Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones...

KJV Verse: 

Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

And who when he might  trip up one of these young of those trusting. Good it is for him especially if it is hanging, a millstone of an ass, around that neck of his and he had been tossed into the sea.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

 The key word here translated as "offend" is a "Greek" word that is found only in the Bible. It refers to putting a stumbling block before someone so that they trip and thereby offending them. In English, we would simply say, "trips you up." Though it doesn't sound like it in English translation, Jesus uses this word to make light of his affect on the thinking of others. 

This version is like Matthew, but different from Luke version, but all have significant differences in the Greek that are unlikely to be from differences in memory alone. Until this point, the Gospel of Mark has used the same words as Matthew but this verse is more like the version in Luke. In the versions from Mat 18:6 or Luke 17:2 Iuses a number of different Greek words to express the similar ideas. This is hidden in English where the differences are minimized. In the previous version, the words for "millstone" means specifically "millstone of an ass," while the words here means simply "stone of a mill. "

The difference demonstrates the natural differences in the say an idea might be expressed at different times. Despite these inevitable personal differences in language, not that almost all of Matthew and Mark agree closely until this point in Mark. This is the only verse with a significant difference in vocabulary thus far.

KJV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

whosoever -- The word translated as "who" 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 -- 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".

shall -- This is from the form of the following verb, but it doesn't indicate the future tense. It indicates the mood of possibility, something that might happen.

offend -- "Offend" is a verb that means means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize."

one -- The Greek word translated as "one thing" means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

of -- This is from the form of the following article and noun.

these  -- - "These" is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar." This word follows the noun while the article precedes it.

little -- "Little" is an adjective that means "small", "little", "unimportant", "petty", "trivial", "slight," and "young." It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article).

ones -- The "one" is from the Greek definite article before the adjective, which  takes the meaning of "the one." Here, it precedes the above adjective and is plural so "ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

that -- The "that" is from the Greek definite article, which  takes the meaning of "the ones" because it comes before a verbal adjective.  The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

believe -- The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. It is not an active verb, as translated, but an adjective form, "beleiving."

in -- This word is not in the Greek.

me, -- This word is not in the Greek.

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

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." 

better -- The word translated as "better" means "good", "beautiful", "noble," or "of good quality."  See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."  The word translated as "well" means, as an adverb, "well", "rightly",  "happily",  "thoroughly", "altogether", and "deservedly".   "It would be better" in Matthew is from a word that means "to be useful" while the word used here means "beautiful" and "good." In Luke, another Greek word is used meaning "to pay back". 

for -- This comes from the case of the following pronoun.

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." 

that -- The "that" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

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.

millstone -- "Millstone" is an uncommon noun for Jesus that means "mill", "millstone", "grinder", "molar," and, generally, "stone." It is used only in this verse and its parallels in the other Gospels.

untranslated -- Untranslated is another uncommon noun that means "of an ass," and "for an ass." This is the animal the pulls the grindstone. It is used only in this verse by Jesus and its parallel in Matthew.

were -- This is from the passive voice of the verb, but the tense is wrong. The verb is not the past but the present.

hanged -- "Hanged" is another uncommon word that means "to lie around", "have round one," and "wear." It metaphorically means to have no advantage.It is used by Jesus  only in this verse and its parallel in Luke.

about -- The Greek word translated as "about" means It means "around" when referring to a place, but, in this context, it means "about", "concerning", "on account of," and "in regard to." This is the way Christ usually uses it.

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

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  It appears after the word "neck" so "of his." 

neck,--  "Neck" is another uncommon word for Jesus that means "neck", "parts resembling a neck," and "throat." It is used in this verse, its parallels, and one other verse in Luke.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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

were -- This is from the tense of the verb, an action completed in the past. This is strange because the "hang" verb is the present tense.

cast  -- -- The word translated as "cast" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ often uses this word in the same way we use "dump" in English. In dice, it means "to throw" the dice, but with the sense of being lucky. The word for "cast" in Matthew means specifically "to be thrown in the sea" or "downed" while here it is the more common "thrown" or "tossed" that Jesus always uses.  Luke uses another unique word mean "throw" or "hurl" despite the word for "toss" being one of Jesus's favorite words, even in Luke's Gospel.

into -- The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

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"). See this article for more. 

sea. "The sea" is the noun that means also means "sea" or "sea water."

 

 

Matthew also renders it as "the depths of the sea" rather than simply the "sea" as here. The Luke version is even more different, being rephrase to have a different "punchline".

Greek Vocabulary: 

Καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is 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."

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

ἂν (conj)Untranslated 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.

σκανδαλίσῃ [uncommon]( verb 3rd sg aor subj act ) "Shall offend" is skandalizo, which means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize."

ἕνα  (noun sg masc acc) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

τῶν (article pl masc gen) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

μικρῶν  ( adj pl masc gen) "Little ones" is from mikros, which means "small", "little", "unimportant", "petty", "trivial", "slight," and "young."It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children. It is a change from the word used in the previous verses to refer to children, paidion, which means "a young child."

τούτων  (adj pl masc gen) "These" is from toutou, which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar."

τῶν (article pl masc gen) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

πιστευόντων,  (part pl pres act masc gen) "that believe" is from pisteuo, which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person", "to believe in someone's words", "to comply", "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing."

καλόν (adj sg neut acc) "Better" is from kalos (kalos), which means "beautiful", "good", "of fine quality", "noble," and "honorable." It is most often translated as "good" juxtaposed with "evil" in the New Testament, but the two ideas are closer to "wonderful" and "worthless", "noble" and "base."

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen",  and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "For him" is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

μᾶλλον (adv) "Much" is mallon, which is the comparative form of mala which means "very", "exceedingly", "more certainly", "especially," "more", "to a greater degree," and "rather."

εἰ  (conj) "That" is ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

περίκειται   [uncommon]( verb 3rd sg pres ind mp ) "Were hanged" is from perikeimai, which means "to lie around", "have round one," and "wear." It metaphorically means to have no advantage.

μύλος  [uncommon](noun sg masc nom) "Millstone" is from mylos, which means "mill", "millstone", "grinder", "molar," and, generally, "stone."

ὀνικὸς [uncommon](adj sg masc nom) Untranslated is onikos, which means "of an ass," and "for an ass."

περὶ (prep) "About" is from peri, which means "round about (Place)", "around", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond," and "all around."

τὸν (article sg masc acc) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

τράχηλον [uncommon] (noun sg masc acc) "Neck" is from trachêlos, which means "neck", "parts resembling a neck," and "throat."

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." -

καὶ (conj) "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."

βέβληται ( verb 3rd sg perf ind mp epic ) "Were cast" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall", "to put", "to pour," or "to cast."

εἰς  (prep) "Into" is 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)."

τὴν (article sg fem acc)) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

θάλασσαν. (noun sg fem acc) "The sea" is from thalassa, which means also means "sea" or "sea water."

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

As discussed in that earlier version, Christ uses the sea and stone as metaphors for the temporary world while children as metaphors for the spiritual world. This contrast is even clearer here in Mark because the difference between the spiritual and physical is the focus of the chapter.

In several places (Mat 25:28-30, Mat 24:50-51, Mat 22:13 Mat 13:50) Christ describes someone being thrown into the outer darkness. This is the same concept but rendered into a more tangible form.

Sep 19 2019