Matthew 24:19 And woe unto those who are with child,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 24:19 And woe unto those who are with child, and those who are nursing in those days! ​

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

So sad, however, the ones carrying [a baby] in the belly, also, the ones sucking in those days there.

Explanation of Greek: 

There are no verbs used as verbsin this verse. It is a great example of a verse that is spoken, not written. Interestingly, every keyword (except for prepositions, the conjunction., and the exclamation at the beginning) is in the form of a female indirect object, all plural except for one. So when spoken, it would be heard as the repetition of a rhyming list, list all ending the same sound. Also, there is a classic play on words.

The Greek word translated as "and" joins phrases in an adversarial way and it is usually translated as "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow. Its use seems to indicates this verse expresses a different feeling than the one before.

"Woe" is from an exclamation of grief, meaning "woe" or "alas." However, Christ seems to use it humorously. Every verse in which it appears have the hallmarks of Christ's humor. Today we would say "so sad [for you]" or "boo-hoo to you." The word is very like the Jewish, "oy veh" which can be used to express sorry but with is more commonly used cynically. More about this phrase in this article on Christ's humor, under the subtitle, "exaggeration."

The word translated as "unto them that" is from the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

The phrase translated as "with child" doesn't contain any of those words in Greek, but it does have the sense, but only after the final word of the phrase.

The word translated as "with" is from a word that means "in" but also means "within", "with," or "among."

The word translated as "child" means "paunch", "belly", "gluttony" with en, or "womb." With the verb "to have" and the preposition en, it means "have in the belly" in the sense of "big with child." Until the next word, these two words mean "gluttony."

The untranslated word for "have" appears here, but it is in the form of an adjective, "having a belly."

The "and" here is the normal conjunction "and" which can also be used as "also."

"To them that give suck" is from a noun form of the verb that means "to suck." We would say, "the ones sucking or nursing."

The word translated as "in" is the same one as used above, emphasizing the repetition of the verse.

The word translated as "those" is an adjective that highlights its noun as in a specific place from a word that means "there." It seems to indicate that the "days" are about a certain place as well as time.

The Greek word translated as "days" also means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime."

Wordplay: 

All the keywords, except one, at in the same form so they rhyme in Greek. 

The phrase translated as "with child" means "in gluttony" until the final word. 

The Spoken Version: 

(Note: In Greek, this verse is a series of rhymes that cannot be translated into English.)

"So sad, however," he said. using a phrase he usually used in derision. "For the ones into their bellies..."

His followers laughed, despite the seriousness of the topic, because the phrase referred to gluttons. Gluttons would have a hard time during hard times.

"Carrying babies," he finished in a tone of mock admonishment. "And the ones nursing..."

His follower laughed again because they saw how he was playing with them,

"In those there days," he finished.

Greek Vocabulary: 

οὐαὶ (exclam) "Woe" is from ouai, which is an exclamation of pain or anger meaning "woe" or "alas" but it can be used sarcastically.

δὲ (conj) "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").

ταῖς (article pl fem dat) "Unto them that" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἐν "With" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". -

γαστρὶ (noun sg fem dat) "Child" is from gaster, which means "paunch", "belly", "gluttony" with en, or "womb." With the verb "to have" and the preposition en, it usually means "big with child."

ἐχούσαις (part pl pres act fem dat) "Have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do." -- The word translated as "have" means "to possess" or "to keep" but it isn't used in the same way as a "helper" verb that the English "have" is.

καὶ "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."

ταῖς θηλαζούσαις (part pl pres act fem dat) "To them that give suck" is from thelazo, which means "to suckle", "to nurse," and "to suck (for animals)." this is the present participle form used as a female dative noun.

ἐν "With" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". -

ἐκείναις (adj pl fem dat) "Those" is from ekeinos, which means "the person there", "that person", "that thing", "in that case", "in that way", "at that place," and "in that manner."

ταῖς ἡμέραις. (noun pl fem dat) "Day" is from hemera, which, as a noun, means "day" "a state or time of life", "a time (poetic)", "day break" and "day time." It is also and also has a second meaning, of "quiet", "tame (animals)", "cultivated (crops)," and "civilized (people)." --

Related Verses: 

Jul 26 2016