Eye for an eye, sadly, the Jewish oral tradition mistakenly interpreted it for a moral precept to harm (Commentary by Robert Jamieson).
The Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day wanted to exact revenge by physically harming any offender or, if they were the offender, only wanted to repay the minimum the court demanded. Jesus pointed out their mistaken interpretation and then taught them something even better.
Eye for Eye
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek,
turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt,
hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile,
go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn
away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun
to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?
Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore,
as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:38 Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21
Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18