Congruency within scriptures is simply the belief that all of scriptures, in the original language, should be in harmony, in agreement. There should be no conflict in words or intent.
From that premise I approached the follow text:
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” Matthew 26:52-54 (NASB unless stated otherwise)
The sentence in question reads, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”
This is the only place in scripture where this proverb-like statement is found.
This translation or interpretation seems incongruent with other scriptures, such as Jesus’ admonition that the disciples buy a sword:
And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. ... They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” Luke 22:35-38
So, did Jesus encourage them to have a weapon or discourage them from having anything to do with weapons? Is there an incongruence here in translation or in the interpretation?
What also causes me to question this translation is found in Jesus’ other words, “Or do you think that I cannot appeal… [for] more than twelve legions of angels?”
Here Jesus is telling Peter that he could call a multitude of angels to defend him—if he wanted to. This remark seems to suggest that Peter had attempted to defend Jesus, and that attempt was unwanted and/or probably ill-conceived—in light of the well armed crowd he faced:
While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Matthew 26:47
I'm not here questioning the truth or inerrancy of the Word of God, but merely the choices made by the translators in trying to produce a readable version.
I would suggest the following modern translation of the sentence in question would be more congruent with the rest of scripture. Rather than:
“Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. (NASB)
Consider in stead:
“Put your sword away. Were that crowd to draw their swords, you would surely perish.” (my paraphrase)
p.s. I find it interesting that Jesus, the Son of God, could have requested legions of angels to protect him. He did not do so because of his mission. Can we, who, by God's grace, are sons of of the Most High, also appeal for legions of angels in time of need?
©2021, Dr Steven Bydeley, a man.
All publishing rights reserved. Permission is herewith granted to reprint this article for personal use and to link or refer to it; however, no commercial re-publishing of the material in this article is permitted without prior written consent.
Steven is the author of Fathered by God and with his wife Dianne, co-author of Dream Dreams and Dreams the Heal and Counsel. He has been a guest on the Miracle Channel, Trinity Television, and Crossroads Communication, and have taught internationally on various topics.
Without Prejudice. © 2023, Steven., house of bij de Leij., of man.