Matthew 24:17 Let him who is on the housetop not come down

KJV Verse: 

Mat 24:17 Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

The one upon the rooftop he doesn't , descending,  want to take up those things from his house.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The key word in this verse is misspelled, or at least, doesn't show parsed in the Perseus resource as it does in biblical resources. This verse is echoed again in Luke 17: 31, with the exact same problems with the word. Generally, Christ's ideas here could be a specific prophecy or they are applied to the fall of Jerusalem or any civilization, and they can also be applied the death of a single person.

The word translated as "he that is" is from the Greek article, "the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

The word translated as "unto" means "against", "before", "in the presence of" or "on." Here, given the context,

"Housetops" is translated from a Greek word that is the source of our word domicile. Though Christ uses it to mean "housetop" in other verses, the use here seems to be more metaphorical. When this term is applied to the gods, it refers to the house of Plato, the lord of the underworld, which is a double meaning here.

The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. This is the usual negative used with command since commands are an expression of opinion. The sense is "I don't want him" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used.  This fits both with a command (the KJV interpretation) or the form of the verb that indicates someone wishes something to be done, or, in this case, doesn't wish it,which is the possible form of the "to take" verb used here.

The problem here is with the word translated as "come down." The KJV version assumes that it is an alternative spelling of a verb meaning to "go down". If we assume the word was the misspelled verb, its meaning is "come down" and it is the verb Christ uses to describe his own coming down from heaven and it is a third party command ("he must not" or "don't let him"). However, it is the correct spelling for an adjective meaning "descending", which also works here if we assume the "to take" is a form of verb.

"To take" is from one of Christ's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up", "elevate", "to bear", "to carry off", "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease." Its form means "to lift," or "wishes to lift up." It is also a form of the word for "prayer" and it means "you pray to" in this form. Jesus uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross. Here the form is either the infinite ("to take"), which the KJV assumes or an active verb in the from of someone wishing for something, it his case, "he doesn't want to take up."

The Greek word translated as "any thing" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those." Here the word is in the plural, so "those things."

The Greek preposition translated as "out of" means "out of" or "from."

The Greek word translated as "house," is any dwelling place but not exclusively a separate house. It means the household or clan that lives in the building as well. The house could refer to the ruling house of the underworld.

Greek Vocabulary: 

(article sg masc nom) "He that is" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one.

ἐπὶ "On" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," "in the presence of," and "against."

τοῦ δώματος "The housetop" is doma, which means a "a house", "a hall", "housetop", "chief room", "household," or "a family." It has a special meaning referring to the house of Pluto, the god of the underworld.

μὴ "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

καταβάτω {This word is assumed by KJV translators to be an alternative spelling of καταβαινέτω} [uncommon](verb 3rd sg aor imperat) "Come down" is from katabaino, which means "go down", "come down from," and "dismount from." The actual spelling is that of an adjective {καταβατός}(adj sg masc gen) karabatos, which means "steep" and "descending". It cold also be the noun {καταβάτη}(noun sg masc gen) katabates, which means "one who dismounts".

ἆραι (verb 3rd sg aor opt act or verb aor inf act) "To take" is from airo, which means "to lift up", "to raise", "to raise up", "to exalt", "to lift and take away," and "to remove." OR (verb 2nd sg pres subj mp) "To take" is from apaomai, which means to "pray to," or "pray for."

τὰ (pl neut nom/acc) "Any thing" is from tis 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."

ἐκ "Out of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

τῆς οἰκίας (noun sg fem acc/gen) "House" is from oikos, which means "house", "dwelling place", "room", "home", "meeting hall", "household goods", "substance," and "ruling family." It is any dwelling place but not exclusively a separate house.

αὐτοῦ, (adj sg masc gen) "His" 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."


The word "rooftop" also means the house of Pluto, lord of the underworld, since it was above the underworld. 

The word translated as the verb "come down" is actually the noun that means "descending in lightning and thunder" but it also refers to descending into the netherworld. 

This verse may be a play on the words that Christ uses to describe himself coming down from heaven and rising from the grave. 


The Spoken Version: 

"The one upon the rooftop," he said more lightly, pointing up to a tree. "Don't let him come down..."

He gestured down and paused letting the silliness of the idea of not letting someone on a rooftop come down sink in. His followers sense a play on words was coming.

"To lift up" he said continued, gesturing lifting up. "His stuff out of the house."

Related Verses: 

Jul 24 2016