Matthew consistently uses the word SPIRIT as something that is supernatural, experiential, personal, dynamic, physically inhabiting (and/or inhabitable), and capable of both desire and possibly even resentment. Therefore, typical translations of the first beatitude seem inconsistent in the way they render this very same word. The best interpretations may lean towards a consistent truth, but the typical translation itself (I think, to most readers) effectively replaces the metaphysical nature of what SPIRIT is with a purely metaphorical meaning, which chiefly serves to modify the meaning of a different, connecting word.
The phrase "poor in spirit" is actually vague three times over. First, "the poor" is itself an abstract, metaphoricaly collective singular term, whereas the original greek is an dynamically picturesque plural. Homer, Herodotus and Hesiod all would have recognized a meaning much closer to "beggars". Third, "spirit" has no practical meaning at all in the rendering other than to clarify that the beggars themselves aren't after material wealth. So what, precisely, are they after? (For that matter, why choose the editorial lowercase "s"? Why not a capital "S"?) But secondly, this particular "in" is purely metaphorical, which the English word "in" can sometimes be, but this particular "in" doesen't even appear as part of the greek.
The "poor" part really isn't so bad. That's the part we do get, I think. But I strongly suspect this editorial, metaphorical "in spirit" has a subliminally undermining effect against the other "in spirit" references of Matthew's gospel. For example, somebody reading post #1 probably argued with me to their screen that David wasn't physically "in" the spirit and God's voice wasn't physically "in" the disciples. Oh, really? Well. Why do you think that way? Hmm.
It's pretty clear what I think. But I strongly suggest we should all at least consider a translation of Jesus' first 'beatitude' that is consistent with the supernatural reality conveyed by the bulk of Matthew's regular uses of this word, SPIRIT.
Naturally, since I'm bringing it up, I have a suggestion.
To be continued...