This compound term (hupokrit─ôs) is literally translated "to judge under."  It could have meant (1) an allusion to a theatrical word for speaking from behind a mask (i.e., play acting) or (2) its earlier usage was "to over interpret."

Pharisees acted out religious rites and rituals (often in public) in order to be praised by other humans, not in order to please God (although I am sure that was one of several motives):

1. gave alms, not only to help the poor, but to be praised by humans, Matt. 6:2

2. prayed in the synagogue and in public to be seen by humans, Matt. 6:5

3. when they fasted they looked disheveled so others would be impressed with their spirituality, Matt. 6:16

4. they say one thing but do something else (cf. Matt. 15:7-9; Mark 7:1-7; Isa. 29:13)

5. they tried to trap Jesus with tricky questions, not a search for true wisdom, Matt. 22:15-22

6. they prevented others from entering the Kingdom, Matt. 23:13-15

7. they tithed the kitchen supplies, but missed the weighty matters of the Law, Matt. 23:23

8. they cleaned the outside of the cup, but not the inside, Matt. 23:25

9. they were a whitewashed tomb full of uncleanness, Matt. 23:27-28 (cf. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, p. 415)

10. they were self-righteous, Matt. 23:29-30

11. they have a special place in hell, Matt. 24:51


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