Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

The Sermon on the Mount, invisible and visible, worthwhile and worthless, acting  and speaking

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And then I will repeat the same thing to them, "Since I never ever even recognized you, you are making a movement...away from me, those working for themselves this lawlessness.

KJV : 

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is the punch line to a setup in the previous verse. It uses some uncommon words for Jesus  to express some common ideas. The effect of using unusual words can be humorous in itself, but usually, theses words have double meanings that come into place. (For more about Christ technique of humor, refer to this article.) The verse is translated in a way that makes the English reader think that other more common words were used.

The word translated as "know" also has the sense of "to recognize" someone. This is a specific response to the idea that these people were acting in his name. The sense is the same in English when we say that someone is "acting in someone's name". You cannot claim that you act in someone's name when they don't know you.

The word translated as "depart" is not the common word Jesus uses to tell people to "depart." The word means "move on," but it is also used in the sense were use the word "movement" to describe a bowel movement. This is the first punchline.

There second punchline is a phrase, "those working this lawlessness for themselves." The "for themselves" comes from the middle voice form of the verb and is the counterpoint to the claims that they are acting in Jesus's name.

NIV : 

Matthew 7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Wordplay: 

The punch line of a joke and an elegant insult. 

The word translated as "depart" means "move on" but it has the sense of a bowel movement.

My Takeaway: 

People claiming to act for the common good are often simply acting for themselves.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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."

τότε (adv) "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

ὁμολογήσω [3 verses](1st sg fut ind act) "Will I profess" is from homologeo, which means "to agree with," "to say the same thing as", "to correspond," "to have to do with", "to be coordinated", "to be suitable for", "to agree to a thing," :"to grant", "to concede", "to acknowledge,"to promise to", "to come to terms", "not to deny," and "to praise." Literally, it means "to say the same."

αὐτοῖς (adj pl masc dat) "Unto 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."

ὅτι (adv/conj) Untranslated is 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."

Οὐδέποτε [5 verses](adv) "Never" is oudepote, which means "and not ever", "but not when", "nor ever", "not even ever," and "never." It is a compound of oude, and pote. Oude, as a conjunction, means "but not", "neither", and "nor." As an adverb, it means "not at all" and "not even."  Pote means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future.

ἔγνων (1st sg aor ind act) "I...knew," is ginosko. which means "to learn to know", "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive." It also means "to recognize", "discern", or "distinguish".

ὑμᾶς: (pron 2nd pl acc) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἀποχωρεῖτε [1 verse](2nd pl pres ind act) "Depart" is apochoreo, which means to "go from" "go away from", "depart," "withdraw from", "give up possession of", "dissent from opinions", "turn out [people]", "to be successful", "to have recourse," and "to be distant [of places]." It also means "to excrete" when referring to bodily excretions. This word is only used one in the Septuagint, Jer 46:5 , where it is used to translated the Hebrew cuwg that means "to turn back." It is from two words, the preposition meaning "from" (same as the preposition below) and the root choreo, (χωρεῖ) which means "to leave room for another", and "to make way".

ἀπ᾽(prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" "apart from", or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause. The root word is an adjective meaning "distant".

ἐμοῦ (pron 1st sg masc gen) "Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

οἱ (article pl masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἐργαζόμενοι [8 verses](part pl pres mp masc nom) "Ye that work" is ergazomai, which means to "work at", "make", "do", "perform", "work [a material]", "earn by working," "work at a trade or business", " traffic," and "trade."

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). --

ἀνομίαν.” [4 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Inequity" is anomia, which means "lawless", "lawless conduct," and "the negation of law."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

then -- The "when"  is from an adverb meaning "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

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

profess  - (WW) The term translated as "profess" actually means "to say the same". This is a complicated and uncommon word. but it does not mean simply to "affirm" or "declare." The point is that Jesus is repeating the same message.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object,

them,  - The word translated as "unto them" is the Greek word commonly translated as 3rd person 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 "their true selves" as opposed to appearances. It is in the form of an indirect object, its use here.

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

untranslated "since"-- (MW) The untranslated word "since" means "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since, " and "wherefore." The "since" seems to work best here, making the following phase an explanation.

never  - (CW) "Never" is a Greek adverb that means "and not ever", "but not when", "nor ever", "not even ever," and "never."is from a Greek word that combined an extreme negative adverb with a word that means "when." The Greek negative is an adverb that means "not at all" or "no even".  The second part means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future." Translating as "never" ignores the time element.

knew  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "knew" means "to know" but Christ uses it more specifically to mean "come to know" or "learn," but it also has the sense of "to recognize" someone. This word is common, but not the most common term translated "know," which is a version that means "see."

you: -- The "you" here is the second-person, plural pronoun in the form of an object.

depart  - (WF) The verb "depart" means "to go away from" "to go forward", "to make progress", and "to advance". It also means "to excrete" bodily wastes.

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source but it means "apart from" and its root word is an adjective meaning "distant".

me,  - -  "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the possessive form, so "my" or "of me"

ye -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "you" in the Greek source.

that -- The word translated as "that" 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. 

work  - (WF) The "work" is a verb form that is very complicated, so it is explained in stages here. The word means "to labor", "to trade", "to do business", "to earn by working," and "to acquire". It is in the form of an adjective, so "laboring", "trading", and an "earning a living". This adjective is used as a plural noun, "the ones trading" or "the ones earning a living". That noun is in a form that is used to address people, so "you the ones trading" or "you the ones earning a living". It also in a form where the subject acts on or for themselves so we get "you the ones earning a living for yourselves" or "you the ones working for yourselves".

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. 

iniquity.  -- (CW) The word translated as "iniquity" means "lawlessness" or "immorality". It literally means "the condition of being without law.' It also means being in contempt or violation of the law, that idea of lawlessness. It is the negation of the word meaning "lawfulness". Translating it as "iniquity" disconnects it from the idea of the "law." This root word is the source of our word "norm" and "normal" so this word has a sense of  "not conforming with the norms." However, in Jesus's culture, the "law" was not the rules made by kings and governors but the standards of traditional social morality. So this word has a sense of "immorality". Its form could either be the object of "working", so "working immorality for yourselves" or the possessive form, "those working for yourselves by immorality".

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "profess" should be "repeat."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "since" or "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "never" is not common word usually translated as "never."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "knew" is not most common word usually translated as "knew."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "ye" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "workers" is not a noun but a participle, "working."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "iniquity" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "iniquity" is more precistely, "lawlessness."

NIV Analysis: 

untranslated "and"-- (MW) The untranslated word "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

then -- The "when"  is from an adverb meaning "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

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

tell - (WW) The term translated as "profess" actually means "to say the same". This is a complicated and uncommon word. but it does not mean simply to "affirm" or "declare." The point is that Jesus is repeating the same message.

them,  - The word translated as "unto them" is the Greek word commonly translated as 3rd person 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 "their true selves" as opposed to appearances. It is in the form of an indirect object, its use here.

plainly -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "plainly" in the Greek source.

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

untranslated "since"-- (MW) The untranslated word "since" means "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since, " and "wherefore." The "since" seems to work best here, making the following phase an explanation.

never  - (CW) "Never" is a Greek adverb that means "and not ever", "but not when", "nor ever", "not even ever," and "never."is from a Greek word that combined an extreme negative adverb with a word that means "when." The Greek negative is an adverb that means "not at all" or "no even".  The second part means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future." Translating as "never" ignores the time element.

knew  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "knew" means "to know" but Christ uses it more specifically to mean "come to know" or "learn," but it also has the sense of "to recognize" someone. This word is common, but not the most common term translated "know," which is a version that means "see."

you: -- The "you" here is the second-person, plural pronoun in the form of an object.

Away - (WF) The verb "depart" means "to go away from" "to go forward", "to make progress", and "to advance". It also means "to excrete" bodily wastes.

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source but it means "apart from" and its root word is an adjective meaning "distant".

me,  - -  "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the possessive form, so "my" or "of me"

you -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "you" in the Greek source.

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. 

evil -- (WW) The word translated as "iniquity" means "lawlessness" or "immorality". It literally means "the condition of being without law.' It also means being in contempt or violation of the law, that idea of lawlessness. It is the negation of the word meaning "lawfulness". Translating it as "iniquity" disconnects it from the idea of the "law." This root word is the source of our word "norm" and "normal" so this word has a sense of  "not conforming with the norms." However, in Jesus's culture, the "law" was not the rules made by kings and governors but the standards of traditional social morality. So this word has a sense of "immorality". Its form could either be the object of "working", so "working immorality for yourselves" or the possessive form, "those working for yourselves by immorality".

untranslated "the one"-- (MW) The untranslated word "the one" 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. 

doers- (CW, WF) The "evildoers" is a verb form that is very complicated, so it is explained in stages here. The word means "to labor", "to trade", "to do business", "to earn by working," and "to acquire". It is in the form of an adjective, so "laboring", "trading", and an "earning a living". This adjective is used as a plural noun, "the ones trading" or "the ones earning a living". That noun is in a form that is used to address people, so "you the ones trading" or "you the ones earning a living". It also in a form where the subject acts on or for themselves so we get "you the ones earning a living for yourselves" or "you the ones working for yourselves".

iniquity. 

NIV Translation Issues: 

12
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "profess" should be "repeat."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "plainly" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "since" or "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "never" is not common word usually translated as "never."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "knew" is not most common word usually translated as "knew."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "you" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "evil" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The "evil" means "lawlessness" and is a noun, not an adjective.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "doers" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "doers" means "workers" and has no relations with the word "do"
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "doers" is not a noun but a participle, "working."

The Spoken Version: 

“And then,” he continued, standing up taller and seemingly growing larger as he raised his arms, “I am going to repeat the same thing to them.”
He paused with the lightning flashing dramatically behind him.
“‘Since I never ever even recognized you,’” he thundered, “‘you are making a movement...’”
As he paused there, many of us couldn’t help but laugh jumping to the conclusion that he meant defecating.  
“Away from me,” he said more lightly, correcting our mistaken assumption.
“Who would claim your name if they were not working for Divine law?” voice of the urchin, Stepheos, called out.
The Teacher explained patiently, “‘The ones working this lawlessness for themselves!’”
The Judeans and Galileans laughed because this was such a good description about what the Distinguished did.

evidence: 

105.00

Front Page Date: 

Jul 18 2020