Matthew 5:35
Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
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5:33-37 There is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong, provided they are taken with due reverence. But all oaths taken without necessity, or in common conversation, must be sinful, as well as all those expressions which are appeals to God, though persons think thereby to evade the guilt of swearing. The worse men are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are, the less there is need for them. Our Lord does not enjoin the precise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny, but such a constant regard to truth as would render oaths unnecessary.But I say unto you, Swear not at all - That is, in the manner which he proceeds to specify. Swear not in any of the common and profane ways customary at that time.

By heaven; for it is God's throne - To swear by that was, if it meant anything, to swear by Him that sitteth thereon, Matthew 23:22.

Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool - Swearing by that, therefore, is really swearing by God. Or perhaps it means:

1. that we have no right to pledge, or swear by, what belongs to God; and,

2. that oaths by inanimate objects are unmeaningful and wicked.

If they are real oaths, they are by a living Being, who has power to take vengeance. A footstool is that on which the feet rest when sitting. The term is applied to the earth to denote how lowly and humble an object it is when compared with God.

Jerusalem - See the notes at Matthew 2:1.

City of the Great King - That is, of God; called the Great King because he was the King of the Israelites, and Jerusalem was the capital of the nation, and the place where he was especially honored as king. Compare Psalm 46:4; Psalm 48:1-2; Psalm 87:3.

35. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool—(quoting Isa 66:1);

neither by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King—(quoting Ps 48:2).

See Poole on "Matthew 5:36".

Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool,.... That the Jews were wont to swear by the earth, is clear from the above mentioned instances; and is condemned by Christ for this reason, because the earth is God's "footstool", referring, as before, to Isaiah 66:1 on which he treads; and where he also manifests forth his glory, and is a considerable part of the work of his hands.

Neither by Jerusalem, which the Jews used to swear by: such forms of vows as these are to be met with in their writings (q);

"as the altar, as the temple, "as Jerusalem";''

that is, by Jerusalem, I vow I will do this, or the other thing.

"R. Judah says, he that says Jerusalem (i.e. as Bartenora observes (r), without the note of comparison, as) says nothing.''

In the Gemara (s) it is,

"he that says as Jerusalem, does not say anything, till he has made his vow concerning a thing, which is offered up in Jerusalem.''

Dr. Lightfoot (t) has produced forms of vowing and swearing, which have not occurred to me.

"Jerusalem; "for", or "unto Jerusalem", which exactly answers to , here; and "by Jerusalem";''

The reason given for prohibiting this kind of oath, is;

for it is the city of the great king: not of David, but of the King of kings, the Lord of hosts; who had his residence, and his worship, here; see Psalm 48:2.

(q) Misn. Nedarim, c. 1. sect. 3.((r) In. ib. (s) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 11. 1.((t) In loc. ex Tosapht. in Nedarim, c. 1.

Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Matthew 5:35. Εὶς, upon) There is a difference between this and ἐν (by)[217] used in the last verse. The Jews were accustomed to pray for all blessings upon Jerusalem. The meanings of the formula therefore was—So may the city be in safety, as—So may it light upon the city, as[218]—πόλις, the city) the royal abode.—τοῦ[219] Μεγάλου Βασιλέως, of that[220] Great King), (see Psalm 48:2), i.e. of the Messiah whom (Matthew 5:34-35) heaven and earth obey. It is not unbecoming in Him to speak thus of Himself. See ch. Matthew 9:38, and Matthew 22:43.

[217] E. V. renders both words “by”—sc. “by Heaven,” “by Jerusalem,” etc.—(I. B.)

[218] Perhaps it may refer to the Jewish custom of praying with the face towards Jerusalem, Daniel 6:10.—ED.

[219] The article has a magnifying force.—Not. Crit.

[220] Magni illius regis
. E. V. renders it “of the Great King.”—(I. B.)

Verse 35. - Nor by Jerusalem. The Hebraistic ἐν is here exchanged for the less unclassical εἰς, the reason, perhaps, being that definite direction of one's thought towards Jerusalem was, as it seems, insisted upon by some. "Rabbi Judah saith, He that saith, By Jerusalem, saith nothing, unless with an intent purpose he shall vow towards Jerusalem" (Tosipht., 'Ned.,' 1, in Lightfoot,' Her Hebr.'). So Revised Version margin, toward. For it is the city, etc. (Psalm 48:2). Matthew 5:35
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