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Matthew 7:10 Or if he ask a fish,

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and hidden, trust and doubt, requesting and getting

Spoken to:
Greek Verse:

Matthew 7:10 καὶ ἰχθὺν αἰτήσειμὴ ὄφιν ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ;

KJV Verse:

Matthew 7:10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

NIV Verse:

Matthew 7:10  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

Literal Alternative:

Certainly! Also a fish, he might beg, no snake will he wnat to bestow upon him.

Hidden Meaning:

This verse, as in the previous one, Mat 7:9, contains a hidden negative that is untranslated in the KJV and other translations. It creates a play on words. Interestingly, in English, changing from a statement to a question, changes the meaning of the sentences.


 Contrary meanings of the phase in English depending on whether it is a statement or a question. 

The Spoken Version:

“Don’t want to give a stone!” the father said. “I might offer him a fish, though. I am a fisherman.”
He said it so proudly that we all laughed.
The Master  smiled, shrugged, and dropped the stone, like a rock.
His manner got another laugh.
“Certainly!” the Teacher concurred enthusiastically with a big smile. Then more seriously he asked “And he might ask for a fish?”
He indicated the boy, Fentos.
“Absolutely!” agreed the big fisherman. “We never get tired of fish!”
Fentos looked at the crowd sadly and shook his head tightly in disagreement.
We laughed and applauded the boy.
Then something caught the Master’s eye. He suddenly darted into the brush at one side of the speaking area and picked something else up from the ground. He returned to the fisherman and his son with it hidden behind his back.  Then he addressed us in the crowd again.
“No snake?” he asked loudly, taking out the hidden snake and lifting it up to show us. “Will he want to bestow upon him?”
The Master again formally presented the snake to the boy while he asked us seriously,

My Takeaway:

We want to give our loved ones what is healthy not what is poisonous.

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About this Site

I started this project over a decade ago. The initial goal was to satisfy my own curiosity about how the original Greek of Jesus's words was translated into English comparing it to my work in translating ancient Chinese. 

This site does not promote any religious point of view about Christianity. I purposely use nonreligious sources for Greek translation.  My goal is simply to identify how Jesus used words. His use of Greek words somewhat unique since his words were spoken, not written.

The range of quality of the articles on this site reflects that it is a personal site, not a commercial one. No one proofreads my work. Some articles are over a decade old when I knew much less ancient Greek. Matthew articles are best since I have updated them all at least once. The ones in Mark are the oldest and poorest. Luke is not yet complete.