Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I have come to send peace

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

 

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

You all might not want to get accustomed to the idea that I have shown up to launch a peace upon the earth. I have not shown up to launch a peace but a sword.

Explanation of Greek: 

this is a great verse. What it say depends completely on how it is said if spoken and how it is interpreted by those hearing it. It could mean the opposite of the way it is translated in two different ways. However, a lot in the KJV is misleading. There is also a clear play on words.

The word translated as "think" is not a word that Christ uses regularly that gets translated as "think." It is the verb form of the Greek word for "the law," discussed below. For a legislator, it means to enact a law, but that is not its primary meaning, which is "to be used by custom" and "to be accustomed to." It comes from the Greek meaning of the "law" word as "traditions" or "customary behavior". The KJV translation also makes this sound like it is a command, but it isn't. It is a normal active verb a form indicating a possibility or something happening in the future. "You might be getting accustomed to" or "you are going to get accustomed to".

The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used.

The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact.

The word translated as "I am come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "to under way" or "to show up". It is in a form that could mean "I have come" but it could also mean "they have come". The context doesn't really tell us which way version is correct. It is easy to imagine this verse being asked about him or about the Romans.

If the "come" verb above is translated as the third person plural, rather than the first person the KJV becomes "Do not think that they have come to send peace on earth: They came not to send peace, but a sword. "

The word translated as "to send" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ more frequently uses this word in the sense of to "cast out" or "throw out" with a different preposition, "out" instead of "upon". Though it can also mean "pour" or "let fall", which does work with "upon". It is not any of the words that Christ uses frequently that are translated as "send" or "put." This word is usually translated as "cast" in the NT and "toss" in the translations here. Christ uses it dozens of times in the Gospels and it always has the sense of tossing something, most commonly, for "casting out" demons. The one exception is when it is translated as "put" in John 18:11 where Christ tells Peter to "toss" or "let fall" his sword into his scabbard. This idea of throwing something through the air is also captured by the English words "launch" which also has the sense of "initiate" which is also a sense of this word.

If the previous verb means "launch" instead of "send", the KJV becomes: "Do not think that I have come to launch peace upon earth: I came not to launch a peace, but a sword."

If both the "they have come" and "launch" verbs are used, the verse becomes: "Do not think that they have come to launch peace upon earth: they have come not to launch a peace, but a sword."

"Peace" is the Greek term that means "harmony between individuals and nations" and the general idea of safety, security, and prosperity. It is the opposite of the state of war. In Hebrew, the word for peace was used in salutations and as an inquiry as to one's health.

The word translated as "on" is one of the most complicated Greek prepositions because its meaning changes with the form of the following noun. Though it means "on (a place)" with certain forms of nouns, here, the noun's form is that of an object, which eliminates its use as a place, but it can mean an extension "over (a space)" or a cause "for" this purpose. So, "over the earth" or "for the earth."

The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, ground, or land.

The word translated as "I came" is the same as the on above in the same form.

Another Greek word is translated as the second "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" often captures is specific meaning in the context.

The word translated as the second "to send" is the same word in the same form.

The second "peace" is the same Greek Greek word as in the same form as the one above.

The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. "Still" or "rather" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction.

Next, the term for "sword" means a short sword, a weapon much more like a machete, since the Greek is the source for the English word. It specifically the type of weapon used for making sacrifices, by assassins, bodyguards, and jugglers. Jugglers is particularly interesting because of the word "toss". This is exactly the type of sword you toss around when juggling.

Wordplay: 

The word "to send" really means to "toss " which, as in English, has the sense of throwing something, pouring something, creating something quickly or getting rid of something quickly. It also is the word used for "tossing" dice and so it is connected to luck. So "tossing" could mean "pouring out" peace on the earth" or "tossing away" peace on the earth. When he applies it to "the sword" its meaning changes, making it into a challenge like "drawing a sword" or the juggling of a sword, trusting the toss to fate.This actually sets up a play on "cutting" off play on words in the next verse, Matthew 10:35

The Spoken Version: 

“So we don’t have to confront them? Good!” Said young Jamos. “After all, your message is a message of peace.”
“You all might not want to get accustomed to the idea that I have shown up to launch a peace upon the earth,” suggested the teacher. “I have not shown up to launch a peace but a sword.”
The crowd was registered surprised at this statement.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Μὴ (partic) "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

νομίσητε (2nd pl aor subj act or verb 2nd pl fut ind act) "Think" is from nomizo, which means "to use by custom", "to get accustomed to", "to enact [for a legislator]", "to own", "to acknowledge", "to esteem", "to hold in honor," and "to believe."

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act or verb 3rd pl aor ind act ) "I am come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

βαλεῖν (verb aor/fut inf act attic) "Send" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall," "to cast," "to put", "to pour", "to place money on deposit", "push forward or in front [of animals]", "to shed", "to place", "to pay,"to throw [of dice,]" "to be lucky", "to fall", "to lay as foundation", "to begin to form", "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe."

εἰρήνην (noun sg fem acc) "Peace" is eirene, which means "time of peace," "national tranquility," "peace", "tranquility,""personal tranquility," and "harmony." It is the name for the goddess of peace. -

ἐπὶ (prep) "On" is from epi which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against." With a noun in the possessive, it means "upon", "on" but not necessarily of Place, "by (of persons)", "deep (with numbers)", "in the presence of", "towards", "in the time of," and "over (referring to a person of authority)." With a noun indirect object, it means of place: "upon", "on," or "over", of people: "against (in a hostile sense)," regarding a situation: "towards" or "in reference to," of an accumulation: "upon", "after", "addition to," and "besides," of position: "after", "behind", "in dependence upon," and "in the power of," of time: "by," and "after," and. in a causal sense: "of the occasion or cause", "of an end or purpose", "of the condition upon which a thing is done", "on condition that," and "of price." With the objective noun, it means of place: "upon or on to a height", "up to", "as far as", "a little way", "a little", "towards", "to," in hostile sense: "against," of extension: "over", "over (a space)," of time: "for", "during", "up to" or "till," in a causal sense: "of (the object)," for (this purpose)", "as regards", "according to," and "by (this cause)."

τὴν γῆν: (noun sg fem acc) "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from 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.

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act or verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "I am come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

βαλεῖν (verb aor/fut inf act) "Send" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall," "to cast," "to put", "to pour", "to place money on deposit", "push forward or in front [of animals]", "to shed", "to place", "to pay,"to throw [of dice,]" "to be lucky", "to fall", "to lay as foundation", "to begin to form", "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe."

εἰρήνην (noun sg fem acc) "Peace" is eirene, which means "time of peace," "national tranquility," "peace", "tranquility,""personal tranquility," and "harmony." It is the name for the goddess of peace. -

ἀλλὰ (adv/conj) "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." -- The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. "Still" or "however" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction, especially when it begins a sentence.

μάχαιραν. (noun sg fem acc) "Sword" is machaira, which means a "large knife", "large dagger", "short sword," or "dirk." It specifically the type of weapon used for making sacrifices, by assassins, bodyguards, and jugglers.

Related Verses: 

Jun 9 2017

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