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Settle Matters With Your Brother While There is Still Time

Let’s continue with Yeshua’s teaching on anger (Part 6):

Agree with your adversary quickly while you are still on the road with him; lest at any time your adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Amen! I tell you, you will not come out of there until you have paid the last kodranthn (KODRANTEN). (Matthew 5:25-26)

The three key terms in the closing of Yeshua’s lesson on anger are adversary, amen and kodranthn. Let’s begin by discovering the meaning of the Greek word kodranthn. A number of English translators chose to use the word “farthing” -- “until you have paid the last farthing.”  Their decision to use “farthing” reveals something important about the influence of their culture on their translation of the Bible. They chose a familiar English word from their culture that readers would have clearly understood – but the word they chose no longer is used or familiar to American English readers.

What is a farthing? Farthing is derived from the Anglo-Saxon feorthing, a fourthling or fourth part, or “quarter.” Farthing is also the name of a British coin, which was first minted in 1714.[i] “Farthing” is the translation they chose for the Greek word found in the ancient manuscripts -- kodranthn -- which is a transliteration of the Latin word quadrantarius, which means “quarter-, of, relating to a quarter.” A quadran was a Roman copper coin (click here to see pictures & more info). A good translation for American readers today would be penny -- “until you have paid the last penny!”   

The Greek words translated “adversary” are tw antidikw. They may also be translated – enemy or opponent at law (when a law suit is involved). Here, Yeshua was saying, “Agree with the one who is an opponent in a law suit.”

The third word is “Amen!” In a previous blog, we learned that when Yeshua used the word “Amen!” he was making an important point (the earlier blog is What does “Verily” mean & why did Yeshua use it so much?). Dr. Robert Lindsey explained that the use of “Amen!” was part of a three-fold pattern Yeshua often used in his teachings to make important points. The three-fold pattern Yeshua skillfully used consisted of the following:

1. Significant statement
2. Amen
3. Added statement strengthening the Amen.

Now let’s use this information to reconstruct the three-fold patter Yeshua used here.

1. Agree with the one who is your opponent in a law suit while you are still on the road to the court with him; lest at any time your opponent delivers you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (significant statement)

2. Amen!

3. You will not come out of the prison until you have paid the last penny you owe your opponent and the court! (added statement strengthening the Amen!).

The point Yeshua made:

Settle things with your brother while you are walking on the road of life, while you still have the option to do so. If you don’t, then a judge will resolve the issue in a human court or on the Great Day of Judgment!

As we saw in the previous blog (Would God Not Accept His Sacrifice?), God cannot forgive a person until the brother he or she has offended forgives the person first. The importance of restoring one’s relationship with his or her brother is absolutely essential for receiving God’s forgiveness. Yeshua’s primary focus in this lesson, as well as many other lessons, was the importance of one’s relationship with his or her brother (neighbor). This is the cornerstone principle of Yeshua’s religion and the original salvation message he taught.

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