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An Eye for an Eye


38. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Condescending to human perversity, the law permitted retaliation so that men would not harm each other, out of fear of suffering the same themselves.

39. But I say unto you, that ye resist not the evil one: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. "The evil one" here means the devil, who works through man. We ought not, then, to resist the devil? Yes, we should, but not by striking back at our neighbor, but through patient endurance. For fire is not extinguished by fire but by water. Do not think that the Lord is speaking only of a blow on the cheek, but of any and every other kind, of affliction.

40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy tunic, let him have thy cloak also. If he drags you into court and harasses you, give him your cloak as well, and not only what he asks for. The "tunic" is what we would call the, inner garment, and the "cloak" is the outer garment. But the names are sometimes used one for the other.

41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two. "Why should I speak of cloaks and tunics?" the Lord is saying. Give even your body to him who wrongfully compels you, and do more than he wants you to do.

42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away. Give to him whether he be friend, enemy, or infidel, and whether he asks for money or any other kind of help. The loan here means one without interest, the simple giving of the use of the money. For even under the law they would lend without charging interest.

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