Why not left eye? Why not just eyes?
What's the spiritual significance?
This statement in Matthew 5 is a narrowed version of the broader statement in Matthew 18 :
If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Matthew 18:8-9 NIV
These mutilations being hyperbole following the extremity of causing others to stumble based on the understanding that :
But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
Matthew 15:18 NIV
The cutting of limbs ultimately having no direct effect on serpent thinking and less effect on action than consumption of substances and as also mentioned the "washing of hands".
The mutilations being rather an awareness of the transition from thought to action and attempted interruption.
The process being :
... after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
James 1:15 NIV
Or expanded, first the thought, then the entertaining of the thought, then the beginning of action, then the offence.
The mutilation or "cutting" or "plucking" happening before the offence.
The 3 appendages referred elsewhere :
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
1 John 2:16 NIV
A reference to here :
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
Genesis 3:6 NIV
The eyes relating to our intent. We look to our direction and the objects of our affection.
The feet relating to the going, or "the pride of life". We set our course and it becomes our master. In Eden this was the decision to "gain wisdom".
The hand relating to the taking or ultimately the committing of the act.
The narrowing of focus in the mutilations in Matthew 5 being a result of the narrowing of focus in the sin. Jesus allowing for the wandering in lust - wandering alone cannot lead to adultery - but no allowance given for the looking - which promotes the desire - nor for the action obviously.
While the circumstances of the hand and feet according to Moses are clear, hence the cloven footed representing a capacity to "divide" direction and hence "cut off" poor choice, there is a greater significance relating to the eye :
Moses also brought Aaron’s sons forward and put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet.
Leviticus 8:23 NIV
The omission of the eye and substitution of the ear being explained :
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Romans 8:17 NIV
The blood of the ram being applied to the ear as the method of communication and to the hand and foot as to work and service but the eye being surrounded by the tent and the objects it contained. That smallest of effort - the lobe the thumb the toe - being sufficient in the tent and without to keep purity of thought. The ear being the transmission of information and greater than any visual disturbance. The walking and doing of the christian life being subjected to the mind and not the seeing of the eye, an organ through which much offense can arrive regardless of our efforts otherwise.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
The analog also of the ruminants being found in Matthew 15 where the chewing of a cud is reflective of ruminating on the information.
As to the right but not the left, to my understanding we are not plainly informed as to why. However, there is an inferred explanation.
Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Joshua 1:7 NIV
The law goes so far as to assert this outside of any asymmetric ritual :
Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left ...
Deuteronomy 28:14 NIV
Further without the instruction of the divine there is an aimlessness :
"And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
Jonah 4:11 NIV
The connection to the divine is the only peace in this life, such as it is, and that peace a peace of mind not of circumstance. This peace based on acceptance of the superior capacity of the divine to make appropriate decisions, the making of decisions being the mandate of royalty.
In this case the Ninevites, without the law, were subject to the winds of chance, but to those with the law there was a defined path.
It only makes sense to understand the "right handedness" of the law as expressive of the peace that came through the divine hand holding the reins and pointing the way. A deliverance from the uncertainty of ignorance as it were. For :
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."
Mark 2:27 NIV
The care of the divine providing something greater than ambiguity and of necessity, pointing a way at the least in a meditative sense.
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Psalm 119:1 NIV
The psalm being filled with allusions to this function of the law as a bastion of direction. In a sense when there is no clear physical direction, there is a meditative one ... as you are engaging in now ... "why one eye not both" ... "why the right eye" ...
My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
Proverbs 5:1-2 NIV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
This inclining being based on the asymmetry of our physical frame and subsequent psychopathy and so on.
The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
A decision being made for whatever reason and sufficient for the ambiguity of this life for those that would plumb the depths of the human condition. A similar perpexity being found in David's other son :
I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!
Ecclesiastes 1:13 NIV
And a similar perplexity being found in David :
Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”
“Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
1 Samuel 30:7-8
The ephod being about decsion making and all being to the glory of god - the right and the left - but decisions having to be made - and all options to be subservient to or under the idea of "holiness to the lord".
Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions ...
Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.
Exodus 28:15,30 NIV
“Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord ... attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron’s forehead ...
Exodus 28:36,38 NIV
These items being manufactured and consecrated in the process of Aaron being painted on his right ear and thumb and toe.
Decision making, all options subservient to this :
... whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God ...
1 Corinthians 10:31-32 NIV
So of necessity, decisions, all decisions without offence being subservient to holiness. An idea from the law, and found in the statement of the great king as to the right eye. Not of necessity a physical choice between two ways but a singular moral choice to serve from which there may be many options, in which case the bowing of the head mattering more than any particular direction. Life is about living, rise and pursue.
The ultimate decision and "right handedness" will only be found at his appearing.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Matthew 25:34-36 NIV
That direction decision being greater than any other in this life and dependent on the bowing of the head in this life and not our own "handedness" of which the "right handedness" of the law is a shadow.
And of course that "rightness" being a matter of trust and no doubt related to our frame, but of grace, not a concern.
The decision to serve being the matter and not which particular serving option. When you get stuck, pick one and move.
If you really get stuck, tuck one of your thumbs behind its index finger, put a coin on top, and flick it into the air. Neither matters only the bowing of the head.
And for cases of especial anxiety, think about the consecration of Aaron, a matter that can only be entertained for so long before decisions have to be made.
Bow the head, pick a direction.
All bound up in Romans 8 and the adoption to sonship at the right hand of Jesus.
And btw, our own separating of goats and sheep in this life bears little relevance to the greater dividing, but, we still do it of necessity, in order to lead balanced lives.
I can only stand off to one side of the entire population of the planet for so long before I return to its centre.
A process to be understood but not a cause of anxiety.
This is the message of "handedness" and its inclusion in the law, a lamp to my feet.