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"But I say to you..."
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Murder Begins in the Heart
Mat 5:21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
Adultery in the Heart
Mat 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
Marriage is Sacred and Binding
Mat 5:31 "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'
Jesus Forbids Oaths
Mat 5:33 "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'
[Mat 5:22] "Without a cause" is not included in some manuscripts (NU omits without a cause). "Raca" is an Aramaic word which means "stupid," "vain," or "empty-headed." "Fool" (more, Gk.) may be a transliteration of the Hebrew moreh, "rebel" (cf. Ps. 78:8; Jer. 5:23). This word was used by Moses of the Israelites at Meribah, when his disobedience caused him to be prevented from entering the Promised Land (Num. 20:10). Although there is a progression in the evil attitudes cited, Jesus intends to show that behind the overt act of murder is the disposition of anger, hostility, or contempt. Thus, although attitudes may not be tried in court, they are as dangerous as the overt acts of wrong for which one is tried in court or for which one stands in danger of hell (geenna, Gk.) fire, unless one experiences God's forgiveness in Christ.
[Mat 5:26] "Assuredly" translates amen (Gk.), taken from a Hebrew word related to the same root as the word for "truth." It signifies that which is confirmed, sure, true, or certain. In the O.T. it is a sacred formula used for affirming the validity of a pronounced curse (Num. 5:22; Deut. 27:15-26), for sanctioning an announcement (1 Kin. 1:36), or in answer to a prayer or doxology (1 Chr. 16:36; Ps. 41:13; 72:19). On the lips of Jesus, its usage is without parallel in Jewish literature. Usually the sayings prefixed with this formula deal with the Person and messiahship of Jesus. "Amen" guarantees the truth of the saying and affirms the unique authority in Jesus' Person and words (cf. especially 7:28). Although most often translated "assuredly," amen is rendered "amen" in a number of cases (cf. 6:13; Gal. 1:5; Eph. 3:21 for the conclusion of a prayer; 1 Cor. 14:16; Rev. 5:14 for the response of the church to praise and thanksgiving; and 28:20; Mark 16:20; Luke 24:53; John 21:25 for the conclusion of a Gospel). In 2 Cor. 1:19, 20, God declares that His promises are always true, and the church accepts this with an "amen." The double use of "amen" (e.g., "most assuredly" in John 3:3) increases the intensity of the idiom.
[Mat 5:28] "Whoever" includes both men and women, married and unmarried. Jesus condemns fornication as well as "adultery," which involves voluntary extramarital sexual intimacies (cf. 5:32).
[Mat 5:31] (vv. 31,32) Cf. 19:6, note on divorce.
[Mat 5:32] "Sexual immorality" translates the Greek porneia. Various meanings are exhibited in the N.T. for porneia, the context making the significance clear: (1) it may refer to voluntary sexual intercourse of an unmarried person with anyone of the opposite sex (1 Cor. 7:2; 1 Thess. 4:3); (2) it may refer to all forms of unchastity (John 8:41; Acts 15:20, 29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; Eph 5:3); (3) it may refer to prostitution (Rev. 2:14, 20, 21). Here the exception clause may refer to a situation in which those married are already closely related and whose marriage, according to Jewish law, would technically be sexual immorality (cf. Lev. 18:6-18; Acts 15:20; 1 Cor. 5:1). The word moicheuthenai (Gk.), "causes her to commit adultery" (cf. 19:3-9), described adultery, extramarital sexual infidelity. Porneia and moicheuthenai later came to be used interchangeably.
[Mat 5:37] Complete honesty should be typical of the kingdom citizen, so that no oath is necessary to guarantee trustworthiness for one's "yes" or "no." The law regarding oaths was based upon the third Commandment. False testimony resulted in severe consequences, since it consisted of taking God's name in vain (Ex. 20:7; Lev. 19:11, 12; Num. 30:2; Deut. 19:16-20). The rabbis taught that oaths which omitted God's name could be broken and were not binding. Jesus maintains that God is involved in heaven, earth, Jerusalem, and all things. Hence, all oaths are binding, and any attempt to avoid an oath while pretending to keep it profanes the divine name. The reference is neither to taking oaths in court nor to profanity.
NSRV & Believer's Study Bible (BSB) Notes
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