Matthew 6:3

3 "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

Matthew 6:3 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 6:3

But when thou dost alms
Do it so privately, and with so much secrecy, that, if it was possible, thou mightest not know it thyself, much less make it known to others:

let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth;
acquaint not thy nearest and dearest friend with it; let not one that sits at thy left hand know what thou art doing with thy right hand; it is a proverbial and hyperbolical phrase, expressing the secrecy of the action. It is a Jewish canon F16, that

``he that gives a gift to his friend out of love, may make it known, (hqdub al lba) , "but not if it be by way of alms".''


FOOTNOTES:

F16 Piske Tosephot in Sabbat. c. 1. art. 134.

Matthew 6:3 In-Context

1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2 "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
3 "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

Footnotes 1