Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. [And they were exceeding sorry.]

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Not only are they going to destroy him, but, on the third daylight, he is also going to be awakened and [at that time] they will be very sorry.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is interesting because the last part ("And they were exceeding sorry.") could be Christ comment about those who would killed him or a comment by the Gospels authors about the apostles hearing Christ say this. Most Bibles follow the KJV, but below are the reasons why they could be wrong. I suspect these are Christ's words because he uses the same very uncommon phrase in Mat 18:31.

The word used for "kill" means specifically being condemned to death. The term used for "raise" means being awaken and roused from sleep.

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, as here, is often best translated as "not only...but also."

"To kill" is translated from a Greek word that means "destroy" more than just "kill" because the base word means "slay." The Greek source has the sense of "kill off," that is, destroy in a more thorough way. When we talk about "destroying" someone, we use it to mean destroying their reputation, the strength of their spirit and ideas as well as physically killing them. This is more the sense here.

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

The word for "he shall be raised again" means "awaken" and is the same word Christ uses to describe God raising the dead and false prophets arising.

There is no Greek word for "again" here.

The final phrase begins below.

"They were...sorry" is from a verb that means "to grieve", "to vex", "to cause pain", "to cause grief," and, in the passive, "to be grieved", "to be distressed," and "to be in pain." It is in the passive here. What is interesting is the tense, which isn't the future, as it "he shall be raised" but nor is it in the past tense ("they were...sorry"). It is in a tense called the aorist which can refer to the past, present, or future, but refers to a particular point in time.

So, who is sorry, the apostles, upon hearing of Christ's death and resurrection, or those killing Christ when he is raised from the dead? Usually, this tense is used within the context of a particular event. The author doesn't refer to a specific time when Christ said this, other than generally when they were staying in Galilee. The point at time that Christ is clearly referring to is when he is raised from the dead. Also, when the subject is indicated by the verb, the noun to which is refers is, like a pronoun in English, identified by the proximity of the noun. The pronoun or verb refers to the nearest possible noun that matches it in form. The subject for the last several phrases has been those to whom Christ was handed over and who killed him.

Also, why would the apostles be sad when Christ says both that he will be destroyed and that he will also be awakened? Confused, perhaps, but why sad?

On the other hand, Christ saying that people that killed are going to be very sorry after he arises from the dead seems very much like his humor.

Greek Vocabulary: 

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.

"ἀποκτενοῦσιν (verb 3rd pl fut ind act) "To kill" is from apokteino, which means "to kill," and "to slay." It combines the word for "to slay" (kteino) with the proposition, apo, indicating separation, meaning "from" or "away from."but it is a stronger form than the normal verb kteino. It is more like our "destroy."

αὐτόν, (adj sg masc acc) "Him" 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 "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.

τῇ (article sg fem dat) "The" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from it by the number.

τρίτῃ (adj sg fem dat) "Third" is from tritos. which is the Greek word for "third" meanig both the third in an order and the fraction one third.

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)." --

ἐγερθήσεται. (verb 3rd sg fut ind pass) "Arise" is from egeiro, which means "to awaken", "to stir up," and "to rouse."

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.

ἐλυπήθησαν (verb 3rd pl aor ind pass) "They were...sorry" is from lypeo, which means "to cause harm", "to cause grief," "to vex", "to cause pain," and, in the passive, "to be grieved", "to be distressed," and "to be in pain."

σφόδρα. "Exceedingly" is from sphodra, which means "very", "very much," and "exceedingly."

Wordplay: 

This verse ends with  humorous aside. 

Related Verses: