Matthew 5:36-40
Mat 5:36 (KJB)
Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
Jesus states here that one should not even swear by something as simple as one’s own head. He uses this example of the inability of one to be able to make hair black or white. It means they possess no extraordinary abilities to take control over certain situations. They do not have the power that God possesses in the area of creating a person or causing them to age, it is all in the power of God. When one swears on their head, they are in essence stating they can control all related situations to their vow and allow it to be fulfilled without incident. That would be a false vow since no one has the power to see in the future no less control events.
Mat 5:37 (KJB)
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Jesus had gone through these examples to show one main and important point. The words of a disciple of His should be enough for someone to count on. They should be dealing in truthful communication and not words and vows which they could not fulfill or have no intention to fulfill. When someone deals with us, their response from us should be simple and to the point. It should be yes or no, and if we start adding extra words, then we get into trouble because the more words that are used the bigger the chance to commit sin. (Prov 10:19 KJV) In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. Wisdom is used when a person gives a response with as few words as possible. I have always been leery of a person who has to over justify their position with many words. The more words they use, the more they are covering up and that is why Jesus wants His disciples to be up front, brief, and to the point.
Mat 5:38 (KJB)
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
(Exo 21:23-25 KJV) And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, {24} Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, {25} Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. One of the main reasons that the civil law was established was to prevent a person from taking revenge on another who caused them some type of suffering or loss. In some of the ancient cultures, it was acceptable for a person to exact a penalty or vengeance in excess of the crime committed. The law was instituted to give a limitation on the penalty someone could exact. It was eye for eye, not life for eye.
Mat 5:39 (KJB)
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Jesus now contrasts the eye for an eye law with a new way of responding to the wrongs which are done to us. Jesus counsels His disciples not to resist the evil or wrongdoing which is directed at them. This would make the “get even” attitude out of character for the true Christians. Since we live in a world that is hostile to the Gospel, we are to expect much persecution. If we were to fight back and plan revenge, then we are placing ourselves back into the mindset of the world. If a person persecutes you in some manner and you do not resist, then you are showing that you are true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ plus you may disarm that person by showing them love which is a response that will do them no harm. It has been recorded in Roman history that when the Christians were being killed in the Coliseum and they gave no resistance, people in the stands started commiserating with them and many became Christians because of their true testimonies unto death.
Mat 5:40 (KJB)
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
Jesus now states that if a person owes a man money or something else and goes to court to have the situation adjudicated, the lender had the right to take a person’s coat from them. This would have been a mandatory relinquishment. When it comes to the cloak, if the borrower gives his cloak as a pledge, then the lender is to accept it but is to return it before sunset. The cloak was the outer garment and was used as a blanket and a poor person would only have the cloak as their blanket and if they slept outside, then it would have been needed to prevent them from freezing overnight. The principle here is that Jesus is pointing to the fact that the material goods of the world are not important but the attitude of His disciples are. If one owes another money and willingly gives his cloak for a pledge, he is showing good will that he will pay back whatever is owed and he would be showing that publicly in front of the judge. (Exo 22:25-26 KJV) If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. {26} If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: By accepting the cloak, the lender is also accepting whatever terms of repayment is being negotiated.