641. Profanity

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The Pharisees taught that there were two kinds of oaths—the violation of one being perjury, and that of the other an innocent matter, or at most but a slight offense. If the name of God was in the oath it was binding; this the Saviour refers to in verse 33. If the name of God was not in the oath it need not be kept. Jesus, on the other hand, objects to this distinction; and further teaches that it is wrong to indulge in profanity. The Orientals were very profuse in their swearing; and examples are found in classic writers of the different sorts of oaths referred to in verses 34-36. The habit has continued to the present day, as various travelers have testified. Among others, Dr. Thomson says: “This people are fearfully profane. Everybody curses and swears when in a passion. No people that I have ever known can compare with these Orientals for profaneness in the use of the names and attributes of God. The evil habit seems inveterate and universal.... The people now use the same sorts of oaths that are mentioned and condemned by our Lord. They swear by the head, by their life, by heaven, and by the temple, or, what is in its place, the Church. The forms of cursing and swearing, however, are almost infinite, and fall on the pained ear all day long” (The Land and the Book, vol.1, p. 284).