Matthew 24:40 Then shall two be in the field;

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A long section about "the end of the world" or, more precisely, "the culmination of an era." The appearance of stability before a crisis is an illusion.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Then there will be two in the field, one is gotten and one is left alone.

Then there are going to be two in the field one is invited and one left alone.

My Takeaway: 

None of us know if we are coming or going.

KJV : 

Matthew 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

NIV : 

Matthew 24:40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Only the first verb, "they will be" is in the future tense. It almost doesn't seem to go with this verse or the next where all the other verbs are in the present tense.

The wordplay in this verse and the next (Matthew 24:41) revolves around which one is to be desired: being "taken" or "left." The words themselves both have positive and negative connotations. In Mat 24: 31, the "chosen" are gathered, and we assume that is a good thing, but in explaining the parable of the weeds, Matthew 13:49, it is clearly the evil who are gathered first.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

τότε [53 verses](adv) "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

ἔσονται [614 verses](verb 3rd pl fut ind mid) "Shall" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible." -

δύο. [36 verses](numeral) "Two" is from duo, which means the number "two," "a couple," and "a pair."

ἐν [413 verses](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."

τῷ [821 verses](article sg masc dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἀγρῷ; [22 verses](noun sg masc dat) "Field" is from agros, which means "field," "lands," or "country."

εἷς [85 verses](noun sg masc nom) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

παραλαμβάνεται [8 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Taken" is from paralambano, which means "to receive from," "to take to oneself," "to admit," "to employ," "to undertake," "to take a pledge," "to take or to receive as a substitute," "to take up," "to catch up," "to invite," "to take to oneself" (as in a wife), "to get control of," and "to take a prisoner." In the passive, it means "to be received," "to be admitted," "to be accepted," "to be found," "to be used," "to be derived," "to be taken prisoner."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv)"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."

εἷς [85 verses](noun sg masc nom) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

φίεται: [73 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "I leave" is aphiemi, which means "to let fall," "to send away," "give up," "hand over," "to let loose," "to get rid of," "to leave alone," "to pass by," "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself."

KJV Analysis: 

Then  - "Then" is translated from a Greek word that means "at that time."

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

two  - The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

be  - The verb "be" here is the future form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. When it begins a sentence like this, the sense is, "there are going to be."

in  - -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

field;  - "Field" is from a noun that means "field," or "countryside."

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

one  - The word translated as "one" here are in the female form, which looks very different than the male form of the word seen in the previous verse, but they are the same word.

shall -- (WT) There is nothing that can be translated as "shall" in the Greek source. The following verb is not the future tense.

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

taken,  - (CW) The Greek translated as "taken" is very uncommon in the Gospels, but very common in Greek. One of the reasons it is so common is that it has a wide variety of different uses. It is from a verb that means to "to receive from," "to take upon oneself," and "to undertake." The root word is very common in the Gospels and its meaning is both to "take" and to "receive," as we use the word "get" in English. The literal meaning is something to "to get with" or "to get from." It also has a number of special meanings such as "to invite" and "to take a prisoner." For transitive meanings, such as "to take prisoner," this form acts as the passive, "to be taken prisoner."

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

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

other  - (WW)   - The word translated as "other" here is the same as the word translated as "one" above.

left. -  The word translated as "left" primarily means "to let go" "to pass by," or "to send away." This word is common both in Greek and in the Gospels. This word translated in a wide variety of ways, however, in the Gospels, "leave," "forgive," "suffer," (in the sense of "put up with") and "let" (in the sense of "to leave alone") in the New Testament. This word figures largely in modern Christianity because it is translated as "forgive" in phrases such as "forgive sins."

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "one" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "shall" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "taken" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "other" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "other" should be something more like "one."

NIV Analysis: 

missing "then"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "then" is from a Greek word that means "at that time."

Two   - The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

men - This is from the masculine form of the participle.

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.

be  - The verb "be" here is the future form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. When it begins a sentence like this, the sense is, "there are going to be."

in  - -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

field;  - "Field" is from a noun that means "field," or "countryside."

one  - The word translated as "one" here are in the female form, which looks very different than the male form of the word seen in the previous verse, but they are the same word.

will -- (WT) There is nothing that can be translated as "will " in the Greek source. The following verb is not the future tense.

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

taken,  - (CW) The Greek translated as "taken" is very uncommon in the Gospels, but very common in Greek. One of the reasons it is so common is that it has a wide variety of different uses. It is from a verb that means to "to receive from," "to take upon oneself," and "to undertake." The root word is very common in the Gospels and its meaning is both to "take" and to "receive," as we use the word "get" in English. The literal meaning is something to "to get with" or "to get from." It also has a number of special meanings such as "to invite" and "to take a prisoner." For transitive meanings, such as "to take prisoner," this form acts as the passive, "to be taken prisoner."

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

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

other  - (WW)   - The word translated as "other" here is the same as the word translated as "one" above.

left. -  The word translated as "left" primarily means "to let go" "to pass by," or "to send away." This word is common both in Greek and in the Gospels. This word translated in a wide variety of ways, however, in the Gospels, "leave," "forgive," "suffer," (in the sense of "put up with") and "let" (in the sense of "to leave alone") in the New Testament. This word figures largely in modern Christianity because it is translated as "forgive" in phrases such as "forgive sins."

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "then" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "taken" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "other" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "other" should be something more like "one."

Front Page Date: 

Oct 7 2021