27 But I say to you that hear - Hitherto our Lord had spoken
only to particular sorts of persons: now he begins speaking to all in general.
29 To him that smiteth thee on the cheek - Taketh away thy cloak - These
seem to be proverbial expressions, to signify an invasion of the tenderest
points of honour and property. Offer the other - Forbid not thy coat -
That is, rather yield to his repeating the affront or injury, than gratify
resentment in righting your self; in any method not becoming Christian
love. Mt 5:39.
30 Give to every one - Friend or enemy, what thou canst spare, and he
really wants: and of him that taketh away thy goods - By borrowing, if
he be insolvent, ask them not again. Mt 5:42.
31 Mt 7:12.
32 It is greatly observable, our Lord has so little regard for one of
the highest instances of natural virtue, namely, the returning love for
love, that he does not account it even to deserve thanks. For even sinners,
saith he, do the same: men who do not regard God at all. Therefore he may
do this, who has not taken one step in Christianity.
Parallel Gospel: Matthew 5:39-48
39 But I say unto you, that ye resist not the evil man - Thus; the Greek
word translated resist signifies standing in battle array, striving for
victory. If a man smite thee on the right cheek - Return not evil for evil:
yea, turn to him the other - Rather than revenge thyself.
40, 41 Where the damage is not great, choose rather to suffer it, though
possibly it may on that account be repeated, than to demand an eye for
an eye, to enter into a rigorous prosecution of the offender. The meaning
of the whole passage seems to be, rather than return evil for evil, when
the wrong is purely personal, submit to one bodily wrong after another,
give up one part of your goods after another, submit to one instance of
compulsion after another. That the words are not literally to be understood,
appears from the behaviour of our Lord himself, John 18:22,23. 41 See note
... "Mt 5:40".
42 Thus much for your behaviour toward the violent. As for those who
use milder methods, Give to him that asketh thee - Give and lend to any
so far, (but no further, for God never contradicts himself) as is consistent
with thy engagements to thy creditors, thy family, and the household of
faith. Luke 6:30.
43 Thou shalt love thy neighbour; And hate thy enemy - God spoke the
former part; the scribes added the latter. Lev 19:18.
44 Bless them that curse you - Speak all the good you can to and of
them, who speak all evil to and of you. Repay love in thought, word, and
deed, to those who hate you, and show it both in word and deed. Luke 6:27,35.
45 That ye may be the children - That is, that ye may continue and appear
such before men and angels. For he maketh his sun to rise - He gives them
such blessings as they will receive at his hands. Spiritual blessings they
will not receive.
46 The publicans - were officers of the revenue, farmers, or receivers
of the public money: men employed by the Romans to gather the taxes and
customs, which they exacted of the nations they had conquered. These were
generally odious for their extortion and oppression, and were reckoned
by the Jews as the very scum of the earth.
47 And if ye salute your friends only - Our Lord probably glances at
those prejudices, which different sects had against each other, and intimates,
that he would not have his followers imbibe that narrow spirit. Would to
God this had been more attended to among the unhappy divisions and subdivisions,
into which his Church has been crumbled! And that we might at least advance
so far, as cordially to embrace our brethren in Christ, of whatever party
or denomination they are!
48 Therefore ye shall be perfect; as your Father who is in heaven is
perfect - So the original runs, referring to all that holiness which is
described in the foregoing verses, which our Lord in the beginning of the
chapter recommends as happiness, and in the close of it as perfection.
And how wise and gracious is this, to sum up, and, as it were, seal all
his commandments with a promise! Even the proper promise of the Gospel!
That he will put those laws in our minds, and write them in our hearts!
He well knew how ready our unbelief would be to cry out, this is impossible!
And therefore stakes upon it all the power, truth, and faithfulness of
him to whom all things are possible.