Matthew 11:23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted unto heaven,

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

About John, regarding his critics.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Also you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up? Not as far as a sky? You  will to bring yourself down as far as an underworld. This is because if the wonders, the ones happening within you, had happened in Sodom, it would remain probably until today.

My Takeaway: 

Any are can go up and down depending on what they trust.

KJV : 

Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

NIV : 

Matthew 11:23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The Greek here makes more sense than the KJV translation which seems to say that the village is already exalted. Most modern biblical translations do this better, making the sentence a question, but the original Greek is clearly a negative statement. They all miss the key point that this is something the town is doing to itself. Strangely enough, though the "Sodoms" are plural here, everything else is in the singular.

There is a negative used here that is untranslated in most Biblical translations. It is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done.

Wordplay: 

In the Greek, the words translated as "exalted" and "down to" are clearly antonyms, "lifted up" and "brought down." However, the "lifting up" is down by someone else, a passive form, while the "bringing down" is something that they town is going to do to itself, a "middle voice" in Greek. This is amplified by the use of the same preposition meaning "as far as" before "heaven" and "hell."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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." -

σύ, (pron 2nd sg nom ) "You" is from su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

Καφαρναούμ, (noun) "Capernaum" is from Kapharnaoum, which is the Greek spelling of the fishing village in Galilee where Christ taught in the synagogue.

μὴ (parftic) Untranslated is 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.

ἕως (conj) "To" is from heos which means "until," "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that."

οὐρανοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate."

ὑψωθήσῃ;  [8 verses](2nd sg fut ind pass) "Art exhalted" is from hypsoo (hupsoo), which means "to lift high," "to raise up." It is a metaphor for "to elevate" and "to exalt."

ἕως (conj) "To" is from heos which means "until," "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that."

ᾄδου  [3 verses](noun sg masc gen ) "Hell" is from hades, the Greek term for the netherworld. It is a place of departed spirits. It is also a synonym for "death."

καταβήσῃ.” [2 verses](2nd sg fut ind mid) "Brought down" is katabibazô, which means to "cause to bring down" "come down from," "dismount from," "go down from," "attain (metaphor)," "come to," "arrive at," "conform to," "condescend," "fall in value," and "to bring down."

ὅτι (adv/conj)"For" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that," "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

ε (conj) "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever," "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

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."

Σοδόμοις (noun, pl masc dat) "Sodom" is from Sodoma, which means the biblical town of Sodom, destroy in the OT alone by a hail of fire.

ἐγενήθησαν (3rd pl aor ind pass)"Had been done" is from ginomai, which means "to become," "to come into being," "to happen," "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

αἱ (article pl fem nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

δυνάμεις (noun pl fem nom) "Mighty works" is from dynamis (dunamis), which means "power," "might," "influence," "authority," "capacity," "elementary force," "force of a word," and "value of money." Elemental forces are forces such as heat and cold.

αἱ (article pl fem nom)  "Which" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

γενόμεναι (part pl aor mid fem nom) "had been done" is from ginomai, which means "to become," "to come into being," "to happen," "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. Here, it is in the form of a passive participle, acting as a noun, "the ones that produced themselves."

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."

σοί, (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you."

ἔμεινεν (3rd sg aor ind act) "It would have remained" is from meno, which, as a verb, it means "stand fast" (in battle), "stay at home," "stay," "tarry," "remain as one was," "abide," and (transitive) "await."

ἂν (partic) "Would" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have," "might," "should," and "could."

μέχρι  [3 verses](prep/conj/adv) "Until" is from mechri, which means "as far as," "even to," "so far as," "up to," "until," "about," and "nearly."

τῆς (article sg neut dat)  "This" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

σήμερον. (adv) "This day" is from semeron, which is an adverb that means "for today" and "on this day."

KJV Analysis: 

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

thou,-- The "thou" here is the singular, subjective, second-person pronoun. Since pronouns are not usually used for subject in Greek, its use is to accentuate the word like we would say "you yourself." The "thou" here is the pronoun.

Capernaum,-- -  This is the Greek spelling of the fishing village in Galilee where Jesus taught in the synagogue, home of Peter and others.

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

art -- (WT) This helping verb "art" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. This indicates the present tense, but the tense of the verb is the future.

exalted  - "Exalted" is a word that means "to lift high" and "raise up." It is a metaphor for "elevate" and "exalt." It is in the second person future passive.

untranslated "not"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is e is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.   With the verb "to be," the sense is "doesn't seem." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. Here, it precedes the preposition translated as "unto" so the sense is "not up to."

unto  - (CW) The word translated as "to" means "until" but it also means "up to the point that." It is not one of the Greek words usually translated as "to."

heaven, - The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe." It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. It doesn't mean the afterlife as we understand it today.

shalt - This helping verb "shalt" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- (WV) This helping verb "art" indicates that the verb is passive, but the verb is the middle voice, where the subject acts on themselves. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. 

brought  - "Brought down" is a word which means "to bring down" and "to bring down from." It also is in the second person future, but in a form that means the subject is acting on itself.

missing "yourself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to act  "on yourself," "for yourself" or "by yourself."

down -- This is from the prefix that means "down"of the previous verb.

to -- - (CW) The word translated as "to" means "until" but it also means "up to the point that." It is not one of the Greek words usually translated as "to." This is the same word that occur before "heaven" and seems to be a play on words.

hell:  -  (CW) "Hell" is the Greek concept of the land of departed spirits. It is the Greek name of the Roman god Pluto, the god of the underworld, and whose name is used for the netherworld. Interesting, this is the first time that this word is used in Matthew. The term often translated as "hell" prior to this in Matthew has been genna (Gehenna), the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem. See this article on the words for "hell."

for-- The word translated as "for" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

if -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

mighty works,  - (CW)  "Mighty works" is a word that describes abilities and capacities, what actions a person can do or has done so "power," "might," "influence," "authority," and "force." Both in its verb and noun forms, it indicates the "power" or "capabilities" a person has. It follows the verb describing what the "they" is in "they had happened."  Here this sense is "powerful things" or, more precisely "powerful happenings" since this noun is bracketed by the verb that means "to become" or "to happen."

which -- The word translated as "which" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

have -- (WT) This indicates a past perfect tense of the verb, but the tense is something that could have taken place at a point in time. It also indicates a passive verb, but the verb is in the middle voice where it acts on itself.

been -- (WV) This indicates a passive verb, but the verb is in the middle voice where it acts on itself.

done -- (WW, WF) The word translated as " done" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is not the Greek verb usually translated as "do" in the NT.  Here, it is a participle ("becoming") uses as a plural noun, "the ones coming into being." It actually appears later in the sentence as a repetition of the verb. The effect seems mostly humorous.  It is used with an article, which makes it into a noun, "the things happening " or "the ones coming into being."

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

thee, -- The word for "thee" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun.

had -- (WT,) This indicates a past perfect tense of the verb, but the tense is something that could have taken place at a point in time.

been -- (WV) This indicates a passive verb, but the verb is in the middle voice where it acts on itself.

done  - (WW) The word translated as "done" is the same verb as the verb above but in the form of an active verb where the thing acts on itself. This is the normal sense of "happens" in English.   It is not the Greek verb usually translated as "do" in the NT.

in   -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.

Sodom, .-- (WN) "Sodom" is from Greek spelling of  the biblical town of Sodom, destroy in the OT alone by a hail of fire. The odd thing is that the word seem to have a plural ending on it in the form of an indirect object. It also appeared earlier in the plural Matthew 10:15.

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

would -- (CW) This is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have," "might," "should," and "could." However, the verb is not in the subjunctive form, which it usually the case when this particle applies to it. It is before the preposition translated as "until."

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This verb "remained" is in a tense happening at some point in time, which can be shown as the simple past.

remained  - The verb translated as " remain" means to "stay" or "remain."  This words is often translated in the Bible at "to abide" or "to dwell."

until  - The Greek word translated as "until" means "up to," and "until." It is an uncommon preposition for Jesus.

this   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more.

day. -- The word translated as "this day" was used like our word "today."

KJV Translation Issues: 

19
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "which" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "art" indicates the present or past tense, but the verb is the future tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "not" is not shown in the English translation. It is the subjective form indicating what is thought or wanted.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unto" before "heaven" is not  the common "to" but a special preposition that means "up to."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The "be" indicates a passive verb, but the verb "brought" is in the middle voice.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourself" is not shown in the English translation but it needed for the middle voice here.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" before "hell" is not  the common "to" but a special preposition that means "up to." It is the same word as the "unto" above.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "hell" here is not the same word translated as "hell" until this point.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "mighty words" is a noun that means "powers" or "abilities."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb "been" indicates the passive voice but the form is the middle voice, something "happening" to itself.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "done" should be "happen" or "become."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "done" is not an active verb but a participle, "happening."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "had" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The "been" indicates a passive verb, but the verb is the middle voice, acting on itself.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "done" should be "happen" or "become."
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "Sodom" seems to be plural.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "would" indicates a subjunctive verb, but tthe verb is not subjective.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).

NIV Analysis: 

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

you,-- The "you" here is the singular, subjective, second-person pronoun. Since pronouns are not usually used for subject in Greek, its use is to accentuate the word like we would say "you yourself." The "thou" here is the pronoun.

Capernaum,-- -  This is the Greek spelling of the fishing village in Galilee where Jesus taught in the synagogue, home of Peter and others.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

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

be - This helping verb "art" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. This indicates the present tense, but the tense of the verb is the future.

lifted  - - "Lifted" is a word that means "to lift high" and "raise up." It is a metaphor for "elevate" and "exalt." It is in the second person future passive.

to -- (CW) The word translated as "to" means "until" but it also means "up to the point that." It is not one of the Greek words usually translated as "to."

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

heavens? -  (WN) The word translated as "heavens" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe." It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. It doesn't mean the afterlife as we understand it today. It is singular, not plural here.

No, -- (WP, CW) The negative here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.   With the verb "to be," the sense is "doesn't seem." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. Here, it precedes the preposition translated as "to" so the sense is "not up to."

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

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

go - (WW)  "Go down" is a word which means "to bring down" and "to bring down from." It also is in the second person future, but in a form that means the subject is acting on itself.

missing "yourself"-- (MW) A "yourself" is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to act  "on yourself," "for yourself" or "by yourself."

down -- This is from the prefix that means "down"of the previous verb.

to -- - (CW) The word translated as "to" means "until" but it also means "up to the point that." It is not one of the Greek words usually translated as "to." This is the same word that occur before "heaven" and seems to be a play on words.

Hades:  - "Hades" is the Greek concept of the land of departed spirits. It is the Greek name of the Roman god Pluto, the god of the underworld, and whose name is used for the netherworld. Interesting, this is the first time that this world is used in Matthew. The term often translated as "hell" prior to this in Matthew has been genna (Gehenna), the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem. See this article on the words for "hell."

For-- The word translated as "for" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

if -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

miracles  -  "Miracles" is a word that describes abilities and capacities, what actions a person can do or has done so "power," "might," "influence," "authority," and "force." Both in its verb and noun forms, it indicates the "power" or "capabilities" a person has. It follows the verb describing what the "they" is in "they had happened."  Here this sense is "powerful things" or, more precisely "powerful happenings" since this noun is bracketed by the verb that means "to become" or "to happen."

that -- The word translated as "that" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more.

were -- (WV) This indicates a passive verb, but the verb is in the middle voice where it acts on itself.

performed -- (WW, WF) The word translated as " performed " means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is not the Greek verb usually translated as "do" in the NT.  Here, it is a participle ("becoming") uses as a plural noun, "the ones coming into being." It actually appears later in the sentence as a repetition of the verb. The effect seems mostly humorous.  It is used with an article, which makes it into a noun, "the things happening " or "the ones coming into being."

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

you, -- The word for "thee" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun.

had -- (WT,) This indicates a past perfect tense of the verb, but the tense is something that could have taken place at a point in time.

been -- (WV) This indicates a passive verb, but the verb is in the middle voice where it acts on itself.

performed - (WW) The word translated as "done" is the same verb as the verb above but in the form of an active verb where the thing acts on itself. This is the normal sense of "happens" in English.   It is not the Greek verb usually translated as "do" in the NT.

in   -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.

Sodom, .-- (WN) "Sodom" is from Greek spelling of  the biblical town of Sodom, destroy in the OT alone by a hail of fire. The odd thing is that the word seem to have a plural ending on it in the form of an indirect object. It also appeared earlier in the plural Matthew 10:15.

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

would -- (CW) This is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have," "might," "should," and "could." However, the verb is not in the subjunctive form, which it usually the case when this particle applies to it. It is before the preposition translated as "until."

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This verb "remained" is in a tense happening at some point in time, which can be shown as the simple past.

remained  - The verb translated as " remain" means to "stay" or "remain."  This words is often translated in the Bible at "to abide" or "to dwell."

to - (CW)  The Greek word translated as "until" means "up to," and "until." It is an uncommon preposition for Jesus.

this   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more.

day. -- The word translated as "this day" was used like our word "today."

NIV Translation Issues: 

17
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" before "heaven" is not  the common "to" but a special preposition that means "up to."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heavens" is translated as plural but it is singular.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "not" doesn't appear here but before the "to" before "heaven."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the subjective negative of opinion with the sense of "not wanting," "not thinking" or not seeming when used with a non-opinion verb.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "go" should be "bring" or "become."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourself" is not shown in the English translation but it needed for the middle voice here.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" before "hades" is not  the common "to" but a special preposition that means "up to." It is the same word as the "unto" above.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb "were" indicates the passive voice but the form is the middle voice, something "happening" to itself.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "performed " should be "happen" or "become."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "performed " is not an active verb but a participle, "happening."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "had" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The "been" indicates a passive verb, but the verb is the middle voice, acting on itself.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "performed " should be "happen" or "become."
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "Sodom" seems to be plural.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "would" indicates a subjunctive verb, but the verb is not subjective.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).

Front Page Date: 

Oct 14 2020