Matthew 9:16 No man puts a patch of new cloth

Spoken to: 

John the Baptist

Context: 

To group of John's followers after they asked about fasting.

Greek : 

Matthew 9:16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

Literal Verse: 

No one, however, tosses on a bandage of unfinished rag onto a venerable  cloak. For it lifts, that patch on it, from the cloak and a tear becomes worse.

KJV : 

Matthew 9:16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The meaning of this verse seems obscure in translation, but the symbols and double meanings were much more obvious in the time of Christ. It has no obvious connection in English translation to the previous verse. Jesus seems to be jumping to a new topic, but in Greek we can see a connection and clear indications that this was a response to another. The Greek here works very differently than the Greek in the parallel version in Luke (Luke 5:36), while the version in Mark (Mark 2:21) seems to be a hybrid of the two.  Though these verses sound much the same in the KJV, most other modern translations make the differences a little clearer.  

An initial "but" is excluded because Jesus was clearly answering an unrecorded question, but such problems are edited out of the English translations. This verse also has lots of words that are uncommon for Jesus, suggesting he was repeating words others had used. One familiar word, however, is translated as "fill," which is the noun form of the verb that Jesus used to describe his "filling up" the law. This word is a key connection to the meaning of the verse. The cloth is the ancient "law."

The word translated as "new/unshrunk" means "unprocessed." The sense is that the idea is untested.

The word translated here as "taketh/pulls away," referring to the patch being torn away from the cloth, is the same word Christ used describing the bridegroom being taken away in the previous verse. So Jesus is saying that he is not a patch on the old garment of traditional Judaism. Because when the patch is taken away, it would rip the cloth. He is saying that he is something new. When he is taken away, his followers will mourn, but only for awhile, because his resurrection will complete something entirely new.

The word translated as "rent" means an "opening", "division," or a "tear." but it is also a metaphor about a division of opinion. This word is the source of our word "schism". This is an uncommon word for Jesus to use. This noun is important symbolically because it also refers to divided opinions, that is, the split between the "new" and the "old" symbolized by the garments, representing different schools of thought. The verb form of this word is used in Luke 5:36. -

NIV : 

Matthew 9:16 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.

Wordplay: 

The hole in the cloth is described in words that create a metaphor of a split of opinions within society. 

My Takeaway: 

Jesus's teaching is not a "patch" on the old perspective on the law, but something new.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

οὐδεὶς (adj sg masc nom ) "No man " is from oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter."

δὲ (partic) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἐπιβάλλει (3rd sg pres ind act) "Putteth" is from epiballo, which means to "throw or cast upon", "lay on", " affix (a seal, add),"" contribute", "place next in order", "let grow", "let loose", "throw oneself upon", "go straight towards", "follow", "come next", "belong to", "fall to the share of", "shut to", "close", "to overlap (in logic)," and in the passive to "lie upon", "be put upon," and "be set over." --

ἐπίβλημα [3 verses](noun sg neut nom/acc ) "A piece" is epiblema, which means "that which is thrown over", "covering", "tapestry", "hangings", "that which is put on", "piece of embroidery," and "outer bandage."

ῥάκους [2 verses](noun sg neut gen) "Cloth" is rhakos, which means ragged, tattered garment", "rags", "tatters", "strip of cloth", "strip of flesh", "rents in the face", "wrinkles," and is a metaphor for "rag," and "remnant."

ἀγνάφου [2 verses](adj sg neut gen) "New" is from agnaphos, which means "uncarded", "unmilled", "unfulled", "undressed," and "unprocessed."

ἐπὶ (prep) "Unto" is from epi which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

ἱματίῳ (noun sg neut dat diminutive) "Garment" is from himation, which was an oblong piece of cloth worn as an outer garment. The term generally means "clothes" and "cloth."

παλαιῷ [8 verses](adj sg neut dat) "Old" is from palaios, which means "old in years," "ancient," (in a good sense) "venerable", "held in esteem," (in a bad way) "antiquated", "obsolete," and "in an old way."

αἴρει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Taketh" is from airo, which means "to lift up", "to raise", "to raise up", "to exalt", "to lift and take away," and "to remove."

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from 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."

τὸ  - (article sg neut dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πλήρωμα [3 verses](noun sg neut nom/acc) "That which is put in to fill up" is pleroma, which means "that which fills", "fullness", "reserves", "mass", "complex", "filling up", "completing," and "fulfillment."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg neut gen ) "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 one's own accord."

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.

τοῦ   - (article sg neut gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἱματίου, (noun sg neut gen diminutive ) "The garment" is from himation, which was an oblong piece of cloth worn as an outer garment. The term generally means "clothes" and "cloth."

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."

χεῖρον [4 verses](adj sg neut nom/acc comp) "Worse" is cheiron, which means (of persons) "meaner", "inferior," (in moral sense) "worse than others", "worse (in quality)", "inferior," and, as a noun, "inferiority."

σχίσμα [2 verses](noun sg neut nom/acc) "Rent" is schisma, which means "cleft", "division", "division of opinion," "dissension," "the vulva," and "furrow (ploughings)."

γίνεται. (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Is made" is from ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to happen", "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

KJV Analysis: 

No man - The Greek word translated as "no man" also means "no one", "nothing," and other negatives nouns.

untranslated "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word joins phrases in an adversarial way like our "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

putteth - (CW) The word translated as "putteth" means literally to "throw against, before, by or on," but it has a large variety of specific uses. Its use implies that the patch was tossed on in a quick and careless way. The Mark version uses that actual word that means "sew", which in Greek resembles this word. 

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

piece  - The Greek word translated as "piece" means "that which is thrown over". It is from the same root word as the word above and means "something thrown over" or "tossed on." It has a number of meanings including "covering," "tapestry", and " bandage". This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

new  - (WW) The word translated as "new" means "unfinished" or "unprocessed." It is not "new" necessarily in the same sense as we use the word for store purchased goods to means "unused". "Finished" means having the edges sewn up to that the millwork didn't come apart. If the cloth is not finished, it will come apart on its own. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use. A different word is translated as "new" in the Luke version (Luke 5:36) and in the next verse, Matthew 9:17 when applied to wine. This word is related to the word Christ uses to describe himself "filling up" or "fulfilling" the OT.

cloth  - (CW) The word translated as "cloth" really means a "rag" or "tatter." This is a negative description of the patch. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

unto  - The word translated as "unto" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."The word translated as "unto" means "against", "before", "by" or "on.

an -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

old   - The word translated as "old" means old in years both in a good sense and a bad one. In a good sense, it means "venerable" and in a bad sense, "obsolete." Because the point here is that we want to preserve the coat or cloak, it should be translated in the positive sense. "Old" means respected and prized not worn out. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

garment,  - The word translated as "garment" means an outer garment ("a cloak") like we would use a coat or jacket today. The style and quality of this garment were how people judged social affiliation and status.This specific garment signaled religious affiliation. 

for  - The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

that -- The word translated as "that" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

which is put in to  -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "which is put in to " in the Greek source.

fill  - (WF) "Fill" is a single Greek word, a noun that captures various ideas of filling and completing, but here, we might simply say "the filler.  This is an uncommon word for Christ to use, but it is packed with meaning. The translation used it as a verb but it is a noun.

it  - The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. Here it is in the possessive "of it." It is in a form that refers to the "garment". It appears after the word below.

up -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "up" in the Greek source. It could be justified if the "fill" were a verb, but it is a noun, not a verb.

taketh  - The word translated as "taketh" means "lift up" but it also means "to remove" and "to exalt" this is a reference to an unfinished piece of material, one without a hem, coming apart. 

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

garment,  - The word translated as "the garment" means an outer garment ("a cloak") like we would use a coat or jacket today.

and  - The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also.

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

rent  -  The word translated as "rent" means an "opening", "division," or a "tear." but it is also a metaphor about a division of opinion. This word is the source of our word "schism". This is an uncommon word for Christ to use. This noun is important symbolically because it also refers to divided opinions, that is, the split between the "new" and the "old" symbolized by the garments, representing different schools of thought. The verb form of this word is used in Luke 5:36. -

is -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. However, the verb form could also be the middle voice which means that the division makes itself worse.

made   - (WW) The word translated as "made" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state.

worse.  - The terms translated as "worse" means various forms of inferiority and degradation. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8

MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.

CW - Confusing Word -- The "putteth" is not common word usually translated as "put."

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "new" should be "raw."

CW - Confusing Word -- The "cloth" is not common word usually translated as "cloth."

IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "which is put in to" doesn't exist in the source.

WF - Wrong Form -  The"fill" is not an active verb but a noun, "filler."

IW - Inserted Word -- The word "up" doesn't exist in the source.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "made" should be "becomes."

NIV Analysis: 

No one - The Greek word translated as "no one" also means "no one", "nothing," and other negatives nouns.

untranslated "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word joins phrases in an adversarial way like our "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

sews - (WW) The word translated as "sews" means literally to "throw against, before, by or on," but it has a large variety of specific uses. Its use implies that the patch was tossed on in a quick and careless way. The Mark version uses that actual word that means "sew", which in Greek resembles this word. 

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

patch - (CW) The Greek word translated as "patch " means "that which is thrown over". It is from the same root word as the word "sews" above and means "something thrown over" or "tossed on." It has a number of meanings including "covering," "tapestry", and " bandage". This is an uncommon word for Christ to use. It is not the word translated as "patch" below.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

unshrunk - The word translated as "unshrunk " means "unfinished" or "unprocessed." It is not "new" necessarily in the same sense as we use the word for store purchased goods to means "unused". "Finished" means having the edges sewn up to that the millwork didn't come apart. If the cloth is not finished, it will come apart on its own. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use. A different word is translated as "new" in the Luke version (Luke 5:36) and in the next verse, Matthew 9:17 when applied to wine. This word is related to the word Christ uses to describe himself "filling up" or "fulfilling" the OT.

cloth  - (CW) The word translated as "cloth" really means a "rag" or "tatter." This is a negative description of the patch. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

on - The word translated as "on" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."The word translated as "unto" means "against", "before", "by" or "on.

an -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

old   - The word translated as "old" means old in years both in a good sense and a bad one. In a good sense, it means "venerable" and in a bad sense, "obsolete." Because the point here is that we want to preserve the coat or cloak, it should be translated in the positive sense. "Old" means respected and prized not worn out. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

garment,  - The word translated as "garment" means an outer garment ("a cloak") like we would use a coat or jacket today. The style and quality of this garment were how people judged social affiliation and status.This specific garment signaled religious affiliation.

for  - The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

the-- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more.

patch - (CW) "Patch" is a single Greek word, a noun that captures various ideas of filling and completing, but here, we might simply say "the filler.  This is an uncommon word for Christ to use, but it is packed with meaning. It is not the word translated as "patch" above.

will  -- (WT) This helping verb "will" indicates the future tense, but the verb is not the future.

pull away -- The word translated as "pull away" means "lift up" but it also means "to remove" and "to exalt" this is a reference to an unfinished piece of material, one without a hem, coming apart. 

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

garment,  - The word translated as "the garment" means an outer garment ("a cloak") like we would use a coat or jacket today.

untranslated "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also.

making - (WW, WF) The word translated as "making" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is not a participle, but an active verb either in the passive or middle voices.

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

tear -  The word translated as "tear " means an "opening", "division," or a "tear." but it is also a metaphor about a division of opinion. This word is the source of our word "schism". This is an uncommon word for Christ to use. This noun is important symbolically because it also refers to divided opinions, that is, the split between the "new" and the "old" symbolized by the garments, representing different schools of thought. The verb form of this word is used in Luke 5:36. -

worse.  - The terms translated as "worse" means various forms of inferiority and degradation. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

NIV Translation Issues: 

9

MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "sews" should be "throws on."

CW - Confusing Word -- The "patch" is not the same word translated as "patch" later in the verse.

CW - Confusing Word -- The "cloth" is not common word usually translated as "cloth."

CW - Confusing Word -- The "patch" is not the same word translated as "patch" above.

WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates future tense, but the tense is present.

MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "making" should be "becomes."

WF - Wrong Form -  The "becomes" is not a participle, but an active verb "become."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

One familiar word, however, is translated as "fill," which is the noun form of the verb that Jesus used to describe his "filling up" the law. This word is a key connection to the meaning of the verse. The cloth is a symbol for the ancient "law."

The Spoken Version: 

“But both John and the Distinguished,” responded Joseph, speaking directly to the Master, “worry about the traditional law and how people follow it. And, though we both wear different types of clothing, both are venerable traditions. When you talked at Seven Springs, you said you would ‘fill up’ the law, but does that mean you are tossing a filler of unproven ideas on the ancient law where it has worn thin over time?”
“But no one  tosses on a bandage of unfinished rag,” responded the Master  happily, demonstrating by  putting his hand on a place oe his own cloak where the cloth was worn, “onto a venerable  cloak.”
“Another analogy,” Andrew commented aside to me. Told you that he loves them!”
“Why not,” asked Rocky.
“Because it lifts, that filler on it,” answered the Master, demonstrating by lifting his hand from his cloak, “and a tear becomes worse.”
“So, if that fine woven cloth of the hundreds of law that the Distinguished teach is worn out?” asked Joseph.
“Get a new cloak,” answered Rocky.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 12 2020