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Matthew 5:34-35 - Do not swear at all

NIV But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
KJV But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
NASB "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING."
Matthew 5:34-35


This should not be taken as a universal condemnation of oaths in all circumstances. God Himself confirmed a promise with an oath (Heb. 6:13-18; cf. Acts 2:30). Christ Himself spoke under oath (26:63, 64). And the law prescribed oaths in certain circumstances (e.g., Num. 5:19, 21; 30:2, 3). What Christ is forbidding here is the flippant, profane, or careless use of oaths in everyday speech. In that culture, such oaths were often employed for deceptive purposes. To make the person being victimized believe the truth was being told, the Jews would swear by "heaven," "earth," "Jerusalem," or their own "heads" (vv. 34-36), not by God, hoping to avoid divine judgment for their lie. But it all was in God's creation, so it drew Him in and produced guilt before Him, exactly as if the oath were made in His name. Jesus suggested that all our speech should be as if we were under an oath to tell the truth (v. 37).

MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Mt 5:34). Nashville: Word Pub.