Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) The merciful.—The thought is the same as that afterwards embodied in the Lord’s Prayer. They who are pitiful towards men their brethren are ipso facto the objects of the divine pity. The negative aspect of the same truth is presented in James 2:13. In this case, the promised blessing tends to perpetuate and strengthen the grace which is thus rewarded. No motive to mercy is so constraining as the feeling that we ourselves needed it and have found it.

Matthew 5:7. Blessed [or happy] are the merciful — The tender-hearted, compassionate, kind, and beneficent, who, being inwardly affected with the infirmities, necessities, and miseries of their fellow-creatures, and feeling them as their own, with tender sympathy endeavour, as they have ability, to relieve them; and who, not confining their efforts to the communicating of temporal relief to the needy and wretched, labour also to do spiritual good; to enlighten the darkness of men’s minds, heal the disorders of their souls, and reclaim them from vice and misery, from every unholy and unhappy temper, from every sinful word and work; always manifesting a readiness to forgive the faults of others, as they themselves need and expect forgiveness from God. The merciful, says Erasmus, are those “who, through brotherly love, account another person’s misery their own; who weep over the calamities of others; who, out of their own property, feed the hungry and clothe the naked; who admonish those that are in error, inform the ignorant, pardon the offending; and who, in short, use their utmost endeavours to relieve and comfort others.” They shall obtain mercy — When they most need it. As they deal with their fellow-creatures, God will deal with them. He will incline men to show them mercy and deal kindly with them in this world, and he himself will grant them mercy and loving kindness in the day of final accounts. And since the best and happiest of mankind may need even the former, and inasmuch as all will want the latter, this is surely a strong and powerful argument to persuade us to show mercy to men, in any and every way in our power, that both God and men may show mercy to us. Add to this, that, were there no other inducement, the comfort and satisfaction arising from a disposition that renders us so like our heavenly Father, might, one would suppose, be sufficient to prevail with us to endeavour, especially in this instance, to imitate Him who, being touched with the feeling of our infirmities, was daily employed in relieving them, and even took them upon himself, continually going about doing good, and at last giving up his life to ransom ours.5:3-12 Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian. 1. The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them. 2. Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God. 3. The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world. 4. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands. 5. The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning. 6. The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity. 7. The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers! 8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.Blessed are the merciful - That is, those who are so affected by the sufferings of others as to be disposed to alleviate them. This is given as an evidence of piety, and it is said that they who show mercy to others shall obtain it. The same sentiment is found in Matthew 10:42; "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward." See also Matthew 25:34-40. This should be done with a wish to glorify God; that is, in obedience to his commandments, and with a desire that he should be honored, and with a feeling that we are benefiting one of his creatures. Then he will regard it as done to him, and will reward us. See the sentiment of this verse, that the merciful shall obtain mercy, more fully expressed in 2 Samuel 22:26-27; and in Psalm 18:25-26.

Nowhere do we imitate God more than in showing mercy. In nothing does God delight more than in the exercise of mercy, Exodus 34:6; Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9. To us, guilty sinners; to us, wretched, dying, and exposed to eternal woe, he has shown his mercy by giving his Son to die for us; by expressing his willingness to pardon and save us; and by sending his Spirit to renew and sanctify our hearts. Each day of our life, each hour, and each moment, we partake of his undeserved mercy. All the blessings we enjoy are proofs of his mercy. If we, then, show mercy to the poor, the wretched, the guilty, it shows that we are like God. We have his spirit, and shall not lose our reward. And we have abundant opportunity to do it. Our world is full of guilt and woe, which we may help to relieve; and every day of our lives we have opportunity, by helping the poor and wretched, and by forgiving those who injure us, to show that we are like God. See the notes at Matthew 6:14-15.

7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy—Beautiful is the connection between this and the preceding beatitude. The one has a natural tendency to beget the other. As for the words, they seem directly fetched from Ps 18:25, "With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful." Not that our mercifulness comes absolutely first. On the contrary, our Lord Himself expressly teaches us that God's method is to awaken in us compassion towards our fellow men by His own exercise of it, in so stupendous a way and measure, towards ourselves. In the parable of the unmerciful debtor, the servant to whom his lord forgave ten thousand talents was naturally expected to exercise the small measure of the same compassion required for forgiving his fellow servant's debt of a hundred pence; and it is only when, instead of this, he relentlessly imprisoned him till he should pay it up, that his lord's indignation was roused, and he who was designed for a vessel of mercy is treated as a vessel of wrath (Mt 18:23-35; and see Mt 5:23, 24; 6:15; Jas 2:13). "According to the view given in Scripture," says Trench most justly, "the Christian stands in a middle point, between a mercy received and a mercy yet needed. Sometimes the first is urged upon him as an argument for showing mercy—'forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you' (Col 3:13; Eph 4:32): sometimes the last—'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy'; 'Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven' (Lu 6:37; Jas 5:9). And thus, while he is ever to look back on the mercy received as the source and motive of the mercy which he shows, he also looks forward to the mercy which he yet needs, and which he is assured that the merciful—according to what Bengel beautifully calls the benigna talio ('the gracious requital') of the kingdom of God—shall receive, as a new provocation to its abundant exercise." The foretastes and beginnings of this judicial recompense are richly experienced here below: its perfection is reserved for that day when, from His great white throne, the King shall say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and thirsty, and a stranger, and naked, and sick, and in prison, and ye ministered unto Me." Yes, thus He acted towards us while on earth, even laying down His life for us; and He will not, He cannot disown, in the merciful, the image of Himself. The men of the world bless themselves if they can take care of themselves, let others do what they will, and as well as they can: but I tell you, that those alone are the blessed men, who are touched with a true sense and feeling of the wants and miseries of others, and that not out of a mere goodness and tenderness of nature, but out of a true obedience to the will of God, and a sense of his love to them, and faith in his promises; and, moved from these principles, do not only pity and compassionate them, and wish them well, but extend their helping hand to them, suitably to their miseries: for these men shall obtain mercy, and that not only from men, if they come into straits and distress, but from the hand of God, Psalm 37:26 112:5,6: he doth not say they shall merit mercy at God’s hand, but they shall be mercified, they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the merciful,.... Who show mercy to the bodies of men, to those that are poor, indigent, and miserable, in their outward circumstances; by both sympathizing with them, and distributing unto them; not only making use of expressions of pity and concern; but communicating with readiness and cheerfulness, with affection and tenderness, and with a view to the glory of God: who also show mercy to the souls of men, by instructing such as are ignorant, giving them good counsel and advice: reproving them for sin, praying for them, forgiving injuries done by them, and by comforting those that are cast down. To show mercy is very delightful to, and desirable by God; it is what he requires, and is one of the weightier matters of the law; it is very ornamental to a child of God, and what makes him more like to his heavenly Father. The happiness of such persons is this, that

they shall obtain mercy; from man, whenever they are attended with any uncomfortable circumstances of life; , "whoever is merciful", men show mercy to him (d): and from God, through Christ; which is free, sovereign, abundant, and eternal. Men are said to obtain this, when they are regenerated, and called by grace; and when they have a discovery, and an application, of the forgiveness of their sins: but here, it seems to design those supplies of grace and mercy, which merciful persons may expect to find and obtain, at the throne of grace, to help them in time of need; and who shall not only obtain mercy of God in this life, but in the world to come, in the great day of the Lord; for which the Apostle prayed for Onesiphorus, 2 Timothy 1:18.

(d) Maimon. Hilch. Mattanot Anayim. c. 10. sect. 2.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 5:7. Οἱ ἐλεήμονες] the compassionate (Hebrews 2:17; Hom. Od. v. 191) in general, not, as de Wette arbitrarily limits it, in opposition to the desire for revenge and cruelty against the heathen, which were contained in the ordinary Messianic hopes.

ἐλεηθήσονται] that is, in this way, that they get assigned to them the salvation of the Messiah’s kingdom, which will be the highest act of the divine compassion, Luke 1:72; Romans 9:16; Romans 5:17. The divine maxim, which lies at the foundation of the statement, Matthew 7:2; Matthew 25:35. Kienlen is wrong when he says the ἐλεηθ. refers to the forgiveness of the sins which still cleave even to the regenerate; it points to this, that the entire bestowal of Messianic salvation is the work of divine grace, which follows in its procedure its own moral rules (faith working by love).Matthew 5:7. This Beatitude states a self-acting law of the moral world. The exercise of mercy (ἔλεος, active pity) tends to elicit mercy from others—God and men. The chief reference may be to the mercy of God in the final awards of the kingdom, but the application need not be restricted to this. The doctrine of Christ abounds in great ethical principles of universal validity: “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” “to him that hath shall be given,” etc. This Beatitude suitably follows the preceding. Mercy is an element in true righteousness (Micah 6:8). It was lacking in Pharisaic righteousness (Matthew 23:23). It needed much to be inculcated in Christ’s time, when sympathy was killed by the theory that all suffering was penalty of special sin, a theory which fostered a pitiless type of righteousness (Schanz). Mercy may be practised by many means; “not by money alone,” says Euthy. Zig., “but by word, and if you have nothing, by tears” (διὰ δακρύων).7. they shall obtain mercy] This principle in the divine Government that men shall be dealt with as they deal with their fellow-men is taught in the parable of the Unmerciful Servant, ch. 18, and underlies the fifth petition in the Lord’s Prayer, ch. Matthew 6:12.Matthew 5:7. Ἐλεήμονες, the merciful) The Greek word ἔλεος, ruth, from which ἐλεήμονες is derived, corresponds to the Hebrew חסך,[177] and does not refer merely to miserable objects.

[177] חֶסֶד … (1) in a good sense, zeal towards any one, love, kindness, specially (a) of men amongst themselves, benignity, benevolence, as shown in mutual benefits; mercy, pity, when referring to those in misfortune: Genesis 21:23; 2 Samuel 10:2. LXX. often ἔλεος.—GESENIUS.—(I. B.)Verse 7. - Our Lord here turns more directly to the character of his followers in relation to men; and in the next three Beatitudes mentions particulars which might be suggested by the sixth, seventh, and ninth commandments. The merciful (οἱ ἐλεήμονες). The mercy referred to here is not so much the almost negative quality which the word usually suggests to us (not dealing harshly, not inflicting punishment when due, sparing an animal or a fellow-man some unnecessary labour), as active kindness to the destitute and to any who are in trouble (cf. Matthew 9:27; Matthew 15:22; Matthew 17:15; Mark 5:19). As compared with οἰκτίρμονες (Luke 6:36), it seems to lay more stress on the feeling of pity showing itself in action and not only existing in thought. To this statement of our Lord's, that they who show mercy to those in need shall themselves be the objects of mercy (i.e. from God) in their time of need, many parallels have been adduced, e.g., by Wetstein. Rabbi Gamaliel (? the second, circa A.D. ), as reported by Rabbi Judah (circa A.D. ), says (Talm. Bab., 'Sabb.,' 151 b), on Deuteronomy 13:18, "Every one that showeth mercy to others, they show mercy to him from heaven, and every one that showeth not mercy to others, they show him not mercy from heaven;" cf. also ' Test. XII. Patr.:' Zab., § 8, "In proportion as a man has compassion (σπλαγχνίζεται) on his neighbour, so has the Lord upon him;" and, probably with reference to this passage, Clem. Rom., § 13, ἐλεᾶτε ἵνα ἐλεηθῆτε. (For the converse, cf. James 2:13.) Calvin remarks, "Hoc etiam paradoxon cum humano judicio pugnat. Mundus reputat beatos, qui malorum alienorum securi quieti suae consulunt: Christus autem hic beatos dicit, qui non modo ferendis propriis malis parati sunt, sed aliena etiam in se suscipiunt, ut miseris succurrant." The merciful

See on Luke 1:50.

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