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in the way with him; lest at from thee : for it is profitable any time the adversary deliver for thee that one of thy memthee to the judge, and the bers should perish, and not that judge deliver thee to the offi- thy whole body should be cast cer, and thou be cast into into hell. prison.
30 And if thy right hand 26 Verily I say unto thee, offend thee, cut it off, and cast Thou shalt by no means come it from thee : for it is profitable out thence, till thou hast paid for thee that one of thy memthe uttermost farthing.
bers should perish, and not that 27 Ye have heard that it thy whole body should be cast
said by them of old into hell. time, Thou shalt not commit 31 It hath been said, Whoadultery:
soever shall put away his wife, 28 But I say unto you, That let him give her a writing of whosoever looketh on a womandivorcement: to lust after her, hath committed 32 But I say unto you, That adultery with her already in his whosoever shall put away his heart.
wife, saving for the cause of 29 And if thy right eye offend fornication, causeth her to comthee, pluck it out, and cast it mit adultery: and whosoever about to take thee before a magistrate. zance of inward sins; nor were they Adjust the matter speedily. Let it not disposed, in the time of Christ, to treat be carried to the judge, for the cause the crime of adultery with signal harshwill go against thee; the judge will de- ness. The thought expressed by the liver thee over to the officer of punish- Saviour, is, it is better to suffer a partial ment; thou wilt be thrown into prison. loss in this life, however great à one,
26. The uttermost farthing; the last than a total loss in the coming world. mite. Strict justice will then be exe- The right eye and the right hand are cuted; no mercy will be shown. The members which we cannot well part same sentinient is expressed in Luke with; but valuable as they are, it would 12: 58, 59.
be better to pluck out the one and to 27. By them of old time.
cut off the other, than by their means v. 21. The Saviour proceeded to un- to be led into sin, and thus to incur the fold the true spirit and meaning loss of the soul. These same expresof another command (Ex. 20: 14), sions occur again in Matt. 18: 8, 9, as which was commonly explained as re- a general caution against occasions ferring only to the outward act. Jesus of sin. declared that the guilt of adultery, so 31. It hath been said ; that is, by far from being confined to the outward the ancients. The statute of Moses in crime, does also belong to him who Deut. 24: 1, had been so explained by cherishes impure desires in his heart. some of the Jewish teachers as to al
29, 30. Offend. The modern sig. low husbands to put away their wives nification of this word, to displease, to in an arbitrary manner for very light affront, is not applicable here. It causes, provided they gave a bill of means, lead to sin, prove an occasion divorce. of sinning. || Hell. The connection 32. Jesus corrected this erroneous clearly shows that the world of future view, and declared what is the just, purishment is here meant. The Jews and the only just, ground of divorce. had no tribunal that could take cogni- | Causcth her to commit adultery; ex
shall marry her that is divorced, time, Thou shalt not forswear committeth adultery.
thyself, but shalt perform unto 33 Again, ye have heard that the Lord thine oaths : it hath been said by them of old 34 But I say unto you, Swear poses her to this sin, proves an occa- used to swear, in conversation, by the sion to her of committing it. || Marry altar, by Jerusalem, by heaven, by the her that is divorced; that is, her that earth, by their heads, by the temple, by is divorced for light causes, for other the gold of the temple, &c. See Mati. causes than the one specified. The 23: 16–22. Moses had enacted, on the rule is similarly stated in Matt. 19: 9. subject of oaths (Ex. 20:7), Thou shalt In Mark 10:11, 12, and Luke 16: 18, not take the name of the Lord thy God in the rule is stated without any excep- vain; and (Lev. 19:12) Ye shall not tion. Thus Mark and Luke must be swear by my name falsely. In teaching compared with Matthew in order to on the subject of oaths, the Jewish docobtain the Saviour's rule ; and the ex. tors made a distinction between oaths ception in the former part of the verse which contained the name of God, and in Matthew is to be regarded as implied those which appealed to some other obin the latter part. Thus a wife divorced ject. The former were, according to for any
other cause than the one speci- them, not to be violated; but the latter fied, is not, properly speaking, di- they represented as of a light character, vorced. She is still, in the view of the imposing scarcely any obligation; and Saviour, a married woman. The con- of course they could be safely violated. nection between her and her husband is Compare Matt. 23. The tendency of not dissolved. Any other man, then, such teaching may well be imagined. marrying her, commits adultery. An Oaths greatly multiplied among the examination of Matt. 19: 3—9, and people, and they acquired among all Mark 10: 2-12, shows that this was, nations the reputation of perjurers. in our Saviour's time, a subject that Forswear thyself ; perjure thyself, take excited deep interest ; and that there a false oath, swear falsely. || Perform was great occasion for him, as the le- unto the Lord ; the thing respecting gislator for the conscience, to pro- which thou hast sworn, perform relinounce a decision.
giously, as to the Lord, regarding it as 33. In further correcting the errone- a duty to be fulfilled to him. Prob. ous views which the Jewish teachers ably this was the general precept had imparted, Jesus spoke of the or- which the Jewish teachers laid down; dinary practice among the Jews of and then they proceeded to make such swearing, or voluntarily taking an oath. explanations as have been above alIt appears throughout the Old Testa- luded to. It was not necessary for the ment, that, from the earliest periods, Saviour to enter into a detailed account the Jews were in the habit of confirm of their manner, as it was well known ing their declarations by an appeal to to his hearers, and as he was intending God; that is, by taking an oath. This not so much to correct erroneous adwas customary in ordinary conversa- ditions or diminutions allowed by their tion, and on topics not of an uncom- teachers, as to cut up, root and branch, monly serious character. See Gen. the whole practice of which he was 14 : 22. Ruth 1:17. 3: 13. Sam. speaking. Though they laid down a 14:44, 45. 20:3, 21. 2. Sam. 3:9, precept, good in some respects, as en: 35. 1 Kings 2: 23. 2 Kings 6: 31. | forcing sincerity, yet they frittered it Jer. 42: 5. They sometimes swore by away by their explanations; and though the life of the person to whom they the apparent enforcing of sincerity was were speaking. 1 Sam. 1 : 26. 2 Kings a good thing, yet they did nothing that 2: 2. They also swore by cities and tended to correct the existing evil, and consecrated places. This practice con- to abolish the needless, and, as then tinued in the nation, and prevailed ex- conducted, the wicked practice. ceedingly in the time of Christ. They 34. But I say. Hence, instead of not at all : neither by heaven; by thy head, because thou canst for it is God's throne:
not make one hair white or 35 Nor by the earth; for it is black : his footstool : neither by Jerusa- 37 But let your communicalem; for it is the city of the tion be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; great King :
for whatsoever is
than 36 Neither shalt thou swear these, cometh of evil.
giving any precept to regulate swear- | Again, swearing by one's head is the ing, Jesus enjoined that the practice be same as swearing by one's life. Now, entirely abolished – swear not at all. I thy life is not dependent on thyself; for || By heaven; one of the oatlıs by thou canst not order even so unimporwhich the Jews were in the habit of tant a thing as the natural color of one swearing, and which they regarded as hair. On God thy life depends. Sweara trifling one, which they could violate ing by thy head, then, is the same as without guilt, as not expressly men swearing by him who made thee and tioning the name of God. || It is keeps thee in life. The distinction, God's throne. In swearing by heaven, then, between oaths, as great and as the Jews did in reality appeal to him small, according to the particular form who sitteth on the heavens as his of words employed, was an idle one. throne. Is. 66: 1. Hence the distinc- Oaths in reality contain an appeal to tion made by the Jewish teachers be- the Divine Being; and the Jewish practween swearing by heaven and swear- tice in respect to them was throughout ing by the name of God, was utterly a dishonoring of God and a system of futile, and such a method of quieting perjury. conscience utterly vain. Swearing by 37. Communication; conversation, heuven is the same, in reality, as swear- discourse with one another. The Greek ing by the name of God; and crimi- word here employed, so often used in nality in regard to such an oath is none the original in the same sense as our the smaller. Since, then, such an oath, word conversation; shows that our though reputed as light, is equally Lord had in view the ordinary conver
award with the other, have nothing to satennaiofe mens and that he was not
35. Nor by the earth, for it is his civil courts. || Yeu, yeu ; Nay, nay. footstool. See Is. 66: 1. He who When you say yes, let it be underswears by the earth, does in reality stood that you do fully and absolutely appeal to God, and swear by him, as mean yes; and when you say no, such an oath is a recognition of God that you actually mean to be underhimself, to whose dignity the earth is stood as saying no. Let there be no represented, in the Scripture, as an mental reservation ; let your simple appendage. ll The city of the great affirmation or negation be worthy of King. Ps.48": 2. Swearing by Jeru- implicit reliance on the part of those salem was in effect swearing by the with whom you converse. ! Cometh name of God, as Jerusalem owed its of evil; proceeds from an evil source, dignity and sanctity to the circum- and is sinful. stance that it was the city which God It is not of much importance to dehad selected for his worship.
termine whether the Saviour meant to 36. Make one hair white or black. represent as criminal the solemn adIt is not thou that didst create thy hair ministering and taking of an oath when and determine its color. This was prescribed by the civil government. ordered by the Creator. Swearing by The whole connection of these verses one's head, then, is an acknowledg- respecting oaths, shows that he had in ment of God, and is of equal force view the prevalent practice among with swearing by the name of God. Jews of using freely, in their conversa
38 Ye have heard that it hath (right cheek, turn to him the been said, An eye for an eye, other also. and a tooth for a tooth:
40 And if any man will sue 39 But I say unto you, That thee at the law, and take away ye resist not evil: but whoso- thy coat, let him have thy cloak ever shall
smite thee on thy also. tion, such oaths as he specifies. It ap- checked. For the regulations of Mopears also, that on a very solemn oc- ses, see Ex. 21 : 23—25. Lev. 24: 19, casion, with reference to a question of 20. Deut. 19:16–21. But in after most momentous import, he made a times the statute of Moses was exdeclaration on oath. Matt. 26 : 63, 64. plained as giving license to a person At the same time, it cannot be doubted, to inflict, in his private capacity, an that if the principles which the Saviour injury corresponding to the one he had has laid down, were universally acted received. Thus the spirit of private on, oaths would be entirely needless; revenge was cherished. that is, if all men would cherish that 39. Resist not evil; resist not, in simplicity and godly sincerity which the spirit of retaliation, an evil, that would make their affirmation and their is, an injurious man, one who has done negation a perfect representation of thee evil
. Resist him not by doing what exists in their hearts, their him evil in return. Do not to him as simple declaration would be as much he has done to you. Turn to him valued, in regard to truth, as an oath. the other also. So far from resisting And therefore the professed necessity an injurious man by doing him a simfor oaths would not exist. Since, how- ilar injury, submit to still further inever, men in general can be swerved jury. If he has smitten one cheek, from the truth by various considera- revenge not the insult, or the injury, tions, governments have endeavored to by returning the blow; but rather, in make them peculiarly impressed, on meekness, not in a provoking spirit, certain occasions, with a sense of their turn to him your other cheek. Guard responsibility to God, and of the dan- against a spirit of revenge; rather ger of incurring his displeasure. But suffer repeated wrong, than do wrong. if, on every occasion, every man's yea Compare Rom. 12: 19–21. I Cor. was yea, and his nay, nay, oaths would | 6:7. 1 Pet. 2: 23. 3:9. That it is of course have no place. The follow- not the mere external act of turning ers of Christ, especially, ought to be the other cheek when one has been as conscientious, in every declaration, struck, that the Saviour enjoins, but as they would be if put on oath. that it is the spirit of forbearance, of
38. To another topic most errone- meek submission, of quelling a reously treated at that time, the divine vengeful temper, is manifest from the Teacher directed his hearers; and un- whole passage, and from the manner folded the spirit that ought to be cher in which he himself bore the insult, ished, in opposition to the teachings and the injury, of being struck on the and explanations that had come down face. John 18: 22, 23. from former times. An eye for an eye, 40. Coat. Cloak. These words and a tooth for a tooth; that is, in designate the two principal garments flict on another an injury similar to worn among the Jews. The one first the one he has inflicted on you. This named was the under, or inside garis retaliation. In the law of Moses, ment; the other corresponded to our retaliation was not absolutely forbid- cloak, in being an outside garment. den; but it was subjected to certain But it was more properly a mantle, regulations, which brought the crime nearly square, five or six cubits long, before the judges. Thus Moses en- and as many feet broad, intended to deavored to prevent injustice. A be wrapped around the body, or worn spirit of revenge would also thus be over the shoulders. This garment
41 And whosoever shall com- been said, Thou shalt love thy pel thee to go a mile, go with neighbor, and hate thine enemy: him twain.
44 But I say unto you, Love 42 Give to him that asketh your enemies, bless them that thee, and from him that would curse you, do good to them that borrow of thee turn not thou hate you,
for them away.
which despitefully use you and 43 Ye have heard that it hath persecute you ; was sometimes employed by the poor ceed the required limit in rendering as a covering in sleep during the night. service. Hence Moses enacted that this gar- 42. Him that asketh thee. It is ment, if given as a pledge, should not taken for granted, that the person realbe retained over night. Ex. 22: 26, ly needs the favor which he asks. In 27. Deut. 24: 13. In conformity, such a case, give. Exercise no maprobably, to such a practice, Jesus lignant, unkind feelings, but let love spoke of the under garinent being prevail. And, as a consequence, if taken away from a person. The idea you refuse a request, be sure that you of the Saviour in this verse is, If a do not refuse it under the influence of person seeks to draw thee into con- an unkind, unaccommodating spirit. troversy, and to take one of thy gar- || Borrow of thee; when he really ments, indulge not a spirit of revenge; needs what he asks for, and will be instead of retaliating, give up to him subjected to privation if he does not thy mantle also, and submit to any obtain what he seeks, do not repulse inconvenience.
him; but meet his request in kindness 41. Compel. In Persia, the king's and accommodation. orders were conveyed by public cou- 43. It hath been said; that is, by riers, who had changes of horses at the ancient teachers. To another persuitable distances, and who were also version, introduced in former times, empowered to press into service any Jesus next directed his hearers; and person, or any thing, that might be exhibited the proper view of the subneeded for performing the king's busi- ject. || Thy neighbor. Lev. 19: 18.
The word which expressed this This word, like the word brother, compulsion to the public service was properly signified any other person. adopted in other countries to express Besides this broad signification, it was a similar idea. An instance of this used, in a limited sense, to mean a rel. compulsory service is mentioned in ative, a friend, one belonging to the Matt. 27 : 32, and Mark 15: 21. It same country, or professing the same may easily be conceived that a man religion. This more limited significathus ordered by public authority, and tion was applied to the word by the diverted from his own business, would Jewish teachers; and hence they made cherish bitter feelings towards the gov- the addition which here follows — and ernment, or the officer who compelled hate thine enemy. The word enemy him, and would gladly make hís es- was applicable not only to persons who cape. This is a case somewhat akin, belonged to a nation engaged in hosat least as to the temper which it tilities with the Jews, but to people of might excite, and as to the temper in other nations and other religions than which it should be met, to those just their own. The Jews were taught to produced. Jesus enjoined that it be love Jews; but were permitted, by met in a spirit of accommodating sub- their teachers here spoken of, to hate mission, and with a willingness even people of other nations. to do and to bear double of what was 44. Love your enemies; others bedemanded. Let there be no malice, sides those of your own country and out, on the contrary, a readiness to ex- | of your own religion; those, even,