Matthew 5:22
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.
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(22) I say unto you.—The I is emphasized in the Greek. It was this probably that, more than anything else, led to the feeling of wonder expressed in Matthew 7:28-29. The scribe in his teaching invariably referred to this Rabbi and that; the new Teacher spoke as one having a higher authority of His own.

Angry . . . without a cause.—The last three words are wanting in many of the best MSS. They may have been inserted to soften down the apparent harshness of the teaching; but if so, it must have been at an early date—before the fourth century. They may, on the other hand, have been in the text originally, and struck out, as giving too wide a margin to vain and vague excuses. Ethically, the teaching is not that the emotion of anger, with or without a cause, stands on the same level of guilt with murder, but that the former so soon expands and explodes into the latter, that it will be brought to trial and sentenced according to the merits of each case, the occasion of the anger, the degree in which it has been checked or cherished, and the like. As no earthly tribunal can take cognisance of emotions as such, the “judgment” here is clearly that of the Unseen Judge dealing with offences which in His eyes are of the same character as those which come before the human judges. “Hates any man the thing he would not kill?”

Raca.—As far as the dictionary sense of the word goes, it is the same as that of the “vain fellows” of Judges 9:4, Jdg_11:3; Proverbs 12:11; but all words of abuse depend for their full force on popular association, and raca, like words of kindred meaning among ourselves, was in common use as expressing not anger only but insolent contempt. The temper condemned is that in which anger has so far gained the mastery that we no longer recognise a “brother” in the man who has offended us, but look on him with malignant scorn.

The council.—Offences of this kind are placed by our Lord on the same level as those which came before the great court of the Sanhedrim. That word, though it looks like Hebrew, is really only a transliterated form of the Greek word for council. The court consisted of seventy or seventy-two members, with a president and vice-president, and was made up of the heads of the twenty-four courses of the priests, with forty-six or forty-eight (how chosen it is not known) from the “elders” and “scribes.” Like the Areopagus at Athens, it took cognisance—as in the case of our Lord (Matthew 26:65) and Stephen (Acts 6:13)—of blasphemy and other like offences, and its peculiar prerogative was that it could order death by stoning. The point of our Lord’s teaching was, therefore, that to scorn God’s image in man is to do dishonour to God Himself. We cannot truly “fear God” unless we also “honour all men” (1Peter 2:17). The reverence for humanity as such must extend even to the man who has most provoked us. In the unseen eternal world the want of that reverence has its own appropriate punishment.

Thou fool.—The Greek word so rendered agrees accidentally in its consonants with the Hebrew word translated “rebel” (m’re) in Numbers 20:10, and hence it has been thought by some that we have here, as with raca, a common Hebrew term of opprobrium. There is no evidence, however, that the word was thus used, and it is more probable that the Greek is a translation of some word which, like the “fool” of the Old Testament, implied, as in Psalm 14:1, utter godlessness as well as lack of intellectual wisdom. With that meaning it embodied the temper, not, like that represented by raca, of petulant contempt, but of fixed and settled hatred. That it was the temper and not the utterance of the mere syllables which our Lord condemned is seen in that He Himself used the word of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:17; Matthew 23:19), and St. Paul of the sceptical Greek materialist (1Corinthians 15:36). The self-same word might spring from a righteous indignation or from malignant hatred.

Of hell fire.—Literally, of the Gehenna of fire. Great confusion has arisen here and elsewhere from the use of the same English word for two Greek words of very different meanings: (1) Hades, answering to the Sheol (also for the most part translated “hell”) of the Old Testament, the unseen world, the region or state of the dead, without any reference to their blessedness or misery; (2) Gehenna, which had come to represent among the later Jews (not in the time of any Old Testament writer) the place of future punishment. The history of the word is worth studying. Originally, it was the Greek form of Ge-hinnom (the Valley of Hinnom, sometimes of the “son” or the “children” of Hinnom), and was applied to a narrow gorge on the south of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:8). There Solomon erected a high place for Molech (1Kings 11:7). There the fires of that god had received their bloody offerings of infant sacrifice under Ahaz and Manasseh (2Kings 16:3; 2Chronicles 28:3; 2Chronicles 33:6). Josiah, in his great work of reformation, defiled it, probably by casting the bones of the dead and other filth upon it (2Kings 23:10-14); and the Jews on their return from captivity showed their abhorrence of the idolatry of their fathers by making it, as it were, the place where they cast out all the refuse of the city. Outwardly, it must have been foul to sight and smell, and thus it became, before our Lord’s time, a parable of the final state of those in whom all has become vile and refuse. The thought first appears in the Targum or Paraphrase of Isaiah 33:14 (“Gehenna is the eternal fire”). It is often said that fires which were kept burning to consume the solid refuse added to the horror of the scene; but of this, though it is suggested by this passage and Mark 9:48. there is no adequate evidence. Here the analogy of the previous clauses suggests also the thought that the bodies of great criminals were sometimes deprived of burial rites, and cast out into the Valley of Hinnom; but of this, too, there is no evidence, though it is in itself probable enough. In any case, the meaning of the clause is obvious. Our passing words, expressing states of feeling, and not the overt act of murder only, are subject to the judgment of the Eternal Judge, and may bring us into a guilt and a penalty like that of the vilest criminals.

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!But I say unto you - Jesus being God as well as man John 1:1, John 1:14, and therefore, being the original giver of the law, had a right to expound it or change it as he pleased. Compare Matthew 12:6, Matthew 12:8. He therefore spoke here and elsewhere as having authority, and not as the scribes. It may be added here that no mere man ever spake as Jesus did, when explaining or enforcing the law. He did it as having a right to do it; and he that has a right to ordain and change laws in the government of God must be himself divine.

Is angry with His brother without a cause - Anger, or that feeling which we have when we are injured, and which prompts us to defend ourselves when in danger, is a natural feeling, given to us:

1. As a proper expression of our disapprobation of a course of evil conduct; and

2. That we may defend ourselves when suddenly attacked.

When excited against sin, it is lawful. God is angry with the wicked, Psalm 7:11. Jesus looked on the hypocritical Pharisees with anger, Mark 3:5. So it is said, "Be ye angry, and sin not, Ephesians 4:26. This anger, or indignation against sin, is not what our Saviour speaks of here. What he condemns here is anger without a cause; that is, unjustly, rashly, hastily, where no offence has been given or intended. In that case it is evil; and it is a violation of the sixth commandment, because "he that hateth his brother, is a murderer," 1 John 3:15. He has a feeling which would lead him to commit murder, if it were fully acted out. The word "brother" here refers not merely to one to whom we are nearly related, having the same parent or parents, as the word is commonly used, but includes also a neighbor, or perhaps anyone with whom we may be associated. As all people are descended from one Father and are all the creatures of the same God, so they are all brethren: and so every man should be regarded and treated as a brother, Hebrews 11:16.

Raca - This is a Syriac word, expressive of great contempt. It comes from a verb signifying to be empty, vain; and hence, as a word of contempt, denotes senseless, stupid, shallow-brains. Jesus teaches here that to use such words is a violation of the spirit of the sixth commandment, and if indulged, may lead to a more open and dreadful infraction of that law. Children should learn that to use such words is highly offensive to God, for we must give an account for every idle word which we speak in the day of judgment, Matthew 12:36.

In danger of the council - The word translated "council" is in the original Sanhedrin, and there can be no doubt that the Saviour refers to the Jewish tribunal of that name. This was instituted in the time of the Maccabees, probably about 200 years before Christ. It was composed of 72 judges: the high priest was the president of this tribunal. The 72 members were made up of the chief priests and elders of the people and the scribes. The chief priests were such as had discharged the office of the high priest, and those who were the heads of the twenty-four classes of priests, who were called in an honorary way high or chief priests. See Matthew 2:4. The elders were the princes of the tribes or heads of the family associations. It is not to be supposed that all the elders had a right to a seat here, but such only as were elected to the office. The scribes were learned people of the nation elected to this tribunal, being neither of the rank of priests or elders. This tribunal had cognizance of the great affairs of the nation. Until the time when Judea was subjected to the Romans, it had the power of life and death. It still retained the power of passing sentence, though the Roman magistrate held the right of execution. It usually sat in Jerusalem, in a room near the temple. It was before this tribunal that our Saviour was tried. It was then assembled in the palace of the high priest, Matthew 26:3-57; John 18:24.

Thou fool - This term expressed more than want of wisdom. It was expressive of the highest guilt. It had been commonly used to denote those who were idolaters Deuteronomy 22:21, and also one who is guilty of great crimes, Joshua 7:15; Psalm 14:1.

Hell fire - The original of this is "the gehennah of fire." The word gehenna, γέεννα geenna, commonly translated "hell," is made up of two Hebrew words, and signifies the valley of Hinnom. This was formerly a pleasant valley near to Jerusalem, on the south. A small brook or torrent usually ran through it and partly encompassed the city. This valley the idolatrous Israelites devoted formerly to the horrid worship of Moloch, 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3. In that worship, the ancient Jewish writers inform us, the idol of Moloch was of brass, adorned with a royal crown, having the head of a calf, and his arms extended as if to embrace anyone. When they offered children to him they heated the statue within by a great fire, and when it was burning hot they put the miserable child into his arms, where it was soon consumed by the heat; and, in order that the cries of the child might not be heard, they made a great noise with drums and other instruments about the idol. These drums were called תּף toph, and hence a common name of the place was Tophet, תּפת Tophet, Jeremiah 7:31-32.

After the return of the Jews from captivity, this place was held in such abhorrence that, by the example of Josiah 2 Kings 23:10, it was made the place where to throw all the dead carcasses and filth of the city, and was not unfrequently the place of public executions. It became, therefore, extremely offensive; the sight was terrific; the air was polluted and pestilential; and to preserve it in any manner pure, it was necessary to keep fires continually burning there. The extreme loathsomeness of the place; the filth and putrefaction; the corruption of the atmosphere, and the lurid fires blazing by day and night, made it one of the most appalling and terrific objects with which a Jew was acquainted. It was called the gehenna of fire, and was the image which our Saviour often employed to denote the future punishment of the wicked.

In this verse it denotes a degree of suffering higher than the punishment inflicted by the "court of seventy," or the Sanhedrin, and the whole verse may therefore mean, "He that hates his brother without a cause is guilty of a violation of the sixth commandment, and shall be punished with a severity similar to that inflicted by the court of judgment. He that shall suffer his passions to transport him still further, so that he shall make his brother an object of derision and contempt, shall be exposed to severer punishment, corresponding to that which the Sanhedrin (council) inflicts. But he who shall load his brother with odious appellations and abusive language shall incur the severest degree of punishment, represented by being burned alive in the horrid and awful valley of Hinnom."

The amount, then, of this difficult and important verse is this: The Jews considered but one crime a violation of the sixth commandment, namely, actual murder, or willful, unlawful taking life. Jesus says that the commandment is much broader. It relates not only to the external act, but to the feelings and words. He specifies three forms of such violation:

1. Unjust anger.

2. Anger accompanied with an expression of contempt.


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!

Ver. 21,22. The Pharisees, in their lectures upon the law, usually thus prefaced, It was said by them of old time; this, saith Christ,

ye have heard. Thou shalt not kill: this was spoken by God in Mount Sinai, it was the sixth of the ten words then spoke.

And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: this now was the Pharisees’ addition, for we read of no such addition to the law as delivered, Exodus 20:13. Thus they mixed their traditions with the word of God, which possibly might be the reason of their saying rather, It was said by them of old time, than, "It was said by Moses," or, "It was said in the law of God"; for under that phrase, it was said by the ancients they both comprehended the law given by Moses to the ancient people of God, and also their own traditions and false glosses, which though not so ancient as the law, yet had obtained for some considerable time in the corrupt state of the Jews.

Shall be in danger of, or obnoxious unto, the judgment; not to the wrath and vengeance of God, of that they said nothing, but to those courts of judgment which sat amongst them, to administer justice in criminal causes. As if this law of God had been only intended to uphold peace, and to preserve human society and civil order.

Thou shalt not kill; that is, (as they interpreted), Thou shalt not, without a warrant from God, or from the law, actually take away the life of another. It appears by what followeth, that they extended not this law to unjustifiable passions in the heart, such as rash anger, malice, revengeful thoughts; nor to any opprobrious or revengeful words.

But I say unto you; I shall give you another sense of this law. The killing here forbidden is as well rash and causeless anger, and opprobrious, threatening speeches, as bloody actions.

Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment, &c. Our Saviour (as most interpreters judge) speaks this with allusion to the three courts amongst the Jews. The one was the court of three men, which only judged of smaller and lighter causes, not in capital causes. Another was their court of twenty-three men, which much answered our courts at Westminster. The third was their sanhedrim, consisting of seventy men, which answered our parliament. Some think that by the judgment is meant the first or second of the courts; by the council, the superior courts amongst the Jews. But the judgment of our reverend Dr. Lightfoot seemeth much more probable, that by the judgment is meant the judgment of God;

by the council and

hell fire, not only the judgment and vengeance of God, but the judgments and punishments that are inflicted in the courts of men, that are magistrates, and bear not the sword in vain: so as the sense is this: I say unto you, that if a man doth but in his heart nourish wrath and anger against another without a just cause, and lets it grow up into malice, and thoughts and desires of private revenge, though he be not by it obnoxious to courts of justice, who can only determine upon overt acts, yet he is accountable to God, and liable to his judgment: but if men suffer their passions to break out into reviling terms and language, such as

Raca, ( signifying a vain person), or, Thou fool, ( speaking this from anger or malice), they are not only liable to the eternal vengeance of God, compared to the fire of Gehenna, but ought to be subjected to the punishment of the civil magistrate. Every civil government being by the law of God, in order to the prevention of quarrels or bloodshed, (which often followeth revilings of each other), obliged to punish such offences, as being the beginnings of murder, provocations to it, and indications of murderous hearts, hearts full of that which in the eye of God is murder.

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,


But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be {i} in danger {k} of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the {l} council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of {m} hell {n} fire.

(i) He speaks of the judgment of God, and of the difference of sins, and therefore applies his words to the form of civil judgments which were then used.

(k) Of that judgment which was ruled by three men, who had the hearing and deciding of money matters, and such other small causes.

(l) By that judgment which stood of 23 judges, who had the hearing and deciding of weighty affairs, as the matter of a whole tribe or of a high priest, or of a false prophet.

(m) Whereas we read here hell, it is in the text itself Gehenna, which is one Hebrew word made out of two, and is as if to say as the Valley of Hinnom, which the Hebrews called Topheth: it was a place where the Israelites cruelly sacrificed their children to false gods, whereupon it was taken for a place appointed to torment the reprobates in Jer 7:31.

(n) The Jews used four kinds of punishments, before their government was taken away by Herod: hanging, beheading, stoning, and burning. It is burning that Christ meant, because burning was the greatest punishment; therefore by making mention of a judgment, a council, and a fire, he shows that some sins are worse than others are, but yet they are all such that we must give account for them, and will be punished for them.

Matthew 5:22. I, on the other hand, as the fulfiller of the law, already declare unrighteous anger to be as worthy of punishment as the act of murder was declared to be to those of old time; as still more worthy of punishment, however, the expression of such anger in injurious language, to which I, in the worst cases, even assign the punishment of hell. Observe (1) that Jesus does not at all enter into the question of murder itself, by which He makes it to be felt that it was something unheard of amongst those who believed on Him; (2) that for the same reason He does not mention any outbursts of anger in acts, such as ill-usage and the like; (3) that the abusive words, which are quoted by way of example, represent different degrees of outbursts of anger in speech, in accordance with the malignity of the disposition from which they proceed; and (4) that κρίσις, συνέδριον, γέεννα, illustrate different degrees of greater culpability before God (for κρίσις and συνέδριον are also analogical representations of divine, although temporal, penal judgment), down to the everlasting damnation; so that (5) as the general moral idea in the concrete discourse, whose plastic ascent in details is not to be pressed, the highest and holiest severity appears in the point of unlovingness (comp. 1 John 3:15), and therein lies the ideal consummation of the law, οὐ φονεύσεις, not only in itself, but also in the antithesis of its traditional threat, ὃς δʼ ἂν φονεύσῃ, etc.

ὁ ὀργιζόμ.] has the emphasis of opposition to φονεύειν.

τῷ ἀδελφῷ] does not go beyond the popular conception (a member of the nation, comp. Matthew 5:47), out of which grew at a later time the representation and designation of Christian brotherly fellowship. The conception of the πλησίον from the point of view of humanity, Luke 10:29, is not contained in the ἀδελφός.

If εἰκῆ were genuine (but see critical remarks), then this idea would be contained in it, that Jesus does not mean simply being angry, but the being angry without a reason (Romans 13:4; Colossians 2:18), the anger of mere passionateness, without moral justification; εἰκῆ would stand as equivalent to ἀλογίστως (Polyb. i. 52. 2), παραλόγως (Polyb. i. 74. 14), ἀσκόπως (Polyb. iv. 14. 6). There is, moreover, a holy anger, which has its basis in what is right, and in its relation to the unholy world. Comp. on Ephesians 4:26. But never ought it to be unloving and hostile anger; and that such an anger is here meant is shown by the context, therefore εἰκῆ would not even be an appropriate closer definition.

ῥακά] as Jerome and Hesychius already correctly interpret it, is the Chaldee רֵיקָא, vacuus, that is, empty head!

At that time a very common word of opprobrium. Buxtorf, Lex. talm. p. 2254; Lightfoot, Hor. p. 264; Wetstein in loc. That it is, so far as regards its idea, of the same nature with μωρέ that follows, speaks rather in favour of than against this common interpretation. Comp. κενός (Jam 2:20; Soph. Ant. 709), κενόφρων (Aesch. Prom. 761), κενόκρανος (Sibyll. iii. p. 418). Ewald thinks of the Aramaic רקעא, and interprets it: rascal.

μωρέ] נָבָל, fool, but in the moral sense (Hupfeld on Psalm 14:1), as the virtuous man was rightly regarded as wise (comp. Xen. Mem. iii. 9. 4) and the wicked as foolish; therefore equivalent to “wicked,” and thus a stronger word of opprobrium, one affecting the moral character, than ῥακά; see Wetstein.

εἰς τὴν γέενναν] literally: into hell,[407] which is to be regarded as a pregnant expression from the idea of being cast down into hell. Winer, p. 200 [E. T. 267]; Buttmann, p. 148 [E. T. 170], Plastic representation with the increasing liveliness of the discourse, instead of the more abstract dative. No example elsewhere. γέεννα, properly גֵּיא הִנּם, or הִנֹּם) גֵּיא בֶן־הִנֹּם, name of a man otherwise unknown; other interpretations, as “valley of howling,” are arbitrary), a valley to the south of the capital, where the idolatrous Israelites had formerly sacrificed their children to Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:32; Jeremiah 19:2); Ritter, Erdk. XVI. 1, p. 372; Robinson, Pal. II. p. 38, The name of this hated locality was transferred to the subterranean abode of the damned. Lightfoot, Hor.; Wolf on the passage; Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, II. p. 323 ff. So always in the N. T., where, however, it is found only in the Synoptics and James.

[407] The attributive genitive τοῦ πυρός (Matthew 13:42; 2 Thessalonians 1:8), as an expression of the specific nature, is to be explained from the well-known popular representation of hell (comp. Matthew 3:11, Matthew 18:8 f., Matthew 25:41, and elsewhere). The explanation of Kuinoel, who follows the older interpreters, “is dignus est, qui in valle Hinnomi vivus comburatur,” is, irrespective of the illegality of burning alive, opposed to the constant usage of γέεννα as signifying hell, which usage also forbids us to think of the burning of the body in the valley of Hinnom (Michaelis) after execution, or at least of a casting forth of the latter into this detested place (B. Crusius, comp. Tholuck).

Matthew 5:22. ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν. Christ supplies the defect, as a painter fills in a rude outline of a picture (σκιαγραφίαν), says Theophy. He goes back on the roots of crime in the feelings: anger, contempt, etc.—πᾶςαὐτοῦ. Every one; universal interdict of angry passion.—ἀδελφῷ: not in blood (the classical meaning) or in faith, but by common humanity. The implied doctrine is that every man is my brother; companion doctrine to the universal Fatherhood of God (Matthew 5:45).—εἰκῆ is of course a gloss; qualification of the interdict against anger may be required, but it was not Christ’s habit to supply qualifications. His aim was to impress the main idea, anger a deadly sin.—κρίσει, here as in Matthew 5:21. The reference is to the provincial court of seven (Deuteronomy 16:18, 2 Chronicles 19:5, Joseph. Ant. iv. 8, 14) possessing power to punish capital offences by the sword. Christ’s words are of course not to be taken literally as if He were enacting that the angry man be tried as a criminal. So understood He would be simply introducing an extension of legalism. He deserves to go before the seven, He says, meaning he is as great an offender as the homicide who is actually tried by them.

Ῥακά: left untranslated in A. V[20] and R. V[21]; a word of little meaning, rendered by Jerome “inanis aut vacuus absque cerebro”. Augustine says a Jew told him it was not properly a word at all, but an interjection like Hem. Theophy. gives as an equivalent σὺ spoken by a Greek to a man whom he despised. And the man who commits this trivial offence (as it seems) must go before, not the provincial seven, but the supreme seventy, the Sanhedrim that tried the most heinous offences and sentenced to the severest penalties, e.g., death by stoning! Trivial in appearance, the offence is deadly in Christ’s eyes. It means contempt for a fellow-man, more inhuman than anger—a violent passion, prompting to words and acts often bitterly regretted when the hot temper cools down. Μωρέ, if a Greek word, the equivalent for נָבָל = fool, good for nothing, morally worthless. It may, as Paulus, and after him Nösgen, suggests, be a Hebrew word, מוֹרֶה (Numbers 20:24, Deuteronomy 21:18), a rebel against God or against parents, the most worthless of characters. Against this Field (Otium Norviccuse) remarks that it would be the only instance of a pure Hebrew word in the N. T. In either case the word expresses a more serious form of contempt than Raca. Raca expresses contempt for a man’s head = you stupid! More expresses contempt for his heart and character = you scoundrel. The reckless use of such opprobrious epithets Jesus regarded as the supreme offence against the law of humanity.—ἔνοχοςπυρός. He deserves to go, not to the seven or the seventy, but to hell, his sin altogether damnable. Kuinoel thinks the meaning is: He deserves to be burned alive in the valley of Hinnom: is dignus est qui in valle Hinnomi vivus comburatur. This interpretation finds little approval, but it is not so improbable when we remember what Christ said about the offender of the little ones (Matthew 18:6). Neither burning alive nor drowning was actually practised. In these words of Jesus against anger and contempt there is an aspect of exaggeration. They are the strong utterance of one in whom all forms of inhumanity roused feelings of passionate abhorrence. They are of the utmost value as a revelation of character.

[20] Authorised Version.

[21] Revised Version.

22. I say] A most emphatic formula, which implies the authority of a lawgiver.

without a cause] The Greek word is omitted in the oldest MSS., and has probably been inserted by a copyist desirous of softening the expression.

the judgment] = the local court: see next note.

Raca] A word of contempt, said to be from a root meaning to “spit.” The distinction between Raca and Thou fool is lost, and naturally, for they belong to that class of words, the meaning of which depends entirely on the usage of the day. An expression innocent and unmeaning in one age becomes the watchword of a revolution in another. There is, however, clearly a climax. (1) Feeling of anger without words. (2) Anger venting itself in words. (3) Insulting anger. The gradation of punishment corresponds; liable (1) to the local court; (2) to the Sanhedrin; (3) to Gehenna.

council] i. e. the Sanhedrin. See note ch. Matthew 26:3.

hell fire] Lit. Gehenna of fire, i. e. “burning Gehenna.” Gehenna is the Greek form of the Hebrew Ge-Hinnom or “Valley of Hinnom,” sometimes called “Valley of the son of Hinnom,” also “Tophet” (Jeremiah 7:31). It was a deep narrow glen S. W. of Jerusalem, once the scene of the cruel worship of Moloch; but Josiah, in the course of his reformation, “defiled Tophet, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Moloch” (2 Kings 23:10). Cp. Milton, Paradise Lost i.:

“First Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood

Of human sacrifice and parents’ tears;

Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud,

Their children’s cries unheard that passed through fire

To his grim idol.”

After that time pollutions of every kind, among them the bodies of criminals who had been executed, were thrown into the valley. From this defilement and from its former desecration Gehenna was used to express the abode of the wicked after death. The words “of fire” are added, either because of the ancient rites of Moloch, or, if a Rabbinical tradition is to be credited, because fires were always burning in the valley, or, further, as a symbol of everlasting punishment.

Matthew 5:22. Πᾶς, κ.τ.λ., every one, etc.) This is opposed to the lax rule[201] of the Scribes.—ὁ ὀργιζόμενος, who is angry) either with a lasting feeling or a sudden emotion.—τῲ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ, with his brother) This appellation shows the unworthiness of anger.—εἰκῆ, without a cause) This gloss[202] evidently betrays its human origin.[203] He who is angry without a cause is superfluously angry: not even the Pharisees taught that it was lawful to be angry without a cause. Even if there be a cause for being angry, there ought to be no anger. God also forbids us to hate even with cause, in that He commands us to love our enemies.—Tertullian de Spectaculis, ch. 16. On the other hand, the magistrate, in killing those who ought to be killed, does rightly, and yet it is never said, Thou shalt not kill without a cause.—ἔνοχος ἔσται τη κρίσει, shall be criminal as far as belongs to the judgment or municipal tribunal) i.e. he is a murderer. Cf. Matthew 5:21.[204] As he who looks upon a woman to lust after her is an adulterer, so he that hateth his brother (1 John 4:15) is a murderer. This verse does not indicate three degrees of human or temporal punishment; for neither was it the part of the municipal tribunal and the Sanhedrim to punish the emotion of anger or the utterance of Raca, nor was the valley of the son of Hinnom the place for any punishment, much less for any punishment inflicted by any other power than that of the municipal tribunal or the Sanhedrim, still less for punishment on account of the abusive epithet of Fool. The judgment, therefore, and the council, are assigned to the emotion of anger and the utterance of Raca, as to the first and second degree of murder, deserving the first and second degree of punishment in hell: and the fiery Gehenna[205] is appropriately assigned to the third degree of murder, the abusive epithet of Fool, and indicates a more fiery punishment in hell. There is, therefore, a metonymy of the consequent for the antecedent. “He is criminal as far as belongs to the tribunal,” etc.; signifying, he is a murderer in the first, second, and third degree. Civil guilt denotes spiritual guilt, both as to the fault and the punishment.—εἴπῃ, shall say) in his heart or with his lips once or continually.—Ῥακὰ, Raca) A Hebrew word, frequently used by Hebrews according to Lightfoot, the force of which no Greek word expresses. It denotes a sort of middle term between anger and the appellation of Fool.[206] Chrysostom on this passage says, that Raka denotes in Syriac the same as “thou,” uttered contemptuously: others derive it from the Syrian “RAK,” he spits. An old English Version renders it Fie. Light persons are called ריקים in Jdg 9:4; Jdg 11:3; 2 Chronicles 13:7; and ΚΕΝῸς, empty or vain, is thus used in Jam 2:20. Reproof should reach even the trivial expressions and common manners of mankind, and that specifically; see Matthew 5:34-35, etc.; 1 Corinthians 15:32; Jam 2:3; Jam 4:13.—τῷ συνεδρίῳ, the Sanhedrim) or Great National Council of seventy-two Judges, which was held at Jerusalem, and decreed the more severe punishments.—ΜΩΡῈ, thou fool) A most harsh taunt denying common sense, without which a man is incurable and utterly deplorable; cf. μωρανθῇ, in Matthew 5:13, and the note upon it. The LXX. used the word μωρὸς very sparingly, the Son of Sirach frequently.—ἜΝΟΧΟς ἜΣΤΑΙ ΕἸς ΤῊΝ ΓΈΕΝΝΑΝ ΤΟῦ ΠΥΡΌς, he shall be criminal for the fiery Gehenna) An elliptical mode of speech[207] for, so that he may be consigned to the fiery Gehenna—sc. the valley of the Son of Hinnom, where carrion and carcases lie unburied, and at length are burnt. The word γέεννα, Gehenna, does not occur in the Septuagint; in the New Testament it is used by St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke, and St James; but not by either St John, St Paul, St Peter, or St Jude. Hiller (in his Onomata Sacra, p. 811) derives it from the Hebrew נֵּי הַנִּי, the Valley of Lamentation. Concerning the fire of that valley, see Jeremiah 7:31-32, etc.—εἰς, etc., is used with the same force as in the expression ΕἸς ΚΌΡΑΚΑς, to the ravens.[208]

[201] In the original “sanctione,” a somewhat peculiar expression.—(I. B.)

[202] “Which Luther rightly omitted.”—Not. Crit.

[203] It is retained by E. M.—(I. B.) B Vulg. Origen, omit it, and Lachm. and Tisch. read accordingly. But Dabc Iren. 242, 247, Cypr. 306, Lucf. 121, and after ὀργιζομ., Iren. 165, Hilary 128 (625) retain εἰκῆ.—ED.

[204] For whatever is repugnant to meekness and love, is a principle rising up against life, and so breathes the spirit of murder.—Vers. Germ.

[205] “γέενναν—גֵיאְ (vallis), חִגו̇ב Hinnom, the valley at the foot of Moriah, and in which Siloa flows (Jerome on x. 28), on the east of Jerusalem, desecrated by the idolatrous fires of Moloch (Jeremiah 7:31; Isaiah 30:33), and called Topheth, from Tuph, the tympanum used to drown the cries of children there immolated.”—Wordsworth in loc.

[206] Dreamy indolence (oscitantia) was the reproach usually meant to be conveyed by it, or else a headlong and hasty mode of action.—Vers. Germ.

[207] See, on the Locutio Concisa, Appendix.—ED.

[208] A phrase used by the Greeks to denote not only the disgrace of the gallows, but the still greater one of remaining unburied.—Liddell and Scott.—(I. B.)

“Josiah therefore polluted it (2 Kings 23:10); and thenceforward it was the place for casting out and burning all offal and the corpses of criminals; and therefore its name, ἡ γέεννα τοῦ πυρός, was used to signify the place of everlasting punishment.”—Alford in loc.—(I. B.)

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 [19]).

(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." Matthew 5:22Hell-fire (τήν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός)

Rev., more accurately, the hell of fire. The word Gehenna, rendered hell, occurs outside of the Gospels only at James 3:6. It is the Greek representative of the Hebrew Ge-Hinnom, or Valley of Hinnom, a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where, after the introduction of the worship of the fire-gods by Ahaz, the idolatrous Jews sacrificed their children to Molech. Josiah formally desecrated it, "that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech" (2 Kings 23:10). After this it became the common refuse-place of the city, into which the bodies of criminals, carcasses of animals, and all sorts of filth were cast. From its depth and narrowness, and its fire and ascending smoke, it became the symbol of the place of the future punishment of the wicked. So Milton:

"The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence

And black Gehenna called, the type of hell."

As fire was the characteristic of the place, it was called the Gehenna of fire. It should be carefully distinguished from Hades (ᾅδης), which is never used for the place of punishment, but for the place of departed spirits, without reference to their moral condition. This distinction, ignored by the A. V., is made in the Rev.

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