Do not take revenge

The Literal Commandment

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not take vengeance.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment:

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)

 

We should not take revenge but should instead do good to those who hate us and bless those who curse us.

 

Pictures of Messiah

Paul exhorts us to not take revenge because G-d declares "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." (Romans 12:19)

There is an appointed time for Messiah, the Judge of all things to judge righteously... both the small and the great (Revelation 20:12). Justice will be served.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not taking revenge. One example is that, after His resurrection, Messiah did not take revenge on those Who crucified Him. Even while they were crucifying Him He prayed for their forgiveness. (Luke 23:34)

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed by not taking revenge from other Israelites as it is written:

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18)

 

This can extend to even very minor offenses. Here is an example from the Sefer HaChinuch:

How far does the force of vengeance reach?—If one asked another, "Lend me your sickle, " and the other did not lend it to him, then the next day the other asked him, "Lend me your pickaxe," whereupon he told him, "I will not lend it to you, in the same way that you did not lend me your sickle"—about this it was said, You shall not take vengeance. Thus it applies to all situations similar to this illustration.1

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should not take revenge against others. As Messiah instructed us, we should instead do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us.

 

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Footnotes

1. Charles Wengrove, trans., Sefer HaChinuch (Jerusalem:Feldheim Publishers, 1984), vol3, p85 [back]

Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 20
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 2- Personal Development
  • Reference Leviticus 19:18
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 19
  • Verse 18
  • English You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
  • Hebrew יח לֹא-תִקֹּם וְלֹא-תִטֹּר אֶת-בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ, וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ: אֲנִי, יְהוָה.
  • Greek 18 καὶ οὐκ ἐκδικᾶταί σου ἡ χείρ, καὶ οὐ μηνιεῖς τοῖς υἱοῖς τοῦ λαοῦ σου καὶ ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν· ἐγώ εἰμι κύριος.
  • Parashah 30- Kedoshim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 241
  • Sef. Hach. Command The prohibition against taking revenge
  • Category Love
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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