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Thursday, May 30th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 5

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 3

Poor in spirit ; the humble, who feel their dependence on God in all things, temporal and spiritual, and look to him for the supply of every want; more especially those who feel their need, as sinners, of spiritual blessings, and look to Jesus Christ to grant them. Isaiah 66:2 .

Kingdom of heaven ; the blessings of Messiah’s reign in this world and the next. Chap Matthew 3:2 . True happiness does not consist in external condition, but in the state of the mind.

Verse 4

They that mourn ; over their spiritual wants, and over sin as the guilty cause of them; who long for spiritual blessings, and come to Jesus Christ for them, according to his directions. Revelation 3:18 . This beatitude includes also all the mourning to which God’s children are subjected by the chastening through which God prepared them for the everlasting joy of heaven. Compare Hebrews 12:5-12 .

Verse 5

The meek ; those who are gentle and forgiving, submissive and teachable, patient under injuries, disposed not to render evil for evil, but to overcome evil with good.

Inherit the earth ; receive and enjoy every earthly and spiritual blessing that is for their best good here, and reign with Christ for ever hereafter. The sinful and lost condition of men need not hinder them from being truly and for ever blessed.

Verse 6

Hunger and thirst after righteousness ; ardently desire to be and do right because it is right; trusting not in their own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ, which by the apostle is called the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ which is unto all and upon all them that believe. Romans 3:22 .

Be filled ; receive what they desire, and be satisfied. Psalms 17:15 .

Verse 7

The merciful ; those who feel for the sufferings of others, and are disposed to relieve them.

Mercy ; from God. Compare Chap Matthew 25:34-45 . God requires us to exercise the compassion towards others which we need to have exercised towards us.

Verse 8

Pure in heart ; freed from the dominion and pollution of sin.

See God ; have right views of him, and enjoy his presence here and hereafter.

Verse 9

Peacemakers ; those who desire and seek to have all men at peace with God, with their own consciences, and with one another.

Children of God ; those who imitate him, and whom he will make heirs according to his promise. Romans 8:17 .

Verse 10

Righteousness’ sake ; on account of their being and doing right. Great opposition to men is no certain evidence that they are wrong.

Verse 11

Falsely ; when the evil which is said of you is false.

For my sake ; on account of your attachment and likeness to me.

Verse 12

So persecuted ; Hebrews 11:35-38 .

Verse 13

Salt of the earth ; means of its preservation, by your holy doctrine, prayers, and example.

Lost his savor ; become worthless. Some think there is here an allusion to the fact that the salt in that country was mixed with earthy substances, which remained after it had lost its saltness, and were thrown like gravel upon the walks, and trodden down.

Verse 14

Light ; that which shows things as they are, and gives to men right views of them.

Verse 16

Shine ; let the goodness of your principles be seen in your conduct, that men may be led to honor God, the author of all good. Consistent Christian example is a means of leading men to honor God, and of greatly promoting their highest good.

Verse 17

Destroy the law ; set aside either the principles or the moral precepts of the Old Testament.

To fulfil ; rightly to explain the nature and perfectly to enforce the precepts of the moral law, as well as perfectly to obey them in his own person, bear the curse which was prefigured in the ceremonial law, and thus fulfil the predictions of the prophets concerning the Messiah. Christ came not to make void the moral law as a rule of action, but to establish it, and give it practical efficacy over the hearts and lives of men, by leading them to love and obey it.

Verse 18

One jot ; no part of the moral law or of the obligations to obey it shall be done away; nor shall any part of the ceremonial law, till its end is accomplished.

Verse 19

Least commandments ; least, as compared with others. No precept of God’s law may be set aside on the ground of its comparative unimportance; for the least disobedience to any command of God is highly offensive to him, while obedience in all things is his delight.

The least ; of the least repute as a teacher, because both by his example and his doctring he dishonors God’s law.

Great ; worthy of honor as a teacher, because he honors the law by obeying it and teaching others to obey it.

Verse 20

Except your righteousness shall exceed-scribes and Pharisees ; their righteousness was selfish, and consisted in externals; while the righteousness which God required is internal as well as external, and consists in conformity of heart and life to his revealed will.

Verse 21

By them of old time ; rather, as the margin, "to them of old time"; and so below, verses Matthew 5:27 ; Matthew 5:33 .

The judgment ; here the sentence of death from the lower court established by Moses in all the cities of Israel. Deuteronomy 16:18 .

Verse 22

Angry with his brother ; in his heart, to which God looks.

Without a cause ; not merely without an occasion, but rather, in an unreasonable degree, or with any mixture of malice.

The judgment ; the judgment of God. The Saviour’s meaning is this: by the law of Moses literal murder is punished with death by common court; but in my kingdom anger in the heart will be regarded and treated as murder.

Raca ; vain fellow; blockhead. The Saviour puts a case where anger vents itself in railing.

The council ; the Sanhedrim, which was the highest Jewish court; but here it seems to represent the court of Christ, who will treat all railing accusations of one brother against another as offences of the gravest kind.

Fool ; vile wretch; the highest form of reproach in the mouth of a Jew. A disposition rightly to treat men is essential to acceptance with God.

Verse 23

Gift ; religious offering.

Altar ; place where the offering was made.

Aught ; any cause of complaint.

Verse 25

Adversary ; thy fellow-man who has just claims against thee. But the precept also looks beyond all human adversaries to God, with whom, under an example taken from earthly matters, it warns us to be reconciled while we are yet on the way to his judgment-seat. Opportunity to perform present duty should not be neglected, lest it be for ever lost.

Verse 28

In his heart ; the laws of God extend to the thoughts; and men may violate them in their hearts without manifesting their feelings in outward conduct.

Verse 29

Offend thee ; cause thee to sin.

Profitable for thee ; it is better to put away the causes of sin than to suffer its consequences. The avoidance of sin by self-denial, and if need by, by great sacrifices, will in the end be great gain.

Verse 31

Writing of divorcement ; a certificate that their marriage relation was dissolved by his own act. See Deuteronomy 24:1 .

Verse 32

Causeth her ; exposeth her to commit adultery; because, according to the law of Christ’s kingdom, her marriage to another man will be regarded as adultery.

Verse 33

Forswear thyself ; commit perjury, or swear to that which is false.

Perform unto the Lord ; the Pharisees taught that religious oaths in which God’s name was used were binding and should be filled, while they were less scrupulous about oaths by created things, and in common conversation. But our Lord taught that oaths of the latter kind proceed from evil, and should never be taken.

Verse 34

The practice of swearing in common conversation, or of swearing to a falsehood, shows great wickedness of heart.

Verse 36

Canst not make one hair white or black ; thy head is a creature of God, over which thou hast no control; so that in swearing by it, thou swearest by him that made it and has it in his power.

Verse 37

Communication ; conversation and discourse.

Yea-nay ; simple declarations, without profaneness of any kind.

Verse 39

Resist not evil ; by rendering like for like. It is the spirit of kindness and forgiveness towards those who injure us which our Lord here inculcates. The forgiveness of injuries, and not the avenging of them, is an exhibition of true greatness and goodness.

Verse 40

Coat-cloak ; the coat among the Jews was an inner garment, called a tunic, extending from the neck to the knee. Over this was a cloak or mantle, which was a large, loose garment, and when they travelled was girt tight round the body with a girdle Hence, "to gird up one’s loins" implied readiness for labor or a journey. The girdle or sash answered also the purpose of purse for money.

Let him have thy cloak ; suffer losses, so far as duty will permit, rather than contend about them.

Verse 41

Compel thee to go a mile ; the original word here rendered compel, denotes a compulsion by the public authorities and for public service. When thus called upon by rightful authority to travel or do public service, be ready to go farther or do even more than is required, rather than resist the government.

Verse 42

Give-turn not thou away ; when the person who asks or would borrow is needy accommodate him, if consistently with duty you can do it.

Verse 44

Love your enemies ; not their character or their conduct, but their souls. Pray for them and seek their good. Love to enemies, and a disposition to do them the greatest good which duty will permit, likens men to God.

Verse 46

If ye love them ; them only.

Publicans ; tax-gatherers, who were considered as very wicked, and were often cruel and oppressive.

Verse 48

As your Father ; imitate him in all his imitable perfections.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 5". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/matthew-5.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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