Matthew 5:37

Matthew 5:37

But let your communication be yea, yea
That is, let your speech, in your common conversation, and daily business of life, when ye answer to anything in the affirmative, be "yea"; and when ye answer to anything in the negative, "nay": and for the stronger asseveration of the matter, when it is necessary, double these words; but let no oaths be joined unto them: this is enough; a righteous man's yea, is yea, and his no, is no; his word is sufficient. Hence it appears, that our Lord is here speaking of rash swearing, and such as was used in common conversation, and is justly condemned by him. The Jews have no reason to reject this advice of Christ, who often use and recommend the same modes of expression. They endeavour to raise the esteem of their doctors and wise men, by saying, that their words, both in doctrines and dealings with men, are "yea, yea" F25. One of their F26 commentators on the word "saying", in, ( Exodus 20:1 ) makes this observation;

``hence we learn, that they used to answer, (wal wal lew Nh) (Nh le) "concerning yea, yea, and concerning nay, nay".''

This way of speaking, they looked upon equivalent to an oath; yea, they affirm it was one.

``Says R. Eliezer F1, (hewbv Nh hewbv wal) , "nay is an oath; yea is an oath", absolutely; "nay" is an oath, as it is written, ( Genesis 9:11 ) and ( Isaiah 54:9 ) . But that "yea" is an oath, how does it appear? It is concluded from hence, that "nay" is an oath; saith Rabba, there are that say "nay, nay", twice; and there are that say "yea, yea", twice; as it is written, ( Genesis 9:11 ) and from hence, that "nay" is twice, "yea" is also twice said.''

The gloss upon it is,

``he that says either "nay, nay", twice, or "yea, yea", twice; lo! it is (rxam hewbvk) "as an after oath", which confirms his words.''

For whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil:
that is, whatever exceeds this way of speaking and conversation, in the common affairs of life, is either from the devil, who is the evil one, by way of eminency; or from the evil heart of man, from the pride, malice, envy that are in it.


FOOTNOTES:

F25 T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 20. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Dayot. c. 5. sect. 13.
F26 R. Sol. Jarchi, in Exod. xx. 1.
F1 T. Bab. Shebuot, fol. 36. 1. Vid. Maimon. Hilch. Shebuot, c. 2. sect. 1.
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