Geneva Study Bible
(1) Christ teaches that the greatest joy and happiness is not in the conveniences and pleasures of this life, but is laid up in heaven for those who willingly rest in the good will and pleasure of God, and endeavour to profit all men, although they are cruelly vexed and troubled by those of the world, because they will not adapt themselves to their ways.
(a) Under the name of poverty are meant all the miseries, that are joined with poverty.
(b) Whose minds and spirits are brought under control, and tamed, and obey God.
(c) Fitly is this word "pure" joined with the heart, for as a bright and shining resemblance or image may be seen plainly in a clear and pure looking glass, even so does the face (as it were) of the everlasting God, shine forth, and clearly appear in a pure heart.
(2) The ministers of the word especially (unless they will be the most cowardly of all) must lead others both by word and deed to this greatest joy and happiness.
(d) Your doctrine must be very sound and good, for if it is not so, it will be not regarded and cast away as a thing unsavoury and vain.
(e) What will you have to salt with? And so are fools in the Latin tongue called "saltless", as you would say, men that have no salt or savour and taste in them.
(f) You shine and give light by being made partakers of the true light.
(3) Christ did not come to bring any new way of righteousness and salvation into the world, but indeed to fulfil that which was shadowed by the figures of the Law, by delivering men through grace from the curse of the Law: and moreover to teach the true use of obedience which the Law appointed, and to engrave in our hearts the power for obedience.
(g) That the prophecies may be accomplished.
(4) He begins with the true expounding of the Law, and sets it against the old (but yet false) teachings of the scribes: He is in no way abolishing the least commandment of his Father.
(h) He shall have no place in the Church.
(5) The true meaning of the first commandment.
(i) He speaks of the judgment of God, and of the difference of sins, and therefore applies his words to the form of civil judgments which were then used.
(k) Of that judgment which was ruled by three men, who had the hearing and deciding of money matters, and such other small causes.
(l) By that judgment which stood of 23 judges, who had the hearing and deciding of weighty affairs, as the matter of a whole tribe or of a high priest, or of a false prophet.
(m) Whereas we read here "hell", it is in the text itself "Gehenna", which is one Hebrew word made out of two, and is as if to say "as the Valley of Hinnom", which the Hebrews called Topheth: it was a place where the Israelites cruelly sacrificed their children to false gods, whereupon it was taken for a place appointed to torment the reprobates in (Jeremiah 7:31).
(n) The Jews used four kinds of punishments, before their government was taken away by Herod: hanging, beheading, stoning, and burning. It is burning that Christ meant, because burning was the greatest punishment; therefore by making mention of a judgment, a council, and a fire, he shows that some sins are worse than others are, but yet they are all such that we must give account for them, and will be punished for them.
(6) The covetous Pharisees taught that God was appeased by the sacrifices appointed in the law, which they themselves devoured. But Christ on the contrary side denies that God accepts any man's offering, unless he makes satisfaction to his brother whom he has offended: and says moreover, that these stubborn and stiff-necked despisers of their brethren will never escape the wrath and curse of God before they have made full satisfaction to their brethren.
(o) He applies all this speech to the state of his time, when there was then an altar standing in Jerusalem, and therefore they are very foolish that gather from this that we must build altars and use sacrifices: but they are bigger fools who consider this to be purgatory, which is spoken of as peace making and atonement one with another.
(p) Remove all cause for enmity.
(q) You will be dealt with in this manner, to the utmost extremity.
(7) He is taken for an adulterer before God, whoever he is, that covets a woman: and therefore we must keep our eyes chaste, and all the members we have, yea and we must avoid all opportunities that might move us to evil, no matter what it costs us.
(r) He names the right eye and the right hand, because the parts of the right side of our bodies are the chiefest, and the most ready to commit any wickedness.
(s) Literally, do cause you to offend: for sins are stumbling blocks as it were, that is to say, rocks which we are cast upon.
(8) The meaning of the third commandment against the perverse opinion and judgment of the scribes, who excused by oaths or indirect forms of swearing.
(t) Whatever you affirm, affirm it alone, and whatever you deny, deny it alone without any more words.
(u) From an evil conscience, or from the devil.
(9) He shows that contrary to the doctrine of the scribes, that the sum of the second table must be so understood, that we may in no wise render evil for evil, but rather suffer double injury, and do well to them that are our deadly enemies.
(10) A double reason: the one is taken of the relatives, The children must be like their father: the other is taken of comparisons, The children of God must be better than the children of this world.
(x) They that were the toll masters, and had the oversight of tributes and customs: this was a type of man that the Jews hated to death, both because they served the Romans in those offices (whose heavy bondage they could not overthrow) and also because these toll masters were for the most part given to covetousness.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25