Matthew 23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

A long condemnation of the religious leaders of the time, now focusing on swearing oaths.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And the one's swearing on the temple swears on it and the one occupying it.

KJV : 

Matthew 23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The point of the verse may be to prohibit swearing because on the Temple is swearing on the Divine. This message was said more directly in Matthew 5:33, and the following verse, Matthew 23:22, echoes Matthew 5:34.

 This verse again repeats another of the couplets of this section, repeating the form of the previous verse, changing its words, especially at the end. This is the style of Jesus's humor in repetition, creating an expectation that the pattern will be followed but then breaking it. The expectation created by the previous verses is that this one would end with "everything in it" or words to that effect, but instead, it ends with "the one occupying" in it.

The word translated as "dwelleth" and "dwells" is not the word usually translated as "dwell" in the NT. Instead, it is a rare word that works more like our "occupy" or "inhabit," taking a direct object. It is a verb in the form of an adjective, "occupying," preceded by an article, completing the idea of a noun, "the one occupying it."

NIV : 

Matthew 23:21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.

My Takeaway: 

The Divine doesn't want to be used as a prop.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "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."

[692 verses](article sg neut dat)  "Whoso" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὀμόσας [7 verses] (part sg aor act masc nom) "Shall swear" is omnyo, which means "to swear to a thing", "to take an oath", "to promise one will", "give word of honor", "swear by," and "affirm or confirm by oath."

ἐν [413 verses](prep) "By" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῷ [692 verses] (article sg masc dat)  "Which " is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ναῷ, (5 verses] (noun sg masc dat) "The temple" is naos, which means "temple," "inmost part of a temple", "shrine," and "portable shrine carried in processions."

ὀμνύει [7 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Sweareth" is from omnyo, which means "to swear to a thing", "to take an oath", "to promise one will", "give word of honor", "swear by," and "affirm or confirm by oath."

ἐν [413 verses](prep) "By" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

αὐτῷ [720 verses](adj sg masc dat) "It" 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."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv)  "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."

ἐν [413 verses](prep)By" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῷ[692 verses] (article sg masc dat)  "Him that " is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

κατοικοῦντι [4 verses] (part sg pres act masc dat) "dwelleth" is katoikeô, which means "to settle in", "colonize", "to administer," and "govern."

αὐτόν: [720 verses](adj sg masc acc) "Therein" 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: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). The "and" is important here as a pausing point to let the audience know that Jesus is not letting this point go.

whoso -- (CW) The word translated as "whoso" is the Greek definite article, "the," without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

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

swear  - (WF) The word translated as "swear" means "to swear to a thing", "to promise," and "to take an oath." It is in the "swearing" form used as a noun, "the ones swearing." It is an uncommon word for Christ but doesn't have any double meanings. It is not in the future tense, but a form indicating something that can happen at any point in time.

by  - The word translated as "by" also means "in", "on", "within", "with," or "among." It is used in the sense that we say "swearing on" something, like swearing on the Bible.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

temple, - The word translated as "temple" means "temple", "the inner room of the temple," and "shrine." This is an uncommon word for Jesus to use. It is different emotionally from our term "church" or even "cathedral" because there was only one temple, the one in Jerusalem.

sweareth -  The word translated as "swears" means "to swear to a thing", "to promise," and "to take an oath." It is in the "swearing" form used as a noun, "the ones swearing." It is an uncommon word for Christ but doesn't have any double meanings. It is not in the future tense, but a form indicating something that can happen at any point in time.

by  - The word translated as "by" also means "in", "on", "within", "with," or "among." It is used in the sense that we say "swearing on" something, like swearing on the Bible.

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

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). The "and" is important here as a pausing point to let the audience know that Jesus is not letting this point go.

by  - The word translated as "by" also means "in", "on", "within", "with," or "among." It is used in the sense that we say "swearing on" something, like swearing on the Bible.

him -- (CW) The word translated as "him" is the Greek definite article, "the," without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

that -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that" in the Greek source. It was added because the next verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

dwelleth  - (CW, WF) "The Greek translated as "Him that dwelleth" is a verb, meaning "to settle in", "colonize", "to administer," and "govern." The English words "inhabit" or "occupies" work best here.  If this verb was plural, we might think it referred to the priests or money changers, rather than God. This is not the word usually translated as "dwells" in the Gospels.

therein.  - (CW) -- The word translated as "therein" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns (he, she, it)  in English.  The form is the object of the verb.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "whoso" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "shall" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "swear" is not an active verb but a participle, "swearing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "him" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "dwelleth" is not the common word usually translated as "dwell."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "dwelleth" is not an active verb but a participle, "occupying."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "therein" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). The "and" is important here as a pausing point to let the audience know that Jesus is not letting this point go.

anyone -- (CW) The word translated as "anyone " is the Greek definite article, "the," without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

who -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "who " in the Greek source. It was added because the next verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

swears  - (WF) The word translated as "swear" means "to swear to a thing", "to promise," and "to take an oath." It is in the "swearing" form used as a noun, "the ones swearing." It is an uncommon word for Christ but doesn't have any double meanings. It is not in the future tense, but a form indicating something that can happen at any point in time.

by  - The word translated as "by" also means "in", "on", "within", "with," or "among." It is used in the sense that we say "swearing on" something, like swearing on the Bible.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

temple, - The word translated as "temple" means "temple", "the inner room of the temple," and "shrine." This is an uncommon word for Jesus to use. It is different emotionally from our term "church" or even "cathedral" because there was only one temple, the one in Jerusalem.

swears -  The word translated as "swears" means "to swear to a thing", "to promise," and "to take an oath." It is in the "swearing" form used as a noun, "the ones swearing." It is an uncommon word for Christ but doesn't have any double meanings. It is not in the future tense, but a form indicating something that can happen at any point in time.

by  - The word translated as "by" also means "in", "on", "within", "with," or "among." It is used in the sense that we say "swearing on" something, like swearing on the Bible.

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

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). The "and" is important here as a pausing point to let the audience know that Jesus is not letting this point go.

by  - The word translated as "by" also means "in", "on", "within", "with," or "among." It is used in the sense that we say "swearing on" something, like swearing on the Bible.

the one-- The word translated as "the one" is the Greek definite article, "the," without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

who -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "who " in the Greek source. It was added because the next verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

dwells - (CW, WF) "The Greek translated as "dwelleth" is a verb, meaning "to settle in", "colonize", "to administer," and "govern." The English word "inhabit" works best here.  If this verb was plural, we might think it referred to the priests or money changers, rather than God. This is not the word usually translated as "dwells" in the Gospels.

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

it.  - - The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The form is the object of the verb.

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "anyone " is not the common word usually translated as "anyone ."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "swears" is not an active verb but a participle, "swearing."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "dwelleth" is not the common word usually translated as "dwell."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "dwells" is not an active verb but a participle, "occupying."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "in" doesn't exist in the source.

The Spoken Version: 

"And," he continued, holding up a finger waiting for silence.

"The ones promising on the temple," he held up his hand as if taking an oath. "Promise on it!"

Again, the crowd laughed.

"And," he continued again with a finger up, waiting for silence.

"The one," he said, pointing at the sky.

"Settling in it," he said seriously, bringing his hands, palms down toward the earth as a gesture of something settling from the heavens.

The crowd was quiet, sensing that the tone had changed.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 12 2021