Have you EVER been angry without a cause?


(Mt 5:22 AKJV) But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…

Everyone I’ve ever encountered who became angry (including myself) had a reason for his anger. I cannot even imagine anyone being angry without any cause for his anger. In my mind, that phrase (without a cause) entirely destroys the impact of Jesus’ teaching. Indeed it makes Jesus’ instruction meaningless since no one ever becomes angry about nothing.

However, there is good reason to believe that the Greek word “εικη” which has been translated in this verse as “without a cause” was not in the original. First I looked at my copy of all the extant Greek papyri of New Testament passages prior to the year A.D. 300. Only one contained Matthew 5:22, and even that one was legible only in the first part of the verse. One couldn’t determine whether or not it contained the word “εικη.” Next I looked at the classic early codices that include the New Testament. In both Vaticanus (A.D. 300-325) and Sinaiticus (A.D. 330-360) “εικη” does not occur in Matthew 5:22. However it DOES occur in Alexandrinus (A.D. 400-440). Did some copyist who sometimes got angry with others add the word to justify himself?

The following translations do not include “without a cause” or any equivalent:
ASV, Darby, ESV, LEB, NHEB, NRSV, Wey.
There are probably many others.


If true , that makes a remarkable difference in my understanding of that verse.


Actually Young’s Literal Translation puts it in an interesting way:

Mat 5:21 `Ye heard that it was said to the ancients: Thou shalt not kill, and whoever may kill shall be in danger of the judgment;
Mat 5:22 but I–I say to you, that every one who is angry at his brother without cause, shall be in danger of the judgment, and whoever may say to his brother, Empty fellow! shall be in danger of the sanhedrim, and whoever may say, Rebel! shall be in danger of the gehenna of the fire.

Puts a bit of a spin on it. It may well be a Jewish talking point! :laughing:


Well, some manuscripts do have it… but maybe Jesus’ “without cause” (if indeed he said it) is just Jesus’ precautionary way of challenging one’s subjective reason for becoming angry in the first place, i.e., is your anger really justified? Etc.


Well yes, but the real rub is the statement ‘shall be in danger of the gehenna of fire’ and you Davo can expound on that idea no?

I would like to hear it. :smile:


Hmmm… maybe it’s a case of practical living in terms of attitudes (Jas 3:5-6) foster actions that have consequences and Jesus pointing to the possibility of where unchecked anger might lead or grow into dangerous angst… the kind that fuelled many a Jewish rebel group, the likes of the Sicarii, who amongst many others perished in the Roman-Jewish wars; something Jesus could see and warned was coming.

Gehenna” of course being a prophetic euphemism for the smouldering heap of rubble Jerusalem and Temple was to become, and just prior to this the City walls from which many a rebel was cast into ‘Ge Hinnom’ — The Valley of Hinnom — the ever-burner refuge heap crawling with maggots… where those cast LOST all identity, i.e., “body and soul”.