Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant man,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Parables, Parable of the Pearl

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Once more, similar, it is, this realm of the skies, to a trader looking for beautiful pearls.

KJV : 

Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Note that Jesus is not comparing the "kingdom" to a man, not a thing. This gives the word more the sense of "kingship" than a place. As in "pearls of wisdom" or "pearls before swine," pearls  Jesus symbol for wisdom. Jesus only uses this word a few times.

This parable is in the "at some time" Greek tense that is more usual for stories. This is a change from the present tense of the previous parable.

The word translated as "goodly/fine" here is the word usually translated as "good" when contrasted against "evil," but it means "noble" and "beautiful." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

NIV : 

Matthew 13:45  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.

Wordplay: 

The word for "pearl" is a metaphor for "wisdom." 

The word for "merchant man" means a traveling traders, not just one who buys and sells, but one who physically searches. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Πάλιν (adv) "Again" is from palin (palin), which means "back", "backward", "contradiction", "again", "once more," and "in turn."

ὁμοία (adj pl neut acc) Like is from homoios, which means "like", "resembling", "the same", "equal in force, "a match for one", "suiting", "of the same rank", "alike", "in like manner," and "equally."

ἐστὶν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible."

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

βασιλεία (noun sg fem nom ) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." -

τῶν (article pl masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

οὐρανῶν (noun pl 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." --

ἐμπόρῳ [1 verse](adj sg masc dat) "Unto a merchant man" is emporos, which means "one who goes on ship-board as a passenger", "trader", "a trafficker,""a traveler", "a merchant," and "a dealer."

ζητοῦντι (part sg pres act masc dat) "Seeking" is zeteo, which means "inquire for", "search for", "seek after", "desire", and "feel the want of."

καλοὺς (adj pl masc acc) "Goodly" is from 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."

μαργαρίτας: [3 verses](noun pl masc acc) "Pearls" is margarites, which means "pearl," and "a precious stone." It is a metaphor for "wisdom."

KJV Analysis: 

Again,  - -- The Greek word translated as "again" means "back," "again," and "contradiction."

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Here, it is plural and in a form that could be either the object or subject of the verb. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "rule" seems more appropriate.

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, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

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

is  - -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." 

like  - -- The word translated as "like" is an adjective that means "like", "resembling," and "matching."

unto   -- This word "unto" 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.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

merchant man,  - (CW)  "Merchant man" is from a noun that "one who goes on ship-board as a passenger", "trader", "a trafficker,""a traveler", "a merchant," and "a dealer." It has a strong sense of one who travels as he trades, not someone who just buys and sells.

seeking  - The Greek verb translated as "seeking" has a variety of meaning, but "to look for" comes the closest to capturing most of them in English.

goodly  -  The word translated as "goodly" means "beautiful", "noble," or "of good quality." This is the adjective normally translated as "good." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

pearls: -- The word for "pearl" means "pearl" is a metaphor in Greek for "wisdom" as we would say in English "pearls of wisdom."

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but he Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "merchant" has more the meaning of "traveler" or "traveling trader."

NIV Analysis: 

Again,  - -- The Greek word translated as "again" means "back," "again," and "contradiction."

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Here, it is plural and in a form that could be either the object or subject of the verb. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "rule" seems more appropriate.

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, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

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

is  - -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." 

like  - -- The word translated as "like" is an adjective that means "like", "resembling," and "matching."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

merchant ,  - (CW) "Merchant man" is from a noun that "one who goes on ship-board as a passenger", "trader", "a trafficker,""a traveler", "a merchant," and "a dealer." It has a strong sense of one who travels as he trades, not someone who just buys and sells.

looking - The Greek verb translated as "looking" has a variety of meaning, but "to look for" comes the closest to capturing most of them in English.

fine -  The word translated as "goodly" means "beautiful", "noble," or "of good quality." This is the adjective normally translated as "good." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

pearls: -- The word for "pearl" means "pearl" is a metaphor in Greek for "wisdom" as we would say in English "pearls of wisdom."

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but he Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "merchant" has more the meaning of "traveler" or "traveling trader."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Here, the pearl is a symbol of the intellectual realm.

The Spoken Version: 

“A comparison of numbers,” Flat Nose grunted. “Treasure worth more than possessions. Easy choice. But the ‘seed’ is an idea. Wisdom is about quality, not its quantity.”
The Master smiled broadly and nodded in agreement with Flat Nose.
“Once more, it is similar, this realm of the skies,” said the Master, “to a trader looking for beautiful pearls.”
“Ahh, here are your pearls of wisdom,” commented Brother James. “One searching for wisdom.”

Front Page Date: 

Dec 31 2020