Brother Virgil L Killebrew Men’s Leadership Training Class Minister Robert L Turner, Instructor Assignment: Exegesis of Matthew Chapter 5 Date:
Matthew Chapter 5
5:1 [A] Wherever Jesus went people followed, beginning from his birth in a cradle the Inn at Bethlehem when wise men from the east came to worship him (Mt 2:10), to Simon Peter and his brother, Andrew ( 4:18-20) to James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John (4:21-22) even unto the multitudes that followed him after he began to teach and to preach and to heal all about Galilee (4:25) [B] God gave Moses the law amidst thunderings and lightning and thick smoke on the top of Mount Sinai, warning the people to keep their distance lest they die (Ex 19:12-13), but Grace and Peace came on a quiet hillside near Capernaum where the people were encouraged to come near and listen. Also, in Mount Sinai the Children of Israel had pleaded with Moses to speak with them, “. . .but let not God speak unto us, lest we die.” (Ex 20:19) 5:2 [A] On Mount Sinai the people stood afar off (Ex 20:23) while Moses went up to receive the law from God. Jesus' disciples came directly to the Master to receive the Word of Grace. [B] In Mount Sinai a trumpet sounded exceeding loud heralding God's presence (Ex 19:16), and it sounded long and waxed louder and louder before the voice of God spoke (Ex 19:18). This blaring of trumpets must have cut deep into the Israelites' hearts and minds – even into the very marrow of their bones, and no doubt that it obtained the desired effect upon them: Fear and Awe. But Christ, when he teaches his disciples, he speaks in a quiet, strong, authoritative voice of power and confidence, so much so that the people stand in awe of his doctrine, not of his presence or the sound of his voice. 5:3 [A] Jesus begins his sermon with the word “blessed,” which he uses to describe his first nine conclusions or doctrinal positions to his disciples. In context this term may best be interpreted to mean “divine favor” i.e. “Divine favor is given to the. . .” [B] “. . .Blessed are the poor in spirit. . .” The poor in spirit have nothing of which to be ashamed for James asks in, 2:5 “. . .Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?. . .” and 2Cor 6:10 says there are those who being “. . .as poor, yet making many rich. . .” Isaiah 66:20 assures us “. . .but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word . . ..” Finally, proverbs 13:7 informs us that “. . There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing; there is that maketh himself poor yet hath great riches..” [C] “. . .For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . .” In Mt 4:17 Jesus began to preach “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. . .” but he teaches in Jn3:3 that “. . .except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of god. . .” and 1Pet 2:11 warns to “. . .abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. . .” Jesus answered hostile accusers who called him the servant of belial, in Luke 11:20 “. . .But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of god is come upon you. . .” He then cautions in Mt 7:21 that “. . .not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but him that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. . .” Then Jesus answered the Pharisees about the kingdom of god, in Luke 17:20-21 “. . .the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, Lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you. . . ” Having located the kingdom Jesus then used parables to help his disciples better understand and visualize or imagine the kingdom. In Mt 13 24-30 it is likened to a field sown with good and bad seed which must be grown together but shall be separated at harvest time. In Mt 13:31-32 it is likened unto a mustard seed which is the smallest of seeds but when it is grown is the greatest of herbs. In Mt 33, it is seen to be like leaven hid in three measures of meal. In Mt 13:45-46 the kingdom of God is likened unto a pearl of great price. In Mt 13:47 – 50 Jesus tells his disciples that the kingdom of God is like a net cast into the sea brining in both good and evil fish then separating them. In verse 51 he questions them “. . .have ye understood all these things? . . .” I'm Mt13:52 “Then he said unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure
things new and old . . ..” Mt 5:4 [A] “. . .Blessed are they which mourn. . .” Those who mourn are grieved or have sorrows. Griefs and sorrows are the results hardships be they physical ailments, bodily injury, circumstantial distress, mental or spiritual vexation, or deep sorrow or regret. In Is 53:3 the Lord is said to be “. . .a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . .” In Psalms 6:7 the writer complains “. . .mine eye is consumed because of grief. . .” [B] “. . .for they shall be comforted. . .” Is 55:4 assures us that “. . .surely he hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows. . .” that is to say, he has strengthened our spirits, encouraged and consoled us, given us aid and support, and relieved us of our many distresses. Gn 50:21 comforts us in this manner: “. . .Now fear ye not; I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them. . .” Ps 23:4 offers this: “. . .thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. . .” Ps 119:50 “. . .This is my comfort in my affliction; for thy word hath quickened me. . .” Is 40:1 reports the words of the prophet: “. . .Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith God.. . .” and in Luke 19:25 we read “. . .But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.. . .” And finally we read, in 1Pt 5:6 “. . .Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon him, for He careth for you. . .” Mt 5:5 [A] “Blessed are the meek. . .” These are the gentle, the humble, the lowly in heart, but do not allow this to be a hindrance to you. Num 12:3 tells us that “. . .Moses was very meek, above all men. . .” Ps 22:26 says “. . .The meek shall eat and be satisfied. . .” Ps 37:11 reports “. . .But the meek shall inherit the earth; and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. . ..” Ps 45:4 encourages “. . . in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness. . .” Ps 149:4 tells us that “. . .the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation. . .” And not only that, but in Is 61:1 we learn that “. . .The Spirit of then Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek. . .” and for the ultimate in comforts Jesus says, in Mt 11:29 “. . .Take my yoke upon you, for I am lowly and meek in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. . .” [B] “. . .for they shall inherit the earth. . .” To inherit is to take possession of a legacy or property or promise as a rightful heir, and an heir is the son of the property owner. In Neh 9:6 (KJV) We read “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.“ This earth he bequeaths to His meek and humble heirs. Rm 8:17 tells us that if we are His children then we are “. . .heirs according to the promise. . .” and Gal 4:7 informs us “. . .wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a Son; and if a Son, then an heir of God through Christ. . .” and Titus 3:7 encourages us “. . .that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of Eternal Life. . .” Heb 1:7 cautions us . . .“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with Sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?. . .” Jas 2:5 asks “. . .hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that Love Him?. . .” Mt 5:6 [A] “. . .which do hunger. . .” To hunger is to crave or strongly desire food. Dt 8:3 is very instructive in pointing out that “. . .he humbled thee, and suffered the to hunger, and fed the with manna. . .that He might make thee to know that man doth live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live. . .” Yet in Dt 28:47-8 there is a warning given “. . .Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things. . .” And he promises, Dt 32:24 “. . .They shall be burnt with hunger. . .” and in Jb 18:12 “. . .His strength shall be hungerbitten. . .” Ps 34:10 says that “. . .The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. . .” Ps 107:9 comforts us with the promise that “. . .he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. . .” [B] “. . .and thirst. . .” Jgs 15:18 tells of Samson complaining, “. . .And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?. . .” Ps 42:2 describes how one the Psalmist described his want of God, “. . .My soul thirsteth for God;The living God. . .” But Amos 8:11 prophesies “. . .Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land: not a
famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. . .” [C] “. . . for they shall be comforted. . .” But there is comfort assured to those who do hunger and thirst, for Is 49:10 reports that “. . .they shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shalt the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. . .” Jesus says, in Jn 6:35 “. . . I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth in me shall never thirst. . .” and, In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood up and cried, saying in Jn 7:37-8 “. . .If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth upon me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. . .” [D] Righteousness implies a right, proper and genuinely intimate relationship with God. It is the standard by which the world will be judged. In Gn 15:6 “. . .And he believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness. . .,” Abraham had just such a relationship. Man can not lay claim to righteousness. Dt 9:4 “. . .Speak not in thine heart after the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, for my righteousness the Lord hath brough me in to possess the land. . .” But God, who knows the hearts of all men, can proclaim it. Dt 9:7 “. . .O Lord, Righteousness belongeth unto thee. . .” God's knowledge of man's heart can expose the truth behind false appearances. Mt 25:28 speaks thusly, “. . .Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. . .” The Gospel of Christ reveals the Righteousness of God. Paul,in Ro 1:16-17, said, “. . .For I am mot ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. . .for therein is the Righteousness of God revealed. . .” Some have attempted to establish their own righteousness. Rom 10:3 “. . .For they being ignorant of God's Righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God, , ,” But the standard was too high for them to humanly attain. Mt 5:20 “. . .That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. . .” It is evident that the Law cannot make men righteous before God. Phil 3:9 “. . .Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. . .” Because without faith it is impossible to please God. Ro 10:4 “. . .For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. . .” Therefore do we have hope; Gal 5:5 “. . .For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of Righteousness by faith. . .” Mt 5:7 [A] “. . .Blessed are the merciful. . .” The merciful are forgiving and compassionate, and the most forgiving and compassionate is God himself, for in Ex 34:6 He proclaims “. . .The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty. . .” Therefore when David, after sinning with Bathsheba, knew that his only hope of forgiveness was in God's mercy and compassion, he cried out to God in Ps 51:1 “. . .Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. . .” [B] “. . . for they shall obtain mercy. . .” Ps 18:25 says, “. . .With the merciful thou shalt show thyself merciful. . .” Prv 11:17 tells us that “. . .The merciful man doeth good to his own soul. . .” Lam 3:2 informs us that “. . .it is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. . .” God's mercies are his to give, for He says, in Ro 9:15 , , ,I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. . .” Mt 5:8 [A] “. . .Blessed are the Pure. . .” That which is pure is free of contamination or impurities. The spiritually pure are guileless, faultless, and guiltless. They are clean, and without moral corruption. In Prov 20:9 the question is put: “. . .Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?. . .” they who can answer in the affirmative may take comfort in Prov 21:8, which says “. . .as for the Pure, his work is right. . .” knowing that a Pure heart gives gracious lips: Prov 22:11 “. . .He that loveth Pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend. . .” And since God is the ultimate King, Hb 1:13 says of God, “. . .thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. . .” nor shall those who practice in iniquity be able to look on God. Paul urges believers in 2Cor 6:6 that in all things we should approve ourselves as the ministers of God: “. . .by Pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by Love unfeigned. . .” David, after sinning with Bathsheba, prayed to God in Ps 51:10: “. . .Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me. . .” Similarly Isaiah urges the people, in 61:1 “. . .Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes: cease to do evil. . .” And as our bodies are the temples of God, Isaiah 50:11 encourages us to “. . .Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from there; touch ye no unclean thing: go ye out of the midst of her: be ye clean, that bear the vessels of God. . .” Hoping to be made clean, a leper came to Jesus in Mt 8:2, saying “. . .Lord. If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. . .” And Jesus said to him in v 4: “.
. .I will: be thous clean. . .” [B] “. . . in heart. . .” The heart is, figuratively, the seat of the emotions – sometimes understood as the mind, or soul. However, ther is a difference between the man and God, because in 1Sam 16:7 we read “. . .For the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on then heart. . .” David asked God, in 1Kgs 3:9 “. . .Give thy servant an understanding heart to judge the people. . .” knowing, as he said in 1Chron 29:17: ”. . .I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. . .” Prov 23:7 gives more light when it says of a man “. . .for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. . .” Jeremiah warns , in 17:9-10: “. . .The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doing. . .” to clarify the deceptiveness of the heart, Acts 15:19 reports “. . .for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the thin gs which defile a man. . .” [C] “. . .for they shall see God. . .” God is the eternal, infinite Spirit; the Creator, Redeemer, and Sovereign Lord.
Mt 5:13 [A] “. . .Ye are the salt of the earth. . .” As one of the most essential articles of food, salt symbolized hospitality. of grace in
the heart (Mark 9:50); of wisdom or good sense in speech (Col. 4:6);—New Unger's Bible Dictionary
[B] “. . .but if the salt have lost his savor. . .” the ministry of good men, as opposing the spiritual corruption of sinners;
graceless believers as salt without savor (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50); from the belief that salt would, by exposure to the air, lose its virtue; salt pits was a figure of desolation (Zeph. 2:9); “salted with fire” (Mark 9:49) refers to the purification of the good and punishment of sinners. —New Unger's Bible Dictionary Lost its savor (ASV). Whether this can happen chemically is disputed. Thomson avows that the impure salt of Palestine may become insipid (The Land and the Book, p. 381). However, Christ's illustration may be hypothetical to show the anomaly of a useless believer— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Mt 5:14 [A] “. . .Ye are the light of the world. . .” Believers function positively to illuminate a world in darkness because they possess Christ, who is the Light (Jn 8:12).— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Ex 25:31-40 Chapter 25Let us remember that we are the temples of the Holy Ghost, that we have the law of God in our hearts, that we are to live a life of communion with God, feast on his ordinances, and are the light of the world, if indeed we are followers of Christ. - Matthew Henry Commentary [B] “. . .A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. . .” Christ's light should shine forth publicly, like the cluster of white stone houses in a Palestinian city. It should also be displayed in our individual, private relationships - Matthew Henry Commentary Mt 5:15 [A] “. . .Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel. . .” The candlestick represents the light of God's word and Spirit, in and through Christ Jesus, afforded in this dark world to his believing people, to direct their worship and obedience, and to afford them consolations—Matthew Henry Concise Mt 5:16 [A] “. . .let your light so shine before men. . .” Our light must shine, by doing such good works as men may see. What is between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; but that which is of itself open to the sight of men, we must study to make suitable to our profession, and praiseworthy. [B] “. . . they may see your good works and Glorify your Father. . .” We must aim at the glory of God.—Matthew Henry Concise Mt 5:17 [A] “. . .Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. . .” The law of Moses was a divinely instituted rule of life mediated through Moses to govern God’s covenant people, Israel, in Canaan. It regulated their common, everyday conduct and was a covenant of works (Exodus 19:5-6). —New Unger's Bible Dictionary Let none suppose that Christ allows his people to trifle with any commands of God's holy law. No sinner partakes of Christ's justifying righteousness, till he repents of his evil deeds. The mercy revealed in the gospel leads the believer to still deeper self-abhorrence. The law is the Christian's rule of duty, and he delights therein. If a man, pretending to be Christ's disciple, encourages himself in any allowed disobedience to the holy law of God, or teaches others to do the same, whatever his station or reputation among men may be, he can be no true disciple.
Christ's righteousness, imputed to us by faith alone, is needed by every one that enters the kingdom of grace or of glory; but the new creation of the heart to holiness, produces a thorough change in a man's temper and conduct. —Matthew Henry Concise [B] “. . . But to fulfill.. . .” Christ fulfilled the OT by obeying the Law perfectly, by fulfilling its types and prophecies, and by paying the full penalty of the Law as the Substitute for sinners. — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:18 [A] “. . .till heaven and earth pass. . .” Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away Matt 24:35 (KJV) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Rev 21:1 (KJV) Mt 5:19 [A] “. . . shall break one of these least commandments . . .” This Scripture declares that the law shall not pass until it is fulfilled. This has to do with observance, for it is added: "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments... shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." It is the law of Moses intensified. In so doing, Christ transfers the obligation from the outward act to the attitude of the heart. This intensifies, rather than relieves, its legal character. It carries with it the most scorching condemnation possible to law. The Christian is not under law. He has no "altar" other than Christ (Heb. 13:10).—Grace: An Exposition of God's Marvelous Gift Mt 5:20 [A] “. . . except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees . . .” We may understand this as "your practice of religion." The Pharisees' righteousness was external; it should be internal.—Ryrie Study Notes Distinguished from the righteousness of scribes and Pharisees, which consisted in mere outward, unspiritual conformity to the Mosaic code, even though scrupulously observed. The believer's righteousness is based upon that imputed righteousness of Christ obtained by faith (Rom 3:21, 22), which enables him to live righteously (Rom 8:2-5).— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:21 [A] “. . . Thou shalt not kill . . .” Whosoever shall kill marks a traditional enlargement of Ex 20:13, but it still deals only with the act of murder. The Jewish teachers had taught, that nothing except actual murder was forbidden by the sixth commandment. Thus they explained away its spiritual meaning—Matthew Henry Concise.— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, [B] “. . .shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment . . .” The Jewish civil court, as based on Deut 16:18Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:22 [A] “. . . whosoever is angry with his brother . . .” Christ showed the full meaning of this commandment; according to which we must be judged hereafter, and therefore ought to be ruled now. All rash anger is heart murder. By our brother, here, we are to understand any person, though ever so much below us, for we are all made of one blood.—Matthew Henry Concise [B] “. . . whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council . . .” "Raca," is a scornful word, and comes from pride—Matthew Henry Concise [C]“. . . whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire . . .” "Thou fool," is a spiteful word, and comes from hatred. Malicious slanders and censures are poison that kills secretly and slowly.—Matthew Henry Concise [D] 1) “. . . shall be in danger of the judgment . .:.” Dt 1:17: Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. 2Co 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. [D] 2) “. . . shall be in danger of the council . .:.” As early as Gilgamesh, cities in Mesopotamia had a council of elders whom the king had to consult before beginning a war. The Council = The Sanhedrin. Mt 12:14: Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against
him, how they might destroy him. Mk 14:55: And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.
[D] 3) “. . . shall be in danger of hell fire . . . ” Gehenna of fire. Literally a reference to the valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem, where rubbish, offal, and carcasses were burned, and thus a graphic metaphor for the place of eternal torment— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:23 [A] “. . . thy brother hath ought against thee . . .” if you have wronged your brother. We ought carefully to preserve Christian
love and peace with all our brethren; and if at any time there is a quarrel, we should confess our fault, humble ourselves to our brother, making or offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed: and we should do this quickly; because, till this is done, we are unfit for communion with God in holy ordinances.—Matthew Henry Concise— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:24 [A] “. . . first be reconciled to thy brother . . .” obligates the would-be worshiper to make amends with the offended beforehand to make his gift acceptable Psalms 66:18 (KJV) “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me“ Mt 5:25 [A] “. . . Agree with thine adversary quickly . . .” An opponent at law (cf. Lk 12:58, 59). Since judgment is on the way, offenders should hasten to square accounts— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, What is here said is very applicable to our being reconciled to God through Christ. While we are alive, we are in the way to his judgment-seat; after death, it will be too late. When we consider the importance of the case, and the uncertainty of life, how needful it is to seek peace with God, without delay!— Matthew Henry Concise [B] “. . . the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. . .”. If, the prison is symbolic of hell, the implied possibility of payment and release applies only to the parable, not to its interpretation. Scripture is clear that those in hell are there forever (Mt 25:41, 46), because their debt is unpayable.— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:27 [A] “. . . Thou shalt not commit adultery . . .” Jesus indicated that the sin described in Ex 20:14 lies deeper than the overt act. Every one that looketh characterizes the man whose glance is not checked by holy restraint, and who forms the impure purpose of lusting after her. The act will follow when opportunity occurs. — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:29 [A] “. . . And if thy right eye offend thee, . . .” To the man who blames the sin on his eye, Jesus shows the logical procedure to follow. As we amputate diseased organs to save lives, so an eye (or a hand) so hopelessly affected needs drastic treatment. Of course, Jesus wanted his hearers to see that the real source of sin lies not in the physical organ but in the heart. A man's evil heart must be changed if he would escape final ruin in hell — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Victory over the desires of the heart, must be attended with painful exertions. But it must be done. Everything is bestowed to save us from our sins, not in them. All our senses and powers must be kept from those things which lead to transgression. Those who lead others into temptation to sin, by dress or in other ways, or leave them in it, or expose them to it, make themselves guilty of their sin, and will be accountable for it. If painful operations are submitted to, that our lives may be saved, what ought our minds to shrink from, when the salvation of our souls is concerned? There is tender mercy under all the Divine requirements, and the grace and consolations of the Spirit will enable us to attend to them. – Matthew Henry Concise This is strong language, used to emphasize the comparison; i.e., sin is so dangerous, because it leads to eternal condemnation, that it would be better to lose hands or eyes temporarily than to lose life eternally.—Ryrie Study Notes Mt 5:31 [A] “. . . let him give her a writing of divorcement: , . . .” Mosaic regulation protected woman from man's caprice by insisting on the certificate of divorce. “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. “Deut 24:1 (KJV) Divorce was, however, a concession to human sin. “ Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. “Matt 19:8 (KJV) The Mosaic grounds of "uncleanness" had been variously explained, from adultery (Shammai) to the most trivial dislike by the husband (Hillel). In Jewish custom only men could obtain divorces. — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:32 [A] “. . . saving for the cause of fornication, : , . . .” Some restrict this term to Jewish custom, as describing unfaithfulness during the betrothal period, and thus find no cause whatever for divorce today. Others see "fornication" as equivalent to "adultery" in this passage, and thus the one cause for divorce allowed by Christ. Certainly there are no grounds beyond this possible exception.— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, It is disallowed except for unchastity, which may mean (1) adultery, (2) unfaithfulness during the period of betrothal or (3) marriage between near relatives .—Ryrie Study Notes
Mt 5:33 [A] “. . . Thou shalt not forswear thyself : , . . .” Swear falsely, perjure oneself. — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Make false vows, or perjure yourself. Oaths taken in the name of the Lord were binding, and perjury was strongly condemned in the law “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Ex 20:7 (KJV) Every oath contained an affirmation or promise and an appeal to God as the omniscient punisher of falsehoods, which made the oath binding. Thus we find phrases like "as the Lord lives" “For, as the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. “ 1 Sam 14:39 (KJV). The emphasis on the sanctity of oaths led to the feeling that ordinary phrasing need not be truthful or binding. Jesus, however, taught that we should say and mean yes or no and never equivocate.—Ryrie Study Notes There is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong, provided they are taken with due reverence. But all oaths taken without necessity, or in common conversation, must be sinful, as well as all those expressions which are appeals to God, though persons think thereby to evade the guilt of swearing. The worse men are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are, the less there is need for them. Our Lord does not enjoin the precise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny, but such a constant regard to truth as would render oaths unnecessary . —Matthew Henry Concise Mt 5:34 [A] “. . . Swear not at all : , . . .” “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” James 5:12 (KJV) It is difficult to find any loopholes in this directive, thus no believer should employ an oath to authenticate his statements. Even the state will usually allow an affirmation instead of an oath if requested. By heaven. Jews used their ingenuity to classify various oaths, and generally discounted those that did not mention God specifically. Jesus showed that such deceptively subtle reasoning was false, for God is still implicated when men invoke heaven, earth, or Jerusalem; and even swearing by one's own head implicates the One who holds the power over it.— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The sin of swearing is condemned; but how many make light of common profane swearing! Such swearing expressly throws contempt upon God's name and authority. This sin brings neither gain, nor pleasure, nor reputation, but is showing enmity to God without occasion and without advantage It shows a man to be an enemy to God, however he pretends to call himself by his name, or sometimes joins in acts of worship. But the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.—Matthew Henry Concise [B] “. . . neither by heaven: , . . .” Jews used their ingenuity to classify various oaths, and generally discounted those that did not mention God specifically. Jesus showed that such deceptively subtle reasoning was false, for God is still implicated when men invoke heaven, earth, or Jerusalem— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:36 [A] “. . . Neither shalt thou swear by thy head , . . .” And even swearing by one's own head implicates the One who holds the power over it.— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:37 [A] “. . . But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. . . .” A solemn affirmation or denial is sufficient for a believer.— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, [B] “. . . whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. . .” . By adding oaths to our statements, we either admit that our usual speech cannot be trusted, or else we lower ourselves to the level of a lying world, that follows the evil one. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:38 [A] “. . . An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth . . . .” A judicial principle that made the punishment fit the crime. However, it was not intended to permit men to take vengeance into their own hands “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. “ Lev 19:18 (KJV) .— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord's keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right
principles will have most peace and comfort. —Matthew Henry Concise The lex talionis (law of retaliation) did provide for the ending of feuds, but Christ showed another way to do the same —Ryrie Study Notes Mt 5:39 [A] “. . . resist not evil . . . .” Probably, "the evil man.” Jesus shows the Kingdom citizens how they should respond to personal injury. A child of God should willingly suffer loss by assault (v. 39), lawsuits (v. 40), compulsory regulations (v. 41), begging (v. 42 a), and loans (v. 42b). — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:43 [A] “. . . Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy . . . . ” Love thy neighbor. . .” Lev 19:18, 34 summarizes the entire second table of the Law. Hate thine enemy. This unscriptural addition missed the heart of the law of love; yet it must have been a popular interpretation. The Manual of Discipline from Qumran contains the following rule: "... to love all that He has chosen and hate all that He has rejected" (1 QS I. 4).— The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The Jewish teachers by "neighbor" understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends.—Matthew Henry Concise Mt 5:44 [A] “. . . Love your enemies . . .” The love (agapaō) enjoined is that intelligent love which comprehends the difficulty and extends itself to rescue the enemy from his hate. Such love is akin to God's loving action toward rebellious men. — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all, especially to their souls. We must pray for them. While many will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. .—Matthew Henry Concise Mt 5:45 [A] “. . . That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. . . ” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV) and thus is a demonstration that those who so love are true sons of their Father. Mt 5:46 [A] “. . . For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? . . . ” Publicans were Jewish collectors of the Roman taxes, hated by their countrymen because of their flagrant extortions and their association with the despised conquerors. — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Mt 5:47 [A] “. . . And if ye salute your brethren only . . . ” Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect. It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. “ 1 Peter 1:15-16 (KJV) Surely more is to be expected from the followers of Christ than from others; surely more will be found in them than in others. Let us beg of God to enable us to prove ourselves his children.—Matthew Henry Concise Mt Mt 5:48 [A] “. . . Be ye therefore perfect, . . . ” is to be restricted to the matter of love in this context. As God's love is complete, not omitting any group, so must the child of God strive for maturity in this regard. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;. . .”Eph 5:1 (KJV). — The Wycliffe Bible Commentary The word “perfect” implies full development, growth into maturity of godliness, not sinless perfection. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Eph 4:12-13 (KJV) In this passage the Father's kindness, not His sinlessness, is the point in question. “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.“ Luke 6:35-36 (KJV) —Scofield's Study Notes