What Was the Tradition of Corban in Mark 7?

Dear Parson,

QUESTION: I don't understand the Corban tradition of Mark 7:9-11, "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, this is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightiest be profited by me; he shall be free."

     God makes it very plain that children are responsible to take care of their parent's financial necessities when they are no longer able to care for their own. Jesus referenced Moses and inferred that honoring your parents included their financial care (Mark 7:10; Exodus 20:12). Paul makes that plain as well in 1 Timothy 5:8, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

     Some Jews, not liking this law, made up one of their own by creating a tradition called "Corban." which means "a gift." They would offer a gift for God's service and say that freed them from the obligation to take care of their parents.

     People today often come up with substitutions or excuses to replace God's laws they don't like. I have heard many in my 50 years of ministry, but like the tradition of Corban, none of them hold water with God.

James Bachman