Jesus clashed often with the Pharisees during His ministry, They criticized Him for healing on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-5), associating with people whom they considered sinners (Matthew 9:9-11), and not observing the external rituals that they considered essential for maintaining purity before God (Matthew 15:2).

The word Pharisee means “separated ones.” The Pharisees went to extremes to keep themselves pure in accordance with the ceremonial laws as well as the moral laws of the Old Testament. In addition to the written law of Moses, they also observed the oral law. These were traditions that had been added to the written law over the course of many centuries. To them, these oral traditions were just as binding as the original written law.

Jesus rejected these traditions and charged that the Pharisees often used them to get around the more stringent requirements of the written law: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3).

The Pharisees often used debate and personal confrontation to try to discredit Jesus and His teachings. This verse points out that they also tried to trick him into making statements that would undermine His influence and popularity with the people.

HEBREW 23:15 – Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him [Jesus] in his talk [laid plans to trap him in his words, NIV],

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