Matthew 5:43

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’

Matthew 5:43 in Other Translations

KJV
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
ESV
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
NLT
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.
MSG
43 "You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.'
CSB
43 "You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

Matthew 5:43 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 5:43

Ye have heard that it hath been said
By, or to them of old time. This law has been delivered to them,

thou shalt love thy neighbour,
with this appendage to it, or false gloss upon it,

and hate thine enemy;
for the first of these only is the law of Moses, ( Leviticus 19:18 ) , the other is the addition, or wrong interpretation of the Scribes and Pharisees: wherefore the Jew F15 has no reason to charge Christ, or the Evangelist, with a false testimony, as he does, because the latter is no where written in the law, nor in the prophets: nor does Christ say it is; he only observes, that it had been traditionally handed down to them from the ancients, by the masters of the traditions of the elders, that the law of loving the neighbour was so to be understood as to allow, and even enjoin, hatred of enemies: in proof of which, take the following instances F16.

``When one man sins against another, he may not hate him in his heart, and be silent, as is said of the wicked; Absalom spoke not with Amnon: but it is commanded to make it known to him, and to say to him, why hast thou done to me so and so? As it is said, "rebuking, thou shalt rebuke thy neighbour"; and if he returns, and desires him to pardon him, he shall not be implacable and cruel; but if he reproves him many times, and he does not receive his reproof, nor turn from his sin, then (wtwanvl rtwm) , "it is lawful to hate him".''

Again, they say F17,

``Every disciple of a wise man, (vxnk rjwnw Mqwn wnyav) , "who does not revenge, and keep as a serpent"; that is, as the gloss explains it, "enmity in his heart", as a serpent, is no disciple of a wise man.''

And so Maimonides F18, one of their better sort of writers, says;

``A disciple of a wise man, or a scholar, whom a man despises and reproaches publicly, it is forbidden him to forgive him, because of his honour; and if he forgives him, he is to be punished, for this is a contempt of the law; but "he must revenge, and keep the thing as a serpent", until the other asks pardon of him, and then he may forgive him.''

Thus they bred their scholars in hatred and malice against their enemies. This arises from a mistaken sense of the word "neighbour", which they understood only of a friend; and concluded, that if a friend was to be loved, an enemy was to be hated; not the Gentiles only, but anyone, among themselves, which could come under that name.


FOOTNOTES:

F15 R. Isaac Chizuk Emunah, par. 2. c. 11. p. 402.
F16 Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora precept. neg. 5. Vid. Maimon. Hilchot Rotseach, c. 13. sect. 14.
F17 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 22. 2. & 23. 1.
F18 Maimon. Hilch. Talmud Tora, c. 7. sect. 13.

Matthew 5:43 In-Context

41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not 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.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19; Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8
  • 2. Deuteronomy 23:6; Psalms 139:21,22

Footnotes 1

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