Are there any language literary devices associated with the (Matthew 7:1-5) bible verse "Do not judge so that you will not be judged....." ?

Matthew 7:1-12

New American Standard Bible 1995

Judging Others

7 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how [b]can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Prayer and the Golden Rule

7 “[c]Ask, and it will be given to you; [d]seek, and you will find; [e]knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you [f]who, when his son asks for a loaf, [g]will give him a stone? 10 Or [h]if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

12 “In everything, therefore, [i]treat people the same way you want [j]them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

@Dottard As per your comment request, from my perspective, it seems that the Matthew 7:1 's phrasing that starts off with "Do Not judge so that you will Not be judged" can be viewed as hyperbole because Matthew is resorting to hyperbole in order to emphasize

  1. that people should be Reluctant to dole out judgements about others because people might Not be evaluating/understanding all the contextual circumstantial aspects and conditions revolving around other people's actions and behviours in life.

  2. Furthermore, the people who judge need to be cautious & careful about doling out judgements because they themselves have flaws just like the people who are being judged have flaws.

Therefore, Matthew 7:1 's phrasing about Not judging others is hyperbole because it's Not really intending to state that people should Never judge others but rather that people should be reluctant, careful & cautious about judging others.

(Matthew 7:1) 7 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

To be more specific, Could the (Matthew 7:1-5) bible verses be associated with literary devices of hyperbole, figure of speech? To elaborate, could we interpret said verses to be suggesting that we should be careful and Not be too quick to judge others. Righteous Godly judgement should be done carefully with cautious attention.

(Remotely Similar/Related Postings):

Literary devices explaining Paul's use of language style when it comes to marrying or even being involved in worldliness (1 Corinthians 7:27-31)?

Any language literary devices explaining how God's repent in 1 Samuel 15:35, but also God's Never Repenting characteristic 1 Sam 15:29 & Num 23:19?

Concerning the phrase, "Judge not, that you be not judged" in Matthew 7:1: whose judgment is to be avoided?

  • The only literary device in Matt 7:1-12 are a pair of metaphors - (1) speck vs plank in the eye. (2) open door. However, I see no hyperbole. Can you be any more specific?
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 9:24
  • @Dottard Please see my edit. I've elaborated. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 12:31
  • I agree with your final paragraph but that is still nothing to do with hyperbole.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 20:03
  • @Dottard Hyperbole is about extreme exaggeration. I view (Matthew 7:1) “Do Not judge so that you will Not be judged" as an exaggeration. ( Credit: merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/fancy-words-rhetoric ) "Hyperbole is probably the one literary and rhetorical device on this list that most people have heard of. It’s not just moderate exaggeration, but extreme exaggeration" Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 21:33
  • I still cannot see exaggeration - it is a simple principle not to judge other lest we be judged in the same way.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


When we elaborate the verse of Matthew 7:1-2, we should be able to see its logic; words in brackets are being elaborated

7:1 Do not judge (others) , so that you will not be judged (by the Lord using your own criteria).

7:2 For in the way you judge (the others), you will be judged (using the same way by the Lord); and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you (by the Lord in your final judgement).

Clearly it is not a hyperbole. It is a smart technique often used in debate by attacking your opponent using their own words.

Paul had its meaning explained very clearly in Romans 2:1-3 (NASB)

2 Therefore you have no excuse, you foolish person, everyone of you who passes judgment; for in that matter in which you judge someone else, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

3 But do you suppose this, you foolish person who passes judgment on those who practice such things, and yet does them as well, that you will escape the judgment of God?

For there is no more excuse for anyone who practise the same sin that he himself called sin.


Beautiful question!

Most likely, we are not dealing with hyperbole; we are dealing with a proverb.

From Oxford Reference:

a short, well-known pithy saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice.

That definition is indeed how we must interpret the genre of the Book of Proverbs, for example. But, it is not only limited to that book. Remember, both Jesus and his audience were well familiar with Proverbs and how to understand it.

This statement was not claimed to be a covenant nor any "Third Law" after Moses. It was part of the teaching in a longer sermon filled with similar short and understandable nuggets of great wisdom and counsel. And, there is indeed much truth in the statement, as we would expect from any proverb.

The meaning in Greek is much the same as English. It doesn't specifically refer to God's judgement, but "being judged" in general—which includes being judged by God as well as by others.

Consider the statement at face value, just as if a mother had said it to her 8 year old son after getting in a fight at school. "If you go around judging, then you will get judged. We reap what we sow."

Indeed, both in this life and in the next.

...That is the nature and the beautifully vague clarity of a proverb. Don't let the fact that Jesus said it make you think that it was automatically some Third Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40). The audience more likely saw it as something like an addition to the Book of Proverbs because it uses the same genre and insightful way of reasoning.

Is Jesus giving a serious warning?

Jesus most certainly is also talking about the Great Judgment and God as Judge. He claimed to be that Judge.

John 5:22 (NASB)

For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,

But in speaking of judgment, Jesus is not teaching about a coming judgment as if the audience didn't already know. He is deriving a life principle from the coming Judgment that everyone already knew about. The audience, being familiar with Solomon's style in his Book of Proverbs, was also familiar with what else Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes about the coming judgment:

Ecclesiastes 12:14 (NASB)

For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

This audience already knew that "what goes around comes around", known as sowing and reaping. Paul, a Pharisee and likely a member or candidate of the Sanhedrin, also wrote so.

Galatians 6:7 (NASB)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

...This was not a new idea when Paul wrote it. Jesus also talked about sowing and reaping because it was a heavily agricultural society. The seeds that get planted grow up. Our lives are the soil. An exception is what Jesus taught about evangelism, when one sows, but another reaps the same thing that was sown, which only applied to certain situations, because everyone knew about sowing and reaping...

John 4:37 (NASB emphasis added)

For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’

...because that too was a proverb, not an all-time, all-situation command or covenant, so it can apply differently.

So, the point here, from knowing the literary genre, is not that God's judgment will be any less just because Jesus reminds us of what we already know by using a proverb that sounds a lot like "sowing and reaping". Rather, we learn that the common knowledge that God will judge everything is also a road map for how others and even circumstances in our lives will follow the same principle that we reap what we sow.

If we go around judging others, we will be judged by the very same measure and to the very same degree. So, pluck the log first, then see clearly to help others, rather than to judge.

As the passage ends...

Matthew 7:5 (NASB)

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

There is some hyperbole with the "log" in this greater proverb.

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