Matthew 15:17 Do you not yet understand,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 15:17 Do you not yet understand, that whatever enters into the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the toilet?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Do you really not understand the meaning? Everything bringing itself into an opening makes its way into internal emptiness and dumps itself out into the sewer.

 

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The KJV translation misses a lot here. This verse is a clarification of what Jesus said in Mat 15:11 about rules concerning eating and his response to his critics as "blind guides" in Mat 15:14. It follows on Mat 15:16 where the KJV translates as talking about a "lack of understanding" but the word translated here as "understand" is a completely different idea, for a good reason. All of the words here touch on the ideas of understanding ideas. The hidden meaning here has about consuming ideas as well as food, and not necessarily good ones, but it uses a lot of special language to tie together all of these verses in a way we cannot see in English translation.

KJV Analysis: 

The Greek word translated as "understand" means specifically "to perceive with the eyes," but later came to mean perceiving with the mind. However, it has a specific meaning pertaining to the meaning of words, which is the focus here. Of words, it means to "bear a certain sense," and "to mean. This is a rare word for Christ to use but it is perfect because it connects "sight" of the "blind guides" (Mat 15:14) with the meaning of words.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

The word translated as "whatsoever" is an adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. It is an adjective that modifies the word translated as "entereth into," which here is a noun so "everything entering into."

"Entereth into" is from a verb that specifically means "to lead or bring into," and which is usually translated as "enter." However, here it is not in the form of an adjective used as a noun where the subject acts on itself, so "the thing bringing itself into." Here, the "thing" is the meaning of words, not just the eating of forbidden foods.

"Mouth" is from the Greek word that means "mouth ""an opening," and "the foremost part" of something. For example, the blade of a weapon.It is much the organ of speech, eating, or simply any inlet or outlet.

"Goeth" is from a Greek verb that has three meanings 1) having the capacity for something, 2) making progress, and 3) making way or room for someone or something else. In English, we have not similar combination of ideas in one word so we have to focus on one or the other of this word's meanings to translate it, but the best understanding comes from holding all these ideas at once in our mind.

The word translated as "belly," means "intestinal cavity" (from the Greek word for "hallow") and means the belly, the intestines, and the womb. The word is also used to mean "excrement," which fills the hollow. However, "the belly" was also symbolically the home of the more animal desires, those for food, drink, and sex.

"Is cast out" is from a verb that means to "throw out." Depending on the context, it can mean "toss out", "turn out," or "take out." It is usually translated as "cast out" in the NT.

The word translated as "draught" which means "toilet" or "privy. It is a word that only appears in the NT here to describe a place for dumping human waste. A lot of Bible translations skip this word because...

Here, what is good, food, becomes something useless, waste. What is originally sought out is rejected. Remember, Christ doesn't use words like "bad" or "evil." The words that are translated into English that way are really words that mean "useless" and "worn out."

Greek Vocabulary: 

οὐ "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. -

νοεῖτε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) Understand" is from noeo, means "perceive by the eyes", "observe," "to perceive with the mind", "apprehend", "think out, "devise", "consider", "reflect, and, of words, to "bear a certain sense", "mean."

 

ὅτι "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." -- In the Greek source, this is a word here that means "that" or "because." So what follows is a dependent clause, indicating either what they were "saying" or why they were saying it.

πᾶν (adj sg neut nom) "Whatsoever" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether." --

τὸ εἰσπορευόμενον (part sg pres mp neut nom) "=" color: rgb(158, 11, 15);">Entereth into" is from eisporeuomai, which means "lead in", "go into," and "enter." It combines "eis," which means "in" with poreuomai, which means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed."

 

εἰς "Into" 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)." --

τὸ στόμα (noun sg neut acc) "The mouth" is stoma, which means "mouth", "the organ of speech", "speech", "utterance, ""any outlet or entrance," and "the foremost part" of something. For example, the blade or point of a weapon is a stoma.

εἰς "Into" 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)." --

τὴν κοιλίαν (noun sg fem acc) "Belly" is from the Greek, koilia, which means the "cavity within the body" (from the Greek, koilos, for "hollow"). It means both the belly, the intestines, and the womb. The word is also used to mean "excrement," which fills the hollow.

χωρεῖ (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Goeth" is from choreo, which means "to leave room for another", "to make way", "to withdraw", "to go forward", "to make progress", "to advance", "to proceed," [of money] "to be spent", "to have room for", "to hold", "to contain," and "to be capable of."

 

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."

εἰς "Into" 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)."

ἀφεδρῶνα (noun sg masc acc) "Draught" is from aphedron, means "toilet" or "privy." It means literally "separate from sitting." A similar word was used in the Greek translation of Lev 12:5 to describe the separation of a woman bleeding after childbirth. The source seems to be a vulgar Macedonian word.

ἐκβάλλεται; (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Is cast out" is from ekballo and means "throw out", "cast out of a place,"and "expose." Ek means "out of", "from," and "away from." Ballo is "to throw" or "to scatter."

 

 

 

Wordplay: 

All of the words chosen here have specific meanings relating to understanding words as well as eating food.

There is a repetition of "into" showing the sense the progression here, but the progression is more than the progression of food. It is also the progression of ideas. 

Related Verses: