Matthew 5:39

New Testament

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

2 Enoch 50:4

Secrets of Enoch

1 I have recorded every person's work, and none born on earth can remain hidden, nor can their deeds be concealed. 2 I see all things. 3 Therefore, my children, spend your days in patience and meekness, so that you may inherit eternal life. 4 Endure every wound, injury, evil word, and attack for the sake of the Lord. 5 If wrongs befall you, do not return them to friend or foe, for the Lord will avenge you on the day of great judgment, and there should be no revenge among people. 6 Whoever spends gold or silver for the sake of a sibling will receive abundant treasure in the world to come. 7 Do not harm widows, orphans, or strangers, or God's wrath come upon you.

 Notes and References

"... 'But I say to you, do not retaliate against the evil one.' If the Matthean Jesus here is following the same practice as before, this statement must be understood as his interpretation of the divine intent behind the lex talionis. The true intent of the principle, he says, was to limit revenge. Tertullian (Marc. 4.16) says this very thing about the lex talionis. So if God's intent was to limit revenge, then that intent is realized best through non-retaliation, not the literal application of the principle of an eye for an eye in personal relations. The issue in the fifth antithesis, therefore, is how to understand the lex talionis properly. Several details need attention. First, the verb antistenai in the passive means 'to resist' and in the active 'to retaliate.' The context makes clear that here it means 'do not render evil for evil.' The 'do not resist' of the NRSV should, therefore, be translated 'do not retaliate against.' Second, non-retaliation was part of the Jewish tradition and could also be found also among some pagans. Jewish evidence includes Exodus 23:4-5; Leviticus 19:18; Proverbs 20:22; 24:29; lQS 10.17-20; Joseph & Aseneth 23:9; b. Shabbat 88b; 2 Enoch 50:3-4 - 'And every assault and every wound and burn and every evil word, if they happen to you on account of the Lord, endure them; and being able to pay them back, do not repay them to your neighbor, because it is the Lord who repays, and he will be the avenger for you on the day of the great judgment.' ..."

Talbert, Charles H. Reading the Sermon on the Mount: Character Formation and Decision Making in Matthew 5-7 (p. 89) University of South Carolina Press, 2004

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