The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 28 of 251
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denouncement of the position of the scribes and Pharisees, who were largely responsible
for the reception afforded the Lord at his first coming. The party, which by its teaching
and influence over the people could have prepared them for the advent of their Messiah,
when He did come, opposed and rejected all that He stood for until they had filled up
the measure of their fathers, who had persecuted and slain the prophets of old
(Matt. 2: 29-36). Such was the development of this party.
Before giving consideration to the scribes, it may be helpful to observe the basic
differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees. The following table does not pretend
to be exact, but to give some idea of the parties as they stood in relation to each other and
the people.
Associated with the nobility,
Associated with the common people,
whom they were drawn.
whom they influenced.
Worldly influence.
Religious influence.
In addition to the above it may be noted that the Pharisees and Essenes were largely
positive sects (the Pharisees essentially practical, the Essenes tending to mysticism),
whilst the Sadducees' position was mainly based upon denials (no resurrection, no
angels) and was thus inclined to be negative. These differences will be qualified and
explained more fully in subsequent articles, when the position during the early part of the
first century should become clearer.
The Scribes.
pp. 110 - 114
The earliest occurrence in the A.V. of the word "scribe" is II Sam. 8: 17, although
the Hebrew saphar as a participle noun occurs before this in Judges 5: 14, translated
"the writer". According to The Companion Bible, this word, which as a verb means "to
count" or "to number", gives us the word Sopherim. The Sopherim were the scribes of
Ezra's day, his successors in fact, for Ezra is described as:
"A ready scribe (saphar) in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given
. . . . . a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes to Israel
. . . . . a scribe of the law of the God of heaven" (Ezra 7: 6, 11, 12).
Closely related to saphar "to count", is the Hebrew sepher "book" or "letter".
Dean Farrar states that this latter word gives the word Sopherim, "scribes", and that the
name means "scripturalists", those who explained and copied the Law. Whichever be the
correct derivation, the scribes appear to date as a distinct body from the period of Ezra, a