Matthew 26:38  My soul is exceeding sorrowful,

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

After the Last Supper and going up to Mt. Olive and the Garden of Gethsemane and goes off with Peter, James and John.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Very sad is this self of mine until death. Remain here and stay awake with me.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus was not happy about what he knew was happening the next day.

KJV : 

Matthew 26:38 My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

NIV : 

Matthew 26:38 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The word translated as "soul" here means one's self-awareness of who they are in this life (see this article on "Life," "Soul," " Mind," "Heart", and "Spirit" ). It is translated as "soul" fifty-six times in the KJV, but it is translated as "life" forty times.  It is different than  the physical body, our minds, and our emotion. It should be noted that Jesus uses another Greek word meaning "the heart" to refer to the human seat of emotions, which is also discussed in the article above. The sense here is that Jesus is using this term to describe his life in this world from now until his death, so "so sad" or "pathetic" might work. This phrase might be more humorous and self-deprecating than it appears. However, it is also an accurate description of the remainder of his life.

"Exceedingly sorrowful" is a word that means "very sad", and "deeply grieved."  Jesus only used it twice, here and in the parallel in Mark 14:34.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Περίλυπός [2 verses] (adj sg masc nom) "Exceedingly sorrowful" is from perilypos, which means "very sad", and "deeply grieved."

ἐστιν  [614 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

[821 verses](article sg fem nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ψυχή [33 verses](noun sg fem nom) "Soul" is from psyche, which means "breath", "life", "self", "spirit," and "soul." It has the clear sense of the conscious self and is often translated as "life" in the Gospels. It is also used to describe "the spirit" of things. It is often translated as "soul." -

μου” [239 verses](noun sg masc gen) "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

ἕως [63 verses](conj) "Even unto" is from heos which means "until", "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that." -- The word translated as "until" means "until" but it also means "in order that."

θανάτου: [15 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Death" from thanatos, which means "death" "kinds of death," specifically, "violent death", "corpse," and "a death sentence."

μείνατε [27 verses](verb 2nd pl aor imperat act) "Tarry ye" is from meno, which, as a verb, it means "stand fast" (in battle), "stay at home", "stay", "tarry", "remain as one was", "abide", and (transitive) "await."

ὧδε [29 verses] (adv)"Here" is hode, the demonstrative pronoun which means "this" in the sense of "what is present" and "what can be seen." With verbs of action and with a person (its use here), it means "here" as in "here I am" in the sense of "I am present."

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."

γρηγορεῖτε [14 verses] (2nd pl pres imperat act) "Watch" is from gregoreo, which means "to become fully awake," and "to watch."

μετ᾽ [103 verses](prep)"With" is from meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward."

ἐμοῦ. [239 verses](adj sg masc gen)"Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

KJV Analysis: 

My -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

soul  - The word translated as "soul" here means one's self-awareness of who they are in this life (see this article on "Life," "Soul," " Mind," "Heart", and "Spirit" ). It is different than  the purely physical body, our minds, our emotions, and our "pure" self-awareness of existence that is separate from our lives in this world.

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

exceeding sorrowful,  -  - "Exceedingly sorrowful" is a word that means "very sad", and "deeply grieved."  Jesus only used it twice, here and in the parallel in Mark 14:34.

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

unto  - The "unto" here is a word that means simply "until."

death:  -  - "Death" is the Greek word meaning "death" generally and the death penalty specifically. So Christ is saying that his life is very sad or pathetic from this point until he is killed.

tarry  - - (CW) The word translated as "tarry ye" has more of a sense of to "stay" or "remain," not "wait" which is the sense of "tarry."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

here, - The word translated as "here" means in manner, "in this way," referring to the manner, or "here," referring to place.

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

watch  - "Watch" is a Greek verb that means "to be or to become fully awake" and "watch." It is in the form of a command. This is the word that Christ uses three times about keeping ready for his return.

with  - -- "With" is the Greek word that usually means "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of."

me.  - - -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "soul" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "even" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "tarry" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

My -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

soul  - The word translated as "soul" here means one's self-awareness of who they are in this life (see this article on "Life," "Soul," " Mind," "Heart", and "Spirit" ). It is different than  the purely physical body, our minds, our emotions, and our "pure" self-awareness of existence that is separate from our lives in this world.

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

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

sorrow -  - "sorrow" is a word that means "very sad", and "deeply grieved."  Jesus only used it twice, here and in the parallel in Mark 14:34.

to  - (CW) The  "to" here is a word that means simply "until."

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

death:  -  - "Death" is the Greek word meaning "death" generally and the death penalty specifically. So Christ is saying that his life is very sad or pathetic from this point until he is killed.

Stay - - The word translated as "stay" has more of a sense of to "stay" or "remain," not necessarily dwelling in a place, though the KJV often treats it that way.

here, - The word translated as "here" means in manner, "in this way," referring to the manner, or "here," referring to place.

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

keep watch - "Watch" is a Greek verb that means "to be or to become fully awake" and "watch." It is in the form of a command. This is the word that Christ uses three times about keeping ready for his return.

with  - -- "With" is the Greek word that usually means "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of."

me.  - - -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "soul" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "overwhelmed with" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "the point of" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 21 2021