Matthew 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool:

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and hidden, vows and debts, continues a sentence began in Matthew 5:34.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Nor on the ground because a footstool is for those feet of His; nor in Jerusalem, because a city is for  the great king. 

My Takeaway: 

We should not make guarantees that create debts based on things that are not under our own control.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of a great one.

NIV : 

Matthew 5:35  or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

3rd Translation: 

Matthew 5:35 And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The "nor" that begins the verse is part of a set of these Greek words that are used together to form "neither...nor" constructions starting in the previous verse contrasting "throne" and "footstool." The final "neither" starts another "neither/nor" construction that continues in the  next verse. Whether sword high or low, the swearing creates a debt. The second "either" clause mimics the structure of the first, "a city is for the great."

This verse edits out the humorous repetition of the word "feet" that is left out of all English translations. This word "foot" has a cultural meaning that is lost here but its being edited out. Translating all the words would give you, "..a footstool is for those feet of his." Jesus only uses the word for "footstool one other time, in Luke 20:43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool. As we ca see from Mark, in Christ's culture, feet were the dirtiest part of the anatomy, which is why washing someone's feet was an act of humility.  It was the practice of conquerors to place their feet on their conquered enemies' necks. Putting something under one's feet is not raising it up, but putting it down. This "footstool" is the opposite of the "throne" in the previous verse.

Wordplay: 

 A contrast between the universe of God (heaven and earth) and the civilization of man (the city). 

This "footstool" here is the opposite of "throne" in the previous verse.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

μήτε (partic) "Nor" is from mete, which means "and not" and "neither...or." It is used mostly double. A variation on mede.

ἐν (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

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

γῇ,” (noun sg fem dat) "The earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

ὅτι (adv) "For" 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."

ὑποπόδιόν [2 verses](noun sg neut nom) "Footstool" is from hypopodion, which means "footstool" and "to reduce under one''s feet." It was the practice of conquerors to place their feet on their conquered enemies' necks.

ἐστιν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

τῶν (article pl masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ποδῶν (noun pl masc gen) Untranslated is pous, which means a "foot", "a talon [of a bird]," and the concept of "to trample" or "to tred upon."

αὐτοῦ:” (adj sg masc gen) "His" 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."

μήτε (partic) "Neither" is from mete, which means "and not" and "neither...or." It is used mostly double. A variation on mede.

εἰς (prep) "By" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

Ἰεροσόλυμα, (noun sg fem nom) "Jerusalem" is from Hierosolyma, which is the Greek word that denotes the city or its inhabitants.

ὅτι (adv) "For" 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."

πόλις” (noun sg fem nom) "City" is polis, which means "city," but at the time also indicated a country, a society, a country, and a community. It was generally thought of as the defining social unity for a people.

ἐστὶν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  "The" 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."

μεγάλου (adj sg masc gen) "Great" is megas, which means "big", "full-grown", "vast", "high", "great", "mighty", "strong (of the elements)","loud" (of sounds), "over-great (with a bad sense), "impressive" (of style), and "long" ( of days).

βασιλέως:” (noun sg masc gen) "King" is from basileus which means a "king", "chief", "prince", "lord", "master", "a great man," and "the first and most distinguished of any class." It is a form of the world used for "kingdom."

KJV Analysis: 

Nor -- This Greek word translated as "nor" means "neither," "nor,"and not." It is used mostly double as a "neither...nor."

by -- The word translated as "by" also means "in," and "on."This preposition is not usually the one Christ uses this with "the earth". He uses another Greek preposition meaning "upon" to describe positions on the ground. This preposition is used with the idea of "swearing" seen in the last verse.

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

earth; -- The Greek word translated as "earth" means the ground and the planet. For more on Christ's use of the Greek words translated as "world", "earth," and "heaven," see this article.

for -- The word translated as "for" means "since" or "because" as well.

it -- (WW) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. But the subject of this clause is clearly "footstool" below.

is -- The "is" is from the verb "to be". It has the sense of "it is" when used without a clear subject, but in those cases it commonly appears before the verb, not after, as it does here. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."  Here, the verb appears after the subject.

his -- (WP) The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun "feet" not "footstool" so "feet of his."  The "his" clearly refers back to God in the previous verse. \

footstool: -- The Greek word translated as "footstool" has one meaning as something that goes "under feet," which is its literal meaning. It is the subject of the phrase.  Jesusly uses this word twice. It has no article before it, nor a "his" modifying it, so the sense is that the planet is "a footstool" not "the footstool."

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. 

untranslated "feet"-- (MW) The untranslated word "feet" appears here.  The word translated as "feet" refers to human feet, birds's talons, and is a verb for trampling things. The form is a genitive with the sense of "for" or "of." 

neither -- This Greek word translated as "neither" means "neither," "nor,"and not." It is used mostly double as a "neither...nor."

by  -- (CW) The word translated as "by" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure. This is a different preposition than the previous two "by" phrases. The sense is more

Jerusalem;  -- The word "Jerusalem" denotes the city or its inhabitants. Two different forms of this word appear in the NT.

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

it -- (WW) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. But the subject of this clause is clearly "city" below.

is -- The "is" is from the verb "to be". It has the sense of "it is" when used without a clear subject, but in those cases it commonly appears before the verb, not after, as it does here. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."  Here, the verb appears after the subject.

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

city The Greek word for "city" means not only the city, but the state and the culture of a given city. It is the Greek source of our word "political."

of -- (CW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

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

great -- The word translated as "great" has a number of meanings reflecting the idea of the "best" in whatever context it is used.

King. -- The word translated as "King" captures a variety of ideas regarding the ruler of a region or "realm". Unlike the, regular word for "lord" or "master," it refers specifically to "owner" of a kingdom. The Greek word translated as "kingdom" has the same root. It is the same basic word as the word for "kingdom" but in a slightly different form, masculine instead of feminine.

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be "footstool."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "his" doesn't modify "footstool" but the untranslated "feet."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "feet" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "by" is a different word than the previous "by."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be "city."

NIV Analysis: 

or -- (WW) This Greek word translated as "or" means "neither," "nor,"and not." It is used mostly double as a "neither...nor."

by -- The word translated as "by" also means "in," and "on."This preposition is not usually the one Christ uses this with "the earth". He uses another Greek preposition meaning "upon" to describe positions on the ground. This preposition is used with the idea of "swearing" seen in the last verse.

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

earth; -- The Greek word translated as "earth" means the ground and the planet. For more on Christ's use of the Greek words translated as "world", "earth," and "heaven," see this article.

for -- The word translated as "for" means "since" or "because" as well.

it -- (WW) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. But the subject of this clause is clearly "footstool" below.

is -- The "is" is from the verb "to be". It has the sense of "it is" when used without a clear subject, but in those cases it commonly appears before the verb, not after, as it does here. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."  Here, the verb appears after the subject.

his -- (WP) The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun "feet" not "footstool" so "feet of his."  The "his" clearly refers back to God in the previous verse. \

footstool: -- The Greek word translated as "footstool" has one meaning as something that goes "under feet," which is its literal meaning. It is the subject of the phrase.  Jesusly uses this word twice. It has no article before it, nor a "his" modifying it, so the sense is that the planet is "a footstool" not "the footstool."

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. 

untranslated "feet"-- (MW) The untranslated word "feet" appears here.  The word translated as "feet" refers to human feet, birds's talons, and is a verb for trampling things. The form is a genitive with the sense of "for" or "of."

or -- (WW) This Greek word translated as "or" means "neither," "nor,"and not." It is used mostly double as a "neither...nor."

by  -- (CW) The word translated as "by" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure. This is a different preposition than the previous two "by" phrases. The sense is more

Jerusalem;  -- The word "Jerusalem" denotes the city or its inhabitants. Two different forms of this word appear in the NT.

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

it -- (WW) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. But the subject of this clause is clearly "city" below.

is -- The "is" is from the verb "to be". It has the sense of "it is" when used without a clear subject, but in those cases it commonly appears before the verb, not after, as it does here. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."  Here, the verb appears after the subject.

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

city The Greek word for "city" means not only the city, but the state and the culture of a given city. It is the Greek source of our word "political."

of -- (CW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

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

great -- The word translated as "great" has a number of meanings reflecting the idea of the "best" in whatever context it is used.

King. -- The word translated as "King" captures a variety of ideas regarding the ruler of a region or "realm". Unlike the, regular word for "lord" or "master," it refers specifically to "owner" of a kingdom. The Greek word translated as "kingdom" has the same root. It is the same basic word as the word for "kingdom" but in a slightly different form, masculine instead of feminine.

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "or" should be "nor."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be "footstool."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "his" doesn't modify "footstool" but the untranslated "feet."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "feet" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "or" should be "neither."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "by" is a different word than the previous "by."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be "city."

3rd Analysis: 

And -- (WW) This Greek word translated as "and" means "neither," "nor,"and not." It is used mostly double as a "neither...nor."

do not say, -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "do not say," in the Greek source.

By -- The word translated as "by" also means "in," and "on."This preposition is not usually the one Christ uses this with "the earth". He uses another Greek preposition meaning "upon" to describe positions on the ground. This preposition is used with the idea of "swearing" seen in the last verse.

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

earth; -- The Greek word translated as "earth" means the ground and the planet. For more on Christ's use of the Greek words translated as "world", "earth," and "heaven," see this article.

because -- The word translated as "because" means "since" or "because" as well.

the earth -- (IP) There is nothing here that can be translated as a repeat of "the earth" in the Greek source. The subject of this clause is clearly "footstool" below.

is -- The "is" is from the verb "to be". It has the sense of "it is" when used without a clear subject, but in those cases it commonly appears before the verb, not after, as it does here. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."  Here, the verb appears after the subject.

his -- (WP) The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun "feet" not "footstool" so "feet of his."  The "his" clearly refers back to God in the previous verse. \

footstool: -- The Greek word translated as "footstool" has one meaning as something that goes "under feet," which is its literal meaning. It is the subject of the phrase.  Jesusly uses this word twice. It has no article before it, nor a "his" modifying it, so the sense is that the planet is "a footstool" not "the footstool."

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. 

untranslated "feet"-- (MW) The untranslated word "feet" appears here.  The word translated as "feet" refers to human feet, birds's talons, and is a verb for trampling things. The form is a genitive with the sense of "for" or "of."

And -- (WW) This Greek word translated as "and" means "neither," "nor,"and not." It is used mostly double as a "neither...nor."

do not say, -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "do not say," in the Greek source.

By -- (CW) The word translated as "by" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure. This is a different preposition than the previous two "by" phrases. The sense is more

Jerusalem;  -- The word "Jerusalem" denotes the city or its inhabitants. Two different forms of this word appear in the NT.

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

Jerusalem (IW) There is nothing here that can be translated as a repeat of "Jerusalem" in the Greek source. The subject of this clause is clearly "footstool" below.

is -- The "is" is from the verb "to be". It has the sense of "it is" when used without a clear subject, but in those cases it commonly appears before the verb, not after, as it does here. When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."  Here, the verb appears after the subject.

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

city The Greek word for "city" means not only the city, but the state and the culture of a given city. It is the Greek source of our word "political."

of -- (CW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

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

great -- The word translated as "great" has a number of meanings reflecting the idea of the "best" in whatever context it is used.

King. -- The word translated as "King" captures a variety of ideas regarding the ruler of a region or "realm". Unlike the, regular word for "lord" or "master," it refers specifically to "owner" of a kingdom. The Greek word translated as "kingdom" has the same root. It is the same basic word as the word for "kingdom" but in a slightly different form, masculine instead of feminine.

3rd Issue Count: 

12
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "nor."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "do not say" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be "footstool."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "the earth" doesn't repeat in the source.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "his" doesn't modify "footstool" but the untranslated "feet."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "feet" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "neither."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "do not say" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "by" is a different word than the previous "by."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "Jerusalem" doesn't repeat in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be "city."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

In the contrasting of "throne" in the previous verse and "footstool" in this one, Jesus is saying that we cannot swear upon what is highest or lowest, the symbolic sense of "sky" and "earth."

evidence: 

34.00

Front Page Date: 

May 11 2020