Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?

KJV Verse: 

Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.


Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Surely not, two sparrows for a dime? It exchanges itself! And one of them is not really going to fall itself to earth far from the Father of yours.

Hidden Meaning: 

As translated, this verse seems like a change of subject from the previous verse, Mat 10:28, about killing your own soul, but looking at the Greek, it is a clear continuation of that idea. It gives an example of people sacrificing themselves for very little. This is done as a play on words connecting the sparrows sacrificed in the temple with the slang meaning of a pair of sparrows as as a pair of sexually immoral people.

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."

The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

"Sparrows" is a word that is the diminutive of the word for "sparrow" so "tiny sparrow." These were sold at the temple as the least expensive animal sacrifices. It is also a metaphor for lechers.

"Sold" is a word that means "to sell" and "to exchange." When this word is applied to people (as it is metaphorically here), it means "to betray" or "to give up." The verb is singular and in a form where it acts on or for itself. Greek verbs do have a "dual" form when the subject is two, but it is not used here. The Luke version of this verse (Luke 12:6) uses a plural verb for five sparrows. 

"For a farthing" is the Greek name of a small coin of silver, one that was worth one-tenth of the standard coin (drachma worth 2/3 of denarius or 65 cents) used in the Greek world. It was worth about 6.5 cents so about the value of our nickel. It is in the possessive form, which in this situation can be used to describe an objective so "for".

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, is best translated as "not only...but also."

The Greek word translated as "one" means the number "one", "single," or as the pronoun "one," referring to an individual.

The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the possessive form instead of this preposition for the "of" phrases like the one here, that indicates part of a group.

The word translated as "of them" (and "their") 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," and when used as a pronoun can mean "their true selves" as opposed to appearances, which may be the point here.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

"Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form which indicates someone acting on themselves, so "lower themselves down."

The word translated as "on" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."

"The ground" is from the Greek that means "earth." Like our word "earth" it can mean "the whole planet", "the ground," or "arable land."

"Without" is a Greek pronoun which Christ only uses here. It means "without", "far from," and "except." Interestingly, Christ uses a different pronoun also meaning "without" only once in John 15:5. Assuming that he uses each uniquely, this word would mean "far from" and the other "apart from".

"Your" is the possessive pronoun, but it follows the following noun. It is plural, referring to the gorup.

"Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor.




 The analogy between sparrows sold cheaply in the temple for sacrifice and people sacrificing themselves cheaply for lust. 

The Spoken Version: 

“Body? Self? Just tell me that my baby birds aren’t just going to disappear somewhere out on the road over the next few weeks,” said Salome. Her children, James and John, looked down at her question.
“Certainly not,” the teacher responded in a good natured way, gesturing toward the two brothers. “Two sparrows? ”
“Who are you calling sparrows?” Interjected John.
The crowd laughed because the term was slang for a certain type of questionable person.
“For a nickel,” the teacher continued, “they are being traded. And one of them is not going to fall to earth away from that Father of you all.”


οὐχὶ (prep) "Not" is from 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." The base for this negative is the objective negative. See this article on the Greek negatives.

δύο (numeral) "Two" is from duo, which means the number "two", "a couple," and "a pair."

στρουθία (noun dual masc acc) "Sparrows" is strouthion, which actually means a "tiny sparrows" from strouthos, the word for "sparrow." The word is also a metaphor for a "lecher" or "lewd fellow."

ἀσσαρίου (noun sg neut gen ) "Farthing" is from assarion, which was one-tenth of a drachma, which was the standard silver coin of Greece. This was a medium-sized coin, like our nickel or dime.

πωλεῖται; (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Sold" is from poleo, which means "to sell," "to exchange", "to barter," "to offer to sell," and "to retail." Metaphorically, it means to "give up" and "betray." In the passive, it means "to be sold", "to be offered for sale," and, of persons, "to be bought and sold," and " betrayed

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἓν (noun sg neut nom) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

ἐξ (prep) "Of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen) "Them" is from 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 one's own accord."

οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective. See this article on the Greek negatives.

πεσεῖται (3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall...fall" is from the verb pipto, which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down," "fall upon", "intersect (geometry)", "meet", "pass through", "fall violently upon", "attack", "fall in battle", "sink{in water)", "fall short i.e. fail", " fall out of", "lose a thing", "escape from", "fall asleep", "to be accessible to perception", "to fall (between her feet, i.e. to be born)", "to let fall[dice)", "turn out," and "fall under (belong to a class)."

ἐπὶ (prep) "On" is from epi which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τὴν γῆν (noun sg fem acc) "The ground" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

ἄνευ [uncommon](prep) "Without" is aneu, which means "without", "far from," "besides", "clear of", and "except."

τοῦ πατρὸς (noun sg masc gen) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

ὑμῶν.(pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

Related Verses: 

Jun 5 2017