Thou Fool of Matthew 5:22
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Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
by Joel Hendon
"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, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:22 KJV)
Many people have grabbed the subject scripture and ran with it. Mothers have used it to try and discourage their children from speaking harshly to one another, and so on until the word "Fool" has become anathema to some. I am also hesistant to describe someone as such eventhough the scriptures apply it to atheists and Jesus used it on several occasions. But actually, in our current day English, it has a number of definitions yet none of them equal the greek "moros" definition as used in the above scripture.
Under the Old Law, even to "hate" your brother without cause was punishable by the local Sanhedrin of 23 magistrates. To call one Raca, (vain fellow, worthless, shallow brained, etc) was in danger of facing the Grand Sanhedrin of 72 magistrates, 6 from each tribe. But to call one a "fool" when enraged, (and as the other two, "without cause") meant that you were subject to be burned to death. This use of "fool" was used to accuse one of being an apostate, rebel against God, Godless, etc and a person guilty of such was himself subject to be burned to death. Jesus refers to the fire of the valley of Hinnon which was sometimes used as the means of punishment.
Now, let's start over and analyze, very carefully, the verse we are discussing. Let us list it here in the New American Standard [with Strong's Comprehensive Concordance] "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; (a Jewish tribunal of 7 members) and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' (empty, senseless, a term of reproach among the Jews) shall be guilty before the supreme court; (could mean the local group of 23 magistrates, one of which was the high priest...or the full Grand Sanhedrin of 72 magistrates) and whoever says, 'You fool,'(foolish, impious or godless) (nothing one could say was more insulting to a Jew than to make inference that he was not a devout follower of God) shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." ( a burning Gehenna, the valley of Hinnon) This valley was what would be called now, a city dump. All the waste materials from the city including waste parts of slaughtered animals, and all manner of filth and trash were burned. The flames were never extinguished and the filth and stench were near unbearable. It was a horrible and shameful place to be executed by being cast into the flames of Gehenna
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