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The Companion Bible - Appendix 126

The Eight Beatitudes of Matt 5 & the Eight Woes of Matt 23

The eight Beatitudes of Matt 5: 3-12 are best understood and interpreted by the eight contrasts, or "Woes" of 23: 13-33. The comparison shows that 5:10-12 form one (the eigth) Beatitude, having one subject (persecution) corresponding with the eighth "Woe" of 23:29-33. They may be thus set out:

The Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-12)

  • The kingdom opened to the poor [v.3]
  • Comfort mourners [v.4]
  • The meek inheriting the earth [v.5]
  • True righteousness sought by true desire. [v.6]
  • The merciful obtain mercy [v.7]
  • Purity within, and the vision of God hereafter [v.8]
  • Peacemakers, the sons of God [v.9]
  • The persecuted [vv.10,12]

The Woes (Matt 23:13-33)

  • The kingdom shut [v. 3]
  • Mourners distressed. [v.14]
  • Fanatics compassing the earth [v.15]
  • False righteousness sought by casuistry [vv. 23, 24]
  • Mercy "omitted" and "left undone" [vv. 23, 24]
  • Purity without, uncleannness within. "Blindness" [vv. 25,26]
  • Hypocrites, and lawless [v. 27,28]
  • The persecutors [vv. 29-33]

Besides these eight contrasts there is an internal correspondence of the principal thoughts, suggested by the combined series, and formatting the Structure given in the note on Matt 5: 3,4.
It may be further noted that these Beatitudes rest on special passages in the Psalms: [here they are placed together for comparison].

These are placed here for your reference:

  • Matt 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
  • Ps 40:17 "17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God."

  • Matt 5:4 "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
  • Ps 119:136 "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law."

  • Matt 5:5 "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
  • Ps 37:11 "But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."

  • Matt 5:6 "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
  • Ps 42:1-2 "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"

  • Matt 5:7 "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."
  • Ps 41:1 "Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble."
  • Matt 5:8 " Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
  • Ps 24:4 "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." Ps 73:1 "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart."

  • Matt 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
  • Ps 133:1 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! "

  • Matt 5:10 " Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
  • Pss. 37; 39; 40

    Ps 37:1-40
    1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
    2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
    3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
    4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
    5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
    6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
    7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
    8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
    9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
    10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
    11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
    12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
    13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
    14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
    15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
    16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
    17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.
    18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
    19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
    20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
    21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
    22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
    23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
    24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
    25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
    26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
    27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
    28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
    29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
    30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
    31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
    32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
    33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
    34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
    35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
    36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
    37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
    38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
    39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
    40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

    Ps 39:1-12
    1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
    2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
    3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
    4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
    5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
    6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
    7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
    8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
    9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
    10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
    11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
    12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.

    Ps 40:1-17
    1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
    2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
    3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
    4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
    5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
    6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
    7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
    8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
    9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
    10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
    11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
    12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
    13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
    14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
    15 Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.
    16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
    17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

I hope this study helped you understand the comparisons of the Beatitudes and the Woes!

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