Matthew 24:39 And knew not until the flood came,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A long section about "the end of the world" or, more precisely, "the culmination of an era." The appearance of stability before a crisis is an illusion.

KJV : 

Matthew 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Literal Verse: 

And they didn't learn until it showed up, that flood, and it lifted them all. In this way, it will be: the presence of this Son of the man.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The word translated as "coming" is unrelated to the verb "came" appearing in this verse. This noun translated as "coming is only used by Jesus three times. It means "presence." See this article for an in-depth examination of the Greek word.  Jesus only uses it in the phrase "the presence of the son of the man." The first time this word is used in this section is in  Matthew 24:3, with his students asking what the "sign" of his presence with them means regarding the end of the era.

Jesus uses a nice play on the word mistranslated as "took." This is not the Greek word usually translated as "take," but a word meaning "to lift," which does describe what a flood does to people, lifting them away from the ground. The verb also came to mean "remove" in the same way we describe stealing as "shoplifting." This "lifting/removing" image becomes important in the following verses.

My Takeaway: 

A rising tide lifts both boats and people.

Greek : 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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." -

οὐκ [269 verses](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.

ἔγνωσαν [62 verses] (verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "Knew" is from ginosko which means "to learn to know," "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

ως [63 verses](conj) "Until" is from heos which means "until," "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that."

ἦλθεν [198 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Came" is erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out," "to come," "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

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

κατακλυσμὸς [3 verses](noun sg masc nom) "The flood" is from kataklysmos, which means "flood," "inundation," and "deluge."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

ἦρεν [56 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Took...away" is airo, which means "to lift up," "to raise," "to raise up," "to exalt," "to lift and take away," and "to remove." In some forms, it is from apaomai, which means to "pray to," or "pray for."

ἅπαντας, [4 verses](adj pl masc acc) "Them all" is hapas, which means "quite all," "the whole," "all together," "all possible," "absolute," "every one," "everything," "every," "in any cause whatever," "in every matter," and (as an adverb) "altogether."

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

ἔσται .[614 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible." ​

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

παρουσία [3 verses] (noun sg fem nom) "Coming" is parousia, which means "presence," "arrival," "occasion," "situation," "substance," "property," and "contribution."

τοῦ [821 verses](article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

υἱοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "The Son" is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

τοῦ [821 verses](article sg masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἀνθρώπου. (noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

KJV Analysis: 

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

knew  - "Knew" is from a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn.

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea.

until  - The word translated as "until" means "until" but it also means "in order that."

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. 

flood  - The word translated as "the flood" also means "deluge." It is the source of our word "cataclysm." It is only used twice by Jesus, here and in the Luke version, Luke 17:27.

came,  - The word translated as "came" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. 

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

took - (CW) "Took" is from one of Christ's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up," "elevate," "to bear," "to carry off," "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease." Christ uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross. This is NOT the word used in the following verses and translated as "taken."

them all  - "Them all" is an adjective that means "quite all," "everyone," " and "all together."

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

so -- The word translated in KJV as "so" is in its adverb that means "in this manner" or "in this way."

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

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

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. 

coming  - (CW) The word translated as "coming" means "presence," "arrival," "occasion," "situation," "substance," "property," and "contribution." It is an uncommon word, only used by Jesus in this section of Matthew. Here, the context has been "presence" during this section.

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.

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"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "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. 

man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples." 

be. - -- The verb "be" 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.
 

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "took" is not the common word usually translated as "took."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "away" doesn't exist in the source.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "also" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the source we use today.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "coming" is not the common word usually translated as "coming."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV : 

Matthew 24:39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

NIV Analysis: 

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

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

knew  - "Knew" is from a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn.

nothing - (CW) The Greek word translated as "nothing" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. It is not the word usually translated as "nothing."

about what would happen -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "about what would happen " in the Greek source.

until  - The word translated as "until" means "until" but it also means "in order that."

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. 

flood  - The word translated as "the flood" also means "deluge." It is the source of our word "cataclysm." It is only used twice by Jesus, here and in the Luke version, Luke 17:27.

came,  - The word translated as "came" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. 

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

took - (CW) "Took" is from one of Christ's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up," "elevate," "to bear," "to carry off," "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease." Christ uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross. This is NOT the word used in the following verses and translated as "taken."

them all  - "Them all" is an adjective that means "quite all," "everyone," " and "all together."

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

That is how -- The word translated in KJV as "so" is in its adverb that means "in this manner" or "in this way."

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 or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be. - -- The verb "be" 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.

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

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. 

coming  - (CW) The word translated as "coming" means "presence," "arrival," "occasion," "situation," "substance," "property," and "contribution." It is an uncommon word, only used by Jesus in this section of Matthew. Here, the context has been "presence" during this section.

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.

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"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "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. 

Man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples."

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "nothing" is not the common word usually translated as "nothing."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "about what would happen " doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "took" is not the common word usually translated as "took."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "away" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "at" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "coming" is not the common word usually translated as "coming."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.

Related Verses: 

Unimportant Opinions and Imaginings: 

"And," he said, more solemnly. "They really didn't learn."

He paused for emphasis, slowly raising his arms.

"Until," he said, dramatically. "The flood came."

His arms came crashing down.

"And swept them all away!" he finished, sweeping his arms to the side.

"this is how," he continued more softly. "It is going to be."

He made the sweeping motion again and said, "The arrival of the new generation of humanity."

Front Page Date: 

Oct 6 2021