Matthew 18:10 Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones;

KJV Verse: 

Mat 18:10 Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Watch out! You don't want to look down on one of the small. Because I teach you that their messengars in the heavens see through all the appearance of my Father, someone in heavens.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The first line is clearly meant to be humous, but after that, the verse's meaning is more obscure. This verse implies several things, but what is says is less clear. First, in the KJV, "their angels" seems to refer to the guardian angels of the children or perhaps their spirits before they are born, but hrist doesn't use the word "angels" to mean either of those things, at least until later. The words translated as "do always," doesn't means that at all. And even the final "who is in heaven" doesn't normally mean that.

"Take heed" is from a verb that means "to see with the eyes", "to look", "to observe," and "see." It is a metaphor of mental sight, "discern," and "perceive." Used here like we use the phrase "watch out."

The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used. More about the Greek negative in this article.

"Despise" is from a verb that means "look down upon." Its prefix is the Greek prefix for "downward" and its base is the verb for knowing or understanding.

"Little ones" is from an adjective, used as a noun, which means "small", "little," and "young." Christ uses this term to refer to children but also to his followers.

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

The "their" here is the possessive plural pronoun, which seems like it can only refer to "the small ones" of the previous section.

"Angels" is from a noun meaning "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use from its use in the NT. It is the noun form of the verb meaning "bearing messages", "announce," and "report." Christ may be referring to those announcing the birth of a child or to the prayers of a child reaching heaven.

The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It is plural here, not singular, "heavens." It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. Though heaven is used in Christianity as the place of the afterlife, Christ doesn't use it quite that way instead using to descrive the realm of God, most generally, the universe of everything.

"Do always" is from two Greek words that mean "through all." The through word means "through" in the sense of "passing through", "duration through a time," and "through the means of." It also means "in the midst of." The "all" word has a wide variety of meanings, from "all" and "every," but it has several meanings including "whole" and "everything." Here, it seems to mean "through everything (seeing)" or "throughout everything (lasting)."

"Behold" is from a workd that means "to look" and "to see." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding.

"Face" is from the noun that means "face", "front," and "facade." It generally means the appearance of things.

The word translated as "who" is not the normal word Christ uses to say "who." Instead it is a Greek word that is used as the indefinite pronoun, in the singular, "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those." It is also used as the interrogative pronouns, "who", "what," etc. but only as part of a question.

The final "heaven" here is again in the plural.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὁρᾶτε (verb 2nd pl pres imperat act) "Take heed" is from horao, which means "to see with the eyes", "to look", "to observe," "see", "aim", "have sight", "behold", "keep in sight," and as a metaphor of mental sight, "discern," and "perceive."

μὴ "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

καταφρονήσητε (verb 2nd pl aor subj act) "Despise" is from kataphroneô, which means "look down upon", "think slightly of", "to be disdainful", "deal contemptuously", "think contemptuously that," and "to despise."

ἑνὸς (noun sg masc gen) "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.

τῶν μικρῶν ( adj pl masc/fem/neut gen) "Little ones" is from mikros, which means "small", "little", "unimportant", "petty", "trivial", "slight," and "young."It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children.

τούτων, (adj pl masc gen) "These" is from toutou, which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar."

λέγω "I tell" is from lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep." -- The word translated as "I tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

γὰρ "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."

ὑμῖν "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὅτι "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore." -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

οἱ ἄγγελοι (noun pl masc nom) "Angels" is from aggelos, which means "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use.

αὐτῶν (adj pl Masc/fem/neut gen) "Their" 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."

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

οὐρανοῖς (noun pl masc dat) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

διὰ "Do" is from dia which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between." -- The word translated as "through" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)."

παντὸς "Always" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether." -- The word translated as "all things" is one word meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. As an adverb, it means "in every way", "on every side," and "altogether."

βλέπουσι (verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Behold" is from of blepo, which means "to look", "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to rely on", "to look longingly", "to propose", "to beware", "to behold," and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding.

τὸ πρόσωπον (noun sg neut acc) "Face" is from prosopon, which means "face", "countenance." "in front", "facing", "front", "façade", "one's look", "dramatic part", "character", "in person", "in bodily presence", "legal personality", "person," and "feature [of the city, of a person]."

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

μου (noun sg masc gen) "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

τοῦ (pron sg gen) "Who" 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."

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

οὐρανοῖς. (noun pl masc dat) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate." -- The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

Wordplay: 

The first phrase is a joke in the form of a non sequitur: don't look down on the small. 

Related Verses: