Matthew 19:24 And again I tell you, It is easier for a camel...

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Young man cannot sell his valuable and give money to the poor

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Once more, however, I tell you easier it is a camel/rope through an opening in a needle [gate] to  enter than wealth into the realm of the deity.

My Takeaway: 

To grow, you must first shrink.

KJV : 

Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

NIV : 

Matthew 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is likely a play on a double meaning of both "camel" and "eye of a needle". For me, the dominant image is of a camel having to be unloaded so that it can pass through a narrow gate. This is consistent with Jesus earlier statement about entering through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13, Luke 13:24) where Jesus uses the same verb as he used here. This verse seems to me like a simple extension of his standard teaching about taking the more difficult path.

The word translated as "eye" here is means "hole," not "eye."  It is only used twice, once here an in the parallel verse in Luke 18:25.

Wordplay: 

 A play on the word for "camel" and "rope."

A play on a regular needle and the needle gate in Jerusalem. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πάλιν [23 verses](adv) "Again" is from palin, which means "back," "backward," "contradiction," "again," "once more," and "in turn."

δὲ (partic) "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 a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

λέγω [264 verses](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."

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

εὐκοπώτερόν [7 verses](adj sg neut nom comp) "Easier" is eukopo, which means "easy." The word is used primarily in the New Testament. It is a compound eu, the word for "well," "thoroughly," "competently," "fortunately," and "happily," and kopos, which means "striking," "beating," "toil and trouble," "fatigue," and "work."

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "It is" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible."

κάμηλον [4 verses] (noun sg masc acc) "Camel" is kamelos, which means "camel." However, in Aramaic (gamal), the word means both "camel" and "rope." In Greek, they are slightly different, kamelos and kamilos. There is also the idea that this could be a reference to the "needle" gate in Jerusalem. Read the article here for a pretty good (but not perfect) analysis here.

διὰ (prep) "Through" is from dia which means "through," "in the midst of," "in a line (movement)," "throughout (time)," "by (causal)," "among," and "between."

τρήματος [3 verses](noun sg neut gen) "Eye" is trymalia, which means "hole," "perforation," "aperture," and "orifice,"

ῥαφίδος [2 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Needle" is rhaphis, which means "needle." It is more of a surgeon's needle than a sewing needle.

εἰσελθεῖν [68 verses](verb aor inf act) "To go" is eiserchomai which means both "to go into," "to come in," "to enter," "to enter an office," "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind."

(conj/adv)  "Than" is e which is a particle meaning "either," "or," or "than."

πλούσιον [11 verses](adj sg masc acc) "Rich man" is plousios, which means "rich," and "opulent." It very much has the sense of ostentatiously rich.

εἰς (prep) "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)," "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)," "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

βασιλείαν [98 verses](noun sg fem acc) "The kingdom" is basileia, which means "kingdom," "dominion," "hereditary monarchy," "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

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

θεοῦ.[144 verses] (noun sg masc gen) "God" is theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

KJV Analysis: 

And -  (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" joins phrases in an adversarial way and is usually translated as "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

again  - "Again" is from a word that means "back," "backward," "contradiction," "again," "once more," and "in turn." It means "again," when someone repeats themselves and "contradiction" when it is something opposed, which is indicated by the word above.

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

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

is - The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

easier  - "Easier" is from an adjective that means "easy." It is in the form of a subject or object of the sentence and it in a comparative form.

for -- (IW) The expected word form here is either the dative or the genitive, both of which require a preposition to express in English. The genitive is usually used in a comparison.

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.

camel  - "A camel" is translated from a Greek word that means "camel." It is in the form of an object of the verb translated as "to go." However, in Aramaic, a similar word means both "camel" and "rope." In Greek, they are slightly different. There is also the idea that this could be a reference to the "needle" gate in Jerusalem. Read the article here for a pretty good (but not perfect) analysis here.The form of this word makes its subject of the "to go" clause because in Greek an infinitive takes an accusative object

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

go  - (CW) "Go" is from a verb that which means both "to go into," "to come in," "to enter," "to enter an office," "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind." Here it is used as a transitive verb, so "enter" works best, but we might say "lead into." This is a different word than the one from the source of the KJV, which emphasized the "through" rather than "into." It is not a singple "go" but a "go into."

through -- The word translated as "through" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)."

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

eye  - (CW) "Eye" is translated from a Greek word that generally means a "hole" or "opening." This word

of -- This word "of"  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.

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.

needle,  - "Needle" is translated from a Greek word that means "needle." A different word for the needle is used in Luke 18:25 but the same word is used in Mark.

than  - The word translated as "than" usually means "or" but when used in a comparative, as here, means "than."

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

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.

rich  - "Rich" is from an adjective that means "rich," and "opulent." It very much has the sense of ostentatiously rich. Here, it is not used with an article as in the previous verse. It is the subject of an infinitive clause, like "camel" above.

man  - This is from the masculine of the previous adjective.

to enter -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "to9 enter" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

into -- The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

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. 

kingdom  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

of -- This word "of"  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.

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

God. -- The word for "God" or "the deity" is used here. This is a change from the previous verse which referenced the "realm of the skies."

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "but" or "however."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "for" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "eye" is not the common word usually translated as "eye."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "go" is not the common word usually translated as "go."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "eye" doesn't exist in the source.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "to enter" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

untranslated "but"  -- (MW) The untranslated word joins phrases in an adversarial way and is usually translated as "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

Again  - "Again" is from a word that means "back," "backward," "contradiction," "again," "once more," and "in turn." It means "again," when someone repeats themselves and "contradiction" when it is something opposed, which is indicated by the word above.

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.

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

is - The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

easier  - "Easier" is from an adjective that means "easy." It is in the form of a subject or object of the sentence and it in a comparative form.

for -- (IW) The expected word form here is either the dative or the genitive, both of which require a preposition to express in English. The genitive is usually used in a comparison.

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.

camel  - "A camel" is translated from a Greek word that means "camel." It is in the form of an object of the verb translated as "to go." However, in Aramaic, a similar word means both "camel" and "rope." In Greek, they are slightly different. There is also the idea that this could be a reference to the "needle" gate in Jerusalem. Read the article here for a pretty good (but not perfect) analysis here.The form of this word makes its subject of the "to go" clause because in Greek an infinitive takes an accusative object

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

go  - (CW) "Go" is from a verb that which means both "to go into," "to come in," "to enter," "to enter an office," "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind." Here it is used as a transitive verb, so "enter" works best, but we might say "lead into." This is a different word than the one from the source of the KJV, which emphasized the "through" rather than "into." It is not a singple "go" but a "go into."

through -- The word translated as "through" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)."

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

eye  - (CW) "Eye" is translated from a Greek word that generally means a "hole" or "opening."

of -- This word "of"  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.

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.

needle,  - "Needle" is translated from a Greek word that means "needle." A different word for the needle is used in Luke 18:25 but the same word is used in Mark.

than  - The word translated as "than" usually means "or" but when used in a comparative, as here, means "than."

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

rich  - "Rich" is from an adjective that means "rich," and "opulent." It very much has the sense of ostentatiously rich. Here, it is not used with an article as in the previous verse. It is the subject of an infinitive clause, like "camel" above.

to enter -- (IP) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "to9 enter" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

untranslated "into"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

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. 

kingdom  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

of -- This word "of"  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.

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

God. -- The word for "God" or "the deity" is used here. This is a change from the previous verse which referenced the "realm of the skies."

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "for" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "eye" is not the common word usually translated as "eye."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "go" is not the common word usually translated as "go."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "eye" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "for someone who is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word-- The word "to enter" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Apr 30 2021