New International Version
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
King James Bible
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Darby Bible Translation
But *I* say unto you, Love your enemies, [bless those who curse you,] do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who [insult you and] persecute you,
World English Bible
But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,
Young's Literal Translation
but I -- I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, and pray for those accusing you falsely, and persecuting you,
Matthew 5:44 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Love your enemies - This is the most sublime piece of morality ever given to man. Has it appeared unreasonable and absurd to some? It has. And why? Because it is natural to man to avenge himself, and plague those who plague him; and he will ever find abundant excuse for his conduct, in the repeated evils he receives from others; for men are naturally hostile to each other. Jesus Christ design's to make men happy. Now he is necessarily miserable who hates another. Our Lord prohibits that only which, from its nature, is opposed to man's happiness. This is therefore one of the most reasonable precepts in the universe. But who can obey it? None but he who has the mind of Christ. But I have it not. Seek it from God; it is that kingdom of heaven which Christ came to establish upon earth. See on Matthew 3:2 (note). This one precept is a sufficient proof of the holiness of the Gospel, and of the truth of the Christian religion. Every false religion flatters man, and accommodates itself to his pride and his passions. None but God could have imposed a yoke so contrary to self-love; and nothing but the supreme eternal love can enable men to practice a precept so insupportable to corrupt nature. Sentiments like this are found among Asiatic writers, and in select cases were strongly applied; but as a general command this was never given by them, or any other people. It is not an absolute command in any of the books which they consider to be Divinely inspired. Sir William Jones lays by far too much stress on the casual introduction of such sentiments as this in the Asiatic writers. See his Works, vol. i. p. 168, where the sentiment is connected with circumstances both extravagant and unnatural; and thus it is nullified by the pretended recommendation.
Bless them that curse you - Ευλογειτε, give them good words for their bad words. See the note on Genesis 2:3.
Do good to them that hate you - Give your enemy every proof that you love him. We must not love in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Pray for them which despitefully use you - Επηρεαζοντων from επι against, and Αρης Mars, the heathen god of war. Those who are making continual war upon you, and constantly harassing and calumniating you. Pray for them - This is another exquisitely reasonable precept. I cannot change that wicked man's heart; and while it is unchanged he will continue to harass me: God alone can change it: then I must implore him to do that which will at once secure the poor man's salvation, and contribute so much to my own peace.
And persecute you - Διωκοντων, those who press hard on and pursue you with hatred and malice accompanied with repeated acts of enmity.
In this verse our Lord shows us that a man may be our enemy in three different ways.
First, in his heart, by hatred.
Secondly, in his words by cursing or using direful imprecations (καταρωμενους) against us.
Thirdly, in his actions, by continually harassing and abusing us.
He shows us also how we are to behave to those.
The hatred of the first we are to meet with love.
The cursings or evil words of the second, we are to meet with good words and blessings.
And the repeated injurious acts of the third, we are to meet with continual prayer to God for the man's salvation.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryAgree with Thine Adversary
Eversley, 1861. Windsor Castle, 1867. St. Matthew v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." This parable our Lord seems to have spoken at least twice, as He did several others. For we find it also in the 12th …
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons
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1 Samuel 24:17
"You are more righteous than I," he said. "You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.
A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
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