103 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 103 Give Without Return in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

Crossan Inventory | 103 Literature | 103 Parallels | 103 Commentary | 103 Poetry | 103 Images


John Dominic Crossan

Crossan ['Historical Jesus'] (274f) notes the connection between this saying and several others concerned with wealth: 031 First and Last, 040 Have and Receive, 043 Blessed the Poor, 086 Serving Two Masters, 094 The Rich Farmer, 099 Treasure in Heaven, and 199 Kingdom and Riches:

The complex 103 Give Without Return (1/2) is a much more radical statement of the same theme. Give not only without interest but without taking your capital back. But one would soon be destitute. Exactly.


The International Q Project reconstructs the original Q saying as follows:

To the one who asks of you, give;
and [from the one who borrows], do not [ask] back [what is] yours.
And if you [lend <to those> from whom you have hope to receive,
what <reward do> you <have>?] Do not even [the Gentiles] do the same?

Jesus Seminar

The voting of the Seminar can be represented as follows:

Give to beggars

  • Luke 6:30a (1985 - St Meinard Seminary, IN)
  • Luke 6:30a (1989 - University of Toronto, Toronto)
  • Matt 5:42a (1985- St Meinard Seminary, IN)
  • Matt 5:42a (1989 - University of Toronto, Toronto)
  • Did 1:5a (1985 - St Meinard Seminary, IN)
  • Did 1:5a (1989 - University of Toronto, Toronto)

Lend without return

  • Thom 95:1-2 (1985 - St Meinard Seminary, IN)
  • Thom 95:1-2 (1989 - University of Toronto, Toronto)
  • Luke 6:35c (1989 - University of Toronto, Toronto)
  • Matt 5:42b (1985 - St Meinard Seminary, IN)
  • Matt 5:42b (1989 - University of Toronto, Toronto)

The commentary in ['The Five Gospels'] (p. 294f) notes the complex relationship of the variants found in Luke and Matthew to the original in Q/Thomas:

This is the sequence of injunctions in Luke 6:30:

1. Give to everyone who begs from you;
2. and when someone takes your things, don't ask for them back.

This series addresses two topics, begging and robbery. The parallel sequence in Matthew (5:42) clearly treats begging and lending:

1. Give to the one who begs from you;
2. and don't turn away the one who tries to borrow from you.

Since both Matthew and Luke took the sequence from Q, the question arises, which is the Q version?

Text detectives will look around for clues. Luke 6:30, 34, 35 provide an important hint. These verses, whoch are summary statements (note the series of three in Luke 6:32-34), prove that Luke also knew a lending injunction not unlike the one that Matthew preserves in 5:42b. Indeed, Luke 6:35 ... presupposes an admonition like the one found in Thom 95:1-2:

If you have money, don't lend it at interest.
Rather, give it to someone from whom you won't get it back.

Luke 6:35 provides evidence that Thomas 95 may be the more original form of the saying. A command to lend only to those from whom one cannot expect to have any return, either interest or capital, sounds more like the paradoxical sage who advised people to love their enemies.


Samuel T. Lachs

Lachs ['Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament'] (105) observes:

Give to him who begs from you As part of the original antithesis or even as an addition to it, this verse is difficult. Both Matthew and Luke agree on the reading of the first half, i.e., Give to him (Luke: everyone) that begs from you, which probably means even though you might not be repaid. It could conceivably refer to requests for loans just beofre the Sabbatical year, when all loans were automaticaly canceled. The second part can be understood simply as part of a Semitic parallelism to "give him" -- "do not refuse." Manson, on the basis of the Lucan reading, suggests that "when someone has borowed your property, do not be constantly dunning him to let you have it back. In all these transactions delicacy and consideration of the feelings of the other man are essential." He cites Sira 20:15, "Today he lendeth, tomorrow he will demand it back; hateful is such a one."