Matthew 5:30 And if your right hand offend you,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.


Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

And if it is the right hand of your, hand and forearm, that trips you up, you should cut it out and toss away from you! Because it helps you when it destroys itself, one of those members of yours, and you don't want your whole body tossed in a trash heap.

Hidden Meaning: 

This verse duplicates the previous one, Mat 5:29, but with some hidden stuff that is lost in translation. Again, the context is still Mat 5:28, where the point is looking at a woman to the point of an obsession. This verse again is addressed to a single person, not the entire audience. Again, we can read this verse and this section as Christ making provocative, extreme statements. Or we can read them as making a series of humorous exaggerations to make his point.

Here, the verse starts with the Greek word usually translated as "and." The KJV of the previous verse began that way as well but the word translated there is usually translated as "but."

The word translated as "right" actually means "right hand." It is not the adjective "right" that we saw in the previous verse, but the noun, "right hand."

The singular possessive pronoun "your" appears between the word for "right hand" and "hand and forearm". It could apply to either noun. Christ most commonly puts this word after the noun, "the hand of yours".

Another Greek word for "hand" appears here, meaning "hand and forearm". This word acts as a clarification. It has a number of the same shades of meaning. Some are the same as English. For example, it means giving aid in the sense of "giving someone a hand." It also means an act or deed, as we might say "having a hand in doing something." However, those don't seem to come into play here. Notice how this repetition echoes a different from of repetition of "eye" in the previous verse. Again, this seems largely for humorous affect.

The word translated as "offends" refers to putting a stumbling block before someone so that they trip and thereby offending them. In English, we would simply say, "trips you up." This word is one that is found only in the Bible and later Christian works.

The remedy for a problem hand is different than that for the wandering eye in Mat 5:29. Again, as in the previous verse, the words chosen has a range of meanings, that make them natural for creating humor.

The word translated in KJV as "cut it off" means "cut it out" and "knock it off." In Greek, this word is even broader than in English. It shares meaning with its English counterpart of stopping doing something. Since we are talking about doing something with one hand in an erotic context, it is not hard to imagine the humor here.

The Greek word translated as "cast" means "to throw" or "to toss." Christ uses it most commonly in the sense of "tossing out" something from demons to trash. Like our word, "to toss" it takes on a humorous feeling the way Christ uses it. Christ often uses this word in the sense of "dumping" something.

The Greek word translated as "it is profitable" primarily means "bring together" and "to gather." In English, we say "assist" in the same sense. So it also means to "work with", "help", or "be useful" in the sense of conferring a benefit. In an adjective form (not used here), it has the sense of "fitting" and "useful". The sense is that "it is good for one."

The Greek word translated as "that" can also mean "when." This works better because of the form of the next word.

The word "one" is used here explicitly. It is the subject of the word translated as "perish."

The word translated as "member" primarily means "limb." However, it also means a "feature," that is, a part of the whole. However, coupled with the one, it suggests a double entendre for another more private part of the body that we also refer to in English as a "member".

The word translated as "shall perish" also means "to lose." Christ often uses it to mean "to destroy." It is in the form of something that "might" happen. This form is used when the verb is preceded (as it is here) with a word that indicates something that only happens at certain times. It is not in the future tense, but the verb form indicates something happening at some time, past present or future. This form is indicated by the previous "when". Also, it is not in a passive form, but in a form where the thing (here the number "one") acts on itself.

The negative here is the subjective negative, something you don't want or think. Often if works best translating this word as "don't want."

The final keyword here describes what happens to the whole body. In the source for the KJV, the verb seems the same as the previous verse, but in the Greek sources that we use today, it is a different word, one meaning to "go away" and "to depart." It is a metaphor from departing from life.

The Greek word translated as "hell" refers to the trash dump outside of Jerusalem. See this article on the words for "hell".  

It is easier to stop thoughts than it is to stop physical practices. What Christ is saying, however, is that this is serious businesses, a matter of life and death, and a matter that transcends physical death. In that perspective, giving up a part of our life, something we enjoy. However, as Christ says, it is better to lose a part of our life than all of our life. The whole is greater than the parts.


 Double meaning of the word meaning "to cut it out" and to "knock it off." 

The Spoken Version: 

But another joker, a tall tradesman, called out, “My problem isn’t my eye! It’s my right hand!” He raised his fist and pumped it up and down suggestively.
Many laughed. Many groaned. Others booed.
“And so,” the speaker responded, smiling but sounding concerned. “If that right of yours—,” he said, holding up his own hand. “Hand and forearm.” He clarified, moving his forearm up and then down, but instead of duplicating the man’s gesture, his hand seemed to fly out of control hitting his leg. “Trips you up,” he squawked, again stumbling, and, this time, almost falling.
Again, everyone laughed.
“Lop it off!” His left hand chopped at his right forearm. Again, he grimaced comically. “And toss it away!” He repeated his tossing-out-the-trash motion one-handed.
This drew more chuckles.
“Because,” he explained, “it helps you when it destroys itself—.”
The audience began to snicker anticipating what was coming next.
“One of your—.” He paused, moving his hand very slowly down. “Members,” he squeaked.
Everyone cracked up, even the children who didn’t understand it all.
The speaker shrugged nonchalantly and continued cheerfully, “And you don’t want that whole body of yours—.” He paused, then called out, “Into the Gehenna!” Again, he made the throwing-out-the-trash gesture as he said, “It is tossed!”


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 (conj) "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.

δεξιά (noun sg fem nom) "Right" is from dexia, which means "the right hand". this is the noun form of the adjective "right", dexios, which has a

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

χεὶρ (noun sg fem nom) "Hand" is from cheir which means "the hand and arm," and "with the help of agency of another." Like "hand" in English, it has a lot of meanings including "an act or deed", "a body of people," and the measurement "handful."

σκανδαλίζει (3rd sg pres ind act) "Offend" is from skandalizo, which means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize."

σε, (pron 2nd sg acc) "Thee" is from su which means "you" and "your."

ἔκκοψον (2nd sg aor imperat act) "" is from ekkopto, which means "to cut out", "to knock off", "to beat off [in battle]", "to hinder", "to break open", "to win [in throwing dice]", "to erase [an inscription]," "to come to a stop", "to stamp a coin", "to pause," or "to cut off." It is also a metaphor for "to make an end of."

αὐτὴν (adj sg fem acc) "It" 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 ones own accord."

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."

βάλε (2nd sg aor imperat act) "Cast" is from ballo (ballo), which means "to throw", "to let fall", "to put", "to pour," or "to cast."

ἀπὸ (prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

σοῦ, (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thee" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

συμφέρει (3rd sg pres ind act) "It is profitable " is from symphero, which means "to bring together", "to gather", "collect", "to confer a benefit", "to be useful", "work with", "be with," and "agree with." In the passive, it means "to come together", "to engage", "to battle," [of events] "to occur", "to happen," and [literally] "to be carried along with."

γάρ (partic) "For" comes from gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

σοι (pron 2nd sg dat) "For you" is from su which means "you" and "your."

ἵνα (conj) "That" is from hina, which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

ἀπόληται (3rd sg aor subj mid) "Should perish" is from apollymi, which means "to demolish", "to lay waste", "to lose", "to perish", "to die", "to cease to exist," and "to be undone."

ἓν (noun sg neut nom) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

τῶν μελῶν (noun pl neut gen)"Members" is from melos, which means "limb", "feature", "form", "a musical phrase," and "the music to which a song is set."

σου (pron 2nd pl 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."

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.

ὅλον (adj sg neut nom) "Whole" is from holos (holos), which means "the whole", "entire", "the universe," and "safe and sound."

τὸ σῶμά (noun sg neut nom) "Body" is soma, which is the physical substance of things, the body of men and animals or of heavenly bodies or groups of people.

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

εἰς (prep) "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

γέενναν: (noun sg fem acc) "Hell" is geenna, which is Greek for Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom (the Hebrew word), south of Jerusalem where trash, including diseased animals and human corpses was burned. A constant fire was kept burning there. This area was originally where children were sacrificed to Baal, and Baal (Beelzebub, "lord of the flies") is the name that Christ says others call him as the personification of evil.

ἀπέλθῃ. (3rd sg aor subj act late) "Cast" is aperchomai, which means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life."

Related Verses: 

Mat 5:29 And if your right eye offend you,

Mat 5:30 And if your right hand offend you,

Jan 25 2017