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Matthew 5:43

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy - Instead of πλησιον neighbor, the Codex Graevii, a MS. of the eleventh century, reads φιλον friend. Thou shalt love thy friend, and hate thine enemy. This was certainly the meaning which the Jews put on it: for neighbor, with them, implied those of the Jewish race, and all others were, considered by them as natural enemies. Besides, it is evident that πλησιον, among the Hellenistic Jews, meant friend merely: Christ uses it precisely in this sense in Luke 10:36, in answer to the question asked by a certain lawyer, Matthew 5:29. Who of the three was neighbor (πλησιον friend) to him who fell among the thieves? He who showed him mercy; i.e. he who acted the friendly part. In Hebrew, רע reâ, signifies friend, which word is translated πλησιον by the Lxx. in more than one hundred places. Among the Greeks it was a very comprehensive term, and signified every man, not even an enemy excepted, as Raphelius, on this verse, has shown from Polybius. The Jews thought themselves authorized to kill any Jew who apostatized; and, though they could not do injury to the Gentiles, in whose country they sojourned, yet they were bound to suffer them to perish, if they saw them in danger of death. Hear their own words: "A Jew sees a Gentile fall into the sea, let him by no means lift him out; for it is written, Thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy neighbor: - but this is not thy neighbor." Maimon. This shows that by neighbor they understood a Jew; one who was of the same blood and religion with themselves.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy - The command to love our neighbor was a law of God, Leviticus 19:18. That we must therefore hate our enemy was an inference drawn from it by the Jews. They supposed that if we loved the one, we must of course hate the other. They were total strangers to that great, special law of religion which requires us to love both. A neighbor is literally one that lives near to us; then, one who is near to us by acts of kindness and friendship. This is its meaning here. See also Luke 10:36.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Jewish teachers by "neighbour" understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends. The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all, especially to their souls. We must pray for them. While many will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect. It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1Pe 1:15,16. Surely more is to be expected from the followers of Christ than from others; surely more will be found in them than in others. Let us beg of God to enable us to prove ourselves his children.
Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 30

When Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory, the Lord said, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee.” “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.... And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.” Exodus 33:19; 34:6-8. When we are able to comprehend the character of God, as did Moses, we, too, shall make haste to bow in adoration and praise. CT 30.1

The wisdom of God alone can unfold the mysteries of the plan of salvation. The wisdom of men may or may not be valuable, as experience shall prove; but the wisdom of God is indispensable. Miss what you may in the line of worldly attainments, but you must have faith in the pardon brought to you at infinite cost, or all the wisdom attained on earth will perish with you. CT 30.2

Shall we bring into our schools the sower of tares? Shall we permit men who have been taught by the enemy of all truth, to have the education of our youth? Or shall we take the word of God as our guide? Why take the unstable words of men as exalted wisdom, when a greater and certain wisdom is at your command? Why present inferior authors to the attention of students, when He whose words are spirit and life invites, “Come, ... and learn of Me”? Matthew 11:28, 29. CT 30.3

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Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 73

“Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me.”
MB 73.1

The Saviour's lesson, “Resist not him that is evil,” was a hard saying for the revengeful Jews, and they murmured against it among themselves. But Jesus now made a still stronger declaration: MB 73.2

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 529.2

Spirit of Hate Reacts—No one can hate his brother, or even his enemy, without placing himself under condemnation.—The Youth's Instructor, January 13, 1898. 2MCP 529.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 268-70

The Lord God of Israel is hungry for fruit. He calls upon His workers to branch out more than they are doing. He desires them to make the world their field of labor rather than to work only for our churches. The apostle Paul went from place to place, preaching the truth to those in the darkness of error. He labored for a year and six months at Corinth, and proved the divine character of his mission by raising up a flourishing church, composed of Jews and Gentiles. Christ never confined His labors to one place. The towns and cities of Palestine resounded with the truths that fell from His lips. 7T 268.1

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