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What do the words "meek & lowly" in

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.( KJV ).

mean?

Is any of these words related to the word "lowly" in

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.( KJV )

And how does one become like that?

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In Matt 11:29 we have two significant words by which Jesus described Himself.

πραΰς (praus)

This word occurs four times in the NT: Matt 5:5, 11:29, 21:5, 1 Peter 3:4. BDAG defines this words as: "pertaining to not being overly impressed by a sense of one's self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate, meek (in the older favorable sense)". It is thus rendered "gentle" by many modern translations, eg, NIV, ESV, NASB, BLB, CEV, HCSB, ISV, DRB, etc.

ταπεινὸς (tapeinos)

This word occurs eight times in the NT: Matt 11:29, Luke 1:52, Rom 12:16, 2 Cor 7:6, 10:1, James 1:9, 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5. BDAG gives three basic meanings for this words as:

  1. pertaining to being of low social status or to relative inability to cope, lowly, undistinguished, of no account, eg, James 1:9, Luke 1:52, 2 Cor 7:6, Rom 12:16
  2. pertaining to being servile in manner, pliant, subservient, abject, eg, 2 Cor 10:1.
  3. pertaining to being unpretentious, humble, eg, matt 11:29, James 4:6, Peter 5:5.

It is this #3 meaning that applies to the characteristic of the character of Jesus in Matt 11:29. In Zech 9:9 (LXX) we have the word πραΰς (praus), "gentle" to describe the coming Messiah.

Learning of Jesus

Matt 11:29 contains the imperative (= command) verb μάθετε (mathete), "learn" on the phrase, "learn from me". This is an extremely common idea in the NT that we must learn from Jesus and be like Him in every way such as: Walk as Jesus walked, 1 John 2:6; Love as Jesus loved, John 13:34, 35, 15:12, 1 John 4:8, 11, 19, Eph 5:1, 2; Conformed to the likeness of the Son, Rom 8:29; Forgive as Jesus forgave, Matt 6:12, Eph 4:32; Be pure as He is pure, 1 John 3:3; Be holy as Jesus is holy, Lev 11:44, 45, 1 Peter 1:15, 16; Partakers of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4; We are to have the mind of Christ, Phil 2:5, 1 Cor 2:16; Be kind because God is kind, Luke 6:34, 35, etc, etc.

The Bible strongly emphasises the imitation of Christ by the mechanism of beholding Christ (Phil 2:4, 5, Heb 12:2, 3, 1 Cor 2:16, Col 3:1-4, 2 Cor 3:18, Rom 13:14, John 17:17, Matt 6:19-33, 12:33-35, Rom 8:12-14; contrast 2 Kings 17:15, Ps 115:4-8, 135:15-18, Prov 10:24, 24:8, 9). The verb, μαθητεύσατε (mathēteusate) (from the same root as above) is used in Matt 28:19 as an instruction to the disciples to make for disciples, literally, students (or apprentices) imitating Christ.

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Meek and Lowly

  • The Greek word translated as Meek is the word πραΰς praus:

The word study states
This difficult-to-translate root (pra-) means more than "meek." Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God's strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.

[The English term "meek" often lacks this blend – i.e. of gentleness (reserve) and strength.]

The part to remember
Exercising God's strength under His control.

  • The Greek phrase translated as lowly in heart is ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ tapeinos tē kardia

The word study states
5011 tapeinós (an adjective) – properly, low; (figuratively) inner lowliness describing the person who depends on the Lord rather than self. See 5012 (tapeinophrosynē).

5011 /tapeinós ("lowly, humble") means being God-reliant rather than self-reliant – which ironically always exalts a person (brings them true worth, cf. 1 Pet 5:6).

The part to remember
Depends on the Lord rather than self.

The Build

For I am exercising God's strength under His control, and depending on the Lord rather than myself in heart.

And how does one become like that?

Matthew 7:12 KJV

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

For whoever does this Law has placed themselves under God's control, and depends on the Lord rather than the self.


Supplementary

The LXX equivalent of Zechariah 9:9

χαῗρε σφόδρα θύγατερ Σιων κήρυσσε θύγατερ Ιερουσαλημ ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοι δίκαιος καὶ σῴζων αὐτός πραῢς καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὑποζύγιον καὶ πῶλον νέον

  • The Greek word translated as Meek is the word πραΰς praus (the same as above):

Using Substitution

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; exercising God's strength under His control, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.( KJV )

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  • Interesting that KJV translates praus as lowly in Zechariah 9:9, but as meek in Matthew 11:29. – Decrypted Jul 9 '19 at 1:53
  • All of this appears to be your opinion as you have not cited any peer-reviewed authority regarding the Greek language. Unless '5011' and '5012' are Strong references, in which case I would have appreciated the link. – Nigel J Jul 9 '19 at 11:58

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