Matthew 5:37


King James Version (KJV)

But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil.

American King James Version (AKJV)

But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil.

American Standard Version (ASV)

But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one .

Basic English Translation (BBE)

But let your words be simply, Yes or No: and whatever is more than these is of the Evil One.

Webster's Revision

But let your communication be, Yea, yea, Nay, nay: for whatever is more than these cometh of evil.

World English Bible

But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.

English Revised Version (ERV)

But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one.

Definitions for Matthew 5:37

Let - To hinder or obstruct.
Nay - No.
Yea - Yes; certainly.

Clarke's Matthew 5:37 Bible Commentary

Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay - That is, a positive affirmation, or negation, according to your knowledge of the matter concerning which you are called to testify. Do not equivocate; mean what you assert, and adhere to your assertion. Hear what a heathen says on this subject: -

Εχθρος γαρ μοι κεινος ὁμως αιδαο πυλησιν,

Ος χ'ετερον μεν κευθει ενι φρεσιν, αλλο δε βαζει.

Hom. Il. ix. 312

"He whose words agree not with his private thoughts is as detestable to me as the gates of hell."

See on Joshua 2 (note) at the end.

See the subject of swearing particularly considered in the note at the conclusion of Deuteronomy 6 (note).

Whatsoever is more than these - That is, more than a bare affirmation or negation, according to the requirements of Eternal Truth, cometh of evil; or, is of the wicked one - εκ του πονηρου εϚιν, i.e. the devil, the father of superfluities and lies. One of Selden's MSS. and Gregory Nyssen, a commentator of the fourth century, have εκ του διαβολου εϚιν, is of the devil.

That the Jews were notoriously guilty of common swearing, for which our Lord particularly reprehends them, and warns his disciples against, and that they swore by heaven, by earth, by Jerusalem, by their head, etc., the following extracts, made by Dr. Lightfoot from their own writings, amply testify: -

"It was customary and usual among them to swear by the creatures. 'If any swear by heaven, by earth, by the sun, etc., although the mind of the swearer be, under these words, to swear by Him who created them, yet this is not an oath. Or, if any swear by some of the prophets, or by some of the books of the Scripture, although the sense of the swearer be to swear by Him that sent that prophet, or that gave that book, nevertheless, this is not an oath. Maimonides.'

"If any adjure another by heaven or earth, he is not guilty. Talmud.

"They swore by Heaven, השמים כן הוא hashshamayim, ken hu, 'By heaven, so it is.' Bab. Berac.

"They swore by the Temple. 'When turtles and young pigeons were sometimes sold at Jerusalem for a penny of gold, Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel said, המעו הוה By this habitation (that is, by this Temple) I will not rest this night, unless they be sold for a penny of silver.' Cherituth, cap. i.

"R. Zechariah ben Ketsab said, המעו הוה 'By this Temple, the hand of the woman departed not out of my hand.'


Barnes's Matthew 5:37 Bible Commentary

But let your communication - Your word; what you say.

Be, Yea - Yes. This does not mean that we should always use the word "yea," for it might as well have been translated "yes"; but it means that we should simply affirm or declare that a thing is so.

More than these - More than these affirmations.

Cometh of evil - Is evil. Proceeds from some evil disposition or purpose. And from this we may learn:

1. That profane swearing is always the evidence of a depraved heart. To trifle with the name of God, or with any of his works, is itself most decided proof of depravity.

2. That no man is believed any sooner in common conversation because he swears to a thing. When we hear a man swear to a thing, it is pretty good evidence that he knows what he is saying to be false, and we should be on our guard. He that will break the third commandment will not hesitate to break the ninth also. And this explains the fact that profane swearers are seldom believed. The man who is always believed is he whose character is beyond suspicion in all things, who obeys all the laws of God, and whose simple declaration, therefore, is enough. A man that is truly a Christian, and leads a Christian life, does not need oaths and profaneness to make him believed.

3. It is no mark of a gentleman to swear. The most worthless and vile. the refuse of mankind, the drunkard and the prostitute, swear as well as the best dressed and educated gentleman. No particular endowments are requisite to give finish to the art of cursing. The basest and meanest of mankind swear with as much tact and skill as the most refined, and he that wishes to degrade himself to the very lowest level of pollution and shame should learn to be a common swearer. Any person has talents enough to learn to curse God and his fellowmen, and to pray - for every man who swears prays - that God would sink him and others into hell. No profane person knows but that God will hear his prayer, and send him to the regions of woe.

4. Profaneness does no one any good. Nobody is the richer, or wiser, or happier for it. It helps no one's morals or manners. It commends no one to any society. The profane man must be, of course, shut out from female society, and no refined conversation can consist with it. It is disgusting to the refined; abominable to the good; insulting to those with whom we associate; degrading to the mind; unprofitable, needless, and injurious in society; and awful in the sight of God.

5. God will not hold the profane swearer guiltless. Wantonly to profane His name, to call His vengeance down, to curse Him on His throne, to invoke damnation, is perhaps of all offences the most awful. And there is not in the universe more cause of amazement at His forbearance, than that God does not rise in vengeance, and smite the profane swearer at once to hell. Verily, in a world like this, where His name is profaned every day, and hour, and moment by thousands, God shows that He is slow to anger, and that His mercy is without bounds!

Wesley's Matthew 5:37 Bible Commentary

5:37 Let your conversation be yea, yea; nay, nay - That is, in your common discourse, barely affirm or deny.

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