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Matthew 21:39  And they caught him, and cast him
Context:

This continues the lesson about authority and trust to a story about how not trusting those in power leads to a predictable result.

Spoken to:
audience
Greek Verse:

Matthew 21:39  καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος καὶ ἀπέκτειναν.

KJV Verse:

Matthew 21:39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

NIV Verse:

Matthew 21:39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

Literal Alternative:

And they got him, and tossed him out from the vineyard and destroyed him.

Hidden Meaning:

This verse is a good example of how Jesus uses certain words and exaggeration to lighten the story. The word translated as "caught/took" is more like our word "got," but here means getting in a strong grasp, so "seize," works well. The word translated as "tossed/threw" has its prefix, meaning "out of," is repeated in the preposition giving it a stronger sense, like "eject." (Note, this verb is unnecessary for the story, but added to create the three beats of good story-telling.  The "slew/killed" is also more extreme, more like "destroyed."

The feeling is a little like you would tell a story for children, making it dramatic and entertaining. The most extreme word, "destroyed" end the verse.

Wordplay:

The casual word "toss" is contrasted with the exaggerated word "destroy." 

My Takeaway:

Being a landlord is riskier than we think.

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About this Site

I started this site fifteen years ago.  My original award-winning work as a "techno-linguist" was in ancient Chinese. I wanted to bring the same computer search and analysis techniques to explore something more important: the original Greek of Jesus's words. To understand why this was important to me, you may want to read this article on how Jesus's meaning is lost.

This site does not promote any religious point of view. On the contrary, it seeks to avoid the competing and evolving religious dogmas that have shaped Biblical translation for centuries.  I purposely use "nonreligious" sources for Greek word meaning, rejoining the study of Biblical Greek with the broader study of ancient Greek. My goal is simply to identify how listeners of Jesus's time would have heard him.

Jesus' words are unique for three reasons.

  1. His words were spoken, not written. Spoken language is inherently different than written language.
  2. His words changed the meaning of words, determining even how later NT authors' used the Greek.
  3. His words were the basis of a unique historical revolution in the way people think.

Most of the on-line material on "Biblical Greek" is largely tautological. It explains the Greek only in terms of how it has been translated into English in the Bible. It flows from the ways that the  Gospel was taught from the Latin Vulgate. I respect this work and use it daily. However,  most of my work takes place outside of this tradition, researching the use of the Greek closer to the time of Jesus, especially the Greek OT, the Septuagint.

The Bible has been such a powerful force in history that it has changed the meaning of many words in English, Latin, and Greek. However, the Greek of Jesus's words has been faithfully preserved for centuries despite the changing religious fashions. These fashions, unfortunately, affect each successive English translation of the Bible, moving it further and further from the Greek.  I stopped analyzing the NLT version because so much of it fails to connect to anything in Jesus's Greek. It is not a translation but how a group of people today feel about the ideas in other English translations. The Message Bible version is even worse.

This site is offered for those who care about fidelity to Scripture as passed down for two thousand years.

Most Recent Question

Question:
Does John 6:37 mean that once I’m saved, no matter what sin I do, if I come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and repent from that sin, I will not be cast out?
Answer:

I don't see anything about asking forgiveness and repenting nor anything about "being saved." All of these are Christian concepts invented after Jesus. He doesn't use these ideas at all. What is translated as "forgive" means "let go" as in dropping something. What is translated as "repent" means "change your mind" as in thinking differently. What gets translated as "being saved" is the idea of being "rescued" not from "evil" but from "worthlessness."

None of this is in the verses. Or in its context. His ideas in John 6:37 are simpler.  You are either returning to Jesus or moving away from him. Those who the Father has given him...