The sinning eye (Mt 5:29-5:29)

“If your right eye

Causes you

To sin,

Tear it out!

Throw it away!

It is better

For you

To lose

One of your members

Than for your whole body

To be thrown into hell.”

 

εἰ δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ δεξιὸς σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔξελε αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· συμφέρει γάρ σοι ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου βληθῇ εἰς γέενναν.

 

Following up on the preceding saying about looking at women as adultery of the heart, Matthew has Jesus be more demanding, based on Mark, chapter 9:47, and repeated again in Matthew, chapter 18:9.  If your right eye (εἰ δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ δεξιὸς) caused you to stumble or sin (σκανδαλίζει σε), then pluck it or tear it out (ἔξελε αὐτὸν) and throw it away (καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ).  The reasoning behind this self-mutilation was that it was better for you (συμφέρει γάρ σοι) to lose one of your member parts (ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου) than have your whole body be thrown into Gehenna or hell (καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου βληθῇ εἰς γέενναν).  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one eye and a whole body than being in the fires of hell.

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