Luk 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!

KJV Verse: 

Luk 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Too bad whenever "noble you", they might say, all the people. Because, just the same they acted toward the fake shining lights, those fathers of them. 

Hidden Meaning: 

This verse is substantially changed to make it into an English sentence. It is one of the many verses that work better spoken than written. The effect is much more lighthearted in the original than condemning. 

"Woe" is an exclamation of grief, meaning "woe" or "alas." However, Christ seems to use it humorously. Most verses in which it appears has the hallmarks of Christ's humor. Today we would say "so sad [for you]" or "boo-hoo to you." The word is very like the Jewish, "oy veh" which can be used to express sorry but with is more commonly used cynically. More about this phrase in this article on Christ's humor, under the subtitle, "exaggeration."

The is no "unto you" in the original Greek. It is added by those that translated the Latin Vulgate into the Greek source the KJV translators used. 

The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

The "all people" phrase appears at the end of the sentence. In Greek, the most important words, providing context and the topic, come first. 

The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way", "on every side," and "altogether."

The Greek word for "man" also means "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, as it is here, it means "people" and "peoples".

"Shall speak " is a verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. 

The word translated as "well" referring to the "fruit" means "beautiful", "noble," or "of good quality." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil." As an adverb, it means well and that could be the form here. However, the form also matches the following word ("you") as an adjective and the object of the sentence, so "noble you" or "beautiful you". 

The "of you" here is plural, indicating all Christ's listeners, but it is in the form of that object of the sentence. It is what is spoken not those spoken to or about. 

The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

"So" is a Greek phrase meaning "just the same." The "just" comes from preposition that means  "down from", "down into", "against", "opposite", "separately", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally." "The same" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same" when used with an article, as it is here.

The Greek word translated as "did" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service.

"Their fathers" is the common word that means any male ancestor. When referring to others, Christ uses it to refer to their ancestors, that is, "forefathers." The form of the actual phrase has the sense of "those fathers of theirs" which is a common form of one of Christ's punchlines. This phrase appears at the end of the sentence. 

"To the false prophets" from a hybrid Greek word that means "lying interpreters of god's will" or "fake interpreters." This Greek word appears for the first time in Mat 7:15, apparently invented by Christ. It is a noun from the verb that means "to shine before."T The word is in the form on an indirect object, so "to the fake shining lights" 


οὐαὶ (exclam) "Woe" is ouai, which is an exclamation of pain or anger meaning "woe" or "alas" but it can be used sarcastically. 

ὅταν (adv/conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)." 

καλῶς (adv/adj pl masc acc) "Good" is kalos, which means "beautiful", "good", "of fine quality", "noble," and "honorable." It is most often translated as "good" juxtaposed with "evil" in the New Testament, but the two ideas are closer to "wonderful" and "worthless", "noble" and "base." 

ὑμᾶς (pron 2nd pl acc) "You" is humas which is the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." 

εἴπωσιν (verb 3rd pl aor subj act ) "Shall speak" is eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer." 

πάντες (adj pl masc nom) "All" is pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether." 

οἱ ἄνθρωποι, (noun pl masc nom) "Men" is anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate. --

κατὰ (prep/adv) "So" is kata, (with ta auta below) which, as a preposition, means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally." As an adverb, it means "according as", "just as", "in so far as", "wherefore", "like as if" and "exactly as." 

τὰ αὐτὰ (adj pl neut acc ) "So" is autos, (with kata above)  which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of ones own accord." 

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question, it means "why" and "what."

ἐποίουντοῖς (verb 3rd pl imperf ind act  ) "Did" is poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do." 

ψευδοπροφήταις (noun pl masc dat) "False prophets" is frompseudoprophētēs which means a "false" or "lying" prophet, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt," and "herald."

οἱ πατέρες (noun pl masc nom) "Fathers" is pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers." 

αὐτῶν. (adj pl masc gen) "Their" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of ones own accord."

Related Verses: 

Sep 27 2017