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Matthew 5:43-48

Context
Love for Enemies

5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor 1  and ‘hate your enemy.’ 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemy and 2  pray for those who persecute you, 5:45 so that you may be like 3  your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors 4  do the same, don’t they? 5:47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 5:48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. 5 

1 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18.

2 tc Most mss ([D] L [W] Θ Ë13 33 Ï lat) read “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you,” before “those who persecute you.” But this is surely a motivated reading, importing the longer form of this aphorism from Luke 6:27-28. The shorter text is found in א B Ë1 pc sa, as well as several fathers and versional witnesses.

3 tn Grk “be sons of your Father in heaven.” Here, however, the focus is not on attaining a relationship (becoming a child of God) but rather on being the kind of person who shares the characteristics of God himself (a frequent meaning of the Semitic idiom “son of”). See L&N 58.26.

4 sn The tax collectors would bid to collect taxes for the Roman government and then add a surcharge, which they kept. Since tax collectors worked for Rome, they were viewed as traitors to their own people and were not well liked.

5 sn This remark echoes the more common OT statements like Lev 19:2 or Deut 18:13: “you must be holy as I am holy.”



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