The speck in the eye (Mt 7:3-7:5)

“Why do you see

The speck

In your brother’s eye?

But you do not notice

The log

In your own eye.

How can you say

To your brother?

‘Let me take the speck

Out of your eye.’

When there is a log

In your own eye.

You hypocrite!

First take the log

Out of your own eye!

Then you will see clearly

To take the speck

Out of your brother’s eye.”

 

τί δὲ βλέπεις τὸ κάρφος τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου, τὴν δὲ ἐν τῷ σῷ ὀφθαλμῷ δοκὸν οὐ κατανοεῖς;

ἢ πῶς ἐρεῖς τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου· Ἄφες ἐκβάλω τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σου, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἡ δοκὸς ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ σοῦ;

ὑποκριτά, ἔκβαλε πρῶτον ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σοῦ τὴν δοκόν, καὶ τότε διαβλέψεις ἐκβαλεῖν τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same as in Luke, chapter 6:41-42, indicating a common Q source.  Jesus wanted to know why they saw the speck, splinter, or chip (τί δὲ βλέπεις τὸ κάρφος) in their brother’s eye (τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου), but they did not notice the log or beam in their own eyes (τὴν δὲ ἐν τῷ σῷ ὀφθαλμῷ δοκὸν οὐ κατανοεῖς)?  How can they say to their brother (ἢ πῶς ἐρεῖς τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου) that they wanted him to take the speck out of his eye (Ἄφες ἐκβάλω τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σου), when there was a log in their own eyes (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἡ δοκὸς ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ σοῦ)?  Jesus calls them hypocrites (ὑποκριτά).  The Greek word “ὑποκριτα” means actors, deceitful ones, dissemblers, pretenders, a two-faced person, someone who says one thing, but does another.  Matthew used this term 14 of the 18 times it was used in the New Testament literature, usually referring to the enemies of Jesus.  They first had to take out the log of their own eye (ἔκβαλε πρῶτον ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σοῦ τὴν δοκόν).  Then they would be able to see clearly enough (καὶ τότε διαβλέψεις) to take out the speck of their brother’s eye (ἐκβαλεῖν τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου).  Everything is in the eye of the beholder.

Fasting (Mt 6:16-6:16)

“When you fast,

Do not look gloomy,

Like the hypocrites!

They disfigure

Their faces

So as to show others

That they are fasting.

Truly,

I say to you!

‘They have received

Their reward.’”

 

Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποί· ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

 

Once again, this saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew.  The phraseology and content are similar to the earlier comments on almsgiving.  When you fast (Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε), you should not be like the hypocrites (ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ).  The Greek word “οἱ ὑποκριταὶ” originally meant actors or someone who sought praise, while acting deceitfully.  According to Matthew, these hypocrites were usually the enemies of Jesus.  In this case they looked sad, dismal or gloomy (σκυθρωποί) since they were deliberately disfiguring their faces (ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν).  Thus, other people could see that they were fasting (ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες).  Some pious Jews would fast twice a week.  Jesus also fasted for 40 days, so his followers could fast also.  As usual, Matthew has Jesus give a solemn saying (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) concluding that these men who sought human approval have already received their reward here on earth (ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν).