“Targum” John – The Beatitudes

This isn’t really a targum, but it reminds me of one.  I offer below an expanded paraphrase of verses 3 – 12 of Matthew 5, commonly known as The Beatitudes.  They form an abstract of sorts of the Sermon on the Mount, which itself is the heart of Christian behavior.  I have worked only from the English of the New King James Version.  I encourage you to comment and give your own paraphrase.  The Bible text is in regular type.  My paraphrase is under it in italics.

Matthew 5

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.

2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You are better off if you understand your need for God.  That will prepare you to be a part of His nation-family.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

You are better off if you are truly grieved by your own personal sins and by the hurt of others.  Your own hurt will be diminished as you learn humility and you will be encouraged as you become involved in meeting the needs of others.

5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

You are better off if you learn to control yourself – your thoughts, words, emotions, and actions – your whole self.  You will be able to see beyond yourself and to see the heart of God in all His creation, and thus to feel a certain oneness with the earth, if you will do this.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

You are better off if you yearn to act as God acts, if you long to be like Him.  The stronger your desire, the nearer you will come to success.

7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

You are better off if you can forgive others even when they don’t deserve it.  God will forgive you when you don’t deserve it – but He will not forgive you, if you do not first forgive your neighbor.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

You are better off if you refine your heart, as if in a furnace, to absolute purity.  If you can use a pure heart to see things through pure eyes, you will see God everywhere.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

You are better off if you will help people to get along.  Those who work to heal wounds and encourage good relationships are acting like God when they do that.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You are better off if you always do what is right, even if others don’t like it and hurt you because of it.  God sees your patient endurance and He will bless you for it.

11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are better off even if people say bad things about you because you take your Christianity seriously.  This has happened to God’s people of all ages.  He rewarded them, and He will reward you.


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