Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 5 (Matthew 5:5)

Blessed are the meek - Happy, οι πραεις , from ῥαος , easy, those who are of a quiet, gentle spirit, in opposition to the proud and supercilious Scribes and Pharisees and their disciples. We have a compound word in English, which once fully expressed the meaning of the original, viz. gentleman; but it has now almost wholly lost its original signification. Our word meek comes from the old Anglo-saxon meca , or meccea , a companion or equal, because he who is of a meek or gentle spirit, is ever ready to associate with the meanest of those who fear God, feeling himself superior to none; and well knowing that he has nothing of spiritual or temporal good but what he has received from the mere bounty of God, having never deserved any favor from his hand.

For they shall inherit the earth - Or, την γην , the land. Under this expression, which was commonly used by the prophets to signify the land of Canaan, in which all temporal good abounded, Judges 18:9 , Judges 18:10 , Jesus Christ points out that abundance of spiritual good, which was provided for men in the Gospel. Besides, Canaan was a type of the kingdom of God; and who is so likely to inherit glory as the man in whom the meekness and gentleness of Jesus dwell? In some good MSS. and several ancient versions, the fourth and fifth verses are transposed: see the authorities in the various readings in Professor Griesbach's edition. The present arrangement certainly is most natural:

  1. Poverty, to which the promise of the kingdom is made.
  • Mourning or distress, on account of this impoverished state, to which consolation is promised. And
  • 3. Meekness established in the heart by the consolations received.

    - Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible