Nazarene Space

The Golden Rule
By
James Scott Trimm




Our Messiah Yeshua said:

Judge not, and you will not be judged,
condemn not, and you will not be condemned.
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;
and with what measure you mete, it will be measured to you again.
(Matt. 7:1-2 HRV)

This poetic statement is complete only in Hebrew Matthew. In the Aramaic and in the Greek only parts of this poetic statement are preserved by Matthew (Mt. 7:1-2) while other parts are preserved in Luke (Luke 6:37-38):

[A] Judge not, and you will not be judged,
[B] condemn not, and you will not be condemned.

[A] For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;
[B] and with what measure you mete, it will be measured to you again.

Aramaic and Greek Matthew omit “condemn not, and you will not be condemned” Aramaic and Greek Luke omit “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged”

The initial statement in Mt. 7:1 Judge not, and you will not be judged, condemn not, and you will not be condemned has been totally misunderstood by those who have neglected the context of the statement.

The statements here serve as a basis for the Golden Rule in Mt. 7:12 giving it a basis in the Torah commands surrounding equal weights and measures. One of the Oral Laws recoded in the Mishna relating to weights and measures says:

By the same measure by which a man metes out [to others]
they mete out to him…
(m.Sotah 1:7)

This Oral Law is the obvious source for Yeshua’s statement.

This Oral Law may be stated because of its traditional application to the concepts taught in the previous verses (6:18-34). As we read in the Midrash Rabbah:

Elohim only rewards measure for measure.
(Exodus Rabbah 1 (5b))

And in the Targum Yerushalami:

Measure corresponds to measure.
With the measure with which someone measures (on earth)
It will be measured to him in heaven,
May it be a good or a bad measure.
(Targum Yerushalami to Gen. 38:26)

In the Midrash Siphre:

With the measure with which you measured,
I measure unto you.
(Siphre Deut. 308 (133b))

And in the Midrash Rabbah we read:

As the weaver weaves on his spindle, so he receives it;
with his (own) spindle he takes it.
As the pan boils over, so it pours it (the contents)
out down its sides. Everything that one spits upwards into the
air, falls back on his own face.
(Eccl. Rabbah 7, 9 (105a))

Yeshua uses this concept to draw the following

For with what judgment you judge,
you will be judged

Similar statements appears in the Mishna:

…do not judge your fellow until you are in his place…
(m.Avot 2:4)

…give everyone the benefit of the doubt…
(m.Avot 1:6)

When Yeshua says “Judge not, and you will not be judged, condemn not, and you will not be condemned” in context he is saying that we will be judged by the same standards we judge others. Up until this point Yeshua has only applied this to our relationship with YHWH, but in the following verses Yeshua will apply it to our relationship with others as well.

 

Yeshua continues:
3 And how [do] you see the splinter in your brother's eye, but see not the beam that is in
your own eye?
4 And how [do] you say to your brother, Suffer it now brother, so that I may pull out the
splinter out of your eye: and behold, a beam is in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite! Pull out at the first, the beam from your own eye: and then you will be
able to see, to pull out the splinter out of your brother's eye.
(Matt. 7:3-5 HRV)

The phrase “a beam is in your own eye” is given as an illustration of the concept laid out in the first two verses, but now the application is to our relationships with others.

Similarly we read in the Talmud:

R.Johanan further said: What is the import of the words,
And it came to pass in the days of the judging of the judges?
It was a generation which judged its judges.
If the judge said to a man, ‘Take the splinter from between
your teeth,’ he would retort, ‘Take the beam from between your eyes.’
(b. Baba Barta 15b)

R. Tarfon said, I wonder whether there is any one
in this generation who accepts reproof, for if one says to him:
Remove the mote from between your eyes,
he would answer: Remove the beam from between your eyes!
(Arakin 16b)

Trim yourself and then trim others.
(b.San. 18a; 19a & b.Bab.M. 107b)

Let us pick off the straws from ourselves,
before we do it to others.
(j.Ta’an. 65a)

 

After a bit Yeshua says:
Therefore whatever you would that men should do to you,
do you even so to them: for this is the Torah and the Prophets.
(Matt. 7:12 HRV)

 

This reads very closely with Hillel's famous statement as found in the Talmud:
What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor
that is the whole Torah...
(b.Shabbat 31a)

Of course Yeshua’s “Golden Rule” has long been recognized as a positive restatement of Hillel’s statement, but many are unaware that even earlier this wise saying had been passed from Toviel to his son Toviyah in the Apocryphal Book of Toviyah (Tobit):

…that which you hate to be done to you,
do not you to others.
(Tobit 4:15 HRV).

Likewise we also read in the Mishnah:

Let the respect owing to your fellow,
be as precious to you as the respect owing to yourself.
(m.Avot 2:10)

Let your fellow’s money
be as precious to you as your own.
(m.Avot 2:12)

All of these statements represent an overall Torah principle rooted in Lev. 19:18:

You shall love your neighbor
as yourself.
(Lev. 19:18)

 

 

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Views: 213

Comment by Jacqueline Hahn on February 24, 2015 at 9:10pm

An excellent look at this passage thanks for sharing.

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