Samples of Figures of Speech from the Sermon on the Mount

Blessed [are] they, 5:3-10
“Truly I say to you” or “I say to you” 5:18, 20, 26, 28, 32, 34; 6:2, 5, 16, (these three are as a refrain) 25, 29. Truly I say to you: a very solemn phrase used by Jesus in the Gospels to take special note of what follows. It is the figure of speech, asterism, and is marked with an * preceding the phrase. This phrase is also set off by a comma to indicate that the following phrase is like direct speech. There are many types of Repetition, the closer the word is, the more it is emphasized:
5:37 – “yes, yes, and no, no” called epizeuxis, means to consider your words carefully, this is a very solemn repetition.
When a whole sentence or phrase is repeated exactly, it is like saying “Pay attention to what I said”
5:29, 30: it is better for you that one of your members should be lost and not [that] your whole body should fall into Gehenna.
Repeats 6 x – shows the structure of the passage
5:21 you have heard that it was said….22 But I say to you…
5:27, 28
5:31, 32
5:33, 34
5:38, 39
5:43, 44
Another example is about wise man and foolish man 7:24-27
       “And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and they beat against the house” shows how the exact same situation happened to both houses, but two different outcomes.
Another kind of repetition is called “derivation” – where words from the same root are used in a passage – it defines the main topic of the section
5:23, 24 offer, offering
7:1, 2 Judge and measure
7:7-10 ask, seek knock
7:17-20 healthy and diseased
Repetitions can encircle a passage:
7:16, 20 “by their fruit you will know them”
Repeat “and” called “polysyndeton”– consider each phrase separately until the end of the “ands”
Simile, uses like or as
Metaphor 5:13 “you are the salt of the earth” – explains what the comparison is
       5:14 “you are the light of the world”
6:22 “the lamp of the body is the eye”
Hypocatastasis — the comparison is implied
7:15 wolves stand for wicked men
See section above on allegory, has example from Sermon –Other examples:
       These are particular phrases that mean something more than the literal interpretation of the words
Men: lit sons of men 5:16, 19
Hypocrites: lit. receiver of faces 6:2, 5, 16, 7:5
Word play (paronomasia)
Awraykha, broad
Awurkha, road
Ellipsis (see above)
Examples: 5:19
5:22 RACA
Types of questions – designed to cause us to ponder the truth of the teaching
6:25, 26, 27, 28, 30
7:4, 9, 10, 11
Obvious answer “no” or “yes”
5:26, 27
7:10, 16
Other grammatical figures:
Parenthesis 5:19
Antimeria 5:22, Gehenna of fire
Interjections 7:5
Hendiatris 6:13
Climax 7:7
Rhetoric (or could call it “Semitisms”) – have to understand the culture in order to know what it means – example in English is “hot dog”
5:29 see explanation in footnotes
5:31, 32
5:39, turn the other cheek
6:23, “evil eye”
7:15 “clothing of lambs”
5:22 Gehenna
Metonymy – check out list above
Heaven – stands for God 5:3
Bread – stands for provision 6:11
Fruit – stands for results 7:16, 20
Synecdoche – part for whole
“Sound a trumpet” 6:2
Personification – giving human characteristics to inanimate object or thing
Left hand 6:3