Matthew 11:17 And saying, We have piped to you,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

About John the Baptist, opponents

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

They say: we played to you and you weren't made to dance. We sang a dirge, and you didn't beat yourselves.

My Takeaway: 

Certain people expect to call the turn for the rest of us.

KJV : 

Matthew 11:17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

NIV : 

Matthew 11:17 We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse has a number of uncommon words for Jesus. The KJV translates this as a statement about the past, but it is the Greek tense of that indicates something happening at a specific time: past, present, or future. The sense is that when the first statement happens, the other happens as well. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

λέγουσιν (3rd pl pres ind act) "Saying is from lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

Ηὐλήσαμεν [2 verses](1st pl aor ind act) "We have piped" is from auleo, which means to "play on the flute," "fill with music," "play to (persons)," generally, "play," and, in the passive, "be played to," and "hear music."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." 

καὶ (prep) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ὠρχήσασθε [2 verses](2nd pl aor ind mp) "Ye have...danced" is from orcheomai, which means, "to make to dance," and in the passive, "to dance," "to represent by dancing or pantomime," metaph., "to leap."

ἐθρηνήσαμεν [3verses](, (1st pl aor ind act) "We have mourned" is threneo, which means "to sing a dirge," "to deplore," and "wail."

καὶ (conj) And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἐκόψασθε: [2 verses ](2nd pl aor ind mid) "You have...lamented" is koptô, which means "to smite," "to pound," and "to beat one's breast.

KJV Analysis: 

And -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" in the Greek source.

saying,  - (WF) The "saying" is a verb that means "to say" or "to tell." However, it isn't in the form of an adjective, "saying." It is an active verb, "They say." 

We -- This is from the first-person, plural form of the verb.

have - (CW) This seems to indicate the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense of the following verb. 

piped  - "We have piped" is a word that means specifically to "play on the flute," and generally, "play music." It is in a tense that indicates something happening at a specific point in time.

unto " -- (CW) This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context. Here, "for" works best.

you, -  The "you" is in the form of an indirect object that can have a lot of meanings beyond those in English, including the idea of "for your benefit."

and  - The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also" "just") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

have  - (CW) This seems to indicate the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense of the following verb. 

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This is the most common Greek negative. 

danced; "Danced" is the Greek word for "to make dance." In the passive form it means simply "to dance."

we -- This is from the first-person, plural form of the verb.

have (CW) This seems to indicate the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense of the following verb. 

mourned  - "We have mourned" is a word which means "to sing a dirge," and "wail," continuing the musical theme. Christ only uses it one other time, where it is translated as "wail." 

unto  you ,-- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "unto you" in the Greek source.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

have  - (CW) This seems to indicate the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense of the following verb. 

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This is the most common Greek negative. 

lamented.  - (WW) "Lamented" is a verb that means "to smite," "to pound," and "to beat one's breast." The basic word means to "beat" in the sense of to "hit" or "pound." It is used only one other time by Jesus as well. In the parallel verse in Luke, Luke 7:32,  a similar verb that means "weep" is used.  This is the middle voice, so "beat yourselves."

missing "yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject "beats themselves."

KJV Translation Issues: 

10
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "And" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "saying" is not a participle but an active verb, "we say."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "have" does not mean the past perfect tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unto" is better translated as "for."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "have" does not mean the past perfect tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unto" is better translated as "for."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "unto you" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "have" does not mean the past perfect tense.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "lamented" should be "beat."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.

NIV Analysis: 

untranslated "they"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is is a verb that means "to say" or "to tell." However, it isn't in the form of an adjective, "saying." It is an active verb, "they say." 

We -- This is from the first-person, plural form of the verb.

played the pipe --  This verb is a word that means specifically to "play on the flute," and generally, "play music." It is in a tense that indicates something happening at a specific point in time.

for  --  This word "for" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context. Here, "for" works best.

you, -  The "you" is in the form of an indirect object that can have a lot of meanings beyond those in English, including the idea of "for your benefit."

and  - The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also" "just") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

did - -- This helping verb is added to make this a negative sentence. It is in a tense that indicates something happening at a specific point in time.

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This is the most common Greek negative. 

dance; -- "Dance" is the Greek word for "to make dance." In the passive form it means simply "to dance."

we -- This is from the first-person, plural form of the verb.

have (CW) This seems to indicate the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense of the following verb. 

sang a dirge  - "Sang a dirge" is a verb which means "to sing a dirge," and "wail," continuing the musical theme. Jesus only uses it one other time, where it is translated as "wail." Here, the musical aspect is clearer.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

did - -- This helping verb is added to make this a negative sentence. It is in a tense that indicates something happening at a specific point in time.

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This is the most common Greek negative. 

mourn.  - (WW) "Mourn" is a verb that means "to smite," "to pound," and "to beat one's breast." The basic word means to "beat" in the sense of to "hit" or "pound." It is used only one other time by Jesus as well. In the parallel verse in Luke, Luke 7:32,  a similar verb that means "weep" is used.  This is the middle voice, so "beat yourselves."

missing "yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject "beats themselves."

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "they say" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "mourn" should be "beat."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 9 2020