Matthew 5:34a Do Not Swear

Matthew 5:34a Do Not Swear Rabbi Michael Weiner

Matthew 5:34a But I tell you, do not swear at all.

Yeshua is covering a lot of ground in this part of His “Big Sermon.” There is a definite call to holiness. For example … Matthew 5:29 And if your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna. This thought is repeated in several forms.

Rabbi’s note: There is also a discourse on divorce in this part of Matthew 5 that is troublesome to me. I believe there is more to divorce than this one section of scripture. For instance, Matthew 5 doesn’t address domestic violence, physical or verbal, nor emotional abuse. There are situations that arise in a marriage where it becomes unsafe for a spouse or children. So, this part of Matthew 5 cannot be viewed as the last word, but rather, as some words on divorce to help our understanding in some situations. End RN.

Then Yeshua says, Matthew 5:33 Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall carry out your oaths to Adonai.’ There must be some deeper understanding here. Let’s find it.

Our subject is “Do Not Swear At All.” The rabbis had a narrow interpretation of the third commandment (not to take the name of the Lord in vain) and the ninth commandment (against bearing false witness). Their narrow understanding was that as long as you didn’t use God’s name, you could swear a falsehood and it wouldn’t count against you. Swearing by heaven or earth is not swearing by the name of God.

Yeshua speaks to this by ending this section with an instruction to always tell the truth. Matthew 5:37 But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’ – anything more than this is from the evil one. Words have creative power. Genesis 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light!” and there was light. We are created in God’s image so that our words also have creative power.

However; the creative power of our words is not the same as the creative power of God’s words. What’s the difference? Our faith! Matthew 17:20 And He said to them, “Because you trust so little. Amen, I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

As the children’s song goes, “Be careful little tongue what you say. Oh be careful little tongue what you say. For the Father up above is looking down in love. Oh be careful little tongue what you say.”

We, as followers of Yeshua, should be the most reliable people on earth. That’s a critical part of our witness as ambassadors for the Messiah. Let’s commit to being reliable. Numbers 30:2 Whenever a man makes a vow to Adonai or swears an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he is not to violate his word but do everything coming out of his mouth.