Matthew 22:39

39 And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

Matthew 22:39 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 22:39

And the second is like unto it
For there is but a second, not a third: this is suggested in opposition to the numerous commandments in the law, according to the opinion of the Jews, who reckon them in all to be "six hundred and thirteen": of which there are "three hundred and sixty five" negative ones, according to the number of the days of the year; and "two hundred and forty eight" affirmative ones, according to the members of a man's body F26. Christ reduces all to two, love to God, and love to the neighbour; and the latter is the second in order of nature, time, dignity, and causality; the object of it being a creature; and the act itself being the effect of the former, yet like unto it: for though the object is different, yet this commandment regards love as the former, and requires that it be as that, true, hearty, sincere, and perfect; that it be with singleness of heart, always, and to all men; and that it spring from love to God, and be performed to his glory: and which is expressed in the words written in ( Leviticus 19:18 ) "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself"; as heartily and sincerely, and as a man would desire to be loved by his neighbour; and do all the good offices to him he would choose to have done to himself by him. This law supposes, that men should love themselves, or otherwise they cannot love their neighbour; not in a sinful way, by indulging themselves in carnal lusts and pleasures; some are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; but in a natural way, so as to be careful of their bodies, families, and estates; and in a spiritual way, so as to be concerned for their souls, and the everlasting happiness of them: and in like manner should men love their neighbours, in things temporal do them all the good they can, and do no injury to their persons or property; and in things spiritual pray for them, instruct them, and advise as they would their own souls, or their nearest and dearest relations. And this is to be extended to every man; though the Jews restrain it to their friend and companion, and one of their own religion.

``"Thy neighbour"; that is, (say they F1,) thy friend in the law; and "this is the great comprehensive rule in the law", to show that it is not fit there should be any division, or separation, between a man and his companion, but one should judge every man in the balance of equity: wherefore, near unto it is, "I am the Lord": for as I the Lord am one, so it is fit for you that ye should be one nation without division; but a wicked man, and one that does not receive reproof, it is commanded to hate him; as it is said, "do not I hate them that hate me?"''
But our Lord intends by it to include, that love, benevolence, and good will, which are due to every man; and suggests, that this comprehends not only all that contained in the second table of the decalogue, but all duties that are reducible thereunto, and are obligatory on men one towards another whatever; all which should spring from love, and be done heartily and sincerely, with a view to the neighbour's good, and God's glory: and with this Maimonides agrees, saying F2, that
``all the commands, or duties, respecting a man, and his neighbour, (Mydyox twlymgb twonkn) , "are comprehended in beneficence."''


F26 T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 23. 2.
F1 Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora pr. affirm. 9.
F2 In Misn. Peah, c. 1. sect. 1.

Matthew 22:39 In-Context

37 He said to him, " "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question:
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.