Scribes and Pharisees

Matthew 23:23 is referring to the scribes and Pharisees. They paid very close attention to the small things and neglected the most important things. They paid tithes on everything. By paying tithes on the smallest of things was a way for them to ease their conscience from neglecting the more important matters of faith, justice and mercy. Keep in mind that Jesus knew what they had in their minds. Micah 6:8 tells us what is good and what the Lord requires. The scribes and Pharisees should have known all these things. Jesus talks about them straining wine to keep from swallowing a super small insect but they would gladly swallow a camel. It is a humorous way of saying they have blown things out of proportion.
This is like some people today who want attention. They will take small unimportant things of this life and make a big deal out of them all the while ignoring the really important things.

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