Mattityahu Jewish New Testament
1. Seeing the crowds, Yeshua walked up the hill. After he sat down, his talmidim came to him,
Talmidim (plural; singular tulmid), "disciples." The English word "disciple" fails to convey the richness of the relationship between a rabbi and his talmidim in the first century C.E. Teachers, both itinerant like Yeshua and settled ones, attracted followers who wholeheartedly gave themselves over to their teachers (though not in a mindless way, as happens today in some cults). The essence of the relationship was one of trust in every area of living, and its goal was to make the talmid like his rabbi in knowledge, wisdom and ethical behavior (compare 10:24-25, and see the JNT glossary entry on talmid).
2. and he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
3. “How blessed are the poor in spirit! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Chapters 5-7 constitute the Sermon on the Mount. Compare the Sermon on the Plain (Lk 6:20—49&N), where many of the same topics are dealt with somewhat differently. For example, where Lk 6:20 simply says "How blessed are you poor" (compare Lk 6:24), v. 4 here says the same of the poor in spirit, those who have the humble, dependent, vulnerable attitude of poor people, even if they happen to be rich.
How blessed. Greek makarios corresponds ю Hebrew asher and means "blessed," "happy." and "fortunate" all at once, so that no one English word is adequate. For a Hebrew example, compare Psalm 144:15: "How blessed/happy/fortunate the people whose God is Adanair Verses 3-12 are known as the Beatitudes because the word "beams' was used in the best-known Latin version, Jerome's "Vulgate" (c. 410 C.E.), to translate "makarios." For more on the Beatitudes, see Appendix, p. 930. Kingdom of Heaven. See 32N.
4. “How blessed are those who mourn! for they will be comforted.
5. “How blessed are the meek! for they will inherit the Land! (Psalm 37:11)
The meek... will inherit the Land. Or will they, as other versions have it, "inherit ihe earth"' Christians often think that since the Gospel is for all humanity God is no longer interested in Israel as a nation (even though 23:37-39&N proves the opposite).
This error — known variously as Replacement theology. Dominion theology. Kingdom Now theology, Covenant theology (in some of its forms). Reconstructionisra and (in England) Reuorationism — with its antisemitic implications, is so widespread that New Testament passages are even mis-translated in conformance with it (see Ro 10:1— 8&NN for another such passage). The present verse is one of those passages. Most versions inform the reader lhat "the meek," presumably all the meek, from all the nations, "shall inherit the earth," ruling the entire planet. While believers will return to rule with the Messiah at his Second Coming (1 Th 4:13-18, Rv 20), here Yeshua is quoting Psalm 37:11, where the context makes it clear that "the meek" refers to the meek of Israel, who, according to God's promises, "will inherit the Land," the Land of Israel, which Mattityahu has already mentioned explicitly (2:20-2l&N).
Although Greek ge can mean either "earth" or "land," in Psalm 37 the Hebrew word "eretz" means "Land" (and not "earth") not less than six times: those of Israel who trust in Adonai will "dwell in the Land" (v. 3); and those of Israel who wait upon Adonai (v, 9), are meek(v. 11. cited here), are blessed by Adonai (v. 22), are righteous (v. 29) and keep his way (v. 34) will "inherit the Land." The term "inherit" in the Tanakh refers to the Jewish people's inheritance from God, which includes, in addition to spiritual elements, not the whole earth but a specific small territory on the east shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
Because the Gospel is universal, and because of the false theology teaching that God is no longer interested in the Jews as a nation, Christians have tended to suppose that the New Testament somehow cancels God's promise to give the Jewish people the Land of Israel. No small amount of opposition to the present-day Slate of Israel on the part of Christians is based on this false assumption. To combat this error it is important for Jews and Christians alike to understand that the New Testament does not alter any of God's promises to the Jewish people; God's literal promises are not somehow spiritualized out of existence "in Christ." See further material in Appendix, p. 930.
Eighteen times in the New Testament the Greek phrase "e ge " refers to the Land of Israel. As mentioned, two are explicit — Mattityahu calls the Holy Land "Eretz-Israel" twice (Mt 2:20-21&N}. Four are citations from the Tanakh— here (Psalm 37:11), Mt 24:30 and Rv 1:7 (Zechariah 12:10,14), and Ep 6:3 (Deuteronomy 5:17). Five are based on the Tanakli without being citations — Lk 4:25 and Ya 5:17, 18(1 Kings 17:1; 18:1, 41^5), MJ ll:9(Genesis 12,13,15,20,23), and Rv 20:9 (Ezekiel 38-39). The remaining eight are implied by the context — Mt 5:13, 10:34, 27:45; Mk 15:33; Lk 12:51, 21:23, 23:44, Rv 11:10. Because Replacement theologians claim that God no longer promises the Land of Israel to the Jews, it is important to see that the New Testament still gives Jewish possession of the physical Land of Israel a significant place in God's plan. For more on Replacement theology and its refutation, see notes at Ml 24:34; Lk 21:24; Ac 1:6-7, 21:21; Ro 2:28-29; 11:1-32. 11-12, 13-32. 23-24, 28-29; 2C 1:20; Ga6:16; Ep 2:11-16. Also see my Messianic Jewish Manifesto, pp. 109-118.
6. “How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! for they will be filled.
7. “How blessed are those who show mercy! for they will be shown mercy.
8. “How blessed are the pure in heart! for they will see God.
9. “How blessed are those who make peace!for they will be called sons of God.
10. “How blessed are those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11. “How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me!
12. Rejoice, be glad, because your reward in heaven is great — they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.
13. “You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on.
14. “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house.
16. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Jewish believers are salt, a seasoning and a preservative, for the Land of Israel (see v. 5N), that is, for the Jewish people, and light for the world, for the Gentiles, as taught in Isaiah 49:6. God established a "covenant of salt" (Numbers 18:19), which is applied to King David and his descendants—that is, to the Messiah—in 2 Chronicles 13:5. The Jewish believers in the Messiah, ihen, are the righteous remnant (Ro 11), for whose sake God preserves Israel and the world. For more on salt, see Lk 14:34-35&N.
Co 4:5-6&N. Sometimes Israeli Messianic Jews feel they are not part of the "real" Jewish community in the Land. But the reason Messianic Jews are here is to be the righteous remnant, for whose sake God preserves the nation of Israel. This motivates us to keep on trusting God, trying to realize the Messianic Jewish vision and proclaiming Yeshua to our people.
17. “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete.
Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete, to make their meaning full. The Hebrew word "Torah" literally "teaching, doctrine." is rendered in both the Septuagint and the New Testament by the Greek word "лодки," which means "law." Greek has had a more direct and pervasive influence on English and other modern languages than Hebrew has, and this is why in most languages one speaks of the "Law" of Moses rather than the 'Teaching" of Moses. It is also part of the reason why the Torah has mistakenly come to be thought of by Christians as legalistic in character (see Ro 3:20bN, Ga 3:23bN). In Judaism the word "Tamil" may mean:
(1) Chumash (the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses); or
(2) That plus the Prophets and the Writings, i.e.. the Tanakh (known by Christians as the Old Testament; see 4:4-ION); or
(3) That plus the Oral Toruh, which includes the Talmud and other legal materials; or
(4) That plus all religious instruction from the rabbis, including ethical and aggadic (homiletical) materials.
Here it means the first of these, since "the Prophets" are mentioned separately.
The Prophets. The word "Prophets." capitalized (as here, 7:12, 22:40; Lk 16:16, 28,31; 24:44; Yn 1:45,6:45: Ac 13:15,27.40; 15:15; 24:14; 28:23; Ro 3:21). refers to the second of the three main parts of the Tanakh. When the Tanakh prophets as persons are referred to. the word is not capitalized; "prophet" in the singular is never capitalized. By mentioning both the Torah and the Prophets Yeshua is saying that he has not come to modify or replace God's Word, the Tanakh. Compare Lk 24:44—45.
To complete. The Greek word for "to complete" is "plerdxai." literally, "to fill"; the usual rendering here, however, is "to fulfill." Replacement theology, which wrongly leaches that the Church has replaced the Jews as God's people (v. 5N), understands this verse wrongly in two ways.
First, Yesfaua's "fulfilling" the Torah is thought to mean that it is unnecessary for people to fulfill it now. But there is no logic to the proposition that Yeshua's obeying the Torah does away with our need to obey it. In fact. Sha'ul (Paul), whose object in his letter to the Romans is to foster "the obedience that comes from trusting" in Yeshua. teaches thai such trusting does not abolish Torah but confirms it (Ro 1:5, 3:31). Second, with identical lack of logic, Yeshua's "fulfilling" the Prophets is thought to imply that no prophecies from the Tanakh remain for the Jews. But the Hebrew Bible's promises to the Jews are not abolished in the name of being "fulfilled in Yeshua." Rather, fulfillment in Yeshua is an added assurance that everything God has promised the Jews will yet come to pass (see 2C 1:20&N).
It is true that Yeshua kept the Torah perfectly and fulfilled predictions of the Prophets, but that is not the point here. Yeshua did not come to abolish but "to make full" (plerusai) the meaning of what die Torah and the ethical demands of the Prophets require. Thus he came to complete our understanding of the Torah and the Prophets, so that we can try more effectively to be and do what they say to be and do. Verses 18-20 enunciate three ways in which the Torah and the Prophets remain necessary, applicable and in force. The remainder of Chapter 5 gives six specific cases in which Yeshua explains the fuller spiritual meaning of points in the Jewish Law. In fact, this verse slates the theme and agenda of the entire Sermon on Ihe Mount, in which Yeshua completes, makes fuller, the understanding of his latmidim concerning the Torah and the Prophets, so that they can more fully express what being Gods people is all about.
The Anglican Christian writer Brigid Younghughcs supports my understanding of this passage in these words: "'...I came not to destroy, but to fulfil.' And surely 'to fulfil'means to complete, in the sense of bringing to perfection, not, as Christians have all too often interpreted it, to render obsolete; to fulfil in such a way as to perfect a foundation on which to build further." (Christianity's Jewish Heritage, West Sussex: Angel Press, 1988, p. 8)
18. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened.
Except at the end of prayers, "Yes indeed" and "Yes" arc used in the JNT to render Greek amen (which transliterates Hebrew 'amen). The Hebrew root -m-n means "truth, faithfulness," which is why the Hebrew word 'amen means "It is true, so be it, may it become true'" — hence its use in English as well as Hebrew by those listening to a prayer. A speaker's "Amen" to his own prayer is itself superfluous, yet useful as a cue for others to respond with "Amen" (as at 6:13; Ro 1:25.9:5,11:36).
In any case, Hebrew amen is always used in reference to something previously said. Yet most versions translate it as if it pointed forward ralher than back. For example, the King James Version (KJV) translates this passage as, "Verily, I tell you" what follows. The translators who do this have New Testament internal evidence as grounds; for there arc parallel passages in which one gospel writer has, "Amen I tell you..." while the other has "Truly (Greek a(eithus) I tell you..." (compare Lk 12:44 with 24:47 below, and Lk 9:27 with Mk 9:1). But this solution requires assuming that Yeshua invented a different pattern of speech than can be found in other sources. While one can say that he was originality incarnate, I think it facile to invoke this notion over ordinary conservative scholarship. Instead, one must ask whether his "Amens" make good sense understood traditionally as referring back, not forward. And in fact, they do. (At Yn 16:7 the text does not say, "Amen, Amen"; it actually says in Greek what I have put in English, "But I tell you the truth,..."; this does, of course, point forward.)
To be specific, his "Amen" to himself emphasizes his own previous point, sometimes with the force, "You may not think that I really mean! what I just said, but I do!" (v. 26; 6:2,5,16; 10:15,42; 13:17; 18:18; 23:36; 24:34,47; 26:13). His "Amen" to what someone else has just said can be an acknowledgment conveying the sense. "I recognize the problem," (19:28) or even ironic in tone, "Your question/answer shows me that at last you're beginning to catch on!" (21:21,31), "You can't be serios!" (25:12) or "How I wish it were so (but it isn't)!" (26:34). Sometimes after a speech or even after an event, it calls attention to what just happened, conveying things like. "That was amazing! Did you notice?" (8:10) or, "Not what you expected, is it?" (a beautiful example at 18:3); at 19:23 it amounts to и sigh; at 25:40, 45 the King's "Amen" means, You are astounded that things are working aut this way, but that's how it is", at 26:21 Yeshua's "Amen" means, "Right now you're relaxed and comfortable, but 1 have news for you!" And sometimes Yeshua's "Amen" is simply affirmative ("I agree") but becomes the take-off for his own reinforcing or contrasting remarks (several of the above examples, and 8:13, where his "Amen" means, "I agree with your unspoken answer to my rhetorical question"). See also Rv 7:11-12N.
The Tanakh provides a striking example of "Amen" used ironically, even sarcastically, at the beginning of a sentence. In Jeremiah 28 the false prophet Chananyah predicts that within two years God will restore the Temple vessels taken by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Yirmiyahu replies, "Amen! May Adonai do so! May Adonai perform the words which you have prophesied.... Nevertheless, hear now,... Chananyah: Adonai has not sent you. Instead, you are making this people trust in a lie!"
Yud is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is used in the JNT to render Greek iota, the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet. Only a small stroke distinguishes one Hebrew letter from another — for example dalet ("t) from resh ("i) or beit (a) from kiit (2). KJV transliterates "yud" as "jot" and renders "stroke" as "tittle" (the corresponding Hebrew term is "kotz" literally, "thorn").
19. So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mitzvot (singular mitzvah). A mitzvah is a commandment: iradiliniially in the I'omh (the I ViikitL-in.ii) ihore arc 613 mitzvot for the Jewish people lo obey. In casual Jewish English (see the paragraph "Jewish English" in the Introduction to the .INT, Section IV), "doing a milzvah" means "doing a good deed, something nice, something helpful to someone, a favor"; but these meanings derive from the original sense, "a commandment" from God. Elsewhere I have discussed at length whether, and/or in what sense. Messianic Jews are expected to observe the Torah and obey the mitzvot; see my Messianic Jewish Manifesto (Jewish New Testament Publications, 2nd edition, 1991), especially Chapter V.
20. For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Torah-teachers ("scribes"). See 2:4N.
21. “You have heard that our fathers were told, "Do not murder", (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17) and that anyone who commits murder will be subject to judgment.
Sixth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13. Deuteronomy 5:17). In this commentary 1 use the Jewish enumeration of the Ten Commandments, in which the first Commandment is, "'1 am Adonai* who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Since this is in fact not a commandment but a declaration, Christian enumerations do not include it. But the Hebrew phrase for "the Ten Commandments" is "asrrei-liiulibrot," literally, "the ten sayings." This first "saying" is actually the basis for the other nine dibroi as well as for all the mitzvoi (see v. I9N). ll is because of who God is ("1 am Mortal") and because of his benevolent involvement in the ongoing life and history of his people ("who brought you out of the land of Egypt") and his concern for their welfare ("out of the house of bondage") that, in faith, hope, love and gratitude, his people should obey him. Yeshua begins his detailed "filling" of the Torah (v. 17N) with one of the Ten Commandments, implicitly alluding to this underlying ground for all obedience to God. "In Judaism the citation of a Scripture text implies the whole context," all Ten Commandments, "not merely the quoted words" (2:6N).
22. But I tell you that anyone who nurses anger against his brother will be subject to judgment; that whoever calls his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Sanhedrin; that whoever says, ‘Fool!’ incurs the penalty of burning in the fire of Gei-Hinnom!
Sanhedrin, Hebrew name given to a Jewish court, but the word is Greek in origin. Local courts had three or twenty-three judges; the central Sanhedrin in Jerusalem had seventy. See also Appendix, p. 930-931.
Gey-Hinnom, brought over into Greek and English as "Gehenna" and usually translated "hell." Literally, "valley of Hinnom" (a personal name); located both then and now jusl south of the Old City of Jerusalem. Rubbish fires were always burning there; hence its use as a metaphor for hell, with its burning fire of punishment for the unrighteous, as taught in the Hebrew Bible at Isaiah 66:24. Elsewhere in the Tanakh Deuteronomy 32:22 talks about a burning hell; 2 Samuel 22:6, Psalm 18:5 and Psalm 116:3 show that hell is a sorrowful place; Psalm 9:17 says that the wicked go to hell; and Job 26:6 shows that hell is a place of destruction. The Hebrew word in all these verses is "sh'oV; it usually corresponds to Greek "ades" ("Hades"). Thus hell is not a New Testament chiddush (novelty). When liberals assert that Judaism teaches there is no hell, they are introducing a later doctrine of their own not based on the Tanakh.
Since the idea of eternal punishment is at the very least offputting, some seek to soften it by proposing that the final judgment is total annihilation, in which nothing is experienced, either good or bad. Nevertheless, what the Bible teaches about both sh 'ol (ades) and Gey-Hinnom is that there is a state of eternal sorrowful existence to be consciously experienced by those who come under God's ultimate condemnation (see Ihe above passages and Rv 20:15&N). Changing the Biblical concept of hell to non-existence is, unfortunately, wishful-thinking theology.
23. So if you are offering your gift at the Temple altar and you remember there that your brother has something against you,
24. leave your gift where it is by the altar, and go, make peace with your brother. Then come back and offer your gift.
23-24 Traditional Judaism expresses this idea thusly in the Mishna:
"Yom-Kippur [the Day of Atonement] atones for a person's transgressions against God, but it does not atone for his transgressions against his fellow-man until he appeases him." (Yoma 8:9)
25. If someone sues you, come to terms with him quickly, while you and he are on the way to court; or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer of the court, and you may be thrown in jail!
26. Yes indeed! I tell you, you will certainly not get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 “You have heard that our fathers were told, 'Do not commit adultery'. (Exodus 20:13(14); Deuteronomy 5:17(18)).
Seventh of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13( 14), Deuteronomy 5:18). See v. 21 N.
28. But I tell you that a man who even looks at a woman with the purpose of lusting after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The believer has "the mind of the Messiah" (1С 2:15) and is not to nurture and cherish improper sexual feelings, desires, urges and lusts. If he does, then, for reasons explained at Ya 1:12-15, he will succumb to the temptations they raise, give sexual fantasizing undue control in his life and finally engage in wrong sexual behavior such as adultery, fornication and homosexuality (on homosexuality see Ro I:24-28&N).
29. If your right eye makes you sin, gouge it out and throw it away! Better that you should lose one part of you than have your whole body thrown into Gei-Hinnom.
30. And if your right hand makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away! Better that you should lose one part of you than have your whole body thrown into Gei-Hinnom.
31. “It was said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a get" (Deuteronomy 24:1)
Deuteronomy 24:1 mentions a "writing of divorcement" (Hebrew sefer-k 'rimt) but does not specify its contents or the conditions under which divorce was permitted. The rabbis call such a document a get and discuss divorce in the Talmud (for more, see 19:3N).
32. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and that anyone who marries a divorcee commits adultery.
The principle does not prevent believers divorced before coming to Messianic faith from remarrying, since all sins prior to salvation are forgiven when repentance has taken place. Anyone unmarried at the time of his salvation is free to marry (but apparently only to another believer— see 1С 7:39&N).
33. “Again, you have heard that our fathers were told, 'Do not break your oath', and 'Keep your vows to Adonai" (Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:3(2); Deuteronomy 23:22(21))
34. But I tell you not to swear at all — not ‘by heaven,’ because it is God’s throne;
35. not ‘by the earth,’ because it is his footstool; (Isaiah 66:1) and not ‘by Yerushalayim,’ because it is the city of the Great King. (Psalm 48:3(2))
36. And don’t swear by your head, because you can’t make a single hair white or black.
37. Just let your ‘Yes’ be a simple ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ a simple ‘No’; anything more than this has its origin in evil.
Do not break your oath (or: "Do not swear falsely," or: "Do not perjure yourself). Keep your vows to Adonai. The distinction between vows and oaths is hazy not only to us, but also within Judaism: and the issue doesn't seem important today. The early believers understood Yeshua not as prohibiting all vows (see Ac 18:5&N, 2I:23&N), but as prohibiting vain oaths — the rabbis of the time did the same. In the Apocrypha compare Sirach 23:9, "Do not accustom your mouth to swearing oaths, and do not habitually use the name of the Holy One." Philo of Alexandria recommended avoiding oaths entirely (Decalogue 84). The Talmud has this parallel to v. 37: "Let your 'no' and 'yes' both be righteous [i.e., straightforward]." (Bava Metzia 49a)
38. “You have heard that our fathers were told, "Eye for eye and tooth for tooth". (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21)
Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21, where the context of eye for eye, etc. shows that God was not commanding revenge, but controlling and limiting it. Retribution and punishment must be commensurate with the crime; contrast Cain and Lamech's extraction of multiplied vengeance at Genesis 4:24.
The following citation of the Mishna is given at length in order to show that rabbinic thinking on the matter of legal damages goes far beyond the simple lex mlionis (Latin, "law of retaliation," i.e., eye for eye):
"If someone wounds Ms fellow, he becomes liable to compensate the injured party for five different aspects of the injury: damage, pain, healing, loss of time from work, and insult.
"In the case of damage, here is an example of how restitution is determined. Suppose someone blinded someone else's eye, cut off his hand or broke his leg. They value the injured person as if he were a slave for sale in the market, and they appraise his value before the injury and now.
"Here is an example of determining the compensation for pain. Suppose someone burns another with a skewer or nail, even if only on his fingernail, where it doesn't actually produce a wound. They determine how much a man of his position would be willing to be paid to suffer that amount of pain. "For healing the indemnity is determined in this way. If someone hit another person, he must pay all the expenses of healing him. If he develops ulcers, then it they come about in consequence of the blow, he is liable; but if not, he is not liable. If the wound heals, reopens, heals and reopens again, he is liable for all the expenses. But once it has healed thoroughly, he does not remain liable to pay Ihe expenses of healing him.
'The value of time lost is estimated in this way. They consider what he would earn if he were a watchman over a cucumber field [a job requiring no special ski I Is |, for he has already been paid for the loss of his hand or foot. [In practice, this means they determine what kind of work he will be fit for when he fully recovers and evaluate the time lost by this standard.]
"For insult the compensation is determined entirely in accordance with the social status of both the one who caused the indignity and the one who suffered it. If someone insults a person who is naked, blind or asleep, he is liable. But if a sleeping person causes an insult, he is not liable. Someone who fal Is from a roof and causes injury and insult at the same time is liable for the injury but not for Ihe insult,... because one should not be held responsible for an indignity one did not intend to cause." (Bava Kama 8:1)
39. But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too!
40. If someone wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well!
41. And if a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile, carry it for two!
If a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile, carry it for two. Literally, "And whoever presses you into service one mile, go with him two." The context is the Roman conquest; soldiers could make subjects do their work for them. Yeshua's advice specific application of v. 16.
42. When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something from you, lend it to him.
43. “You have heard that our fathers were told, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Leviticus 19:18 told our fathers to "love your neighbor as yourself." While in Psalm 139:21-22 the writer commends himself for hating God's enemies, nowhere does the Tanakh teach that you should hate your enemy. Such a teaching must have come from the misinterpretations of those who "teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines" of God (Isaiah 29:13, cited by Yeshua below at 15:9). On "Jacob I loved but Esau I hated" (Malachi 1:2-3) see Ro 9:10-13&N.
44. But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Love your enemies! Some contrast the "realistic" ethics of Judaism with "Christian romanticism" and cite this as an example. However, the command is not to have good feelings about your enemies, but to want and do good for them, and, more specifically, to pray for those who persecute you. It is realistic enough to have been flattered by imitation in a well-known medieval Jewish work: "Pray for your enemy that he serve God." (Orchot Tzaddikim 15c)
45. Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
46. What reward do you get if you love only those who love you? Why, even tax-collectors do that!
Tax-collectors. Jews who undertook to collect taxes for the Roman rulers were the most despised people in the Jewish community. Not only were they serving the oppressors, but they found it easy to abuse the system so as to line their own pockets by exploiting their fellow Jews.
47. And if you are friendly only to your friends, are you doing anything out of the ordinary? Even the Goyim do that!
Goyim. The Greek word "ethni" (singular "ethnos") corresponds to Hebrew goyim (singular goy), also translated in the JNT as "Gentiles," "nations," "pagans" or "non-Jews"; KJV sometimes renders it "heathen." Jews who speak English often use the Hebrew (and Yiddish) word "goyim" to refer to non-Jews. Although today "Goyim" sometimes carries a mildly pejorative tone linked to the idea that agoy is not "one of us" (see Ga 2:15&N), Yeshua here is referring to the fact that the Goyim had not received God's revelation as had the Jews, and therefore less was to be expected of them; since this was God's doing, there is no defamatory connotation. See also 10:5N, 24:7N.
48. Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
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