Matthew 7:12

12 "Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

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Matthew 7:12 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 7:12

Therefore all things whatsoever
These words are the epilogue, or conclusion of our Lord's discourse; the sum of what he had delivered in the two preceding chapters, and in this hitherto, is contained in these words; for they not only respect the exhortation about judging and reproving; but every duty respecting our neighbour; it is a summary of the whole. It is a golden rule, here delivered, and ought to be observed by all mankind, Jews and Gentiles. So the Karaite Jews F12 say,

``all things that a man would not take to himself, (wyxal) (Mtwvel ywar Nya) , "it is not fit to do them to his brethren".''

And Maimonides F13 has expressed it much in the same words our Lord here does;

``all things whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, (says he,) do you the same to your brethren, in the law, and in the commandments:''

only there seems to be a restriction in the word "brethren"; the Jews, perhaps, meaning no other than Israelites; whereas our Lord's rule reaches to all without exception, "all things whatsoever"

ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:
let them be who they will, whether brethren, or kinsmen, according to the flesh, or what not; "for this is the law and the prophets": the sum of the law and the prophets; not the whole sum of them, or the sum of the whole law: but of that part of it which respects our neighbours. Remarkable is the advice given by Hillell F14 to one who came to be made a proselyte by him;

``whatsoever is hateful to thee, that do not thou to thy neighbour; (hlwk hrwth lk ayh wz) , "this is all the whole law", and the rest is an explication of it, go and be perfect:''

yea, this rule is not only agreeable to the law of Moses, and the prophets, but even to the law and light of nature. Aristotle being asked, how we ought to carry ourselves to our friends, answered F15, as we would wish they would carry it to us. Alexander Severus, a Heathen emperor, so greatly admired this rule of Christ's, that he ordered it to be written on the walls of his closet.


FOOTNOTES:

F12 R. Eliahu Addaret, c. 3. apud Trigland de sect. Karaeorum, c. 10. p. 166. Vid. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 146. 4.
F13 Hilch. Ebel. c. 14. sect. 1.
F14 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 31. 1. Maimon. in Misn. Peah, c. 1. sect. 1.
F15 Diog. Laert. in Vit. Aristotel. l. 5.

Matthew 7:12 In-Context

10 If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate?
11 As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
12 "Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.
13 "Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.
14 The way to life - to God! - is vigorous and requires total attention.

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