The Meaning of Matthew 15:14 Explained

Matthew 15:14

KJV: Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

YLT: let them alone, guides they are -- blind of blind; and if blind may guide blind, both into a ditch shall fall.'

Darby: Leave them alone; they are blind leaders of blind: but if blind lead blind, both will fall into a ditch.

ASV: Let them alone: they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

Let  them  alone:  they be  blind  leaders  of the blind.  And  if  the blind  lead  the blind,  both  shall fall  into  the ditch. 

What does Matthew 15:14 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 15:10-20 - What Really Defiles
It is good to study our Lord's list of the sources of soul-pollution. Evil thoughts come first. We cannot prevent an evil suggestion being presented to our minds, but we can refuse to dwell on it. To resist the inclination to dwell on it strengthens us in the opposite direction; to yield to it is to commit the sin in our heart, which, in God's sight, is equivalent to the outward act. Notice that railing, that is, unkind and uncharitable speech, is in this black-list.
The heart, rather than the body, is the source of sin. Out of the heart! The body is the dial-plate on which the soul registers its improvement or deterioration. Do not find fault with your members: look to your heart and keep it beyond keeping, for out of it are the issues of life. Ask God to create in you a clean heart. See that you distinguish between the first Adam and the second. Deny what you inherit of human weakness and sin, and affirm all that is of Christ's imparting. The cross of Calvary and the uprising of the living Christ are facts of perpetual experience. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 15

1  Jesus reproves the Scribes and Pharisees
7  for transgressing God's commandments through their own traditions;
10  teaches how that which goes into the mouth does not defile a man
21  He heals the daughter of the woman of Canaan,
29  and other great multitudes;
32  and with seven loaves and a few small fish feeds four thousand men

Greek Commentary for Matthew 15:14

They are blind guides [τυπλοι εισιν οδηγοι]
Graphic picture. Once in Cincinnati a blind man introduced me to his blind friend. He said that he was showing him the city. Jesus is not afraid of the Pharisees. Let them alone to do their worst. Blind leaders and blind victims will land in the ditch. A proverbial expression in the O.T. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 15:14

Matthew 15:15 Declare unto us the parable [πρασον μιν την παραβολην]
Explain the parable (pithy saying) in Matthew 15:11, not in Matthew 15:14. As a matter of fact, the disciples had been upset by Christ‘s powerful exposure of the “Corban” duplicity and the words about “defilement” in Matthew 15:11. [source]
Matthew 23:16 Ye blind guides [οδηγοι τυπλοι]
Note omission of “Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” with this third woe. In Matthew 15:14 Jesus had already called the Pharisees “blind guides” (leaders). They split hairs about oaths, as Jesus had explained in Matthew 5:33-37, between the temple and the gold of the temple. [source]
John 16:13 Will guide [ὁδηγήσει]
From ὁδός , way, and ἡγέομαι , to lead. The kindred noun, ὁδηγός , guide, leader, occurs Matthew 15:14; Acts 1:16, etc. [source]
John 12:7 Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this [ἄφες αὐτήν εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ]
This passage presents great difficulty. According to the reading just given, the meaning is that Mary had kept the ointment, perhaps out of the store provided for Lazarus' burial, against the day of Christ's preparation for the tomb. The word ἐνταφιασμοῦ is wrongly rendered burial. It means the preparation for burial, the laying out, or embalmment. It is explained by John 19:40, as the binding in linen cloths with spices, “as the manner of the Jews is ἐνταφιάζειν toprepare for burial,” not to bury. It is the Latin pollingere, to wash and prepare a corpse for the funeral pile. Hence the name of the servant to whom this duty was committed was pollinctor. He was a slave of the libitinarius, or furnishing undertaker. Mary, then, has kept the ointment in order to embalm Jesus with it on this day, as though He were already dead. This is the sense of the Synoptists. Matthew (Matthew 26:12) says, she did it with reference to my preparation for burial. Mark, she anticipated to anoint. The reading of the Received Text is, however, disputed. The best textual critics agree that the perfect, τετήρηκεν , she hath kept, was substituted for the original reading τηρήσῃ , the aorist, she may keep, or may have kept, by some one who was trying to bring the text into harmony with Mark 14:8; not understanding how she could keep for His burial that which she poured out now. Some, however, urge the exact contrary, namely, that the perfect is the original reading, and that the aorist is a correction by critics who were occupied with the notion that no man is embalmed before his death, or who failed to see how the ointment could have been kept already, as it might naturally be supposed to have been just purchased. (So Godet and Field.)-DIVIDER-
According to the corrected reading, ἵνα , in order that, is inserted after ἄφες αὐτὴν , let her alone, or suffer her; τετήρηκεν , hath kept, is changed to τηρήσῃ , may keep, and the whole is rendered, suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. So Rev. -DIVIDER-
But it is difficult to see why Christ should desire to have kept for His embalmment what had already been poured out upon Him. Some, as Meyer, assume that only a part of the ointment was poured out, and refer αὐτό , it, to the part remaining. “Let her alone, that she may not give away to the poor this ointment, of which she has just used a portion for the anointing of my feet, but preserve it for the day of my embalmming.” Canon Westcott inclines to this view of the use of only a part. But the inference from the synoptic narratives can be only that the whole contents of the flask were used, and the mention of the pound by John, and the charge of waste are to the same effect. There is nothing whatever to warrant a contrary supposition. -DIVIDER-
Others explain, suffer her to have kept it, or suffer that she may have kept it. So Westcott, who says: “The idiom by which a speaker throws himself into the past, and regards what is done as still a purpose, is common to all languages.”-DIVIDER-
Others, again, retain the meaning let her alone, and render ἵνα , in order that, with an ellipsis, thus: “Let her alone: (she hath not sold her treasure) in order that she might keep it,” etc. -DIVIDER-
The old rendering, as A.V., is the simplest, and gives a perfectly intelligible and consistent sense. If, however, this must be rejected, it seems, on the whole, best to adopt the marginal reading of the Rev., with the elliptical ἵνα : let her alone: it was that she might keep it. This preserves the prohibitory force of ἄφες αὐτήν , which is implied in Matthew 26:10, and is unquestionable in Mark 14:6. Compare Matthew 15:14; Matthew 19:14; Matthew 27:49. -DIVIDER-
Note that the promise of the future repute of this act (Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9) is omitted by the only Evangelist who records Mary's name in connection with it. -DIVIDER-

John 9:40 Are we also blind? [Μη και ημεις τυπλοι εσμεν]
Negative answer expected (μη — mē) and yet these Pharisees who overheard the words of Jesus to the new convert vaguely suspected that Jesus was referring to them by the last clause. Up in Galilee Jesus had called the Pharisees blind guides who stumble into the pit (Matthew 15:14). [source]
Revelation 7:17 Shall guide them [οδη γησει αυτους]
Future active of οδηγεω — hodēgeō old word (from οδηγος — hodēgos guide, Matthew 15:14), used of God‘s guidance of Israel (Exodus 15:13), of God‘s guidance of individual lives (Psalm 5:9), of the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), of Christ‘s own guidance here (cf. John 14:4; Revelation 14:4). [source]
Revelation 7:17 Shall be their shepherd [παιμανει αυτους]
“Shall shepherd them,” future active of ποιμαινω — poimainō (from ποιμην — poimēn shepherd), in John 21:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15. Jesus is still the Good Shepherd of his sheep (John 10:11, John 10:14.). Cf. Psalm 23:1.Shall guide them (οδη γησει αυτους — hodē gēsei autous). Future active of οδηγεω — hodēgeō old word (from οδηγος — hodēgos guide, Matthew 15:14), used of God‘s guidance of Israel (Exodus 15:13), of God‘s guidance of individual lives (Psalm 5:9), of the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), of Christ‘s own guidance here (cf. John 14:4; Revelation 14:4).Unto fountains of waters of life The language is like that in Isaiah 49:10; Jeremiah 2:13. Note the order, “to life‘s water springs” (Swete) like the Vulgate ad vitae fontes aquarum, with emphasis on ζωης — zōēs (life‘s). For this idea see also John 4:12, John 4:14; John 7:38.; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:17. No special emphasis on the plural here or in Revelation 8:10; Revelation 14:7; Revelation 16:4.And God shall wipe away (και εχαλειπσει ο τεος — kai exaleipsei ho theos). Repeated in Revelation 21:4 from Isaiah 25:8. Future active of εχαλειπω — exaleiphō old compound, to wipe out (εχ — ex), off, away, already in Revelation 3:5 for erasing a name and in Acts 3:19 for removing the stain (guilt) of sin.Every tear Old word, with other form, δακρυ — dakru in Luke 7:38, Luke 7:44. Note repetition of εκ — ek with οπταλμων — ophthalmōn (out of their eyes). “Words like these of Revelation 7:15-17 must sound as a divine music in the ears of the persecuted. God will comfort as a mother comforts” (Baljon). [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 15:14 mean?

Leave them Blind they are guides of the blind Blind now blind if they lead both into a pit will fall
ἄφετε αὐτούς τυφλοί εἰσιν ὁδηγοί τυφλῶν τυφλὸς δὲ τυφλὸν ἐὰν ὁδηγῇ ἀμφότεροι εἰς βόθυνον πεσοῦνται

ἄφετε  Leave 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ἀφίημι 
Sense: to send away.
τυφλοί  Blind 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: τυφλός  
Sense: blind.
εἰσιν  they  are 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ὁδηγοί  guides 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ὁδηγός  
Sense: a leader of the way, a guide.
τυφλῶν  of  the  blind 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: τυφλός  
Sense: blind.
τυφλὸς  Blind 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: τυφλός  
Sense: blind.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
τυφλὸν  blind 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: τυφλός  
Sense: blind.
ὁδηγῇ  they  lead 
Parse: Verb, Present Subjunctive Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ὁδηγέω  
Sense: to be a guide, lead on one’s way, to guide.
ἀμφότεροι  both 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀμφότεροι  
Sense: both of two, both the one and the other.
εἰς  into 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
βόθυνον  a  pit 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: βόθρος 
Sense: a pit, ditch.
πεσοῦνται  will  fall 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Plural
Root: πίπτω 
Sense: to descend from a higher place to a lower.