Matthew 6:26

New Testament

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? 27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith?

Genesis Rabbah 79:6


AND ENCAMPED BEFORE THE CITY. He showed his regard (hanan) for the important men (panim) of the city by sending them gifts. Another interpretation of AND ENCAMPED BEFORE THE CITY: he began to set up bazaars and sell cheaply. This teaches that a man must be grateful to a place whence he derives benefit. R. Simeon b. Yohai and his son were hidden in a cave for thirteen years. Their food consisted of withered carobs until their bodies broke out in sores. At the end of this period he [R. Simeon] emerged and sat at the entrance of the cave and saw a hunter engaged in catching birds. Now whenever R. Simeon heard a heavenly voice exclaim from heaven, ‘Mercy!’ it escaped; if it exclaimed, ‘Death!’ it was caught. ‘Even a bird is not caught without the assent of Providence,’ he remarked; ‘how much more then the life of a human being!’ Thereupon he went forth and found that the trouble had subsided. Then they went and bathed in cold baths.

 Notes and References

"... Jesus has selected a creature that is valued very cheaply by humans, of course on the basis of its limited usefulness to them. Even a creature that humans think so unimportant is important enough to God for it never to escape his caring attention. Matthew’s and Luke’s versions of the saying make the point in slightly different ways. Matthew’s is the more specific and relates to the capture of sparrows for food. The sparrow’s fall to the earth is not, as modern readers often suppose, its death, but what happens when the hunter’s throw-net snares it and brings it to the ground (compare Amos 3:5). It will then be sold in the market. The sparrow’s capture cannot happen ‘without your Father’ (Matthew 10:29), i.e. without his knowledge and consent. There is a remarkably close parallel, not only to this point but also to the moral which Jesus draws from it with regard to God’s care for the disciples, in a later rabbinic story, which must show that Jesus is drawing on traditional Jewish teaching. The story concerns Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai (mid-second century CE), who at the end of the second Jewish war spent thirteen years hiding in a cave with his son. Rabbi Simeon realizes that his fate is in the hands of God, to whom he can therefore entrust himself, when he realizes that this is even true of each bird. If Jesus drew on traditional Jewish teaching, this teaching was itself rooted in the Old Testament ..."

Bauckham, Richard Living with Other Creatures: Green Exegesis and Theology (pp. 92-93) Baylor University Press, 2011

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