But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone (Luke 11:42 NKJV)
ESV - 42 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
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In Luke 11:42-54 Jesus try to explain to the Pharisees and scribes the importance of true religion. For example, while tithing is an appropriate act acknowledging God’s blessings, it can never be a substitute for God's demands for love and justice in human interaction. These people who ‘neglect justice and the love of God’ demand instead, the ‘most important seats in the synagogues’ totally missing the point of true faith! Jesus warned them that those who equate true religion with outward rituals are really unclean, just like those who come in contact with the dead (Luke 11:44; Num 19:16). They were confused in regards to what was trivial with what was important in the eyes of God. Also, Jesus pronounced a woe on the experts in the law who used their education and experience to place religious burdens on others while they themselves ‘do not touch the burdens with one of fingers’ ” (Luke 11:46). The Pharisees honored the dead prophets but worked against the living ones. Even as Jesus spoke, some were plotting to kill the Son of God. What is important is not the honoring of prophets but being merciful, showing love, and good judgment. They were entrusted with the key to God’s kingdom and had failed their duty - instead of using the key wisely and letting God’s people come into the kingdom, they had locked them out and thrown away the key.
Lk 11:42b - These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Simply put, this is saying tithing as being done by the Pharisees should be done and also mercy and love should not be excluded. These ought ye, etc.--There is no need for one set of duties to jostle out another; but of the greater, our Lord says, "Ye ought to have done" them; of the lesser, only "Ye ought not to leave them undone."
It is possible that it should be translated, "These you should have been doing - not overlooking them" but either way the emphasis here is that justice and the love of God are necessary (so the Greek reads). Jesus puts them on a higher level than the religious practices of the day since they come from the heart and purify the rest as result (see the preceding verse).
I like how J.B. Phillips translates this, "Yet these are the things you ought to have been concerned with—it need not mean leaving the lesser duties undone." --J.B. Phillips New Testament I believe J.B. meant this: The commentators, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible say this: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone—There is no need for one set of duties to jostle out another; but it is to be carefully noted that of the greater duties our Lord says, "Ye ought to have done" them, while of the lesser He merely says, "Ye ought not to leave them undone."
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