Matthew 5:6 Blessed [are] they which do hunger...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Happy those craving and wanting the fulfillment of the law because they will be be filled up.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In the previous three verses, we have looked at how the sense of the Greek word translated as "blessed" shifts between "happy" and "wealthy." Here, either seems to work because both wealthy and happy are the opposite of hungry. However, we could also just go with the generic "lucky" or "fortunate" as the meaning of this word.

The word for "hunger" is the verb for "to hunger" as in needing food and, like the English word, it is a metaphor for any craving. It is in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the one hungering."

The Greek word for "thirst" is again a verb and very like our English word, "to thirst," meaning "to feel thirst," "to be parched" and "to thirst after" a thing. It is also in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the ones thirsting."

There is no preposition in Greek, but it is required in English because of the way we used the verbs "to hunger" and "to thirst" for specific things.

In Greek, the word translated as "righteousness" or in many translations, "justice" means "justice" in the sense of "the fulfillment of the law," but this refers to natural law and the traditions of custom rather than to governmental laws. It does not mean conforming to current social fashions in thinking, which are seen as its opposite. "Righteousness" is the state for which humans were designed. In traditional terms, it means being virtuous, honest, and pure; thinking and acting correctly. Our modern idea of justice, that is, the legal standard giving every person due process, is a much lower standard that this idea of virtue. The modern idea of "social justice" as being related to what people deserve in life, equity, as opposed to how they behave, is not captured by this term alien.

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

The "they" is 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. Christ only uses the pronoun when he wants to emphasize it.

The Greek word translated in this version as "filled" also means "to satisfy" with a close association with the physical satisfaction of eating. Christ uses a bit a humor here, choosing a word that is usually applied to cattle, specifically the fattening of cattle. This takes us back to Christ's metaphor for eating, especially bread (Matthew 4:4), and receiving what we really need besides food into our lives.

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


 The addition of "righteousness" to hungry and thirsty is a punch line. 

A bit a humor in choosing the word for "satisfy" which is usually applied to fattening cattle giving the sense of "getting their fill." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

μακάριοι (adj pl masc/fem nom) "Blessed" is from makarios which means "blessed", "prosperous", "happy", "fortunate," and "blissful."

οἱ πεινῶντες (part pl pres act masc nom) "Hunger" is peino, which means "to be hungry", "crave after," or "to be starved," and it is a metaphor for desire and cravings.

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."

διψῶντες (part pl pres act masc nom) "Thirst" is from dipsao, which means "to thirst", "to be thirsty," "to be parched", "to be in want of", "to lack," and "to thirst after" a thing.

τὴν δικαιοσύνην, (noun sg fem acc) "Righteousness" is from dikaiosyne, which means "righteousness", "justice", "fulfillment of the law," and "the business of a judge." It carries the sense of virtue but specifically that of fulfilling legal or social requirements.

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 nom) "They" is from autos (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."

χορτασθήσονται. (3rd pl fut ind pass) "Filled" is from chortazo, which means "feed", "feast", "fatten" and "to eat their fill." It is a term most commonly used for cattle.

The Spoken Version: 

He then moved on toward a group of foreigners. They had a large basket of bread loaves and several full wineskins lying in front of them.
“Lucky, the hungry!” He said indicating their food and drink.
Many laughed at the idea of the well-fed foreigners being hungry.
One of the foreigners offered the speaker a wineskin.
“And the thirsty!” The speaker added, raising the wineskin and squirting some wine into his mouth.
This generated even more laughter, but there were several Militants in the crowd. They reacted badly, shouting abuse against the foreigners.
“For justice?” The speaker asked. “Because,” he added playfully, gesturing to include both the foreigners and the Militants, “they are going to get their fill.”



Front Page Date: 

Dec 25 2016