“[L Again] You have heard that it was said to ·our people long ago [our ancestors; the ancients], ‘Don’t break your ·promises [vows; oaths], but ·keep [fulfill] the ·promises [vows; oaths] you make to the Lord [Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21].’
“Again, you have heard that the people in the old days were told—‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord’, but I say to you, don’t use an oath at all. Don’t swear by Heaven for it is God’s throne, nor by the earth for it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great king. No, and don’t swear by your own head, for you cannot make a single hair—white or black! Whatever you have to say let your ‘yes’ be a plain ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ a plain ‘no’—anything more than this has a taint of evil.
“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.
Again ye have heard, that it was said to old men, Thou shalt not forswear, but thou shalt yield thine oaths to the Lord. [Again ye have heard, that it was said to old men, Thou shalt not forswear, but to the Lord thou shalt yield thine oaths.]
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