Don’t be such a Pharisee! We still hear it today. The label is typically aimed at a self-righteous person or a hypocritical religious legalist. I’ve never heard someone use the word pharisee in a positive way.
The Pharisees are primarily remembered as the chief antagonists of Jesus. Yet, in all fairness, the group can trace its history to a noble beginning — long before the days of Jesus.
The Pharisees (in earliest formation) had great zeal for the things of God. Believing that God’s people were punished under the Babylonian captivity for neglecting God’s law and compromising with pagan culture, these men became zealots for the Law and extreme separatists from the world. Out of intense devotion to the Law, they progressively established detailed traditions to hedge up the actual laws of God. They did this to protect against any possible infringement of God’s Law.
By the time of Jesus
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