Mark 12:38 “And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and [love] salutations in the marketplaces,”
“Beware Is to see or watch. It carries the idea of guarding against the evil influence of the scribes.
” A long, flowing cloak that essentially trumpeted the wearer as a devout and noted scholar.
“Salutations”: Accolades for those holding titles of honor.
These scribes, above, were not servants of their fellow men. They wanted to be looked up to as being special. Their prayers were are not sincere, they were only for those around them to hear and brag about how great they were. God does not care about fancy big worded prayers. He just wants us to pray from our hearts.
Mark 12:39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.
“Chief seats in the synagogues”: The bench in the synagogue nearest the chest where the sacred scrolls were housed, an area reserved for leaders and people of renown (see note on James 2:3).
Mark 12:40 “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.”
“Devour widow’s houses”: Jesus exposed the greedy, unscrupulous practice of the scribes. Scribes often served as estate planners for widows, which gave them the opportunity to convince distraught widows that they would be serving God by supporting the temple or the scribes own holy work. In either case, the scribe benefited monetarily and effectively robbed the widow of her husband’s legacy to her.
“By saying long prayers, The Pharisees attempted to flaunt their piety by praying for long periods. Their motive was not devotion to God, but a desire to be revered by the people.
Many scribes of that day were dependent on generous individuals for their livelihood. Some abused the hospitality they were shown and brought their hopeless donors to the brink of financial ruin. Others flaunted their religion for the sale of impressing others with their spirituality, perhaps thereby obtaining more support.