Re: Matt 23:23

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Tue Jan 21 1997 - 18:12:22 EST

At 10:05 PM 1/21/97 +1100, Dieter Bosnjakovic wrote:

>I wish to find out more about Matt 23:23.
>1. Why is KRISIN here translated 'justice' (NASB) when in almost all
>other locations it is translated 'judgement' (NASB)? And why not '"the"
>judgement' as the greek appears to have it. Has this been a contextual
>decision or grammatical decision?

        This has something to do with what may be called, in linguistic
terms, the semantic breadth of the word KRISIS (you have quoted the
accusative form "KRISIN"). Louw and Nida, _Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament Based on Semantic Domains_, Vol.2, s.v. KRISIS, list 9 different
possible meanings for this word. One of those is "justice," and another is
"judgement." It is the context of the passage in question that must supply
the indicators as to which of the 9 meanings may be applicable in this
particular case. We find this same phenomenon in English, but interpret a
single word differently in different contexts very naturally and without
thinking consciously about it.

>2. Why do some translators end the verse with the inclusion of the word
>"other" as in "other undone" as I can see no greek word for this
>inclusion? When they include the word "other", either because of
>grammar or context, is it meant to give weight to the fact that the
>Pharisees were doing right to tithe on the mint, dill and cummin, and
>that they should have been doing it with the weightier matters in mind?

        The Greek word that is there is KAKEINA which is a compound word
that means KAI EKEINA i.e. "and the former" - at least in this context. A
woodenly literal translation of the Greek might be something like "you
should have done these latter things and not left the former undone." A
more flowing and less stilted translation is what the translators you cite
are probably aiming at. So they have rendered "But these are the things you
should have done whithout neglecting the others." It seems to me a
legitimate translation.

>If the matter I have raised is too simplistic just let me know and I
>will retreat to lurking once more, in any case, thank you for your time.

        If you don't give voice to the questions you have, you won't grow in
your knowledge of biblical Greek. I'm glad to give you an answer. I hope
you find it helpful.

David L. Moore Director
Miami, Florida, USA Department of Education Southeastern Spanish District of the Assemblies of God

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