Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Fortunate the merciful, for they themselves will be shown pity.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:7 Blessed the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The Greek here is only five words. This fifth Beatitude breaks the pattern of the previous ones with its simplicity. The setup and payoff as simply a reverse of each other.

As we note below, the concept of "mercy" is Judean society was strongly related to debt. We think of "mercy" as more a matter of courts rather than interpersonal relationships. Conceptually, this line repeats the formula from the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." This connection is obscured by the translation of "trespasses" and our modern ideas of mercy.

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

NIV : 

Matthew 5:7  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

NLT : 

Matthew 5:7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Wordplay: 

 A repetition of the same word expressing the idea of one who has something, mercy, will need what they currently have, that is, mercy. 

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/fem 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. 

ἐλεήμονες, (adj pl masc/fem nom)  "The merciful" is from eleemon, which is a noun meaning the "pitiful" and "merciful."

ὅτι (adv) "For" is from hoti, which means "for what," and "wherefore." A form of hostis (hostis), which means "that", "anyone who", "anything which", "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever."

αὐτοὶ (adj pl masc 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."

ἐλεηθήσονται. (3rd pl fut ind pass) "Mercy" is from the verb eleeo, which means "to have pity on," "to show mercy to," and "to feel pity." In the passive, "to be shown pity," and "to be pitied."

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, 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. 

merciful: --  This is the Greek adjective meaning "merciful" or "pitying." 

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.

obtain -- (WF) The Greek verb means "to have pity on," "to show mercy to," and "to feel pity." In the passive, "to be shown pity," and "to be pitied." This is the root of the adjective above. In English, we need a transitive verb with the noun "mercy." The problem with "obtain" is that it is not passive, which the Greek word is.

mercy. -- This noun completes the verbal concept in English of "mercy" or "pity." Our modern ideas of mercy or pity are not the same as the Greek concepts. In Greek, the concept is largely involved with the private system of debts: who owes what to whom. This interpersonal debt was a large part of the organizing force of society. "Mercy" was largely a matter of forgiving debts.

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • 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."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "obtain" verb should be passive, "be shown" or "be given."

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, 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. 

merciful: --  This is the Greek adjective meaning "merciful" or "pitying." 

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.

shown -- The Greek verb means "to have pity on," "to show mercy to," and "to feel pity." In the passive, "to be shown pity," and "to be pitied." This is the root of the adjective above. In English, we need a transitive verb with the noun "mercy."

mercy. -- This noun completes the verbal concept in English of "mercy" or "pity." Our modern ideas of mercy or pity are not the same as the Greek concepts. In Greek, the concept is largely involved with the private system of debts: who owes what to whom. This interpersonal debt was a large part of the organizing force of society. "Mercy" was largely a matter of forgiving debts.

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 -- (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."

those -- The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article. 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.

merciful: --  This is the Greek adjective meaning "merciful" or "pitying." 

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.

shown -- The Greek verb means "to have pity on," "to show mercy to," and "to feel pity." In the passive, "to be shown pity," and "to be pitied." This is the root of the adjective above. In English, we need a transitive verb with the noun "mercy."

mercy. -- This noun completes the verbal concept in English of "mercy" or "pity." Our modern ideas of mercy or pity are not the same as the Greek concepts. In Greek, the concept is largely involved with the private system of debts: who owes what to whom. This interpersonal debt was a large part of the organizing force of society. "Mercy" was largely a matter of forgiving debts.

NLT Translation Issues: 

5
  • 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."

The Spoken Version: 

The speaker returned the wineskin to its owner. Meanwhile, the foreign women started passing out bread to some nearby children.
“Lucky,” he said, indicating these women. “Are those who are merciful.”
Again, the Militants made complaining noises.
“Because,” he said, indicating again both the foreigners and the Militants. “They themselves are going to receive mercy.”

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

Apr 14 2020