Mat 7:16 You shall know them by their fruits.

KJV Verse: 

Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

From the fruits of theirs, you are going to find out about them for yourselves. Do they collect from thorn bushes bunches of grapes? Or from cacti, figs?

Hidden Meaning: 

Again, in the Greek, the hidden meaning in this verse are largely economic. The verse is a reference back to Mat 7:15, describing how we separate "fake" prophets from real ones.

"Ye shall know" is a Greek verb that is a more complex form of a common word usually translated as "to know" (but meaning more "learn to know.") The word means literally, "upon learning to know" or "by learning to know." Generally, it means "to witness" or "to discover" but the sense seems to be "learn about". It is in the future tense, but it is also in a form where the person acts for their own benefit, "you are going to find them out for yourselves".

The pronoun translated as "them" also means "one's true self," as opposed to the body or appearances.

The word translated as "by" is translated twice more in this verse as "of." It actually means "from" and is used here in the sense of an "origin" or "cause" as much as a location.

The phrase translated as "by their fruit" actually begins the verse while two similar phrases end the verse.

The word translated as "fruit" primary meaning is "fruit", "seed," or "offspring," but its secondary meaning is "returns," specifically, "profit," as we would say "fruit of our labors."

In the Greek source, there is a word here that is untranslated in the KJV and most other Biblical translation of this verse. It could be either an adverb meaning "much less" or a form of the Greek word for "wisdom" or "skill". The form of the noun could mean that is is used in the sentence as either 1) a name someone is being called or 2) a purpose or instrument by which the "learning" or "the collecting" is done.

The Greek verb translated as "do men gather" specifically means collecting something for use. The word means a selective choosing rather than an indiscriminate gathering as in the selection of ripe grapes and figs from a tree or vine.

The Greek word translated as "grapes" means "a bunch of grapes". Grapes were generally symbolic of fertility in most cultures but, among the Jews, also of humility between of the similarity between the Hebrew words for them.

The Greek words translated as "thorns" and "thistles" both mean any type of thorny plant. Two different words are used because this is a reference to Gen 3:18, where two different Hebrew words are used. This means that two different Greek words are used in the Septuagint, the Greek OT. The same exact Greek words are used here. The verse refers to the creation of thistles and thorns after humanity's fall since they were part of original creation.

"Figs" are from the Greek word meaning the "fruit of the fig tree". It is another word for "tumors" and a woman's sex order.

Both grapes and figs were symbolic of Israel, especially of the fertility of the land given to the Jews by God. The grape and fig, along with the olive, are used frequently in the OT.

 

 

 

 

Wordplay: 

 The double meaning of "fruit" and "profits." 

The Spoken Version: 

“From those fruits of theirs,” he said with conviction, “you are going to find out about them for yourselves. By skill, they collect—from thorn bushes—.” He pretended to berate someone, his wagging finger becoming a slashing claw. “Bunches of grapes!” He turned his hands over, smiling as if accepting a gift from the berated. “Or from cacti—.” Another berating. “Figs!” Another gift.

Vocabulary: 

ἀπὸ (prep) "By" 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.

τῶν καρπῶν (noun pl masc gen) "Fruits" is from karpos, which means "fruit", "the fruits of the earth", "seed", "offspring", "returns for profit," and "reward."

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen ) "Their" 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."

ἐπιγνώσεσθε (2nd pl fut ind mid) "Ye shall know" is from epiginosko which means "look upon", "witness", "observe", "recognize", "find out," "discover", "learn to know", "take notice of", "come to a judgment", "decide", "acknowledge," and "approve."

αὐτούς: (adj pl masc 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 ones own accord."

μήτι Untranslated is metis, which is two possible words. (adv) It could be the adverb, meaning "let alone", "much less", "do I [in direct questions]", :"let alone", "much less", "lest any one", "lest anything", "that no one," and "that nothing." Or it could be a form (noun sg fem dat/voc) of the noun meaning "wisdom", "skill", "craft", "counsel", " plan," and "undertaking."

συλλέγουσιν (3rd pl pres ind act)"Do men gather" is from sullego, a term meaning "gather", "collect", "come together", "collect", "get together [people]", "compose", "compile", "scrape together", and "compile a list of."

ἀπὸ (prep) "Of" 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.

ἀκανθῶν (noun pl fem gen) "Thorns" is from akantha, which means "thorn", "prickle," or "any thorny or prickly plant." It is also a metaphor for a "thorny" question.

σταφυλὰς (noun pl fem acc) "Grapes" is from staphyle, which means "bunch of grapes", "of ripe, fresh grapes", "uvula when swollen," and "plumb of a level."

(conj) "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

ἀπὸ (prep) "Of" 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.

τριβόλων (adj pl masc gen ) "Thistles" is from tribolos, which means "various prickly plants", "a threshing-machine (a box with spikes)", "caltrops and other defensive systems with spike," and, as an adjective, "three-tiered"

σῦκα; (noun pl neut acc) "Figs" is from sykon, which means "fruit of the fig", "large wart on the eyelids", "tumors," and "a woman's sex organ."

Related Verses: 

Mar 8 2017

evidence: 

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