The Book of Matthew-Chapter 6

In this chapter, Yeshua continues his teaching on Torah observance. Much of what he teaches here can be found in the teachings of the Pharisees and is nothing new. Obviously, some of the Pharisees did not heed their own teachings. If we think that keeping the letter of the Torah saves us, God will hold us accountable to the intent of the Torah, as he sees it.
(1) “Beware of practicing your righteousness (or “alms” which was considered righteousness) before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father ( Babylonian Talmud, Berachot 17b; Bava Batra 9b, 10b) who is in heaven. (2) When therefore you give alms do not sound a trumpet (in the Temple, alms boxes were shaped like trumpets so that you couldn’t take money out. “Sounding a trumpet” is an idiom for giving the appearance of giving)) before you as the hypocrites (actors) do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full (they have what they sought for by the human attention they get). (3) But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (expressing the idea of secrecy) (4) that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (5) And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites (actors); for they love to stand (the typical position for prayer) and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners (where several streets merge so more people can see them), in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full (what they sought for). (6) But you, when you pray, go into your inner room (a chamber or quiet place, also an idiom for the heart/mind/soul/spirit) and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (7) And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do (to “babble on”), for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words (Baby.Talmud, Berachot 55a says “one who prays too intensely and too lengthily brings on himself heartache”). (8) Therefore do not be like them for your Father knows what you need, before you ask him (so going on and on is vain). (9) Pray then, in this way (what follows is a typical Jewish prayer and the phrases can be found in other Jewish writings. This is a model prayer following the Jewish pattern of “adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication”). Our Father (common in Jewish prayers and from Isa 63.16, 64.8), who is in heaven, hallowed (set apart, consecrated) be thy name. (10) they kingdom come (may you continue to establish your kingdom), they will be done, on earth as it is (being done) in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread (12) and forgive us our debts (sins-) as we forgive our debtors (those who have sinned against us-Talmud, Rosh ha Shanah 17a and Shabbat 151b). (13) And do not lead us into temptation (testing, being drawn by our own will) but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom (the Shekinah), and the power (the Ruach ha Kodesh), and the glory (the Kivod, radiance), forever. Amen (so be it, this word has the same root as “emunah” of faith, confidence). (14) For if you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (16) And when you fast (fasting is a picture of not feeding your flesh. It is part of the laws of separation-Ezra 8.21-24; Matt 17.21; Isa 58.1-12. The Jewish sages say it was like the sacrifices because the loss of body fat and blood that was burned on the altar in the Temple-Lev 7.19-27), do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites (actors) do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men (they liked the reputation). Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full (what they sought after). (17) But you, when you fast (not if) anoint your head, and wash your face (appear as usual, not like current rabbinical customs today concerning fasting) (18) so that you may not be seen as fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (19) Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth (Baby.Talmud, Pe’ah 15b) where moth and rust destroys, and where thieves break in and steal (the theme of Ecclesiastes 1.1-2.23); (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; (21) for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (22) The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear (a Hebrew idiom= a good eye-“ein tov”, not envious or coveting, generous-Prov 22.9) your whole body will be full of light (understanding). (23) But if your eye is bad (a Hebrew idiom= “ein ra”-envious, stingy, covetous. V 22-23 is evidence that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. The church father and historian Eusebius quotes a man named Papias who said, “Matthew collected the oracles in the Hebrew language”-The Ecclesiastical History, lll, xxxlx, 16. Also, in the Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 116a; the Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbat 15c and the Tosefta, Shabbat 13.5, it says that there was a debate concerning the destruction of some New Testament scrolls. The question was asked as to whether that would allowed since these scrolls contained the name of God in Hebrew) your whole body will be full of darkness (lacks understanding). If therefore the light that is in you is darkness (lacks understanding), how great is the darkness. (24) No one can serve two masters (Rev 3.16; Zeph 1.12; 1 Kings 18.21), for wither he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money, wealth, substance, riches). (25) For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat (Baby.Talmud, Sotah 48b), or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on (having these, one should be content). Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? (26) Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not worth much more than they (brute nature and creation does not reason, are not able to sow, reap or store, but God does not let them perish. But when he sees his own children use their reasoning and intellect looking to him, will he let them perish?). (27) And which one of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his life span (our life span has been predetermined anyway-Job 14.5; Psa 39.5)? (28) And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, (29) yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. (30) But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not much more do so for you (example of Hillel rule # 1). O men of little faith? (31) Do not be anxious then, saying ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink?’ or ‘with what shall we clothe ourselves?’ (32) For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek (because they didn’t think there was anything beyond this present life. This attitude lead to the Dark Ages in Europe); for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (what he approves of); and all these things shall be added to you. (34) Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow (Baby.Talmud, Berachot 9b); for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Baby. Talmud, Sanhedrin 100b says “Do not be distressed by tomorrows troubles, for you do not know what will happen today”).”

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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