Matthew 19:8 Moses because of the hardness of your hearts

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Teaching about marriage. We should not divorce.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Moses, by reason of that hard-heartedness of yours, entrusted to you to release the women of yours. From  inception, however, it hadn't happened to this extent.

My Takeaway: 

We must uses our own judgment but we cannot take things to extremes.

KJV : 

Matthew 19:8 Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

NIV : 

Matthew 19:8 Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus uses a unique (for him) word here for a specific purpose that is translated as "sufferer" or "permitted." It the specific form used, it has the sense of entrusting to someone's judgment, leaving it for them to decide upon. This sense is lost in translation.

Also lost is the meaning of the end of this verse, that is, the punchline. The word translated as "was" means "become" or "happen." It indicates a change, not the continuation of a situation as translated. It is in the past perfect so "has happened." The "this way" and "so" primarily means "so much" and "to this extent" with a verb indicating change. So the sense is, "it hadn't happened--to this extent." This indicated that divorce was increasing in Jesus's era. Of course, it was a major political issue because of the divorce and remarriage of Antipas, an issue that John was beheaded over.

Wordplay: 

 The word translated here as "put away" also means "to destroy" and to let go of a debt.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Μωυσῆς [18 verses] (Hebrew Name) "Moses" is Moyses, which means "Moses".

πρὸς (prep) "Because of" is from pros, which means "on the side of," "in the direction of," "from (place)," "towards" "before," "in the presence of," "in the eyes of," "in the name of," "by reason of," "before (supplication)," "proceeding from (for effects)," "dependent on," "derivable from," "agreeable,""becoming," "like," "at the point of," "in addition to," "against," and "before."

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

σκληροκαρδίαν [2 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Hardness of hearts" is sklerokardia, which means literally "hardness of the heart."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is from humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἐπέτρεψεν [1 verse](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Suffered" is epitrepo, which means 1) to "turn to," "turn over to," "overturn upon transfer," "bequeath," "commit," "entrust to another (as trustee)," (with dative)"rely upon," "leave to;","entrust oneself," "leave one's case to," "to entrust what is one's own to" 2) "give up," "yield," "give way," and 3) "command."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from hymin (humin), which is the 2nd person plural dative pronoun. Dative is the case which indicates to whom something is given. -- The "you" here is an indirect object usually translated as "to you" or "for you."

ἀπολῦσαι [13 verses](verb aor inf act) "To put away" might be apolyo which means "to loose from" "to set free," "to release," "to acquit," "to divorce [a wife]," "to do away with," and "to begin to count." In the passive, it means "to be released," "to be separated [combatants]," "to be brought forth [a child]," and "to be delivered [of a mother]," and "to be undone."

τὰς (article pl fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

γυναῖκας [28 verses](noun pl fem acc) "Wives" is gyne, which means "woman (as opposed to man)," "wife," "spouse," "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)."

ὑμῶν, (pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is from humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἀπ᾽ (prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

ἀρχῆς [13 verses](noun sg fem gen) "The beginning" is from arche, which means "beginning," "origin," "first principles," "first place of power," "empire," "command," "heavenly power," "power of evil," and a lot of other ways of expressing the source of things. this is the word from which we get both "archbishop," head bishops who can consecrate other bishops, and "archeology," the study of ancient history.

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

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.

γέγονεν [117 verses](verb 3rd sg perf ind act) "It was" is 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.

οὕτως. [137 verses](adv) "So" is from houtos, which, as an adverb, it means "in this way," "therefore," "so much," "to such an extent," and "that is why."

KJV Analysis: 

Moses -- "Moses" is from the Greek spelling of the name for the author of the first five books of the OT.

because  of -  The word translated as "because of" means "towards," "in the presence of," "by reason of (for)," and "against." This is not the one of the common word translated as "because" but "by reason of" means the same thing.

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. 

hardness of  - (CW) "Hardness of hearts" is from a constructed word that means literally "hardheartedness." It appears only here and in the parallel verse in Mar 10:5. This word means simple "hardheartedness" and  not translating it that was is confusing.

your  -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

hearts-- This finishes the idea of the noun above.

suffered  - (CW) "Suffered" is from a verb which means to "turn to," "turn over to," "rely upon," "leave to;" "give "give way," and "command." When used with an indirect objects, as it is here, it means "rely upon" or "leave to." With a dative and an infinite, it has the specific sense of "entrust" or "leaving to one's judgment" to do something.

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

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

put away -- "Put away" is from a verb that means "to loose from," "to set free," and ""to discharge." Often it is used to mean "destroy," "to leave," and "to free." In references to a wife, it specifically means "to divorce." It also means "to destroy." Interestingly, it is the same word used to describe freeing someone from a debt (as in the last chapter).

your -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

missing "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. 

wives:  - "Wives" is from a noun which means "woman (as opposed to man)," "wife," "spouse," "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)."

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

the - There is no article, "the" here, but the English words "beginning" and "start" require it,

beginning  - "Beginning" is from a noun that means "beginning," "origin," "foundation," "source," "first place," "power," and "first principles."

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

was -- (WW, WT) The word translated as "was" 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. When applied to events, this word means "to happen" or "take place."

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.

so. - (CW) "So" is from an adverb that means "in this way," "therefore," "so much," "to such an extent," and "that is why."

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "hardness of...heart" means simply "hardheartedness."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "suffered" is not the common word usually translated as "suffered."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "wives" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "was" should be "happen" or "become."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  is the past tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, "has happened" indicated it was completed in the past.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "so" has more the sense of "so much."

NIV Analysis: 

Moses -- "Moses" is from the Greek spelling of the name for the author of the first five books of the OT.

permitted - (CW) "Permitted" is from a verb which means to "turn to," "turn over to," "rely upon," "leave to;" "give "give way," and "command." When used with an indirect objects, as it is here, it means "rely upon" or "leave to." With a dative and an infinite, it has the specific sense of "entrust" or "leaving to one's judgment" to do something.

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

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

divorce -- "Divorce" is from a verb that means "to loose from," "to set free," and ""to discharge." Often it is used to mean "destroy," "to leave," and "to free." In references to a wife, it specifically means "to divorce." It also means "to destroy." Interestingly, it is the same word used to describe freeing someone from a debt (as in the last chapter).

your -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

missing "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. 

wives:  - "Wives" is from a noun which means "woman (as opposed to man)," "wife," "spouse," "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)."

because  -  The word translated as "because " means "towards," "in the presence of," "by reason of (for)," and "against." This is not the one of the common word translated as "because" but "by reason of" means the same thing.

your  -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

missing "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. 

hearts - (CW) "Hearts were hard" is from a constructed word that means literally "hardheartedness." It appears only here and in the parallel verse in Mar 10:5. This word means simple "hardheartedness" and  not translating it that was is confusing.

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

hard. - This completes the idea of the noun above.

But -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

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

was -- (WW, WT) The word translated as "was" 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. When applied to events, this word means "to happen" or "take place."

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.

this way. - (CW) "This way" is from an adverb that means "in this way," "therefore," "so much," "to such an extent," and "that is why."

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

the - There is no article, "the" here, but the English words "beginning" and "start" require it,

beginning  - "Beginning" is from a noun that means "beginning," "origin," "foundation," "source," "first place," "power," and "first principles."

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "permitted" is not the common word usually translated as "permitted."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "hardheartedness" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "hardness of...heart" means simply "hardheartedness."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "were" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "wives" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "was" should be "happen" or "become."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  is the past tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, "has happened" indicated it was completed in the past.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "this way" has more the sense of "so much."

Front Page Date: 

Apr 20 2021