Why did the Old Testament prescribe that one could hate his enemies?


Matthew 5:43 - 48

ESV - 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 04 2022 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Note that, in the verse cited in the question, Jesus did not say (as He commonly did when quoting the Old Testament), "It is written...." Instead, His words were, "You have heard that it was said...". This was because no divinely-inspired written Scripture could be cited that directed hatred toward enemies. The instruction to hate enemies was instead a corrupt human teaching put forth by the Jewish religious authorities of Jesus' day (that is, the scribes and Pharisees). 

God's command has always been, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."(Leviticus 19:18) -- a command that Jesus placed second in importance only to, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." (Mark 12:28-31). (And, as Jesus explained elsewhere (in the parable of the good Samaritan), our neighbor is anyone -- regardless of whether he or she might in some way be regarded as an "enemy" -- in need of our help, and to whom we can show love and mercy (Luke 10:30-42).)

December 04 2022 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

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