Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when [men] shall revile you...

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

You are lucky whenever others might criticize you. Not only might they hound [you] but also they might say every worthless thing against you, lying to themselves on account of me.

Hidden Meaning: 

While this line sounds a lot like another line of the Beatitudes, there are important differences. The "blessed" phrase here has a verb "are," while the verb was added in translation in all the earlier lines. The earlier lines also all described a category of person who has a particular kind of advantage. Here, the listener is addressed in the second person and no particular advantage is offered in the verse itself.

The sense of the Greek word translated as "blessed" shifts its meaning among "happy", "wealthy", and fortunate depending on the context. "Fortunate" or "lucky" seems to work here. This word only means "blessed" in the sense that the lucky are blessed by good fortuned. It is not a religious term.

The verb "are" is the standard verb "to be." It is plural.

The "when" here is a preposition introducing a dependent clause.

The Greek verb translated as "revile" means "to chide" and it is translated elsewhere in the Gospels as "upbraid." We would say "criticize." Christ only uses it here and in the somewhat parallel verse in Luke 6:22. It is in a form that indicates something that might happen at some time.

There is not Greek word "men" here, but the subject "they" can be used because the concept is part of the verb.

The word translated as "persecute" means "to chase" or "to drive." It is the same verb used in the previous verse, but, in that verse, Matthew 5:10, it was in a form describing people who did this to themselves. Here it is an active verb, emphasizing its meaning, that of being "chased" or "hounded."

When the Greek word translated as "and" is used in a series like this, the English translation that often comes closer to the Greek is "not only...but also."

The "shall say" is the common verb meaning "to speak" or "to say." It is not in the future tense but in the form of something that might happen.

The "all manner" here is the Greek word for "all" or "every."

The Greek translated as "evil" is discussed extensively in this article, but doesn't mean "evil" as much as it does "worthless."

"Falsely" it is not an adverb describing how something is said, but an adjective describing those speaking. It is a form of the Greek verb meaning "to cheat by lying," so it would be "cheating by lying," but the form is the subjects acting on themselves, so the sense is "lying to themselves."

The word translated as "for my sake" means "on account of."

One last thing that separates this verse from the Beatitudes it that the Beatitudes all include multiple levels of wordplay. This verse has no apparent double meanings.

The Spoken Version: 

“Lucky are you all,” the speaker announced to his audience. “When they criticize you and harass you and proclaim every worthless thing against you! Lying to themselves!”
He then indicated himself and said humbly, “For my sake.” He made a comical curtsy.


μακάριοί (adj pl masc nom) "Blessed" is from makarios which means "blessed", "prosperous", "happy", "fortunate," and "blissful."

ἐστε (2nd pl pres ind act) "Are" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

ὅταν (conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)."

ὀνειδίσωσιν [uncommon] (3rd pl aor subj act) "Revile" is from oneidizo, which means "to cast in [one's teeth]", "to make a reproach", "to reproach," "to upbraid," and "to chide."

ὑμᾶς "You" is from humas (humas) and humôn (humon), which are the plural forms of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

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."

διώξωσιν (3rd pl aor subj act) "Persecute" is from dioko, which means "to pursue", "to chase", "to urge on," or "to drive." It means "prosecute" when used as a legal term.

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."

εἴπωσιν (verb 3rd pl aor subj act) "Shall say" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

πᾶν (adj sg neut acc) "All manner" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

πονηρὸν (adj sg neut acc) "Evil" is from poneros, which we discuss extensively in this page. In a moral sense, it means "worthless", "base," and "cowardly."

καθ᾽ (prep) "Against" is from kata, which means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is from humon, a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ψευδόμενοι (part pl pres mp masc nom) "Falsely" is from pseudo, which means "to cheat by lies", "to beguile," and "to cheat" or "disappoint" someone about something. In the passive, "to be cheated", "to be deceived" "to be deceived about something," and "to be mistaken about something."

ἕνεκεν (prep) "For...sake" is from heneka, which means "on account of", "as far as regards", "in consequence of," and "because."

ἐμοῦ: (pron 1st sg masc gen) "My" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

Related Verses: 

Dec 31 2016