Matthew 5:27 ...You shall not commit adultery:

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, adultery and sacrifice

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You heard that it was proclaimed, "No, you should not debauch."

KJV : 

Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:​

NIV : 

Matthew 5:27 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.

3rd Translation: 

Matthew 5:27  You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The"you have heard it said" is the second iteration of this catchphrase. It is repeated four more times. Such repetition is a form of humor but the phrase also uses an uncommon, exaggerated word, which is another form of humor. The verb translated as "said/told" is uncommon for Jesus to use except in this phrase.  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.

The word "adultery" was heard differently in Jesus's time than our own. We know this because Jesus often describes the current generation (or a type of people) as "adulterous.." We assume Jesus wasn't saying that they were cheating on their wives. The broader concept of the time was that "adultery" is anything that is corrupting, as we might say "adulterating." However, the concept is more specific than that. It focuses on activities that violate vows. In , Jesus connects "adultery" and "divorce" to Jeremiah 3:8, but that verse is written in the voice of God "divorcing" Israel for its "adultery. The central vow in human relationships is the marriage vow.  Violating such vows betrays the one to whom the vow is made and corrupts the person breaking it. In Jewish law, unmarried women could not commit adultery. A vow is required. Using this idea, Jesus connects adultery with the destruction of trust, faithlessness, rather than sex. Therefore, the word is also used to refer to idolatry. Idolatry violates a vow to God.

Wordplay: 

 A play of the two meanings of adultery, sexual cheating and religious cheating. 

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 (3rd sg aor ind pass) "It was said" is from ero, which means "to say," "to speak,"" "to proclaim," "to announce," "to tell," "to order," "to be pronounced [passive]," "to let suffice [passive]," "to have been given orders," "to be mentioned," and "to be specified, agreed, or promised."

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.

μοιχεύσεις.” (2nd sg aor subj act) "Commit adultery" is moicheuo, which means "commit adultery with a woman, " "to debauch a woman," and generally, "to commit adultery with anyone." It is a metaphor for "worshiping idolatrously."

KJV Analysis: 

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

have -- (WT) 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.

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

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 them of old time,  -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "by them of old time, " in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

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.

commit adultery:​ -- The  Greek verb translated as "commit adultery" means "to debauch a woman" that is, to degrade a person by having sex outside of marriage. The concept is used more broadly to mean degrading people in general, specifically by encouraging them to break their vows.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "said" is not one of the common Greek words for said, but one that means "announce" or "mention."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "by them of old time, " existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shalt" does not mean the future tense.

NIV Analysis: 

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

have -- (WT) 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.

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

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."

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 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.

commit adultery:​ -- The  Greek verb translated as "commit adultery" means "to debauch a woman" that is, to degrade a person by having sex outside of marriage. The concept is used more broadly to mean degrading people in general, specifically by encouraging them to break their vows.

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • However, this word is in the form indicating that it is likely, so a "should" or "might" should appear here.
  • 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 "shall" does not mean the future tense.

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."

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

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

says --  (CW) The verb translated as "says," 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.

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.

commit adultery:​ -- The  Greek verb translated as "commit adultery" means "to debauch a woman" that is, to degrade a person by having sex outside of marriage. The concept is used more broadly to mean degrading people in general, specifically by encouraging them to break their vows.

3rd Issue Count: 

5
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "have" means "should."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "for them" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the commandment" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "says" is not one of the common Greek words for said, but one that means "announce" or "mention."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.

evidence: 

26.50

Front Page Date: 

May 3 2020