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I have encountered "Thou hast said" number of times in the N.T. Perhaps, it can also be found in O.T. I wonder if it is absolutely synonymous to "yes" or it is a way of implying "yes" while not actually saying it (perhaps, for reasons of avoiding responsibility)?

Matthew 26:64:

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

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The correct answer to this question seems to depend on which Greek lexicons and Bible commentaries you consult. In some older Bible commentaries, the Greek phrase συ ειπας is considered assent; e.g.:

1: "thou hast said the truth [and it] is so" (Barnes Notes on the Bible, ca. 1865 A.D.);

2: "'Ye have said,' was a common form of expression for "Yes" (Clarke Commentary on the Bible, ca. 1800 A.D.), and

3: "Thou hast said [was a] common formula, equivalent to 'yes'" (Pulpit Commentary entry at Matt. 26:25, 64).

However, Constable (Expository Notes 2012) writes that "'You said it, not I,' gives the sense of Jesus' response." And I often render συ ειπας as:

a: "You said it, not me", or

b: colloquially as: "You said it, brother!"

Also, Greek lexicons disagree on the root verb in the word ειπας ("said" in KJV). One says it's λέγω and another ἔπω. So, which explanations do you prefer?

Or perhaps he was saying something like:

that might be what you inferred, but it isn't necessarily what has been said by or implied of me?

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  • Interesting survey. Would you say that it depends on context? Jun 15, 2013 at 23:42
  • If by "context" you mean circumstance, then yes. Jun 16, 2013 at 17:32
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    So like most times, Jesus was speaking in riddles so that he was difficult to understand.
    – frеdsbend
    Jun 17, 2013 at 21:15
  • Note that various languages lack a dedicated word for "yes", and strategies for affirmation include words for "right" or "in the way [you said it]", as in the earliest stages of French, or else repeating a key word or two of the person's utterance, as in Biblical Hebrew. I don't know whether this is true of Koine Greek, but it's worth digging deeper into, since it could mean this reply is not a riddle at all Mar 2, 2019 at 12:19
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"Thou hast said it" in reference to an assertion equates to an affirmation, yes. We see in the same chapter, earlier, Jesus uses the words "Thou hast said it" to answer "yes" to Judas' question, 'Is it I who will betray you?'

Matthew 26:24-25 (DRB) The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed: it were better for him, if that man had not been born. 25 And Judas that betrayed him, answering, said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it.

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I see this as a clever way of deflecting a politically loaded question. If the high priest asks "are you the son of God?" and someone answers "yes", they are blaspheming and have convicted themselves. "You said it, not me" is a more politically clever answer. It implies "why would you ask if the matter were not at least a possibility?" but does not make any claims.

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“You have said it”...I find it interesting that Jesus makes this statement at least twice, to individuals who aren’t His true followers (Judas and Pilate). Concerning how Jesus spoke, it is my belief, that Jesus spoke in parables to protect those he knew would never follow him; a level of protection from greater judgment. Hmmm...Could we ever understand the depth of His love? When he said, “You have said it”, the words these men spoke would be the very words that either justified or condemned them. Might we gain deeper insight by studying what they said? “By your words you will justified and by your words you will be condemned”. (Matt 12:37)

I believe Jesus guides us, but He will not put words in our mouths. “You have said it.”

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  • Hi Angela, welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics. A couple of tips for the future. The purpose of the site is to give specific answer to specific hermeneutic related questions. Your post did not directly answer the questioner. It would have been great if you could have answered either yes or no and then give specific support to your answers providing other scripture, contextual and grammatical analysis from the passage or from extra biblical sources. You can certainly give your opinion, just be sure to support your answer. Thanks.
    – alb
    Jul 27, 2018 at 17:42
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It is like in the Old Testament when in Exodus the Pharaoh speaks a curse against Moses' son And Moses, astonished, says oh no, It is your son who will die. Pharaoh himself bought down the curse on his own head by saying it when Moses was under the Great Anointing of Almighty God. Also when God says something especially in the OT, He simply cannot go back on it. Moses only commits one sin but for this one sin, he is not allowed to go into the Promised Land --Our words when under the anointing, in the middle of carrying out a mission for God have profound meaning. The phrase "it is set in stone" has been in our lexicon for this reason. Many of the phrases we use today can be found in the biblical verses.
So, too, when Jesus hears these words, He neither confirms nor denies, but it is obviated by his mystifying answer that God has heard the words and Almighty God will act.

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It means YES indeed. We can see that from the way the High Priest understood it as blasphemy and proceeded to have Jesus executed. Jesus of course knew how His words would be understood, and spoke accordingly. Had He wanted to say 'that's what YOU say', He would have expressed Himself so as not to be misunderstood.

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In some contexts used it can be construed to mean - so says you, an acknowledgment that a person's viewpoint frames their reality, while not ascribing to that view. It can be a kind way to say I don't agree, but as long as you think it, it will manifest itself as truth and you will find multiple "proofs" to reinforce that idea. Much of human reasoning is re-affirmational (confirmation bias) and bandwagoning bad ideas, thus bringing an element of reality to them, Jesus as Christ being a good example of how these proclivities of thought tend to compound on themselves in a form of thermal runaway.

Many times Jesus's response in this manner reveals his ideology that what you think, and how you judge determines the reality that you will personally live. He also used this response as a means to weasel out of proclaiming himself divine or titled and getting into trouble. "So Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "You have said it." Luke 23:3

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