Z B 5:1,2. Introduction. C 5:3-12. Characters. True Happiness. D 5:13-16. True Disciples. E 5:17-7:12. The Kingdom. Its Laws. E 7:13,14. The Kingdom. Entrance into it. D 7:15-23. False teachers. C 7:24-27. Characters. True wisdom. B 7:28,29. Conclusion.
1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up into the mountain (well known and therefore unnamed, but corresponds with the Mount of Olives in the Structure of the Gospel as a whole): and when He was sit down (the posture of the Oriental teacher today), His disciples came to Him:
2 And he opened His mouth, and taught them, saying, (See the Structure above. The Structure is the commentary showing that this teaching is connected with the proclamation of the kingdom [v3.], and is to be interpreted by it. As the kingdom was rejected and is now in abeyance, so likewise this discourse is in abeyance with all its commands, &c., until "the gospel of the kingdom" is again proclaimed, to herald its drawing near. Parts of this address were repeated at different times and on different occasions. Luke nowhere professes to give the whole address in its chronological setting or entirety. Only some 30 separate verses are so repeated by Luke out of the 107 verses in Matthew. The later repetitions were given in "a plain" [Luke 6:17] and after the calling of the Twelve [Luke 6:13]; here the whole is given before the calling of the Twelve [Matt. 9:9]. These are marks of accuracy, not of "discrepancy" as alleged. Modern critics 1st assume that the 2 account are identical, and the say; "No one now expects to find chronological accuracy in the evangelical records"! For the relation of the Sermon on the Mount to Ps. 15 see notes there; and to the seven "woes" see ch. 23.)
C a 3. Heirs to the Kingdom. b 4. Mourners. Reward for Mourners. c 5. Inheritance. Earthly. d 6. True righteousness. d 7. Fruits of righteousness. c 8. Inheritance. Heavenly. b 9. Peacemakers. Reward for Peacemakers. a 10-12. Heirs of the Kingdom.
The eight Beatitudes of Matt 5:3-12 are best understood and interpreted by the eight contrasts, or "Woes" of 23:13-33. The comparison shows that 5:10-12 form one (the eighth) Beatitude, having one subject (persecution) corresponding with the eighth "Woe" of 23:29-33.
They may be thus set out :--
"THE BEATITUDES" (5:3-12) "THE WOES" (23:13-33)
1. The kingdom opened to the poor (v. 3) 1. The kingdom shut (v. 13)
2. Comfort for mourners (v. 4) 2. Mourners distressed (v. 14)
3. The meek inheriting the earth (v. 5) 3. Fanatics compassing the earth (v. 15)
4. True righteousness sought by true 4. False righteousness sought by
desire (v. 6) casuistry (vv. 16-22)
5. The merciful obtaining mercy (v. 7) 5. Mercy "omitted" and "left undone"
(vv. 23, 24)
6. Purity within, and the vision of God 6. Purity without, uncleanness within.
hereafter (v. 8) "Blindness" (vv. 25, 26)
7. Peacemakers, the sons of God (v. 9) 7. Hypocrites, and lawless (vv. 27, 28)
8. The persecuted (vv. 10-12) 8. The persecutors (vv. 29-33)
Beside these eight contrasts there is an internal correspondence of the principal thoughts, suggested by the combined series, and forming the Structure given in the note on Matt. 5:3, 4.
It may be further noted that these Beatitudes rest on special passages in the Psalms : Matt. 5:3 (Ps. 40:17); 5:4 (Ps. 119:136); 5:5 (Ps. 37:11); 5:6 (Ps. 42:1, 2); 5:7 (Ps. 41:1); 5:8 (Ps. 24:4; 73:1); 5:9 (Ps. 133:1); 5:10 (Ps. 37; 39; 40).
They may be thus set out :--
3 "Blessed (= Happy, Gr. makarios [not eulogetos, which = blessed, and is only used of God [Mark 14:61. Luke 1:68. Rom. 1:25; 9:5. 2 Cor. 1:3; 11:31. Eph 1:3. 1 Pet. 1:3]. Representing the Heb. ashrey, occurs in 19 Psalms 26 times) are the poor in spirit (]see prov. 1:1] = poor in this world [as in Luke 6:20], in contrast with the promise of the kingdom): for theirs is the kingdom of heavens. (This is not poor as in lacking material possessions. Poor means humble in this verse. The humble inherit the King and His dominion. And, He owns everything.)
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Those with eyes to see and ears to hear mourn for those that can't see the truth. Christ will comfort them.)
5 Blessed are the meek (cp. Ps. 37:11): for they shall inherit the earth. (or, the land)
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst (idiom for strong a desire. Cp. 42:1,2; 119:103) after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Righteousness is what is right. God's Word is what is right. If you hunger and thirst for His Word, you will be filled. That is a promise from your Father. Why hunger? Why thirst?)
7 Blessed are the compassionate (cp. Ps. 41:1): for they shall obtain mercy. (Not merely now, but in the manifestation of the kingdom, Jas. 2:13 [cp. Heb. 4:16; 8:12; 10:28)
8 Blessed are the pure in heart (cp. Ps. 24:4; 73:1): for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers (cp. Ps. 133:1): for they shall be called the sons of God.
10 Blessed are they which have been persecuted (cp. Pss. 37,39,40) on account of righteousness' sake (not otherwise): for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you, when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of harmful thing against you falsely (this is another condition of the happiness of v.3), for My sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: because so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (See 1 Pet. 4:13. Cp. Acts 16:25)
D e 13. In the earth. Salt f 14-. The Light. e -14. In the earth. A city. f 15,16. A Lamp.
13 You all (representing the kingdom) represent the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot by people. (expressing a real contingency; for, if the salt is stored on the bare earth, or is exposed to the air or sun, it does lose its savor and is fit for no place but the streets)
14 You are the light of the world.
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel (= the measure: i.e. any measure there may happen to be in the house), but on a lamp-stand; and it gives light to all that are in the house.
16 Let your light thus shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
E F 5:17-20. They fulfill the Law and the Prophets. G 5:21-48. They transcend the Laws of Moses. G 6:1-7:11. They excel the Traditions of the Elders. F 7:12. They fulfill the Law and the Prophets.
17 Deem not for a moment (a very necessary warning against making this mount another Sinai, and promulgating the laws of the kingdom proclaimed in and from 4:17) that I have come (implying former existence. Cp. 8:10) to pull down the law (1st of 15 ref. to the Law by Christ, 5 of these coupled with "Moses"), or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
18 For verily (Gr. amen. Used only by the Lord. Same as Heb. 'amen, preserved in all languages. Should be so given at the beginning sentences. Always [except once] double in John; 25 times. See John 1:52) I say to you, Till (implying a possibility, not a certainty) the heaven (always in sing. when connected with the earth) and the earth pass, one jot. (= yod, the smallest Hebrew letter ['=Y], which the Massorites numbered 66,420) or one tittle (= the merest ornament. See Alleged "Corruption" of the Hebrew Text The English "tittle" is diminutive of title [Lat. titulus] = a small mark placed over a word for any purpose: e.g. to mark an abbreviation) shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Every one that therefore shall break one of these shortest commandments (referring not to what men might thus distinguish, but to the difference made by the Lord between the whole Law and its minutiae), and shall teach people so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens.
20 For I say to you, That except your righteousness that shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven.
G H1 21-26. The Law of Murder. Com. 6. H2 27-32. The Law of Adultery. Com. 7. H3 33-37. The Law of Perjury. Com.3. H4 38-42. The Law of Retaliation. (Ex. 21:25. Lev. 24:20. Deut. 19:21.) H5 43-48. The Law of Love. (Lev. 19:18.)