Blessed Are The Meek: For They Shall Inherit The Land
The meek.–The word so rendered was probably used by St. Matthew in its popular meaning, without any reference to the definition which ethical writers had given of it, but it may be worth while to recall Aristotle’s account of it (Eth. Nicom. v. 5) as the character of one who has the passion of resentment under control, and who is therefore tranquil and untroubled, as in part determining the popular use of the word, and in part also explaining the beatitude.
They shall inherit the earth.–The words may be partly allusive to the “kingdom of the saints of the Most High” in that prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 7:27) which had done so much to fashion the Messianic expectations of the time. They have, however, a wider and continuous fulfilment. The influence of the meek and self-controlled is in the long-run greater than that of the impulsive and passionate. Their serenity helps them to find the maximum of true joy in all conditions of life; for to them the earth is not a stage for self-assertion and the graspings of desire, but an “inheritance” which they have received from their Father.
Many of the best MSS. invert the order of Matthew 5:4-5, and this arrangement has, at all events, the merit of bringing out the latent antithesis between the kingdom of heaven in its unseen greatness and the visible inheritance of the earth.
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