But rather give alms of such things as ye have
The phrase (ta enonta) , is variously rendered, and so furnishes out various senses: the Syriac version renders it, "give that which is", which is yours; or "which is given to you", as the Persic version, and agrees with ours, "such things as ye have"; and which carries in it but a very odd sense; for none can give of that which they have not. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "that which is over and above"; superfluous substance, and which may be easily spared without hurting a man, or his family: others, "as much as you can": according to a man's ability, and as God has prospered him in the world. The Ethiopic version renders it, "that which is necessary"; which the necessities of the poor call for, and is right and proper to give them: and the Arabic version, very foreign from the sense of the phrase, reads, "before every thing"; above all things give alms. But the true sense of it is contained in the literal version of it, "things that are within"; that is, that are within the cup and the platter; give meat and drink to the poor, your platters and cups are full of, gotten by injustice and oppression. Some read it not imperatively, "give", but indicatively, "ye do give": you oppress and defraud men, devour widows' houses, and fill your own with the spoils of others; and then give out of your cups and platters drink to the thirsty, and meat to the hungry, to make atonement for your avarice and extortion:
and behold all things are clean unto you;
that is, according to their own opinion, who fancied that alms deeds justified them in the sight of God, cleansed them from their sins, delivered them from hell, and gave them a title to eternal life; (See Gill on Matthew 6:1) for it can never be thought to be our Lord's meaning in earnest, that either their persons, or what they had, should be pure and clean unto them, by giving a part of their ill-gotten goods to the poor; but he speaks their sense, in an ironic way. From this opinion of theirs it is, that the Hebrew word, (hkz) , which signifies "to be clean", is used by them for giving alms: so it is said F25, that
``R. Jonathan and Resh Lekish went down to bathe themselves in the baths of Tiberias; and a certain poor man met them, and said unto them, (yb Nyykz) , "give me alms"; they said unto him, when we come back we will (Kb Nyykz) , "give thee alms":''and so the Mahometans call alms by the same name, because they imagine that they cleanse their other substance from pollution, and their souls from avarice.
F25 Vajikra Rabba, Sect. 34. fol. 174. 2. Vid. fol. 173. 3, 4. & 174. 4.