New American Standard Bible
"Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.'
King James Bible
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
Darby Bible Translation
Again, ye have heard that it has been said to the ancients, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt render to the Lord what thou hast sworn.
World English Bible
"Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'
Young's Literal Translation
'Again, ye heard that it was said to the ancients: Thou shalt not swear falsely, but thou shalt pay to the Lord thine oaths;
Matthew 5:33 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Thou shalt not forswear thyself - Christ here proceeds to correct another false interpretation of the law. The law respecting oaths is found in Leviticus 19:12, and Deuteronomy 23:23. By those laws people were forbid to perjure themselves, or to forswear, that is, swear falsely.
Perform unto the Lord - Perform literally, really, and religiously what is promised in an oath.
Thine oaths - An oath is a solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed, and imprecating his vengeance, and renouncing his favor if what is affirmed is false. A false oath is called perjury, or, as in this place, forswearing.
It appears, however, from this passage, as well as from the ancient writings of the Jewish rabbins, that while the Jews professedly adhered to the law, they had introduced a number of oaths in common conversation, and oaths which they by no means considered to be binding. For example, they would swear by the temple, by the head, by heaven, by the earth. So long as they kept from swearing by the name Yahweh, and so long as they observed the oaths publicly taken, they seemed to consider all others as allowable, and allowedly broken. This is the abuse which Christ wished to correct. "It was the practice of swearing in common conversation, and especially swearing by created things." To do this, he said that they were mistaken in their views of the sacredness of such oaths. They were very closely connected with God; and to trifle with them was a species of trifling with God. Heaven is his throne; the earth his footstool; Jerusalem his special abode; the head was made by him, and was so much under his control that we could not make one hair white or black. To swear by these things, therefore, was to treat irreverently objects created by God, and could not be without guilt. It is remarkable that the sin here condemned by the Saviour prevails still in Palestine in the same form and manner referred to here. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. p. 284) says, "The people now use the very same sort of oaths that are mentioned and condemned by our Lord. They swear by the head, by their life, by heaven, and by the temple, or what is in its place, the church. The forms of cursing and swearing, however, are almost infinite, and fall on the pained ear all day long."
Our Saviour here evidently had no reference to judicial oaths, or oaths taken in a court of justice. It was merely the foolish and wicked habit of swearing in private conversation; of swearing on every occasion and by everything that he condemned. This he does condemn in a most unqualified manner. He himself, however, did not refuse to take an oath in a court of law, Matthew 26:63-64. So Paul often called God to witness his sincerity, which is all that is meant by an oath. See Romans 1:9; Romans 9:1; Galatians 1:20; Hebrews 6:16. Oaths were, moreover, prescribed in the law of Moses, and Christ did not come to repeal those laws. See Exodus 22:11; Leviticus 5:1; Numbers 5:19; Deuteronomy 29:12, Deuteronomy 29:14.
LibraryThe Eighth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'--MATT. v. 10. We have seen the description of the true subjects of the kingdom growing into form and completeness before our eyes in the preceding verses, which tell us what they are in their own consciousness, what they are in their longings, what they become in inward nature by God's gift of purity, how they move among men as angels of God, meek, merciful, peace-bringing. Is anything more needed …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Second Beatitude
The Law of Love
'You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.
"If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
"You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.
"When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you.
"You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'
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