Matthew 5:41

41 And if anyone forces [a] you to go one mile, go with him two.

Matthew 5:41 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 5:41

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile
The word (aggareusei) , rendered "compel", is generally said to be of Persic original; the "Angari", among the Persians, were the king's messengers, or those who rode post, and were maintained at the king's expenses; and had power to take horses, and other carriages, and even men, into their service, by force, when they had occasion for them: hence the word is used to force, or compel persons to do this or the other thing; the word (ayrgna) is often to be met with in the Jewish writings, and is in them expounded to be F11, the taking of anything for the service of the king. David de Pomis renders it by (lwe) , "a yoke" F12; meaning, any servile work, which such, who were pressed into the king's service, were obliged unto. And F13 (ayrgna hve) is used to compel persons to go along with others, to do any service; in which sense it is here used: and Christ advises, rather than to contend and quarrel with such a person, that obliges to go with him a mile, to

go with him twain:
his meaning is, not to dispute such a matter, though it may be somewhat laborious and disagreeable, but comply, for the sake of peace. The Jews F14, in their blasphemous book of the birth of Christ, own that he gave advice in such words as these, when they introduce Peter thus speaking of him.

``He, that is, Jesus, hath warned and commanded you to do no more evil to a Jew; but if a Jew should say to a Nazarene, go with me one mile, he shall go with him two miles; and if a Jew shall smite him on the left cheek, he shall turn to him also the right.''

Can a Jew find fault with this advice?


F11 Vid. Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 6. sect. 3.
F12 Tzemach David, fol. 8. 4.
F13 Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Rabb. p. 131, 132.
F14 Toldos Jesu, p 22.

Matthew 5:41 In-Context

39 But I tell you, don't resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well.
41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and don't turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 "You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Roman soldiers could require people to carry loads for them.
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