Matthew 9:4 Why do you think evil

KJV Verse: 

Mat 9:4 Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

So, why are you all thinking worthless things about yourselves in your hearts?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse has a lot hidden in the Greek. Instead of an accusation, the phrase seems to suggest a problem with how people think about themselves. It seems more a humorous rejoiner than an accusation.

The word translated as "wherefore" is from two words. The first is a word that means "there", "where," and "in order that." The second is the pronoun that means "anything" or "anyone," but which is also used to mean "who", "what", or "why".

The term translated as "think" is not a common Greek word that is usually translated as "think" in the KJV. This word is used by Christ only here. It means "to ponder", "to notice," or "to infer." In the passive, it means "to be thought about or desired", but here it is in a form, which means that the subject is being acted upon by itself or for its own benefit, that is, "you are thinking about yourselves". This form is plural.

The word translated as "evil" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This article explores it meaning in more detail. It is an adjective. When it is used as a noun, an article usually precedes it. However, its form (neuter plural) does not match any of the nouns used here, so it described neither the people Christ is addressing nor their hearts nor the "what" that begins the verse. It therefore must mean "worthless things".

The word translated as "in" also means "within" or "among."

"Heart" is from the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger context of Christ's description of human faculties in this article here. This word is used to describe the human (as opposed to animal) motives for people's actions.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἵνα (adv/conj) "Wherefore" is from hina (with tis below), which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

τί (irreg sg neut nom/acc) "Wherefore" is from tis (with hina above) which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

ἐνθυμεῖσθε [uncommon](2nd pl imperf ind mp) "Think" is from enthumeomai, which means "to ponder", "to notice", ""to infer", "think much or deeply of", "take to heart", "be concerned or angry at", "form a plan", "conclude. In the passive, it means "to be in a person's thoughts," and "to be desired."

πονηρὰ (adj pl neut acc) "Evil" is from poneros, which means "burdened by toil", "useless," and "worthless." In a moral sense, it means "worthless", "base," and "cowardly.

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".

ταῖς καρδίαις (noun pl fem dat) "Hearts" is from kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire," "purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

ὑμῶν; (adj pl masc gen ) "Your" is from humon, which is a plural forms of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

Related Verses: 

May 2 2017