Matthew 5:42 is the forty-second verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This is the third verse of the antithesis on the command: "Eye for an eye".
- Give to him that asketh thee, and from him
- that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
The World English Bible translates the passage as:
- Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn
- away him who desires to borrow from you.
For a collection of other versions see BibleRef Matthew 5:42
This verse is most often seen as a command to be charitable. It is quite similar to Luke 6:40, but while that verse commands believers to give, this one simply states that they should not refuse requests. As with other parts of the Sermon on the Mount it is difficult to apply this verse literally, and no major Christian groups advocate such unrestricted charity. Luther argued the verse is restricted only to those who need assistance. Calvin states that generosity is important, but one should never be profligate.
A second interpretation of this verse is that it is not about charity, but rather against usury. The word borrow here is seen by some as a reference to the lending industry. Jesus is not stating that one should give money to anyone that asks, but rather that it is wrong to demand interest. The apocryphal Gospel of Thomas contains a similar section that is a clear condemnation of usury. Albright and Mann translate the last portion as "do not refuse one who is unable to pay interest."
- France, R.T. The Gospel According to Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1985.
- Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975
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