Matthew 5:21 ...You shall not kill; by them of old time,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and invisible, killing

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You have heard what was proclaimed by/to the ancients: "You should not murder." Who, however, when he might murder will be bound by that decision.

My Takeaway: 

A dead body is visible, but the crime of murder is often invisible, requiring a judgment.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

NIV : 

Matthew 5:21  You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’

3rd Translation: 

Matthew 5:21 You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is the first iteration of a phrase that is the catchphrase used throughout this section on "filling up the law." This phrase will be repeated in various forms five more times in this section. Such repetition is a form of humor and, like most of Jesus's catch phrases, this phrase uses an uncommon word. The verb translated as "said/told" is an uncommon verb for Jesus to use.  There are three other verbs that Jesus commonly uses to mean "to say," "to speak," and "to tell." This verb has a more serious meaning, "to proclaim" or "to pronounce," and a lighter meaning "to be mentioned" and "to be pronounced."  It is contrasted with the normal word for "tell" or "say" that Jesus uses to describe his viewpoint in the next verse.

The negative here is odd because prohibitions usually require the other Greek negative form, the one of opinion. This is the negative of fact, which is usually not used for prohibitions. The reason may be that the verb is not a command (as you would expect for a commandment) but a "should" statement.

In this verse, Jesus does not say that killers are condemned, but that they are liable to a trial. In the Greek, the punishment is even less threatening. The Greek means literally, "bound to trial." This sounds like the modern form due process, rather than what we think of as Biblical justice.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἠκούσατε (2nd pl aor ind act) "Ye have heard" is from akouo, which means "hear of," "hear tell of," "what one actually hears," "know by hearsay," "listen to," "give ear to," "hear and understand," and "understand."

ὅτι (conj) "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that," "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

ἐρρέθη [5 verses](3rd sg aor ind pass) "It was said," is from ero, which means "to speak," "to say," "to pronounce," "to tell," "to let suffice," "to announce," "to proclaim," (in passive) "to be pronounced," "to be mentioned," "to be specified," "to be agreed," and "to be promised."

τοῖς (article pl fem dat) "Them"  is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which, when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἀρχαίοις (adj pl neut dat) "By them of old time" is from archaios, which means as an adjective means "from the beginning," "from the source," "ancient," "simple," "silly," "former," "the Ancients [of people]," "anciently [adverb], and "the principle [in a loan],"

Οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

φονεύσεις:” (verb 2nd sg aor subj act) "Thou shalt...kill" is from phoneuō, which means "to kill," "to murder," "to be slain [passive], and "to stain with blood." The original Hebrew word Lev 24:17) was nakah, which meant "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to strike," "to hit," and, even, "to chastise."

ὃς (pron sg masc nom) "Whoever"  is hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

δ (partic) "And" 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").

ἂν (conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

φονεύσῃ, (3rd sg aor subj act) "Shalt kill" is from phoneuo, which means "to kill," "to murder," "to be slain [passive], and "to stain with blood."

ἔνοχος (adj sg masc nom) "In danger" is from enochos, which means "held in by," "bound by," "liable to," "subject to," "guilty," and "liable to a penalty for."

ἔσται (3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall be" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai.")

τῇ  (article sg fem dat) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

κρίσει. (noun sg fem dat) "Judgment" is from krisis, which means "separating," "distinguishing," "judgment," "choice," "election," "trial," "dispute," "event," and "issue."

KJV Analysis: 

Ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

have -- (WW) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verbs here. However, this word is in the form indicating that it is likely, so a "should" or "might" should appear here.

heard -- "Heard" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.  It is the most common verb that Christ uses meaning "to hear." It also means "to listen" and "to understand."

that - The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

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

was -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "was" in the Greek source. The verb could be the simple past.

said--  (CW) The verb translated as "it was said," means "to pronounce," "to mention," " "to announce," "to proclaim,"   and, in the passive as used here, "to be pronounced," "to be mentioned," "to be specified," "to be agreed," and "to be promised."

by  -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use:.  That preposition could be a  "to,"  "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at" or "on," depending on the context.

them of -- The word translated as "them of" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article.

old  time, -- The word translated as "old time" is an adjective that means "beginning" or "source" as an adjective and, as a noun, "the ancients" or "the beginning." It is in the form that usually means "to the ancients," but which can mean "by the ancients" making them an instrument. It could also mean "from the beginning" but Christ uses a different word to express that idea.

Thou -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

shalt -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

not  -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. The problem here is the this is not the negative usually used with prohibitions.

kill; -- The Greek verb translated as "shalt...kill" means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to stain with blood." The original Hebrew word from Lev 24:17 means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to strike," "to hit," and, even, "to chastise." The verb indicates something that might happen at some point in time. It is not a commandment. It is in the singular, that is, addressed to one person.

and -- (WW) The key word here is Greek particle translated as "and"is usually translated as "but" because it joins adversarial statements. More importantly, this how Jesus uses this word, to set up a contrast. This means that we have to understand how this second part of the verse is a contrast. The word can also be translated as "however" because it always appears in the second position of the phrase it modifies.

whosoever -- The word translated as "whosoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

untranslated "when"-- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

kill -- The Greek verb translated as "kill" means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to stain with blood." The verb indicates something that might happen at some point in time. It is not a commandment. It is in the third person,

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 -- The "shall be" here is the future form of the verb "to be." It is in the future tense, but it a form where the person acts on or for themselves. "Is themselves

in danger -- The Greek word translated as "in danger," primarily means being "bound" or "tied" but also has the sense of "obligated" to something.

of -- This word "of" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, 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. 

judgment: -- Finally, the Greek word translated as "judgment" has the general meaning of a decision point. However, it also has the meaning of "separating," "choice," "dispute," "event," or "issue." This word is our source of the word "crisis." When referring to the legal proceedings, it means "a trial." However, it is introduced by a definite article, "the decision." It is a form that has a lot of uses in Greek, but the only ones the work well here declare a purpose, "for the decisions" or describe an instrument, "by the decision."

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "have" means "should."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "was" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "said" is not one of the common Greek words for said, but one that means "announce" or "mention."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shalt" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" means "but."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.

NIV Analysis: 

You -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

have -- (WW) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verbs here. However, this word is in the form indicating that it is likely, so a "should" or "might" should appear here.

heard -- "Heard" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.  It is the most common verb that Christ uses meaning "to hear." It also means "to listen" and "to understand."

that - The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

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

was -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "was" in the Greek source. The verb could be the simple past.

said--  (CW) The verb translated as "it was said," means "to pronounce," "to mention," " "to announce," "to proclaim,"   and, in the passive as used here, "to be pronounced," "to be mentioned," "to be specified," "to be agreed," and "to be promised." This is an uncommon verb for Christ to use to refer to simply saying or speaking, used primarily in the "commandment updates" of this section. There are three other verbs that are commonly used to mean "to say," "to speak," and "to tell." This verb is a more serious meaning, "to proclaim" or "to pronounce," and a lighter meaning "to be mentioned" and "to be pronounce." However, Jesus often uses more unusual words for humorous effect, which seems to the case here.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use:.  That preposition could be a  "to,"  "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at" or "on," depending on the context.

the  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article.

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

long ago -- The word translated as "long ago" is an adjective that means "beginning" or "source" as an adjective and, as a noun, "the ancients" or "the beginning." It is in the form that usually means "to the ancients," but which can mean "by the ancients" making them an instrument. It could also mean "from the beginning" but Christ uses a different word to express that idea.

You -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

not -- The "not" here is the "not" expressing an opinion, not a fact, that usually has the sense of "you don't want," but it is also the negative used in prohibitions. There is an implicit idea of an opinion regarding making a choice. Strangely enough, this is not the negative normally used for prohibitions.

murder; -- The Greek verb translated as "shalt...kill" means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to stain with blood." The original Hebrew word from Lev 24:17 means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to strike," "to hit," and, even, "to chastise." The verb indicates something that might happen at some point in time. It is not a commandment. It is in the singular, that is, addressed to one person.

and -- (WW) The key word here is Greek particle translated as "and"is usually translated as "but" because it joins adversarial statements. More importantly, this how Jesus uses this word, to set up a contrast. This means that we have to understand how this second part of the verse is a contrast. The word can also be translated as "however" because it always appears in the second position of the phrase it modifies.

anyone -- The word translated as "anyone" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

untranslated "when"-- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

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

murders -- The Greek verb translated as "murders " means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to stain with blood." The verb indicates something that might happen at some point in time. It is not a commandment. It is in the third person,

 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 -- The "shall be" here is the future form of the verb "to be." It is in the future tense, but it a form where the person acts on or for themselves.

subject -- The Greek word translated as "subject," primarily means being "bound" or "tied" but also has the sense of "obligated" to something.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

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

judgment: -- Finally, the Greek word translated as "judgment" has the general meaning of a decision point. However, it also has the meaning of "separating," "choice," "dispute," "event," or "issue." This word is our source of the word "crisis." When referring to the legal proceedings, it means "a trial." However, it is introduced by a definite article, "the decision." It is a form that has a lot of uses in Greek, but the only ones the work well here declare a purpose, "for the decisions" or describe an instrument, "by the decision."

NIV Translation Issues: 

9
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "have" means "should."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "was" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "said" is not one of the common Greek words for said, but one that means "announce" or "mention."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "people" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" means "but."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "judgment" is not shown in the English translation.

3rd Analysis: 

You -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

have -- (WW) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verbs here. However, this word is in the form indicating that it is likely, so a "should" or "might" should appear here.

heard -- "Heard" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.  It is the most common verb that Christ uses meaning "to hear." It also means "to listen" and "to understand."

that - The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

our -- (WW) The word translated as "our" is the Greek definite article, "the," which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article.

ancestors -- (WF) The word translated as "long ago" is an adjective that means "beginning" or "source" as an adjective and, as a noun, "the ancients" or "the beginning." It is in the form that usually means "to the ancients," but which can mean "by the ancients" making them an instrument. It could also mean "from the beginning" but Christ uses a different word to express that idea. This word is not a subject but an indirect object.

were --  There is nothing that can be translated as "was" in the Greek source. The verb could be the simple past.

told --  (CW) The verb translated as "told," means "to pronounce," "to mention," " "to announce," "to proclaim,"   and, in the passive as used here, "to be pronounced," "to be mentioned," "to be specified," "to be agreed," and "to be promised."

You -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

must -- (WW) This verb in not in a form that "must" happen, but the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. The problem here is the this is not the negative usually used with prohibitions.

murder; -- The Greek verb translated as "shalt...kill" means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to stain with blood." The original Hebrew word from Lev 24:17 means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to strike," "to hit," and, even, "to chastise." The verb indicates something that might happen at some point in time. It is not a commandment. It is in the singular, that is, addressed to one person.

untranslated "but"-- (MW) The untranslated word  "but" joins adversarial statements. More importantly, this how Jesus uses this word, to set up a contrast. This means that we have to understand how this second part of the verse is a contrast. The word can also be translated as "however" because it always appears in the second position of the phrase it modifies.

If . -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

you -- (WW) The word translated as "you" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

commit murder -- The Greek verb translated as "commit murder" means "to kill," "to murder," and, more generally, "to stain with blood." The verb indicates something that might happen at some point in time. It is not a commandment. It is in the third person,

you -- (WW) The word translated as "you" here is from the third-person singular form of the verb.

are -- (WT) The "are" here is the future form of the verb "to be." It is in the future tense, but it a form where the person acts on or for themselves.

subject -- The Greek word translated as "subject," primarily means being "bound" or "tied" but also has the sense of "obligated" to something.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

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

judgment: -- Finally, the Greek word translated as "judgment" has the general meaning of a decision point. However, it also has the meaning of "separating," "choice," "dispute," "event," or "issue." This word is our source of the word "crisis." When referring to the legal proceedings, it means "a trial." However, it is introduced by a definite article, "the decision." It is a form that has a lot of uses in Greek, but the only ones the work well here declare a purpose, "for the decisions" or describe an instrument, "by the decision."

3rd Issue Count: 

13
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "have" means "should."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "our" means "the."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "ancestors" is not a subject by an indirect object.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "told" is not one of the common Greek words for "said," but one that means "announce" or "mention."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "must" means "should."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "you" should be "who."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The next word translated as "you" should be "he."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "are" indicates the present tense, but the tense is the future.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "left" is not an active verb but a participle, "leaving."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" means "but."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "judgment" is not shown in the English translation.

evidence: 

21.00

Front Page Date: 

Apr 27 2020