Matthew 23:18

Matthew 23:18

And whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing
These are again the words or savings of the scribes and Pharisees, and express their sentiments and practice: it was usual with them to swear by the altar; and this was reckoned either no sin at all, or such an oath was not accounted binding on a man; he might break, or keep it as he thought fit: of this kind of swearing, we have the following instances. One said to another F18,

``swear to me that thou wilt not discover me, and he swore to him; by what did he swear? says R. Jose bar Chanina, (ymynph xbzmb) , "by the innermost altar".''

Again, it is said of Zedekiah F19,

``that he (Nebuchadnezzar) made him to swear; by what did he make him to swear? says R. Jose, by the covenant he made him to swear; Rabbi says (xbzmb) , "by the altar" he made him to swear.''

And elsewhere F20 it is said of him,

``"and he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who made him swear by God", ( 2 Chronicles 36:13 ) . By what did he make him swear? says R. Jose bar Chanina, "by the horns of the innermost altar" he made him swear.''

But whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty:
of perjury, if he does not make good his oath; he is bound to perform it, it is obligatory; whatever he swore should be a gift for the altar, he was indispensably obliged to bring it; for whatever he swore by "Korban", or the gift, could never be put to any other use.


F18 Echa Rabbati, fol. 54. 1.
F19 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 78. 1.
F20 Midrash Megillat Esther, fol. 89. 1.
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