Matthew 21:44 And whoever falls on this stone shall be broken:

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

This continues the lesson about authority, following a parable the outcome of ignoring authority. This is the lesson of that parable.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And the one falling upon the stone, this one, will be altogether crushed broken. On that one, however, when it falls, it will disperse him like chaff.

KJV : 

Matthew 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Understanding this verse depends first on our understanding Matthew 21:42 where Jesus describes himself as the "head of the corner," the capstone (not the cornerstone or keystone), which most translations also miss, but the real key is two words taken from the Greek Old Testament. the second verb creating a humorous image.

The play on words here uses the various meanings of "fall" and "on," and "before." The stone here is the "head of the corner," which has two meanings, the capstone, which tops and protects the wall from rain, and the head of community leaders (see Matthew 21:42 )." The point of the capstone is that it is slanted, a capstone in a corner being slanted in two directions, creating a sharp point. So the sense is the first fall, in the form of "the one falling" is that someone falling on the sharp edge of the stone, which Jesus in likening to his own sharp edges.

The verb translated as "broken" and "broken to pieces" is more grizzly. This word first appears in ancient Greek in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, where it is used four times, mostly translated as "break" often in the context of smashing someone's skull, in one case with a hammer, so the sense is "altogether crushed."  Jesus only uses this word twice, in only appears in one other Greek work besides the Septuagint before Jesus.

The word translated as "grind to powder" and "crushed" is from a verb that means "to winnow" that is, separate chaff from grain by throwing up in the air.  Jesus only uses this word twice. It was not a common Greek word, but like the word above comes from the Greek Old Testament where it is used sixteen times, always used in the sense of "scatter" and "disperse" often against Israel's enemies. It does not mean "grind" in any sense.  This is the punchline, creating an image of someone exploding into dust, like a balloon popping.

NIV : 

Matthew 21:44  Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.

Wordplay: 

The word "fall" here has many, many meanings. 

My Takeaway: 

The oddness of Jesus crushes some opponents and exploded others.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

[Καὶ  (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."

(article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πεσὼν 36 verses](part sg aor act masc nom) "Whoever shall...fall" is from the verb pipto, which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down," "fall upon", "intersect (geometry)", "meet", "pass through", "fall violently upon", "attack", "fall in battle", "sink{in water)", "fall short i.e. fail", " fall out of", "lose a thing", "escape from", "fall asleep", "to be accessible to perception", "to fall (between her feet, i.e. to be born)", "to let fall[dice)", "turn out," and "fall under (belong to a class)."

ἐπὶ (prep) "On" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

λίθον [15 verses](noun sg masc acc) "The stone" is lithos, which means "a stone", "stone as a substance," and various specific types of stones, such as touchstones, and altar stones.

τοῦτον (adj sg masc acc) "That" is from touto, which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]."

συνθλασθήσεται: {συνθλάω}[2 verses](verb 3rd sg fut pass, ind) "Shall be broken" is synthlao, which means "to crush together" or, perhaps, "altogether crushed."

ἐφ (prep) "On" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

ὃν (pron sg masc acc) "Whomsoever" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

δ᾽ (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").

ἂν (conj) Untranslated is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

πέσῃ [36 verses](verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "It shall...fall" is from the verb pipto, which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down," "fall upon", "intersect (geometry)", "meet", "pass through", "fall violently upon", "attack", "fall in battle", "sink{in water)", "fall short i.e. fail", " fall out of", "lose a thing", "escape from", "fall asleep", "to be accessible to perception", "to fall (between her feet, i.e. to be born)", "to let fall[dice)", "turn out," and "fall under (belong to a class)."

λικμήσει [2 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Grind to powder" is likmao, which means "to winnow" that is, separate chaff from grain by throwing up up in the air. It also is used as a metaphor for "to scatter", "to crush," and "to destroy."\

αὐτόν.] (adj sg masc acc) "Him" 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"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

whosoever -- (WW) The word translated as "whosoever" 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. 

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

fall  - "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form of a noun "the one who falls."

on  - The word translated as "on" means "on" against," and "before." The meaning that works best here is "before" meaning both "in front of" and "before" in time.

this -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing." This follows the noun so the sense is "this one," emphasizing the noun.

stone -- The Greek word translated as "stone" means "a stone", "stone as a substance," and various specific types of stones, such as touchstones and altar stones.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be  - -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

broken:  - While Biblical translation sources define the verb translated as "shall be broken" as meaning "to crush together" or "to altogether crush." The root means "crush" or "bruise," with a prefix that means "together." This word first appears in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, where it is used four times, mostly translated as "break" usually in the context of smashing someone's skull.  Jesus only uses this word twice, in only appears in one other Greek word besides the Septuagint before Jesus.

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 also an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on", "over", "upon", "against", "before", "after", "during", "by" "in the case of." or "on."

whomsoever -- The word translated as "whomsoever " is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

it -- This is from the third-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. This subjunctive is required by the untranslated "when." In English, a "when" implies a possibility or a "might."

fall,  - "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." The same word used in a verbal adjective form above. Here it is a verb. It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form which indicates someone acting on themselves, so "lower themselves down."

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

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

grind  - (WW) "Grind to powder" is from a verb that means "to winnow" that is, separate chaff from grain by throwing up in the air.  Jesus only uses this word twice. It was not a common Greek word, but like the word above comes from the Greek Old Testament where it is used sixteen times, always used in the sense of "scatter" and "disperse." It does not mean "grind" in any sense. Te verb is passive, not active, "be scattered."

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

to powder. -- This finished the concept of the verb.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "whosoever" should be "the one."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "shall" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "grind" should be "scatter."

NIV Analysis: 

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

Anyone -- (WW) The word translated as "whosoever" 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. 

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.

fall  - "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form of a noun "the one who falls."

on  - The word translated as "on" means "on" against," and "before." The meaning that works best here is "before" meaning both "in front of" and "before" in time.

this -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing." This follows the noun so the sense is "this one," emphasizing the noun.

stone -- The Greek word translated as "stone" means "a stone", "stone as a substance," and various specific types of stones, such as touchstones and altar stones.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be  - -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

broken:  - While Biblical translation sources define the verb translated as "shall be broken" as meaning "to crush together" or "to altogether crush." The root means "crush" or "bruise," with a prefix that means "together." This word first appears in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, where it is used four times, mostly translated as "break" usually in the context of smashing someone's skull.  Jesus only uses this word twice, in only appears in one other Greek word besides the Septuagint before Jesus.

to pieces; -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "to pieces" in the Greek source. And it is the opposite of the meaning of the Greek word.

missing "but"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "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 also an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

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

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on", "over", "upon", "against", "before", "after", "during", "by" "in the case of." or "on."

whom -- The word translated as "whom" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

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

falls,  - "Falls" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." The same word used in a verbal adjective form above. Here it is a verb. It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form which indicates someone acting on themselves, so "lower themselves down."

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be  - --  (WV) This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive, but it is active. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

crushed - (WW) "Crushed" is from a verb that means "to winnow" that is, separate chaff from grain by throwing up in the air.  Jesus only uses this word twice. It was not a common Greek word, but like the word above comes from the Greek Old Testament where it is used sixteen times, always used in the sense of "scatter" and "disperse." It does not mean "grind" in any sense.

him  - -- (MW) The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

NIV Translation Issues: 

10
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "anyone" should be "the one."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "to piece" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "crushed" should be "scatter."
  • WV - Wrong Voice - The verb here is translated as passive but it is active.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "him" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jun 24 2021