) The following prayer is then offered:
“Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hath sanctified us in His commandments, and hath commanded us in the wearing of the phylacteries.” – Daily Prayer-book
22. The strap is then wound around the arm seven times, during which seven Hebrew words are repeated. The following in the translation of these words:
And cleave ye unto the Lord your God all the days of your life.”
The remainder of the strap is then placed three times around the hand. When this is finished, the one for the head is placed in position. The receptacle is placed between the eyes, on the forehead, as the Scripture says,
“between thine eyes.” The straps are bound in a knot at the base of the brain; then a long strap is allowed to fall on either shoulder. When this is placed in position, the following prayer is offered:
“Blessed art thou, O Lord of God, King of the Universe, who hath sanctified us in His commandments, and hath commanded us concerning the command of the phylactery.”
“Blessed by His glorious name, His kingdom is forever.”
23. The following scripture is said in conclusion:
And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the
Lord.” (Hosea 2:19,20)
24. From the above prayers and scriptures it is evident that the Pharisee expected the wearing of these was bringing to him much of God’s favor, and a large amount of righteousness. He was doing something for the Lord that not a
Sadducee, or Samaritan, or any other class who professed to believe in God, was doing. Hence he thought he had a right to feel that the Lord ought to have more respect to him than to any other people. Of course the broader his
phylactery the more imputation of righteousness. It is then not surprising that the Pharisee should want his phylactery broad, for this would indicate a greater amount of righteousness, as well as a nearness to the Shekinah.
25. Perhaps in nothing did the theocractical Pharisees put themselves in the place of God more than in the wearing of the phylacteries. Three blessings have been mentioned in connection with the
wearing of the garment and of the phylacteries, which say that the Lord, the King of the Universe, commanded the wearing of these things, whereas the rabbis plainly teach that they made the ordinances.
In one of the tracts of the Mishna, entitled, “Sanhedrin,” we find the following:
“It is more punishable to act against the words of the scribes than against the words of the Scripture. If a man were to say, There is no such thing as phylactery, in order to act contrary
to the words of the Scripture, he is not to be treated as a rebel. But if he should say, There are five divisions of the Tephillin [phylactery, the one worn on the forehead. The rabbis teach there are to be only four divisions in the phylactery], in order to add to the words of the scribes, he is guilty.”
26. In the light of the above statements, can we not read with new meaning the following words of the Saviour?
“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? … But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Matt. 15:3-9; Mark 7:13)
CHRIST’S DESIRE TO FREE THEM
How the Saviour’s heart must have felt toward those blind leaders, and blinded people, as He beheld them all going into the pit of destruction, as a result of such teachings!
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would
not!” (Matt. 23:37; John 8:36)
Jesus longed for the people to see the truth; He longed to have them free from these errors and superstitions.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
When the Pharisee, clothed in his garment with the wide border, wore his phylacteries with the broad straps, and offered all the prayers connected with them, no one felt more secure of having received righteousness and God’s
smile than did he (Luke 18:9-11). We can readily see why Paul felt as he did toward his brethren, when he said:
“But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained unto the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and
going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 9:31,32; 10:1-3)
29. Righteousness comes not by the wearing of phylacteries or garments, or in the observance of outward works of human devisings; but by faith in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, who in His own life worked out the
great righteous character of God. (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 3:21, 22, 25, 26; 4:3, 22-25; Gal. 3:6-9)
30. There is, however, one more thought worthy of consideration in connection with the subject of the garment. In several passages of Scripture it is written that the Israelites should not mix the material in making the garment.
In fact this was true of all their garments. Not under any circumstance were they to do this. While the Jews failed to see the lesson, there is no doubt a great truth which God wished to reveal to them in this. We read the
following in the command of God:
“And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all
these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” (Deut. 6:24,25)
JESUS ONLY, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
31. In two scriptures of the prophets (Jer. 23:5,6; 33:14,-16), the Lord declared that He would raise up a Branch unto David, who should bring safety and salvation; and his name was to be called, “Jehovah-Tsid-kanu,”
“the Lord our Righteousness.” It is plain who was intended by “our righteousness,” in the scripture above mentioned, - only Jesus. See a similar comparison, - Romans 10:6-8 with Deut. 30:11–14. In these commandments the Lord
ever designed to have the people see Jesus, the Messiah, the Righteous One of God, who in Himself was the Righteousness of God (1 Cor. 1:30); and not that righteousness was lodged in any mere abstractions. The reason doubtless,
why He forbade them to have mixture in their garments, was to have them know the righteousness of the Righteous One was not to be mixed with anything outside of Himself. Nothing of human invention must be woven into this
loom. A few scriptures will make this plain:
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, the dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in
thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people there were none with me. … And I looked, and there was none of help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me.” (Isa. 63:1-5)
CHRIST PAID THE PENALTY FOR SIN
32. It needs no comment who was intended by these words of the prophet. When, however, was it that Jesus especially looked for some one to help Him, and could find none to uphold Him? Ah! In the garden
of Gethsemane, and at the cross of Calvary. Especially was this true in the garden, when He was drinking the bitter cup for a lost world. His sufferings were so intense that He sweat great drops of blood. (Luke 22:44) Of all
the times in His experience in the flesh, when He needed human sympathy to uphold and support Him, this was the time when it was most desirable; but ah! He had none! (Heb. 5:7)
“What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matt. 26:40) were the repeated words of Him who longed to hear a few kind words from the disciples. But had they assisted Him with their human sympathy at this period, there might
have been some human threads interwoven in the spotless garment of righteousness, which was to save the poor, lost soul. But no! there was none. He did it, and did it alone, blessed be His dear name. Not a thread of mixture in
the loom. Thank God for the lesson in not mixing the garment. Oh, that Israel had learned it, what a wonderful revelation she would have had of Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed of God! But they stumbled at the stumblingstone.
(Rom. 9:31, 32; 1 Peter 2:8)
33. Shall we not then see Him in all His words and works, and thrust aside all the commandments and traditions of men?
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Cor. 1:20)
He is the All in All. (1 Cor. 15:28)
(a) Paragraph 1 – In chapter 5, mention was made in explanatory note (d), paragraph 16, that the Jews had perverted the meaning of the word righteousness. We wish here to give proof from the oral law,
the rabbinical traditions, to what extent this was done. The following is recorded of the giving of alms:
“We are bound to be more careful respecting this commandment of alms than of any other of all the affirmative precepts, for almsgiving is characteristic of the righteous seed of our father Abraham, as it is said, ‘I know him
that he will command his children to do alms.’ Gen. 18:19. By almsgiving alone it is that the throne of Israel is established, and that the law of truth standeth; for it is said, ‘By alms thou shalt be established.’ Isa.
54:14. By alms alone it is that Israel shall be delivered, for it is said, ‘Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with alms.’ Isa. 1:27.”
From this statement of the rabbis, the Jews believe that the giving of money to the poor is the most important command in the Bible. It takes precedence over every other command. It stands first and foremost, and is to be
regarded as the very first of all commandments. To prove this position, they quote a text of Scripture that it was by the giving of alms that Abraham became righteous.
Now every one knows that the Hebrew word, Ts-da-ka, means righteousness. All the Jews everywhere and at all times, have so translated the word. Dr. Isaac Leeser, the translator of the Old Testament, so translates the word
in this text. But the Talmudists have perverted the word. They have made the word, righteousness mean money, or the giving of alms.
Having established this meaning of the word, they proceed to show that by the giving of alms all things will come to Israel. The throne of God is to be established by the giving of alms. The deliverance to Israel is to come by
the giving of money. In fact, the giving of money, or alms, will accomplish everything for God’s children. In this way, the word righteousness has been perverted, and a human definition has been given to the word which God has
taught means righteousness.
(b) Paragraph 10 - There is much in the Misna which clearly proves that women were regarded as inferior to men. Here is a passage:
Here is another:
“A woman who learns the law has a reward, but it is not equal to the reward which a man has, because she is not commanded to do so: for no one who does anything which he is not commanded to do, receives the same reward as he
who is commanded to do it. He receives a less one. But though the woman has a reward, the wise men have commanded that no man should teach his daughter the law, for this reason that the majority of women have not got a mind
fitted for study, but pervert the words of the law on account of the poverty of their mind. Every one that teacheth his daughter the law is considered as if he taught her transgression. But this applies only to the oral
law. As to the written law, he is not to teach her systematically; but if he has taught her, he is not to be considered as having taught her transgression.” Quoted in “Old Paths.”
“Women are not qualified by the law to testify, because it is written, ‘At the mouth of two witnesses.’ The language is in the masculine, and not in the feminine.”
“There are ten kinds of disqualifications. If in any person any one of these is found, this disqualifies his testimony. These are they: Women, slaves, idiots, children, deaf persons, the blind, the wicked, the outcast,
relatives, those who have personal interest in the testimony, - these are the ten.” Hilchoth Adoos
The above information, no doubt, explains why Simon the Pharisee felt as He did toward Jesus, when the woman, whom Simon regarded as a despised sinner, anointed the feet of the Saviour, and He willingly allowed her to perform
such a service. Luke 8:36-40.
(c) Paragraph 15 – The orthodox Jew still believes the Biblical method of the computation of time, - from evening to evening, from sunset to sunset. See Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; Lev. 23:32; Deut.
16:6. This is God’s method.
(d) Paragraph 17 – An interesting lesson can be learned from this experience of the Jewish leaders. The Lord had originally told them to wear the garment, and had designed to teach a beautiful truth.
Like all the other oracles in the Bible, it had a spiritual lesson. But when Israel lost the spirit of truth, it lost the spiritual truths. Then it did the next thing, it substituted. Whenever the professed church of God loses
the true meaning of the truth of God, outward forms and ceremonies are always introduced to take the place of the real thing.
There is no doubt but that the apostle Paul had this in mind when he spoke of the man-made righteousness of the Jewish people; for he used the text in Romans, quoting from Deuteronomy, generally read
in connection with the worship of the Jews, as related to the wearing of the garment. The apostle says:
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being
ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that
believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who
shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what said it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in
thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Rom. 10:1-0.
Compare Deut. 30:11-14.
It will be noticed that the great apostle is referring to the thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy. This scripture in the fifth book of the law is used in connection with the wearing of the garment. Thus it is evident that God
wanted them to see in the wearing of the garment a great truth; they lost the truth, and substituted the object-lesson as the end. They did not see the Christ.
Think how much substitution we find at the present time, among some who consider themselves the followers of Christ. With one class the sacred ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, a means to a great end,
- to commemorate the death of the blessed Christ, - has been perverted, and the small piece of wafer is made to be the essence of the very Christ. Having lost spiritual truth, they have lost the spirit of truth.
With others, the days of the supposed birth and resurrection of Christ are made days of great occasions when dinners, banquets, and gowns are the leading features of the religious ceremonies. Much is
made of these occasions as related to faith in the Christ; but they are poor substitutes for piety and spirituality. The Jews lost the knowledge of God in substituting the means for the end. Is there not a valuable lesson for
the church now? Theirs was a human righteousness. What should this be called?
(e) Paragraph 18 – The orthodox Jew, in addition to the wearing of this garment in the synagogue service, wears a small garment, called, Arba-Kanforth (literally, four corners) on his person all the time. Various reasons are given for its use; but the popular belief is that it discriminates the Jew from the Gentile. In case the former might lose his way, and be taken ill and die suddenly, by his wearing this small garment, the Gentiles would know that he was a Jew, and would have him buried in Jewish soil. For the Jews believe that they are to be raised from the dead at the last day; but they must either be found in Palestinian soil, or soil purposely made sacred for the Jews’ resting-place.
Originally, all soil outside of Palestine was defiled, and not one particle was allowed to enter the Holy Land. Every bit of it must be shaken from the feet or from plants before entering the holy
country. This leads us easily to understand what the Saviour intended to convey to the Jews, when He told the disciples that they should shake off the dust of their feet against the Jews, if the people would not receive their
testimony. Mark 6:11. They would then be considered as defiled, unclean, lost, just like a Gentile.
Since their persecutions and scattering, they have separate burial soil in which the dead are deposited, and they believe that the Lord will accept this as the substitute for the soil of Palestine.
(f) Paragraph 20 – In the tract, “Sabbath,” of the Mishna, the rabbis devoted a great deal of space to discussions of charms and amulets, - those that were approved and those that were not approved.
From all this it would seem evident that they did have something to do with the art and practice of magic. Here is what the Jewish writings say of the kind of people the members of the Sanhedrin had to be:
“Rabbi Johanan says, None were allowed to sit in the Sanhedrin, who were not men of stature, men of wisdom, men of good appearance, aged, skilled in magic, and acquainted with the seventy
languages, so that the Sanhedrin might not be obliged to hear through an interpreter.” – Sanhedrin
Might this not suggest a partial reason why the Saviour told the Pharisees that they were the children of the devil, for they did the works of the devil. Astrology, sorcery, magic, were all the works of the devil, - which God
strictly prohibited. Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deut. 18:9-12.
(g) Paragraph 21 – The Pharisees claimed that all the law, the prophets, and all the commands rested on the wearing of these phylacteries. Too much stress and importance could not be placed upon the
wearing of these things. May we not see from this teaching a reason why the Saviour should say that on the two great commands of love to God and love to man, “hang all the law and the prophets,” instead of on the wearing of the
phylacteries? Matt. 22:35-40.