Matthew 26:10 Why trouble you the woman? for she has wrought a good

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Events leading to the Last Supper and crucifixion. This is in response to the woman who poured perfume on Christ's feet and washed them with her hair. The apostle criticized her because of the money the perfume cost and what that money could have bought for the poor.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Why are you handing out a beating to this woman because a good deed she worked has done by herself for me.

My Takeaway: 

No one should be criticized for their good deeds.

KJV : 

Matthew 26:10 Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.

NIV : 

Matthew 26:10 “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus makes it clear that he rejects the whole idea of criticizing others for what they "could have done" rather than what they do. He describes such criticism hear as "handing out a beating," suggesting not that the beating is physical but that it assumes an authority over others that none of us have. Other people are not our slaves who we can abuse at will, especially not in the sense of our knowing better than they what they should do.

Christ's entire measure for our actions is creating beauty and wonder for others. Again, the word most commonly translated as "good" in the new testament actually means "beauty." It doesn't matter to Christ that the others didn't see the beauty in this woman's actions. They were not aimed at them. He saw more in them than others did. Again, it is easy to criticize others for the beauty they create for someone else.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τί [252 verses]( irreg sg neut nom) "Why" is from 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."

κόπους [5 verses](noun pl masc acc) "Trouble ye" is from kopos, which means "striking", "beating", "toil and trouble", "work", "suffering", "pain of disease," and "fatigue."

παρέχετε [5 verses] (verb 2nd pl imperf ind act) "Trouble ye" (with kopos above) is from parecho, which means "to hand over", "to furnish", "to supply", "to yield", "to produce", "to cause", "to present", "to offer", "to allow", "to grant", "to render," and "to promise."

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

γυναικί; [28 verses] (noun sg fem dat) "Woman" is from gyne, which means "woman (as opposed to man)", "wife", "spouse", "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)."

ἔργον [31 verses] (noun sg neut nom/acc) "The works" is from ergon, which means "works", "tasks", "deeds", "actions", "thing," and "matter." --

γὰρ [205 verses](partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question, it means "why" and "what."

καλὸν [48 verses](adj sg neut acc/nom) "Good" is kalos, which means "beautiful", "good", "of fine quality", "noble," and "honorable." It is most often translated as "good" juxtaposed with "evil" in the New Testament, but the two ideas are closer to "wonderful" and "worthless", "noble" and "base." -

ἠργάσατο [8 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind mp) "Wrought" is from ergazomai, which means to "work at", "make", "do", "perform", "work [a material]", "earn by working," work at a trade or business", " traffic," and "trade."

εἰς [325 verses](prep) "Upon" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

ἐμὲ [31 verses](noun sg masc acc) (pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

KJV Analysis: 

Why  - The Greek word translated as "why" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those." and in questions can mean "who", "what", and "why."

trouble  - (CW) The verb "trouble" is from two Greek words, a verb and a noun, both of them uncommon for Jesus. The verb means "to hand over", "to supply", and "to cause" and a lot of specific terms. The noun means "beating," "work", and "suffering" plus a lot of specialized meanings. The meaning comes out as to "hand out a beating" or "supply suffering." The feeling is humorous.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

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. 

woman? -- The word translated as "woman" is  the Greek word that means "woman (as opposed to man)," "wife," "spouse," "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)." It is closer to our "female." 

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause." 

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

hath -- (WT) This helping verb "hath" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here, which is the simple past, something started but not completed.

wrought -- (CW) "Wrought" is from another word that Christ uses humorously. It means "work", "do," or "make," but it is not the common word Jesus uses frequently usually translated as "to do", but a more sophisticated word he uses less commonly. This is the verb form of the word translated as "work" below.  This is a verb form of the word translated as "work" in the verse. The form is where the subject acts on himself or for himself, so "she works for herself." It cannot be passive because the "good works" is the object.

missing "by/for herself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "herself," "for herself" or "by herself."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

good  - The word translated as "good" referring to the "fruit" means "beautiful", "noble," or "of good quality." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil." Christ uses it as the opposite of a word that means "worthless" so "valuable" works well. It is in a form that could be either a subject or an object.

work  - The Greek word translated as "work" means "deeds", and "actions," and "things" in the sense of "everything." It is from the same root as the "wrought" above. It is usually translated as "works" or "deed" in the NT.

upon  - (WW) The word translated as "upon" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" and "up to" limits in time and measure. Here the sense is "in regards to" or "for." It is not the word usually translation as "upon."

me. -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "trouble" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "hath" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is the simple past.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "upon" should be "for."

NIV Analysis: 

Why  - The Greek word translated as "why" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those." and in questions can mean "who", "what", and "why."

are  --  (WT) This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb. The verb is the simple past.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

bothering - (CW) The verb "bothering" is from two Greek words, a verb and a noun, both of them uncommon for Jesus. The verb means "to hand over", "to supply", and "to cause" and a lot of specific terms. The noun means "beating," "work", and "suffering" plus a lot of specialized meanings. The meaning comes out as to "hand out a beating" or "supply suffering." The feeling is humorous.

this -- The word translated as "this" 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. 

woman? -- The word translated as "woman" is  the Greek word that means "woman (as opposed to man)," "wife," "spouse," "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)." It is closer to our "female." 

missing "because"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "because" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause."

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

has -- (WT) This helping verb "has " indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here, which is the simple past, something started but not completed.

done -- (CW) "Done" is from another word that Christ uses humorously. It means "work", "do," or "make," but it is not the common word Jesus uses frequently usually translated as "to do", but a more sophisticated word he uses less commonly. This is the verb form of the word translated as "work" below.  This is a verb form of the word translated as "work" in the verse. The form is where the subject acts on himself or for himself, so "she works for herself." It cannot be passive because the "good works" is the object.

missing "by/for herself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "herself," "for herself" or "by herself."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

beautiful - The word translated as "good" referring to the "fruit" means "beautiful", "noble," or "of good quality." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil." Christ uses it as the opposite of a word that means "worthless" so "valuable" works well. It is in a form that could be either a subject or an object.

thing -  (CW) The Greek word translated as "things" means "deeds", "actions," "works
 and "things done." It is from the same root as the "done" above. It is usually translated as "works" or "deed" in the NT.

to - (CW) The word translated as "unto" means "to" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" and "up to" limits in time and measure. Here the sense is "in regards to" or "for."

me. -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "are" indicates the present tense, but the tense is the simple past.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "bothering" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "because" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "has" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is the simple past.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "to" should be "for."

Front Page Date: 

Dec 4 2021