Matthew 23:4. “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
Last week we started this passage, hearing Jesus tell the people to listen to the words the Pharisees spoke according to the law of Moses, but not to emulate them in their works because they do not practice what they preach.
This verse today describes perfectly the corrupt rulers who burden the people but who avoid all burdens themselves. They live instead on the backs of those they rule, having no intention of sharing the burden with them.
The Pharisees had placed themselves in Moses’ seat, and when their movement started they had great zeal for the law which God had given through Moses. In their Mishna,which was part of the Talmud, they stated that they were to be regarded as having been put in that place by Moses himself, and were to be obeyed. Period.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When authority can never be questioned, authority becomes a rule unto itself. When that happens, when the ruler(s) get away with ignoring established law, then the people bear the burden of supporting those rulers.
Jesus told them to obey the law, as the Pharisees said; this was the part of His Law given to Moses and recorded in the five Books of the Law in the Old Testament.
But the behavior of the Pharisees? No. The entire burden of keeping all the Law, including the nit-picking rules created by the Pharisees that God never ordained, was on the people. Oddly enough, there were always those who were willing to run to the authorities with tales of those who, knowingly or not, broke the man-made rules. Those poor victims of the tattle-tale system could actually be beaten, imprisoned, or fined in such an exhorbitant way that they actually became enslaved to the system.
The Pharisees would not lift a finger to change any of their ungodly rules, because the factions within Phariseeism were too busy competing with one another to be concerned about the burden that was laid upon the people.
There is nothing new under the sun.