Matthew 15:32 I have compassion on the multitude,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 15:32 I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I am eating myself up on the mob. [This is] because they have kept with me here and now for three days not really eating anything. So I really don't want to set them free starving and at some time maybe they freely faint on the way.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Like so much of Matthew, there is a pun hear that is completely lost in the English translation. T=" color: navy;">here is a play on words here about setting hungry people free can cause them to fall down in their way of life.Christ says here that he is reluctant to release these people (in the sense of free them) because they will release themselves (in the sense of falling down) on the way home. There is also deeper meaning about letting people free when they are hungry because they they will get lost in their philosophy.

"I have compassion" is from a Greek verb which has been translated as to "feel pity, compassion, or mercy" in the New Testament, but it is from a noun that means "the inward parts," meaning your internal organs and the seat of emotion. It is also is related to another verb which means eating the innards of a sacrifice or prophesying from those innards. The verb is in a form where the subject acts on himself. In English, we might say, "eating my heart out" or "eating me up inside" to capture the same idea. The word was obviously chosen to reflect on the hunger situation.

The word translated as "on" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."

"Multitude" is from a noun which means "crowd," "mob," generally, "the masses," or "multitude" but which also means "trouble" and "annoyance." Our word "mob" really captures the idea best.

The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause. To break up long sentences, it often words best to translate it as "this is because."

"They continue with me" is from a verb that means "to wait", "to remain attached," and "to cleave to."

"Now" is from a word that means proximity in time, but also place. We would say "here and now."

The Greek word translated as "days" also means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime."

 

The Greek word translated as "nothing" is two words meaning "not...anything". The "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. The second word means "anything" or "anyone."

 

The Greek word translated as "I will" expresses consent and even a delight in doing something.

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

"Send them away" is from a verb which means "to loose from" and "to set free."

"Fasting" is from an adjective which means "not eating", "fasting", "causing hunger," and "starving."

"Lest" is from two words meaning "not a some time." The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. The second word means "when, ""at some time or other,", and "at some time in the future."

"Faint" is from a verb which also means "to set free", "to unloose," and "to relax." It is in the passive, so "to be set free", "to be faint," and "fail."

"The way" is from a noun means literally "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." It is interesting that a term joining a path with philosophy exists in all languages with which I am familiar.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Σπλαγχνίζομαι (verb 1st sg pres ind mp) "I have compassion" is from splanchnizomai , which means to "feel pity, compassion, or mercy." It only appears in the New Testament, but it is from the word splanchnon, which means "the inward parts," meaning your internal organs and the seat of emotion. It is also is related to splanchneuô, which means eating the innards of a sacrifice or prophesying from those innards.

ἐπὶ "On" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τὸν ὄχλον, (noun sg masc acc) "Multitude" is from ochlos, which means "crowd", "a throng," "populace" ( in political sense), "mob," generally, "the masses," or "multitude" but which also means "trouble" and "annoyance." Our word "mob" really captures the idea best.

ὅτι "Because" 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."

[ἤδη] (appears in some texts) "Now" is from ede, which means "already", "by this time", "forthwith", "after", "immediately," and "now." It means proximity in time, but also place.

ἡμέραι "Day" 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)."

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

προσμένουσίν (verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "They continue with me" is from prosmeno, which means "to wait", "to bide", "to remain attached", "to stand one's ground," and "to cleave to." It literally means "to remain in the presence of."

μοι (pron 1st sg masc/fem dat) "With me" is from moi, which means "I", "me", and "my". -- The "me" is in the dative, which has a number of uses in Greek.

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."

οὐκ "Nothing" (with tis below) 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.

ἔχουσιν (verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do." -- The word translated as "have" means "to possess" or "to keep" but it isn't used in the same way as a "helper" verb that the English "have" is.

τί (pron sg neut acc)"Nothing" (with ou above) is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

φάγωσιν: (verb 3rd pl aor subj act ) "To eat" is from phago (phago), which is a form of the word, phagein, which means to eat", "to eat up," and "to devour."

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."

ἀπολῦσαι (verb aor inf act) "Send...away" might be from apolyo which means "to loose from ""to set free", "to release", "to acquit", "to divorce [a wife]", "to do away with," and "to begin to count." In the passive, it means "to be released", "to be separated [combatants], ""to be brought forth [a child]," and "to be delivered [of a mother]," and "to be undone."

αὐτοὺς (adj pl masc acc)"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.

νήστεις (noun pl masc acc) "Fasting" is from nestis, which means "not eating", "fasting", "causing hunger," and "starving."

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.

θέλω, "I will" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose ""to maintain", "to hold", "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

μή "Lest" (with pote below) 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.

ποτε "Lest" (with me above) comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

ἐκλυθῶσιν (verb 3rd pl aor subj pass) "Faint" is from eklyo, which also means "to set free", "to unloose," and "to relax." In the passive, it means "to be set free", "to be faint", "fail," and "to be unserviceable (of things)."

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

τῇ ὁδῷ. "The way" is from hodos, which means literally "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." It is interesting that a term joining a path with philosophy exists in many languages from the west to the east.

 

Wordplay: 

Christ says he is eating himself inside at the idea of the starving masses. 

Christ says he doesn't want to set them free because they might be set free in the sense of falling faint. 

The term translated as "way" means "road" but it also means a way of life or philosophy.  So there is a play on words here about setting hungry people free can cause them to fall down in their way of life.

Related Verses: