Re: Matthew 5:39
On Tue, 1 Nov 1994, MADAVIDS.US.ORACLE.COM wrote:
> If you can tear yourselves away from Q for a minute...I do not have a Greek NT
> with me at present and a question has arisen on Matthew 5:39:
> But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you
> on the right cheek, turn to him the left also. (NIV)
> I have always had a problem with this verse. One pastor I know interpreted it
> as 'if someone strikes you, turn your head that he may not hit you again.'
> This does not seem to be supported by the remaining verses.
> My question is:
> Does the original Greek really say 'turn to him the left also,' or
> could it be interpreted as turning away?
> Should this entire passage be interpreted as allowing yourself to
> become a repeated victim, or merely to refrain from taking revenge for
> personal wrongs?
The translation you cite is pretty close:the Greek says, "strepson autwi
kai thn allhn"--which I take to mean, "Turn the other one toward him also."
> On a related topic, I have heard it said that lex talionis (eye for
> eye, tooth for tooth) actually represented an advance in justice,
> since it meant 'no more thn eye for eye, no more than tooth for tooth,'
> rather than exacting retribution above and beyond the initial injury.
This, of course, is not New Testament, but ... I've heard the same thing:
that it represents a sense that the punishment should fit the crime
rather than that every crime should be dealt with equally harshly.
Whether this is accurate, I can't say. This is a question perhaps better
to be directed to B-Hebrew.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
- Matthew 5:39
- From: "MADAVIDS.US.ORACLE.COM" <MADAVIDS@us.oracle.com>