Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Wherefore the Lord said,.... Concerning the hypocritical people of the Jews in Christ's time, as the words are applied by our Lord himself, Matthew 15:7:
Forasmuch as this people draw near to me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me; Kimchi observes, there is a double reading of the word vgn, rendered "draw near": in one reading of it, it signifies to be "afflicted"; and then the sense is, "when this people are afflicted, with their mouth, and with their lips, they honour me"; that is, when they are in distress, they pray unto him, and profess a great regard for him, speak honourably of him, and reverently to him, hoping he will help and relieve them; see Isaiah 26:16 but the other reading of the word, in which it has the signification of "drawing near", is confirmed, not only by the Masora on the text, but by the citation of it in Matthew 15:7 and designs the approach of these people to God, in acts of religion and devotion, in praying to him, and praising of him, and expressing great love and affection for him, and zeal for his cause and interest; but were all outwardly, with their lips and mouths only:
but have removed their heart far from me; these were not employed in his service, which is the main thing he requires and regards, but were engaged elsewhere; while their bodies were presented before him, and their mouths and lips were moving to him, their affections were not set upon him, nor the desires of their souls unto him, nor had they any real hearty concern for his glory:
and their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men; their worship of God was not according to the prescription of God, and his revealed will; but according to the traditions of the elders, which they preferred to the word of God, and, by observing them, transgressed it, and made it of no effect; see Matthew 15:3.