Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine
Very rightly does our Lord call such a man an hypocrite, who is very free in remarking and reproving other men's sins, and covering his own; and indeed, one end of his critical observations, rigid censures, and rash judgments is, that he might be thought to be holier than he is. Christ very manifestly points at the Scribes and Pharisees, who were men of such a complexion; and whom he often, without any breach of charity, calls hypocrites. The meaning of this proverbial expression is, that a man should first begin with himself, take notice of his own sins, reprove himself for them, and reform; and then it will be soon enough to observe other men's.
And then shalt thou see clearly, to cast out the mote out
then will he, and not before, be a proper person to reprove others; all objections and impediments to such a work will then be removed. Our Lord here speaks in the language of the Jewish nation, with whom such like expressions were common, and of long standing F3
``In the generation that judged the judges, one said to another, (Kynye Nybm Moyq lwj) , "cast out the mote out of thine eye"; to whom it was replied, (Kynye Nybm hrwq lwj) , "cast out the beam from thine eye": one said to another, "thy silver is become dross": the other replies, "thy wine is mixed with water".''Again F4,
``R. Taphon said, I wonder whether there is any in this generation, that will receive reproof; if one should say to him, "cast out the mote out of thine eye", will he say to him, "cast out the beam out of thine eye?" Says R. Eleazer ben Azariah, I wonder whether there is any in this generation, that knows how to reprove.''From whence it is clear, that these phrases were used in the same sense they are by Christ; and which is still more evident by the gloss upon them: for upon the word "mote", it observes,
``That it is as if it had been said, (Nwjq Nwe) , "a little sin", which is in thine hand (i.e. which thou hast committed): the other could say to him, cast thou away (lwdg Nwe) , "the great sin", which is in thine hand; so that they could not reprove, because they were all sinners.''Agreeable to these, are some other proverbs used by the Jews, such as
``a vice which is in thyself, do not speak of to thy neighbour,''
``adorn thyself, and afterwards adorn others.''Which is produced by a noted commentator F7 of their's, to illustrate the text in ( Zephaniah 2:1 ) on which he also makes this remark;
``inquire first into your own blemishes, and then inquire into the blemishes of others.''The sense of each of them is, that a man should first reform himself, and then others; and that he that finds faults with others, ought to be without blame himself.
F3 T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 2.
F4 T. Bab. Erachin, fol. 16. 2.
F5 T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 59. 2.
F6 T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 19. 1.
F7 R. David Kimchi in Zeph. ii. 1. Vid. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 142. 4.