Christ admonisheth the people to follow the good doctrine, not the evil examples of the scribes and Pharisees.
Matthew 23:1 Thanne Jhesus spac to the puple, and to hise disciplis, Matthew 23:2 and seide, On the chayere of Moises, scribis and Farisees han sete. Matthew 23:3 Therfor kepe ye, and do ye alle thingis, what euer thingis thei seien to you. But nyle ye do aftir her werkis; for thei seien, and don not. Matthew 23:4 And thei bynden greuouse chargis, and that moun not be borun, and putten on schuldris of men; but with her fyngur thei wolen not moue hem.
His disciples must beware of their ambition.
Matthew 23:5 Therfor thei don alle her werkis that thei be seen of men; for thei drawen abrood her filateries, and magnifien hemmes. Matthew 23:6 And thei louen the first sittyng placis in soperis, and the first chaieris in synagogis; Matthew 23:7 and salutaciouns in chepyng, and to be clepid of men maystir. Matthew 23:8 But nyle ye be clepid maister; for oon is youre maystir, and alle ye ben britheren. Matthew 23:9 And nyle ye clepe to you a fadir on erthe, for oon is your fadir, that is in heuenes. Matthew 23:10 Nether be ye clepid maistris, for oon is youre maister, Crist. Matthew 23:11 He that is grettest among you, schal be youre mynystre. Matthew 23:12 For he that hieth himself, schal be mekid; and he that mekith hym silf, schal be enhaunsid.
He denounceth eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness:
Matthew 23:13 But wo to you, scribis and Farisees, ipocritis, that closen the kyngdom of heuenes bifore men; and ye entren not, nether suffren men entrynge to entre. Matthew 23:14 Wo to you, scribis and Farisees, ipocritis, that eten the housis of widowis, and preien bi longe preier; for this thing ye schulen take more doom. Matthew 23:15 Wo to you, scribis and Farisees, ypocritis, that goon aboute the see and the loond, to make o prosilite; and whanne he is maad, ye maken hym a sone of helle, double more than ye ben. Matthew 23:16 Wo to you, blynde lederis, that seien, Who euer swerith bi the temple of God, it is no thing; but he that swerith in the gold of the temple, is dettoure. Matthew 23:17 Ye foolis and blynde, for what is grettere, the gold, or the temple that halewith the gold? Matthew 23:18 And who euer swerith in the auter, it is no thing; but he that swerith in the yifte that is on the auter, owith. Matthew 23:19 Blynde men, for what is more, the yifte, or the auter that halewith the yifte? Matthew 23:20 Therfor he that swerith in the auter, swerith in it, and in alle thingis that ben ther on. Matthew 23:21 And he that swerith in the temple, swerith in it, and in hym that dwellith in the temple. Matthew 23:22 And he that swerith in heuene, swerith in the trone of God, and in hym that sittith ther on. Matthew 23:23 Wo to you, scribis and Farisees, ypocritis, that tithen mynte, anete, and cummyn, and han left tho thingis that ben of more charge of the lawe, doom, and merci, and feith. And it bihofte to do these thingis, and not to leeue tho. Matthew 23:24 Blynde lederis, clensinge a gnatte, but swolewynge a camel. Matthew 23:25 Woo to you, scribis and Farisees, ypocritis, that clensen the cuppe and the plater with outforth; but with ynne ye ben ful of raueyne and vnclennesse. Matthew 23:26 Thou blynde Farisee, clense the cuppe and the plater with ynneforth, that that that is with outforth be maad clene. Matthew 23:27 Wo to you, scribis and Farisees, ipocritis, that ben lijk to sepulcris whitid, whiche with outforth semen faire to men; but with ynne thei ben fulle of boonus of deed men, and of al filthe. Matthew 23:28 So ye with outforth semen iust to men; but with ynne ye ben ful of ypocrisy and wickidnesse. Matthew 23:29 Wo to you, scribis and Farisees, ipocritis, that bilden sepulcris of profetis, and maken faire the birielis of iust men, Matthew 23:30 and seien, If we hadden be in the daies of oure fadris, we schulden not haue be her felowis in the blood of prophetis. Matthew 23:31 And so ye ben in witnessyng to you silf, that ye ben the sones of hem that slowen the prophetis. Matthew 23:32 And fulfille ye the mesure of youre fadris. Matthew 23:33 Ye eddris, and eddris briddis, hou schulen ye fle fro the doom of helle?
and prophesieth of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Matthew 23:34 Therfor lo! Y sende to you profetis, and wise men, and scribis; and of hem ye schulen sle and crucifie, and of hem ye schulen scourge in youre sinagogis, and schulen pursue fro cite in to citee; Matthew 23:35 that al the iust blood come on you, that was sched on the erthe, fro the blood of iust Abel to the blood of Zacarie, the sone of Barachie, whom ye slowen bitwixe the temple and the auter. Matthew 23:36 Treuli Y seie to you, alle these thingis schulen come on this generacioun. Matthew 23:37 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that sleest prophetis, and stoonest hem that ben sent to thee, hou ofte wolde Y gadere togidere thi children, as an henne gaderith togidir her chikenes vndir hir wengis, and thou woldist not. Matthew 23:38 Lo! youre hous schal be left to you desert. Matthew 23:39 And Y seie to you, ye schulen not se me fro hennus forth, til ye seien, Blessid is he, that cometh in the name of the Lord.