What is Corban in the Bible?
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Question: What is the practice of Corban that Jesus condemned in the Bible?
Answer: Mark 7 is the only place in the Bible where Jesus makes comments regarding the issue of Corban. After the self-righteous religious leaders called Pharisees criticize the disciples for not ceremonially washing their hands before eating, Jesus chastises them for their hypocrisy. After condemning them for their "clever" methods and schemes of nullifying the laws of God so that they can keep their "cherished" traditions, he says the following.
For Moses commanded (actually, it was God who commanded through Moses), 'Respect your father and your mother, ’ . . . But you teach that if people have something they could use to help their father or mother, but say, 'This is Corban' . . . they are excused . . . (Mark 7, verses 10 to 12)
Jesus was condemning the general practice of the Pharisees of bypassing God's laws and substituting them with their own traditions. The case you cite is one of the many Jesus was denouncing.
The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge says that this practice was common among the Jews. The Pharisees would release by their own power a child from supporting his parents. Amazingly, according to the TSK, these religious leaders would deem it sacrilege if such a person afterwards decided to go ahead and support those who gave birth to him.
Easton's Bible Dictionary goes further on to state that Corban was considered a temple offering set aside or dedicated to God. Anything given this designation could not be reclaimed by a person. EBD also states that Jesus hated this practice of the Pharisees, as their traditions in this area nullified God's commandment that children should honor their parents. Their teaching gave people an excuse for not helping their father or mother and at the same time offered them the opportunity to use such designated good for their own selfish use.