Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Surely not, two sparrows for a dime, he sells/betrays himself and one of them is not really going to fall by itself upon the earth far from that Father of yours.

KJV : 

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The initial denial is a response to to another statement that wasn't recorded in the Gospel. The statement raises the topic of sparrows being sold for a dime. 

This statement is also a good example of Jesus's humorous exaggeration. He doesn't say "sparrows" but "tiny sparrows." It is as if a normal sparrow was too big and important for his example here. A less significant sparrow is required.

The word translated as "without" and "outside" means "without" but Jesus uses another word for that idea elsewhere. This word also means "far from," which could be the meaning here. The more recent translations try to explain this phrase, but do so only by adding words that Jesus didn't say.

NIV : 

Matthew 10:29  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

NLT : 

Matthew 10:29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.

Wordplay: 

 The analogy between sparrows sold cheaply in the temple for sacrifice and people sacrificing themselves cheaply for lust. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

οὐχὶ (prep) "Not" is from ouchi, an adverb which means "no", "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," "notwithstanding", "yet", "still", "never yet", "for not", "indeed", "for surely not", "no,—certainly not", "for I don't suppose," and "for in no manner." The base for this negative is the objective negative. See this article on the Greek negatives.

δύο (numeral) "Two" is from duo, which means the number "two", "a couple," and "a pair."

στρουθία (noun dual masc acc/nom) "Sparrows" is strouthion, which actually means a "tiny sparrows" from strouthos, the word for "sparrow." The word is also a metaphor for a "lecher" or "lewd fellow."

ἀσσαρίου (noun sg neut gen ) "Farthing" is from assarion, which was one-tenth of a drachma, which was the standard silver coin of Greece. This was a medium-sized coin, like our nickel or dime.

πωλεῖται; (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Sold" is from poleo, which means "to sell," "to exchange", "to barter," "to offer to sell," and "to retail." Metaphorically, it means to "give up" and "betray." In the passive, it means "to be sold", "to be offered for sale," and, of persons, "to be bought and sold," and " betrayed," OR (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Sold" is from poleomai, which means "to go up and down" or "to go to and fro." 

καὶ (conj) "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."

ἓν (noun sg neut nom) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

ἐξ (prep) "Of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen) "Them" 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."

οὐ (partic) "Not" is from 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. See this article on the Greek negatives.

πεσεῖται (3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall...fall" is from the verb pipto, which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down," "fall upon", "intersect (geometry)", "meet", "pass through", "fall violently upon", "attack", "fall in battle", "sink{in water)", "fall short i.e. fail", " fall out of", "lose a thing", "escape from", "fall asleep", "to be accessible to perception", "to fall (between her feet, i.e. to be born)", "to let fall[dice)", "turn out," and "fall under (belong to a class)."

ἐπὶ (prep) "On" is from epi which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τὴν  (article sg fem acc) "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."

γῆν (noun sg fem acc) "The ground" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

ἄνευ [unique](prep) "Without" is aneu, which means "without", "far from," "besides", "clear of", and "except."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  Untranslated 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." --

πατρὸς (noun sg masc gen) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

ὑμῶν. (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

KJV Analysis: 

Are -- (WN) This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb. This indicates a plural verb, but the verb is singular. This is strange if the verb refers to the two sparrows. There is a special Greek form of "dual" nouns, but it is never used.

not -- The word translated as "not" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."

two -- The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

sparrows -- "Sparrows" is a word that is the diminutive of the word for "sparrow" so "tiny sparrow." These were sold at the temple as the least expensive animal sacrifices. It is also a metaphor for lechers. This word is in the objective form, so it cannot be the subject of the sentence. 

sold -- "Sold" is a word that means "to sell" and "to exchange." When this word is applied to people (as it is metaphorically here), it means "to betray" or "to give up." However, in this form, it could also be a word that means "to go up and down." The verb is singular and in a form where it is either passive or acts on or for itself. Again, this means that the birds are not the subject of the sentence. Greek verbs do have a "dual" form when the subject is two, but it is not used here. The Luke version of this verse (Luke 12:6) uses a plural verb for five sparrows. 

for  -- This word "for"  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 "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

 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.

farthing? -- "Farthing" is the Greek name of a small coin of silver, assarion, one that was worth one-tenth of the standard coin, tne drachma that was worth 2/3 of denarius, which was a day's wage. So this is the value of about a half-hours work.  It is in the possessive form, which in this situation can be used to describe an objective so "for".

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

one -- The Greek word translated as "one" means the number "one", "single," or as the pronoun "one," referring to an individual.

of -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the possessive form instead of this preposition for the "of" phrases like the one here, that indicates part of a group.

them -- The word translated as "them" (and "their") is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.

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.

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.

fall -- "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form which indicates someone acting on themselves, so "lower themselves down."

on -- The word translated as "on" means "upon," "against", "before", "by" or "on."

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. 

ground -- "The ground" is from the Greek that means "earth." Like our word "earth" it can mean "the whole planet", "the ground," or "arable land."

without -- "Without" is a Greek pronoun which Christ only uses here. It means "without", "far from," and "except." Interestingly, Jesus uses a different pronoun also meaning "without" only two other times. This "without" has the sense of "without permission."

your -- "Your" is the possessive pronoun, but it follows the following noun. It is plural, referring to the group.

untranslated "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. 

Father. -- "Father" is the common word that Jesus uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "are" is translated as plural but it is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

Are -- (WN) This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb. This indicates a plural verb, but the verb is singular. This is strange if the verb refers to the two sparrows. There is a special Greek form of "dual" nouns, but it is never used.

not -- The word translated as "not" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."

two -- The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

sparrows -- "Sparrows" is a word that is the diminutive of the word for "sparrow" so "tiny sparrow." These were sold at the temple as the least expensive animal sacrifices. It is also a metaphor for lechers. This word is in the objective form, so it cannot be the subject of the sentence. 

sold -- "Sold" is a word that means "to sell" and "to exchange." When this word is applied to people (as it is metaphorically here), it means "to betray" or "to give up." However, in this form, it could also be a word that means "to go up and down." The verb is singular and in a form where it is either passive or acts on or for itself. Again, this means that the birds are not the subject of the sentence. Greek verbs do have a "dual" form when the subject is two, but it is not used here. The Luke version of this verse (Luke 12:6) uses a plural verb for five sparrows. 

for  -- This word "for"  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 "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

 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.

penny? -- "Penny" is the Greek name of a small coin of silver, assarion, one that was worth one-tenth of the standard coin, tne drachma that was worth 2/3 of denarius, which was a day's wage. So this is the value of about a half-hours work.  It is in the possessive form, which in this situation can be used to describe an objective so "for".

Yet -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "yet" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

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.

one -- The Greek word translated as "one" means the number "one", "single," or as the pronoun "one," referring to an individual.

of -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the possessive form instead of this preposition for the "of" phrases like the one here, which indicates part of a group.

them -- The word translated as "them" (and "their") is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.

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.

fall -- "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form which indicates someone acting on themselves, so "lower themselves down."

to -- (WW) The word translated as "on" means "upon," "against", "before", "by" or "on."

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. 

ground -- "The ground" is from the Greek that means "earth." Like our word "earth" it can mean "the whole planet", "the ground," or "arable land."

outside -- (WW) "Outside" is a Greek pronoun which Christ only uses here. It means "without", "far from," and "except." Interestingly, Jesus uses a different pronoun also meaning "without" only two other times. This "without" has the sense of "without permission."

your -- "Your" is the possessive pronoun, but it follows the following noun. It is plural, referring to the group.

untranslated "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. 

Father's. -- (WF)  "Father" is the common word that Jesus uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor. This word is not possessive.

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

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "are" is translated as plural but it is singular.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "yet" means "and."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "to" means "upon."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "outside" means "without."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "Father's" is not a possessive form.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "care" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.

NLT Analysis: 

What is the price -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "what is the price" in the Greek source.

untranslated "not"-- (MW) The untranslated word "not" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."

untranslated "sold"-- (MW) The untranslated word Sold" is a word that means "to sell" and "to exchange." When this word is applied to people (as it is metaphorically here), it means "to betray" or "to give up." However, in this form, it could also be a word that means "to go up and down." The verb is singular and in a form where it is either passive or acts on or for itself. Again, this means that the birds are not the subject of the sentence. Greek verbs do have a "dual" form when the subject is two, but it is not used here. The Luke version of this verse (Luke 12:6) uses a plural verb for five sparrows. 

of -- (WF) The following words are not the right form to justify and "of" here.

two -- The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

sparrows -- "Sparrows" is a word that is the diminutive of the word for "sparrow" so "tiny sparrow." These were sold at the temple as the least expensive animal sacrifices. It is also a metaphor for lechers. This word is in the objective form, so it cannot be the subject of the sentence. 

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

copper coin -- "Copper coin" is the Greek name of a small coin of silver, assarion, one that was worth one-tenth of the standard coin, tne drachma that was worth 2/3 of denarius, which was a day's wage. So this is the value of about a half-hours work.  It is in the possessive form, which in this situation can be used to describe an objective so "for".

But -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "but" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

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.

a single -- The Greek word translated as "single" means the number "one", "single," or as the pronoun "one," referring to an individual.

sparrow -- (WW) The word translated as  sparrow" is "them" or "of them," the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.

can -- (WW) This helping verb  is not the verb that means "can" in Greek. Instead, the helping verb "will" should be here to indicate that the following verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

fall -- "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. Here, it is in the form which indicates someone acting on themselves, so "lower themselves down."

to -- (WW) The word translated as "on" means "upon," "against", "before", "by" or "on."

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. 

ground -- "The ground" is from the Greek that means "earth." Like our word "earth" it can mean "the whole planet", "the ground," or "arable land."

without -- "Without" is a Greek pronoun which Christ only uses here. It means "without", "far from," and "except." Interestingly, Jesus uses a different pronoun also meaning "without" only two other times. This "without" has the sense of "without permission."

your -- "Your" is the possessive pronoun, but it follows the following noun. It is plural, referring to the group.

untranslated "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. 

Father's. -- (WF)  "Father" is the common word that Jesus uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor. This word is not possessive.

knowing it. -- (IP) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "knowing it" in the Greek source.

NLT Translation Issues: 

12
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "what is the price" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "not" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "sold" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "of" is not justified by a possessive form.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "but" means "and."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "sparrow" means "of them."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "can" should be"of will."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "to" means "upon."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "sparrow" means "of them."
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "knowing it" doesn't exist in the source.

The Spoken Version: 

“Body? Self? Just tell me that my baby birds aren’t just going to disappear somewhere out on the road over the next few weeks,” said Salome. Her children, James and John, looked down at her question.
“Certainly not,” the teacher responded in a good natured way, gesturing toward the two brothers. “Two sparrows? ”
“Who are you calling sparrows?” Interjected John.
The crowd laughed because the term was slang for a certain type of questionable person.
“For a nickel,” the teacher continued, “they are being traded. And one of them is not going to fall to earth away from that Father of you all.”

evidence: 

134.00

Front Page Date: 

Mar 21 2020