Matthew 5:47
Parallel Verses
New International Version
And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

King James Bible
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Darby Bible Translation
And if ye should salute your brethren only, what do ye extraordinary? Do not also the Gentiles the same?

World English Bible
If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?

Young's Literal Translation
and if ye may salute your brethren only, what do ye abundant? do not also the tax-gatherers so?

Matthew 5:47 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

And if ye salute your brethren only - Instead of αδελφους brethren, upwards of one hundred MSS., and several of them of great authority and antiquity, have φιλους friends. The Armenian Slavonic, and Gothic versions, with the later Syriac, and some of the primitive fathers, agree in this reading. I scarcely know which to prefer; as brother is more conformable to the Jewish mode of address, it should be retained in the text: the other reading, however, tends to confirm that of the Codex Graevii on Matthew 5:43.

On the subject of giving and receiving salutations in Asiatic countries, Mr. Harmer, Observat. vol. ii. p. 327, etc., edit. 1808, has collected much valuable information: the following extract will be sufficient to elucidate our Lord's meaning.

"Dr. Doddridge supposes that the salutation our Lord refers to, Matthew 5:47, If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? means embracing, though it is a different word. I would observe, that it is made use of in the Septuagint to express that action of endearment; and which is made use of by an apocryphal writer, (Ecclus. 30:19), whereas, the word we translate salute is of a much more general nature: this, I apprehend, arose from his being struck with the thought, that it could never be necessary to caution his disciples, not to restrain the civilities of a common salutation to those of their own religious party. Juvenal, when he satirizes the Jews of the apostolic age for their religious opinions, and represents them as unfriendly, and even malevolent, to other people, Sat. xiv., and when he mentions their refusing to show travelers the way, Non monstrare vias, etc., or to point out to them where they might find water to drink when thirsty with journeying, takes no notice of their not saluting those of another nation; yet there is no reason to believe, from these words of Christ, that many of them at least would not, and that even a Jewish publican received no salutations from one of his own nation, excepting brother publicans.

"Nor shall we wonder at this, or think it requisite to suppose the word we translate salute (ασπαζομαι) and which certainly, sometimes at least, signifies nothing more than making use of some friendly words upon meeting with people, must here signify something more particular, since we find some of the present inhabitants of the east seem to want this admonition of our Lord. 'When the Arabs salute one another,' according to Niebuhr, 'it is generally in these terms, Salam aleikum, Peace be with you; in speaking which words they lay the right hand on the heart. The answer is, Aleikum essalam, With you be peace. Aged people are inclined to add to these words, And the mercy and blessing of God. The Mohammedans of Egypt and Syria never salute a Christian in this manner; they content themselves with saying to them, Good day to you; or, Friend, how do you do? The Arabs of Yemen, who seldom see any Christians, are not so zealous but that sometimes they will give them the Salam aleikum.'

"Presently after he says: 'For a long time I thought the Mohammedan custom, of saluting Christians in a different manner from that made use of to those of their own profession, was an effect of their pride and religious bigotry. I saluted them sometimes with the Salam aleikum, and I had often only the common answer. At length I observed in Natolia, that the Christians themselves might probably be the cause that Mohammedans did not make the same return to their civilities that they did to those of their own religion. For the Greek merchants, with whom I traveled in that country, did not seem pleased with my saluting Mohammedans in the Mohammedan manner. And when they were not known to be Christians, by those Turks whom they met with in their journeying, (it being allowed Christian travelers in these provinces to wear a white turban, Christians in common being obliged to wear the sash of their turbans white striped with blue, that banditti might take them at a distance for Turks, and people of courage), they never answered those that addressed them with the compliment of Salam aleikum. One would not, perhaps, suspect that similar customs obtain in our times, among Europeans: but I find that the Roman Catholics of some provinces of Germany never address the Protestants that live among them with the compliment Jesus Christ be praised; and, when such a thing happens by mistake, the Protestants do not return it after the manner in use among Catholics, For ever and ever. Amen!'

"After this, the words of our Lord in the close of the fifth of Matthew want no farther commentary. The Jews would not address the usual compliment of Peace be to you, to either heathens or publicans; the publicans of the Jewish nation would use it to their countrymen that were publicans, but not to heathens; though the more rigid Jews would not do it to them, any more than to heathens: our Lord required his disciples to lay aside the moroseness of Jews, and express more extensive benevolence in their salutations. There seems to be nothing of embracing thought of in this case, though that, doubtless, was practised anciently among relations, and intimate friends, as it is among modern Asiatics."

If not to salute be a heathenish indifference, to hide hatred under outward civilities is a diabolic treachery. To pretend much love and affection for those for whom we have neither - to use towards them complimentary phrases, to which we affix no meaning, but that they mean, nothing, is highly offensive in the sight of that God by whom actions are weighed and words judged.

Do not - the publicans - Τελωναι, - but εθνικοι heathens, is adopted by Griesbach, instead of τελωναι, on the authority of Codd. Vatican. & Bezae, and several others; together with the Coptic, Syriac later, and Syriac Jerusalem; two Arabic, Persic, Slavonic; all the Itala but one; Vulgate, Saxon, and several of the primitive fathers.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Matthew 10:12 And when you come into an house, salute it.

Luke 6:32 For if you love them which love you, what thank have you? for sinners also love those that love them.

Luke 10:4,5 Carry neither purse, nor money, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way...


Matthew 5:20 For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees...

1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well...

Agree 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

Salt Without Savour
'Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'--MATT. v. 13. These words must have seemed ridiculously presumptuous when they were first spoken, and they have too often seemed mere mockery and irony in the ages since. A Galilean peasant, with a few of his rude countrymen who had gathered round him, stands up there on the mountain, and says to them, 'You,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Lamp and the Bushel
'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'--Matt. v. 14-16. The conception of the office of Christ's disciples contained in these words is a still bolder one than that expressed by the preceding metaphor, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Form of the Old Law
'Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Cross References
Matthew 5:46
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

Matthew 5:48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Colossians 4:14
Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

Colossians 4:15
Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

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