One skilled in the law invited Jesus to supper, in order to tempt him. Jesus came thither with his disciples, and many scribes, to tempt him, waited for him in the house. Whereupon, the disciples sat down to table without washing their hands. The scribes called Jesus, saying: ‘Wherefore do not thy disciples observe the traditions of our elders, in not washing their hands before they eat bread?’
Jesus answered: ‘And I ask you, for what cause have ye annulled the precept of God to observe your traditions? Ye say to the sons of poor fathers: “Offer and make vows unto the temple.” And they make vows of that little wherewith they ought to support their fathers. And when their fathers wish to take money, the sons cry out: “This money is consecrated to God”; whereby the fathers suffer. O false scribes. hypocrites, cloth God use this money? Assuredly not, for God eateth not, as he saith by his servant David the prophet:
“Shall I then eat the flesh of bulls and drink the blood of sheep? Render unto me the sacrifice of praise, and offer unto me thy vows: for if I should be hungry I will not ask aught of thee. seeing that all things are in my hands, and the abundance of paradise is with me.” Hypocrites’ ye do this to fill your purse, and therefore ye tithe rue and mint. Oh miserable ones! for unto others ye show the most clear way, by which
ye will not go.
‘Ye scribes and doctors lay upon the shoulders of others weights of unbearable weight, but ye yourselves the while are not willing to move them with one of your fingers.
‘Verily I say unto you, that every evil hath entered into the world under the pretext of the elders. Tell me, who made idolatry to enter into the world, if not the usage of the elders? For there was a king who exceedingly loved his father, whose name was Baal. Whereupon, when the father was dead, his son for his own consolation, caused to be made an image like unto his father. and set it up in the market-place of the city. And he made a decree that every one who approached that statue within a space of fifteen cubits should be safe, and no one any account should do him hurt.
Hence the malefactors, by reason of the benefit they received therefrom, began to offer to the statue roses and flowers, and in a short time the offerings were changed into money and food, insomuch that they called it god, to honour it. Which thing from custom was transformed into a law, insomuch that the idol of Baal spread through all the world; and how much doth God lament this by the prophet Isaiah, saying “Truly this people worshippeth me in vain, for they have annulled my law given to them by my servant Moses, and follow the traditions of their elders.”
‘Verily I say unto you, that to eat bread with unclean hands defileth not a man, because that which entereth into the man defileth not the man, but that which cometh out of the man defileth the man.’
Thereupon. said one of the scribes: If I shall eat pork, or other unclean meats, will they not defile my consciences?’
Jesus answered: Disobedience will not enter into the man but will come out of the man, from his heart; and therefore will he be defiled when he shall eat forbidden food.’
Then said one of the doctors: ‘Master, thou hast spoken much against idolatry as though the people of Israel had idols and so thou hast done us wrong.’
Jesus answered: ‘I know well that in Israel today there are not statues of wood; but there are statues of flesh.’
Then answered all the scribes in wrath: ‘And so we idolaters?’
Jesus answered: ‘Verily I say unto you, the precept saith not ‘Thou shalt worship,” but “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy heart, and with all thy mind.” Is this true?’ said Jesus.
‘It is true’ answered every one.