|New International Version (©2011)|
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
New Living Translation (©2007)
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
English Standard Version (©2001)
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: 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.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Fool!' will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, You moron!' will be subject to hellfire.
International Standard Version (©2012)
But I say to you, anyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be subject to punishment. And whoever says to his brother 'Raka!' will be subject to the Council. And whoever says, 'You fool!' will be subject to hell fire.
NET Bible (©2006)
But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says 'Fool' will be sent to fiery hell.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
But I am saying to you, that everyone who will be angry against his brother without cause is condemned before the judge, and everyone who will say to his brother, 'I spit on you', is condemned before the assembly, and whoever will say 'You fool.' is condemned to the Gehenna of fire.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
But I can guarantee that whoever is angry with another believer will answer for it in court. Whoever calls another believer an insulting name will answer for it in the highest court. Whoever calls another believer a fool will answer for it in hellfire.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
American King James Version
But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
American Standard Version
but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.
But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Darby Bible Translation
But I say unto you, that every one that is lightly angry with his brother shall be subject to the judgment; but whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be subject to be called before the sanhedrim; but whosoever shall say, Fool, shall be subject to the penalty of the hell of fire.
English Revised Version
but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.
Webster's Bible Translation
But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.
Weymouth New Testament
But I say to you that every one who becomes angry with his brother shall be answerable to the magistrate; that whoever says to his brother 'Raca,' shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin; and that whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the Gehenna of Fire.
World English Bible
But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna.
Young's Literal Translation
but I -- I say to you, that every one who is angry at his brother without cause, shall be in danger of the judgment, and whoever may say to his brother, Empty fellow! shall be in danger of the sanhedrim, and whoever may say, Rebel! shall be in danger of the gehenna of the fire.
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:21-26 The Jewish teachers had taught, that nothing except actual murder was forbidden by the sixth commandment. Thus they explained away its spiritual meaning. Christ showed the full meaning of this commandment; according to which we must be judged hereafter, and therefore ought to be ruled now. All rash anger is heart murder. By our brother, here, we are to understand any person, though ever so much below us, for we are all made of one blood. Raca, is a scornful word, and comes from pride: Thou fool, is a spiteful word, and comes from hatred. Malicious slanders and censures are poison that kills secretly and slowly. Christ told them that how light soever they made of these sins, they would certainly be called into judgment for them. We ought carefully to preserve Christian love and peace with all our brethren; and if at any time there is a quarrel, we should confess our fault, humble ourselves to our brother, making or offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed: and we should do this quickly; because, till this is done, we are unfit for communion with God in holy ordinances. And when we are preparing for any religious exercises, it is good for us to make that an occasion of serious reflection and self-examination. What is here said is very applicable to our being reconciled to God through Christ. While we are alive, we are in the way to his judgement-seat; after death, it will be too late. When we consider the importance of the case, and the uncertainty of life, how needful it is to seek peace with God, without delay!
Verse 22. - But I say unto you. "I" emphatic (as also in vers. 28, 32, 34, 39, 44), in contrast to God, as God's utterance was then conditioned; i.e. in contrast to God's voice to and through Moses (cf. John 1:17; John 7:23; Hebrews 10:28, 29). Christ claims for his words the same authority, and more than the same authority, as for those spoken once by God. The circumstances had altered; the message for τοῖς ἀρχαίοις was insufficient now. Christ brings his own Personality forward, and claims to give a more perfect and far-reaching statement of the sixth commandment than the current form of its teaching, notwithstanding the fact that this current form represented truly the original thought underlying its promulgation. In the following words our Lord speaks of three grades of auger, and, as answering to them, of three grades of punishment. The former will be examined under the several terms employed. Upon the latter it is necessary to make a few remarks here. They have been very variously understood.
(a) "The judgment" means the judgment of God alone, for he alone can take cognizance of mere anger;
(b) "the council" means the judgment of the Sanhedrin, "a publick tryal;"
(c) "the Gehenna of fire" means the judgment of hell (Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.,' in loc.).
(a) "The judgment" means the local court;
(b) "the council" means the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem;
(c) "the Gehenna of fire" means hell (apparently Nosgen, and many other, especially Romish, expositors). It will be noticed that both the above interpretations are inconsistent. They make our Lord pass from literal to figurative language in the same sentence. Besides, in the second it is inexplicable how mere anger could be brought under the cognizance of a human court. For these reasons it is probable that
(3) all three stages express metaphorically grades of Divine judgment under the form of the Jewish processes of law.
(a) "The judgment" primarily means the local court;
(b) "the council "primarily means the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem;
(c) "the Gehenna of fire" primarily means the Valley of Hinnom, where the last processes of judgment seem to have taken place (vide infra). Christ does not say that the sins spoken of render a man liable to any of these earthly processes of law; he says that they render him liable to processes of Divine law which are fittingly symbolized by these expressions. (So Alford, Mansel, and especially Trench, 'Sermon on the Mount,' p. 190). Whosoever is angry; Revised Version, more precisely, every one who (πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος). This form of expression is specially frequent in 1 John, e.g. 3:3, where Bishop Westcott says, "In each case where this characteristic form of language occurs there is apparently a reference to some who had questioned the application of a general principle in particular cases," (For the thought of this clause, cf. 1 John 3:15.) With his brother. The term "brother" was applied in both Greek and Hebrew, by way of metaphor, to things that possessed merely such fellowship as arises from juxtaposition or from similarity of purpose (cf. of the cherubim, Exodus 25:20, "with their faces one to another," literally, "each (man) to his brother"). It is thus possible that here the thought is of any person with whom one is brought into temporary relation, quite apart from any question of a common source. Yet as this could have been represented by "neighbour" (cf. Matthew 19:19), it seems reasonable to see something more in "brother," and to view it with reference to its implied meaning, "fellowship of life based on identity of origin" (Cremer). To Jews as such the term would doubtless only suggest identity of origin nationally, i.e. a fellow-Jew (cf. especially Leviticus 19:17a with 16, 17b, 18; so even Malachi 2:10); but to Christians of the time when the Gospel was written rather identity of spiritual origin, i.e. a fellow-Christian. Probably when the expression fell from Christ's lips not one of those who heard him imagined that it could have any wider meaning than fellow-Jew or fellow-believer on Jesus, and probably most of them limited it to the former. In fact, Christ seems to have used it as a means whereby to lead up his hearers from the idea of a national to that of a spiritual relation (cf. vers. 47, 48). We are therefore hardly warranted (far-reaching as the word on Christ's lips is) in seeing here any reference to the thought of the universal brotherhood of man, based on the fact of all being children of one common Father (cf. further Bishop Westcott, on 1 John 2:9). Without a cause. Omitted by the Revised Version; Revised Version margin, "many ancient authorities insert without cause." The εἰκῆ, though found in the Old Latin and Old Syriac, is certainly to be omitted, with R, B, and Vulgate, notwithstanding Dean Burgon ('Revision,' p. 358); cf. especially Westcott and Hurt, 'App.' It is redundant, because the two following expressions show that the anger itself is unloving and hostile (cf. further Meyer). There is a holy anger, but that is with a brother's sin, not with the brother himself (cf. Augustine, in Trench, 'Sermon on the Mount'). Shall be in danger of the judgment; i.e. of God's wrath as symbolized by the lowest degree of Jewish trial (vide supra). And whosoever (ὅς δ ἄν). For in this case there was no need for the emphasizing inclusiveness of πᾶς. Raca.
(1) Augustine's explanation (in los.; vide Trench; cf. also 'In Joann. Evang.,' § 51:2; 'De Doctr. Christ.,' 2:11), which he got "a quodam Hebraeo," that Raca is in itself meaningless, and is only an interjection expressing indignation, as "Heu!" sorrow, or "Hem!" anger, or "Hosanna" (!) joy, will hardly commend itself to us to-day.
(2) Nor will Chrysostom's (in loc.; vide Chase's admirable monograph on Chrysostom (1887), p. 133), "As we in giving orders to a servant or to some one of mean rank, say, Go you; take you this message (ἄπελθε σὺ εἰπὲ τῷ δεῖνι σύ), so those who use the Syrian language used Raca, an equivalent to our you (σύ);' seem much better, whether we take him as considering it as meaningless, or as in some way confusing its ending with the Shemitic suffix for "thee" (ka).
(3) Ewald explains it by רקעא, "rascal" (vide Meyer); but
(4) it is more probably the Aramaic ריקא reka "empty;" cf. Hebrew plural rekim, "vain fellows," in Judges 9:4; Judges 11:3. St. James uses its equivalent (ω΅ ἄνρθωπε κενέ, 2:20) in solemn warning; but it was not infrequently used as a mere term of angry abuse (cf. Lightfoot, ' Hor. Hebr.,' in loc., and Levy, s.v.). Buxtorf, s.v., compares a favourite expression of Aben Ezra's, ריקי מוה, "empty-heads," for those who raise senseless objections, etc.; but the simple expression in our text refers rather to moral deficiency thorn to deficiency of brain. The council (vide supra). But; Revised Version, and. The Authorized Version interpolates an emphasis on the climax. Thou fool (Μωρέ).
(1) This is probably the Greek word for "fool," equivalent to the Hebrew nabal (נָבָל), which was often used in the Old Testament of the folly of wickedness (Psalm 14:1; cf. 1 Samuel 25:25). In this sense μωρός is used by our Lord himself (Matthew 23:17 ).
(2) It may be the transliteration (cf. שׁכן, σκηνοῦν) of the Hebrew moreh (מורה), "rebel" (cf. Numbers 20:10). (So Revised Version margin, Weiss. Nosgen.) In favour of this is the parallelism cf. language with Raca. The sense, too, is excellent, "Thou rebel against God!" It is almost equivalent to "Apostate!" But the absence of any evidence that the Jews used moreh as a term of abuse prevents our accepting this interpretation. Field ('Otium Norv.,' 3.) points out that if this interpretation were true, moreh would be "the only pure Hebrew word in the Greek Testament (ἀλληλουι'´α, ἀμήν, and σαβαώθ, as being taken from the LXX., belong to a different class), all other foreign words being indisputably Aramaic, as raca, talitha kumi, maranatha, etc., which, as might have been expected, are retained by the authors of the Syriac versions without alteration. Not so μωρε;, for which both the Peschito and Philoxenian versions have lelo ()... a plain proof that these learned Syrians look it for an exotic, and not like ῤακά, a native word." In either case. the term expresses the absolute godlessness of him who is so addressed. Of the two terms, Raca is more negative, implying the absence of all good, Μωρέ more positive, implying decided wickedness. Shall be in danger of; ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς. The change from the usual dative to the unique construction with εἰς, indicated by the Revised Version margin, "Greek, unto or into," is doubtless because our Lord no longer refers to the tribunal at which the punishment is ordered, but to the punishment itself into which the condemned man comes (cf. Wirier, § 31:5). Hell fire; Revised Version, the hell of fire; Revised Version margin, "Greek, Gehenna of fire" (τῆν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός). Gehenna is properly "the Valley of Hinnom" (Joshua 18:16b; Nehemiah 11:30), or "of the son of Hinnom" (Joshuaxv. 8; 16:18a; 2 Chronicles 28:3). It is probably the valley on the south-west of Jerusalem (see, however, W. F. Birch, in Palestine Exploration Fund Report, January, 1889, pp. 39, 42, who places it between the two parts of Jerusalem, identifying it with the Tyropoeon Valley of Josephus, neglecting, however, to explain how so central a position is consistent with the "fire." In it was the spot where human sacrifices were offered to Moloch (cf. 2 Chronicles 28:3; and Rawlinson, on 2 Kings 23:10), called the Topheth, "the place of horror" (vide especially Payne Smith, on Jeremiah 7:31); and in it, presumably on the same place, were burnt, according to Jewish tradition (vide especially Kimchi, on Psalm 27:13), the carcases of animals and other offal. There is no direct evidence that the bodies of criminals (as is often stated) were burnt there. But it seems probable that it was in this place that death by "burning," whether it was the later method of "burning" by a red-hot wire, or the earlier (Mishna, 'San-hedr.,' 7:2) of lighting faggots of wood round the condemned person, would be carried into effect. Thus both from the old associations of the valley, and from the then use made of it, the epithet "of fire" would be very naturally added. It seems probable that our Lord here referred primarily to "Gehenna" in this local sense (vide supra), but it is fair to notice that there is no other instance in the New Testament of this literal usage of the word. Elsewhere it is always in the metaphorical sense common in rabbinic writings of the place of final punishment which we usually call "hell."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But I say unto you,.... This is a Rabbinical way of speaking, used when a question is determined, and a false notion is refuted; it is a magisterial form of expression, and well suits with Christ, the great teacher and master in Israel; who spake as one having authority, opposing himself, not to the law of "Moses, thou shalt not kill"; but to the false gloss the ancient doctors had put upon it, with which their later ones agreed. You say, that if one man kills another himself, he is to be put to death by the sanhedrim; and if he does it by proxy, he is to be left to the judgment of God, so wholly restraining the law to actual murder; but I affirm, that
whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of judgment. By "brother" is meant, not in a religious sense, one that is of the same faith, or in the same church state; nor, in a strict natural sense, one that is so in the bonds of consanguinity; but in a large sense, any man, of whatsoever country or nation: for we are to be angry with no man; that is, as is rightly added,
without a cause: for otherwise there is an anger which is not sinful, is in God, in Christ, in the holy angels; and is commendable in the people of God, when it arises from a true zeal for religion, the glory of God, and the interest of Christ; and is kindled against sin, their own, or others, all manner of vice, false doctrine, and false worship: but it is causeless anger which is here condemned by Christ, as a breach of the law, "thou shalt not kill"; and such persons are
in danger of judgment; not of any of the courts of judicature among the Jews, as the sanhedrim of three, or of twenty three, or of seventy one, which took no notice of anger, as a passion in the mind, only of facts committed; but of the judgment of God, as in the preceding "verse", it being distinguished from the sanhedrim, or council, in the next clause.
And whosoever shall say to his brother Raca, shall be in danger of the council, or "sanhedrim". The word Raca is expressive of indignation and contempt; it was used as a term of reproach. Some derive it from to "spit upon"; as if the person that used it thought the man he spoke to deserved to be spit upon, and treated in the most contemptuous manner: but rather the word signifies "empty" and "vain", and denotes a worthless, empty headed man; a man of no brains; a foolish, witless, fellow: so it is often used in Jewish writings. Take a few instances, as follow:
"a certain person said to R. Jochanan (w), Rabbi, expound, for it becomes thee to expound; for as thou hast said, so have I:seen: he replied to him, Reka, if thou hadst not seen, thou wouldst not have believed.''
Again (x), it happened to R. Simeon ben Eliezer of Migdal Edar, who went from the house of Rabbi; and he met with a certain man very much deformed; he says unto him, Reka, how many are the deformed sons of "Abraham our father?" Many more instances might be given (y). Now I do not find that the use of this reproachful word was cognizable by the Jewish sanhedrim, or great council; nor is it our Lord's meaning that it was, only that it ought to have been taken notice of in a proper manner, as well as actual murder. He adds,
but whosoever shall say thou fool, shall be danger of hell fire. The word "fool" does not signify a man of weak parts, one that is very ignorant in things natural; this the word Raca imports; but a wicked reprobate man; in which sense Solomon often uses the word. The Persic version renders it here "wicked". There is a manifest gradation in the text from causeless anger in the breast, or reproachful words; and from thence to a censorious judging of a man's spiritual and eternal estate, which is what is here condemned. "Thou fool", is, thou wicked man, thou ungodly wretch, thou graceless creature, whose portion will be eternal damnation. Calling a man by such names was not allowed of by the Jews themselves, whose rules are:
"he that calls his neighbour a servant, let him be excommunicated; a bastard, let him be beaten with forty stripes; "a wicked man", let him descend with him into his life or livelihood (z).''
The gloss upon it is,
"as if he should say, to this the sanhedrim is not obliged, but it is lawful to hate him, yea to lessen his sustenance, and exercise his trade,''
which was done to bring him to poverty and distress. So, it seems, the sanhedrim were not obliged to take notice of him. Again, they say,
"it is forbidden a man to call his neighbour by a name of reproach (a) everyone that calls his neighbour "a wicked man", shall be brought down to hell;''
which is pretty much what Christ here says,
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. But I say unto you—Mark the authoritative tone in which—as Himself the Lawgiver and Judge—Christ now gives the true sense, and explains the deep reach, of the commandment.
That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; 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—It is unreasonable to deny, as Alexander does, that three degrees of punishment are here meant to be expressed, and to say that it is but a threefold expression of one and the same thing. But Romish expositors greatly err in taking the first two—"the judgment" and "the council"—to refer to degrees of temporal punishment with which lesser sins were to be visited under the Gospel, and only the last—"hell-fire"—to refer to the future life. All three clearly refer to divine retribution, and that alone, for breaches of this commandment; though this is expressed by an allusion to Jewish tribunals. The "judgment," as already explained, was the lowest of these; the "council," or "Sanhedrim,"—which sat at Jerusalem—was the highest; while the word used for "hell-fire" contains an allusion to the "valley of the son of Hinnom" (Jos 18:16). In this valley the Jews, when steeped in idolatry, went the length of burning their children to Molech "on the high places of Tophet"—in consequence of which good Josiah defiled it, to prevent the repetition of such abominations (2Ki 23:10); and from that time forward, if we may believe the Jewish writers, a fire was kept burning in it to consume the carrion and all kinds of impurities that collected about the capital. Certain it is, that while the final punishment of the wicked is described in the Old Testament by allusions to this valley of Tophet or Hinnom (Isa 30:33; 66:24), our Lord Himself describes the same by merely quoting these terrific descriptions of the evangelical prophet (Mr 9:43-48). What precise degrees of unholy feeling towards our brothers are indicated by the words "Raca" and "fool" it would be as useless as it is vain to inquire. Every age and every country has its modes of expressing such things; and no doubt our Lord seized on the then current phraseology of unholy disrespect and contempt, merely to express and condemn the different degrees of such feeling when brought out in words, as He had immediately before condemned the feeling itself. In fact, so little are we to make of mere words, apart from the feeling which they express, that as anger is expressly said to have been borne by our Lord towards His enemies though mixed with "grief for the hardness of their hearts" (Mr 3:5), and as the apostle teaches us that there is an anger which is not sinful (Eph 4:26); so in the Epistle of James (Jas 2:20) we find the words, "O vain (or, empty) man"; and our Lord Himself applies the very word "fools" twice in one breath to the blind guides of the people (Mt 23:17, 19)—although, in both cases, it is to false reasoners rather than persons that such words are applied. The spirit, then, of the whole statement may be thus given: "For ages ye have been taught that the sixth commandment, for example, is broken only by the murderer, to pass sentence upon whom is the proper business of the recognized tribunals. But I say unto you that it is broken even by causeless anger, which is but hatred in the bud, as hatred is incipient murder (1Jo 3:15); and if by the feelings, much more by those words in which all ill feeling, from the slightest to the most envenomed, are wont to be cast upon a brother: and just as there are gradations in human courts of judicature, and in the sentences which they pronounce according to the degrees of criminality, so will the judicial treatment of all the breakers of this commandment at the divine tribunal be according to their real criminality before the heart-searching Judge." Oh, what holy teaching is this!
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