Mar 5:39 Why make ye this ado, and weep?

KJV Verse: 

Mar 5:39 Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Why do you raise a clamor and weep? The child has not died [at this point] but sleeps.

Hidden Meaning: 

The word translated as "make ado" means to raise a clamor or uproar, either in celebration, anger, or, as in this case, sorrow.

The word translated as "damsel" seems simply a "child" up to the age of seven. It is almost always translated that way in the NT. This seems to be the only exception.

The real question is this child asleep or dead? Did Christ says she was asleep? Not quite.

Both prior to the raising this girl and Lazarus, Christ refers to one who is dead as sleeping (Jhn 11:11). It is clearer in the case of Lazarus that Christ uses sleep as a metaphor for death. In that case, when the Apostles originally take his meaning literally, Christ corrects them saying that Lazarus is dead. However, here, Christ says "She has not died." Does that mean she hadn't really died or and was really sleeping?

There only clue is in the Greek is the tense of the verb translated as "is dead."

If the Greek was like the KJV English, the verb "to be" in the present tense with an adjective meaning "dead," that case would be closed. Christ uses to the verb "to be" in an absolute sense of being. However, he didn't use the verb "to be" here (eimi) but another verb being "to die."

What is interesting is the tense of this verb. It isn't the perfect tense, which would have indicated as completed action or the imperfect tense, an action begun but not completed. Instead, it is in the aorist tense, a verb whose action starts or ends at a particular point in time. The aorist is usually translated as the past tense in English, but Christ is talking about what the girl is doing, not what she is. Whatever she is, she is not begun or ended the process of dying. She could be lifeless. Her heart may have stopped. The issue is what is the process. It is not one that leads to death.

Vocabulary: 

Τί "Why" is from tis (tis) which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "many a one", "whoever," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

θορυβεῖσθε (2nd pl pres ind mp) "Make ye this ado," is from thorybeo, which means "to make a noise, uproar, or disturbance", "to shout approbation", "to cheer", "to raise a clamor," and "to confuse by noise."

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

κλαίετε; (2nd pl pres ind act) "Weep" is from (klaio), which means "to weep", "to cry", "to lament," and "to wail."

τὸ παιδίον "The damsel" is from paidion (paidon). which means "little child" or "young child," (up to seven years) "infant" or "young slave."

οὐκ "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἀπέθανεν (3rd sg aor ind act) "Dead" is from apothnesko, which means "to die" and "to die off."

ἀλλὰ "But" is from alla (alla), which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." It denotes an exception or a simple opposition.

καθεύδει. (3rd sg pres ind act) "Sleep" is from katheudô, (katheudo), which means "to lie down to sleep", "to sleep," and "to lie asleep."

Related Verses: