Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Blind guides, filtering out the gnat, the camel, however, gulping down.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse, clearly humorous, may seem out of place in what the KJV translates as an angry diatribe, but it fits perfecting into the entertaining presentation Christ actually was making. The language is a straight, but much of its bite is lost in translation. The words are uncommon for Christ, but except for one word very common in Greek generally.

"Blind" is from a word that means both physically and mentally blind. It also means all things that are obscure. It is also a metaphor for disabilities of the other senses.

"Guides" is from a noun, which means "guide" and "pilot" in the sense of the person that guides a ship through dangerous waters.

The word translated as "strain" means "strain" and "filter thoroughly." It is not an active verb, but in the form of an adjective, "filtering." This is an uncommon word in Greek generally, but probably more common among the Jews because of their dietary rules.

Untranslated is the article, "the" before both "gnat" and "camel." However, it is important here because it adds weight to the contrast intended here.

The word for "gnat" means a gnat or mosquito. The issue here is that Jewish law prohibits eating insects.

The Greek word translated as "and" is usually translated as "but" and joins phrases in an adversarial way.

The word for "swallow" means "gulp," and "swallow down." It is a form of the word meaning "drink" (literally, "drink down"). Again, it is not in the form of an active verb, but an adjective, "gulping."

The word translated a "camel" means "camel." According to Jewish law, camels are prohibited as food just like insects. As we saw in Mat 19:24, the camel is Christ's go-to animal for describing a large animal. Of course, the camel was the largest animal most people in his part of the word ever saw, giraffes, elephants, and such being less common.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὁδηγοὶ [uncommon] (noun pl masc voc/nom) "Leaders" is from hodegos, which means "guide" and "pilot."

τυφλοί, [uncommon](adj pl masc voc/nom) "Blind" is from typhlos, which means "blind", "lacking vision of the future," [of things]"dim", "obscure", "dark," [of passages] "blind", "enclosed", "with no outlet," and is a metaphor for lacking sense."

διυλίζοντες [uncommon] (part pl pres act masc nom) "Strain" is from diylizo, which means "strain," and "filter thoroughly."

τὸν Untranslated is the Greek definite article, "the."

κώνωπα [uncommon] (noun sg masc acc) "Gnat" is from konops, which means "gnat," and "mosquito."

τὴν Untranslated is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." Here it is separated from the noun by a conjunction.

δὲ "And" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

κάμηλον [uncommon] (noun sg masc acc) "Camel" is from kamelos, which means "camel."

καταπίνοντες. [uncommon] (part pl pres act masc nom) "Swallow" is from katapino, which means "gulp", "swallow down", "absorb", "consume", "spend," and "waste in tippling."

The Spoken Version: 

"Blind guides," Christ said, closing his eye and taking a few steps with his hands stretch out before him.

The crowd chuckled.

"Filtering out...." he said, pretending to sip from a cup through his sleeve. Then he looked in his sleeve, plucking out something, and holding up two pitched fingers and said triumphantly, "The gnat!"

The crowd laughed. Many had made fun, secretly, of the way the most self-righteous religious sipped their wine through gauze so they wouldn't swallow the gnats that fell into it.

"The camel, however," Christ continued, pointing at a camel standing off in the distance. He then mimicked picking up a huge container with both hands and drinking from it.

Finishing his big drink, he wiped his lips with satisfaction, "You gulp down!"

The crowd laughed.

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