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“Behold” in Matthew

Chris Hamer-Hodges muses about the word behold in the Bible:

When the New Testament writers use the word “behold!” they do so to get our attention. They do so because what follows is of special significance and importance. The word “behold” itself in the English is not ideal, because it is not widely used today and so can make a passage seem dated or religious, and that certainly is not the intention. But it is hard to think of a better alternative, especially considering the literal translation is the imperative for look….

There is no single English word that fits. One phrase I thought of was, “Mark my words!” In a language that originally lacked punctuation, it could also be seen as a literary device similar to the exclamation mark or bold italics.

He goes on to give an example from Mark Matthew of how the writer uses behold to focus the reader’s attention to certain elements in the text.

Update: Chris was actually quoting from Matthew, not from Mark.

September 19, 2007 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 1:34 pm | (2) Comments »


  1. Translation I guess is where both my career worlds meet. Check out this entry: “Behold” in Mark…

    Trackback by Word of the Day: Behold — September 19, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  2. My post entitled “Behold!” originally contained a typo [now corrected]. The passage I was referring to was from Matthew not Mark. This post has recently been featured over on the ESV blog. (I’m honoured!)….

    Trackback by For Mark read Matthew! — September 20, 2007 @ 7:43 am

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