Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 5:36 - 5:36

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Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 5:36 - 5:36


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Ver. 34-36. Doth our Saviour here oppose himself to the law of God, which saith, Deu_6:13 10:20, Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and swear by his name? Doth he condemn Abraham, who sware his servant by the Lord God of heaven and earth? Gen_24:3. Doth he destroy such a useful means for the end of strife? Heb_6:16. None of all these. We must consider that our Saviour is here opposing himself to the corruptions of that age brought in by the Pharisees, who had taught people that swearing was nothing, if they did not forswear themselves; or at least swearing by the heaven, by the earth, by Jerusalem, by their head, or in suchlike forms, was no sin, if they forbore the name of God; that they were only obliged to swear by the name of God in public courts of justice, but they were not tied up to it at other times. To these and such like corruptions our Saviour opposeth these words, I say unto you, Swear not at all; not at all voluntarily, but where it is necessary for the end of strife; not at all in your common discourse, Jam_5:12: and so it is expounded in the next verse. The law doth not only forbid false swearing, but common and ordinary swearing, needless swearing, which speaks a great want of reverence in the heart of the name of God. And let not your teachers cheat you, in telling you God, or the name of God, is not concerned, in your swearing by heaven: is not heaven the throne of God? Or by earth: is not that the footstool of God? Or by Jerusalem: is not that the city of God? Or by your head: is it not God that hath given you your life and bodily members? Is it in your power to make a hair of your head white or black? So as the great thing here forbidden, is common and ordinary swearing, where God calleth us not unto it for the determination of strife. Do not only think that false swearing, but be assured that ordinary, common, needless swearing, is forbidden by God.