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.

Offering your gifts at the Temple (Mt 5:23-5:24)

“When you are offering

Your gift

At the altar,

If you remember

That your brother

Has something

Against you,

Leave your gift there

Before the altar!

Go away!

First be reconciled

To your brother!

Then come!

Offer your gift!”

 

ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ

ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, καὶ τότε ἐλθὼν πρόσφερε τὸ δῶρόν σου.

 

Matthew alone continued to point out to these Jewish listeners that they should reconcile with their brothers or sisters, before they presented their gift offerings at the Temple.  This would seem to indicate that the followers of Jesus were still offering sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple.  This also would assume that the Temple was still standing.  Very clearly, these followers of Jesus, or early Christians, were offering their gifts at the altar (ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον).  If they remembered that their brother had something against them (κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ), they should leave their gift offerings there (ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου).  Then they should go and be first reconciled with their brother (καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου), which was a common Jewish custom.  Then they could come back to the Temple and offer their gifts.  All’s well that ends well.  There was no reconciliation with God without being reconciled with your brother first.

Money and wives (Sir 7:18-7:19)

“Do not exchange a friend for money.

Do not exchange a real brother for the gold of Ophir.

Do not dismiss a wise wife.

Do not dismiss a good wife.

Her charm is worth more than gold.”

Continuing with these sayings of Sirach, you should not exchange a friend for money. Neither should you get rid of your brother for the special gold from Ophir, the great gold mining place. You should not dismiss a wise, good, or charming wife because she is worth more than gold. This seems to indicate it might be all right to get rid of an unwise or bad wife.

Lies (Sir 7:11-7:14)

“Do not ridicule a person

Who is embittered in spirit.

There is One who abases.

There is One who exalts.

Do not devise a lie against your brother.

Do not do the same to a friend.

Refuse to utter any lie.

It is a habit that results in no good.

Do not babble in the assembly of the elders.

Do not repeat yourself

When you pray.”

Here are more prescriptions of Sirach. You should be trustworthy. You should not ridicule people who are having a hard time. Leave it up to God, the Holy One, to abase or exalt. Do not make up lies against your brother or your friends. Do not become a habitual liar because that is not good. Do not babble among the assembly of the elders. When you pray, do not repeat yourself.