Turn the other cheek (Mt 5:39-5:39)

“But I say to you!

‘Do not resist

An evildoer!

But if anyone

Strikes you

On the right cheek,

Turn the other also.’”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ· ἀλλ’ ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα σου, στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην·

 

Matthew is not alone in having Jesus solemnly speak (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) about turning the other cheek.  Luke, in chapter 6:29, around his blessings and curses, had the exact same saying, perhaps another example of the Q source.  Jesus told them not to resist the evildoer (μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ).  Is this evil one the devil, as implied earlier in this chapter?  Or is this just another evil person?  If they were struck on the right cheek (ἀλλ’ ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα σου), they should turn the other cheek (στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην).  A slap on the right cheek was usually a back handed slap since most people were right handed.  Jesus himself would be struck on the cheek in the passion narrative.  They would be true followers of Jesus, if they did not resist, as in the passion story.  This is one of the strongest arguments for Christian pacifism.

Shared wealth (Prov 17:1-17:5)

“Better is a dry morsel with quiet

Than a house full of feasting with strife.

A slave who deals wisely

Will rule over a child who acts shamefully.

The slave will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.

The crucible is for silver.

The furnace is for gold.

Yahweh tests the heart.

An evildoer listens to wicked lips.

A liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.

Those who mock the poor

Insult their maker.

Those who are glad at calamity

Will not go unpunished.”

You are better off with a dry morsel of bread in quiet peaceful solitude than having a house full of feasting and strife at the same time. A slave who is wise will rule over a child who acts shamefully. In fact, this slave will gain the inheritance as if he was one of the brothers. Both silver and gold have to go through a crucible furnace. So too, Yahweh tests the human heart. An evildoer listens to wicked lips, while a liar follows mischievous tongues. Anyone who mocks poor people actually insults their maker, the creator. Those who are happy about bad news will not go unpunished.

Avoid the wicked (Prov 4:14-4:17)

“Do not enter the path of the wicked.

Do not walk in the way of evildoers.

Avoid it!

Do not go on it!

Turn away from it!

Pass on!

They cannot sleep

Unless they have done wrong.

They are robbed of sleep

Unless they have made some one stumble.

They eat the bread of wickedness.

They drink the wine of violence.”

This father maintains that they should not enter the path of the wicked. They were not to walk with evildoers. They were to avoid them, turn away, and pass them by. These evildoer wicked people cannot sleep until they have done something wrong or made someone stumble. They eat wicked bread and drink violent wine. These metaphors tend to emphasis the evil nature of these people. Their very eating and drinking leads them further into evil ways.