Matthew 24:51 And shall cut him asunder,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A long section about "the end of the world" or, more precisely, "the culmination of an era." This section on remaining watchful not knowing the future.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And he will cut him in two, and that part of him? With the actors, he will put [him] there. It will be the weeping and the chatter of those teeth.

My Takeaway: 

People sometimes need to be divided from themselves.

KJV : 

Matthew 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.​

NIV : 

Matthew 24:51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In the Greek, this sounds very like a person is split in two upon death and only one portion is lost. This entire end story of the "end of the world" speech is clearly highly comical and gets more so.  This is the punchline verse in the story with a punchline ending.

The most important wordplay here is lost in translating of "Cut asunder" which means "to cut in two," "to bisect," and "to divide in two." An uncommon word for Jesus but chosen perfectly. This idea of being "cut in two" refers both to the two roles that the servant plays, the good and bad.

This is followed by another comic plan on words. Following the "cut in two" the Greek says "that part of his with those actors (the meaning of the Greek hypokrites). This is a play on the "parts" played by actors. This joke here is that being having two faces, being cut in two, makes him like an actor.

The last part here is a common catchphrase that Jesus uses in a humorous way. The translators drop the definite articles that are part of what makes it funny, "this weeping and that chattering of those teeth." This phrase is mentioned in this article about how Jesus, like all entertainers, uses exaggeration to make his point. It is used in same dramatic and humorous way that we say in English "whining and complaining" or "bitching and moaning." The "gnashing of teeth" in this phrase could indicate the chattering of teeth, conveying the sense that this person is tossed out "in the cold," which is one place Jesus uses this phrase, except that Jesus also uses this same phrase elsewhere to describe weeds cast into a fire.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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."

διχοτομήσει [2 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Cut asunder" is from dichotomeo, which "to cut in two," "to bisect," and "to divide in two."

αὐτὸν [720 verses](adj sg masc acc) "Him" 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."

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."

τὸ [692 verses](article sg neut nom/acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

μέρος (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Portion" is from meros, which means "share," "portion," "lot," "destiny," "heritage," "one's turn," the part one takes,""proportion," and "part" (as an opposite of whole).

αὐτοῦ [720 verses](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."

μετὰ [103 verses](prep) "With" is from meta, which means "with," "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 [692 verses](article pl masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὑποκριτῶν (noun pl masc gen) "Hypocrites" is from hypokrites, which means "an interpreter," "an actor," "a stage player," and "a dissembler."

θήσει: [24 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Appoint" is from tithemi which means "to put," "to place," "to propose," "to suggest," "to deposit," "to set up," "to dedicate," "to assign," "to award," "to agree upon," "to institute," "to establish," "to make," "to work," "to prepare oneself," "to bear arms [military]," "to lay down and surrender [military]," "to lay in the grave," "to bury," and "to put words on paper [writing]," and a metaphor for "to put in one's mind."

ἐκεῖ: [33 verses](adv) "There" is from ekei, which means "there," "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world."

ἔσται .[614 verses](3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall be" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

[692 verses](article sg masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

κλαυθμὸς [6 verses] (noun sg masc nom) "Weeping" is klauthmos which means "a weeping."

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."

[692 verses](article sg masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

βρυγμὸς [7 verses](noun sg masc nom) "Gnashing" is from brugmos , which means "biting," "gobbling," and "chattering."

τῶν [692 verses](article pl masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὀδόντων. (noun pl masc gen) "Of teeth" is from odous, which means "tooth," "anything pointed," "prong," "spike," "peak," and "tooth [of a saw]." It is a metaphor for the pain of grief.

KJV Analysis: 

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

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.

cut  - "Cut asunder" is from a word that means "to cut in two," "to bisect," and "to divide in two."  This idea of being "cut in two" refers both to the two roles that the servant plays, good and bad. It is also referred to again with the Greek word, hypocrites, which means actor and refers directly to the idea that actors are playing a role, hence, are two-faced.

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

asunder,  - (CW) This is from the prefix of the verb that means "in two."

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

appoint  - (CW) The word translated as "appoint" has a lot of different uses and means, "to put," "to place," "to propose," and "to suggest." It is usually translated in the NT as "put" or "lay down." It does not have the sense of "appoint."

him -- There is no Greek pronoun here, but Greek does not need pronouns when the object can be assumed from the context. In English, they are added for the subject-verb-object form of our sentences.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

portion  - "Portion" is from a noun that means a "share," "portion," "lot," "destiny" and "the part one takes". Here, this is another important aspect of the verse's wordplay. It refers both to the destiny of the servant, but also this his part as an actor.

with  - "With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

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. 

hypocrites:  - (UW) The Greek for "the hypocrites" is a great example of a word that has taken its English meaning from how it is used in the Bible rather than the original Greek. The primary meaning during Christ's era was "an actor." The great thing about the Greek here is the idea of hypocrites being punished by being "torn in two."

there  - -- The word translated as "there" means "there" or "in that place" but it also means "the intelligible world," that is, the world we understand. It refers to a place much more strongly than our word "there" which can be a simple helper to introduce a verb of being. In Greek, the verb used alone has the sense of "there is" or "there are."

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.

be  - When the verb "to be" appears in the future passive and so it is translated as "shall be," but in Greek, it doesn't require the word "there" to mean something like "there will be."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

weeping  - The "weeping" come from a noun form of the verb "weep," which means "to weep," "to cry," "to lament," and "to wail."

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

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

gnashing  - The word translated as "gnashing" which primarily means "biting" but also "chattering."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

teeth. - The word translated as "teeth" means tooth but it is a metaphor for the pain of grief.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "asunder" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "appoint" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "portion" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrites" means "actors." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "weeping" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "gnashing" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "teeth" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

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

He  -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

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.

cut  - "Cut asunder" is from a word that means "to cut in two," "to bisect," and "to divide in two."  This idea of being "cut in two" refers both to the two roles that the servant plays, good and bad. It is also referred to again with the Greek word, hypocrites, which means actor and refers directly to the idea that actors are playing a role, hence, are two-faced.

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

to pieces ,  - (CW) This is from the prefix of the verb that means "in two."

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

assign - (CW) The word translated as "assign " has a lot of different uses and means, "to put," "to place," "to propose," and "to suggest." It is usually translated in the NT as "put" or "lay down." It does not have the sense of "appoint."

him -- There is no Greek pronoun here, but Greek does not need pronouns when the object can be assumed from the context. In English, they are added fopalr the subject-verb-object form of our sentences.

- (WW) This word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

place - (WW) "Place" is from a noun that means a "share," "portion," "lot," "destiny" and "the part one takes". Here, this is another important aspect of the verse's wordplay. It refers both to the destiny of the servant, but also this his part as an actor.

missing "his"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

with  - "With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

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. 

hypocrites:  - (UW) The Greek for "the hypocrites" is a great example of a word that has taken its English meaning from how it is used in the Bible rather than the original Greek. The primary meaning during Christ's era was "an actor." The great thing about the Greek here is the idea of hypocrites being punished by being "torn in two."

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

there  - -- The word translated as "there" means "there" or "in that place" but it also means "the intelligible world," that is, the world we understand. It refers to a place much more strongly than our word "there" which can be a simple helper to introduce a verb of being. In Greek, the verb used alone has the sense of "there is" or "there are."

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  - When the verb "to be" appears in the future passive and so it is translated as "shall be," but in Greek, it doesn't require the word "there" to mean something like "there will be."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

weeping  - The "weeping" come from a noun form of the verb "weep," which means "to weep," "to cry," "to lament," and "to wail."

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

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

gnashing  - The word translated as "gnashing" which primarily means "biting" but also "chattering."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

teeth. - The word translated as "teeth" means tooth but it is a metaphor for the pain of grief.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to pieces" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "assign" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be "the."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "place" should be "part."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "his"  is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrites" means "actors." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "where" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "weeping" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "gnashing" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "teeth" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 18 2021