Matthew 5:5 Blessed [are] the meek...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Fortune the gentle ones because they themselves will inherit  the earth.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.​

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is the third verse of the Beatitudes. Jesus uses repetition to set up expectations and so he can frustrate them, which is the essence of humor. The first two verses contrasted "fortunate" with the group, "wealthy beggars" and "happy mourners," but here there is no contrast with "meek/humble." However, the word also has a negative side because it means "tame" in the sense of following the will of others, like a tame animal.

This is Jesus fist use of his favorite form of humor: the punchline word at the end of the sentence. The humor here is in the last word, "earth." That word also means "land" and "dirt." Inheriting the dirt is very different than inheriting the earth. However, it also suggests a counterpoint to the "realm of the skies" which was used explicitly in the first verse of the Beatitudes and implicitly in the second.

NIV : 

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

NLT : 

Matthew 5:5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

Wordplay: 

The last word has a double meaning. It can be "earth" but it can also mean "dirt." The word translated as "meek" and "humble." It also means "tame."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

μακάριοι (adj pl masc/fem nom) "Blessed" is from makarios which means "blessed", "prosperous", "happy", "fortunate," and "blissful." It does not mean religiously sanctified.

οἱ (article pl masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

πραεῖς,” [2 verses](adj pl masc nom) "Meek" is praus, which means "mild", "soft", "gentle", "meek", "making mild," and "taming." As and adverb, "mildly" and "gently." It describes both animals that are tame and those who tame them. When addressed to an individual (i.e. "gentle one") it is a term of affection. When applied to an action, it describes a "caress."

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."

αὐτοὶ (adj pl masc/fem nom) "They" 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."

κληρονομήσουσι [3 verss](3rd pl fut ind act) "Will inherit" is from kleronomeo, which means "to inherit", "to acquire", "to receive possession of", "to obtain", "to be an heir," and "to leave an heir behind."

τὴν (article sg fem acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

γῆν.” (noun sg fem acc) "Earth" is ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky.

KJV Analysis: 

Blessed -- (CW) The word "blessed" in Greek is an adjective from a root word meaning "happy" or "fortunate." In Jesus's era, all luck was attributed to divine favor but this is not otherwise a religious word. It has no relationship to the Greek verb "bless" or the noun "blessings."

are -- There is no verb "are" in the Greek source. It is implied by the equating of "workman" with "worthy" both in the Greek form of subjects.

the-- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

meek: -- "Meek" is an adjective used as a noun that primarily "gentle" and "soft." It is also a word for "tame." A bridle is called by this term, so a "tamer". However, as a noun (as it is used here) it is used as a term of endearment (i.e. "gentle one") and to describe a caress. Christ uses this attribute to describe "softness" in the sense of being pliable and adaptable with the sense of being able to learn. Learning is another way of taming. The other place Jesus uses this word is Mat 11:29 where he applies it to himself in the specific context of "learn from me."

for -- The "for" here is a causal adverb that means "seeing that", "because", or "since."

they -- (CW) The "they" is the pronoun used explicitly as the subject of the final phrase. This is unnecessary in Greek because the subject is also a part of the verb ending. Jesus only uses the pronoun when he wants to emphasize i t as we would say "they themselves".

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

inherit -- The word translated as "inherit," means both to be and heir and to leave an heir behind. However, more generally, it means "to acquire," and "to take possession of something." Jesus uses it only two other times,

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

earth.​ The word translated as "the earth" is the word that Jesus uses to describe the physical planet, but it also means land and dirt. In other words, it is like our word, earth.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blessed" means "blessed" primarily in the sense of "lucky" or "fortunate" without a sense of a "blessing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."

NIV Analysis: 

Blessed -- (CW) The word "blessed" in Greek is an adjective from a root word meaning "happy" or "fortunate." In Jesus's era, all luck was attributed to divine favor but this is not otherwise a religious word. It has no relationship to the Greek verb "bless" or the noun "blessings."

are -- There is no verb "are" in the Greek source. It is implied by the equating of "workman" with "worthy" both in the Greek form of subjects.

the-- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

meek: -- "Meek" is an adjective used as a noun that primarily "gentle" and "soft." It is also a word for "tame." A bridle is called by this term, so a "tamer". However, as a noun (as it is used here) it is used as a term of endearment (i.e. "gentle one") and to describe a caress. Christ uses this attribute to describe "softness" in the sense of being pliable and adaptable with the sense of being able to learn. Learning is another way of taming. The other place Jesus uses this word is Mat 11:29 where he applies it to himself in the specific context of "learn from me."

for -- The "for" here is a causal adverb that means "seeing that", "because", or "since."

they -- (CW) The "they" is the pronoun used explicitly as the subject of the final phrase. This is unnecessary in Greek because the subject is also a part of the verb ending. Jesus only uses the pronoun when he wants to emphasize i t as we would say "they themselves".

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

inherit -- The word translated as "inherit," means both to be and heir and to leave an heir behind. However, more generally, it means "to acquire," and "to take possession of something." Jesus uses it only two other times,

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

earth.​ The word translated as "the earth" is the word that Jesus uses to describe the physical planet, but it also means land and dirt. In other words, it is like our word, earth.

NIV Translation Issues: 

2
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blessed" means "blessed" primarily in the sense of "lucky" or "fortunate" without a sense of a "blessing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."

NLT Analysis: 

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the earth.

God -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "God" in the Greek source.

blesses -- (CW, WF) The word "blesses" in Greek is an adjective from a root word meaning "happy" or "fortunate." In Jesus's era, all luck was attributed to divine favor but this is not otherwise a religious word. It has no relationship to the Greek verb "bless" or the noun "blessings." This is not a verb.

those -- The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

who are -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "who are " in the Greek source.

humble: -- "Humble" is an adjective used as a noun that primarily "gentle," "humble," and "soft." It is also a word for "tame." A bridle is called by this term, so a "tamer". However, as a noun (as it is used here) it is used as a term of endearment (i.e. "gentle one") and to describe a caress. Christ uses this attribute to describe "softness" in the sense of being pliable and adaptable with the sense of being able to learn. Learning is another way of taming. The other place Jesus uses this word is Mat 11:29 where he applies it to himself in the specific context of "learn from me."

for -- The "for" here is a causal adverb that means "seeing that", "because", or "since."

they -- (CW) The "they" is the pronoun used explicitly as the subject of the final phrase. This is unnecessary in Greek because the subject is also a part of the verb ending. Jesus only uses the pronoun when he wants to emphasize i t as we would say "they themselves".

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

inherit -- The word translated as "inherit," means both to be and heir and to leave an heir behind. However, more generally, it means "to acquire," and "to take possession of something." Jesus uses it only two other times,

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

whole --  (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "whole" in the Greek source.

earth.​ The word translated as "the earth" is the word that Jesus uses to describe the physical planet, but it also means land and dirt. In other words, it is like our word, earth.

NLT Translation Issues: 

6
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "God" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blessed" means "blessed" primarily in the sense of "lucky" or "fortunate" without a sense of a "blessing."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "blesses" is not an active verb but an adjective.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "who are" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "God" doesn't exist in the source.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

There are a number of patterns in the Beatitudes, which are discussed in this article, The Beatitudes.

The Spoken Version: 

A group of children pressed toward him, their parents trailing behind. A little girl dashed out and held her arms toward the speaker to be picked up. The speaker obliged with a smiling nod to her parents who were trying to catch her.
“Lucky!” He announced once more. “The soft ones!” He held up the child for the crowd to see. “Because they themselves are going to inherit—,” He paused as he moved toward the child’s parents.
“The realm of the skies?” Several in the crowd suggested.
He smiled, shook his head, no. He put the child in the arms of her mother.
“The earth!” He said, spreading his arms wide to indicate the lands around them.

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

Apr 12 2020