Matthew 13:57 A prophet is not without honour,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 13:57 A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

One interpreting for God is not in fact without value except possibly within the community of his birth and within his own family.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse has almost the opposite sense in Greek. In the KJV translation, it sounds like Christ is complaining about the lack of respect he gets, but in Greek it sounds like regret that, as a prophet, he cannot be of more value to his community and family.

Familiarity may not always breed contempt, but it always gets taken for granted. People are more likely to believe an expert from afar, someone they don't know well. Christ makes this point at the end of a chapter of parables telling us why he uses mystery rather than saying things directly. Symbols retain their power because they must be decoded either logically, as we do in this blog or at least emotionally. Anything said directly gets discounted and changed over time.

 

KJV Analysis: 

"A prophet" is from the Greek noun that means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will," and "interpreter of the gods."

The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

"Without honor" is a Greek word that means, literally, "not valuable" and means "dishonored", "not honored", "not deemed worthy", "deprived of civic rights", "unavenged", "unpunished," and "without value."

The word translated as except is from two words meaning "if not" but the "not" is not a not of fact but more of opinion or possibility.

The word translated as "in" in both cases also means "within", "with," or "among."

The word translated as "country" means literally, "of one's fathers," and refers to one's father's country and village," but the "common" homeland is a reference to "the nether world."

The Greek word translated as "house," in Christ's time, was not only the physical building but the whole household, its members, its property, business interests, and position in the community, all connected to the "name" of the head of the house.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐκ "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.

ἔστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

προφήτης (noun sg masc nom) "A prophet" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt", "interpreter," and "herald."

ἄτιμος (adj sg masc nom) "Without honor" is from atimos (atimos), which means "dishonored", "unhonored", "not deemed worthy", "deprived of civic rights", "unavenged", "unpunished," and "without value." It is the negative of timos which means having a set value.

εἰ μὴ "Except" is from ei me, which is the conjunction that means "if not", "but," and "except." εἰ is the particle use with the imperative usually to express conditions "if" or indirect questions, "whether." (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt or opinion meaning "not" and "no."

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῇ πατρίδι (noun sg fem dat) "Country" is from patris, which means literally, "of one's fathers", "one's fatherland", "country," simply, "native town or village," and, commonly, "the nether world."

καὶ "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."

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῇ οἰκίᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "House" is from oikia, which means "house", "building," and "household."

αὐτοῦ. (adj sg masc gen) "His " 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."

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "country" also refers to "the nether world." 

The word translated as "house" refers also the one's family. 

Related Verses: