ESV - 11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban"' (that is, given to God) -
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Jesus was talking here about financial affairs. During this encounter (Matt. 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-13), the Pharisees questioned Jesus about a man-made tradition that called for a ritualistic hand washing before eating - something that Jesus’ disciples did not do. Pointing out Pharisees’ hypocrisy, Christ was citing another tradition of the Pharisees, that invalidated the fifth commandment. The Pharisees had established a tradition called Corban, meaning gift. When a man applied the words, “It is Corban” to anything of value, it was considered an oath and it was something dedicated to God and the temple. By this tradition, they deny any responsibility of financial support for their elderly parents. Corban law was being used by the Pharisees as an excuse not to care for their parents - and probably went like this: ‘Mom and Dad, I would love to help you, but all my possessions are Corban – sorry, cannot give anything because all I have is dedicated to God and to the temple.’ Of course, this would not stopped them from enjoying very comfortable lifestyles for themselves, they just “could not” give anything to their parents because it belonged to God now. In another encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus dealt with a similar hypocrisy (Luke 11:42). They should have kept both commands, first by honoring their father and mother, without leaving aside their giving to the Lord.
In my opinion, Jesus was speaking of material wealth or possessions that could (and should, according to the commandment to honor one's father and mother) have been used to provide for the support of parents who were in need. The Pharisees and other Jewish religious authorities instead avoided this obligation through a man-made tradition of dedicating the means that they would have used for that purpose to God's use instead. Although they may not have personally profited by this action, they were directly violating God's commandment by doing so, and were also making a hypocritical show of their supposed piety and dedication to God so that they would be admired and praised by other people. Even if they were contributing the money to God's use, their offering was tainted and unacceptable in His sight because of being offered with improper motives and in disobedience of His commandment.
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