Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 38 (Luke 6:38)

Give, and it shall be given - " Christian charity will make no difficulty in giving that which eternal truth promises to restore. Let us give, neither out of mere human generosity, nor out of vanity, nor from interest, but for the sake of God, if we would have him place it to account. There is no such thing as true unmixed generosity but in God only; because there is none but him who receives no advantage from his gifts, and because he engages himself to pay these debts of his creatures with an excessive interest. So great is the goodness of God, that, when he might have absolutely commanded us to give to our neighbor, he vouchsafes to invite us to this duty by the prospect of a reward, and to impute that to us as a desert which he has a right to exact of us by the title of his sovereignty over our persons and estates."

Men live in such a state of social union as renders mutual help necessary; and, as self-interest, pride, and other corrupt passions mingle themselves ordinarily in their commerce, they cannot fail of offending one another. In civil society men must, in order to taste a little tranquillity, resolve to bear something from their neighbors; they must suffer, pardon, and give up many things; without doing which they must live in such a state of continual agitation as will render life itself insupportable. Without this giving and forgiving spirit there will be nothing in civil society, and even in Christian congregations, but divisions, evil surmisings, injurious discourses, outrages, anger, vengeance, and, in a word, a total dissolution of the mystical body of Christ. Thus our interest in both worlds calls loudly upon us to Give and to Forgive.

Bosom - Κολπον , or lap. Almost all ancient nations wore long, wide, and loose garments; and when about to carry any thing which their hands could not contain, they used a fold of their robe in nearly the same way as women here use their aprons. The phrase is continually occurring in the best and purest Greek writers. The following example from Herodotus, b. vi., may suffice to show the propriety of the interpretation given above, and to expose the ridiculous nature of covetousness. "When Croesus had promised to Alcmaeon as much gold as he could carry about his body at once, in order to improve the king's liberality to the best advantage, he put on a very wide tunic, ( κιθωνα μεγαν ), leaving a great space in the Bosom, κολπον βαθυν , and drew on the largest buskins he could find. Being conducted to the treasury, he sat down on a great heap of gold, and first filled the buskins about his legs with as much gold as they could contain, and, having filled his whole Bosom, κολπον , loaded his hair with ingots, and put several pieces in his mouth, he walked out of the treasury, etc." What a ridiculous figure must this poor sinner have cut, thus heavy laden with gold, and the love of money! See many other examples in Kypke and Raphelius. See also Psalm 129:7 ; Proverbs 6:27 ; Proverbs 17:23 .

The same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again - The same words we find in the Jerusalem Targum on Genesis 38:26 . Our Lord therefore lays down a maxim which themselves allowed.

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible