John 18:21 Why askest thou me?

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Why me are you asking? Ask the ones hearing something I proclaimed to them. See?. These themselves have known what I say, I myself.

KJV : 

John 18:21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is Jesus's response to by the high priest about his teaching and doctrine. He uses a word that he only used before when being questioned by the Pharisees (Mark 11:29 and Luke 6:9).

The word translated as "why" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why". 

The word translated as "askest thou" is used extremely commonly in the narrative parts of the NT, but Jesus the word rarely. Jesus usually uses another Greek word for this common idea.  Here, this word is used twice.  This word indicates Pilot is repeating something said to him. 

"Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

The word translated as "ask" is used extremely commonly in the narrative parts of the NT, but Jesus the word rarely. Jesus usually uses another Greek word for this common idea. This word indicates Pilot is repeating something said to him. 

The word translated as "them which" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the ones." Here, it precedes an adjective. 

"Heard" is translated from a Greek word that has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding. The form is something completed in the past, "having heard."

There is no "me" in the Greek. 

The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why".  Here, the sense is "something" or "anything."

The Greek word translated as "I have said" is not the ordinary "to say" or "to speak" in Greek. This word means both "idle chatter", "gossip," and "the proclamations of an oracle." Christ uses it to capture the idea of "pass on," because that captures both someone gossiping and an oracle does. The word is somewhat self-effacing. The tense is not the past perfect, as translated, but a form that means at a specific point in time, past, present, or future.

 The word translated as "unto them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The "unto" comes from its form as an indirect object.

The verb translated as "behold," means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." This is a form of the same verb translated as "know" below. The form is a command, "see?".

"They" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer." It is not the simple, "they." It is the subject of the sentence so this word is used for emphasis.

"Know" is oida which is a form of eido, (eido) which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."  The form is the past perfect, "they have seen" or "they have known".

The word translated as "what" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

The pronoun "I" is added to add emphasis that he is referring to his own words. It is unnecessary because the first-person indication is part of the verb ending. Christ sometimes uses it humorously to refer to himself. If follows the verb here, which is unusual. It looks like the answer to another question, "I, myself."

"Said" is from the Greek verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. The form means a specific point of time.

Wordplay: 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

τί (irreg sg neut nom) "Why" is tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

με (noun sg masc acc) "Me" is eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

ἐρωτᾷς; [uncommon]( verb 2nd sg pres ind act )  "Asketh" is eperotao, which means "consult", "inquire of", and "ask".   --

ἐρώτησον [uncommon]( verb 2nd sg pres ind act )  "Asketh" is eperotao, which means "consult", "inquire of", and "ask".  

τοὺς (article pl masc acc) "Them which" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." --

ἀκηκοότας ( part pl perf act masc acc ) "Heard" is akouo, which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand." --

τί (irreg sg neut nom) "What" is tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

ἐλάλησα ( verb 1st sg aor ind act ) "I have said" is laleo, which means "to talk," "to speak" "to prattle", "to chat," and [for oracles] "to proclaim." It also means "chatter" as the opposite of articulate speech. --

αὐτοῖς: (adj pl masc acc) "Unto them"  is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." --

ἴδε ( verb 2nd sg aor imperat act ) "Behold" is eido which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know." --

οὗτοι ( adj pl masc nom ) "They" is houtos, which as an adjective means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why." --

οἴδασιν (verb 3rd pl perf ind act) "Know" is oida which is a form of eido, (eido) which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know." -- The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.

( pron pl neut acc ) "What" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

εἶπον ( verb 1st sg aor ind act ) "I have called" is eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer." --

ἐγώ. ( pron 1st sg masc nom ) "I" is ego, which is the firs-person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and "for myself." --

Front Page Date: 

Apr 11 2019