Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed?

KJV Verse: 

Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Oh, no! Those ten are purified! Those, however, nine. Where?

Hidden Meaning: 

In Greek, this sentence seems humorous because it ends with the keyword (see this article on Jesus's humor). It starts with a negative exclamation. Observes that ten were cure, then seems to hesitate before asking "where?" A lot is added here in the KJV to change a light, spoken remark into more complete sentences.

"Were" is not part of the verb "cleansed" here. The form is not a perfect form or even a true past form. 

There is also no Greek word for "there" in the sentence.

The word translated as "not" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."  However, in English, it's emphatic nature is best captured by "oh, no!" This word does not typically indicate a question as much as negative reaction.

A keyword appearing before "ten" is not translated. It is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." Here indicates that the "ten" are male and the subjects of the sentence. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

"Ten" is simply the Greek number "ten". 

The Greek verb translated as "were cleansed," means to remove dirt. It is used for a lot of specific types of "cleaning" including cleansing a person of leprosy but it also has a general meaning of "purifying" anything. The form is passive, but not a past form, but a form indicating something that happens at sometime, past, present, or future. A more straightforward translate is "are purified".

The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

The word translated as "where" means "where" and it is usually used in in questions at the beginning. However, here it comes at the end of this verse.  Meaning that the question comes at the end. 

There is no "are" in the sentence. It ends on the "where".

The word translated as "the" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." Here indicates that the "nine" are male and the subject of the sentence. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

"Nine" is the Greek numeral nine.

Vocabulary: 

Οὐχ (partic) "Not" is ouchi, an adverb which means "no", "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," "notwithstanding", "yet", "still", "never yet", "for not", "indeed", "for surely not", "no,—certainly not", "for I don't suppose," and "for in no manner." 

οἱ ( article pl masc nom ) "The" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." --

δέκα (numeral) "Ten" is from deka, which means the number ten.

ἐκαθαρίσθησαν; ( verb 3rd pl aor ind pass ) "Were cleansed" is katharizo, which means "to clean", "to clear the ground of weeds,""prune away", "to remove dirt", "to purify,"and "to remove impurities." It is also used to describe the removal of the inedible parts from grain (winnowing), clearing weeds from a field, pruning a plant and so on.

οἱ ( article pl masc nom ) "The" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

[δὲ] (conj/adv) "But" is de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἐννέα [unique](numeral] "Nine" is  ennea, which  is the number nine.

ποῦ; (adv/conj) "Where" is pou, which means "where", "at what point," and [of manner] "how." Other forms mean "somewhere", "anywhere", "doubtless," and "perhaps." --

Sep 15 2018