Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit goes out

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Pharisees attack, casting out demons

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

When, however, that unclean spirit exits out from this man, he passes through dry places, seeking rest and doesn't discover it.

My Takeaway: 

Bad habits and bad ideas look for new minds to infect.

KJV : 

Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

NIV : 

Matthew 12:43 When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Again, this verse starts with an "edited out" conjunction that makes this verse seem a response to an unrecorded question (see UDT). This makes particular sense here because the topic doesn't connect easily to the previous verse, though it does the scene as a whole, which starts with "casting out a demon."

Who is wandering here? The word "this man" proceeds the verb "he passes." English translations disguise this by translating it as "a man" (KJV) or "a person" (NIV) making the story about the demon, not the man. This is mythologizing. This verse makes perfect sense if it describes a man giving up drinking alcohol. This is why he wanders "dry places" looking for "rest" and not finding it.

There is a hidden connection between the "unclean" and the "dry." The word "unclean" means ritually impure and when applied to a corpse, the "dry" means not being cleaned for burial. 

This verse can also be read when the person seeking rest is the man out of whom the spirit was driven. In my mind, the verse conjures images and an alcoholic who stops drinking not having any place to go since he isn't visiting taverns.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

δὲ (parrtic) Untranslated is 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").

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

ἀκάθαρτον [3 verses](adj sg neut nom) "Unclean" is akathartos, which means "foul," "uncleansed," "ceremonially unclean" (of food}, "not sifted," "containing impurities," "not fit for cleansing," and "morally unclean." It was the term used to refer to a woman's menses.

πνεῦμα (noun sg neut nom) "Spirit" is pneuma, which means "blast," "wind," "breath," "the breath of life," "divine inspiration," "a spiritual or immaterial being," and "the spirit" of a man.

ἐξέλθῃ (3rd sg aor subj act) "Gone " is from exerchomai, which means "to come or go out of ""to march forth," "go out on," "to stand forth," "to exceed all bounds," "to come to an end," "to go out of office," and [of dreams or prophecies] "to come true." 

ἀπὸ (prep) "Out of" 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 dat)  "A" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -

ἀνθρώπου, (noun sg masc gen) "A man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate. -

διέρχεται [3 verses](3rd sg pres ind mp) "He walketh" is from dierchomai,which means "to go through," "complete," "shoot through" (of pain), "pass through and reach," "arrive at," "go through in detail," "recount," of Time, "pass," "elapse," and "to pass through." It is the same base word as exerchomai which means but with the prefix dia, which means "through," "throughout," and "in the midst of" and is used to describe passage through both time and space.

δι᾽ (prep) "Through" is from dia which means "through," "in the midst of," "in a line (movement)," "throughout (time)," "by (causal)," "among," and "between."

ἀνύδρων [2 verses](adj pl masc/fem/neut gen) "Dry" is from anudros, which means "waterless," "unwatered, "without spring-water," of a corpse "deprived of funeral cleaning," and "wanting water." Literally meaning, "no water."

τόπων (noun pl masc gen) "Place" is from topos, which means "place," "region," "position," "part [of the body]," "district," "room," and "topic." It is also a metaphor for "opening," "occasion," and "opportunity."

ζητοῦν (part sg pres act neut nom) "Seeking" is from zeteo, which means "inquire for," "search for," "seek after," "desire," and "feel the want of."

ἀνάπαυσιν, [3 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Rest" is anapausis, which means "cessation of motion," "rest," "recreation," "quiet" and "relaxation."

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."

οὐχ (adv) "None" is from ouchi, an adverb which means "no," "no truly," "assuredly not," "not however," "nevertheless," "notwithstanding," "yet," "still," "never yet," "for not," "indeed," "for surely not," "no,—certainly not," "for I don't suppose," and "for in no manner."

εὑρίσκει. (3rd sg pres ind act) "Findeth" is from heurisko, which means "to find," "to find out," "to discover," "to devise," "to invent," "to get," and "to gain."

KJV Analysis: 

untranslated "but"  -- (MW)An untranslated Greek word translated appears here that joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

When  - The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

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") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

unclean  - "Unclean" is an adjective that means "foul," "uncleansed," and "morally unclean." It was the term used to refer to a woman's menses.

spirit  -  The word translated as "spirit" has been used in the section to mean "non-material beings" but it primarily means "breath," "wind," and "blast." Like "spirit" in English, it can also mean "attitude" or "motivation.' It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical". Christ uses it in the sense that ideas or thoughts have a life of their own independent of their "host". See how this word is used by Jesus with related words in this article

is --- (WF) This helping verb "is" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. This verb is active.

gone  -  The word translated as "gone out" means literally "to go or come out," it the sense of starting or being in the process of moving, but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." This is not the common Greek word translated as "go" in the NT. This verb is usually translated as "exit."

out -- This is from the prefix that means "out"of the previous verb.

of  - The word translated as "of" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source. This could mean that the source of the spirit, that is, its originator is the person.  The prefix that begins the "gone out" verb means "out of". 

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

man,  - The Greek word for "a man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

walketh  -- (WW) "Walketh" is a Greek verb that means "to go through ," "arrive," and "to pass through." It does not mean "walk".  It has a number of special meanings such as "pass" when applied to time. Its prefix is the same as the following preposition meaning "through".  The voice of the word is  middle, where the subject acts on himself but we all walk by ourselves.

through  -The Greek word translated as "through," meaning "through," "in the midst of," or "by (a cause)". The sense is not that it is in that place, but that its position is transitory.  This preposition is the same as the prefix of the verb.

dry  - "Dry" is a Greek word that means literally "no water." It has the specific meaning of referring to corpses that have not been ritually cleansed. Its use complements the earlier "unclean," which has the sense of "unwashed." Jesus only uses this word twice.

places,  - "Places" is translated from a Greek word that means "place," "position," and "topic." Jesus uses this word about fifteen times, but he uses it to refer to the realm of the spirit specifically in John 14:2 and John 14:3.

seeking  - The Greek verb translated as "seeking" has a variety of meaning, but "to look for" both in the sense of searching and desiring comes the closest to capturing the idea in English. Its form is a present participle, "looking for."

rest, - "Rest" is a Greek noun that means "rest," and "relaxation." Jesus only uses this word three times.

and -  The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

findeth  - The term used for "findeth" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." For Jesus hrist, this word has the sense of discovering the solution to problems. 

none.-- (WF) The word translated as "none" is not a noun, and a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact. This word is an adverb meaning "no truly ," "assuredly not," "not however," "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "is" indicates passive but the verb is active.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be  "the."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "walketh" should be "passes through."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "none" is not a noun but an adverb.

NIV Analysis: 

untranslated "but"  -- (MW)An untranslated Greek word translated appears here that joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

When  - The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

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

impure - "Impure" is an adjective that means "foul," "uncleansed," and "morally unclean." It was the term used to refer to a woman's menses.

spirit  -  The word translated as "spirit" has been used in the section to mean "non-material beings" but it primarily means "breath," "wind," and "blast." Like "spirit" in English, it can also mean "attitude" or "motivation.' It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical". Christ uses it in the sense that ideas or thoughts have a life of their own independent of their "host". See how this word is used by Jesus with related words in this article

comes - The word translated as "comes out" means literally "to go or come out," it the sense of starting or being in the process of moving, but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." This is not the common Greek word translated as "go" in the NT. This verb is usually translated as "exit." The form is either passive or middle

out -- This is from the prefix that means "out"of the previous verb.

of  - The word translated as "of" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source. This could mean that the source of the spirit, that is, its originator is the person.  The prefix that begins the "gone out" verb means "out of". 

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

person,  - The Greek word for "person" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

goes -- "Goes" is a Greek verb that means "to go through ," "arrive," and "to pass through." It does not mean "walk".  It has a number of special meanings such as "pass" when applied to time. Its prefix is the same as the following preposition meaning "through".  The voice of the word is  middle, where the subject acts on himself but we all walk by ourselves.

through  -The Greek word translated as "through," meaning "through," "in the midst of," or "by (a cause)". The sense is not that it is in that place, but that its position is transitory.  This preposition is the same as the prefix of the verb.

arid- "Arid" is a Greek word that means literally "no water." It has the specific meaning of referring to corpses that have not been ritually cleansed. Its use complements the earlier "unclean," which has the sense of "unwashed." Jesus only uses this word twice.

places,  - "Places" is translated from a Greek word that means "place," "position," and "topic." Jesus uses this word about fifteen times, but he uses it to refer to the realm of the spirit specifically in John 14:2 and John 14:3.

seeking  - The Greek verb translated as "seeking" has a variety of meaning, but "to look for" both in the sense of searching and desiring comes the closest to capturing the idea in English. Its form is a present participle, "looking for."

rest, - "Rest" is a Greek noun that means "rest," and "relaxation." Jesus only uses this word three times.

and -  The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

not .-- (CW) The word translated as "none" is not a noun, and a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact. This word is an adverb meaning "no truly ," "assuredly not," "not however," "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."

findeth  - The term used for "findeth" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." For Jesus hrist, this word has the sense of discovering the solution to problems. 

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "an" should be  "the."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "is" indicates passive but the verb is active.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be  "the."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is not the common negative but a more extreme one.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 17 2020