Mat 5:24 Leave there your gift before the altar,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.​

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Drop there the gift of yours in front of the altar and go! First, settle with that brother of yours and then, showing up, present your offering!

Hidden Meaning: 

The verse used several words that are translated differently in the Gospels than they are in most other Greek texts. It also contains a word that doesn't seemto be used anywhere else in the NT or in Greek before the Gospels.

The word translated as "leave," but the Greek meaning is more dismissive. It means to "let fall," "give up," or even "get rid of." This same word is the same Greek verb often translated as "forgive" in the NT as in "forgiving sins". It is also translated as "leave", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament.

The Greek word translated as "there" is a different form of the same word translated as there "there" in the previous verse, Mat 5:23. The difference is that this form doesn't have the same connection to the similar words meaning "cure" and "make amends." In the previous verse, it was in a form that addressed the listener. This doesn't. So the meaning seems more clearly "there" but it creates a play on the previous word.

The word translated as "before" means "in front of".

The word translated as "go thy way" means "to go" in the sense of "to go away", "depart" and "to withdraw." However, in the Gospels, it is usually translated as just "go". The sense here is clearly its original "go away" sense.

There are no Greek words corresponding to "thy way". The words are added by the translators to create the meaning of "depart" from the verb above.

The Greek word translated as "be reconciled" consists of two other Greek words, a preposition meaning "through", "in the midst of", or "by (a cause)", and a verb meaning "make other than it is", "give in exchange", and "barter". It has the sense of changing a relationship by making a trade. It is a Greek word that first appears in the NT. This word doesn't appear in the Tuft's Perseus database that is our prime source for information on the use of words in ancient Greek. The above definitions below comes from the Biblical lexicons only, which come from Biblical translations and so are self-referencing. In these situations, it makes sense to go back to its Greek root and the way this word in used in context but this is the only time this word is used in the NT.

The word translated as "brother" means a biological brother, any kinsmen, and more broadly and friend or associate. It is in the form of an indirect object. There is no "to" in the Greek but it is added in English.

The word translated as "come" is a verb, but in the form, an adjective ("coming"), which acts as a noun. However, it doesn't mean "come," though it is usually translated that way in the KJV. Its primary meaning is "to start" or "to set out," that is, to begin something, usually a journey. In this sense, it can mean either "to go" or "to come." The idea of "starting anew" captures this feeling in the context of renewing a relationship.

The Greek word translated as "offer" means "to offer" and "to present." It was translated in the previous verse as "bring". The word is specifically used to describe offering sacrifices. The "you" here is singular. It is a command.

The Greek word translated as "gift" also specifically means "votive offerings" so it is again, a specific word. However, the word is introduced by a definitive article, "the gift" not "a gift." So there is a specific gift being referred to here, so this statement seems to be in the answer to a question about a gift. The "your" is also singular.

Wordplay: 

The word in the previous verse that could mean "you make amends" means "there" here. 

The Spoken Version: 

“Drop it off there,” he said, pretending to put his offering on the ground, “That gift of yours, in front of the altar and take off.” He turned and walked away from his imaginary gift, checking it over his shoulder and waving good-bye to it.
Many laughed.
“First,” the speaker continued, “settle with that brother of yours.” He pretended to embrace someone. “And then coming back,” he said, pretending to pick up his imaginary gift and resuming his march to the altar, “offer the gift.” He laid his imaginary gift on the imaginary altar, bowing deeply.

Vocabulary: 

ἄφες (2nd sg aor imperat act) "Leave" is from aphiemi, which means "to let fall", "to send away", "give up", "hand over", "to let loose", "to get rid of", "to leave alone", "to pass by", "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself." This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament.

ἐκεῖ (adv) "There" is from ekei, which means "there", "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world."

τὸ δῶρόν (noun sg neut acc) "Gift" is from doron which means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. The simpler term without the sense of a votive offering is "dorea."

σου (adj sg masc gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

προσθεν (adv) "Before" is from emprosthen, which as an adverb means [of place]"in front of", "before", "forwards," [of time] "before", "of old," and as a preposition, "facing", "opposite", "in front," [of time] beforehand," and [of degree] "preferred before." It also denotes a ranking.

τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου, (noun sg neut gen) "The altar" is from thysiastērion , which means "altar."

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."

ὕπαγε (2nd sg pres imperat act) "Go thy way" is from hupago, which means "to lead under", "to bring under", "to bring a person before judgment", "to lead on by degrees", "to take away from beneath", "to withdraw", "to go away", "to retire", "to draw off," and "off with you."

πρῶτον (adj sg neut nom/acc) "First" is from protos. In place, this means "the foremost." Of time, it means "the initial." In order, it means "the first." In math, it means the prime numbers. Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best." This was the word used to mean "the first" in the parable of the landowner hiring workers.

διαλλάγηθι [uncommon](2nd, aor, passive, imper) "Be reconciled" is from diallasso, which means "to change", "to change someone's mind," and "to renew a friendship." It is from dia which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between." And from the verb allasso, which means "change." "alter", "give in exchange", "barter", "repay," or "requite".

τῷ ἀδελφῷ (noun sg masc dat) "Brother" is from adelphos, which means "son of the same mother", "kinsman", "colleague", "associate," and "brother."

σου, (adj sg masc gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

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."

τότε (adv) "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

ἐλθὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "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. It is almost always translated as "come" in the Gospels, but the sense here seems to be

πρόσφερε (2nd sg pres imperat act) "And offer" is from prosphero, which means "to bring to, " "to bring upon", "to apply to," [without dat] "to apply, use, or use", "to add to", "to present", "to offer", "to address [proposals]", "to convey [property]", "to contribute", "to pay", "to be carried towards [passive]", "to attack", "to assault", "to go toward", "to deal with", "to take [food or drink]," to exhibit", "declare," and "to lead to."

τὸ δῶρόν (noun sg neut nom) "Gift" is from doron which means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. The simpler term without the sense of a votive offering is "dorea."

Related Verses: 

Jan 19 2017

evidence: 

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