Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 5:47 - 5:47

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Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 5:47 - 5:47


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Ver. 46,47. Reason obliges you, who expect a reward from God for what you do, to do something more than those who know of no such reward, or at least live in no expectation of any such thing; and you who condemn others as great sinners, and men not worthy of your converse, ought to do something by which you may outdo those whom you so condemn, both in offices of piety towards God and charity towards men. But if you only show kindness to your relations and to your countrymen, you do no more than those whom you look upon as heathens and the worst of men, who act only from the light and law of nature, and know of no reward God hath to give, nor live in any such expectation of it. By loving here is meant doing good offices, either for the souls or bodies of others. By saluting is meant common offices of kindness, such as inquiring of our neighbours’ health, wishing them well, &c. The publicans were civil officers appointed by the Romans to gather up public taxes and revenues. The chief commissioners were knights and gentlemen of Rome, who either let out these revenues to others, or employed others under them in the collecting of them. These thus employed were some Jews, (such were Matthew and Zacchaeus), some Romans. These (as is ordinary) made their own markets, and exacted of the people, upon which accounts they were exceeding odious: and therefore ordinarily in Scripture we shall find publicans and sinners put together, Mat_9:11 11:19; and they are joined with harlots, Mat_21:32; and the Pharisee in his justification gloried he was not as that publican, Luk_18:11. Those who condemn others ought to take care that they be better than others.