Matthew 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send to you prophets...

KJV Verse: 

Mat 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; andsome of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

By this, see? I myself dispatch prophets to you, not only wise but academics. From them, you are going to destroy and stake. And from them, you are going to whip in your meeting places and hound from city to city.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is a prophecy that sounds like an exaggeration. It is certainly recorded as if it was delivered much more light-heartedly that it appears in translation. Among its interesting many features are terms that Christ usually uses in derision ("wise men", "academics") are put along side "prophets."

"Wherefore" is from two Greek words, meaning "through this" or "by this."

"Behold" is from an adverb meaning "Lo! Behold!" and "See there!" In a humorous vein, this about how Christ uses this like we use the phrase "tah-dah" in a magic show,

The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

The "send" here is a word that means "to send off" and "dispatch." It is the source of our word "apostle."

The Greek word translated as "prophets" means "one who speaks for God", "interpreter" and was the highest level of priesthood in Egypt. Christ uses it to refer not only to divine spokespeople but their books in the OT. It is from the verb that means "to shine before."

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

The phrase "wise men" comes from the adjective that means "skilled in practical matters", "clever," and "wise." In his only other use of this word (Mat 11:25 and parallel verse in Luke), Christ does not use it as a complement.

"Scribes" is translated from a Greek word describing anyone who used written records in their job, "secretary", "registrar,' and "scholar." However, Christ used it to name those scholars who specifically studied the Bible and wrote about its meaning. A modern equivalent would be "academics."

The Greek preposition translated as "some of" means "out of" or "from." So the phrase means "out of them."

"Ye shall 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.

"Crucify" mean literally "to stake," that is, to drive a stake into the ground. It is from the Greek word for "stake," though it is often translated as "cross" in the Gospels. The Greek verb refers to driving a stake in the ground and was commonly used to describe building a fence. The phrase often translated as "take up your cross" in the Gospels actually means "pull up your stakes," which could mean either fence posts or the stakes or poles that hold up a tent, which is more the source of the English phrase.

The "and" appears again followed again by the "some of them" phrase, which means "from them."

"Shall ye scourge" is translated from a Greek word that means "to whip" and "to flog."

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

The Greek word translated as "synagogues" is the source of our English word. It simply means an assembly or place of assembly. It comes from a Greek verb Christ uses commonly that means to "gather" or "bring together."

The word translated as "persecute" means both "chase away" and "seek after." The English idea "hound" comes close.

The Greek word for "city" meant not only a city but a nation, culture, or a society. It worked something like the word "community" today.

Greek Vocabulary: 

διὰ (prep) "Wherefore" is from dia (with touto below) hich means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between." --

τοῦτο (adj sg neut acc) "Wherefore" is from touto, (with dia above) which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]."

ἰδοὺ (adv or verb 2nd sg aor imperat) "Behold is from idou, which means "to behold", "to see," and "to perceive." It is in the form of a command, but acts as an adverbial phrase in this form meaning "Lo! Behold!" and "See there!' It is a form of the verb eido, which means "to see."

ἐγὼ (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself.

ἀποστέλλω (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Send" is from apostello, which means "to send off", "to send away," or "to dispatch."

πρὸς "Unto" is from pros, which means "on the side of", "in the direction of", "from (place)", "towards" "before", "in the presence of", "in the eyes of", "in the name of", "by reason of", "before (supplication)", "proceeding from (for effects)", "dependent on", "derivable from", "agreeable,""becoming", "like", "at the point of", "in addition to", "against," and "before." -

ὑμᾶς (pron 2nd pl acc) "You" is from humas which is the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." -- The "you" here is plural, indicating all Christ's listeners.

προφήτας (noun pl masc acc or noun sg masc nom verb 2nd sg fut ind act) "The prophets" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt", "interpreter," and "herald." It is a verb that means "to shine forth" It is a form of the verb, prophao. which means "to shine forth," or "to shine before." -

καὶ  (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."

σοφοὺς (adj pl masc acc or verb 2nd sg pres ind act) "Wise men" is sophos, which means "skilled at practical matters", "clever," and "wise. The idea is those with experience and common sense. It is a form of the verb sophizo, which means "make wise", "instruct", "become skilled," and "teach oneself."

καὶ (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."

γραμματεῖς: (noun pl masc acc) "Scribes" is from grammateus, which is generally a "secretary", "registrar", "recorder," and "scholar," but specifically means someone who uses gramma which is Greek for "drawings", "a letter," (as in an alphabet)"diagrams," and "letters" (as in correspondence).

ἐξ "Some of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from." --

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen ) "Them" 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."

ἀποκτενεῖτε (verb 2nd pl fut ind act) "Ye shall kill" is from 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." It is in the form of a present participle, "destroying" acting as a noun ("those destroying").

καὶ "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."

σταυρώσετε, (verb 2nd pl fut ind act) "Crucity" is from stauroo, which means "to stake", "to crucify," "to be fenced with poles" or "piles driven into a foundation." From the root,staros, which means "an upright pole or stake." This term was used for a stake (or "pale") used for impaling and with the Christian era, the cross.

καὶ "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."

ἐξ "Some of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from." -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen ) "Them" 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." -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same," and when used as a pronoun can mean "the true self" as opposed to appearances.

μαστιγώσετε (verb 2nd pl fut ind act) "Shalll ye scourge" is from mastigoo, which means "to whip", "to flog," and, in the passive, "to be whipped."

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

ταῖς συναγωγαῖς (noun pl fem dat) "Synagogue" is from synagoge, which means a "bringing together", "assembly", "place of assembly", "contracting", "collection", "combination", "conclusion," and "demonstration." It comes from a Greek word Christ uses commonly, sunagô, to mean "gather" or "bring together."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." -- The word translated as "your" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners.

καὶ "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."

διώξετε (verb 2nd pl fut ind act) "Persecuted" is from diôkô (dioko), which means "to cause to run", "to set into motion", "to pursue", "to chase [away]," to follow", "to seek after," "to be hurried (passive)," "to urge on", "to prosecute [legally]", " or "to drive."

ἀπὸ "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

πόλεως (noun sg fem gen) "City" is from polis, which means "city", "citadel", "one's city", "one's country", "community", "state", "state affairs," and "civic duties."

εἰς "To" 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)."

πόλιν: (noun sg fem acc) "City" is from polis, which means "city", "citadel", "one's city", "one's country", "community", "state", "state affairs," and "civic duties."

Wordplay: 

Christ describes prophets as "wise" and "academics," terms he has used commonly in derision.

The exaggerated words of being destroyed and crucified are followed by less serious tortures, being whipped and hounded.

The Spoken Version: 

"By this," he continued, referring to their murderous habits.

"Tah-dah!" he announced, using his hand to indicate his followers and the crowd as if revealing a vision.

"I dispatch prophets against you!" he said.

The crowd laughed.

"Not only wise," he said, indicating to most hard-headed of his followers, but then indicating the one that was always taking notes," But academics!"

The crowd laughed again because this was the term he used to criticize his accusers.

"From among them," he continued, indicating his followers and the crowd again. "You are going to destroy and stake!"

He spread his arms as one hung upon a Roman stake and hung his head as if dying, sticking out his tongue.

The crowd laughed again, but more nervously now, sensing a change in mood.

"And," he said, more seriously and again point to the crowd. "From among them."

The crowd grew silent in the pause.

You are going to whip in your meeting places," he said seriously. "And hound from city to city."

The crowd felt the threat settle on them.

 

Related Verses: 

Jul 4 2016