Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven like a certain king,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

By this is compared the highest realms beyond earth to a human king who desired to take part in a reckoning in dealing with his bondsmen.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Many of the Greek words here are different than the English translations of the KJV and most other versions.

The word translated as "therefore" is not the usual Greek word translated "therefore." It is two Greek words that mean "through this." The first words means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)." "This" is from a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar." The "this" seems to refer to the previous verse, Matthew 18:22.

To learn more about meaning of the Greek words, "the kingdom of heaven," you may want to read this article. Here, both words are plural, so "the kingdoms of heavens." However, it could also be described as meaning, "the highest of realms beyond earth," or "the reigns of the universes." It is not the subject of this verb, but its object.

The verb translated as "is...likened" means "to make like" and, in the passive, as used here, "to become like." Here, it is in the singular and the only possible subject is the "this" that precedes it in the Greek.

The Greek word translated as "unto a certain" in the Greek word that means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular and "people" and "peoples" in the plural. Here is it singular and in the form of a indirect object matching the form of the word translated as "king" so it could be acting as an adjective.

"King" is from the Greek word that means a "king", "leader," or "chief." It is a form of the world used for "kingdom."

The Greek word translated as "would" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. This verbs primary purpose it to express consent, desire, and even a delight in doing something.

"Take" is from a verb that means "gather in a harvest", "raise or use in helping," and "take part in a thing."

"Account" is the Greek word that is almost always translated as "word" in the Gospels. This is a good example of why that translation often doesn't work. It actually means "computation", "reckoning," and "value." It is also "an explanation", "an argument," or "a rule or principle of law."

The word translated as "of" doesn't mean that. It primarily means "with" but it also means "in dealings with."

"Servants" means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."' Since the topic is going to be who owes him money, " (see the next verse Matthew 18:24), the word would have been heard as a "bondsman," that is, a person that was held in servitude until his debt was paid.


The Greek word usually translated as "word" is used here to mean "account" here, which is closer to its actual meaning. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Διὰ "Therefore" is from dia (with touto below) which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between."

τοῦτο (adj sg neut nom/acc) "Therefore" is from touto,(with dia above) which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar."

ὡμοιώθη (verb 3rd sg aor ind pass) "Is...likened" is from homoioo, which means "to make like", "to become like", "to liken," and "to compare."

βασιλεία (noun pl neut acc) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τῶν 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."

ἀνθρώπῳ (noun sg masc dat) "Unto a certain" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

βασιλεῖ (noun sg masc dat) "King" is from basileus, which means a "king", "chief", "prince", "lord", "master", "a great man," and "the first and most distinguished of any class." It is a form of the world used for "kingdom." -- "Kings" is translated from a Greek word which means a "king" or "chief."

ὃς (pron sg masc nom) "Which" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἠθέλησεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Would" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain", "to hold", "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

συνᾶραι (verb aor inf act) "Take" is from synairo, which means "take up together", "gather in a harvest", "collected", "take part in a thing", "help in bearing or undertaking," "raise or use in helping," "help", "assist," and "annul jointly with another."

λόγον "Account" is from logos, which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value." -- "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons.

μετὰ "Of" is from meta, which means "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward"

τῶν δούλων (noun pl masc/fem gen) "Servant" is from doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

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." -- The word translated as "him" 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 "the true self" as opposed to appearances.

noun pl masc gen

noun sg masc dat

The Spoken Version: 

Here is an example of how we compare the realms beyond earth with an earthly leader. He wanted to get involved in balancing the books with those who owed him money.