Matthew 11:25 I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things

Spoken to: 

Father

Context: 

Defense against critics

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

I confess myself to you, Father, master of sky and the earth. Because you concealed these from wise ones and educated ones and you disclosed them to babies.

KJV : 

Matthew 11:25 I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In this verse, Jesus is acknowledging his own childishness and sense of humor. This sense is largely lost in translation because some of the KJV seems intentionally misleading. The problems start with the "I thank" (KJV) or "I praise" (NIV) statement, which says, in the Greek, "I admit for myself." This statement may be the best explanation we have of "the child of the man" title that Jesus gives himself.

NIV : 

Matthew 11:25 I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

Wordplay: 

 The words translated as "revealed" is the negative form of the word translated as "hid" so "did not hide" is closer to the point. The word translated as "babes" means childish and silly when referring to understanding.  

Note that this verse ends a series of verses condemning the areas that didn't believe in him. So Christ is actually making fun of himself for condemning them. This makes the previous verses seem more like humorously intended exaggerations than true condemnations. 

My Takeaway: 

I am reminded of Feynman's definition of science: the trust in the ignorance of experts.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἐξομολογοῦμαί [2 verses](1st sg pres ind mp ) "I thank " is from exomologeo, which means "to confess", "to admit," and "to acknowledge." Christ is not thanking God here but admitting a truth.

σοι, (pron 2nd pl dat) "Thee" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you".

πάτερ (noun masc sg voc) "Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

κύριε (noun sg masc voc) "Lord" is from kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

οὐρανοῦ (noun sg masc gen ) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

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."

τῆς (article sg fem gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

γῆς, (noun sg fem gen) "Earth" 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.

ὅτι (adv/conj) "Because" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

ἔκρυψας (2nd sg aor ind act) "Thou has hid" is from krypto, which means "to hide", "to cover," "to conceal." "to keep secret", "cover in the earth", "bury", "conceal", "argue so that the opponent is unwarily led to an adverse conclusion," in passive, to "conceal oneself from,""hide oneself," and "lie hidden."

ταῦτα (adj pl neut acc) "These things" is from tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these", "this", "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why."

ἀπὸ (prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

σοφῶν [3 verses](adj pl masc gen ) "The wise" is sophos, which means "skilled at practical matters", "clever," and "wise. The idea is those with experience and common sense.

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."

συνετῶν,[4 verses] (adj pl masc gen) "Prudent" is sunetos, which means "intelligent", "sagacious," and "wise." Here, the idea is more learning and natural intelligence.

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."

ἀπεκάλυψας [3 verses](2nd sg aor ind act) "Revealed" is apokalupto, which means to "uncover", "disclose", "reveal," unmask", ""make bare."become known," in the middle passive, "reveal one's whole mind,"in the passive, "be made known," and as an adjective, "naked," and "shameless." It is the opposite of kaluptô, "to cover" and "to hide.

αὐτὰ (adj pl neut acc) "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."

νηπίοις: [3 verses](adj pl masc dat) "Babes" is nêpios, which means "child", "the young," and "infant." As an adjective referring to understanding, it means "childish", "silly," 'without foresight", "blind," and, to strength "like that of a child."​

KJV Analysis: 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

thank  - (WW)  The Greek word translated as "thank" really means "to confess", "to admit," and "to acknowledge." It is in the form where the subject is either being acted upon or acts on himself. The nature of the verb. meaning "admit" seems to indicate that Jesus is confessing himself to God here, acknowledging something about himself.

missing "myself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act  "on myself," "for myself" or "by myself."

thee, -- The word for "thee" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. It is not the dierct object.

O -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" in the Greek source. It is added perhaps to clarify that the following word is addressed to the Father.

Father, -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

Lord  - The word translated as "lord" means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

heaven  - The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

earth,  - The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words. There is an article ("the") before this word "the earth", but there was no article before the word for "heaven". This changes the sense of the word. See this article on how the Greek articles differ from ours

because -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

thou  - -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

hast -- (WT) This helping verb "hast" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

hid  -  "Thou hast hid" is a Greek word that means "to hide from", "to conceal from," and "to keep hidden from." It also means, interestingly, "to lose from sight." The tense is at a point of time in the past, present, or future.

these  -- The "these" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why." It is not typically used as an adjective.

things -- This is from the neutral, plural form of the previous adjective, "these."

from -- The word translated as "from" means "from" in both locations and when referring to a source or a cause. It also means the instrument "by" which a thing is done and "away from."

the -- There is no Greek article "the" here in the source, but the noun is plural and in English an article is used before plural nouns in phrases like this.

wise  - "Wise" is a Greek adjective that refers to those with experience and common sense. It has no article ("the") in front of it in the Greek. This seems ot be a continuation of the mention of wisdom in Matthew 11:19  beng justified by its actions. This is the adjective form, not the noun, which Jesus only uses three times.

and  - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

prudent,  - "Prudent" is a word that refers more to learning and natural intelligence. Jesus only uses this adjective four times.

and - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

hast -- (WT) This helping verb "hast" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

revealed  - "Revealed" is a negative form of the word used earlier meaning "to cover" and "to hide "with an "away from." This reverses its meaning, so it means to uncover or reveal and, in the passive, "to become known."

them  - The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. 

unto -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can chose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

babes. -- "Babes" is a noun that means "baby" or "infant" and, as an adjective that, when referring to understanding, means "childish" and "silly". It is clearly a self-deprecating word. Jesus only uses this word three times as well.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "thank" should be "admit."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "myself" as its object.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "O" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "earth" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "hast" before "hid" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "hast" before "revealed" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).

NIV Analysis: 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

praise - (WW)  The Greek word translated as "praise " really means "to confess", "to admit," and "to acknowledge." It is in the form where the subject is either being acted upon or acts on himself. The nature of the verb. meaning "admit" seems to indicate that Jesus is confessing himself to God here, acknowledging something about himself.

missing "myself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act  "on myself," "for myself" or "by myself."

you, -- The word for "you" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

O -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" in the Greek source. It is added perhaps to clarify that the following word is addressed to the Father.

Father, -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

Lord  - The word translated as "lord" means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven  - The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

earth,  - The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words. There is an article ("the") before this word "the earth", but there was no article before the word for "heaven". This changes the sense of the word. See this article on how the Greek articles differ from ours

because -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

you - -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have " indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

hid  -  "Thou hast hid" is a Greek word that means "to hide from", "to conceal from," and "to keep hidden from." It also means, interestingly, "to lose from sight." The tense is at a point of time in the past, present, or future.

these  -- The "these" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why." It is not typically used as an adjective.

things -- This is from the neutral, plural form of the previous adjective, "these."

from -- The word translated as "from" means "from" in both locations and when referring to a source or a cause. It also means the instrument "by" which a thing is done and "away from."

the -- There is no Greek article "the" here in the source, but the noun is plural and in English an article is used before plural nouns in phrases like this.

wise  - "Wise" is a Greek adjective that refers to those with experience and common sense. It has no article ("the") in front of it in the Greek. This seems ot be a continuation of the mention of wisdom in Matthew 11:19  beng justified by its actions. This is the adjective form, not the noun, which Jesus only uses three times.

and  - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

learned,  - "Learned" is a word that refers more to learning and natural intelligence. Jesus only uses this adjective four times.

and - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

hast -- (WT) This helping verb "have " indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

revealed  - "Revealed" is a negative form of the word used earlier meaning "to cover" and "to hide "with an "away from." This reverses its meaning, so it means to uncover or reveal and, in the passive, "to become known."

them  - The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can chose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

little children. -- (CW) "Babes" is a noun that means "baby" or "infant" and, as an adjective that, when referring to understanding, means "childish" and "silly". It is clearly a self-deprecating word. Jesus only uses this word three times as well. This word is confusing because there is another word in Greek that means "little children" that Jesus uses more often. See this article.

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "praise" should be "admit."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "myself" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "earth" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have " before "hid" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have " before "revealed" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "little children" is not the common word usually translated as "littel children."

The Spoken Version: 

“You have named yourself  well as ‘the son of the man,’” called one of them. “You are nothing but a child, amusing the crowd with your childish antics.”
“No, less than a child,” accused another. “He is a big baby.”
The Master laughed at the charge and turned his head to the sky, spreading his arms in prayer.
“I confess myself to you, Father, master of sky and the earth,” he said. “Because you hid these from the wise and learned and disclosed them—”
He paused and stuck a thumb in his mount.
“To babies!” he announced.
The crowd laughed.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 16 2020