Matthew 18:26 The servant therefore fell down

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Falling down then, the bondsman prostrated to him recounting,"Persevere by me and I will give back all."

KJV : 

Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

I notice that most Bible translations make this verse more colorful and avoid the confusing words, such as "worshipping" that are confusing in the KJV. This is all in keeping with the spirit of the verse which is rather dramatic.

The word translated as "servant" is the word for slave, but it also means a person held in bond for a debt, which is clearly its meaning here.

"Fell down" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." Here the form is of an adjective, "falling down." It begins the verse, appears before the word for "servant."

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

"Worshiped" is from a verb that means "make obeisance", "fall down and worship," and specifically means to prostrate yourself before authority, as we would use the Chinese term, "kowtow."

The word translated as "saying" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," and it is in the form of an adjective, "saying," as translated here. However, it also has the sense of repeating something, which works well in this story.

"Have patience" is from a Greek verb that "to be long-suffering", "to persevere," and "to bear patiently."

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

"I will pay" is from is from the word that means literally, "give back" or "give up." It is in the future tense.

The word translated as "all", it means "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas.


There is a subtle little joke here. After using two words indicating going to the ground (fell down, prostrate), a homonym for "saying" means "laying down" and even "falling asleep."  These plays on words are less apparent in the future verse Mat 18:29, where it is one servant begging from another. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πεσὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "Fell down" 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)."

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

δοῦλος (noun sg masc nom) "The servant" is from doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave by owning a debt."

προσεκύνει (verb 3rd sg imperf ind act) "Worship" is from proskyneo, which means "make obeisance", "fall down and worship," and specifically means to prostrate yourself before authority, as we might use the Chinese term, "kowtow."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "Him" 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."

λέγων (part sg pres act masc nom) "Saying" 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."

Μακροθύμησον (verb 2nd sg aor imperat act) "Be patient" is from makrothymeo, which means "to be long-suffering", "to persevere," "to be slow (to help)," and "to bear patiently."

ἐπ᾽ "With" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against." --

ἐμοί, "Me" is from emoi, which is 1st person,singular dative pronoun meaning "me' as the indirect object of a verb.

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."

πάντα "All" 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."

ἀποδώσω (verb 1st sg fut ind act) "I will pay" 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."

σοι. (pron 2nd sg dat) "Thee" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you".

The Spoken Version: 

Then, dropping to the floor, the one enslaved by his debt kowtowing to him [the king] reciting, "Stick with me and I will give everything back."