Matthew 6:19

New Testament

19 “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and devouring insect destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and devouring insect do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Bava Batra 11a

Babylonian Talmud

The Sages taught: There was an incident involving King Munbaz, who liberally gave away his treasures and the treasures of his ancestors in the years of drought, distributing the money to the poor. His brothers and his father’s household joined together against him to protest against his actions, and they said to him: Your ancestors stored up money in their treasuries and added to the treasures of their ancestors, and you are liberally distributing it all to the poor. King Munbaz said to them: Not so, my ancestors stored up below, whereas I am storing above, as it is stated: “Truth will spring out of the earth and righteousness will look down from heaven” (Psalms 85:12), meaning that the righteous deeds that one has performed are stored up in heaven. My ancestors stored up treasures in a place where the human hand can reach, and so their treasures could have been robbed, whereas I am storing up treasures in a place where the human hand cannot reach, and so they are secure, as it is stated: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne” (Psalms 89:15).

 Notes and References

"... In this pericope, King Munbaz relieves a famine by giving away his treasures to those in need. Appalled that Munbaz would deplete the family fortune, his brothers write to him, contrasting his behaviour with that of their ancestors, who preserved the family fortune. Munbaz counters that the brothers misunderstand his actions - he is not squandering the family fortune, but rather saving it and adding to it. He distinguishes and elevates his actions from those of his ancestors in six ways, each of which is backed by a biblical proof text ... Thus, while the ancestors store tangible and material treasures in the lowly human domain, Munbaz stores immaterial treasures in an immaterial place - above, in the world to come, which is beyond human control. Similarly, the concepts of interest/profit/fruit and soul/life operate in both this worldly and otherworldly contexts, appearing in discussions of earthly economic and legal matters as well as discourses on punishments, rewards, and divine justice. That the rewards include interest or profits touches upon what Gary Anderson identifies in the Yerushalmi and early Christian texts as "a unique set of 'economic' properties" whereby treasures invested in otherworldly contexts have a particularly high rate of return ..."

Gardner, Gregg E. Competitive Giving in the Third Century CE: Early Rabbinic Approaches to Greco-Roman Civic Benefaction (pp. 81-92) Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014

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