Mark 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Wake up then, No, you haven't seen, consequently when the master of the house comes, either lately or midnightish, or about cokc crow or early.

KJV : 

Mark 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This entire verse may be an example of Jesus using humor through exaggeration. These "or" phrases are translated as as series of phrases beginning with prepositions but those prepositions do not exist in the Greek. In Greek they are adverbs, an adjective and a noun: "either lately or midnightish, or about cock crow or early." Notice the contrast between "lately" and "early" at the beginning and end. These words are uncommon, not only for Jesus, but in ancient Greek, This is frequently an indication of Jesus's humor.

This verse can be read two ways: as a statement to us and as a statement to the servants of the house continuing from the previous verse.

NIV : 

Mark 13:35  Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.

NLT : 

Mark 13:35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak.

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus said his mission was announcing that the realm of the sky was near. The age in which he lived could be considered the realm or kingdom of Roman rule, but this ruling house was temporary. The realm of the sky, the house of God was the real house, the enduring age.

Greek Vocabulary: 

γρηγορεῖτε   (verb 2nd pl pres imperat act or verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Watch" is from gregoreo, which means "to become fully awake," and "to watch."

οὖν (adv) "Therefore" is oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

οἴδατε ( verb 2nd pl perf ind act ) "Ye know" is oida which is a form of eido which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

γὰρ (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." -

πότε (adv) "Then" is tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

ὁ (article sg masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

Κύριος (noun sg masc nom) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

τῆς  (article sg fem gen ) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

οἰκίας (noun sg fem gen) "House" is oikia, which means "house", "building," and "household."

ἔρχεται ( verb 3rd sg pres ind mp ) "Cometh" is erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

  (conj/adv)  Untranslated is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." OR (exclam) "Or" is e which is an exclamation meaning "hi!" OR (adv) "Or" is e, which is an adverb meaning "in truth" and "of a surety". --

ὀψὲ [unique](adv) "At even" is from opse which means "after a long time", "at length", "late", "late in the day," and "after these things."

ἢ  (conj/adv)  "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." OR (exclam) "Or" is e which is an exclamation meaning "hi!" OR (adv) "Or" is e, which is an adverb meaning "in truth" and "of a surety".

μεσονύκτιον [2 verses](adj sg masc acc ) "At midnight" is from mesonyktion, which means "at midnight" or "of midnight."

ἢ  (conj/adv)  "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." OR (exclam) "Or" is e which is an exclamation meaning "hi!" OR (adv) "Or" is e, which is an adverb meaning "in truth" and "of a surety".

ἀλεκτοροφωνίας [unique]( noun sg fem gen) "At the cockcrowing" is from alektorophonia, which means "cock crow" or "the third watch of night."

ἢ  (conj/adv)  "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." OR (exclam) "Or" is e which is an exclamation meaning "hi!" OR (adv) "Or" is e, which is an adverb meaning "in truth" and "of a surety".

πρωί, [3 verses](adv) "In the morning" is from proi, an adverb which means "early in the day", "early", "at morn," generally, "betimes", "in good time", "too soon," and "too early."

KJV Analysis: 

Watch -- "Watch" is a verb that means "to become fully awake," and "to watch." It was the word that was translated as "watch" in  the previous verse, making this verse seem more like a continuation of  the story.

ye  -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb. It would be out of place with a command, but the verb could be a command or a statement.

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

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause".  Strangely, this word is the third in the clause, not the second.

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

know -- The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

when -- The Greek word for "when" means "at this time" or "then".  "When" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

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

master -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored. It was the term people used to address Christ, even though he had no formal authority. Today, we would say "boss" or "chief". "Lord" is from kurios (kyrios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

of  -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive nouns. 

the -- The word translated as "the" 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. 

house -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

cometh, -- The word translated as "cometh" primarily means "to start out" but Jesus usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. 

untranslated -- (MW) The missing word means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

at even, -- "At even" is an adverb means "after a long time", "at length", "late", "late in the day," and "after these things." "Even" is an older way of saying "evening."

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

at  -- There is no preposition in the Greek, but this is carried over from the sense of the previous adverb.

midnight, -- Midnight" is an adjective that means "at midnight" or "of midnight." This sense is like we might say "midnightish." It is an uncommon word in Greek.

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

at -- This word "at"  comes from the genitive case of the following noun that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive nouns. 

the -- (WW) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "the" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. 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.

cockcrowing, "Cockcrowing" is a very, very rare Greek word that means "cock crow" or "the third watch of night."

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

in --There is no preposition in the Greek but the final word is an adverb so it acts something like a preposition phase in English.

the --There is no article in the Greek but the final word is an adverb so it acts something like a preposition phase in English.

morning - "Morning" is an adverb that means "early in the day", "early", "at morn," generally, "betimes", "in good time", "too soon," and "too early."

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • MS -- Missing Word -- The initial "either" is left off of the series of either/ors.
  • WW -- Wrong Word -- There is no Greek  article "the" here so the correct article would be "a."

NIV Analysis: 

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

keep watch -- "Keep watch" is a verb that means "to become fully awake," and "to watch." It was the word that was translated as "watch" in  the previous verse, making this verse seem more like a continuation of  the story.

because--The word translated as "because" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause".  Strangely, this word is the third in the clause, not the second.

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

do -- This is a helping verb used to create negative sentences in English.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

know -- The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.

when -- The Greek word for "when" means "at this time" or "then".  "When" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

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

owner-- The word translated as "owner" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored. It was the term people used to address Christ, even though he had no formal authority. Today, we would say "boss" or "chief". "Lord" is from kurios (kyrios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

of  -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive nouns. 

the -- The word translated as "the" 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. 

house -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

will -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the future tense of the following verb, but that verb is the present tense.

come, -- The word translated as "cometh" primarily means "to start out" but Jesus usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. 

back  -- (IW) The word "back" doesn't exist in the source.

whether -- The word means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

in the evening,, -- "In the evening" is an adverb means "after a long time", "at length", "late", "late in the day," and "after these things." "Even" is an older way of saying "evening."

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

at  -- There is no preposition in the Greek, but this is carried over from the sense of the previous adverb.

midnight, -- Midnight" is an adjective that means "at midnight" or "of midnight." This sense is like we might say "midnightish." It is an uncommon word in Greek.

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

when -- This word "at"  comes from the genitive case of the following noun that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive nouns.

the -- (WW) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "the" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. 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.

rooster crows, "Rooster crows" is a very, very rare Greek word that means "cock crow" or "the third watch of night."

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

at --There is no preposition in the Greek but the final word is an adverb so it acts something like a preposition phase in English.

dawn -- "Dawn" is an adverb that means "early in the day", "early", "at morn," generally, "betimes", "in good time", "too soon," and "too early."

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates the future tense, but the following verb is the present tense.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "back" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW -- Wrong Word -- There is no Greek  article "the" here so the correct article would be "a."

NLT Analysis: 

You, -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb. It would be out of place with a command, but the verb could be a command or a statement.

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

must -- This could be justified by the command form of the verb.

keep watch -- "Keep watch" is a verb that means "to become fully awake," and "to watch." It was the word that was translated as "watch" in  the previous verse, making this verse seem more like a continuation of  the story.

For --The word translated as "because" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause".  Strangely, this word is the third in the clause, not the second.

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

do -- This is a helping verb used to create negative sentences in English.

n't -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

know -- The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.

when -- The Greek word for "when" means "at this time" or "then".  "When" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

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

master-- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored. It was the term people used to address Christ, even though he had no formal authority. Today, we would say "boss" or "chief". "Lord" is from kurios (kyrios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

of  -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive nouns. 

the -- The word translated as "the" 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. 

household -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

will -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the future tense of the following verb, but that verb is the present tense.

return, -- (WW) The word translated as "cometh" primarily means "to start out" but Jesus usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas.

untranslated "or"-- (MW) The untranslated word means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

in the evening,, -- "In the evening" is an adverb means "after a long time", "at length", "late", "late in the day," and "after these things." "Even" is an older way of saying "evening."

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

at  -- There is no preposition in the Greek, but this is carried over from the sense of the previous adverb.

midnight, -- Midnight" is an adjective that means "at midnight" or "of midnight." This sense is like we might say "midnightish." It is an uncommon word in Greek.

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

before -- (WW) This word "before"  comes from the genitive case of the following noun that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive nouns.

dawn, -- "Dawn" is a very, very rare Greek word that means "cock crow" or "the third watch of night."

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

at --There is no preposition in the Greek but the final word is an adverb so it acts something like a preposition phase in English.

daybreak -- "Daybreak" is an adverb that means "early in the day", "early", "at morn," generally, "betimes", "in good time", "too soon," and "too early."

NLT Translation Issues: 

5
  • WW -- Wrong Word -- There is no Greek  "too" here but the word "therefore."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates the future tense, but the following verb is the present tense.
  • WW -- Wrong Word -- There is no Greek  "return" here but the word "come" or "show up."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "or" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW -- Wrong Word -- There is no Greek  "before" sense to the genitive case of the following word.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 9 2020