Matthew 12:36

36 I tell you, 1on the day of judgment 2people will give account for 3every careless word they speak,

Matthew 12:36 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 12:36

But I say unto you
This form of speaking is used, the more strongly to asseverate the truth of what is after said; and the rather, because men are apt to indulge a liberty with their tongues; fancying no great crime is committed, when only words are spoken, and no facts done;

that every idle word that a man shall speak, they shall give account
thereof in the day of judgment.
By an "idle word" is meant, what the Jews call, (hlq hxyv) , "light conversation", and (ljb rbd) , "vain discourse", as the Hebrew Gospel of Munster reads it here; frothy language, unprofitable talk, which, though it does not directly hurt God or man, yet is of no use to speaker or hearer; and yet even this, in the last general and awful judgment, if not forgiven, and repented of, must be accounted for; and much more such horrid blasphemies the Pharisees had vented against Christ, and the Spirit of Christ. The Jews F4 have a saying pretty much like this,

``That even (hlq hxyv le) , "for any light conversation", which passes between a man and his wife, he shall "be brought to judgment".''


F4 R. Jonah apud L. Capell. in loc.

Matthew 12:36 In-Context

34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."

Cross References 3

  • 1. [Ephesians 5:4, 11; 2 Peter 1:8]
  • 2. Ecclesiastes 12:14; Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 4:5
  • 3. See Acts 17:31
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.