Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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Thursday, February 24

What Eats our Treasures? Vermin or Rust? (Matt 6:19)

We are used to reading that "moth and rust" destroy earthly treasures, but some translations have "vermin" or a "devouring insect" (NET). BDAG says the reading "rust" "finds no support." Apparently, "rust" made its way into English through Tyndale and was made popular by the KJV.

The footnote in the NET is especially helpful:

"Traditionally “rust,” literally “eating” or “consuming.” Greek has a specific word for “rust” (James 5:3), whereas the term used here is not used of rust anywhere else. In the present context where moths are mentioned, some interpreters see a reference to some other kind of consuming insect. Mal 3:11 LXX does appear to use the Greek term as a translation of the Hebrew term for some type of grasshopper. Two OT passages (Job 13:28; Hos 5:12) mention “moth” in parallel with “rot” or “wood rot”; the physician Galen used the Greek term in medical texts to refer to the decay of teeth (6.422; 12.879). It is thus possible to see the second term in Matt 6:19 as referring to some type of rot, decay, or corrosion rather than as a specific reference to damage by insects or other pests. However, a surviving fragment by the Greek poet Pindar (fragment 209; Oxford Text = 222) mentions the inability of moths or weevils to destroy gold: “Gold is the child of Zeus; neither moth nor weevil consumes it” (cf. BDAG 922 s.v. σής where the word for “weevil,” κίς, is mistranslated as “rust”). In light of this usage and the context it was decided to render the Greek term as “devouring insect.”


You originally set the video to "Unlisted" on YouTube, not "Public." That's still okay for embedding the video into the blog, if you don't want it to show up or be searchable publicly on your YouTube channel, although someone tech-savvy can still find the video URL from doing a "Show page source" on this blog page, and you still did not disable comments on the YouTube video, so that person could still comment on it on YouTube proper. However, after that, sometime between yesterday and today, you changed it to "Private" on YouTube. That means that the embedded video in this blog is no longer viewable. You may not realize this if you are logged into Google/YouTube on the same computer that you are viewing/editing the blog.

You fixed it. All set now.