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

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, Beatitudes, sky and ground, personal and social fulfillment

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Fortunate those craving and wanting this virtue because they will get their fill

KJV : 

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

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

As the fourth repetition of the Beatitude formula, Jesus unveils another humorous technique. First he adds a second characteristic, "thirsting" after "hungering"  exaggerating the idea since both words have a similar sense of "craving." Then, after exaggerating the meaning, he changes it iby adding "for justice." This breaks the simple pattern of the setup clause, creating a "mini" payoff in it.  The payoff line in the final clause also has a double meaning: it means "to fill" or "to satisfy" but it is also the word used to mean "fatten" an animal. Though it may be my imagination, it could also mean "get their fill," which is quite funny here.

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

NIV : 

Matthew 5:6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

NLT : 

Matthew 5:6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

Wordplay: 

 The addition of "righteousness" to hungry and thirsty is both a bit of a punchline and a setup for the real punchline at the end of the verse. The final punchline is the word "filled," which is usually applied to fattening cattle giving the sense of "getting their fill." 

My Takeaway: 

We are going to get more Divine justice than we anticipate.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

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. 

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 (conj/adv)"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 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 (article sg fem acc)  Untranslated 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."

δικαιοσύνην, (noun sg fem acc) "Righteousness" is 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. [6 verses](3rd pl fut ind pass) "Filled" is chortazo, which means "feed", "feast", "fatten" and "to eat their fill." It is a term most commonly used for cattle.

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.

they -- (CW) The word translated as "they" 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. 

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

hunger --(WF) 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. However, unlike the English verb, this Greek verb is transitive like our "crave."  It is in the form of an adjective that, with the article, has the sense of, "the ones hungering."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

thirst -- (WF) 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. However, unlike the English verb, this Greek verb is transitive like our "crave."  It is also in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the ones thirsting."

after --  This is needed in English because our verbs are not transitive, that is, taking a direct object but the Greek words do.

righteousness: --  The word translated as "righteousness" carries the sense of virtue but specifically that of fulfilling legal or social requirements. This ties it to the idea of fulfilling the law. We use the term "justice" more commonly today. 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. When applied to God, it works best as "justice," but when applied to people "virtue" works better since we don't use "righteousness" must anymore.

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.

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

filled. -- The Greek word translated in this version as "filled" also means "to satisfy" with a close association with the physical satisfaction of eating. Jesus uses a bit of humor here, choosing a word that is usually applied to cattle, specifically the fattening of cattle. There is another potential take that may or may not work, that is, interpreting this as "get their fill."

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • 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" is not the pronoun but an article, "the ones."
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "which do" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "hunger" is not an active verb but a participle, "hungering."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "thirst" is not an active verb but a participle, "thirsting."
  • 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.

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

hunger --(WF) 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. However, unlike the English verb, this Greek verb is transitive like our "crave."  It is in the form of an adjective that, with the article, has the sense of, "the ones hungering."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

thirst -- (WF) 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. However, unlike the English verb, this Greek verb is transitive like our "crave."  It is also in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the ones thirsting."

for --  This is needed in English because our verbs are not transitive, that is, taking a direct object but the Greek words do.

righteousness: --  The word translated as "righteousness" carries the sense of virtue but specifically that of fulfilling legal or social requirements. This ties it to the idea of fulfilling the law. We use the term "justice" more commonly today. 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. When applied to God, it works best as "justice," but when applied to people "virtue" works better since we don't use "righteousness" must anymore.

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.

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

filled. -- The Greek word translated in this version as "filled" also means "to satisfy" with a close association with the physical satisfaction of eating. Jesus uses a bit of humor here, choosing a word that is usually applied to cattle, specifically the fattening of cattle. There is another potential take that may or may not work, that is, interpreting this as "get their fill."

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blessed" means "blessed" primarily in the sense of "lucky" or "fortunate" without a sense of a "blessing."
  • IW - Inserted word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "hunger" is not an active verb but a participle, "hungering."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "thirst" is not an active verb but a participle, "thirsting."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."

NLT Analysis: 

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

hunger --(WF) 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. However, unlike the English verb, this Greek verb is transitive like our "crave."  It is in the form of an adjective that, with the article, has the sense of, "the ones hungering."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

thirst -- (WF) 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. However, unlike the English verb, this Greek verb is transitive like our "crave."  It is also in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the ones thirsting."

for --  This is needed in English because our verbs are not transitive, that is, taking a direct object but the Greek words do.

righteousness: --  The word translated as "righteousness" carries the sense of virtue but specifically that of fulfilling legal or social requirements. This ties it to the idea of fulfilling the law. We use the term "justice" more commonly today. 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. When applied to God, it works best as "justice," but when applied to people "virtue" works better since we don't use "righteousness" must anymore.

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.

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

satisfied. -- The Greek word translated in this version as "satisfy" also means "to fill" with a close association with the physical satisfaction of eating. Jesus uses a bit of humor here, choosing a word that is usually applied to cattle, specifically the fattening of cattle. There is another potential take that may or may not work, that is, interpreting this as "get their fill."

NLT Translation Issues: 

7
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "God" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blesses" 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.
  • IW - Inserted word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "hunger" is not an active verb but a participle, "hungering."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "thirst" is not an active verb but a participle, "thirsting."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

"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. And the modern idea of "social justice" is almost the opposite of this idea because it is not the tradition view of justice, that is, based on established norms and traditions. Social justice is almost completely made up of what is currently fashionable.

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.

The Spoken Version: 

“Fortunate, these hungering!” he announced, indicating some wealthy Romans seated near the speaker’s mound.
 They had brought big baskets of bread and fat skins of wine. A Roman woman offered him a small round loaf. He took it and held it up to show the crowd as we laughed. Then he took a big bite, smiled and patted his belly as he chewed. Part of the reason we were laughing was his exaggerated style: not just “hungry” but “hungering.”
Then one of the Romans handed the Nazarene a wineskin.
“And thirsting!” the Teacher added cheerfully, saluting the audience with the wine and then squirting some in his mouth.
Many of us there were drinking, and we saluted him back with our cups and skins, celebrating with him.  
We again laughed. This was not what anyone expected from a religious teacher.
But his interactions with the Romans made some angry. Judea has many political and religious groups that hate the Romans. One of the best known of these groups calls themselves the Militants.
“What do those rich Romans hunger and thirst for? Our blood?” one of these Militants called out angrily.
The young man’s indignant question won both laughter and some cheers of agreement.
The Nazarene smiled but again shook his head “no.”
“For this justice!” he countered happily as he indicated his heart.
That answer triggered even more questions.
“Why would Romans hunger for justice?”
“What do Romans care about your justice?”
“Because they themselves,” the Teacher responded, holding up the round loaf the Romans had given him, “will get their fill.”
This drew the biggest laugh from the crowd yet. Here, the double meaning was apparent and very satisfying to most of us. Even the Romans laughed and applauded.

evidence: 

4.00

Front Page Date: 

Apr 13 2020