Matthew 5:38-48 An Eye For An Eye

Matthew 5:38-48 An Eye For An Eye Rabbi Michael Weiner

The last 11 verses of Matthew 5 are a treatise on love. It details the value and meaning of love in the kingdom of God. It may not seem that way, as it starts with Yeshua quoting Leviticus 24:20. That whole “eye for an eye” thing in the Torah was not intended to establish cruelty, but to establish maximum levels of punishment. You don’t maim or kill someone for stealing a loaf of bread, you have them make restitution. The second part of the verse makes this point. Leviticus 24:20b Just as he has injured someone, so it shall it be done to him.

But here in His “Big Sermon,” Yeshua is not changing the maximum standard, but rather, He is establishing a minimum standard, and His kingdom standard is love, at a minimum.

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Love is at the heart of the two great commandments, love God and love your neighbor. Yeshua even helps us by defining the “love” about which He is speaking. He tells us to love even the one who wants to do you harm, and He modeled that behavior for us while on the cross. The promise is that doing this will bring a harvest of blessing from God. Matthew 5:45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

And that promised blessing is nothing less than shalom. Matthew 5:48 Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Yes, the Hebrew word for “perfect” in The Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels is “Shalom.” I’m so glad Delitzsch got it right, and now, so do you.