Matthew 5:35 (KJV);

  1. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Who is the great king of the city of Jerusalem?

Why Jesus forbid swearing by the city of the great king?

3 Answers 3


In Matthew 5:35 who is the great king? Why swearing by the city of the great king is forbidden?

Matthew 5:35 (KJV);

Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King

Who is the great king of the city of Jerusalem?

Malachi 1:14 (YLT)

14 "And cursed [is] a deceiver, who hath in his drove a male, And is vowing and is sacrificing a marred thing to the Lord, For a great king [am] I, said Jehovah of Hosts, And My name [is] revered among nations!"

Swearing of Oaths

Oaths had their proper place according to the Mosaic Law. However, their use became so common in the everyday life of Jesus’ contemporaries that there was the tendency to reinforce practically any utterance by swearing to it. This frivolous practice was intended to add credence to one’s statements; yet, Jesus twice denounced it. Instead, he taught: “Just let your word ‘Yes’ mean yes, your ‘No,’ no.”​ Matthew 5:33-37; 23:16

Matthew 5:33-37 (NASB)

33 “Again, you have heard that [a]the ancients were told, ‘[b]You shall not [c]make false vows, but shall fulfill your [d]vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or [e]by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is [f]of evil.

Matthew 23:16 (NASB)

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the [a]temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the [b]temple is obligated.’

The Jewish apocryphal writing is known as the Wisdom of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus, (23:11) likewise states: “A man given to swearing is lawless to the core.” Jesus, then, condemned the practice of taking oaths lightly. If we speak the truth at all times, we should not have to take an oath to make our words more believable.


City of the great King (πόλις τοῦ μεγάλου βασιλέω) is a quote directly from the Psalms:

εὖ ῥιζῶν ἀγαλλιάματι πάσης τῆς γῆς. ὄρη Σιων, τὰ πλευρὰ τοῦ βορρᾶ, ἡ πόλις τοῦ βασιλέως τοῦ μεγάλου

The city of the great King is well planted on the mountains of Sion, with the joy of the whole earth, on the sides of the north (Psalm 47:2 LXX)

Related is also Psalm 87:3 (86:3 LXX) -

δεδοξασμένα ἐλαλήθη περὶ σοῦ, ἡ πόλις τοῦ θεοῦ. διάψαλμα.

Glorious things have been spoken of thee, O city of God.

The Great King is God.

Cyril of Alexandria explained that swearing by heaven or by the earth essentially deifies creation. Regarding swearing by Jerusalem, he writes:

And he also forbids swearing by Jerusalem. For the earthly Jerusalem is a type of the Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:26), and God swears only by himself, that is, by his own glory (Hebrews 6:13)


The great king is Melchizedek who is the image (icon) of El-Elyon.

El Elyon = Hyperion, the greatest of the great gods.

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