The Sermon on the Mount: The Six Antitheses
Part Two (Matt. 5:33-48)
Based on the Greek Text


Matthew 5:33

palin hkousate oti erreqh toiV arcaioiV ouk epiorkhseiV, apodwseiV de twi kuriwi touV orkouV sou

"not a quotation from the OT, as in the first two antitheses, but a crystallization of the OT on the subject (cf. Lev 19:12; Num 30:2; Deut 23:21-23; . . . . The OT clearly emphasizes that oaths have a binding character. The verb epiorkein, 'swear falsely,' can also mean 'break an oath' (cf. Did. 2:3)" (WBC 127).

epiorkeseis epiorkhseiVimperative future s. act cohortative indicative 2 sg epiorkew "do [not] swear falsely, do not break your oath" (A/G 296).

    "The verb epiorkein, 'swear falsely,' can also mean 'break an oath' (cf. Did. 2:3)" (WBC 127).

apodoseis apodwseiV

imperative future s. act cohortative indic 2 sg apodidwmi: "render, give"

tous orkous touV orkouV 2 accus dir obj masc plur orkoV, o: "oaths.

Matthew 5:34

egw de legw umin mh omasai olwV mhte en twi ouranwi oti qronoV estin tou qeou

omasai omasai 1 con aor s. act infinitive omnuw: "don't ever swear" [verbal infinitive of command):

    "(indirect command and aorist infinitive) Certainly Jesus does not prohibit oaths in acourt of justice for he himself answered Caiaphas on oath. Paul made solemn appeals to God (I Thess. 5:27; I Cor. 15:31). Jesus prohibits all forms of profanity. The Jews were pastmaters in the art of splitting hairs about allowable and forbidden oaths of forms of profanity just as modern Christians employ a great variety of vernacular 'cuss-words' and excuse themselves because they do not use the more flagrant forms" (RWP 1:47).

    "it seems to be assumed that oath taking is in practice more often a means of avoiding what is promised than of performing it (cf. the polemic specifically against the Pharisees in 23:16-22)" (WBC:127).

thronos qronoV 2 pred nom masc sg qronoV, o: "throne":

    "Thus, one should not swear by heaven, for it is the throne of God. That is, the oath is of a binding character, and to swear by heaven--or by anything else one might care to mention--is much more significant than it may initially sound. Each of the four 'because' clauses finally evokes God himself: heaven is his throne and earth is his footstool . . .; Jerusalem is the city of the great King . . .; and finally even one's own head, or the hairs thereof, is outside one's control (but subject o God's control, as the text implies . . .). . . . All oath taking implicates God, is in effect to swear in his name, and thus all oath taking is to be understood as possessing an absolute character. But whereas this might well have served the point Jesus wanted to make,. i.e., the necessity of an absolute integrity . . ., he goes further to the quite shocking initial statement that oath taking is altogether unnecessary, and since it serves no purpose, it should be avoided. Therein lies the real antithesis. Josephus (J.W. 2.8.6 %$135), describing the Essenes, writes: 'Any word of theirs has more force than an oath, searing they avoid, regarding it as worse than perjury, for they say that one who is not believed without an appeal to God stands condemned already.' Philo (Prob. 84) also notes of the Essenes that they show their love of God among other ways 'by abstinence from oaths, by veracity' (WBC:128).

    "On the basis of Is. 66:1 ff., heaven is for Jesus the throne of God, so that in swearing by heaven we swear by God as the One who sits on the throne (Mt. 5:33; 23:2). The OT passage which Jesus adduces with no fear of anthropomorphism is quoted in Stephen's speech (Ac. 7:49) as prophetic witness to the fact that God cannot be enclosed in a building made with the hands of men" (TDNT 3:164 by Schmitz).

Matthew 5:35

mhte en thi ghi oti upopodion estin twn podwn autou mhte eiV Ierosoluma oti poliV estin tou megalou basilewV

Matthew 5:36

mhte en thi kefalhi sou omoshiV oti ou dunasai mian trica leukhn poihsai h melainan

Matthew 5:37

estw de o logoV umwn nai nai ou ou. to de perisson toutwn ek tou ponhrou estin


Matthew 5:38

hkousate oti erreqh ofqalmon anti ofqalmou kai odonta anti odontoV

Matthew 5:39

egw de legw umin mh antisthnai twi ponhrwi all ostiV se rapizei eiV thn dexian siagona sou, steyon autwi kai thn allhn

antistenai antisthnai 2 con aor. s. act infin anqisthmi verbal infin of command "do [not} resist," "don't ever resist"

  1. "indirect command"; again a second aor infin. "The language of Jesus is bold and picturesque and is not to be pressed too literally. Paradoxes startle and make us think. We are expected to fill in the other side of the picture. One thing certainly is meant by Jesus and that is that personal revenge is taken out of our hands, and that applies to 'lynch=law.' Aggressive or offensive war by nations is also condemned, but not necessarily defensive war or defense against robbery and murder. Professional pacifism may be mere cowardice"(RWP 1:48).

twi ponhrwi

  1. "If an evil person were in view, one would expect an anarthrous noun. It is much more likely that the evangelist has in mind 'the evil deed.' This is interpreted first in terms of nonretaliation, as in the first illustration, then in terms of compliance with unreasonable requests (vv 40-41), and finally in terms of simply charity (v 42)" (WBC:130-131).

  2. RWP 1:48 is undecided if it is a person or deed referred to here.

  3. My only problem with WBC is that I am not sure it matters because the "evil deed" is being perpetrated by the "evil person."

rapizei rapizei prog pres s. act potential indic 3 sg rapizw

  1. "The first illustration refers to someone striking 'the right [dexian] cheek.' This is apparently more than merely a physical slap of the cheek . . . . The specifying of the right cheek (which is lacking in the parallel in Luke 6:29) may mean a blow with the back of the hand (assuming the striker is righthanded), and thus make the personal insult even more serious . . . "(WBC:131).

  2. ""strike with the open hand, esp. in the face, slap" (A/G:741).

strepson steyon 1 con aor s. act imper command 2 sg strefw "turn":

  1. thn allhn "'turn to that person the other cheek,' means to avoid retaliation . . . and instead to put oneself intentionally in a condition of continuing vulnerability. Jesus, of course, supremely modeled this attitude in the passion narrative . . . " He also cites Rom. 12:19; 2 Cor. 11:20; and 1 Thess. 5:15 (WBC:131).

  2. It is interesting that RWP claims that Jesus did anything but turn the other cheek at His trial.

Matthew 5:40

kai twi qelonti soi kriqhnai kai ton citwna sou labein, afeV autwi kai to imation

krithenai kriqhnai 1 con aor depon pass krinw subst infin--dir obj "to judge"

ton chitona ton citwna 3 accus dir obj masc sg citwn, wnoV, o:

  1. "tunic, shirt, a garment worn next to the skin, and by both sexes" (A/G:890).

  2. "The second illustration refers to legal action . . ., the result of which could be the loss of one's citwn ('tunic' or 'inner garment'). Jesus teaches not only that one should give up what one is sued for but that one should also voluntarily give up one's imation (the more essential 'outer garment,' i.e., robe or cloak( as well. Cf. 1 Cor 6:7 for Paul's similar attitude. Along the same lines, in the third illustration, when one is pressed into service by the military authorities to assist in bearing a load (this is the meaning of the semi-technical term aggareuein . . .), one should not simply go the required mile but an extra one too. Thus, these unjustifiable requests should be complied with--indeed, the response should considerably exceed the requests. Again the perspective of teh kingdom of God is alien to the perspective of the world" (WBC:131).

  3. "The 'coat' [ton citwna] is really a sort of shirt or undergarment and would be demanded at law. A robber would seize first the outer garment or cloke . . . [to imation]. If one loses the undergarment at law, the outer one goes also (the more valuable one)" (RWP 1:48).

to imation to imation 2 accus dir obj neut sg imation, to "of outer clothing cloak, robe" (A/G:377).

Matthew 5:41

kai ostiV se aggareusei milion en upage met autou duo.

aggareusei aggareusei prog pres s. act decl indic 3 sg aggareuw

  1. "press into service, and so force, compel . . . whoever forces you to go one mile" (A/G:6).

  2. "The word is of Persian origin and means public couriers or mounted messengers (aggaroi) who were stationed by the King of Persia at fixed localities, with horses ready for use, to send royal messages from one to another. So if a man is passing a post-station, an official may rush out and compel him to go back to another station to do an errand for the king. This was called impressment into service. This very thing was done to Simon of Cyrene who was thus compelled to carry the cross of Christ (Matt. 27:32, hggareusan)" (RWP 1:48).

  3. In other words, when pressed into service like Simon of Cyrene was, you just might be carrying the cross for Christ. What a blessing and what honor he ended up receiving for being willing to be pressed into service. Carey, many of the things which appear negative in life may just not be all that negative! This being a prime example.

  4. "Along the same lines, in the third illustration, when one is pressed into service by the military authorities to assist in bearing a load (this is the meaning of the semi-technical term aggareuin; cf. its use in 27:32) . . ." (WBC:131).

milion milion 2 accus dir obj neut sg milion, to
  1. "a Roman mile, lit. a thousand paces, then a fixed measure - eight stadia = about 4,854 feet" (A/G:523).

  2. ". . . one should not simply go the required mile but an extra one too. Thus, these unjustifiable requests should be complied with--indeed, the response should considerably exceed the requests. Again, the perspective of teh kingdom of God is alien to the perspective of the world" (WBC:131).

upage upage prog pres s. act imper comm 2 sg upagw
    "go" (A/G:844).

Matthew 5:42

twi aitounti se doV kai ton qelontai apo sou danisasqai mh apostrafhiV

"This verse takes further the line of thought in the preceding verses by teaching a charitable response to all who may ask for something or who may ask to borrow. In these illustrations, it is no longer a matter of response to mistreatment, or even to forced conduct, but to straightforward requests. . . . The only other passage in the NT where the verb danizein ('to borrow, lend') occurs is in Luke 6:34-35 (material that finds no parallel in Matthew), where the point is emphasized that one should lend to those from whom one does not expect to receive repayment. And this teaching occurs in connection with the command 'to love you enemies,' which is the form of Matthew's next antithesis. Quite probably, then, the present verse teaches not simply to give and lend but to do so even to one's enemies, to those from whom one has no hope of repayment. This interpretation is consistent with both preceding and following contexts in Matthew" (WBC:131).

toi aitounti twi aitounti prog pres s. act articular ptc dat indir obj masc sg aitew adj ptc--subst (indir obj): "to the one who asks"

dos doV 2 con aor s. act imper comm 2 sg didwmi "give"

ton thelonta ton qelontai prog pres s. act art ptc accus dir obj masc sg qelw adj ptc-subst (dir obj) "the one who wills, wishes"

danisasthai danisasqai 1 con aor indir midd (A/G:169) infin subst infin--dir obj "[who wishes/wills] to borrow" danizw

apostrapheis apostrafhiV 2 con aor pass subj of prohibition 2 sg apostrefw "don't ever turn away"

  1. "'This is one of the clearest instances of the necessity of accepting the spirit and not the letter of the Lord's commands (see vv. 32, 34, 38). Not only does indiscriminate almsgiving do little but injury to society, but the words must embrace far more than almsgiving' (McNeile). Recall again that Jesus is a popular teacher and expects men to understand his paradoxes. In the organized charities of modern life we are in danger of letting the milk of human kindness dry up" (RWP 1:49).

  2. The emphasis, though, falls on giving, not on accountability. (CF).

"This verse takes further the line of thought in the preceding verses by teaching a charitable response to all who may ask for something or who may ask to borrow. In these illustrations, it is no longer a matter of response to mistreatment, or even to forced conduct, but to straightforward requests. . . . The only other passage in the NT where the verb danizein ('to borrow, lend') occurs is in Luke 6:34-35 (material that finds no parallel in Matthew), where the point is emphasized that one should lend to those from whom one does not expect to receive repayment. And this teaching occurs in connection with the command 'to love you enemies,' which is the form of Matthew's next antithesis. Quite probably, then, the present verse teaches not simply to give and lend but to do so even to one's enemies, to those from whom one has no hope of repayment. This interpretation is consistent with both preceding and following contexts in Matthew" (WBC:131).


Matthew 5:43

hkousate oti erreqh agaphseiV ton plhsion sou kai mishseiV ton ecqron sou

"This final antithesis is climactic in its emphasis on loving one's enemies and in its concluding call to the perfection of the Father. The practice of love is the most fundamental element of the Christian ethic (cf. 22:37-40)" (WBC:133).

agapeseis agaphseiV imperative future s. act cohortative indic 2 sg agapaw "love"

    The first element of the OT tradition, agaphseiV ton plhsion sou, 'you shall love your neighbor,' is drawn verbatim from Lev 19:18 . . ." (WBC:134).

ton plesion ton plhsion 2 accus dir obj masc sg plhsioV, o "your neighbor"

  1. "Our word 'neighbor' is 'nigh-bor,' one who is nigh or near like the Greek word plhsion here. But proximity often means strife and not love. Those who have adjoining farms or homes may be positively hostile in spirit. The Jews came to look on members of the same tribe as neighbours as even Jews everywhere. But they hated the Samaritans who were half Jews and lived between Judea and Galilee. Jesus taught men how to act as neighbours by the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29ff.)" (RWP 1:49).

  2. "The close material link with the OT may be seen in the fact that in 12 NT instances of o plhsion there ia allusion to Lv. 19:18 . . . . First there is the question of the sum of the Law . . . the strong emphasis on the unity of the two commandments seems to be particularly significant in Jesus; there cannot be the one without the other. In Paul the commandment to love one's neighbour as oneself is the fulfillment of the whole Law (Gl. 5:14) or the sum . . . Jm. 2:8 describes the same commandment as the royal law. The fact hat love for God is not mentioned here (cf. R. Aqiba -> n. 38) is adequately explained by the purpose of the passages and does not justify an assumption that the Synoptic logion was not known. . . . 2. More important as regards o plhsion, however, is the debate as to the definition of "neighbour,' which was in full swing in the days of Jesus. . . . What seems to be formally a universalizing of the concept of neighbour and a transcending of the commandment of love is at root a reversal of the question. If a man wants to know precisely whom he is to love and not love, he is asked concerning this supposed love which he wants to dole out so economically when it should burst forth with irresistible force and go to work. By nature love is not primarily act but being: being a son of God, being perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect (v. 45, 48). The love which springs forth from being loved is quite incapable of asking about any limits. . . . The story of the Good Samaritan shows that one cannot say in advance who the neighbour is but that the course of life will make this plain enough. . . . One cannot define one's neighbour: one can only be a neighbour" (TDNT 6:316-317).

miseseis mishseiV

imperative future s. act cohortative indic 2 sg misew "hate" ton echthron ton ecqron substantival use of adj accus dir obj masc sg ecqroV, a, on "your enemy"

    "mishseiV ton ecqron sou, 'you shall hate your enemy.' The latter, though not taught in the OT, is an inference that was commonly drawn, for example, from such passages as Pss 139:21-2; 26:5; or Deut 7:2; 30:7. On the basis of such passages, the Qumranites explicitly taught hatred of those regarded as enemies (1 QS 1:4, 10-11; 9:21-26). Clearly, neither Jesus' listeners nor Matthew's readers would have been surprised by the added words, since the traditional interpretation had become regularly associated with the text. The 'neighbor' meant fellow Jew; the 'enemy' meant Gentile" (WBC:134).

Matthew 5:44

egw de legw umin agapate touV ecqrouV umwn kai proseucesqe uper twn diwkontwn umaV

"This is revolutionary in its newness, havign no exact parallel in the Jewish tradition. (Perhaps the OT comes closest to this in its attiude toward the alien . . .)" (WBC:134)

proseuchesthe proseucesqe prog pres depon middle imper comm 2 plur proseucomai

uper ton diokonton uper twn diwkontwn prog pres s. act articular ptc genitive masc plur diwkw 1. description 2. "on behalf of" 3. "on behalf of the ones persecuting [you]" adj ptc--subst.

Matthew 5:45

opwV genhsqe uioi tou patroV umwn tou en ouranoiV oti ton hlion autou anatellei epi ponhrouV kai agaqouV kai brexei epi dikaiouV and adikouV

"But such an attitude of love toward all, even one's enemies, is of crucial importance to he very identity of the disciple; thus Jesus stresses that such an unrestricted love must be manifested opwV, 'in order that,' you may be uioi tou patroV umwn, 'children [lit. 'sons'] of your Father' (cf. 5:9). To participate in the kingdom relates the disciples to the Father in a unique way, and that unique relationship involves doing his will. This is also the point of v 48. The children of teh kingdom are called to reflect the character of their heavenly Father (cf. Eph 5:1), who has brought to them the kingdom. Th early Church picks up the emphasis of this teaching in such passages as Rom 12:14; 1 Cor 4:12; 1 Pet 3:9. One important foundation for the unheard-of command to love one's enemies is the very fact that God gives his good gifts of sunshine and rain, both to good and to bad. The different words for 'good' . . . and 'bad' . . . represent stylistic variation, as does the chiastic order of the nouns. The 'bad' are, from the context, analogous to the 'enemies' of God. To love one's enemies is, then, to treat them as God treats those who have rebelled against him. Thus the children, the disciples, should imitate their heavenly Father" (WBC:134).

Clause is adverbial purpose--or result.

genesthe genhsqe 2 con aor . . . potent subj 2 plur ginomai "that you might become"

uioi uioi 2 pred nom masc plur uioV, o "sons"

anatellei anatellei prog pres causative active decl indic 3 sg anatellw "He causes the sun to shine" or "He shines the sun"

Matthew 5:46

ean gar agaphshte touV agapwntaV umaV, tiva misqon ecete; ouci kai oi telwnai to auto poiousin;

"The illustrative rhetorical questions make the point that nothing wonderful has been accomplished when one returns good for good. This is but the standard of the world, which even 'tax collectors' . . . and 'Gentiles' . . . are able to fulfill. . . . It is thus no achievement to love those who love you . . . . The ethical standard of the kingdom calls the disciples to a much more radical love that includes even one's enemies--the unrighteous and the evil" (WBC:134-135).

agapesete agaphshte 1 con aor s. act potent subj 2 plur "if you love" agapaw

tous agapontas touV agapwntaV prog pres s. act art ptc accus dir obj masc plur agapaw adj ptc--subst "the one who love"

echete ecete prog pres s. act interrog indic 2 plur ecw "are you having?"

hoi telonai oi telwnai 1 subj nom masc plur telwnhV, o "the tax-collectors," "revenue officer"

    "2. In Judaism

    In Judaism, too, tax-farmers were regarded as people who tried to get money dishonestly. Rabbinic pronouncements of the post-Christian period give us a picture of the position of the publican which does not contradict what we are told in the Synoptic Gospels.

    a. They treat tax-collectors, tax-farmers and thieves as in a special way unclean. It is noted first that they have many contacts with Gentiles. . . .

    b. Publicans and tax-collectors were regarded as thieves or even robbers.

    c. Whereas direct taxes (-> 97, 14 ff.) were regarded as a sign of subjection (Jos. Ant., 18. 4) indirect taxes, especially tolls (-> 97, 25 ff.) seem to have been viewed more as injustice and chicanery. . . .

    B. Jesus and Toll-Collectors

    Primitive Christianity obviously agreed wholeheartedly with the Rabbis and the Jewish people in thinking that publicans alienated themselves in a special way from God and His will by the circumstances of their profession. In Mt. 5:46 f. publicans and sinners are mentioned in the corresponding concluding clauses of a double saying. The rules which they follow in dealings with their ilk serve as a measure whereby to show of what little worth is conduct which recognises only one's peer as neighbour and orientates itself exclusively by what the other does. Publicans and sinners are the opposite of children of teh kingdom of God. . . . It is notable that there are traces of a particularly negative estimation of toll-collectors in Mt. On the other hand it may be pointed out that Matthew is the only one to be called o telwnhV in the list of the twelve apostles. . . . For the tax-collectors mentioned in Lk. 18:9-14 and 19:1-10 are examples of how Israelites who are very far from God miraculously find the way to conversion. Not the publican himself, but his conversion is the model for Lk. . . . The Synoptic Gospels tells how many people who belonged to those circles in teh Jewish people whose convesion was said by the Rabbis to be especially difficult were gripped by the teaching of Jesus, Mk. 2:14 f. and par.; Lk. 15:1; 19:1-10. The decisive point is that neither Jesus Himself nor John the Baptist (Lk. 3:12 f.) denied them access into the saved eschatological community. The possibility of conversion is extended to the tax-gatherer too, and Jesus stresses the fact that there is special joy (-> VI, 492, 1 ff.) in heaven (Mt. 18:13 f.; Lk. 15:7, 10) precisely over the conversion of sinners of this kind. . . . In execution of this particular commission the express summons of the Gospel is to publicans and sinners and to table-fellowship with them. This is why Jesus is called 'gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners,' Mt. 11:19; Lk. 7:34. The term amartwloV, which is used along with telwnhV, is a comprehensive word for the man whose way of life is fundamentally and perpetually in contradiction to God's demands. . . . PUblicans were reviled as amartwloi first by the Pharisees, then by the mass of the people which had to suffer under them in everyday life, cf. Lk. 18:11; 19:7.

    Particular offence must have been caused by the accepting of a publican into the band of disciples. The call of Levi (-> 97, 7f.; 98, 24 f.; IV, 234, 17 ff.) is described in the same way as that of other disciples, cf. Mk. 2:14 with Mk. 1:16-20 and par. After it Jesus takes part in the feast in a house to which many publicans and sinners are invited. In this story it is presupposed that participation in a feast is regarded as a form of particularly close fellowship, Mk. 2:15-17 and par. Lk. 19:1-10 describes with special emphasis how Jesus put up at the house of the head tax-farmer (->98, 10 ff.) Zacchaeus in Jericho, Zacchaeus himself, in accordance with Rabbinic statutes, voluntarily swore that he would make restitution to any whom he had wronged and also give a certain amount of money to the poor. In some cases the rate of restitution would be higher than that required. It is worth nothing that full salvation is promised to this house by Jesus even before the penitent restitution is actually made. Elsewhere, too, Jesus pronounces a word of salvation to confirm that this kind of conversion, and the publican's prayer of repentance (-> I, 331, 30 ff.) is accepted by God, Lk. 18:14. In this connection it may be noted that quite obviously neither John nor Jesus demanded in principle that toll-collectors should give up their profession.

    The conversion of publicans and sinners is not only defended by Jesus, Lk. 15:1-42; Mt. 20:13-16. It is also used as a model and a warning, Mt. 21:28-31. In the parable of the Pharisee and the publican Jesus makes a particularly sharp attack (-> I, 331, 30 ff.) on the Rabbis, Lk. 18:9-14" (TDNT 8:101-105 by Michel).

to auto to auto substantival use of personal adj accus dir obj neut sg autoV, h, o "the same"

poiousin poiousin prog pres s. act interrog indic 3 plur poiew "are they [not] doing?"

Matthew 5:47

kai ean aspashqe touV adelfouV umwn monon, ti perisson poieite; ouci kai oi eqnikoi to auto poiousin;

aspasethe aspashqe 1 con aor depon midd potent subj 2 plur aspazomai

  1. "'salute,' 'freet,' in parallelims with 'love,' means something like 'wish peace and blessing upon' or 'show favor toward'" (WBC:135).

  2. "aspazesqai (etymology uncertain) means to effect aspasmoV, i.e. mostly 'to proffer the greeting' which is customary on entering a house or meeting someone on the street or parting. aspasmoV consists in such gestures as 'embracing,' 'kissing,' 'offering the hand,' and even somtimes proskynesis (-> proskunein). It also consists in words, especially a set form of greeting. . . . The basic meaning of the term seems to be 'to embrace.' It denotes the embrace of greeting as well as the erotic embrace of love, Plat. Symp., 209b; ta . . . swmata ta kala . . . aspazetai. That this meaning is eschoed in epistolary greeting is shown in Ps.-Plato, Ep., 13 (363d): kai touV susfairistaV aspazou uper emou, 'embrace our fellow-players in my place.' From this original concrete meaning the more general sense follows, a. with a personal object, 'to be fond of someone,' 'to like someone,' 'to agree to something,' 'to pay one's respects to someone' . . .

    B. In the NT.

    1. Jesus' Rules of Greeting

    For the Jews greeting is an important ceremony. This may beseen from Jesus' accusation that the scribes love touV aspasmouV en toiV agoraiV (Mk. 12:38; Mt. 23:6 f.; Lk. 20:46; 11:43). Like the seat of honour in the synagogue or at a feast, greeting in the market-place is one of the distinctions to which rabbis raise claim by reason of the dignity of their office. A greeting is given on the street when . . . [shalom] is first addressed to the one who is to be honoured. In their desire for a greeting, the rabbis want to be greeted first and therefore publicly recognised as superiors (cf. Alexander and the high priest in Jos. Ant., 11, 331, -> 496, n 4). Censuring the claim of the rabbis to aspasmoV, Jesus does not wish his disciples to be honoured by greetings but rather to greet others. It is known that this basic principle was taught and practised by many rabbis, especially Jochanan ben Zakkai. . . .According to Mt. 5:47 the aspazesqai of brothers is also customary among the heathen; it is a natural sign of the fellowship created by kinship and friendship. Jesus desires that we should greet on the street those who are not our brothers, and even our enemies, and thus draw them into the circle of our fellowship, not recognising the enmity. . . . How seriously Jesus took this matter of aspazesqai may be seen finally from the rule which He gave His envoys in Mt. 10:12 f.; Lk. 10:5 (for the aspasasqe authn of Mt. Lk, has the more concrete prwton legete eirhne twi oikwi toutwi). The point at issue is that of greeting on entry into a strange house. The customary -> eirhnh soi is the word of greeting. This peace is presented quite realiztically as a dynamis. If the family is worthy of it, i.e., if the messenger is received accordingly (Mt.), then the power of the greeting comes on it as the Spirit comes on the man, or blood or a curse to his destruction. Otherwise the eirhnh of the disciples will return to them. This part of their power of eirhnh will not, then, remain in the house, but will come back to the disciples for other use. The eirhnh is thus a power with which the disciples can spread blessing but the withdrawal of which has the force of a curse. The power is linked with the word and corresponding gesture. The greeting of apostles who are endued with exousia (Mt. 10:1) == dunamiV is thus a sacramental union" (TDNT 1:496-499 by Windisch).

tous adelphous touV adelfouV 2 accus dir obj masc plur adelfoV, o "[your] brothers"

hoi ethnikoi oi eqnikoi adj used substantivally subj nom masc plur eqnikoV, h, on" "the Gentiles"

    B. eqnoV in the NT.

    2. There are 64 passages in teh NT where we have eqnoV or eqnh without any special sense or characteristics. . . . That the expression eqnh refers to all nations may be seen from the addition of panta in Mt. 24:9, 14; 25:32; 28:19; Mk. 11:17; 13:10; Lk. 21:24; 24:47; R. 15:11; Gl. 3:8.

    3. In spite of this addition, however, we sometimes have the feeling--it is hardly more--that the reference is not to all nations including Israel, but to the nations or all nations in distinction from Israel as the . . . [goyim]. Thus R. 15:1, on the basis of Ps. 117:1, summons all nations to praise God. . . .


    The OT and Jewish claim is clearly expressed in Mt. 5:47, where the eqnikoi are set in opposition to those who fulfill the Law. If telwnai is possible instead of eqnikoi, we need hardly be surprised at teh combination of telwnai kai amartwloi of Lk. 15:1. There is no question here of national distinction, but of the inner mark of a representative of the eqnh. This is why -> upokritai is textually possible instead of eqnikoi in Mt. 6:7. The phrase eqnikwV kai out IoudaikwV in Gl. 2:14 makes it clear that the distinction from Judaism is always decisive. If Paul the Jew here sets himself on the side of the eqnikwV zhn, this merely shows us once moreooooo that in the eyes of the apostle mere Ioudaioi are not ranekd above mere eqnh, just as the Lord Himself could call the amartwloi, the telwnai and therefore also the eqnikoi blessed" (TDNT 2:369, 372 by Karl Ludwig Schmidt).

Matthew 5:48

esesqe oun umeiV teleioi wV o pathr umwn o ouranioiV teleioV estin.

"This verse confirms the argument of v 45 [genhsqe uioi tou patroV umwn tou en ouranoiV] and properly forms the conclusion of the pericope. . . . There is a sense, however, in which this verse also serves as the logical conclusion to all the preceding antitheses. The righteousness of the kingdom, which altogether exceeds that of the Pharisees, involves a call to be like the Father" (WBC:135).

esesthe esesqe prog pres . . . imper comm 2 plur eimi "Be" "Continue being"

humeis umeiV emphatic use (so WBC:135) of person pron subj nom masc plur su "you yourselves"

teleioi teleioi adj pred nom masc plur teleioV, a, on "perfect" (A/G:816-817--"having attained the end or purpose, complete, perfect, fully developed in a moral sense"

  1. "The word comes from teloV, end, goal, limit. Here it is the goal set before us, the absolute standard of our Heavenly Father. The word is used also for relative perfection as of adults compared with children" (RWP 1:49). [I have no earthly idea why RWP would give us the second sentence since it is absolutely irrelevant to the context of the verse.]

  2. "teleioV is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word . . . (tamim), used often in the OT to refer to perfection in the sense of ethical uprightness (e.g., Gen. 6:9; 17:1; 2 Sam 22:24-27; . . .) and animals without blemish (esp. Leviticus, Numbers, and Ezekiel). The word can also have the connotation of completeness . . . ., but it should be emphasized that in the sphere of ethics this entails perfection. This call does not differ from that in the OT: 'Be holy for I, the Lord God, am holy' (Lev 19:12; cf. 1 Pet 1:16). . . . The perfection here is the fulfillment of the Mosaic law (pace Guelich, Sermon), but now according to its definitive neighbor (and particularly, love of one's enemies) will be described by Matthew as the commandments upon which thus all the law and the prophets depend (22:40). For Matthew, to be teleioV means to fulfill the law through the manifestation of an unrestricted love (including even enemies) that is the reflection of God's love. This unrestricted love preeminently embodies ethical perfection. This perfection, and nothing less, is that to which Jesus calls his disciiples" (WBC:135-136).

  3. D. teleioV in the New Testament

    1. In Greek thought and usage teleioV often means 'totality'--67, 30 ff. This justifies the rendering of corresponding Hebrew terms by teleioV, primarily in Mt. The one who does the 'whole' will of God (--> line 19 ff.) is . . . the heart which is 'undivided' in obedience to God (-> 72, 11 ff.; line 21 ff.) is . . . . The attitude behind the questions: 'What lack I yet?' (Mt. 19:20), is overcome by the teleion einai (v. 21), which materially includes both. The rich young ruler is not undivided in relation to God. 'Being whole' manifests itself in concrete behaviour; to be undivided in relation to God includes detaching oneself from that which separates from God, ->72, 11 ff. The context in each case supplies the reference. In Mt. 5:48 the 'whole' applies to conduct in relation to men. God is fully 'undivided' in this ->V, 991, 19 ff. He pours out His blessing on the ponhroi . . ., the dikaioi . . ., v. 45. As God is unrestricted in His goodness, as according to v. 48 the disciples of Jesus should be 'total' in their love, bringing even their enemies . . . within its compass, v. 44 f." (TDNT 8:73-74 by Delling).

  4. "The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were 'gods' and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him--for we can prevent Him, if we choose-He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said" (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 4, chapter 9: last paragraph).

ho ouranios o ouranioV articular adj nom masc sg ouranioV, on "the heavenly" (A/G:598--"heavenly, belonging to heaven, coming from or living in heaven")
  1. ""'Heavenly,' of 'what dwells in heaven, comes out of or from it, or appears in it.' Like ouranoV . . . the word has a double ref. to the abode of the gods or the gods themselves, and also to the sky. It thus acquires two concrete meanings: a. 'what is proper to deity,' 'deity,' 'God,' 'divine' (opp. anqrwpinoV, anqrwpoV, qnhtV), and b. 'what is proper to the firmament or the atmosphere under it' . . . In the context ouranioV seeks to emphasise two things. The first is the heavenly Father's openness and turning to man, the second His power to achieve it. The heavenly Father is He who from heaven brings the saving change of the aeons over all nations and to all men" (TDNT 5:536, 538 by Traub).

  2. "As the kingdom Jesus brings is 'of heaven' (see on 3:2), so also the Father in Matthew is ouoranioV, 'heavenly,' i.e., transcendent. The way of referring to God as o pathr o ouranioV is unique to Matthew in the NT . . . and again reflects Matthew's Jewish milieu. The expression beautifully combines God's divine transcendence ('heavenly') with his immanence in love and grace, which can only be described adequately in the intimate term 'Father'" (WBC:135-136).

  3. Whereas WBC may be right, I prefer to think of o ouranioV in terms of Is. 55-7-8, which I think has been thoroughly misunderstood. WBC thinks that the term "Father" refers only to God's grace and love; I think the fact that "My ways are not your ways, neither are My thoughts your thoughts, for as high as the heavens are above the earth . . . " (Is. 55:8) explains the reason God encourages rebellious Israel to return to Him: "Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon." If God were earthly, then He would want to blast us into oblivion. The fact that He is heavenly, that He is NOT like us means that He will now forgive us and draw us to Him, even though we have been rebellious.