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Matt. v. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least
Commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called
kingdom of heaven.
shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Phari
sees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ExplanaThou shalt not kill : and whosoever shall kill, shall be in tion of the
sixth comdanger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judge ment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council : but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire *6.
46 Here are three gradations of crimes mentioned by our : Lord, and three degrees of punishment respectively annexed to each. The first is causeless anger, unaccompanied with any abusive expressions to aggravate it; the second may be supposed to arise from the same source, increased by an exclamation, which denotes the triumph of vanity, mixed with insult and contempt; the third seems naturally to rise one degree higher, and occasions the opprobrious epithet, “Thou fool.' The two former, we may observe, are threatened with the temporal punishment or animadversion of the Jewish tribunals, the council and the judgment, which were now deprived of the power of life and death, and could therefore take cognizance only of minor offences.
Now, it is highly analogous to our Saviour's reasoning to suppose, that the punshment annexed to the last crime would be of a temporal nature also, particularly as it can only be considered as an abuse of speech, like that of the preceding, though in a more aggravated form. On the contrary, to imagine that, for the distinction between 'Raca, and thou fool, our blessed Lord should instantly pass from such a sentence as the Jewish Sanbedrim could pronounce, to the awful doom of eternal punishment in hell-fire, is what cannot be reconciled to any rational rule of faith, or known measure of justice. But a critical examination of the original text will remove this difficulty.
What we render - in danger of hell-fire,” is in the Greek tvoxos ësai łis thv yéeyvav ti trupós," shall be liable to the Gehenda, of fire ;' or, " the fire of Gehenna.” It is well known that Gehenna is not a pure Greek word, but a compound formed of yñ, land, and a proper name to correspond with the Hebrew expression the valley of Hinnom, or rather from the two Hebrew words, x', a valley, and on, Hinnom, the name of its possessor. (See Schleusner in réeyva, and Lightfoot's Chorogr. Cent. ch. xxxix.) In this desecrated spot the Jews burnt bones, the dead carcases of animals, the refuse and offal of the numerous victims, &c. and from the loathsome scene which this place exbibited, as well as from the fires which were kept constantly burning there, it was frequently used as the emblem or symbol of hell, and of hell torments in a state of eternity. But our blessed Lord may well be supposed to use it here in its literal sepse, without any reference to its metaphorical meaning; and this will serve to clear the text of its supposed difliculty. For, when we consider what immense quantities of half
Malt. v. 23. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there
rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24. Leave there thy gift, before the altar, and go thy way;
first be reconciled to thy brother; and then come, and offer thy gift 7.
putrid and offensive animal substances must have been consumed in that valley, to prevent contagion in so hot a climate, and in such a city as Jerusalem ; we may with certainty inser that a great number of persons must be constantly employed in carrying al} kinds of filth and offal to the spot, in supplying fuel, in attending on the fires, &c.
Now this must have been the lowest, most degrading, and offensive employment, in the estimation of a Jew, to which any buman being could be devoted; and to this wretched state Christ declares, that he who indulges himself in the habit of treating his fellow-creatures with insolence and contempt, is in danger of coming. It is a common saying, that a man would rather be thought a knave than a fool : the appellation of thou fool, therefore, is attended with a degree of insult that is not easily forgiven;
and he who practises such abuses of the tongue must every where expect to find an enemy, instead of a friend; till at length he sinks to the most loathsome offices that can be allotted to him, in order to gain a wretched subsistence.
This exposition derives further countenance from the use of the Greek adjective évoxos in the original, which, connected with the future, ésai, may mean, shall be held, or bound, as a slave is to his master.—See Hewlett's Commentary in loc. Matt. v. 22.
17 It has excited surprise among some writers, that the Gospels should be written in Greek, instead of the Syriac, or Aramaic, or Syro Chaldee dialect. The observation will only apply to St. Matthew's Gospel. The three other evangelists addressed their Gospels to Grecian or Roman converts. But the necessity of adopting the Greek language, as the dialect of all others most universally spoken, will appear from the remarkable fact that the Jewish writers who were cotemporary with our Lord, or the immediate successors of the apostles, have used many Greek words in their Hebrew, apparently without knowing that the Greek was foreign to their language. Many instances bave occurred of this kind among the extracts I have met in Dr. Gill, Lightfoot, and Schoetgen, though it did not seem necessary to observe them. I have, however, collected some few.
1. II poopépeis TÒ dūpov 08, Matt. v. 23. 117770 nx gobyna Tun DV na pab Tanchuma, fol. 54. 2.
2. 'Ig0. évvoữv ro úvriðisy cov, Matt. v. 25. 7op908 zuvinib Debarin rab. § 5. fol. 257. 1.
3. 'Evita Enuaros, Judæi retinent vocem græcam, na'a Scho. etgen. vol. i. p. 235.
4. Kúple på, 'Ix quo Schemoth rabba, $ 46. fol. 140. 2. ap Schoetgen. vol. i. p. 232.
5. Ilún, yoo yon by ano po y Schoetgen. vol. i. p. 252.
and 225 tava 17915'N Targum Jerusalem on Exod. xxiv.
: karnyópos, an xalokayabos est? Schemoth rabba, Š 43. fol. 138. 3. Schoetgen. vol. i. p. 214.
8. 'Anávrnous, ybra Svo 3DS XN87" Tanchuma, fol. 56. 1. Schoetgen. vol. i. p. 216.
9. Ludapiov, Luke xix. 20. nyomtyd •17 goy non pocunias sudario
Matt. v. 25. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in
with him ; lest at any time, the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. 27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ExplanaThou shalt not commit adultery.
tion of the 28.
seventh But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a commandwoman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with ment,
her already in his heart.
it from thee : for it is profitable for thee that one of thy
should be cast into hell.
from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy
should be cast into hell.
But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his
divorced, committeth adultery. 33. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of Swearing old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt per
But I say unto you, Swear not at all ; neither by hea-
Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
canst not make one hair white or black.
communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay : for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil. 38. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an Of revenge.
eye, and a tooth for a tooth :
ye resist not evil ; but who-
the other also.
thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
Many others might be selected from the writers who have en-
Matt.iv. 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with
would borrow of thee, turn not thou away :
And as ye would that men should do unto you, do ye
also to them likewise. Matt, v.43. Ye have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love Christians thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy.
are to love
their ene44. But I say unto you, Luke vi. 27. which hear, Love your enemies ; do good to them Matt.v. 44. that hate you ; bless them that curse you ; and pray for
them which despitefully use you : 45.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven : for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on
the good ; and sendeth rain on the just, and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have Christians
are to do Lake vi. 32. for sinners also love those that love them :
good to all Matt, v. 46. do not even the Publicans the same?
47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do you more
than others? Do not even the Publicans so? Luke vi. 33. And if ye do good to them which do good to you,
what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive,
what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to
receive as much again.
ing for nothing again; and your reward shall be great,
kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil.
Be ye therefore merciful,
in heaven is Lake vi. 36. merciful, (and) Matt. v. 48. perfect. Matt. vi. 1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be Directions seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Fa
trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do, in the syna-
Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know
which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.
crites are : for they love to pray, standing in the syna- pray. gogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be
Mall, vi. 6. seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their
when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which
reward thee openly.
then do; for they think that they shall be heard for their
which art in heaven", Hallowed be thy name.
Give us this day our daily bread.
evil : for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the
glory, for ever. Amen.
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will
sad countenance; for they disfigure their faces, that they fast.
They have their reward.
Father, which is in secret : and thy Father, which seeth
in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth; where to lay op moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break treasure in
Heaven. through and steal : 20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven; where
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt; and where thieves do
not break through and steal.
simplicity 23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full enforced.
of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be
Lightfoot and Schoetgen have shewn, at length, that the various clauses of the Lord's prayer were similar to, and were probably borrowed from, various phrases used in the liturgical services of the Jews.