Hard to Swallow Play on Words
Sometimes the truth in statements get lost in translation. For instance, our Protestant Bible is a translation of a translation, ancient and Coptic Hebrew in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament. The Catholic Bible is a translation of a translation of a translation, meaning the ancient and Coptic Hebrew to Latin, then Latin to English. The Greek to Latin, then Latin to English in the New Testament.
In the instance for our passage today, we do not nearly get the full effect of the brilliance of Jesus as he makes these statements to the priests at the Temple in Jerusalem. The language of the day and the language that Jesus spoke was Aramaic. When you read Jesus’ statement in the language in which he spoke, you discover something awesome!
· Aramaic word for gnat is galma and that the Aramaic word for camel is gamla!
· They are all the same letters, but two letters are out of order, the L and the M!
Interestingly enough, Jesus points to this play on words in Matthew 23:23:
—“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.
— Those are some interesting L and M words that are in boldface, aren’t they?
— We have a modern English term that we use today…Nitpicking
— Nitpicking was originally known as the act of removing nits (the eggs of lice, generally head lice) from the host’s hair. As the nits are cemented to individual hairs, they can be removed with most lice combs and before modern chemical methods.
— Webster’s Dictionary define modern use of nitpicking as to criticize.
— Similar words compared in a Thesaurus are attacker, complainer, defamer, doubter, faultfinder, muckraker, nagger, scolder, slanderer, vilifier, worrier, backseat driver, belittler, blamer, criticizer, disapprover, disputer, mud-slinger, reviler.
The L and the M:
–Jesus’ statement puts the two letters in proper order to be applied.
— The priests strained and put the Law first.
— Jesus said to put the Mercy first.
— If you put Mercy first, you will understand the intent of the Law.
— If you put the Law first, you will focus on legalism and lose Mercy.
Matthew 18:23-35 Matthew 5:7
Proverbs 21:13 James 2:13