VERSES 1-5: WARNING AGAINST JUDGING AND CENSURING
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
“Judge not.”|–Literally: “Do not judge.”–This is referring to the habit of censoriousness, sharp, unjust criticism.
This commandment Jesus is giving to the Jews is concerning rash, censorious and uncharitable judgments, and the fault-finding spirit or disposition which condemns without examination of the charges, forgetful that they also shall stand in the judgment and shall need mercy. Such harsh judgments will also provoke retaliation.
By a secret and criminal disposition of nature, man endeavors to elevate himself above others, and, to do it more effectually depresses them. His jealous and envious heart wishes that there may be no good quality found in anyone but in himself, that he alone may be esteemed. Such is the state of every unconverted man; and it is from this criminal disposition, that evil assumptions, rash judgments, hasty decisions, and all other unjust procedures against our neighbor flow.
JUDGE: (Grk.–krinete)–Our English word “critic” comes from this very word. It literally means “a separate, distinguish, discriminate.” Sometimes discrimination is necessary, but prejudgment prejudice is unfair, petty criticism
Here again Jesus lays down a general principle in the form of universal prohibition. Although this precept was given to Israel, it is still applicable for today and the Church. Of course, the principle is to be limited by other Scriptural laws concerning judgment. It does not prohibit:
1. Judgment by civil courts, which is apostolically approved (Titus 3:1; Heb. 13:17; II Pet. 2:13-15).
2. Judgment of the church on those who walk disorderly; for this also was ordered by Christ and His apostles (18:16,17; Titus 3:10; I Tim. 1:20; 6:5; II Thess. 3:6,14; II John 1:10).
3. Private judgment as to wrong-doers. This is also ordered by Christ and His apostles (verses 15-16; Rom. 16:17; I Cor. 5:11; I John 4:1).
Jesus is referring to the thinking evil, where no evil seems, and speaking of it accordingly. These Jews were highly guilty of this and yet they had very excellent maxims against it. This is one of the most important exhortations in the whole of this entire sermon.
“that ye be not judged”
“That you not be judged.”–In this phrase there are two prominent things we need to notice about this phrase:
1. “Ye”–is the plural form of “you.”
In the Elizabethan English of the KJV, this distinguishing between the plural form (“ye”) and the singular form (“you”) was common.
In our modern English we do not differentiate between singular and plural forms of the word, “you.” We only use the singular form. The use of the plural form of “you” here shows that Jesus is speaking to a group of people—meaning the Jews sitting there on that hillside (5:1).
2. “be not judged”—Judged? |
When? Judged by Whom?—Jesus is here particularly referring to the Jewish remnant that has come through the Tribulation; however, He may also be referring to the Gentiles who also will have come through that terrible time.
These Gentiles will face the Judgment of the Nations (25:31-46). There Jesus will do the judging at the end of the Great Tribulation; however, during the Tribulation, and on in the Millennial Kingdom, the Council will do the judging (see notes on 5:22).
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
“For with what judgment ye judge”
Literally::“For in what judgment you judge.”–He who is severe on others will naturally excite their severity against himself.
The denunciations and libels which we have suffered are probably the just reward of those which we have dealt out to others. This was a proverb among the Jews. It expressed a truth; and Jesus did not hesitate to adopt it as conveying His own sentiments. It refers no less to the way in which men will judge of them than to the rule by which God will judge them (see II Sam. 22:27; Mark 4:24; James 2:13).
“ye shall be judged.”
Literally: “You will be judged.”–Not by men, but by Christ Jesus at the judgment spoken of in Matt. 25:32, which takes place at the end of the Great Tribulation.
There He will take note of the unkind, harsh, censorious spirit, and deals with the man according to his own spirit. What is being declared here is a great principle that runs through the moral government of God: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). You may expect to be treated as you treat others. Luke 6:37.
Again, let me emphasize that this CANNOT be applicable for this present Church Age, for God places NO conditions upon His forgiving the repentant sinner who will ask His forgiveness and receive Christ as their personal Savior. This statement here of the Lord Jesus’ is for those under Law, and not under Grace. In reading this Sermon on the Mount, and the four Gospels, never lose sight of the Four Questions; and here especially QUESTION #2— “WHO IS HE TALKING TO?” and QUESTION #4--“WHEN IS HE DOING THIS TALKING”?
“with what measure ye mete”
Literally: “And in what measure you measure.”—He who is severe on others will naturally excite their severity against himself.
MEASURE…METE: (Grk.–metreo)–Jesus here does a “play on words” in the Greek. He basically uses the word Greek (metreo), in two ways. Literally, He is saying, “with what measure you measure out.”
MEASURE: (Grk.–metreo)–They, and particularly the Gentile nations during that time of the Great Tribulation shall be judged by the same rule which they apply to others, in particularly how they apply it to fellow Jews (see Matt. 25:35-40).
METE: (Grk.–metreo)–Literally: “measure.” Jesus is telling these Jews that in the coming Kingdom, justice will be done.
This proverbial maxim is used by our Lord in other connections–as in Mark 4:24, and with a slightly different application in Luke 6:38–as a great principle in the divine administration. Unkind judgment of others will be judicially returned upon ourselves in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. But, as in many other cases under the divine administration, such harsh judgment gets self-punished even here. For people shrink from contact with those who systematically deal out harsh judgment upon others–naturally concluding that they themselves may be the next victims–and feel impelled in self-defense, when exposed to it, to roll back upon the assailant his own censures.
VERSES 3-4: BASICALLY EXPRESS THE SAME THOUGHT. JESUS IS USING TWO WAYS OF SAYING THE SAME THING.
“And why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not (the) beam that is in thine own eye?”
“Why beholdest thou the mote”
Literally: “But why do you see the chip?”
BEHOLD: (Grk.–blepeis)–Meaning, “to look at; to gaze at.”
MOTE: (Grk.–karphos)-–A chip or speck of wood dust; a splinter, here very well rendered as “mote,” to be understood small and little sins, or even some supposed sins.
A mote signifies any light substance, as dry chaff, or fine spires of grass or grain. It here probably signifies a splinter of wood. It is here placed in opposition to the word beam.
“but considerest not the beam.”
Literally: “but do not see the beam”–Referring to the much greater fault which we over-look in ourselves.
CONSIDER: (Grk.–katavoeō)–Meaning, “apprehend from within, to understand clearly” what is already there.
BEAM: (Grk.–dokon)–Meaning,a log, or planks in the house; a joist, rafter, plank; a pole sticking out.
Jesus, remember He was a carpenter by trade, is referring to a heavy house timber. This was probably a current proverb being used by Jesus likle we ues of people in glass houses throwing stones. There is an Arabic proverb which says, “How seest thou the splinter in thy brother's eye, and seest not the cross-beam in thine eye?”
“Or how will thou say to thy brother, ‘Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold a beam is in thine own eye?”
“Or how will thou say to thy brother”
Literally: “Or how will you say to your brother.”– How will it be morally possible for you to say to your brother? That man is utterly unfit to show the way of life to others who is himself walking in the way of sin and death.
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of they brother’s eye.”
Literally: “Hypocrite!”–The “thou” meaning, “you” is not in the original Greek text. It is another word added by the KJV translators.
HYPOCRITE: (Grk.–hypokrita)–One who professes to be what he is not.
The man who finds fault with another for sin, while he is more guilty, is a hypocrite—a play actor; literally, i.e., a “mask wearer.” Such a man deserves this title because he acts the part of a teacher and reformer, when he himself needs repentance and reform the most. The hypocrisy is all the greater because it does not know itself to be hypocritical.
The hypocrisy consists in the pretense of a zealous and compassionate charity, which cannot possibly be real in one who suffers worse faults to lie uncorrected in himself. He only is fit to be a reprover of others who jealously and severely judges himself. Such persons will not only be slow to undertake the office of censor on their neighbors, but, when constrained in faithfulness to deal with them, will make it evident that they do it with reluctance and not satisfaction, with moderation and not exaggeration, with love and not harshness.
For the support of the character he has assumed, to imitate all the dispositions and actions of the righteous; consequently he must reprove sin, and endeavor to show an uncommon affection for the glory of God. It is mere hypocrisy to pretend zeal for the amendment of others while we have none for our own.
“first cast out the beam out of thine own eye:
Literally: “First take the beam out of your eye.”–A great many are very zealous to convert the world, who themselves are unconverted.
Jesus unmasks such pretenders to “super spirituality,” and shows that his hidden hypocrisy, covered with the garb of external sanctity, is more abominable in the sight of God than the openly professed and practiced iniquity of the wasteful. He directs us to the proper way of forming an opinion of others, and of reproving and correcting them. By first amending our own faults, or casting the beam out of our eye, we can consistently advance to correct the faults of others. There will then be no hypocrisy in our conduct. We shall also see clearly to do it.
The beam, the thing that obscured our sight, will be removed; and we shall more clearly discern the small object that obscures the sight of our brother. The sentiment is that the readiest way to judge of the imperfections of others is to be free from greater ones ourselves. This qualifies us for judging, makes us candid and consistent, and enables us to see things as they are, and to make proper allowances for frailty and imperfection.
“shalt thou see clearly”
Literally: “And then you will see clearly.–Get the log out of your eye and you will see clearly how to help the brother get the splinter out of his eye.
SEE CLEARLY: (Grk.-–diablepseis)–Used only here; Luke 6:42; Mark 8:25 in the N.T. Literally meaning, “Look through, penetrate;” in contrast to simply (blepeis), “to gaze at,” in verse Matt. 7:3
The Greek preposition dia, gives the sense of thoroughness. With the beam in your eye you stare at your brother's little failing. Pull out the beam; then you shal see clearly, not only the fault itself, but how to help your brother get rid of it.