Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Because just as he was, Jonah, in the hollow of a sea monster, three days and three nights, in this way,he is going to be, the child of the man, will be in the core of the ground, three days and three nights.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Here, Christ is highlighting his similarity to Jonah and also his differences.  This meaning of this verse is largely  lost in English translation because English doesn't have the same contrast between "the belly" and "the heart" that the Greek do. In Greek, both terms are used to indicate feeling, desires, and inclinations but with an important difference. Values or goals come from the belly or the heart.

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.“

The Greek word translated as "as" indicates a match with a person or thing

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

The verb "to be" appears twice, first in the past tense "was" and then as "shall be" in the future tense.

"Whale" is a common faulty translation of the Greek word that means "sea monster" or "huge fish."

"Belly" is from the Greek word meaning any abdomen, referring generally to any opening in the body. In Greek, the home of the most basic emotions, food, sex, and other forms of immediate gratification.  The Greeks considered the belly the source of our animal impulses and desires: food, sex, and other forms of immediate gratification.

"So" is translated from a Greek adv that means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense is "the child of the man." The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant". The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

"Heart" is the Greek word that means the physical heart and that Christ uses to mean the "center" of things. It is a metaphor for "deep" as in "the heart of the ocean," but Christ uses it to signify the center of the higher emotions: courage, righteous anger, patriotism, true affection, and wisdom, which the Greeks usually refer to as "chest" emotions as opposed to lower "belly" emotions.

The word translated as "of the earth" means both "dirt", "the ground", and "the physical planet." See this article for more on these words.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὥσπερ (adv) "As" is from hosper, which means "the very man who", "the very thing, which", "the same as", "wherefore," and "although."

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what." --

ἦν (3rd sg imperf ind act) "Was" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

ωνᾶς (proper noun) "Jonas" is from Ionas, the Greek word for the OT prophet Jonah.

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 κοιλίᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "Belly" is from the Greek, koilia, which means the "cavity within the body" (from the Greek, koilos, for "hollow"), "belly", "abdomen", "intestines,""excrement, ""womb," any hollow in the body, and "a hollow in the earth." From the Greek, koilos, for "hollow".

τοῦ κήτους (noun sg neut gen) "Whale's" is from ketos, which means "any sea monster," or "huge fish."

τρεῖς (numeral) "Three" is from treis, which means the number three.

ἡμέρας (noun pl fem acc) "Days" 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)."

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.

τρεῖς (numeral"Three" is from treis, which means the number three.

νύκτας,”  (noun pl fem acc) "Nights" is from nyx, which means "night", "midnight", and is a metaphor for darkness.

οὕτως (adv) "So" is from houtos, which means as an adverb "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

ἔσται (3rd sg fut ind mid) "Was" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." 

υἱὸς (noun sg masc nom) "The Son" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child."

τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

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 καρδίᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "Heart" is from kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire, ""purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

τῆς γῆς (noun sg fem gen) "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the ground" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

τρεῖς (numeral) "Three" is from treis, which means the number three.

ἡμέρας (noun fem pl acc) "Days" 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)."

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.

τρεῖς (number) "Three" is from treis, which means the number three.

νύκτας. (noun fem pl acc ) "Nights" is from nyx, which means "night", "midnight", and is a metaphor for darkness.

Wordplay: 

A play on the word for "belly", which actually means "hollow" (koilia)  with the word for "heart," which also means "center" (kardia). 

 

 

Related Verses: 

Aug 6 2017