I found this surprising...not least because I'd never seen it before. Wondering how it was traditionally interpreted, I went to several commentaries, and found that the only ones (that I had) that mentioned the passage made unsupported claims that "obviously" this was not meant literally, without even presenting a lucid explanation of what he meant otherwise. Of course that immediately made me think of Python's "blessed are the cheesemakers" line, "obviously it isn't meant to be taken literally, it refers to any manufacturer of dairy products". Its that sort of snivelling contempt for the words of Jesus...that obviously we know what he MEANT to say, never mind what he actually did say. Jesus would not be so ignorant and uneducated as to advise his followers to purchase swords, would he?
36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
There are reams that can be (and have been) written on Jesus' lack of compliance to pacifism, and its very interesting and eye-opening to study it out. It is just very different from the common wisdom that I was taught.
Again, I will flesh this all out and actually support it one of these days, just not today.
One final note...I've got a small copita glass of a Dalmore single malt, and I have to say, malt whisky from Scotland is one of the greatest imbibable inventions to which man can lay claim. They are as varied and as unique as the wines of Europe or California, each region having a distinct style, each distillery having a peculiar trademark, and each blend and bottling having a fingerprint, so to speak. This particular one has a splendid nose of honey, light molasses, and fleeting floral notes...an aroma more complex and varied than I can parse into words. The complexity is particularly amazing when you think the only real ingredients are barley malt and water. I used to think more highly of brandy than of whisky, but with the exception of certain varieties of apple brandy, that has switched. I have to say, I can see no higher purpose for barley.
Cheers to John Barleycorn!