In both the Douay-Rheims and its source, the Vulgate, the word καταφάγεταί (future tense) is translated as a verb in the perfect tense.

And his disciples remembered, that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.

Recordati sunt vero discipuli ejus quia scriptum est: Zelus domus tuae comedit me.

John 2:17 (DR+LV)

Here is the original Greek.

ἐμνήσθησαν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι γεγραμμένον ἐστίν· ὁ ζῆλος τοῦ οἴκου σου καταφάγεταί με.*

(My translation) His disciples remembered that it was written: The zeal of your house will consume me.

John 2:17 (NA28)

The question is quite technical and a bit pedantic, but it still baffles me, why would a verb which is clearly future tense be translated as a perfect?

Here is the parsing of καταφάγεταί on the Perseus word study tool.

1 Answer 1


It is not that Jerome translated the Greek verb καταφάγεταί into Latin as a perfect verb, but one of two other possibilities:

  1. He recognized that John 2:17 was a quotation of Psa. 68:10,1 and the LXX of Psa. 68:10 had κατέφαγέν (conjugated in the aorist tense), which of course is suitably translated into Latin by the perfect tense.2
  2. The Greek manuscript of John 2:17 that he was reading had κατέφαγέ(ν).

Regarding the latter theory, there is some support, although the great majority of witnesses favor καταφάγεταί.

Constantin Tischendorf wrote,3

Constantin Tischendorf, Critical Apparatus, John 2:17


Tischendorf, Constantin. Novum Testamentum Graece. Vol. 3, Part 1. Lipsiae: Hinrichs, 1884.


1 Rahlfs’ numbering
2 cp. LXX v. Vulgate of Gen. 31:15, etc.
3 p. 760

  • Great answer! I will think on it for a bit and then probably accept.
    – ktm5124
    Mar 19, 2017 at 17:36

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