Matthew 17:12 ...Elias is come already,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

After the transfiguration and coming down from mountain. One of those seen with Jesus was Elias.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

I tell you, however, that Elijah already arrived and they didn't identify him. Still, they did with him as much as they desired. So much also this child of the man is destined to undergo under them.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus saw his fate as a destiny, not just suffering.

KJV : 

Matthew 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

NIV : 

Matthew 17:12  But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”

What is Lost in Translation: 

The word translated here as "know/recognize" is a rare one for Jesus, having the sense of "learning to know." Literally, it means "learning from."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act) "Say" is from llego means "pick up," "choose for oneself," "pick out," and "count," "recount," "tell over," "say," "speak," "teach," "mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," "nominate," and "command."

δὲ (conj) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). -- The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "To you" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." -

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is 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."

Ἠλείας [[13 verses] (HebrewName) - "Elias" is Elias, the Greek form of the biblical name for Elijah.

ἤδη [13 verses](adv) "Already" is from ede, which means "already," "by this time," "forthwith," "after," "immediately," and "now." It means proximity in time, but also place.

ἦλθεν, [198 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Is come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out," "to come," "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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.

ἐπέγνωσαν [4 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "They knew" is epiginosko, which means "look upon," "witness," "observe," "recognize," "find out," "discover," "learn to know," "take notice of," "come to a judgment," "decide," "acknowledge," and "approve."

αὐτὸν (adj sg masc acc) "Him" 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."

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

ἐποίησαν [167 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "Have done" is poieo, which means "to make," "to produce," "to create," "to bring into existence," "to bring about," "to cause," "to render," "to consider," "to prepare," "to make ready," and "to do."

ἐν (conj) "Unto" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) Him" 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."

ὅσα [28 verses](adj pl neut acc) "Whatsoever" is hosos, which means "as many," "as much as," "as great as," "as far as," and "only so far as."

ἠθέλησαν: [64 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "They listed" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)," "to wish," "to ordain," "to decree," "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain," "to hold," "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired." The Greek word translated as "will" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses consent and even a delight in doing something. In the Hebrew, "will" or "desire" is chaphets, which means "to delight in," "to take pleasure in," and "to be pleased with."

οὕτως (adv) "Likewise" is from houtos, which means "this," "that," "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way," "therefore," "so much," "to such an extent," and "that is why."

καὶ (conj) "Also" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

(article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

υἱὸς [157 verses](noun sg masc nom) "The Son" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

ἀνθρώπου [209 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

μέλλει [10 verses] ( verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Shall" is from mello, which is a verb meaning "to be destined to," "to be likely to," "to be about to," "to be alway going to do [without actually doing]," "to delay or put off

πάσχειν [8 verses](verb pres inf act) "Suffer" is paschô, which means "to have something happen to one," "to have done to one," "to be treated so," and "to come to be in a state."

ὑπ᾽ [29 verses](prep) "Of" is from hypo (hupo), which means [with genitive] "from under (of motion)," "down under," under, beneath," indicating a cause with passive verbs, "by," "under," or "with," "under the cover or protection of," "of the agency of feelings, passions," "expressing subjection or dependence," "subordinate," "subject to;" [with accusative] "towards" and "under" (to express motion), "under" (without a sense of motion), "subjection," "control," "dependence," of Time, "in the course of," "during," "about," as an adverb, "under," "below," beneath, the agency or influence under which a thing is done"by," "before,' and "under," (with genitive and passive verbs of cause).

αὐτῶν. (adj pl masc gen) "Their" 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."

KJV Analysis: 

But -- The term translated as "but" means that, but since it always appears in the second position in a phrase, it feels more like our word "however," which can appear in the second position. The effect is to change the direction of the phrase after it is started.

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

say -- The word translated as "I 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.

unto -- This word "to" 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. 

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

Elias  - Elias is the Greek form of the name of the prophet we call "Elijah." Christ refers to Elijah only here and in Mark as a forerunner or harbinger of the Christ. However, he also appear with Christ along with Moses. More about Christ's use of OT figures in this article.

is  -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb..

come -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more. The tense is something that happens at a point of time.

already, -- "Already" is a Greek adverb meaning "by this time," "forthwith," "after," "immediately," and "now." It means proximity in time, but also place.

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

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

knew -- (CW) The word means literally, "on learning to know" or "by learning to know." Generally, it means "to witness" or "to discover." This is not one of the common words Jesus uses to mean "know" but one he uses only four times to specifically highlight the "learning" part. Literally, it means "learning from." Jesus uses it to mean "recognize" in the sense of "identify" not "reward."

him " -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

not, -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause.

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is different than the Greek word translated as "but" above. "Still" or "however" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction, especially when it begins a sentence.

have  - -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

done -- The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do," which covers all actions, productive or not. The Greek word translated as "have done" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. It is in the same tense as the previous two verbs, indicating something that happens at a point in time.

unto  - -- (WW) The word translated as "unto" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  The sense here is "with him" not "to him."

The word translated as "in" also means "within," "with," or "among."

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

whatsoever  - (CW) The word translated as "whatsoever" means "as great as," "as much as," and similar ideas of comparison.

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

listed.-- (CW) The Greek word translated as "listed" primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose."

Likewise  - "Likewise" is translated from a Greek word adverb that means "in this way," "in this manner," and "to such an extent."

shall  - -- (WW, WT) "Shall" here seems to be a helping verb making "suffer" the future tense, but it is really a Greek verb, which means "to be destined or likely to," "to be about to do something," or "to intend to" or "to have in mind to."  This verb is the active verb in this clause and it is the present tense. Suffer is also the present tense.

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

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"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples."

suffer  - (CW, WF) "Suffer" is from a verb that means "to have done to one," "to be treated so," and "to come to be in a state." The sense is "undergo."  It does not refer specifically to suffering, but it is an uncommon word.

of -- The word translated as "of" primarily means "by," "under," or "with." Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

them. -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

KJV Translation Issues: 

10
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "is" indicates the present tense, but that is not the tense here. The tense is something that happens at a point of time.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "know" is not the common word usually translated as "know."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense here. The tense is something that happens at a point of time.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "unto" should be something more like "with."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "listed" is the common word usually translated as "will" that means "desire."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "shall" should be something more like "is destined."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "shall" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here. The tense is the present.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "suffer" means "to be treated" or "to undergo."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "suffer" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to undergo."

NIV Analysis: 

But -- The term translated as "but" means that, but since it always appears in the second position in a phrase, it feels more like our word "however," which can appear in the second position. The effect is to change the direction of the phrase after it is started.

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

tell -- 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.

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

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

Elijah - Elias is the Greek form of the name of the prophet we call "Elijah." Christ refers to Elijah only here and in Mark as a forerunner or harbinger of the Christ. However, he also appear with Christ along with Moses. More about Christ's use of OT figures in this article.

has -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb..

come -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more. The tense is something that happens at a point of time.

already, -- "Already" is a Greek adverb meaning "by this time," "forthwith," "after," "immediately," and "now." It means proximity in time, but also place.

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

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

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.

not, -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause.

recognize  - The word means literally, "on learning to know" or "by learning to know." Generally, it means "to witness" or "to discover." This is not one of the common words Jesus uses to mean "know" but one he uses only four times to specifically highlight the "learning" part. Literally, it means "learning from." Jesus uses it to mean "recognize" in the sense of "identify" not "reward."

him " -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is different than the Greek word translated as "but" above. "Still" or "however" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction, especially when it begins a sentence.

have  - -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

done -- The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do," which covers all actions, productive or not. The Greek word translated as "have done" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. It is in the same tense as the previous two verbs, indicating something that happens at a point in time.

to  - -- (WW) The word translated as "to" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  The sense here is "with him" not "to him."

The word translated as "in" also means "within," "with," or "among."

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

everything - (CW) The word translated as "everything " means "as great as," "as much as," and similar ideas of comparison.

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

wished.-- The Greek word translated as "wished" primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose."

In the same way - "In the same way " is translated from a Greek word adverb that means "in this way," "in this manner," and "to such an extent."

is going - -- (WW, WT) "Is going " here seems to be a helping verb making "suffer" the future tense, but it is really a Greek verb, which means "to be destined or likely to," "to be about to do something," or "to intend to" or "to have in mind to."  This verb is the active verb in this clause and it is the present tense. Suffer is also the present tense.

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

 to suffer at their hands.

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"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples."

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

suffer  - (CW) "Suffer" is from a verb that means "to have done to one," "to be treated so," and "to come to be in a state." The sense is "undergo."  It does not refer specifically to suffering, but it is an uncommon word.

of -- The word translated as "of" primarily means "by," "under," or "with." Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

them. -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

NIV Translation Issues: 

10
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "is" indicates the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense here. The tense is something that happens at a point of time.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "know" is not the common word usually translated as "know."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but that is not the tense here. The tense is something that happens at a point of time.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "to" should be something more like "with."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "is going" should be something more like "is destined."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "is going" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here. The tense is the present.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "suffer" means "to be treated" or "to undergo."

Front Page Date: 

Feb 24 2021