The Meaning of Matthew 23:4 Explained

Matthew 23:4

KJV: For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

YLT: for they bind together burdens heavy and grievous to be borne, and lay upon the shoulders of men, but with their finger they will not move them.

Darby: but bind burdens heavy and hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of men, but will not move them with their finger.

ASV: Yea, they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.

What does Matthew 23:4 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 23:1-12 - Humbling The Self-Exalted
These words were addressed to the disciples and the crowds that had gathered around. The Jewish religious leaders divorced morality and religion, and insisted that men should respect their office, whatever might be their personal character. The craving for this has been the temptation and bane of Christ's ministers in every age.
But how evidently our Lord condemns clerical and priestly assumption! With the two-edged sword, which pierces to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, He cuts between the professions and performances of these men. No more awful words were ever spoken! How true is Matthew 23:4! The hypocrite always spares himself, but is merciless in his demands on others. The true servant of God never exacts these titles as a rightful homage, or as indicating either superiority or special sanctity. We all have one Master and one Father; and, though our talents greatly differ, we stand on an absolute equality so far as saving grace is concerned. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 23

1  Jesus admonishes the people to follow good doctrine, not bad examples
5  His disciples must beware of their ambition
13  He denounces eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness,
34  and prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem

Greek Commentary for Matthew 23:4

With their finger [τωι δακτυλωι αυτων]
A picturesque proverb. They are taskmasters, not burden-bearers, not sympathetic helpers. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 23:4

Luke 11:46 Grievous to be borne [δυσβάστακτα]
Only here and Matthew 23:4. [source]
Luke 11:46 Touch [προσψαύετε]
Only here in New Testament. A technical term in medicine for feeling gently a sore part of the body, or the pulse. Matthew 23:4, has κινῆσαι , move. [source]
Luke 15:5 On his shoulders [επι τους ωμους αυτου]
He does it himself in exuberant affection and of necessity as the poor lost sheep is helpless. Note the plural shoulders showing that the sheep was just back of the shepherd‘s neck and drawn around by both hands. The word for shoulder (ωμος — ōmos) is old and common, but in the N.T. only here and Matthew 23:4. [source]
Luke 11:46 Grievous to be borne [δυσβαστακτα]
A late word in lxx and Plutarch Here alone in text of Westcott and Hort who reject it in Matthew 23:4 where we have “heavy burdens” In Galatians 6:2 we have βαρη — barē with a distinction drawn. Here we have πορτιζετε — phortizete (here only in the N.T. and Matthew 11:28) for “lade,” πορτια — phortia as cognate accusative and then πορτιοις — phortiois (dative after ου προσπσαυετε — ou prospsauete touch not). It is a fierce indictment of scribes (lawyers) for their pettifogging interpretations of the written law in their oral teaching (later written down as Mishna and then as Gemarah), a terrible load which these lawyers did not pretend to carry themselves, not even “with one of their fingers” to “touch” (προσπσαυω — prospsauō old verb but only here in the N.T.), touch with the view to remove. Matthew 23:4 has κινησαι — kinēsai to move. A physician would understand the meaning of προσπαυω — prospauō for feeling gently a sore spot or the pulse. [source]
Luke 8:29 Often times [πολλοις χρονοις]
Or “for a long time” like χρονωι πολλωι — chronōi pollōi of Luke 8:27 (see Robertson, Grammar, p. 537, for the plural here).It had seized (συνηρπακει — sunērpakei). Past perfect active of συναρπαζω — sunarpazō to lay hold by force. An old verb, but only in Luke in the N.T. (Luke 8:29; Acts 6:12; Acts 19:29; Acts 27:15).Was kept under guard Imperfect passive of δεσμευω — desmeuō to put in chains, from δεσμος — desmos bond, and that from δεω — deō to bind. Old, but rather rare verb. Only here and Acts 22:4 in this sense. In Matthew 23:4 it means to bind together. Some MSS. read δεσμεω — desmeō in Luke 8:29.Breaking the bands asunder (διαρησσων τα δεσμα — diarēssōn ta desma). Old verb, the preposition δια — dia (in two) intensifying the meaning of the simple verb ρησσω — rēssō or ρηγνυμι — rēgnumi to rend.Was driven Imperfect passive of ελαυνω — elaunō to drive, to row, to march (Xenophon). Only five times in the N.T. Here alone in Luke and peculiar to Luke in this incident. [source]
Luke 8:29 Was kept under guard [εδεσμευετο]
Imperfect passive of δεσμευω — desmeuō to put in chains, from δεσμος — desmos bond, and that from δεω — deō to bind. Old, but rather rare verb. Only here and Acts 22:4 in this sense. In Matthew 23:4 it means to bind together. Some MSS. read δεσμεω — desmeō in Luke 8:29.Breaking the bands asunder (διαρησσων τα δεσμα — diarēssōn ta desma). Old verb, the preposition δια — dia (in two) intensifying the meaning of the simple verb ρησσω — rēssō or ρηγνυμι — rēgnumi to rend.Was driven Imperfect passive of ελαυνω — elaunō to drive, to row, to march (Xenophon). Only five times in the N.T. Here alone in Luke and peculiar to Luke in this incident. [source]
John 8:6 Tempting him [πειραζοντες αυτον]
Evil sense of this present active participle of πειραζω — peirazō as so often (Mark 8:11; Mark 10:2, etc.). That they might have whereof to accuse him Purpose clause with ινα — hina and present active subjunctive of εχω — echō This laying of traps for Jesus was a common practice of his enemies (Luke 11:16, etc.). Note present active infinitive of κατηγορεω — katēgoreō (see Matthew 12:10 for the verb) to go on accusing (with genitive αυτου — autou). It was now a habit with these rabbis. Stooped down First aorist active participle of κυπτω — kuptō old verb to bow the head, to bend forward, in N.T. only here and John 8:8; Mark 1:7. The use of κατω — katō (down) gives a vivid touch to the picture. With his finger Instrumental case of δακτυλος — daktulos for which see Matthew 23:4. Wrote on the ground Imperfect active of καταγραπω — katagraphō old compound, here only in N.T., to draw, to delineate, to write down, apparently inchoative, began to write on the sand as every one has done sometimes. The only mention of writing by Jesus and the use of καταγραπω — katagraphō leaves it uncertain whether he was writing words or drawing pictures or making signs. If we only knew what he wrote! Certainly Jesus knew how to write. And yet more books have been written about this one who wrote nothing that is preserved than any other person or subject in human history. There is a tradition that Jesus wrote down the names and sins of these accusers. That is not likely. They were written on their hearts. Jesus alone on this occasion showed embarrassment over this woman‘s sin. [source]
Acts 15:10 That ye should put [επιτειναι]
Second aorist active infinitive of επιτιτημι — epitithēmi epexegetic, explaining the tempting. A yoke upon the neck (ζυγον επι τον τραχηλον — zugon epi ton trachēlon). Familiar image of oxen with yokes upon the necks. Paul‘s very image for the yoke of bondage of the Mosaic law in Galatians 5:1. It had probably been used in the private interview. Cf. the words of Jesus about the Pharisees (Matthew 23:4) and how easy and light his own yoke is (Matthew 11:30). Were able to bear Neither our fathers nor we had strength (ισχυω — ischuō) to carry this yoke which the Judaizers wish to put on the necks of the Gentiles. Peter speaks as the spiritual emancipator. He had been slow to see the meaning of God‘s dealings with him at Joppa and Caesarea, but he has seen clearly by now. He takes his stand boldly with Paul and Barnabas for Gentile freedom. [source]
Acts 15:10 A yoke upon the neck [ζυγον επι τον τραχηλον]
Familiar image of oxen with yokes upon the necks. Paul‘s very image for the yoke of bondage of the Mosaic law in Galatians 5:1. It had probably been used in the private interview. Cf. the words of Jesus about the Pharisees (Matthew 23:4) and how easy and light his own yoke is (Matthew 11:30). [source]
Acts 27:9 Paul admonished them [παρηινηι ο Παυλος]
Imperfect active of παραινεω — paraineō old word to exhort from παρα — para and αινεω — aineō to praise (Acts 3:8), only here and Acts 27:22 in N.T. It is remarkable that a prisoner like Paul should venture to give advice at all and to keep on doing it (imperfect tense inchoative, began to admonish and kept on at it). Paul had clearly won the respect of the centurion and officers and also felt it to be his duty to give this unasked for warning. I perceive (τεωρω — theōrō). Old word from τεωρος — theōros a spectator. See note on Luke 10:18. Paul does not here claim prophecy, but he had plenty of experience with three shipwrecks already (2 Corinthians 11:25) to justify his apprehension. Will be Infinitive in indirect assertion followed by future infinitive after μελλειν — mellein in spite of οτι — hoti which would naturally call for present indicative μελλει — mellei an anacoluthon due to the long sentence (Robertson, Grammar, p. 478). With injury (μετα υβρεως — meta hubreōs). An old word from υπερ — huper (above, upper, like our “uppishness”) and so pride, insult, personal injury, the legal word for personal assault (Page). Josephus (Ant. III. 6, 4) uses it of the injury of the elements. Loss Old word, opposite of κερδος — kerdos gain or profit (Philemon 3:7.). Nowhere else in N.T. Lading (πορτιου — phortiou). Diminutive of πορτος — phortos (from περω — pherō to bear) only in form. Common word, but in N.T. only here in literal sense, as metaphor in Matthew 11:30; Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46; Galatians 6:5. But also of our lives Common use of πσυχη — psuchē for life, originally “breath of life” (Acts 20:10), and also “soul” (Acts 14:2). Fortunately no lives were lost, though all else was. But this outcome was due to the special mercy of God for the sake of Paul (Acts 27:24), not to the wisdom of the officers in rejecting Paul‘s advice. Paul begins now to occupy the leading role in this marvellous voyage. [source]
Acts 27:9 Lading [πορτιου]
Diminutive of πορτος — phortos (from περω — pherō to bear) only in form. Common word, but in N.T. only here in literal sense, as metaphor in Matthew 11:30; Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46; Galatians 6:5. [source]
Acts 27:9 And the voyage was now dangerous [και οντος ηδη επισπαλους]
Genitive absolute, “and the voyage being already Because the Fast was now already gone by (δια το και την νηστειαν ηδη παρεληλυτεναι — dia to kai tēn nēsteian ēdē parelēluthenai). Accusative (after δια — dia) of the articular infinitive perfect active of παρερχομαι — parerchomai to pass by, with the accusative of general reference (νηστειαν — nēsteian the great day of atonement of the Jews, Leviticus 16:29.) occurring about the end of September. The ancients considered navigation on the Mediterranean unsafe from early October till the middle of March. In a.d. 59 the Fast occurred on Oct. 5. There is nothing strange in Luke using this Jewish note of time as in Acts 20:6 though a Gentile Christian. Paul did it also (1 Corinthians 16:8). It is no proof that Luke was a Jewish proselyte. We do not know precisely when the party left Caesarea (possibly in August), but in ample time to arrive in Rome before October if conditions had been more favourable. But the contrary winds had made the voyage very slow and difficult all the way (Acts 27:7) besides the long delay here in this harbour of Fair Havens. Paul admonished them Imperfect active of παραινεω — paraineō old word to exhort from παρα — para and αινεω — aineō to praise (Acts 3:8), only here and Acts 27:22 in N.T. It is remarkable that a prisoner like Paul should venture to give advice at all and to keep on doing it (imperfect tense inchoative, began to admonish and kept on at it). Paul had clearly won the respect of the centurion and officers and also felt it to be his duty to give this unasked for warning. I perceive (τεωρω — theōrō). Old word from τεωρος — theōros a spectator. See note on Luke 10:18. Paul does not here claim prophecy, but he had plenty of experience with three shipwrecks already (2 Corinthians 11:25) to justify his apprehension. Will be Infinitive in indirect assertion followed by future infinitive after μελλειν — mellein in spite of οτι — hoti which would naturally call for present indicative μελλει — mellei an anacoluthon due to the long sentence (Robertson, Grammar, p. 478). With injury (μετα υβρεως — meta hubreōs). An old word from υπερ — huper (above, upper, like our “uppishness”) and so pride, insult, personal injury, the legal word for personal assault (Page). Josephus (Ant. III. 6, 4) uses it of the injury of the elements. Loss Old word, opposite of κερδος — kerdos gain or profit (Philemon 3:7.). Nowhere else in N.T. Lading (πορτιου — phortiou). Diminutive of πορτος — phortos (from περω — pherō to bear) only in form. Common word, but in N.T. only here in literal sense, as metaphor in Matthew 11:30; Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46; Galatians 6:5. But also of our lives Common use of πσυχη — psuchē for life, originally “breath of life” (Acts 20:10), and also “soul” (Acts 14:2). Fortunately no lives were lost, though all else was. But this outcome was due to the special mercy of God for the sake of Paul (Acts 27:24), not to the wisdom of the officers in rejecting Paul‘s advice. Paul begins now to occupy the leading role in this marvellous voyage. [source]
Acts 27:9 Will be [μελλειν εσεσται]
Infinitive in indirect assertion followed by future infinitive after μελλειν — mellein in spite of οτι — hoti which would naturally call for present indicative μελλει — mellei an anacoluthon due to the long sentence (Robertson, Grammar, p. 478). With injury (μετα υβρεως — meta hubreōs). An old word from υπερ — huper (above, upper, like our “uppishness”) and so pride, insult, personal injury, the legal word for personal assault (Page). Josephus (Ant. III. 6, 4) uses it of the injury of the elements. Loss Old word, opposite of κερδος — kerdos gain or profit (Philemon 3:7.). Nowhere else in N.T. Lading (πορτιου — phortiou). Diminutive of πορτος — phortos (from περω — pherō to bear) only in form. Common word, but in N.T. only here in literal sense, as metaphor in Matthew 11:30; Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46; Galatians 6:5. But also of our lives Common use of πσυχη — psuchē for life, originally “breath of life” (Acts 20:10), and also “soul” (Acts 14:2). Fortunately no lives were lost, though all else was. But this outcome was due to the special mercy of God for the sake of Paul (Acts 27:24), not to the wisdom of the officers in rejecting Paul‘s advice. Paul begins now to occupy the leading role in this marvellous voyage. [source]
Acts 27:9 Loss [ζημιαν]
Old word, opposite of κερδος — kerdos gain or profit (Philemon 3:7.). Nowhere else in N.T. Lading (πορτιου — phortiou). Diminutive of πορτος — phortos (from περω — pherō to bear) only in form. Common word, but in N.T. only here in literal sense, as metaphor in Matthew 11:30; Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46; Galatians 6:5. But also of our lives Common use of πσυχη — psuchē for life, originally “breath of life” (Acts 20:10), and also “soul” (Acts 14:2). Fortunately no lives were lost, though all else was. But this outcome was due to the special mercy of God for the sake of Paul (Acts 27:24), not to the wisdom of the officers in rejecting Paul‘s advice. Paul begins now to occupy the leading role in this marvellous voyage. [source]
Galatians 6:5 His own burden [τὸ ἴδιον φορτίον]
For ἴδιον ownsee on 1 Timothy 6:1. With φορτίον burdencomp. βάρη burdens Galatians 6:2. It is doubtful whether any different shade of meaning is intended. Originally βάρη emphasizes the weight of the burden, φορτίον simply notes the fact that it is something to be born ( φέρειν ), which may be either light or heavy. See Matthew 11:30; Matthew 23:4; Psalm 37:4; Luke 11:46. Comp. Acts 27:10, the lading of a ship. [source]
Galatians 6:5 Each shall bear his own burden [το ιδιον πορτιον βαστασει]
Πορτιον — Phortion is old word for ship‘s cargo (Acts 27:10). Christ calls his πορτιον — phortion light, though he terms those of the Pharisees heavy (Matthew 23:4), meant for other people. The terms are thus not always kept distinct, though Paul does make a distinction here from the βαρη — barē in Galatians 6:2. [source]
1 John 5:3 Are not grievous [βαρειαι ουκ εισιν]
“Not heavy,” the adjective in Matthew 23:4 with πορτια — phortia (burdens), with λυποι — lupoi (wolves) in Acts 20:29, of Paul‘s letters in 2 Corinthians 10:10, of the charges against Paul in Acts 25:7. Love for God lightens his commands. [source]
Revelation 2:24 Other burden [ἄλλο βάτος]
The words for burden in the New Testament are ὄγκος (only in Hebrews 12:1), βάρος (Matthew 20:12; Galatians 6:2), and φορτίον (Matthew 11:30; Matthew 23:4; Galatians 6:5). ὄγκος refers to bulk, βάρος to weight, φορτίον to a burden so far as it is born ( φέρω ). Thus in Hebrews 12:1, “lay aside every weight ( ὄγκος ),” the figure being that of runners in the race-course, and the word appropriate as denoting the bulky robes and the accoutrements of the ordinary dress which might impede the freedom of the limbs. In Matthew 20:12, “the burden ( βάρος ) and heat of the day,” the idea is that of heavy toil pressing like a weight. So Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another's burdens.” But in Galatians 6:5, the emphasis is on the act of bearing; and therefore φορτίον is used: “Every man shall bear his own burden;” i.e., every man shall carry that which it is appointed him to bear. The reference in that passage is probably to the prohibition enjoined by the apostolic council of Jerusalem, which concerned the very things which are rebuked here - fornication and abstinence from idol-meats. In the narrative of that council the phrase occurs “to lay upon you no greater burden ” (Acts 15:28). The meaning accordingly will be, “I put upon you no other burden than abstinence from and protest against these abominations.” [source]
Revelation 2:24 None other burden [ουαλλο βαρος]
πορτιον — Baros refers to weight (Matthew 20:12), περω — phortion from ογκος — pherō to bear, refers to load (Galatians 6:5), βαρος — ogkos to bulk (Hebrews 12:1). Apparently a reference to the decision of the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15:28) where the very word baros is used and mention is made about the two items in Revelation 2:20 (fornication and idolatry) without mentioning the others about things strangled, etc. See the Pharisaic narrowness in Matthew 23:4. [source]
Revelation 2:24 As many as [οσοι]
Inclusive of all “the rest.”This teaching (την διδαχην ταυτην — tēn didachēn tautēn). That of Jezebel.Which “Which very ones,” generic of the class, explanatory definition as in Revelation 1:7.Know not (ουκ εγνωσαν — ouk egnōsan). Second aorist (ingressive) active of γινωσκω — ginōskō “did not come to know by experience.”The deep things of Satan The Ophites (worshippers of the serpent) and other later Gnostics (Cainites, Carpocratians, Naassenes) boasted of their knowledge of “the deep things,” some claiming this very language about Satan (the serpent) as Paul did of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). It is not clear whether the words here quoted are a boast of the Nicolaitans or a reproach on the other Christians for not knowing the depths of sin. Some even claimed that they could indulge in immorality without sinning (1 John 1:10; 1 John 3:10). Perhaps both ideas are involved.As they say (ως λεγουσιν — hōs legousin). Probably referring to the heretics who ridicule the piety of the other Christians.None other burden πορτιον — Baros refers to weight (Matthew 20:12), περω — phortion from ογκος — pherō to bear, refers to load (Galatians 6:5), βαρος — ogkos to bulk (Hebrews 12:1). Apparently a reference to the decision of the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15:28) where the very word baros is used and mention is made about the two items in Revelation 2:20 (fornication and idolatry) without mentioning the others about things strangled, etc. See the Pharisaic narrowness in Matthew 23:4. [source]
Revelation 2:24 Which [οιτινες]
“Which very ones,” generic of the class, explanatory definition as in Revelation 1:7.Know not (ουκ εγνωσαν — ouk egnōsan). Second aorist (ingressive) active of γινωσκω — ginōskō “did not come to know by experience.”The deep things of Satan The Ophites (worshippers of the serpent) and other later Gnostics (Cainites, Carpocratians, Naassenes) boasted of their knowledge of “the deep things,” some claiming this very language about Satan (the serpent) as Paul did of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). It is not clear whether the words here quoted are a boast of the Nicolaitans or a reproach on the other Christians for not knowing the depths of sin. Some even claimed that they could indulge in immorality without sinning (1 John 1:10; 1 John 3:10). Perhaps both ideas are involved.As they say (ως λεγουσιν — hōs legousin). Probably referring to the heretics who ridicule the piety of the other Christians.None other burden πορτιον — Baros refers to weight (Matthew 20:12), περω — phortion from ογκος — pherō to bear, refers to load (Galatians 6:5), βαρος — ogkos to bulk (Hebrews 12:1). Apparently a reference to the decision of the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15:28) where the very word baros is used and mention is made about the two items in Revelation 2:20 (fornication and idolatry) without mentioning the others about things strangled, etc. See the Pharisaic narrowness in Matthew 23:4. [source]
Revelation 2:24 The deep things of Satan [τα βατεα του Σατανα]
The Ophites (worshippers of the serpent) and other later Gnostics (Cainites, Carpocratians, Naassenes) boasted of their knowledge of “the deep things,” some claiming this very language about Satan (the serpent) as Paul did of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). It is not clear whether the words here quoted are a boast of the Nicolaitans or a reproach on the other Christians for not knowing the depths of sin. Some even claimed that they could indulge in immorality without sinning (1 John 1:10; 1 John 3:10). Perhaps both ideas are involved.As they say (ως λεγουσιν — hōs legousin). Probably referring to the heretics who ridicule the piety of the other Christians.None other burden πορτιον — Baros refers to weight (Matthew 20:12), περω — phortion from ογκος — pherō to bear, refers to load (Galatians 6:5), βαρος — ogkos to bulk (Hebrews 12:1). Apparently a reference to the decision of the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15:28) where the very word baros is used and mention is made about the two items in Revelation 2:20 (fornication and idolatry) without mentioning the others about things strangled, etc. See the Pharisaic narrowness in Matthew 23:4. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 23:4 mean?

They tie up - burdens heavy and hard to bear and lay [them] on the shoulders - of men themselves however with finger of them not are they willing to move them
δεσμεύουσιν δὲ φορτία βαρέα [καὶ δυσβάστακτα] καὶ ἐπιτιθέασιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους τῶν ἀνθρώπων αὐτοὶ δὲ τῷ δακτύλῳ αὐτῶν οὐ θέλουσιν κινῆσαι αὐτά

δεσμεύουσιν  They  tie  up 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: δεσμεύω  
Sense: to put in chains.
δὲ  - 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
φορτία  burdens 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: φορτίον  
Sense: a burden, load.
βαρέα  heavy 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: βαρύς  
Sense: heavy in weight.
δυσβάστακτα]  hard  to  bear 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: δυσβάστακτος  
Sense: hard to be borne.
ἐπιτιθέασιν  lay  [them] 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ἐπιτίθημι  
Sense: in the active voice.
ὤμους  shoulders 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ὦμος  
Sense: a shoulder.
τῶν  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀνθρώπων  of  men 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἄνθρωπος  
Sense: a human being, whether male or female.
αὐτοὶ  themselves 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Nominative Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
δακτύλῳ  finger 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: δάκτυλος  
Sense: a finger.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
θέλουσιν  are  they  willing 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: θέλω  
Sense: to will, have in mind, intend.
κινῆσαι  to  move 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: κινέω  
Sense: to cause to go, i.e. to move, set in motion.