Re: Matthew 5:39

>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?  

Your sensibilities are sound.  It does not mean turn away, but turn to him the
other.  The concept is that disciples should evidence the same behavior as the
 suffering servant of Isa 50, particularly v. 6.   Lots of folks nowadays find
the "doormat" image particularly distasteful, but note that "not resisting
evil" means not allowing the negative actions of others, including attacks, to
determine ones own actions.  Jesus never allowed other people to set the agenda
for him, but he did not resist persecution.
>	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 is correct.  The Code of Hammurabi makes distinctions of punishment based
on the social class of the perpetrator and victim.  Eye for eye means the
punishment must fit the crime, and be independent of questions of social status
of the people involved.

**  Dan G. McCartney                   |        I'net: DMCCARTNEY@HSLC.ORG  **
**  Assoc. Prof. of NT                 |          WTS: 215 887 5511         **
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