Matthew 11:12

Suffereth violence (biazetai). This verb occurs only here and in Luke 16:16 in the N.T. It seems to be middle in Luke and Deissmann (Bible Studies, p. 258) quotes an inscription "where biazomai is without doubt reflexive and absolute" as in Luke 16:16 . But there are numerous papyri examples where it is passive (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, etc.) so that "there seems little that promises decisive help for the difficult Logion of Matthew 11:12 ; Luke 16:16 ." So then in Matthew 11:12 the form can be either middle or passive and either makes sense, though a different sense. The passive idea is that the kingdom is forced, is stormed, is taken by men of violence like "men of violence take it by force" (biastai arpazousin authn) or seize it like a conquered city. The middle voice may mean "experiences violence" or "forces its way" like a rushing mighty wind (so Zahn holds). These difficult words of Jesus mean that the preaching of John "had led to a violent and impetuous thronging to gather round Jesus and his disciples" (Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 26).