Rebuking Primary Sources

Leviticus 19:16-18

Masoretic Text

לֹא־תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּיךָ

לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל־דַּם רֵעֶךָ אֲנִי יְהוָה

לֹא־תִשְׂנָא אֶת־אָחִיךָ בִּלְבָבֶךָ

הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶךָ וְלֹא־תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא

לֹא־תִקֹּם וְלֹא־תִטֹּר אֶת־בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ

וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי יְהוָה

Literal Basic Structure

No go slander neighbor1

No stand on blood neighbor2

No hate neighbor3 in heart

Reprove neighbor4 and no bear on him sin

No revenge and no grudge neighbor5

Love neighbor2 like you

New American Bible Revised Edition

You shall not go about spreading slander among your people;

nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the LORD.

You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart.

Reprove your neighbor openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person.

Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

New American Bible 1970

Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him.

New Revised Standard Version

You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people,

and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin;

you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself.

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people,

but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Jewish Publication Society TaNaKh

Do not deal basely with your countrymen.

Do not profit by the blood of your fellow: I am the LORD.

You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart.

Reprove your kinsman but incur no guilt because of him.

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen.

Love your fellow as yourself: I am the LORD.

Brenton’s literal translation of the Septuagint

Thou shalt not walk deceitfully among thy people;

thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the Lord your God.

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart:

thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, so thou shalt not bear sin on his account.

And thy hand shall not avenge thee; and thou shalt not be angry with the children of thy people;

and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; I am the Lord.

Proverbs 9:7-8

Whoever corrects the arrogant earns insults;
and whoever reproves the wicked incurs opprobrium.

Do not reprove the arrogant, lest they hate you;
reprove the wise, and they will love you.

Sirach 19:5-17; 20:1-2


Whoever gloats over evil will be destroyed,

and whoever repeats gossip has no sense.

Never repeat gossip, and no one will reproach you.

Tell nothing to friend or foe; and unless it be a sin for you, do not reveal a thing.

For someone may have heard you and watched you, and in time come to hate you.

Let anything you hear die with you; never fear, it will not make you burst!

Having heard something, the fool goes into labor, like a woman giving birth to a child.

Like an arrow stuck in a fool's thigh, so is gossip in the belly of a fool.

Admonish your friend—he may not have done it; and if he did, that he may not do it again.

Admonish your neighbor—he may not have said it; and if he did, that he may not say it again.

Admonish your friend—often it may be slander; do not believe every story.

Then, too, a person can slip and not mean it; who has not sinned with his tongue?

Admonish your neighbor before you break with him; and give due place to the Law of the Most High.


There is an admonition that is untimely, but the silent person is the wise one.

It is much better to admonish than to lose one's temper;

one who admits a fault will be kept from disgrace.

Dead Sea Scrolls, Damascus Document col. 9

And concerning the saying, You shall not take vengeance on the children of your people, nor bear any rancor against them (Lev 19:18), if any member of the Covenant accuses his companion without first rebuking him before witnesses; if he denounces him in the heat of his anger or reports him to his elders to make him look contemptible, he is one that takes vengeance and bears rancor, although it is expressly written, He takes vengeance upon his adversaries and hears rancor against His enemies (Nah 1:2). If he holds his peace towards him from one day to another and thereafter speaks of him in the heat of his anger, he testifies against himself concerning a capital matter because he has not fulfilled the commandment of God which tells him: You shall rebuke your companion and not be burdened with sin because of him (Lev 19:17).

Dead Sea Scrolls, 1QS (Community Rule) col. 5.23—6.3; 9.16-18

They shall rebuke one another in truth, humility, and charity. Let no man address his companion with anger, or ill-temper, or obduracy, or with envy prompted by the spirit of wickedness. Let him not hate him because of his uncircumcised heart, but let him rebuke him on the very same day lest he incur guilt because of him. And furthermore, let no man accuse his companion before the Congregation without having admonished him in the presence of witnesses.

He [the master of the community] shall judge every man according to his spirit. He shall admit him in accordance with the cleanness of his hands and advance him in accordance with his understanding. And he shall love and hate likewise. He shall not rebuke the men of the Pit nor dispute with them. He shall conceal the teaching of the Law from men of injustice, but shall impart true knowledge and righteous judgment to those who have chosen the Way.

Dead Sea Scrolls, “Rebukes reported by the overseer” [fragmentary list of rebukes]

“rebuked because he was short tempered”

“spirit of pride was with him”

“loved his bodily nature”

Matthew 7:1-5

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Matthew 18:15-17

“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.



Do not hate anyone—but reprove some, pray for others, and love still others more than yourself.


Do not create a schism, but bring peace to those who are at odds.

Give a fair judgment; do not show favoritism when you reproach others for their unlawful acts.


Let no one quarreling with his neighbor join you until they are reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled.


Do not reprimand one another in anger, but in peace as you have learned from the gospel. Let no one speak with a person who has committed a sin against his neighbor, nor let him hear anything from you, until he repents.

Babylonian Talmud

Rab and R. Hanina, R. Johanan and R. Habiba taught [the following] Whoever can forbid his household [to commit a sin] but does not, is seized for [the sins of] his household; [if he can forbid] his fellow citizens, he is seized for [the sins of] his fellow citizens; if the whole world, he is seized for [the sins of] the whole world. R. Papa observed, And the members of the Resh Galutha’s [household] are seized for the whole world. [A Resh Galutha is a head of a Jewish community in the Diaspora.] Even as R. Hanina said, Why is it written, The Lord will enter into judgement with the elders of his people, and the princes thereof (Isa 3:14) if the princes sinned, [55a] how did the elders sin? But say, [He will bring punishment] upon the elders because they do not forbid the princes. (b. Shabbat 54b-55a)

R. Amram son of R. Simeon b. Abba said in R. Simeon b. Abba's name in R. Hanina's name: Jerusalem was destroyed only because they did not rebuke each other: for it is said, Her princes are become like harts that find no pasture (Lam 1:6): Just as the hart, the head of one is at the side of the others's tail, so Israel of that generation hid their faces in the earth, and did not rebuke each other. (b. Shabbat 119b)