Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad...

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.​

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Enjoy and shine! For great is your compensation in the skies. Because in this manner they might have hounded the visionaries before you.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are really no complete sentences that start this verse. We have the two commands ("rejoice" and "be glad") then we have an adverb ("for") without a verb. In the KJV, they added the "is" to make it work. However, it works better as a rhetorical question followed by its answer, neither of which require a verb.

The word translated as "rejoice" means "rejoice" or, more simply, "welcome." It is in the form of a command.

The word translated as "be exceedingly glad", which literally means "much leaping" and generally, to "celebrate." It is an uncommon word for Christ to use and may be a reference to the Septuagint (Greek OT) version of Isaiah 12:6, where it is used to translated the Hebrew word tsahal, which means to "gleam" and, figuratively, to "be cheerful" and verbally, to "cry shrilly", specifically referring to the neigh of a stallion.

The word that is translated here as "reward" primarily means wages paid for work. It is the same word used in translating "wages of sin." Christ uses this word to describe something earned not a gift given.

The word translated as "great" is an adjective the means "many in number" or "great in status or size." Since it is singular, today we might say "massive" or "huge."

The term used for "heaven" means literally "the skies" (it is plural), but, conceptually, the universe beyond this world, the larger universe. So the phrase compensation earned in this world that is paid in the larger universe. If this describes a transcendent state, the term "wages in heaven" might also mean "payment in non-worldly terms."

The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation. To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. It actually appears after the following word because this particle always appears in the second position in a phrase.

The word translated as "so" means "in this manner" or "this is why" when it is in its adverbial form, as it is here.

The word translated as "persecute" means "to chase" or "to drive." It is the same verb used in the previous verse, Matthew 5:11. It is in a form that indicates something that might have happened at some time.

"The prophets" is a word that means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", but it is from a root word that means "shine" and so "shining lights" seems to capture the idea better.

Greek Vocabulary: 

χαίρετε (2nd pl pres imperat act) "Rejoice" is from chairo which means "rejoice", "take pleasure in," and "welcome."

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."

ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, [uncommon] (2nd pl pres imperat mp) "Be exceedingly glad" is from agalliao means "rejoice exceedingly" and is a form of agallomai, which means to "glorify," and "exalt," especially the idea of "paying honor" to God.

ὅτι (adv) "For" 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."

μισθὸς (noun sg masc nom) "Reward" is from misthos, which means "wages" in the sense of compensation for work done, "pay", "allowance for public service", "hire", "fee", "recompense," and "reward."

ὑμῶν pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is from humon, which is a plural forms of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

πολὺς (adj sg masc nom) "Great" is from polys which means "many (in number)", "great (in size or power or worth)," and "large (of space)." As an adverb, it means "far", "very much", "a great way," and "long."

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".

τοῖς οὐρανοῖς: (noun pl masc dat) "Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

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

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."

ἐδίωξαν (3rd pl aor subj act) "Persecuted" is from dioko, which means "to cause to run", "to set into motion", "to pursue", "to chase [away]," to follow", "to seek after," "to be hurried (passive)," "to urge on", "to prosecute [legally]", " or "to drive."

τοὺς προφήτας (noun pl masc acc) "The prophets" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt", "interpreter," and "herald."

τοὺς (article pl masc acc) "Which" is from ho which is the plural, masculine, accusative article ("the", "a").

πρὸ (prep) "Were before" is from pros, which means "from (place)", "on the side of", "toward", "before", "in the presence of", "in the eyes of", "before (supplication)", "proceeding from (for effects)", "dependent on", "derivable from", "agreeable,""becoming", "like", "at the point of", "in addition to", "against," and "before."

ὑμῶν. (pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."


 Christ uses a series of rhetorical questions to make his point. 

The Spoken Version: 

“Enjoy!” He said happily. “And shine!” He said, making a shimmering motion with his hands.
This drew another laugh from the crowd.
“For massive is your payment—in the skies! Since this is how,” he continued, with an easy shrug, “they might have harassed the shining lights before you.”

Related Verses: 



Front Page Date: 

Jan 1 2017