Like the poor and the mourners, the third beatitude considers those who are meek. All three terms have similar nuances of meaning. Who are the meek?
The meek (πραΰς, praǘs) are people who are humble and gentle, “not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance” (BDAG), perhaps even “unassuming.” Ulrich Luz suggests meekness is “well-measured, regulated mastery of wrath” (Luz, Matthew 1-7, 236 none 68). Although meekness tends to be a negative trait in contemporary culture (a wimpy person, a doormat, etc.) in Greek ethical discussions meekness was a positive character trait.
An important component of meekness is “not seeking revenge.” In Zechariah 9:9, the king comes to Jerusalem in humility (πραΰς, praǘs in the LXX, עָנִי,ʿānî in the Hebrew Bible), riding on a donkey. This is often associated with David returning to Jerusalem after Absalom’s rebellion, he is meek, but more importantly, he is…
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