Matthew 6:7

7 "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as 1the Gentiles do, for 2they think that they will be heard 3for their many words.

Matthew 6:7 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 6:7

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions
Saying the same things over and over again,

as the Heathens do,
as the worshippers of Baal, from morning till noon, ( 1 Kings 18:26 ) . This our Lord observes, to dissuade from such practices, because the Gentiles, who were odious to the Jews, used them, and the Jews were guilty of the same; had they not, there would not have been any need of such advice:

for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking;
as did the Jews, who, under pretence of "long prayers", devoured widows' houses; and with whom it is an axiom, that "everyone (hnen hlyptb) (hbrmh) , that multiplies prayer is heard" F8; and whoever prolongs his prayer, his prayer does not return empty; and he that is long in prayer, his days are prolonged F9: and, according to their canons, every day a man ought to pray eighteen prayers. Moreover, their prayer books abound in tautologies, and in expressing the same things in different words, and by a multiplicity of them.


F8 T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 67. 3.
F9 Zohar in Exod. fol. 104. 4.

Matthew 6:7 In-Context

5 "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Cross References 3

  • 1. ver. 32; Matthew 5:47
  • 2. 1 Kings 18:26
  • 3. Proverbs 10:19; Ecclesiastes 5:2
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.