What does "raca" mean? I have seen people claim it means the stereotype of a "camp"/"effeminate" male. What would they back then even consider masculine, when they were VERY hug-gy, and "leant on each-others chests" during meals?

And did men commonly wear what is considered female clothing today?

Matt 5:22 - ... Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court ...


2 Answers 2


The word in Matt 5:22 is ῥακά, sometimes spelled ῤαχά. According to BDAG, the listed meaning is:

a term of abuse/put-down relating to lack of intelligence, numbskull, fool (in effect, verbal bullying) Matt 5:22, a term of abuse derived from the Aramaic.

Similarly, Thayer gives this meaning:

ῤακά (Tdf. ῤαχά; (the better accentuation seems to be ῤακά; cf. Kautzsch, Gram. d. Biblical-Aram., p. 8)), an Aramaic word רֵיקָא (but according to Kautzsch (as above), p. 10) not the stative emphatic of רֵיק, but shortened from רֵיקָן (Hebrew רִיק), empty, i. e. a senseless, empty-headed man, a term of reproach used by the Jews in the time of Christ (B. D., under the word ; Wünsche, Erläuterung as above with, p. 47): Matthew 5:22.

Also the HELPS Word studies offers this:

4469 rhaká (apparently related to the Aramaic term rōq, "empty") – properly, empty-headed. This term expressed contempt for a man's head, viewing him as stupid (without sense) – i.e. a "numbskull" who acts presumptuously and thoughtlessly (TDNT).

There is no suggestion nor component of this meaning that has any sexual overtone whatsoever; Nor is there anything in the meaning of this word about sexual orientation.

The meaning of ῥακά is entirely related to being "stupid".


In support of and in addition to what Dottard has already said, Matthew 5:22 is the only passage in the Bible where the term raca is used.

Raca comes from the Aramaic term reqa. It was a derogatory expression meaning “empty-headed,” insinuating a person’s stupidity or inferiority. It was an offensive name used to show utter contempt for another person. Jesus warned that the use of such a word to describe someone was tantamount to murder and deserving of the severest punishment of the law.

Jesus warns that even calling another person insulting names such as “raca” is sinful. Murder begins in the heart, and epithets such as “raca” are signs that there is hatred lurking within. The hatred that causes one person to hurl insults is the same hatred that causes another to commit murder. The attitude of the heart is the same, and it’s this attitude that makes a person morally guilty before God.

Jesus not only warns us against expressing unrighteous anger, which can lead to murder, but clearly commands that disparaging denunciations and name-calling be avoided. Such abusive words reveal the true intents of one’s heart and mind for which we will be held in judgment: “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10; cf. 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9).

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/raca.html

The word 'racca' as used by Jesus has nothing whatsoever to do with sexuality or clothing.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.