Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I have come to send peace

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You all might not want to get accustomed to the idea that I show up/they show up to toss peace over this earth. I show up/they show up not to toss peace but a sword.

KJV : 

Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse in Greek can be legitimately translated in two opposite ways. The "I  come" verb can also mean "they come." The "they come" better fits into the larger context. Jesus practically starts the Sending of the Apostles with "beware of men" and the most recent section with "don't fear them."  This section could be taken as a commentary on the idea of "Pax Romana," peace through the sword. 

The translation of this verb as "I came" goes back to the Latin Vulgate, but it seems to reflect the beliefs of the "church militant" more than the teaching of Jesus.  This is not to argue that this is the wrong meaning. As always, my view is the Jesus chose his words carefully to create two different meanings.

The "I come" also doesn't fit the light-hearted aspect of the verse, which is hidden because many of its words are translated to make them fit better than the actual words used. The word translated as "think/suppose/imagine" means "get accustom" or "normalize." This is an uncommon word for Jesus to use and it begins the verse with a light-hearted feeling.

The word translated as "send/bring" actually means "cast" or "toss," which is a word with a light-hearted feel.  It is usually used with the phrase "casting out demons," which is more light "tossing out demons."   The image of "tossing peace over the earth" is clearly light-hearted, which is why the Biblical translators avoid it. This idea of "tossing" continues to the sword, where the word means "juggle."

NIV : 

Matthew 10:34  Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

NLT : 

Matthew 10:34 Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

Wordplay: 

The word "to send" really means to "toss " which, as in English, has the sense of throwing something, pouring something, creating something quickly or getting rid of something quickly. It also is the word used for "tossing" dice and so it is connected to luck. So "tossing" could mean "pouring out" peace on the earth" or "tossing away" peace on the earth. When he applies it to "the sword" its meaning changes, making it into a challenge like "drawing a sword" or the juggling of a sword, trusting the toss to fate.This actually sets up a play on "cutting" off play on words in the next verse, Matthew 10:35

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Μὴ (partic) "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

νομίσητε [4 verses](2nd pl aor subj act or verb 2nd pl fut ind act) "Think" is from nomizo, which means "to use by custom", "to get accustomed to", "to enact [for a legislator]", "to own", "to acknowledge", "to esteem", "to hold in honor," and "to believe."

ὅτι (adv/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."

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act or verb 3rd pl aor ind act ) "I have come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

βαλεῖν (verb aor/fut inf act attic) "Send" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall," "to cast," "to put", "to pour", "to place money on deposit", "push forward or in front [of animals]", "to shed", "to place", "to pay,"to throw [of dice,]" "to be lucky", "to fall", "to lay as foundation", "to begin to form", "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe."

εἰρήνην (noun sg fem acc) "Peace" is eirene, which means "time of peace," "national tranquility," "peace", "tranquility,""personal tranquility," and "harmony." It is the name for the goddess of peace. -

ἐπὶ (prep) "On" is from epi which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against." With a noun in the possessive, it means "upon", "on" but not necessarily of Place, "by (of persons)", "deep (with numbers)", "in the presence of", "towards", "in the time of," and "over (referring to a person of authority)." With a noun indirect object, it means of place: "upon", "on," or "over", of people: "against (in a hostile sense)," regarding a situation: "towards" or "in reference to," of an accumulation: "upon", "after", "addition to," and "besides," of position: "after", "behind", "in dependence upon," and "in the power of," of time: "by," and "after," and. in a causal sense: "of the occasion or cause", "of an end or purpose", "of the condition upon which a thing is done", "on condition that," and "of price." With the objective noun, it means of place: "upon or on to a height", "up to", "as far as", "a little way", "a little", "towards", "to," in hostile sense: "against," of extension: "over", "over (a space)," of time: "for", "during", "up to" or "till," in a causal sense: "of (the object)," for (this purpose)", "as regards", "according to," and "by (this cause)."

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." --

γῆν: (noun sg fem acc) "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.

οὐκ (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.

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act or verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "I am come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

βαλεῖν (verb aor/fut inf act) "Send" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall," "to cast," "to put", "to pour", "to place money on deposit", "push forward or in front [of animals]", "to shed", "to place", "to pay,"to throw [of dice,]" "to be lucky", "to fall", "to lay as foundation", "to begin to form", "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe."

εἰρήνην (noun sg fem acc) "Peace" is eirene, which means "time of peace," "national tranquility," "peace", "tranquility,""personal tranquility," and "harmony." It is the name for the goddess of peace. -

ἀλλὰ (adv/conj) "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." -- The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. "Still" or "however" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction, especially when it begins a sentence.

μάχαιραν. (noun sg fem acc) "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.

KJV Analysis: 

Do  -- (WF) This helping verb is added to make this a negative command, but the Greek is a statement about what could or should happen.

not -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used.

think -- (CW) The word translated as "think" is not a word that Jesus uses regularly that gets translated as "think." For a legislator, it means to enact a law, but that is not its primary meaning, which is "to be used by custom" and "to be accustomed to." It is the verb form of the Greek word translated as "law," which actually means "traditions," "norms," or "customary behavior".  It is a normal active verb a form indicating a possibility or something happening in the future. "You might be getting accustomed to" or "you are going to get accustomed to".

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact.

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

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the past tense. However, the form of the word is something that happens as some point in time, past, present, or future.

come -- The word translated as "I am come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "to underway" or "to show up". It is in a form that could mean "I have come" but it could also mean "they have come". The context doesn't really tell us which version is correct.

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

send -- (WW) The word translated as "to send" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ more frequently uses this word in the sense of to "cast out" or "throw out" with a different preposition, "out" instead of "upon". Though it can also mean "pour" or "let fall", which does work with "upon". It is not any of the words that Christ uses frequently that are translated as "send" or "put." This word is usually translated as "cast" in the NT and "toss" in the translations here. Christ uses it dozens of times in the Gospels and it always has the sense of tossing something, most commonly, for "casting out" demons. The one exception is when it is translated as "put" in John 18:11 where Christ tells Peter to "toss" or "let fall" his sword into his scabbard. This idea of throwing something through the air is also captured by the English words "launch" which also has the sense of "initiate" which is also a sense of this word.

peace  -- "Peace" is the Greek term that means "harmony between individuals and nations" and the general idea of safety, security, and prosperity. It is the opposite of the state of war. In Hebrew, the word for peace was used in salutations and as an inquiry as to one's health.

on -- (WW) The word translated as "on" means "on (a place)" with certain forms of nouns,  the noun's form here is that of an object, which eliminates its use as a place, but it can mean an extension "over (a space)" or a cause "for" this purpose. So, "over the earth" or "for the earth."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word 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. 

earth: The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, ground, or land.

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

came --  (WT) The word translated as "I came" is the same word in the same form as the "I have come" above. It  primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "to underway" or "to show up". Since the form could mean the past, present, or future, the clause "I show up/they show up" is more accurate in terms of tense. The context doesn't really tell us which version is correct. Given the idea of "Pax Romana" it is easy to think about this word being applied to the Romans.

not -- Another Greek word is translated as the second "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" often captures its specific meaning in the context.

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

send -- (WW)  The word translated as "to send" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ more frequently uses this word in the sense of to "cast out" or "throw out" with a different preposition, "out" instead of "upon". Though it can also mean "pour" or "let fall", which works with the "upon". It is not any of the words that Jesus uses frequently that are translated as "send" or "put." This word is usually translated as "cast" in the NT as in  "casting out" demons. However, this word is somewhat light-hearted in the sense of "toss." In John 18:11, Jesus uses this word to tell Peter to "toss" or "let fall" his sword into his scabbard. This idea of throwing something through the air is also captured by the English words "launch" which also has the sense of "initiate" which is also a sense of this word.

peace  -- "Peace" is the Greek term that means "harmony between individuals and nations" and the general idea of safety, security, and prosperity. It is the opposite of the state of war. In Hebrew, the word for peace was used in salutations and as an inquiry as to one's health.

, but -- The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. "Still" or "rather" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction.

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.

sword. -- The term for "sword" means a short sword, a weapon much more like a machete since the Greek is the source for the English word. It is specifically the type of weapon used for making sacrifices, by assassins, bodyguards, and jugglers. Jugglers is particularly interesting because of the word "toss". This is exactly the type of sword you toss around when juggling.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  •  
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" should not indicate a command.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "think" is not the normal verb that means "think" but one that means "get accustomed."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates a past tense, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "send" should be "toss" or "let fall."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "on" should be "over" or "for."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "came" indicates a past tense, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "send" should be "toss" or "let fall."

NIV Analysis: 

Do  -- (WF) This helping verb is added to make this a negative command, but the Greek is a statement about what could or should happen.

not -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used.

suppose -- The word translated as "suppose" means "to be used by custom" and "to be accustomed to." It is the verb form of the Greek word translated as "law," which actually means "traditions," "norms," or "customary behavior".  It is a normal active verb a form indicating a possibility or something happening in the future. "You might be getting accustomed to" or "you are going to get accustomed to".

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact.

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

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the past tense. However, the form of the word is something that happens at some point in time, past, present, or future.

come -- The word translated as "I am come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "to underway" or "to show up". It is in a form that could mean "I have come" but it could also mean "they have come". The context doesn't really tell us which version is correct. It is easy to imagine this verse being asked about him or about the Romans.

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

bring -- (WW) The word translated as "to bring" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ more frequently uses this word in the sense of to "cast out" or "throw out" with a different preposition, "out" instead of "upon". Though it can also mean "pour" or "let fall", which does work with "upon". It is not any of the words that Christ uses frequently that are translated as "send" or "put." This word is usually translated as "cast" in the NT and "toss" in the translations here. Christ uses it dozens of times in the Gospels and it always has the sense of tossing something, most commonly, for "casting out" demons. The one exception is when it is translated as "put" in John 18:11 where Christ tells Peter to "toss" or "let fall" his sword into his scabbard. This idea of throwing something through the air is also captured by the English words "launch" which also has the sense of "initiate" which is also a sense of this word.

peace  -- "Peace" is the Greek term that means "harmony between individuals and nations" and the general idea of safety, security, and prosperity. It is the opposite of the state of war. In Hebrew, the word for peace was used in salutations and as an inquiry as to one's health.

to -- (WW) The word translated as "on" means "on (a place)" with certain forms of nouns,  the noun's form here is that of an object, which eliminates its use as a place, but it can mean an extension "over (a space)" or a cause "for" this purpose. So, "over the earth" or "for the earth."

the  -- This word 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. 

earth: The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, ground, or land.

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

did -- (WT) This helping verb "did" indicates that the verb is the past tense. However, the form of the word is something that happens at some point in time, past, present, or future.

not  -- Another Greek word is translated as the second "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" often captures its specific meaning in the context.

come -- The word translated as "come" is the same as word in the same form as the "I come" above. It  primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "to underway" or "to show up". Since the form could mean the past, present, or future, the clause "I show up/they show up" is more accurate in terms of tense. The context doesn't really tell us which way version is correct. Given the idea of "Pax Romana" it is easy to think about this word being applied to the Romans.

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

bring-- (WW)  The word translated as "to bring" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ more frequently uses this word in the sense of to "cast out" or "throw out" with a different preposition, "out" instead of "upon". Though it can also mean "pour" or "let fall", which works with the "upon". It is not any of the words that Jesus uses frequently that are translated as "send" or "put." This word is usually translated as "cast" in the NT as in  "casting out" demons. However, this word is somewhat light-hearted in the sense of "toss." In John 18:11, Jesus uses this word to tell Peter to "toss" or "let fall" his sword into his scabbard. This idea of throwing something through the air is also captured by the English words "launch" which also has the sense of "initiate" which is also a sense of this word.

peace  -- "Peace" is the Greek term that means "harmony between individuals and nations" and the general idea of safety, security, and prosperity. It is the opposite of the state of war. In Hebrew, the word for peace was used in salutations and as an inquiry as to one's health.

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. "Still" or "rather" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction.

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.

sword. -- The term for "sword" means a short sword, a weapon much more like a machete since the Greek is the source for the English word. It is specifically the type of weapon used for making sacrifices, by assassins, bodyguards, and jugglers. Jugglers is particularly interesting because of the word "toss". This is exactly the type of sword you toss around when juggling.

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" should not indicate a command.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates a past tense, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "bring" should be "toss" or "let fall."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "to" should be "over" or "for."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "did" indicates a past tense, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "bring" should be "toss" or "let fall."

NLT Analysis: 

Do  -- (WF) This helping verb is added to make this a negative command, but the Greek is a statement about what could or should happen.

n't -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used.

imagine -- (WW) The word translated as "suppose" means "to be used by custom" and "to be accustomed to." It is the verb form of the Greek word translated as "law," which actually means "traditions," "norms," or "customary behavior".  It is a normal active verb a form indicating a possibility or something happening in the future. "You might be getting accustomed to" or "you are going to get accustomed to".

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact.

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

came -- (WT) The word translated as "I came" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "to underway" or "to show up". It is in a form that could mean "I have come" but it could also mean "they have come". The context doesn't really tell us which  version is correct. It is easy to imagine this verse being asked about him or about the Romans.

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

bring -- (WW) The word translated as "to bring" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ more frequently uses this word in the sense of to "cast out" or "throw out" with a different preposition, "out" instead of "upon". Though it can also mean "pour" or "let fall", which does work with "upon". It is not any of the words that Christ uses frequently that are translated as "send" or "put." This word is usually translated as "cast" in the NT and "toss" in the translations here. Christ uses it dozens of times in the Gospels and it always has the sense of tossing something, most commonly, for "casting out" demons. The one exception is when it is translated as "put" in John 18:11 where Christ tells Peter to "toss" or "let fall" his sword into his scabbard. This idea of throwing something through the air is also captured by the English words "launch" which also has the sense of "initiate" which is also a sense of this word.

peace  -- "Peace" is the Greek term that means "harmony between individuals and nations" and the general idea of safety, security, and prosperity. It is the opposite of the state of war. In Hebrew, the word for peace was used in salutations and as an inquiry as to one's health.

to -- (WW) The word translated as "on" means "on (a place)" with certain forms of nouns,  the noun's form here is that of an object, which eliminates its use as a place, but it can mean an extension "over (a space)" or a cause "for" this purpose. So, "over the earth" or "for the earth."

the  -- This word 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. 

earth: The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, ground, or land.

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

came -- (WT) The word translated as "came" is the same as the word in the same form as the "I come" above. It  primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "to underway" or "to show up". Since the form could mean the past, present, or future, the clause "I show up/they show up" is more accurate in terms of tense. The context doesn't really tell us which version is correct. Given the idea of "Pax Romana" it is easy to think about this word being applied to the Romans.

not  -- Another Greek word is translated as the second "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" often captures its specific meaning in the context.

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

bring-- (WW)  The word translated as "to bring" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Christ more frequently uses this word in the sense of to "cast out" or "throw out" with a different preposition, "out" instead of "upon". Though it can also mean "pour" or "let fall", which works with the "upon". It is not any of the words that Jesus uses frequently that are translated as "send" or "put." This word is usually translated as "cast" in the NT as in  "casting out" demons. However, this word is somewhat light-hearted in the sense of "toss." In John 18:11, Jesus uses this word to tell Peter to "toss" or "let fall" his sword into his scabbard. This idea of throwing something through the air is also captured by the English words "launch" which also has the sense of "initiate" which is also a sense of this word.

peace  -- "Peace" is the Greek term that means "harmony between individuals and nations" and the general idea of safety, security, and prosperity. It is the opposite of the state of war. In Hebrew, the word for peace was used in salutations and as an inquiry as to one's health.

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. "Still" or "rather" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction.

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.

sword. -- The term for "sword" means a short sword, a weapon much more like a machete, since the Greek is the source for the English word. It is specifically the type of weapon used for making sacrifices, by assassins, bodyguards, and jugglers. Jugglers is particularly interesting because of the word "toss". This is exactly the type of sword you toss around when juggling.

NLT Translation Issues: 

7
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" should not indicate a command.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "imagine" should be "get accustomed"
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "came" indicates a past tense, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "bring" should be "toss" or "let fall."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "to" should be "over" or "for."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "came" indicates a past tense, but the tense is something happening at a point in time past, present, or future.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "bring" should be "toss" or "let fall."

The Spoken Version: 

“So we don’t have to confront them? Good!” Said young Jamos. “After all, your message is a message of peace.”
“You all might not want to get accustomed to the idea that I have shown up to launch a peace upon the earth,” suggested the teacher. “I have not shown up to launch a peace but a sword.”
The crowd was registered surprised at this statement.

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

Mar 26 2020