The Companion Bible
Appendix 126 
The Beatitudes of Matthew 5, and the Eight Woes of Matthew 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 eighth) Beatitude, having one subject (persecution) corresponding with the eighth "Woe" of 23:29-33. They may be thus set out:
 

"THE BEATITUDES" (5:3-12) "THE WOES" (23:13-33)
1.  The kingdom opened to the poor (v. 3) 1.  The kingdom shut (v. 13)
2.  Comfort for mourners (v. 4) 2.  Mourners distressed (v. 14)
3.  The meek inheriting the earth (v. 5) 3.  Fanatics compassing the earth (v. 15)
4.  True righteousness sought by true desire (v. 6) 4.  False righteousness sought by casuistry (vv. 16-22)
5.  The merciful obtaining mercy (v. 7) 5.  Mercy "omitted" and "left undone" (vv. 23, 24)
6.  Purity within, and the vision of God hereafter (v. 8) 6.  Purity without, uncleanness within. "Blindness" (vv. 25, 26)
7.  Peacemakers, the sons of God (v. 9) 7.  Hypocrites, and lawless (vv. 27, 28)
8.  The persecuted (vv. 10-12) 8.  The persecutors (vv. 29-33)

Beside these eight contrasts there is an internal correspondence of the principal thoughts, suggested by the combined series, and forming the Structure given in the note on Matthew 5:3, 4.

It may be further noted that these Beatitudes rest on special passages in the Psalms :  Matt. 5:3 (Ps. 40:17);  5:4 (Ps. 119:136);  5:5 (Ps. 37:11);  5:6 (Ps. 42:1, 2);  5:7 (Ps. 41:1);  5:8 (Ps. 24:4; 73:1);  5:9  (Ps. 133:1);  5:10 (Ps. 37;  39;  40).
 
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