Print Page Options

The Beatitudes

When[a] he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain.[b] After he sat down his disciples came to him. Then[c] he began to teach[d] them by saying:

“Blessed[e] are the poor in spirit,[f] for the kingdom of heaven belongs[g] to them.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.[h]
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger[i] and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children[j] of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
11 “Blessed are you when people[k] insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely[l] on account of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt[m] of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor,[n] how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people! 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 People[o] do not light a lamp and put it under a basket[p] but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.

Fulfillment of the Law and Prophets

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them.[q] 18 I[r] tell you the truth,[s] until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter[t] will pass from the law until everything takes place. 19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others[u] to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law[v] and the Pharisees,[w] you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!

Anger and Murder

21 “You have heard that it was said to an older generation,[x]Do not murder,’[y] and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’[z] 22 But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother[aa] will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults[ab] a brother will be brought before[ac] the council,[ad] and whoever says ‘Fool’[ae] will be sent[af] to fiery hell.[ag] 23 So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift. 25 Reach agreement[ah] quickly with your accuser while on the way to court,[ai] or he[aj] may hand you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the warden, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth,[ak] you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny![al]

Adultery

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’[am] 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell.[an] 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell.

Divorce

31 “It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document.’[ao] 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality,[ap] makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation,[aq]Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’[ar] 34 But I say to you, do not take oaths at all—not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, 35 not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.[as] 36 Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’ More than this is from the evil one.[at]

Retaliation

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’[au] 39 But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer.[av] But whoever strikes you on the[aw] right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic,[ax] let him have your coat also. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile,[ay] go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you,[az] and do not reject[ba] the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[bb] and ‘hate your enemy.’[bc] 44 But I say to you, love your enemy and[bd] pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be like[be] 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. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors[bf] do the same, don’t they? 47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.[bg]

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 5:1 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  2. Matthew 5:1 tn Or “up a mountain” (εἰς τὸ ὄρος, eis to oros).sn The expression up the mountain here may be idiomatic or generic, much like the English “he went to the hospital” (cf. 15:29), or even intentionally reminiscent of Exod 24:12 (LXX), since the genre of the Sermon on the Mount seems to be that of a new Moses giving a new law.
  3. Matthew 5:2 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  4. Matthew 5:2 tn Grk “And opening his mouth he taught them, saying.” The imperfect verb ἐδίδασκεν (edidasken) has been translated ingressively.
  5. Matthew 5:3 sn The term Blessed introduces the first of several beatitudes promising blessing to those whom God cares for. They serve as an invitation to come into the grace God offers.
  6. Matthew 5:3 sn The poor in spirit is a reference to the “pious poor” for whom God especially cares. See Pss 14:6; 22:24; 25:16; 34:6; 40:17; 69:29.
  7. Matthew 5:3 sn The present tense (belongs) here is significant. Jesus makes the kingdom and its blessings currently available. This phrase is unlike the others in the list with the possessive pronoun being emphasized.
  8. Matthew 5:4 sn The promise they will be comforted is the first of several “reversals” noted in these promises. The beatitudes and the reversals that accompany them serve in the sermon as an invitation to enter into God’s care, because one can know God cares for those who turn to him.
  9. Matthew 5:6 sn Those who hunger are people like the poor Jesus has already mentioned. The term has OT roots both in conjunction with the poor (Isa 32:6-7; 58:6-7, 9-10; Ezek 18:7, 16) or by itself (Pss 37:16-19; 107:9).
  10. Matthew 5:9 tn Grk “sons,” though traditionally English versions have taken this as a generic reference to both males and females, hence “children” (cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV, NLT).
  11. Matthew 5:11 tn Grk “when they insult you.” The third person pronoun (here implied in the verb ὀνειδίσωσιν [oneidisōsin]) has no specific referent, but refers to people in general.
  12. Matthew 5:11 tc Although ψευδόμενοι (pseudomenoi, “bearing witness falsely”) could be a motivated reading, clarifying that the disciples are unjustly persecuted, its lack in only D it sys Tert does not help its case. Since the Western text is known for numerous free alterations, without corroborative evidence the shorter reading must be judged as secondary.
  13. Matthew 5:13 sn Salt was used as seasoning or fertilizer (BDAG 41 s.v. ἅλας a), or as a preservative. If salt ceased to be useful, it was thrown away. With this illustration Jesus warned about a disciple who ceased to follow him.
  14. Matthew 5:13 sn The difficulty of this saying is understanding how salt could lose its flavor since its chemical properties cannot change. It is thus often assumed that Jesus was referring to chemically impure salt, perhaps a natural salt which, when exposed to the elements, had all the genuine salt leached out, leaving only the sediment or impurities behind. Others have suggested that the background of the saying is the use of salt blocks by Arab bakers to line the floor of their ovens; under the intense heat these blocks would eventually crystallize and undergo a change in chemical composition, finally being thrown out as unserviceable. A saying in the Talmud (b. Bekhorot 8b) attributed to R. Joshua ben Chananja (ca. a.d. 90), recounts how when he was asked the question “When salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again?” is said to have replied, “By salting it with the afterbirth of a mule.” He was then asked, “Then does the mule (being sterile) bear young?” to which he replied: “Can salt lose its flavor?” The point appears to be that both are impossible. The saying, while admittedly late, suggests that culturally the loss of flavor by salt was regarded as an impossibility. Genuine salt can never lose its flavor. In this case the saying by Jesus here may be similar to Matt 19:24, where it is likewise impossible for the camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle.
  15. Matthew 5:15 tn Grk “Nor do they light.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general.
  16. Matthew 5:15 tn Or “a bowl”; the Greek word refers to any container for dry material of about eight liters (two gallons) capacity. It could be translated “basket, box, bowl” (L&N 6.151).
  17. Matthew 5:17 tn Grk “not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Direct objects (“these things,” “them”) were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but have been supplied here to conform to contemporary English style.
  18. Matthew 5:18 tn Grk “For I tell.” Here an explanatory γάρ (gar) has not been translated.
  19. Matthew 5:18 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  20. Matthew 5:18 tn Grk “Not one iota or one serif.” sn The smallest letter refers to the smallest Hebrew letter (yod) and the stroke of a letter to a serif (a hook or projection on a Hebrew letter).
  21. Matthew 5:19 tn Grk “teaches men” ( in a generic sense, people).
  22. Matthew 5:20 tn Or “that of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
  23. Matthew 5:20 sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.
  24. Matthew 5:21 tn Grk “to the ancient ones.” sn The expression an older generation can be understood to refer to the Israelites at the time of the Exodus, the original audience for the ten commandments.
  25. Matthew 5:21 sn A quotation from Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17.
  26. Matthew 5:21 sn These additional words are not part of the commandment and are not directly quoted from the OT (and thus are not placed in bold italics), but they form an adequate summary of several OT passages dealing with legislation concerning murder (Exod 21:12; Lev 24:17; Num 35:12; Deut 17:8-13).
  27. Matthew 5:22 tc The majority of mss read the word εἰκῇ (eikē, “without cause”) here after “brother.” This insertion has support from א2 D L W Γ Δ Θ 0233 ƒ1, 13 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 M it sy co Irlat Ormss Cyp Cyr. Thus the Western and Byzantine groups, as well as several other witnesses, all include the word, while the best Alexandrian and some other witnesses (P64 א* B aur vg Or Hiermss) lack it. The ms evidence favors its exclusion, though there is a remote possibility that εἰκῇ could have been accidentally omitted from these witnesses by way of homoioarcton (the next word, ἔνοχος [enochos, “guilty”], begins with the same letter). An intentional change would likely arise from the desire to qualify “angry,” especially in light of the absolute tone of Jesus’ words. While “without cause” makes good practical sense in this context, and must surely be a true interpretation of Jesus’ meaning (cf. Mark 3:5), it does not commend itself as the original wording.
  28. Matthew 5:22 tn Grk “whoever says to his brother ‘Raca,’” an Aramaic word of contempt or abuse meaning “fool” or “empty head.”
  29. Matthew 5:22 tn Grk “subjected,” “guilty,” “liable.”
  30. Matthew 5:22 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin.” sn The council refers to the Sanhedrin, the ruling council in Jerusalem that was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews.
  31. Matthew 5:22 tn The meaning of the term μωρός (mōros) is somewhat disputed. Most take it to mean, following the Syriac versions, “you fool,” although some have argued that it represents a transliteration into Greek of the Hebrew term מוֹרֵה (moreh) “rebel” (Deut 21:18, 20; cf. BDAG 663 s.v. μωρός c).
  32. Matthew 5:22 tn Grk “subjected,” “guilty,” “liable.”
  33. Matthew 5:22 tn Grk “the Gehenna of fire.”sn The word translated hell is “Gehenna” (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (“Valley of Hinnom”). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2; 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36).
  34. Matthew 5:25 tn Grk “Make friends.”
  35. Matthew 5:25 tn The words “to court” are not in the Greek text but are implied.
  36. Matthew 5:25 tn Grk “the accuser.”
  37. Matthew 5:26 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  38. Matthew 5:26 tn Here the English word “penny” is used as opposed to the parallel in Luke 12:59 where “cent” appears since the Greek word there is different and refers to a different but similar coin.sn The penny here was a quadrans, a Roman copper coin worth 1/64 of a denarius (L&N 6.78). The parallel passage in Luke 12:59 mentions the lepton, equal to one-half of a quadrans and thus the smallest coin available.
  39. Matthew 5:27 sn A quotation from Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18 (5:17 LXX).
  40. Matthew 5:29 sn On this word here and in the following verse, see the note on the word hell in 5:22.
  41. Matthew 5:31 tn Or “a written notice of divorce.”sn A quotation from Deut 24:1.
  42. Matthew 5:32 sn The phrase except for immorality (often referred to as the “exception clause”) has been the subject of much debate. One of the best and most comprehensive recent studies which pays particular attention to historical background material, especially Jewish material, is that of D. Instone-Brewer, Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context (Eerdmans, 2002).
  43. Matthew 5:33 tn Grk “the ancient ones.”
  44. Matthew 5:33 sn A quotation from Lev 19:12.
  45. Matthew 5:35 sn The final clause is an allusion to Ps 48:2. In light of Ps 48:1-2 most understand the great King as a reference to God in this context (thus the capitalization).
  46. Matthew 5:37 tn The term πονηροῦ (ponērou) may be understood as specific and personified, referring to the devil, or possibly as a general reference to evil. It is most likely personified, however, since it is articular and how it fits into the surrounding context (τοῦ πονηροῦ, tou ponērou). Cf. also “the evildoer” in v. 39, which is the same construction.
  47. Matthew 5:38 sn A quotation from Exod 21:24; Lev 24:20.
  48. Matthew 5:39 tn The articular πονηρός (ponēros, “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).
  49. Matthew 5:39 tc ‡ Many mss (B D K L Δ Θ ƒ13 565 579 700 1424 pm; SBL) have σου (sou) here (“your right cheek”), but many others lack the pronoun (א W ƒ1 33 892 1241 pm). The pronoun was probably added by way of clarification, as is evident by the fact that it floats in the verse: it is found both before and after “cheek.” NA28 has σου in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.
  50. Matthew 5:40 tn Or “shirt” (a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin). The name for this garment (χιτών, chitōn) 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.
  51. Matthew 5:41 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. The Greek verb is a semi-technical term and its only other NT uses are in Matt 27:32 and Mark 15:21, both of which refer to Simon of Cyrene being forced to carry Jesus’ cross.
  52. Matthew 5:42 sn Jesus advocates a generosity and a desire to meet those in dire need with the command give to the one who asks you. This may allude to begging; giving alms was viewed highly in the ancient world (Matt 6:1-4; Deut 15:7-11).
  53. Matthew 5:42 tn Grk “do not turn away from.”
  54. Matthew 5:43 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18.
  55. Matthew 5:43 sn The phrase hate your enemy does not occur explicitly in the OT, but was commonly inferred from passages like Deut 7:2; 30:7; Ps 26:5; Ps 139:21-22. Jesus’ hearers (and Matthew’s readers) would not have been surprised by the statement. It is the antithesis Jesus gives in the following verses that would have shocked them.
  56. Matthew 5:44 tc Most mss (D L W Δ Θ ƒ13 33 565 579 700 1241 1424 M lat sy(p),h) 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 ƒ1 sys,c sa bopt mae, as well as several fathers.
  57. Matthew 5:45 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.
  58. Matthew 5:46 sn The Roman system of taxation was frequently characterized by “tax farming” where an individual would bid to collect taxes for the Roman government throughout an entire district and then add a surcharge or commission (often exorbitant) which they kept for themselves as their profit. The tax collectors referred to in the NT were generally not the holders of these tax contracts themselves, but hired subordinates who were often local residents. Since these tax collectors worked for Rome (even indirectly), they were viewed as traitors to their own people and were not well liked. In addition, the system offered many opportunities for dishonesty and greed, both of which were often associated with local tax collectors.
  59. Matthew 5:48 sn This remark echoes OT statements in Lev 11:44-45 and Lev 19:2: “you must be holy as I am holy.”

People talk about this Jesus, this Preacher and Healer. Word spreads of His charisma and wisdom and power and love. People who are too sick to walk persuade their friends and relatives to carry them to Jesus. These cripples and demonized and ill and paralytics come to Jesus, and He heals them, and they follow Him.

Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountain (as Moses had done before Him) and He sat down (as Jewish teachers of His day usually did). His disciples gathered around Him.

There on the mountain Jesus teaches them all. And as He is teaching, crowds gather around and overhear His teachings, listen in, and are captivated. This, the Sermon on the Mount, is the first of the five Mosaic-like sermons in Matthew.

And He began to teach them.

Jesus: Blessed are the spiritually poor—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
    Blessed are those who mourn—they will be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful—they will be shown mercy.
    Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers—they will be called children of God.
10     Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

11 And blessed are you, blessed are all of you, when people persecute you or denigrate you or despise you or tell lies about you on My account. 12 But when this happens, rejoice. Be glad. Remember that God’s prophets have been persecuted in the past. And know that in heaven, you have a great reward.

Salt draws out the good flavors subtly hidden in food and preserves what would otherwise spoil, as do those who claim to be children of God.

13 You, beloved, are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes bland and loses its saltiness, can anything make it salty again? No. It is useless. It is tossed out, thrown away, or trampled.

14 And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

17 Do not think that I have come to overturn or do away with the law or the words of our prophets. To the contrary: I have not come to overturn them but to fulfill them.

18 This, beloved, is the truth: until heaven and earth disappear, not one letter, not one pen stroke, will disappear from the sacred law—for everything, everything in the sacred law will be fulfilled and accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks even the smallest, most obscure commandment—not to mention teaches others to do the same—will be called small and obscure in the kingdom of heaven. Those who practice the law and teach others how to live the law will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you this: you will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless your righteousness goes deeper than the Pharisees’, even more righteous than the most learned learner of the law.

Righteousness is the reason Jesus has come—to make the people righteous through and through. He then begins to interpret the law of Scripture for them with this in mind.

21 As you know, long ago God instructed Moses to tell His people, “Do not murder;[a] those who murder will be judged and punished.” 22 But here is the even harder truth: anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged for his anger. Anyone who taunts his friend, speaks contemptuously toward him, or calls him “Loser” or “Fool” or “Scum,” will have to answer to the high court. And anyone who calls his brother a fool may find himself in the fires of hell.

23 Therefore, if you are bringing an offering to God and you remember that your brother is angry at you or holds a grudge against you, 24 then leave your gift before the altar, go to your brother, repent and forgive one another, be reconciled, and then return to the altar to offer your gift to God.

25 If someone sues you, settle things with him quickly. Talk to him as you are walking to court; otherwise, he may turn matters over to the judge, and the judge may turn you over to an officer, and you may land in jail. 26 I tell you this: you will not emerge from prison until you have paid your last penny.

27 As you know, long ago God forbade His people to commit adultery.[b] 28 You may think you have abided by this Commandment, walked the straight and narrow, but I tell you this: any man who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery in his heart. 29 If your right eye leads you into sin, gouge it out and throw it in the garbage—for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell. 30 And if your right hand leads you into sin, cut it off and throw it away—for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell.

31 And here is something else: you have read in Deuteronomy that anyone who divorces his wife must do so fairly—he must give her the requisite certificate of divorce and send her on her way, free and unfettered.[c] 32 But I tell you this: unless your wife cheats on you, you must not divorce her, period. Nor are you to marry someone who has been married and divorces, for a divorced person who remarries commits adultery.

33 You know that God expects us to abide by the oaths we swear and the promises we make. 34 But I tell you this: do not ever swear an oath. What is an oath? You cannot say, “I swear by heaven”—for heaven is not yours to swear by; it is God’s throne. 35 And you cannot say, “I swear by this good earth,” for the earth is not yours to swear by; it is God’s footstool. And you cannot say, “I swear by the holy city Jerusalem,” for it is not yours to swear by; it is the city of God, the capital of the King of kings. 36 You cannot even say that you swear by your own head, for God has dominion over your hands, your lips, your head. It is He who determines if your hair be straight or curly, white or black; it is He who rules over even this small scrap of creation. 37 You need not swear an oath—any impulse to do so is of evil. Simply let your “yes” be “yes,” and let your “no” be “no.”

38 You know that Hebrew Scripture sets this standard of justice and punishment: take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.[d] 39 But I say this, don’t fight against the one who is working evil against you. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. 40 If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. 41 If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. 42 If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away.

43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy.[e] 44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. 46 It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. 47 And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! 48 But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

The Sermon on the Mount

One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,[a]
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
    for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,[b]
    for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
    for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Teaching about Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Teaching about the Law

17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Teaching about Anger

21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’[c] 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,[d] you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,[e] you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,[f] you are in danger of the fires of hell.[g]

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice[h] at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.[i]

Teaching about Adultery

27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’[j] 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye[k]—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand[l]—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Teaching about Divorce

31 “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’[m] 32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Teaching about Vows

33 “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’[n] 34 But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. 35 And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Teaching about Revenge

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’[o] 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,[p] carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

Teaching about Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[q] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies![r] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,[s] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Footnotes

  1. 5:3 Greek poor in spirit.
  2. 5:6 Or for righteousness.
  3. 5:21 Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17.
  4. 5:22a Some manuscripts add without cause.
  5. 5:22b Greek uses an Aramaic term of contempt: If you say to your brother, ‘Raca.’
  6. 5:22c Greek if you say, ‘You fool.’
  7. 5:22d Greek Gehenna; also in 5:29, 30.
  8. 5:23 Greek gift; also in 5:24.
  9. 5:26 Greek the last kodrantes [i.e., quadrans].
  10. 5:27 Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18.
  11. 5:29 Greek your right eye.
  12. 5:30 Greek your right hand.
  13. 5:31 Deut 24:1.
  14. 5:33 Num 30:2.
  15. 5:38 Greek the law that says: ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ Exod 21:24; Lev 24:20; Deut 19:21.
  16. 5:41 Greek milion [4,854 feet or 1,478 meters].
  17. 5:43 Lev 19:18.
  18. 5:44 Some manuscripts add Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you. Compare Luke 6:27-28.
  19. 5:47 Greek your brothers.

The Sermon on the Mount

Seeing the crowds, (A)he went up on the mountain, and when he (B)sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And (C)he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

(D)“Blessed are (E)the poor in spirit, for (F)theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are (G)those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the (H)meek, for they (I)shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and (J)thirst (K)for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are (L)the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are (M)the pure in heart, for (N)they shall see God.

“Blessed are (O)the peacemakers, for (P)they shall be called (Q)sons[a] of God.

10 (R)“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for (S)theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 (T)“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely (U)on my account. 12 (V)Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for (W)so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, (X)but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14 (Y)“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 (Z)Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so (AA)that[b] they may see your good works and (AB)give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

17 (AC)“Do not think that I have come to abolish (AD)the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but (AE)to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, (AF)until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 (AG)Therefore whoever relaxes (AH)one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least (AI)in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great (AJ)in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds (AK)that of the scribes and Pharisees, you (AL)will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Anger

21 (AM)“You have heard that it was said to those of old, (AN)‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable (AO)to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that (AP)everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be liable (AQ)to judgment; whoever insults[d] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to (AR)the hell[e] of fire. 23 (AS)So if (AT)you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 (AU)Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, (AV)you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.[f]

Lust

27 (AW)“You have heard that it was said, (AX)‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that (AY)everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 (AZ)If your right eye (BA)causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into (BB)hell. 30 (BC)And if your right hand (BD)causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into (BE)hell.

Divorce

31 (BF)“It was also said, (BG)‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 (BH)But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and (BI)whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

33 “Again (BJ)you have heard that it was said to those of old, (BK)‘You shall not swear falsely, but (BL)shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, (BM)Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for (BN)it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is (BO)the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; (BP)anything more than this comes from evil.[g]

Retaliation

38 (BQ)“You have heard that it was said, (BR)‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, (BS)Do not resist the one who is evil. But (BT)if anyone (BU)slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And (BV)if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone (BW)forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 (BX)Give to the one who begs from you, and (BY)do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

43 (BZ)“You have heard that it was said, (CA)‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, (CB)Love your enemies and (CC)pray for those who persecute you, 45 (CD)so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and (CE)sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 (CF)For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even (CG)the Gentiles do the same? 48 (CH)You therefore must be (CI)perfect, (CJ)as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface
  2. Matthew 5:16 Or house. 16Let your light so shine before others that
  3. Matthew 5:22 Some manuscripts insert without cause
  4. Matthew 5:22 Greek says Raca to (a term of abuse)
  5. Matthew 5:22 Greek Gehenna; also verses 29, 30
  6. Matthew 5:26 Greek kodrantes, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer)
  7. Matthew 5:37 Or the evil one
  8. Matthew 5:40 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
  9. Matthew 5:47 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes(A)

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(B)
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.(C)
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.(D)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.(E)
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.(F)
Blessed are the pure in heart,(G)
    for they will see God.(H)
Blessed are the peacemakers,(I)
    for they will be called children of God.(J)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,(K)
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(L)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you,(M) persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.(N) 12 Rejoice and be glad,(O) because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(P)

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.(Q)

14 “You are the light of the world.(R) A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.(S) 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,(T) that they may see your good deeds(U) and glorify(V) your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.(W) 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.(X) 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands(Y) and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.(Z)

Murder(AA)

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a](AB) and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry(AC) with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment.(AD) Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court.(AE) And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.(AF)

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Adultery

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e](AG) 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.(AH) 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble,(AI) gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble,(AJ) cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Divorce

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f](AK) 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.(AL)

Oaths

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath,(AM) but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’(AN) 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all:(AO) either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;(AP) 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.(AQ) 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’;(AR) anything beyond this comes from the evil one.[g](AS)

Eye for Eye

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h](AT) 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.(AU) 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.(AV)

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i](AW) and hate your enemy.’(AX) 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,(AY) 45 that you may be children(AZ) of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.(BA) 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?(BB) Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.(BC)

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 5:21 Exodus 20:13
  2. Matthew 5:22 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman; also in verse 23.
  3. Matthew 5:22 Some manuscripts brother or sister without cause
  4. Matthew 5:22 An Aramaic term of contempt
  5. Matthew 5:27 Exodus 20:14
  6. Matthew 5:31 Deut. 24:1
  7. Matthew 5:37 Or from evil
  8. Matthew 5:38 Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21
  9. Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18