Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

This, however, you do know: that if the manager of an estate had seen which watch during the night the thief is coming, he would have woke up (at the time), probably, and probably not really permitted his estate to be ruined.

KJV : 

Mat 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There is a lot going on here, including some humorous uses of the word for "probably." There are also a couple of different Greek verbs both translated as "know". One matches the "know" in the previous KJV verse (Mat 24:42) and the other matches the "know" in Mat 24:39. The noun and verb both translated as "watch" in English are unrelated and one of them doesn't mean "watch" at all.

The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

"Know" is from a verb that means "to know", "to recognize", "make known", "to know carnally," and "to learn". It is in a form that could be a command, but it could also be a simple statement: "you do know."

The word translated as "this" is an adjective that highlights its noun as being in a specific place or time from a word that means "there."

The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

"The goodman of the house" is from a word that means the master, steward or owner of the house but Christ uses it to refer to those who own an estate rather than just a house.

The verb translated as "had known" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive."

The word translated as "what" also means "which", "what kind" and "whose." This is the same word used in the previous verse in the phrase "what day".

"Watch" is from a word that means "a watching" or "a guarding". In Matt 18:30, it is clearly used to mean prison. Here, it refers to the four "watches" that the nighttime was divided into as the daytime was divided into twelve "hours".

"Thief" is from the Greek word for "thief", "cheat," and "knave."

The word translated as "would come" primarily means "to start out." 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." It is in the present tense, not the future or a tense indicating something that might happen.

"Would" is from a Greek word that indicates something that might happen. However, this word appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it.

"Have watched" is from a Greek verb that means "to be or to become fully awake." It is not in a form that indicates something that might happen but that something that does happen at a specific time.

The word indicating something that might happen appears again here. The effect seems primarily humorous, especially with the negative used.

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 captures the same idea.

"Suffered" is from a verb that means to "suffer", "to permit", and "to let alone". This word is used for the first time here in the NT. Its sense is "permit".

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. This word fits the title used for the man.

"To be broken up" is from a verb that means "digging through" but metaphorically means "to be ruined", which is more the sense here.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐκεῖνο (adj sg neut acc) "This" is ekeinos, which means "the person there", "that person", "that thing", "in that case", "in that way", "at that place," and "in that manner."

δὲ (conj) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

γινώσκετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind/imper) "Know," is from ginosko which means "to learn to know", "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

ὅτι (adv/conj) "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."

εἰ (conj)"If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

ᾔδει (verb 3rd sg plup ind act) "Had known" is from 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."

οἰκοδεσπότης (noun sg masc nom)"The goodman of the house" is from oikodespotes , which means "master or steward of a house", "owner of a domicile," and "native ruler (as opp. foreign emperor)."

ποίᾳ (adj sg fem dat) "What" is from poios, which means "of what kind", "whose", "what," and "which."

φυλακῇ [uncommon](noun sg fem dat) "Watch" is from phylake, which means "a watching or guarding", "a guard", "a ward", "a watch", " "a station", "a post," "a keeping", "a preserving", "safekeeping", "a safe-guard," and "a precaution."

κλέπτης (noun sg masc nom) "The thief" is from kleptes, which means a "thief", "cheat," and "knave."

ἔρχεται, (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Would come" is from 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. --

ἐγρηγόρησεν [uncommon] (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Have watched" is from gregoreo, which means "to become fully awake," and "to watch."

ἂν (particle) "Would" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

καὶ (conj/adv) "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."

οὐκ (particle)"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.

ἂν (particle)"Would" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

εἴασεν [uncommon](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Have suffered" is from eao, which means "to suffer", "to permit", "to let alone", "giving up," "to concede" in an argument, and "to let be."

διορυχθῆναι [uncommon](verb aor inf pass) "To be broken up" is from diorysso, which means "digging through, "having dug a trench across or along," metaph "undermine", "ruin", "worm out," and Pass., "to be shut up in a funeral vault."

τὴν οὶκίαν (noun sg fem acc) "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."

The Spoken Version: 

"This, however," he said pausing. "You do know: that, if the manager of an estate had seen."

He paused again, closing his eye, and putting his hands to his head as if seeing through psychic powers.

"Which part of the night," he started solemnly. "The thief is coming!"

He said the final part as it someone was shouting it in the distance.

"He would wake up then," he said. "Probably!"

He said that last word in a way that made his followers laugh.

"And probably," he said, repeating the word in the same way. "Not really let his estate be ruined."

He then nodded his head as if eliciting agreement.

Front Page Date: 

Sep 4 2016