In the context of the beatitudes, the point would seem to be directed against the Zealots, the Jewish revolutionaries who hoped through violence to bring the kingdom of God. Such means would have been a continual temptation for the downtrodden and oppressed who longed for the kingdom. The Zealots by their militarism hoped furthermore to demonstrate that they were the loyal “sons of God.” But Jesus announces the kingdom entirely apart from human effort and indicates that the status ofυἱοὶ θεοῦ, “children of God” (cf. Rom 9:26), belongs on the contrary to those who live peaceably. It is the peacemakers who will be called the “children of God.” Later in the present chapter, Jesus will teach the remarkable ethic of the love of even one’s enemies (vv 43–48). This stress on peace becomes a common motif in the NT (cf. Rom 14:19; Heb 12:14; Jas 3:18; 1 Pet 3:11).
Hagner, D. A. (1998). Matthew 1–13 (Vol. 33A, p. 94). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.