Greco-Roman Period
This passage from the New Testament testifies to the Pharisaic customs of washing the hands before eating and of requiring the purification of vessels. This passage suggests that the Pharisees followed the requirement of eating non-sacred meals in a state of purity similar to that of the priests. Such oral laws were as much a part of Pharisaic- Rabbinic practice as was the written law.

7-1 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who
had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled,
that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their
hands, observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place,
they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which
they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze. 43 ) 5 And the Pharisees
and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of
the elders, but eat with hands defiled?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy
of you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me;

7 in vain do they worship me,

teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ 44

8 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men….”

43. A reference to the Pharisaic-Rabbinic laws pertaining to the purification of vessels.

44. Is. 29-13, according to the Septuagint.