5:39 But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. 1 But whoever strikes you on the 2 right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 5:40 And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, 3 give him your coat also. 5:41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, 4 go with him two.
1 tn The articular πονηρός (ponhro", “the evildoer”) cannot be translated simply as “evil” for then the command would be “do not resist evil.” Every instance of this construction in Matthew is most likely personified, referring either to an evildoer (13:49) or, more often, “the evil one” (as in 5:37; 6:13; 13:19, 38).
2 tc ‡ Many
3 tn Or “shirt” (a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin). The name for this garment (χιτών, citwn) presents some difficulty in translation. Most modern readers would not understand what a “tunic” was any more than they would be familiar with a “chiton.” On the other hand, attempts to find a modern equivalent are also a problem: “Shirt” conveys the idea of a much shorter garment that covers only the upper body, and “undergarment” (given the styles of modern underwear) is more misleading still. “Tunic” was therefore employed, but with a note to explain its nature.
4 sn If anyone forces you to go one mile. In NT times Roman soldiers had the authority to press civilians into service to carry loads for them.