Matthew 19:18 Thou shalt do no murder...

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

A man asks which commandments he should keep.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

No, you really shouldn't murder at any time. No, you really shouldn't cheat [on your spouse] at any time. No, you really shouldn't steal at any time. No, you really shouldn't testify falsely at any time.

My Takeaway: 

Just don't do it.

KJV : 

Matthew 19:18 Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

NIV : 

Matthew 19:18 You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony,

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The negatives here are the ones used for facts, which are not commonly used with prohibitions. The Mark and Luke versions of this verse use the other Greek negative, that has the sense of not wanting to do something. Jesus does use this negative in the prohibitions in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:21, Matthew 5:27, but their the used is somewhat exaggerated, for the sake of humor. 

The forms of the verb are subjective, not commands, something that "should" or "might" be done. Note both KJV and NIV get this correct but use the confusing "shalt/shall" construction which is confused with the future tense, which these statements actually could be grammatically because these verb forms could be either the future indicative or the aorist (a tense meaning "at some time") subjunctive. Logically, however, these are not statements about the future but statements about what you should do at any time. Some Bibles show this as commands, which they aren't. Others show them as "must" statements, which they are not.

This verse is much pithier in Greek, two words, a "no" followed by the verb, but to capture all the information in the negative form and the verb, we would have to say something like: "No, you really shouldn't murder at any time." The Mark or Luke versions with the negative of opinion, say something like, "No, you shouldn't want to murder at any time."

Wordplay: 

 All these words rhyme. They seem chosen specifically because they have the same verb forms, the create a rhyming series. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐ (partic) "No" 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. -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

φονεύσεις [6 verses](verb 2nd sg aor subj act\) "Thou shalt do...murder" is phoneuo, which means "to kill," "to murder," "to be slain [passive], and "to stain with blood."

Οὐ (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.

μοιχεύσεις [10 verses](verb 2nd sg aor subj act) "Though shalt...commit adultery" is moicheuo (a different word than previous verses on marriage), which means "commit adultery with a woman" or "to debauch her."

Οὐ (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.

κλέψεις [6 verses](verb 2nd sg aor subj act ) "Thou shalt...steal" is klepto which means "to steal," "to cheat," "to spirit away," "to conceal," "to keep secret," "to do secretly," "to seize or occupy secretly," "to bring about secreand "to do secretly or treacherously."

Οὐ (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.

ψευδομαρτυρήσεις, [3 verses](verb 2nd sg aor subj act ) "Thou shalt...bear false witness" is from pseudomartureo, which means "to bear false witness."

KJV Analysis: 

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

shalt -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

do -- 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.

no -- 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.

murder,  - "Murder" is from a verb that means "to murder" or "to kill."

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

shalt  - -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

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.

commit adultery, "Commit adultery" is from a verb that means "commit adultery with a woman, " "to debauch a woman," and generally, "to commit adultery with anyone." It is a metaphor for "worshiping idols."

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

shalt  - -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

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.

steal,  - "Steal" is from a verb that means "to steal," "to cheat," and "to do secretly or treacherously."

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

shalt -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

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.

bear false witness, - "Bear false witness" is from a verb that means "to be a false witness," "to bear false witness."

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.

NIV Analysis: 

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

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

do -- 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.

no -- 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.

murder,  - "Murder" is from a verb that means "to murder" or "to kill."

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

shall - -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

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.

commit adultery, "Commit adultery" is from a verb that means "commit adultery with a woman, " "to debauch a woman," and generally, "to commit adultery with anyone." It is a metaphor for "worshiping idols."

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

shall - -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

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.

steal,  - "Steal" is from a verb that means "to steal," "to cheat," and "to do secretly or treacherously."

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

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

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.

give false testimony, - "Give false testimony," is from a verb that means "to be a false witness," "to bear false witness."

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.

Front Page Date: 

Apr 26 2021