Matthew 13:57 A prophet is not without honour,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Nazareth, lack of belief among those who know him

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

No, he is not,a luminary, unappreciated, except in that hometown and that household of his.

KJV : 

Matthew 13:57 A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The two uncommon Greek words here are the ones translated as "without honor" and "country/town."  The "flavor" of both of these Greek is more personal, "unappreciated" and "hometown/household" may come closer. Both words are feminine. The "hometown" word is a feminine form of the word for "father." This verses starts with a negative, which seems to be a response to a question or statement by someone else. While in translation this verse sound like a criticism of his hometown, Jesus recognizes that prophets were frequently killed for example in Matthew 23:31 and Luke 11:47. However, most recently, from his disciples point of view, he has talked about them deserving reward (Matthew 10:41) . It also sounds like he is claiming to be a prophet. However, it is more likely that he is making light of how hs  students reacted to his not being appreciated rather than to his own feeling.

This verse follows the basic structure of a joke, the setup line followed by the punch line. The setup is "He, the prophet, is not unappreciated." You can almost hear before the final statement that beings with an if not" or "except." The two "the" or "that" words before "country/town" and "house/" that emphasize them are left out. The end of the punchline is "his," "except in that hometown and that household of his." He may also be suggested in a light-hearted way than being the hometown and family of a profit may have its downside.

NIV : 

Matthew 13:57 A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "country" also refers to "the nether world." 

The word translated as "house" refers also the one's family. 

My Takeaway: 

We assume we know the familiar when we never do.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐκ (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.

ἔστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

προφήτης (noun sg masc nom) "A prophet" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt", "interpreter," and "herald."

ἄτιμος [2 verses](adj sg masc nom) "Without honor" is atimos, which means "dishonored", "unhonored", "not deemed worthy", "deprived of civic rights", "unavenged", "unpunished," and "without value." It is the negative of timos which means having a set value.

εἰ μὴ (partic) "Except" is from ei me, which is the conjunction that means "if not", "but," and "except." εἰ is the particle use with the imperative usually to express conditions "if" or indirect questions, "whether." (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt or opinion meaning "not" and "no."

ἐν (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -

πατρίδι [3 verses](noun sg fem dat) "Country" is patris, which means literally, "of one's fathers", "one's fatherland", "country," simply, "native town or village," and, commonly, "the nether world."

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."

ἐν (prep)  "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -

οἰκίᾳ [40 times](noun sg fem dat) "House" is from oikia, which means "house", "building," and "household."

αὐτοῦ. (adj sg masc gen) "His " 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." This word follows the word it modifies so "of his."

KJV Analysis: 

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.

prophet  - "A prophet" is from the Greek noun that means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will," and "interpreter of 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.

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This word begins the verse as if in answering someone else.

without -- This is from the prefix of the following verb that means "not."

honour, - "Without honor" is a Greek word that means, literally, "not valuable" and means "dishonored." However, it is the negative of the word that means "value" so we might say "unvalued" or "unappreciated" to capture its feeling.

save   - The word translated as "save" is from two words meaning "if not" but the "not" is not a not of fact but more of opinion or possibility. This word is unusually translated as "except" but "save" has the same sense.

in  - The word translated as "in" in both cases also means "within", "with," or "among."

his own -- (WW) The word translated as "his own" 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. 

country,  - (CW) The word translated as "country" means literally, "of one's fathers," and refers to one's father's country and village. However, the word is feminine, so "motherland" as the female parent also words, but we would likely say "hometown" since "fatherland," "motherland," and even "homeland," are broader today than they were in Jesus's time. To the Greeks, the universal homeland is a reference to "the nether world."

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

in -- (IW) There is no second "in" in the Greek.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. This pronoun follows the noun so "of his." This is the verse punchline.

own - (WW) The word translated as "own" 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. 

house. -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "his own" should be "that."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "country" is not the common word usually translated as "country."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The second "in" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "own" should be "that."

NIV Analysis: 

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.

prophet  - "A prophet" is from the Greek noun that means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will," and "interpreter of 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.

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This word begins the verse as if in answering someone else.

without -- This is from the prefix of the following verb that means "not."

honor, - "Without honor" is a Greek word that means, literally, "not valuable" and means "dishonored." However, it is the negative of the word that means "value" so we might say "unvalued" or "unappreciated" to capture its feeling.

save   - The word translated as "save" is from two words meaning "if not" but the "not" is not a not of fact but more of opinion or possibility. This word is unusually translated as "except" but "save" has the same sense.

in  - The word translated as "in" in both cases also means "within", "with," or "among."

his own -- (WW) The word translated as "his own" 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. 

town ,  - (CW) The word translated as "town" means literally, "of one's fathers," and refers to one's father's country and village. However, the word is feminine, so "motherland" as the female parent also words, but we would likely say "hometown" since "fatherland," "motherland," and even "homeland," are broader today than they were in Jesus's time. To the Greeks, the universal homeland is a reference to "the nether world."

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

in -- (IW) There is no second "in" in the Greek.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. This pronoun follows the noun so "of his." This is the verse punchline.

own - (WW) The word translated as "own" 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. 

house. -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "his own" should be "that."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "town" is not the common word usually translated as "country."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The second "in" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "own" should be "that."

The Spoken Version: 

Finally, the Teacher brought all of his students together in his hometown. For the first time, they saw him among whom he had grown up and lived most of his life.
They were surprised by how the people treated him. Many of them thought the town people were disrespectful.
“Thousands of people walk hours to hear you,” complained Johnny Boy. “But these people don’t value you at all.”  
“Don’t these people appreciate a luminary at all?” asked Rocky.
“Not even your own family,” noted Brother James.
“No, a luminary is not unappreciated,” said Jesus cheerfully. “Except in that hometown and that household of his.”

Front Page Date: 

Jan 8 2021