Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Jesus and apostles staying in Galilee after a gathering.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Not only will they destroy him, but also, on the third day, he will be awakened and [at that point in time] they will be distressed, very much so.

KJV : 

Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is interesting because Jesus is making light of his death, or seems to be. The English translated takes an entertaining comment and distorts it by mistaking the tense.

The last part ("And they were exceeding sorry.") seems to be Jesus's comment about those who would kill him not a comment by the Gospel writer about how the apostles felt. This is made worse in the NIV, which replaces the "they" from the third-person, plural verb form with "the disciples," words that are not in the Greek. Why would the apostles be sorry after being told that he would be raised after dying?  This impression is given by the past tense, "they were" used for this "sorry/grief" verb. His prediction is in the future tense, but the "is sorry" verb is not in the past tense. It is in the Greek "at that point in time" tense, which can be the past, present, or future, taking its sense from the context, which before this line is the future tense.

Secondly, Jesus uses the same very rare verb-adverb combination, "they were very sorry" only one other time, in a parable he tells Matthew 18:31. He also uses the same verb in John 16:20 to describe how the apostles will feel before he is raised with their grief turning to joy when he is. The "they" subject in this context all along has been those who men who take and kill him.

In this section, the Gospel writer have been referring to Jesus and his apostles in the present, not past tense,  "abiding" (not "they abode") and "Jesus says to them." This fact is lost in translation which defaults to the past tense. Matthew does use that "at that point in time" form after he establishes the present as the context for Jesus and his apostles. The context changes when quoting Jesus talking about "they" the future.

This line seems very much like his humor, a surprise at the end of the quote. Jesus says he will die, be raised, and that people who kill him will be very sorry after he arises from the dead. This is the "punchline" of his prediction," ending in the word meaning "very much so."

NIV : 

Matthew 17:23  They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Wordplay: 

This verse ends with a humorous aside, very much so.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus's being awakened after death was a source of joy in many and, in some, sorrow.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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.

"ἀποκτενοῦσιν [31 verses](verb 3rd pl fut ind act) "To kill" is apokteino, which means "to kill," and "to slay." It combines the word for "to slay" (kteino) with the proposition, apo, indicating separation, meaning "from" or "away from."but it is a stronger form than the normal verb kteino. It is more like our "destroy."

αὐτόν, (adj sg masc acc) "Him" 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.

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.

τῇ (article sg fem dat) "The" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from it by the number.

τρίτῃ [9 verses](adj sg fem dat) "Third" is tritos. which is the Greek word for "third" meanig both the third in an order and the fraction one third.

ἡμέρᾳ [95 verses]((noun sg fem dat) "Day" is 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)." --

ἐγερθήσεται. [40 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind pass) "Arise" is egeiro, which means "to awaken", "to stir up," and "to rouse."

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.

ἐλυπήθησαν [3 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind pass) "They were...sorry" is lypeo, which means "to cause harm", "to cause grief," "to vex", "to cause pain," and, in the passive, "to be grieved", "to be distressed," and "to be in pain."

σφόδρα. [2 verses](adv) "Exceedingly" is sphodra, which means "very", "very much," and "exceedingly."

KJV Analysis: 

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

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

kill  - (CW) The word used for "kill" means specifically being condemned to death.  "To kill" is translated from a Greek word that means "destroy" more than just "kill" because the base word means "slay." The Greek source has the sense of "kill off," that is, destroy in a more thorough way. When we talk about "destroying" someone, we use it to mean destroying their reputation, the strength of their spirit and ideas as well as physically killing them. This is more the sense here.

him,  - -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  

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

missing "on"  -- (MW) The untranslated word"on" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context. The case can indicate a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "about" (or "for" or "against") indicating interest, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

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. 

third  -- The "the third" means both the third in an order and the fraction one third.

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

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

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

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

raised  - The term used for "raise" means "being awaken" and "roused" from sleep. It is passive in the future tense. This is the same word Christ uses to describe God raising the dead and false prophets arising.

again. -- (IW) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "again" in the Greek source.

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

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

were -- (WT) This helping verb "were" indicates that the verb is the past tense, but the verb is not the past but a form that indicates a specific point in time, past, present, or future. This comes from the context which is the future.

exceeding - "Exceedingly" is  a Greek adverb that means "very", "very much," and "exceedingly."  Jesus only uses it twice. This comes at the very end of the quote.

sorry.  - "They were...sorry" is from a verb that means "to grieve", "to vex", "to cause pain", "to cause grief," and, in the passive, "to be grieved", "to be distressed," and "to be in pain." It is in the passive here.  It is in a tense called the aorist which can refer to the past, present, or future, but refers to a particular point in time.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "fill" is not the simple word usually translated as "kill."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "on" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "again" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "were" indicates the past tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).

NIV Analysis: 

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

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will " indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

kill  - (CW) The word used for "kill" means specifically being condemned to death.  "To kill" is translated from a Greek word that means "destroy" more than just "kill" because the base word means "slay." The Greek source has the sense of "kill off," that is, destroy in a more thorough way. When we talk about "destroying" someone, we use it to mean destroying their reputation, the strength of their spirit and ideas as well as physically killing them. This is more the sense here.

him,  - -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  

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

on -- The word "on" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context. The case can indicate a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "about" (or "for" or "against") indicating interest, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

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. 

third  -- The "the third" means both the third in an order and the fraction one third.

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

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

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

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

raised  - The term used for "raise" means "being awaken" and "roused" from sleep. It is passive in the future tense. This is the same word Christ uses to describe God raising the dead and false prophets arising.

to life.  -  (IW) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "to life" in the Greek source.

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

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

were -- (WT) This helping verb "were" indicates that the verb is the past tense, but the verb is not the past but a form that indicates a specific point in time, past, present, or future. This comes from the context which is the future.

filled -- (WW) - "Filled" is  a Greek adverb that means "very", "very much," and "exceedingly."  Jesus only uses it twice. This comes at the very end of the quote.

with . -  (IW) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "with" in the Greek source.

grief.  - "Grief" is from a verb that means "to grieve", "to vex", "to cause pain", "to cause grief," and, in the passive, "to be grieved", "to be distressed," and "to be in pain." It is in the passive here.  It is in a tense called the aorist which can refer to the past, present, or future, but refers to a particular point in time.

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "fill" is not the simple word usually translated as "kill."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "to life" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "the disciples" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "were" indicates the past tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "filled" should be "exceeedingly."

Front Page Date: 

Mar 1 2021