Matthew 26:55 Have you come out as against a thief with swords

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

Jesus addresses the men sent to capture him.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Like against a thief, you show up out here! With machetes and clubs to collect me? For days within Temple, I sat myself down instructing and you did not conquer me.

My Takeaway: 

His opponents couldn't compete with his teaching.

KJV : 

Matthew 26:55 Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.​

NIV : 

Matthew 26:55 , “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are several uncommon words here. Surprisingly, the words translated as "take/capture" and "sat" are used either uniquely here or only in a parallel verse. The word "staves/club" is only used in three other verses.  These words have entertaining double meanings. In other words, this line has many of the hallmarks of Christ's humor. The word for "take/capture" also means "to enjoy together." The word "sat" also means to "preside." seems extremely light-hearted, especially given the context.

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "staves" means "clubs" or "blockheads" when referred to a person. 

The word translated as "to take/capture" means "to arrest" and "to enjoy together. 

The word translated as "temple" also means "sacrifice." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὡς (167 verses](adv)"As" is from hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that."

ἐπὶ [138 verses](prep) "Against" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against." --

λῃστὴν [10 verses](noun sg masc acc ) "Thief" is from lestes, which means "robber" or "pirate."

ἐξήλθατε [54 verses](verb 2nd pl aor ind act) "Are ye come out" is 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."

μετὰ [103 verses](prep) "With" is from meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward."

μαχαιρῶν [8 verses] (noun pl fem gen) "Sword" is machaira, which means a "large knife", "large dagger", "short sword," or "dirk." It specifically the type of weapon used for making sacrifices, by assassins, bodyguards, and jugglers.

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv)  "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."

ξύλων [4 verses](noun pl neut gen) "Staves" is from xylon, which means "firewood", "timber", in the singular, a "piece of wood", "log", "beam", "post"; "cudgel", "club", various wooden instruments of punishment" "wooden collar", "stocks", "gallows", "impaling stakes", "bench", "table",of live wood, "tree", and of persons, "blockhead".

συλλαβεῖν [2 verses](verb aor inf act) "To take" is from sullambano, which means "to collect", "to gather together", "to carry off", "to put together", "to sieze", "to apprehend", "to arrest", "to enjoy together", "to take with," and "to take part in."

με; [49 verses](pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my". -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

καθ᾽ [60 verses](prep)  Untranslated is kata, which means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

ἡμέραν [96 verses](noun pl fem gen or noun sg fem acc) "Daily" is from 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)."

ἐν [413 verses](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". --

τῷ [821 verses](article sg masc dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἱερῷ [7 verses](adj sg masc dat) "Temple" is from hieron, means which means "filled with or manifesting divine power", "holy," "consecrated", "under divine protection", "holy place", "sacred principle," and "supernatural." It also means "victim" or "sacrifice." It is related to the word used for "priest." Both come from the word hieros, which means "super-human", "mighty", "divine", "wonderful" and "holy."

ἐκαθεζόμην [1 verse](verb 1st sg imperf ind mid) "Sat" is kathezomai, which means "to sit down", "to take one's seat", "to occupy", "to remain seated," and "to preside."

διδάσκων [12 verses](part sg pres act masc nom) "Teaching" is from didasko, which means "to teach", "to instruct", "to indicate", "to explain," and "to give sign of."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv)  "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."

οὐκ [269 verses](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.

ἐκρατήσατέ [7 verses](verb 2nd pl aor ind act) "You laid...hold" is krateo, which means "to rule", "to hold sway", "to be the lord and master", "to conquer", "to prevail over", "to get the upper hand", "to seize", "to control," and "to command."

με.[49 verses] (pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

KJV Analysis: 

Are --  (CW) This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb, but the tense is "at some point in time," which could be past, present of future. Its use makes this a question, but it is unlikely to be a question since the verb does not begin the sentence.

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

come  - ​The word translated as "Come " means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." However, in the Greek, it appears later in the sentence, after the "as against a thief" phase. It is from the base word that seems to translate best as "show up" so "show up out here" works well.

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

as  - The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words. This is actually the first word of the verse.

against  - The word translated as "against" means "against", "at", "by" or "on."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

thief  - The word translated as "thief" means "robber" or "pirate." In the NIV Study Bible, they translated "thief" as "rebel," adding a bit of historical politics into the text.

with  - "With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

swords  - - The term for "swords" specifically means a short sword, a weapon like a machete, since the Greek word used here is the source for the term.

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

staves -  The Greek word translated as "staves" means "firewood", a "piece of wood", "cudgel", and various wooden instruments of punishment. It also means the "wood" of a treat or of a table. When referring to a person, it means "blockhead". If the people actually had clubs, it probably meant that, but the double meaning is fun.

for -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" in the Greek source. It was added because the previous verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

take  - - (CW) The Greek word translated as "to take"means "to collect","to carry off", "to put together", and "to arrest". However, it also means "to enjoy together" and "to take part in." Again, the double meaning is fun. It is not the common Greek word usually translated as "take."

me? -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the form of an object.

I-- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

sat -- (CW) The word translated simply as "sat" is not the simple word meaning "to sit" but a more complicated cousin that means "to sit down", "to remain" seated" and "to preside." It is in a form where the action recurs and where the subject acts on himself.

missing "myself" -- (WV)  The middle voice of the verb acts indicate that action is on the subject, so "sat myself."

missing "down" -- (MW)  Untranslated is the preposition that means "down", "opposite", "separately", "in accordance with", and so on, but when it refers to time, it means "for." Jesus is painting a humorous picture here.

daily  - The Greek word translated as "daily" also means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime." It could be either singular or plural, but if the preposition refers to time, it is plural.

with you -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "with you" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

teaching  - The word translated as "teaching" also means "explaining" but it from the same root as the word for "teacher" or "instructor."

in - - The word translated as "in" also means "on", "within", "with," or "among."

the - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

temple,- - "Temple" from a noun that means "holy place" and it related to the word used for "priest." However, it is also a noun that means "sacrifice" or "victim." That definition didn't work in the previous post, Matthew 12:5, because the reference was to being "in the temple." However, here it creates a perfect play on words.

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

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

laid  - The Greek verb translated as "laid hold" means "to rule", "to conquer", "to seize", "to control," and "to command." The English word "subdue" seems to fit best since it applies both to capturing him and debating with him in the temple.

no -- The Greek word translated as "no" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions.

hold -- This completes the idea of the verb.

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

me.  -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the form of an object.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "are" does not capture the specific meaning or form of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "for" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "take" is not the common word usually translated as "take."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "sat" is not the common word usually translated as "sat."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "myself" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "down" is not shown in the English translation.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "with you" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "on" doesn't exist in the source.

NIV Analysis: 

Am I leading a rebellion that  -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "am I leading a rebellion that " in the Greek source.

missing "as"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words. This is actually the first word of the verse.

missing "against"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "against" means "against", "at", "by" or "on."

missing "thief"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "thief" means "robber" or "pirate." In the NIV Study Bible, they translated "thief" as "rebel," adding a bit of historical politics into the text.

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 verb here.

come  - ​The word translated as "Come " means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." However, in the Greek, it appears later in the sentence, after the "as against a thief" phase. It is from the base word that seems to translate best as "show up" so "show up out here" works well

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

with  - "With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

swords  - - The term for "swords" specifically means a short sword, a weapon like a machete, since the Greek word used here is the source for the term.

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

clubs -  The Greek word translated as "staves" means "firewood", a "piece of wood", "cudgel", and various wooden instruments of punishment. It also means the "wood" of a treat or of a table. When referring to a person, it means "blockhead". If the people actually had clubs, it probably meant that, but the double meaning is fun.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

capture - - The Greek word translated as "capture" means "to collect","to carry off", "to put together", and "to arrest". However, it also means "to enjoy together" and "to take part in." Again, the double meaning is fun.

me? -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the form of an object.

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

missing "down" -- (MW)  Untranslated is the preposition that means "down", "opposite", "separately", "in accordance with", and so on, but when it refers to time, it means "for." Jesus is painting a humorous picture here.

day  - The Greek word translated as "day" also means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime." It could be either singular or plural, but if the preposition refers to time, it is plural.

I-- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

sat -- (CW) The word translated simply as "sat" is not the simple word meaning "to sit" but a more complicated cousin that means "to sit down", "to remain" seated" and "to preside." It is in a form where the action recurs and where the subject acts on himself.

missing "myself" -- (WV)  The middle voice of the verb acts indicate that action is on the subject, so "sat myself."

teaching  - The word translated as "teaching" also means "explaining" but it from the same root as the word for "teacher" or "instructor."

in - - The word translated as "in" also means "on", "within", "with," or "among."

the - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

temple,- - "Temple" from a noun that means "holy place" and it related to the word used for "priest." However, it is also a noun that means "sacrifice" or "victim." That definition didn't work in the previous post, Matthew 12:5, because the reference was to being "in the temple." However, here it creates a perfect play on words.

courts - -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "courts" 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").

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

did -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions.

arrest  - (CW) The Greek verb translated as "arrest" means "to rule", "to conquer", "to seize", "to control," and "to command." The English word "subdue" seems to fit best since it applies both to capturing him and debating with him in the temple. However, this word does not mean "arrest."

me.  -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the form of an object.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "am I leading a rebellion that " doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "as" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "against" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "thief" is not shown in the English translation.
  • 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).
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "every" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "down" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "sat" is not the common word usually translated as "sat."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "myself" as its object.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "court" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "arrest" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Christ seems to use "the sword" as a symbol for struggle, which is n necessary. Christ says explicitly that his larger purpose is not to bring peace but the sword in Matthew 10:34. As a symbol of struggle, it is the opposite of the cup, which is the symbol of acceptance. Christ makes this contrast between cup and sword explicit in John 18:11.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 1 2022