Matthew 5:38
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'

New Living Translation
"You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'

English Standard Version
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’

New American Standard Bible
"You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.'

King James Bible
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

International Standard Version
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

NET Bible
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
You have heard that it was said, “An eye in exchange for an eye, and a tooth in exchange for a tooth.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

Jubilee Bible 2000
Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;

King James 2000 Bible
You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

American King James Version
You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

American Standard Version
Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

Douay-Rheims Bible
You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

Darby Bible Translation
Ye have heard that it has been said, Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.

English Revised Version
Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

Webster's Bible Translation
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

Weymouth New Testament
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.'

World English Bible
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'

Young's Literal Translation
'Ye heard that it was said: Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:38-42 The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord's keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 38-48. - The two remaining examples of the current teaching of the Law are very closely connected together, and, in fact, our Lord's corrections of them are intermingled in Luke 6:27-36. Yet the subjects are really distinct. In the first (vers. 38-42) our Lord speaks of the reception of injuries, in the second (vers. 43-48) of the treatment of those who do them. Godet's remarks (in his summary of Luke 6:27-45) on the use made by St. Luke of these examples are especially instructive. "These last two antitheses, which terminate in Matthew in the lofty thought (ver. 48) of man being elevated by love to the perfection of God, furnish Luke with the leading idea of the discourse as he presents it, namely, charity as the law of the new life." Verses 38-42. - The reception of injuries. The Law inculcated that the injured should obtain from those who did the wrong exact compensation (on this being properly a command, not merely a permission, vide Mozley, 'Ruling Ideas,' etc., pp. 182, sqq.). Our Lord inculcates giving up of all in-sistance upon one's rights as an injured person, and entire submission to injuries, even as far as proffering the opportunity for fresh wrongs. Verse 38. - An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. No short phrase could more accurately describe the spirit of the Mosaic legislation. Offences against individuals were to be punished by the injured individual receiving back, as it were, the exact compensation from him who had injured him. While this was originally observed literally, it was in Mishnic times (and probably in the time of our Lord) softened to payment of money (vide Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.'). The phrase comes three times in the Pentateuch (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21). Notice:

(1) The LXX. has the accusative in each case, although only in the first does a verb precede. Probably the expression had already become proverbial in Greek even before the translation of the LXX.

(2) The Hebrew of Deuteronomy 19:21 is slightly different from that of the other two passages, and as the preposition there used (ב) is not so necessarily rendered by ἀντί, that passage is perhaps the least likely of the three to have been in our Lord's mind now. It seems likely, however, that he was not thinking of any one of the three passages in particular. The words served him as a summary of the Law in this respect.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Ye have heard that it hath been said,.... That is, to, or by them of old time, as is expressed in some of the foregoing instances,

an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, Exodus 21:24. This is "lex talionis", the "law of retaliation"; which, whether it is to be understood literally, or not, is a matter of question. The Baithuseans, or Sadducees, among the Jews, took it in a literal sense, and so does Josephus, who says (b), he that shall blind, i.e. put out a man's eyes, shall suffer the like. But the Jewish doctors generally understood it of paying a price equivalent to the damage done, except in case of life. R. Sol. Jarchi (c) explains the law thus:

"He that puts out his neighbour's eye, must give him , "the price of his eye", according to the price of a servant sold in the market; and so the same of them all; for, not taking away of the member is strictly meant.''

And, says Maimonides (d),

"if a man cuts off his neighbour's hand, or foot, he is to be considered as if he was a servant sold in a market; what he was worth then, and what he is worth now; and he must pay the diminution which is made of his price; as it is said, "eye for eye". From tradition it is learned, that this for, spoken of, is to be understood of paying money; this is what is said in the law, "as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again". Not that he is to be hurt, as he has hurt his neighbour; but inasmuch as he deserves to want a member, or to be hurt as he has done; therefore he ought to pay the damage.''

And Josephus himself (e) says, that he must be deprived of that, which he has deprived another of, except he that has his eye put out is willing to receive money; and which, he observes, the law allows of. The controversy about the sense of this law may be seen in a few words, as managed between R. Sandish Hagson, and Ben Zeta (f).

"Says R. Sandish, we cannot explain this verse according to its literal sense; for if a man should smite the eye of his neighbour, and the third part of the light of his eye should depart, how will he order it, to strike such a stroke, as that, without adding or lessening? perhaps he will put out the whole light of his eye. And it is yet more difficult with respect to burning, wound, and stripe; for should they be in a dangerous place the man might die but that is intolerable. Ben Zeta answers him, is it not written, in another place, "as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again?" To which Hagson replies, "in", is instead of "upon", or against; and lo! the sense is, so shall the punishment be upon him. Ben Zeta answers him again, as he does, so shall it be done to him. Hagson replies, behold Samson said, "as they have done to me, so will I do to them"; but Samson did not take their wives, and give them to others, he only rendered to them their reward: but Ben Zeta replies, if a poor man should smite, what must be his punishment? Hagson answers him, if a blind man should put out the eye of one that sees, what shall be done to him? as for the poor man, he may become rich, and pay, but the blind man can never pay.''

Now our Lord here, does not find fault with the law of retaliation, as delivered by Moses, but with the false gloss of the Scribes and Pharisees; who, as they interpreted it of pecuniary mulcts, as a compensation for the loss of a member, which sometimes exceeded all just and due bounds; so they applied it to private revenge, and in favour of it: whereas this law did not allow of a retaliation to be made, by private persons, at their pleasure, but by the civil magistrate only.

(b) Antiq. Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 35. (c) In Exodus 21.24. (d) Hilchot Chebel. c. 1. sect. 2, 3.((e) In loc. supra citat. (f) In Aben Ezra in Exodus 21.24.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

38. Ye have heard that it hath been said—(Ex 21:23-25; Le 24:19, 20; De 19:21).

An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth—that is, whatever penalty was regarded as a proper equivalent for these. This law of retribution—designed to take vengeance out of the hands of private persons, and commit it to the magistrate—was abused in the opposite way to the commandments of the Decalogue. While they were reduced to the level of civil enactments, this judicial regulation was held to be a warrant for taking redress into their own hands, contrary to the injunctions of the Old Testament itself (Pr 20:22; 24:29).

Matthew 5:38 Additional Commentaries
Context
Love Your Enemies
38"You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' 39"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.…
Cross References
Exodus 21:24
eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Leviticus 24:20
fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

Deuteronomy 19:21
Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Matthew 5:21
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'

Matthew 5:27
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
Treasury of Scripture

You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

An eye.

Exodus 21:22-27 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart …

Leviticus 24:19,20 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he has done, so …

Deuteronomy 19:19 Then shall you do to him, as he had thought to have done to his brother: …

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