Matthew 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Where if might be the fall, there the vultures (bird of omen) are going to be brought together.

KJV : 

Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse has the feeling of being a common folk saying, which perhaps it was. It is a play on words, describing both vultures around a corpse and omens around times of trouble. The hidden reasons why are explained below. This verse leads into the following verse (Mat 24:29) which describes a series of bad omens.

The "wheresoever" is from a word that means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

An untranslated Greek word meaning "if might" appears here, indicating more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.

"Carcase" or "carcass" is translated from a Greek word that means a "fall", "injuries from falls", or "fallen body" so a "corpse". This word was a common metaphor for "misfortune" and "calamity". It has a definite article, "the", so "the fall" or "the calamity." It means the result of a fall more than the act of falling. It is one noun form of the common verb used above meaning "to fall". This is the only time this word is used by Jesus. He uses another word describing the act of falling only once as well in Mat 7:27.

The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition, however, its form indicates something that "might" take place. This fits with the "if" word above.

"There" is a word meaning "there", "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world."

Eagles" is from the Greek word for "eagle", "bird of omen", or "omen." It is a Greek word, but this word was used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word for "eagle" (nesher), which means both "eagle" and "vulture". Among the Jews, it was forbidden to eat eagles, along with buzzards and vultures, so they were grouped among carrion birds. Some uses of this word, such as Micah 1:16, which refers to the baldness of eagles, clearly referring to vultures, which are bald. (Bald eagles, of course, are not bald but have white feathers on their adult heads and were not known in the ancient world.) While there are positive characteristics of eagles in Jewish writing, based on their size and strength. This view of eagles in the West is positive, but this comes from Greek and Roman culture, which had a very positive view of the bird, but they also saw eagles as a bird of omen.

The Greek word translated as "will be gathered together" means "to bring together." It is the word used both for gathering crops and bringing animals in from the fields. One of its noun forms is familiar are "synagogue" which means "meeting place" in Greek. It is in the passive, which means something is gathering the vultures together. The form does not indicate that they are gathering themselves.


The word translated as "carcase" primarily means "the fall" in the sense of a calamity.

The word translated as "eagle" means both "vulture" and "omen."

The verse describes both vultures around a corpse and omens around times of trouble. 


Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὅπου "Wheresoever" is from hopou, which means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

ἐὰν Untranslated is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

(verb 3rd sg pres subj act ) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

τὸ πτῶμα, [uncommon](noun sg neut nom/acc) "Carcase" is from ptoma, which means "fall", "injuries due to falls", "fallen body", "corpse", "carcass", of buildings, "ruin", "windfall fruit", and a metaphor for "misfortune" and "calamity". Not to be confused with ptosis (πτῶσις) which means the actual activity of falling.

ἐκεῖ "There" is from ekei, which means "there", "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world."

συναχθήσονται (verb 3rd pl fut ind pass) "Will be gathered together" is from synago, which means "bring together", "gather together," "pit [two warriors against each other]", "join in one", "unite", "make friends of", "lead with one", "receive", "reconcile", "draw together", "narrow", "contract", "conclude [from premises]", " infer," and "prove."

οἱ ἀετοί. (noun pl masc nom) "Eagles" is from aetos, which means "eagle," (which was considered a bird of omen) "eagle as a standard (of the Roman legions)," and "omen."

The Spoken Version: 

"Wherever the calamity might be," he said, shaking his head. "There they are going to be brought together..."

He paused, pointed at the sky and slowly circled his finger, "The omens."

Front Page Date: 

Aug 14 2016