Mark 12:17 Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's...

KJV Verse: 

Mark 12:17 Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Give back to anything of Caesar to Caesar's and anything of God to God's.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The original Greek just uses the regular and possessive forms of the noun one after the other, as we show in in the alternative above. Repetition in a slightly different form, along with rhyming, alliteration, reversals, contradictions, and similar elements represents the typical wordplay we see in Jesus's Greek. One key different between the Greek and the KJV is that the word translated as "the things" actually can mean "everything" in the plural. So one sense is "everything of Caesar's" and "everything of the Divine."

This version of the verse rearranges the words a bit from the version in Luke and Matthew, making the "things of Caesar" much more important, placing them first in the verse.

The wordplay above works especially well because the Greek translated as "render" means literally "to give back."  It captures the idea of returning to the original owner. Hence, anything that originates with Caesar or God, should be returned.

The brings in the larger idea of debt and free will in Jesus's words, which are easily misunderstood. We explain those concepts in some detail in this article.

KJV Analysis: 

Render The word translated as "render" means "to give back." In a financial sense, to "pay back." This word is translated "deliver" and "reward" elsewhere in the NT.

therefore -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative.

unto  -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

Caesar -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor."

the things -- The word translated as "the things" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

which are -- There is no Greek word(s) that are translated as "which are" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity.

Caesar's; -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor." The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

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

unto -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

untranslated -- The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

the things -- The word translated as "the things" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

which are -- There is no Greek word(s) that are translated as "which are" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity.

untranslated -- The untranslated word is the Greek definite article.The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

God's. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods. The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τὰ (irreg pl neut acc) "The things which are" 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." -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those."

Καίσαρος (noun sg masc gen) "Caesar" is Kaisar, which means "Caesar" primarily Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the emperor."

πόδοτε (verb 2nd pl aor imperat act) "Render" is from apodidomi which means "to give back", "to restore," and "to deliver." It has the economic sense of "to sell" or "to give something for one's own profit." It begins with apo the preposition of separation and origin, the idea of "from" in English, didômi which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over," and "to describe."

καὶ (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."

τὰ (irreg pl neut acc) "The things which are" 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."

τοῦ  (article sg masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

θεοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "God" is from theos, which means "God," the Deity."

θεῷ. (noun sg masc dat) "God" is from theos, which means "God," the Deity. \

καὶ (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."

Related Verses: 

Nov 23 2019