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Matthew 5:46

    Matthew 5:46 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For if you have love for those who have love for you, what credit is it to you? do not the tax-farmers the same?

    Webster's Revision

    For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

    World English Bible

    For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 5:46

    For if ye love them which love you - He who loves only his friends, does nothing for God's sake. He who loves for the sake of pleasure or interest, pays himself. God has no enemy which he hates but sin; we should have no other.

    The publicans - That is, tax-gatherers, τελωναι, from τελος a tax, and ωνεομαι I buy or farm. A farmer or collector of the taxes or public revenues. Of these there were two classes; the superior, who were Romans of the equestrian order; and the inferior, those mentioned in the Gospels, who it appears were mostly Jews.

    This class of men was detestable among the Romans, the Greeks, and the Jews, for their intolerable rapacity and avarice. They were abhorred in an especial manner by the Jews, to whom the Roman government was odious: these, assisting in collecting the Roman tribute, were considered as betrayers of the liberties of their country, and abettors of those who enslaved it. They were something like the tythe-farmers of certain college-livings in some counties of England, as Lancashire, etc. - a principal cause of the public burthens and discontent. One quotation, of the many produced by Kypke, will amply show in what detestation they were held among the Greeks. Theocritus being asked, Which of the wild beasts were the most cruel? answered, Εν μεν τοις ορεσιν αρκτοι και λεοντες· εν δε ταις πολεσιν, ΤΕΛΩΝΑΙ και συκοφανται. Bears and lions, in the mountains; and Tax-Gatherers and calumniators, in cities.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 5:46

    What reward have ye? - The word "reward" seems to be used in the sense of "deserving of praise." If you only love those that love you, you are selfish; it is not genuine love for the "character," but love for the "benefit," and you deserve no commendation. The very "publicans" would do the same.

    The publicans - The publicans were tax-gatherers. Judea was a province of the Roman empire. The Jews bore this foreign yoke with great impatience, and paid their taxes with great reluctance. It happened, therefore, that those who were appointed to collect taxes were objects of great detestation. They were, besides, people who would be supposed to execute their office at all hazards; men who were willing to engage in an odious and hated employment; people often of abandoned character, oppressive in their exactions, and dissolute in their lives. By the Jews they were associated in character with thieves and adulterers; with the profane and the dissolute. Christ says that even these wretched people would love their benefactors.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 5:46

    5:46 The publicans - were officers of the revenue, farmers, or receivers of the public money: men employed by the Romans to gather the taxes and customs, which they exacted of the nations they had conquered. These were generally odious for their extortion and oppression, and were reckoned by the Jews as the very scum of the earth.