Matthew 12:26 And if Satan casts out Satan,...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Pharisee attack, casting demons

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Also, if the adversary tosses out the adversary out from himself, he is split.  How really will it stand that realm of his?

KJV : 

Matthew 12:26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There is a hidden humor here. Jesus is making light of the accusation against him. His responses are set up like jokes, with a punchline. As we see so often, the key ideas are at the end of the phrases/sentences, which is the opposite of the "most important words first" order in normal Greek. This "punch line" ending form is a way Christ lightens his messages. 

The translators, however, wanted to reinforce their idea of "Satan" as a person, which was not a concept in Jesus's time. They eliminated the articles before this word twice to reinforce the idea that "Satan" is a personal name rather than a noun describing a concept, the adversary.

NIV : 

Matthew 12:26   If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?

Wordplay: 

The reflexive pronouns contrast with the non-reflexive verbs. The enemy here is clearly split so that he is no longer acting on himself but against himself. 

My Takeaway: 

Adversity cannot work against adversity.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ (conj) "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."

εἰ (prep) "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

(article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

Σατανᾶς (noun sg masc nom) "Satan" is satanas which is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary", "opponents," or "one who opposes another in purpose or act. "

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

Σατανᾶν  (noun sg masc acc)"Satan" is satanas which is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary", "opponents," or "one who opposes another in purpose or act. "

ἐκβάλλει, (3rd sg pres ind act) "Cast out" is from ekballo and means "throw out", "cast out of a place", "throw ashore", "drive out of", "banish", "expel", "publish", "strike out of", "let fall", "drop", "throw away", "cast aside", "reject," "expose," "go out", "depart", "divorce (a spouse)", "depose (a king)", "fell (trees)", "throw decisively (in wrestling)", "dig wells", "get rid of," in the passive, "to be ejected." Ek means "out of", "from," and "away from." Ballo is "to throw" or "to scatter."

ἐφ᾽ (prep) "Against" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from." 

ἑαυτὸν (adj sg masc acc) "Himself" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself "themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative to autos.

ἐμερίσθη: [5 verses](3rd sg aor ind pass) "He is divided" is from merizo, which means "divide", "distribute", "assign", "sever", "cut-off," (passive) "to be divided", "to be dispersed," and "to be reckoned a part."

πῶς (adv) "How" is from pos, which means "how", "how in the world", "how then", "in any way", "at all", "by any mean", "in a certain way,"and "I suppose."

οὖν (adv) "Therefore" is from oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact, ""so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

σταθήσεται (3rd sg fut ind pass) "Shall...stand" is histemi, which means "to make to stand", , "to set up", "to bring to a standstill", "to check", "to appoint", "to establish", "to set upright", "to erected","to fix by agreement", and "to place." In the passive, it means "to be placed", "to be set", "to stand," "to stand still", "to stand firm", "to arise."

(artic sg fem nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

βασιλεία (adj sg fem nom) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."It means that which is ruled by a specific person, a basileus, which means "leader", "prince", "commander," or "king." Basileia is not a synonym for a state, a country, or any social group of people. A basileia is defined by its control or ownership by the master and refers both to people and property under that control.

αὐτοῦ; ("adj sg masc gen ) His" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also")

if . -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Satan  - "Satan" is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary" or "one who opposes another in purpose or act." The meaning that it has today, as the enemy of God or personification of evil, comes from Christian traditions unknown at the time the Gospels were written. It appears twice in a row: the first time as the subject of the sentence and the second as the object.  (More about satanas and life's adversity in this article.) This verb is in the present tense. 

casts - "Cast out" is a verb that means "throw out." Depending on the context, it can mean "toss out", "turn out," or "take out." It is usually translated as "cast out" in the NT, but the English "toss out" captures the humor of the word somewhat better.

out  -- This is from the prefix that means "out of" or "from"of the previous verb.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Satan,  - - "Satan" is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary" or "one who opposes another in purpose or act." The meaning that it has today, as the enemy of God or personification of evil, comes from Christian traditions unknown at the time the Gospels were written. It appears twice in a row: the first time as the subject of the sentence and the second as the object.  (More about satanas and life's adversity in this article.) This verb is in the present tense. 

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is -- This helping verb "is" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

divided  - "Is divided" is a verb that means "to divide", "to spit up," and "to be divided." It is in the passive, so, having been divided, have been split up." This is a rare word for Christ to use, seen only here (and previous verse) and in similar verses in Luke. It is in a passive form, "it is spit."

against  - (CW) The "against" is the preposition meaning "from" as a source. Because of the form of the verb, the sense is "from". This is the same as the prefix of the verb translated as "cast out" that means "out."

himself; The word translated as "himself" is the Greek word used as a reflexive pronoun. The form of the verbs doesn't act on themselves. 

how  -- "How" is the adverb that means "how", "by any means", and "I suppose". This is a common interrogatory pronoun used by Jesus.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

then  - The Greek word translated as "then" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

kingdom  - "Kingdom" is a Greek word that means "kingdom", "dominion", "royal power," and "reign." It is the same word used in the phrase "kingdom of heaven." It means that which is ruled by a specific person. It is not a synonym for a state, a country, or any social group of people. It is defined by its control or ownership by a master and refers both to people, organizations, and property under that control.

stand - -- The verb translated as "stand" means "to make stand", "to set up", "to establish and similar words in the active form. In the passive, as it is here,  it means "to be placed," "to stand," and "to stand firm."  Like the English words "put" and "set," it has a number of specific meanings from "to put down [in writing]", "to bury", "to establish", "to make", "to cause," and "to assign." Here, it is in the future, "going to stand or arise." It is also passive. "going to be set up" or "going to be stood up". 

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "Satan" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before the second "Satan" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "against" is more consistently translated as "from" or "out of."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "kingdom" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also")

if . -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Satan  - "Satan" is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary" or "one who opposes another in purpose or act." The meaning that it has today, as the enemy of God or personification of evil, comes from Christian traditions unknown at the time the Gospels were written. It appears twice in a row: the first time as the subject of the sentence and the second as the object.  (More about satanas and life's adversity in this article.) This verb is in the present tense. 

drives  - (CW) "Drives out" is a verb that means "throw out." Depending on the context, it can mean "toss out", "turn out," or "take out." It is usually translated as "cast out" in the NT, but the English "toss out" captures the humor of the word somewhat better. The Biblle almost always translates this verb as "cast."

out  -- This is from the prefix that means "out of" or "from"of the previous verb.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Satan,  - - "Satan" is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary" or "one who opposes another in purpose or act." The meaning that it has today, as the enemy of God or personification of evil, comes from Christian traditions unknown at the time the Gospels were written. It appears twice in a row: the first time as the subject of the sentence and the second as the object.  (More about satanas and life's adversity in this article.) This verb is in the present tense. 

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is -- This helping verb "is" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

divided  - "Is divided" is a verb that means "to divide", "to spit up," and "to be divided." It is in the passive, so, having been divided, have been split up." This is a rare word for Christ to use, seen only here (and previous verse) and in similar verses in Luke. It is in a passive form, "it is spit."

against  - (CW) The "against" is the preposition meaning "from" as a source. Because of the form of the verb, the sense is "from". This is the same as the prefix of the verb translated as "cast out" that means "out."

himself; The word translated as "himself" is the Greek word used as a reflexive pronoun. The form of the verbs doesn't act on themselves. 

How  -- "How" is the adverb that means "how", "by any means", and "I suppose". This is a common interrogatory pronoun used by Jesus.

then  - The Greek word translated as "then" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative.

can -- (WW) This helping verb "can"  should be "will" because it indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

kingdom  - "Kingdom" is a Greek word that means "kingdom", "dominion", "royal power," and "reign." It is the same word used in the phrase "kingdom of heaven." It means that which is ruled by a specific person. It is not a synonym for a state, a country, or any social group of people. It is defined by its control or ownership by a master and refers both to people, organizations, and property under that control.

stand - -- The verb translated as "stand" means "to make stand", "to set up", "to establish and similar words in the active form. In the passive, as it is here,  it means "to be placed," "to stand," and "to stand firm."  Like the English words "put" and "set," it has a number of specific meanings from "to put down [in writing]", "to bury", "to establish", "to make", "to cause," and "to assign." Here, it is in the future, "going to stand or arise." It is also passive. "going to be set up" or "going to be stood up". 

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "Satan" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "drives" is usually translated as "cast."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before the second "Satan" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "against" is more consistently translated as "from" or "out of."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "can" should be "will."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "kingdom" is not shown in the English translation.

The Spoken Version: 

“And, if the adversary tosses out the adversary out from himself, he is split,” the Master continued. “How really will it stand, that realm of his?”
He addressed this last question to the leader of the Distinguished who had accused him.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 1 2020