Ye pay tithe - A tenth part. The law required the Jews to devote a tenth part of all their property to the support of the Levites, Numbers 18:20-24. Another tenth part they paid for the service of the sanctuary, commonly in cattle or grain, but where they lived far from the place of worship they changed it to money, Deuteronomy 14:22-24. Besides these, there was to be every third year a tenth part given to the poor, to be eaten at their own dwellings Deuteronomy 14:28-29; so that nearly one-third of the property of the Jews was devoted to religious services by law. This was besides the voluntary offerings which they made. How much more mild and gentle are the laws of Christianity under which we live!
Mint - A garden herb, in the original so called from its agreeable flavor. It was used to sprinkle the floors of their houses and synagogues to produce a pleasant fragrance.
Anise - Known commonly among us as "dill." It has a fine aromatic smell, and is used by confectioners and perfumers.
Cummin - A plant of the same genus, like "fennel," and used for similar purposes. These were all herbs of little value. The law of Moses said that they should pay tithes of the "fruits of the earth," Deuteronomy 14:22. It said nothing, however, about herbs. It was a question whether these should be tithed. The Pharisees maintained, in their extraordinary strictness, that they ought. Our Saviour says that they were precise in doing small matters which the law had not expressly commanded, while they omitted the greater things which it had enjoined.
Judgment - Justice to others, as magistrates, neighbors, citizens. Giving to all their just dues.
Mercy - Compassion and kindness to the poor and miserable.
Faith - Piety toward God; confidence in him. Faith in God here means that we are to give to him what is his due; as mercy and justice mean to do to people, in all circumstances, what is right toward them.
These ought ye to have done - Attention to even the smallest points of the law of God is proper, but it should not interfere with the "higher" and more important parts of that law.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Matthew 23:23:
DISCLAIMER: Church of the Great God (CGG) provides these resources to aid the individual in studying the Bible. However, it is up to the individual to "prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:21). The content of these resources does not necessarily reflect the views of CGG. They are provided for information purposes only.