Origens Commentary On The Gospel Of Matthew by Origen
13. The Offence of the Pharisees.
And as in many cases we have to consider the astonishment of the Jews at the words of the Saviour, because they were spoken with authority, so also in regard to the words in this place. Having called the multitudes therefore, He said unto them, |Hear and understand,| etc. And He said this, the Pharisees being offended at this saying, as, because of their evil opinions and their worthless interpretation of the law, they were not the plant of his own Father in heaven, and on this account were being rooted up; for they were rooted up as they did not receive the true vine, which was cultivated by the Father, even Jesus Christ. For how could they be a plant of His Father who were offended at the words of Jesus, words which turn men away from the precept, |Handle not, nor taste, nor touch, -- all which things were to perish in the using -- after the precepts and doctrines of men,| but induce the intelligent hearer of them to seek in regard to them the things which are above and not the things upon the earth as the Jews do? And since, because of their evil opinions, the Pharisees were not the plant of His Father in heaven, on this account, as about such as were incorrigible, He says to the disciple, |Let them alone;| |Let them alone,| He said for this reason, that as they were blind they ought to become conscious of their blindness and seek guides; but they, being unconscious of their own blindness, profess to guide the blind, not reckoning that they would fall into a pit, about which it is written in the Psalms, |He hath made a pit, and digged it, and will fall into the ditch which he hath made.| Again, elsewhere it is written, |And seeing the multitudes, He went up into the mountain, and when He had sat down His disciples came unto Him;| but here He stretches forth His hand to the multitude, calling them unto Him, and turning their thoughts away from the literal interpretation of the questions in the law, when He in the first place said to them, who did not yet understand what they heard, |Hear and understand,| and thereafter as in parables said to them, |Not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man, but that which proceedeth out of the mouth.|