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Matthew 5:22

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
But here one obscure word has found a place, for Raca is neither Latin nor Greek. The others, however, are current in our language. Now, some have wished to derive the interpretation of this expression from the Greek, supposing that a ragged person is called Raca, because a rag is called in Greek ῥάκος; yet, when one asks them what a ragged person is called in Greek, they do not answer Raca; and further, the Latin translator might have put the word ragged where he has placed Raca, and not have used a word which, on the one hand, has no existence in the Latin language, and, on the other, is rare in the Greek. Hence the view is more probable which I heard from a certain Hebrew whom I had asked about it; for he said that the word does not mean anything, but merely expresses the emotion of an angry mind. Grammarians call those particles of speech which express an affection of an agitated mind interjections; as when it is said by one who is grieved, Alas, or by one who is angry, Hah. And th...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
What are we to do? “Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” But “no human being can tame the tongue.” Will everyone therefore go to the hell of fire? By no means. “Lord, you have become our refuge from generation to generation.” Your wrath is just. You send no one to hell unjustly. “Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence,” unless to you? Thus let us understand, my dearly beloved, that if no human being can tame the tongue, we must take refuge in God, who will tame it. Does your own human nature prevent you from taming your tongue? “No human being can tame the tongue.” Consider this analogy from the animals that we tame. A horse does not tame itself; a camel does not tame itself; an elephant does not tame itself; a snake does not tame itself; a lion does not tame itself. So too a man does not tame himself. In order to tame a horse, an ox, a camel, an elephant, a lion and a snake, a human being is required. Therefore God should...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
City of God, book 20, ch. 9: Otherwise, “unless your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees,” that is, exceed that of those who break what themselves teach, as it is elsewhere said of them, “They say, and donot;” just as if He had said, Unless your righteousness exceed in this way that ye do what ye teach, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. We must therefore understand something other than usual by the kingdom of heaven here, in which are to be both he who breaks what he teaches, and he who does it, but the one “least,” the other, "great;” this kingdom of heaven is the present Church. In another sense is the kingdom of heaven spoken of that place where none enters but he who does what he teaches, and this is the Church as it shall be hereafter. cont. Faust., 19, 31: This expression, the kingdom of heaven, so often used byour Lord, I know not whether any one would find in the books of the Old Testament. It belongs properly to the New Testament revela...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
How greatly the Lord esteems fraternal love we know from this, for he makes clear that a gift offered to God is not acceptable unless the giver of a gift to his brother puts aside his anger and becomes reconciled to him. Furthermore, we learn that the gifts offered by Cain were rejected by God. He failed to observe charity toward his brother and harbored anger in his heart. Hence, not without good reason does the Lord in the Gospel indicate in many places the prime necessity of fraternal charity when he says, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another.” And again: “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Rightly so, the Lord also spoke through Zechariah: “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy each to his brother.” Through David he likewise declared: “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!” Tractate on Matthew. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Whosoever is angry with his brother. In almost all Greek copies and manuscripts we now read angry without a cause: yet St. Jerome, who corrected the Latin of the New Testament from the best copies in his time, tells us that these words, without a cause, were only found in some Greek copies, and not in the true ones. It seems at first to have been placed in the margin for an interpretation only, and by some transcribers afterwards taken into the text. This as well as many other places may convince us, that the Latin Vulgate is many times to be preferred to our present Greek copies. Raca. St. Augustine thinks this was no significant word, but only a kind of interjection expressing a motion of anger. Others take it for a Syro-Chaldaic word, signifying a light, foolish man, though not so injurious as to call another a fool. Shall be guilty of the council: that is, shall deserve to be punished by the highest court of judicature, called the council, or sanhedrim, consisting of seventy-two ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
Beautiful entrance He here makes to a teaching beyond the works of the Law, declaring to the Apostles that they should have no admission to the kingdom of heaven without a righteousness beyond that of Pharisees. Or, he who reproaches with emptiness one full of the Holy Spirit, will be arraigned in the assembly of the Saints, and by their sentence will be punished for an affront against that Holy Spirit Himself. ...
< 1 min6/14

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
“Whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be liable to the council.” One who reproaches with emptyheadedness someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit becomes liable to the council of holy men and is to expiate this outrage against the Holy Spirit through punishment handed down by the holy judges. “Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” … Thus whatever the law has not condemned as to a person’s works, the faith of the Gospels castigates because of one’s readiness simply to use insulting words. ...
< 1 min7/14

Jerome

AD 420
Some copies add here the words, without cause; but by the true reading the precept is made unconditional, and anger altogether forbidden. For when we are told to pray for them that persecute us, all occasion of anger is taken away. The words “without cause” then must be erased, for “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”. Or, Racha is a Hebrew word signifying, ‘empty,’ ‘vain;’ as we might say in the common phrase of reproach, ‘empty-pate.’ Observe that He says brother; for whois our brother, but he who has the same Father as ourselves? ...
< 1 min8/14

John Chrysostom

AD 407
By righteousness is here meant universal virtue. But observe the superior power of grace, in that He requires of His disciples who were yet uninstructed to bebetter than those who were masters unto the Old Testament. Thus He does not call the Scribes and Pharisees unrighteous, but speaks of “their righteousness.” And see how ever herein He confirms the Old Testament that He compares it with the New, for the greater and the less are always of the samekind.But seeing that to break the least commandments and not to keep them are one and the same, why does He say above of him that breaks the commandments, that “he shall be the least in the kingdom of heaven,” and here of him who keeps them not, that he “shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven?” See how to be the least in the kingdom is the same with not entering into the kingdom. For a man to be in the kingdom is not to reign with Christ, but only to be numbered among Christ’s people; what He says then of him that breaks the commandment...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Do you see authority in perfection? Do you see a bearing suited to a legislator? Why, which among prophets ever spoke on this wise? Which among righteous men? Which among patriarchs? None; but, Thus says the Lord. But the Son not so. Because they were publishing their Master's commands, He His Father's. And when I say, His Father's, I mean His own. For mine, says He, are yours, and yours are mine. John 17:10 And they had their fellow-servants to legislate for, He His own servants. Let us now ask those who reject the law, is, 'Be not angry' contrary to 'Do no murder'? Or is not the one commandment the completion and the development of the other? Clearly the one is the fulfilling of the other, and that is greater on this very account. Since he who is not stirred up to anger, will much more refrain from murder; and he who bridles wrath will much more keep his hands to himself. For wrath is the root of murder. And you see that He who cuts up the root will much more remove the branches; ...
16 mins10/14

Peter Chrysologus

AD 450
“Whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be liable to the council.” The word raca, my brothers, is not simply an expression but the visceral reaction of a ridiculer as well as an insult. It usually manifests itself by a sidelong glance or a flaring of the nostrils or a rattle in the throat, so that one’s will concocts insults and the extent of the harm done is unknown. But God, who looks at a person’s intentions, sees his desires and judges his feelings, brings the one who is guilty of ridiculing his brother to the council of the holy, because ridicule aimed at one person redounds to the insulting of everyone; the condition of one limb spreads to the body, and the suffering of the body goes up to the head. Thus, as to what a ridiculer has inflicted on his brother, he will realize and regret in the heavenly council that his insight reached up to God. “Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” What the angry man concealed in his heart, what the ridiculer held in ...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
The Saviour here names the torments of hell, Gehenna, a name thought to be derived from a valley consecrated to idols near Jerusalem, and filled of old with dead bodies, and defiled by Josiah, as we read in the Book of Kings.
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Theodore the Stratelates

AD 319
He has said two things: “Whoever says, ‘Raca,’ and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ ” referring foolishness to the soul, and “despicable” to things of the body. By this he describes one who assumes an air of superiority, exalts himself over his brothers in the faith. Such a one hates them and turns away from them or looks down upon them with disgust or, frequently, passes them by as not worthy of a single look. He derives this sense of superiority from advantages of either body or soul and, on this account, looks down on his brothers as inferior to him. Such a person, Jesus says, is not considered by me as immune from condemnation. For the one who hates is akin to a murderer; such a person ought especially to have had love for these others on account of their shared faith, even though their common human nature should have been reason enough to unite them in friendship. ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
The prophets, about to prophesy, would say, "Thus saith the Lord," but Christ says, "I say," showing the authority of His divinity. For the prophets were servants; but He is the Son and possesses all that the Father has. He who "is angry with his brother without good cause" is condemned; but if anyone should get angry for good reason, either by way of chastisement or out of spiritual zeal, he is not condemned. For even Paul spoke words of anger to Ely mas the Magician and to the high priest, not "without good cause," but out of zeal (Acts 13:6-12 and 23:2-3). But when we get angry over money or opinions, then it is "without good cause." "The council" means the court of the Hebrews. "Raca" means something like "Hey, you!" as when we say to someone whom we scorn, "Hey you, get out of here!" The Lord exhorts us in these matters because He desires to teach us to be strict even in small things and to give honor to one another. Some say that "Raca" is a Syriac word for "despicable" or "scu...
2 mins14/14

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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