Matthew 11:9 But what did you go out to see?

Spoken to: 

audience then an individual

Context: 

On John the Baptist, place in history

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

So, why did you go out? To see a shining light? Yes, I tell you and much more than a shining light?

My Takeaway: 

Those who begin a change are bigger than those that predict a change.

KJV : 

Matthew 11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

NIV : 

Matthew 11:9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The words beginning this verse are the same as the previous verse, Matthew 11:8, asking the questions.  The last phrase is not a normal "more than" construction in Greek.

Wordplay: 

 The word translated as "more than" can be either a compliment or a criticism similar to our word "extreme." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἀλλὰ (adv) "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise," "but," "still," "at least," "except," "yet," nevertheless," "rather," "moreover," and "nay." --

τί (pron sg neut acc ) What" 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.

ἐξήλθατε (2nd pl aor ind act) "Went ye" is from exerchomai, which means "to come or go out of " "to march forth," "go out on," "to stand forth," "to exceed all bounds," "to come to an end," "to go out of office," and [of dreams or prophecies] "to come true."

προφήτην (noun sg masc acc) "A prophet" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will," "interpreter," "keepers of the oracle," "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt," "interpreter," and "herald." It is a verb that means "to shine forth" It is a verb that means "to shine forth&quot

ἰδεῖν; (aor inf act) "To see" is from eido which means "to see," "to examine," "to perceive," "to behold," "to know how to do," "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know.

ναί, [8 verses](adv) "Yea" is from nai, which means "yea,""yes," "truly," and similar ideas.

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" 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."

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 (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."

περισσότερον [7 verses](adj sg masc acc comp) "More than" is perissoteros, which means, as an adjective, "beyond the regular number or size," "prodigious,'" "out of the common," "extraordinary," "strange," "more than sufficient," "superfluous," "useless," "excessive," " extravagant," of persons, "over-wise," "over-curious," as a term of praise, "subtle," "acute," "an odd, uneven number," as an adverb "extraordinarily," "exceedingly," "remarkably," "in an uncommon manner," "abundantly," "superfluously," and "uselessly."

προφήτου. (noun sg masc gen) "A prophet" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will," "interpreter," "keepers of the oracle," "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt," "interpreter," and "herald."

KJV Analysis: 

But -- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise."

what -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why." 

went  - The word translated as "went" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true."

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

out -- This is from the prefix that means "from"of the previous verb, which means "out of" or "from."

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

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

see? -- The verb translated as "to see" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive."  It is the same as the verb in the previous verse. but different than the "see" in Matthew 11:7.

A -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

prophet?  - (WP, UW) "Prophet" is a Greek word that means "one who speaks for God and interprets His will." It has the general sense of an interpreter, fortune-teller, and a herald. It is also a verb that means "to shine forth" so the word is very like calling someone a "shining light." This is place as an answer to a question, but the word was part of the question, appearing before the verb.

yea,  - -- The word translated as "yea" can be translated as "yes," or "truly." Interestingly, tt is not a common word for Jesus to use.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

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

more -- (CW) "More" is a Greek adjective  that means "more than" when applied to quantities, but has a variety of meanings, both positive and negative, when applied to people, from "extraordinary" and "remarkable" to "excessive." This is the relatively uncommon comparative form, which is more extreme that the common word  translated as "more than." 

than-- This word "than"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. It means  "than" in comparisons).

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

prophet.  -  (UW) The second "than a prophet" is the same as the previous word for prophet but in a genitive form.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "for" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "prophet" doesn't appear here but before the verb.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "prophet" means "shining light." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "more" is not the common word usually translated as "more" but a more extreme version.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "prophet" means "shining light." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.

NIV Analysis: 

Then -- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise"

what  - The word translated as "what" is a pronoun that often, but not always signals a question.

did -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

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

go - The word translated as "went" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true."

out -- This is from the prefix that means "from"of the previous verb, which means "out of" or "from."

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

see? -- The verb translated as "to see" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." It is the same as the verb in the previous verse. but different than the "see" in

A -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

prophet?  - (WP, UW) "Prophet" is a Greek word that means "one who speaks for God and interprets His will." It has the general sense of an interpreter, fortune-teller, and a herald. It is also a verb that means "to shine forth" so the word is very like calling someone a "shining light." This is place as an answer to a question, but the word was part of the question, appearing before the verb.

Yes,  - -- The word translated as "yes" can be translated as "yes," or "truly." Interestingly, tt is not a common word for Jesus to use.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

tell -- The word translated as "tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.h, but the

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

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

more -- (CW) "More" is a Greek adjective  that means "more than" when applied to quantities, but has a variety of meanings, both positive and negative, when applied to people, from "extraordinary" and "remarkable" to "excessive." This is the relatively uncommon comparative form, which is more extreme that the common word  translated as "more than." 

than-- This word "than"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. It means  "than" in comparisons).

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

prophet.  -  (UW) The second "than a prophet" is the same as the previous word for prophet but in a genitive form.

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "then" should be "but.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "prophet" means "shining light." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "more" is not the common word usually translated as "more" but a more extreme version.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "prophet" means "shining light." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English

Front Page Date: 

Oct 1 2020