Do not swear (Mt 5:34-5:36)

“But I say to you!

‘Do not swear at all!

Either by heaven,

It is the throne of God,

Or by the earth,

It is his footstool.

Do not swear

By Jerusalem!

It is the city

Of the great king.

Do not swear

By your head!

You cannot

Make one hair

White or black.’”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ὀμόσαι ὅλως· μήτε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὅτι θρόνος ἐστὶν τοῦ Θεοῦ·

μήτε ἐν τῇ γῇ, ὅτι ὑποπόδιόν ἐστιν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ· μήτε εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, ὅτι πόλις ἐστὶν τοῦ μεγάλου Βασιλέως·

μήτε ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ σου ὀμόσῃς, ὅτι οὐ δύνασαι μίαν τρίχα λευκὴν ποιῆσαι ἢ μέλαιναν.

 

Matthew has this unique presentation where Jesus has a solemn saying (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) about ending all oaths, which would have been radical for his time.  They were not to swear by anything at all (μὴ ὀμόσαι ὅλως).  They should not swear by heaven (μήτε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ) since that is the throne of God (ὅτι θρόνος ἐστὶν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They should not swear by earth (μήτε ἐν τῇ γῇ) since that is the footstool for the feet of God (ὅτι ὑποπόδιόν ἐστιν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ).  They should not swear by Jerusalem (μήτε εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) since that is the city of the great king (ὅτι πόλις ἐστὶν τοῦ μεγάλου Βασιλέως).  They should not swear or take an oath by their own head (μήτε ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ σου ὀμόσῃς) since they could not change one hair of their head to black or white (ὅτι οὐ δύνασαι μίαν τρίχα λευκὴν ποιῆσαι ἢ μέλαιναν).  This was a blanket statement.  There would be no more taking oaths, no more swearing by anything, anywhere.

 

Advertisements

The response of Jesus (Mt 4:10-4:10)

“Jesus said to the devil.

‘Away with you!

Satan!’

It is written.

‘Worship

The Lord!

Your God!

Serve only him!”

 

τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ· γέγραπται γάρ Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις.

 

Just like in Luke, chapter 4:8, the wording is the same, indicating a common source, perhaps Q. Once again, Jesus had a very direct response (τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς). He simply told Satan or the devil to go away (Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ). Then he referred to another scriptural writing (γέγραπται γάρ) from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13. This was again a simple statement that you should only worship and serve the Lord your God (γάρ Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις). You should serve him alone (καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις). It looks like the devil would not be successful with any of these temptations. In Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13, Yahweh had said they should only fear and serve Yahweh and swear by his name only.

Judah should watch out also (Hos 4:15-4:15)

“Though you play the prostitute,

O Israel!

Do not let Judah

Become guilty!

Do not enter

Into Gilgal!

Do not go up

To Beth-aven!

Do not swear!

‘As Yahweh lives.’”

Yahweh, via Hosea, told northern Israel that she had become a prostitute. Now he warned that the southern Judah kingdom should not become guilty. They should not go to Gilgal, that was just east of Jericho. Neither should they go to Beth-aven or Bethel, the place of worship of the northern Israelites. They should not swear by Yahweh.

 

The judgment on the neighbors (Jer 12:14-12:17)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning all my evil neighbors

Who touch the heritage

That I have given

My people Israel to inherit.

‘I am about to pluck them up

From their land.

I will pluck up

The house of Judah

from among them.

After I have plucked them up,

I will again have compassion on them.

I will bring them again

To their heritage,

To their land.

Then if they will diligently learn

The ways of my people,

To swear by my name,

‘As Yahweh lives!’

As they taught my people

To swear by Baal,

Then they shall be built up

In the midst of my people.

But if any nation will not listen,

Then I will completely uproot it.

I will destroy it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh gave a warning to the evil neighbors of Judah. They were not to touch the inherited land of the Israelite people, despite his anger at them. He was going to pluck up the people of Judah from their land. However, he was going to later have compassion on them, since he was going to bring all of them back to their land and their heritage. This would happen after they had learned the ways of Yahweh, just as they learned the evil ways of Baal. They had to swear by the living God, Yahweh. They would be built up among his people. However, if any nation did not listen, then Yahweh would then uproot and destroy them also. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, that showed his compassion for Judah, despite everything.

The return to Yahweh (Jer 4:1-4:2)

“‘If you return!

O Israel!’

Says Yahweh.

‘If you return to me!

If you remove your abominations

From my presence!

If you do not waver!

If you swear!

‘As Yahweh lives!’

In truth,

In justice,

In uprightness,

Then nations shall be blessed

By him.

They shall boast

By him.’”

Would Israel return to Yahweh? Yahweh sets down some conditions. They would have to remove their abomination idol statues from his presence. They would have to not waver. They had to swear that Yahweh lives. If this was done in truth, justice, and uprightness, then the nations would be blessed by him. Then they could boast in Yahweh.

Yahweh and Judah (Isa 48:1-48:2)

“Hear this!

O house of Jacob!

You are called

By the name of Israel.

You came forth

From the loins of Judah.

You swear by the name of Yahweh.

You confess the God of Israel.

But not in truth or right.

They call themselves

After the holy city.

They lean on the God of Israel.

Yahweh of hosts is his name.”

This chapter concludes the first section or first chant of Second Isaiah. Second Isaiah has this continual call to listen. This is directed at the house of Jacob, the Israelites, who come from Judah, a clear distinction about the house of Judah compared to all the other tribes. They swear by the name of Yahweh. They confess him as the God of Israel, but not truly or rightly in good faith. They seem to call themselves after their holy city. They lean on the God of Israel, Yahweh, and his army.

Turn to Yahweh (Isa 45:22-45:23)

“Turn to me!

Be saved!

All the ends of the earth!

I am God!

There is no other!

By myself I have sworn.

From my mouth has gone forth

In righteousness.

A word that shall not return.

‘To me

Every knee shall bow.

Every tongue shall swear.’”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh ask that everybody from the ends of the earth should turn to him to be saved. Yahweh proclaimed that he is God and that there is no other besides him. He speaks in righteousness and truth. Thus every knee should bow to him. Every tongue should swear to him. This is somewhat the same language that the Paul in his epistles to the Romans and the Philippians will use about Jesus Christ.