Matthew 23:2

ESV "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses ' seat,
NIV "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
NASB saying: 'The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses.
CSB "The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses.
NLT The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.
KJV saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
NKJV saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.

What does Matthew 23:2 mean?

Jesus will soon deliver a series of "woes" to the scribes and Pharisees, describing their failings and corruption in the harshest of terms. Since it is coming from Jesus, this condemnation of Israel's religious leaders is delivered as the condemnation of God Himself (John 5:30; 10:30; 14:9).

He begins, though, with a statement of respect for the positions occupied by these two groups. Jesus describes them as sitting "on Moses' seat." Some scholars suggest Jesus is referring to a literal chair occupied by religious leaders while teaching. More likely, Jesus is speaking of the authority given to the scribes and Pharisees by God, as it was given to Moses. That authority would be used to teach the people from the Scriptures and to lead them in the way they should go.

The group referred to as "scribes" were experts in Jewish Scriptures. They were educated and intelligent men often occupying official teaching positions in Jewish religious life. Pharisees were more likely to teach the theology and meaning of the Scriptures than the basic content. Pharisees had much influence over the religious lives of the everyday people. Likely, some overlap existed between these two groups.
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