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Verse 1. In the mean time. While he was discoursing with the scribes and Pharisees, as recorded in the last chapter.

An innumerable multitude. The original word is myriads, or ten thousands. It is used here to signify that there was a great crowd or collection of people, who were anxious to hear him. Multitudes were attracted to the Saviour's ministry, and it is worthy of remark that he never had more to hear him than when he was most faithful and severe in his reproofs of sinners. Men's consciences are on the side of the faithful reprover of their sins; and though they deeply feel the reproof, yet they will still respect and hear him that reproves.

To his disciples, first of all. This does not mean that his disciples were, before all others, to avoid hypocrisy, but that this was the first or chief thing of which they were to beware. The meaning is this:

"He said to his disciples, Above all things beware," &c.

The leaven. See Barnes "Mt 16:6".


Which is hypocrisy. See Barnes "Mt 7:5".

Hypocrisy is like leaven or yeast, because—

1st. It may exist without being immediately detected. Leaven mixed in flour is not known until it produces its effects.

2nd. It is insinuating. Leaven will soon pervade the whole mass. So hypocrisy will, if undetected and unremoved, soon pervade all our exercises and feelings.

3rd. It is swelling. It puffs us up, and fills us with pride and vanity. No man is more proud than the hypocrite, and none is more odious to God. When Jesus cautions them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, he means that they should be cautious about imbibing their spirit and becoming like them. The religion of Jesus is one of sincerity, of humility, of an entire want of disguise. The humblest man is the best Christian, and he who has the least disguise is most like his Master.


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