372 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 372 Against Oaths in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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Commentary

Jesus Seminar

  • Core Saying
  • Structure
  • Matt 5:34b-37
  • James 5:12

On the basis of the partial parallel in Jas 5:12, the Seminar concluded that there may have been an original saying by Jesus that opposed the use of oaths. The hypothetical core saying achieved a weighted average of 0.49, just missing out on a pink rating.


Samuel Tobias Lachs

Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament], (100-103) notes that the Matthean version of this antithesis seems to confuse "swearing" and "vow." While technically different, in practice the two concepts had blended.

There is no direct Hebrew Bible source for this antithesis, but Lev 19:12 seems to come close:
And you shall not swear by my name falsely,
so that you do not profane the name of your God.

After citing the numerous Jewish parallels to the admonition against oaths, Lachs concludes:

Although the rabbinic point of view, represented by these quotations, indicates that they wished to limit the oath and/or swearing, they did not as a matter of law prohibit it. The Essenes, on the other hand, were well known for their refusal to take an oath as being contrary to their belief