Matthew 25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, [You] wicked

KJV Verse: 

Mat 25:26 ​His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Answering, however, his lord told him: Worthless and cowardly servant: "You saw that I harvest where I have not really sown, and I gather together from where I haven't really scattered.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Two things are interesting here in the Greek that are lost in the English. First, it brands the servant as worthless and timid, rather than wicked and lazy. The second interesting change here is in how the master repeats what the fearful servant said. It is also interesting that the master doesn't change the form of the negatives here.

The verb translated as "answered" means to answer questions, but also to "answer charges," and "defend oneself". In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered." However, it is in the form of an adjective, "answering." It modifies "his lord."

Untranslated is the conjunction usually as "but" that 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.

"Said" is from means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it is different than another common verb translated as "said," so translating it as "speak" or "tell" clarifies when the different verbs are used. This verb has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

The word translated as "evil" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This article explores it meaning in more detail. It also means "cowardly" which is an idea that Christ clearly wants to emphasize here.

The "and" here is in a position where it is better translated as "also" because it is not between the two adjectives describing the servant.

"Slothful" is an uncommon word that Christ uses that primarily "timid," and "shrinking." It implies a hesitance to act out of fear. Notice that the word translated as "wicked" also means "cowardly" so the idea here is clearly emphasize the servant's lack of courage, not is laziness.

The noun translated as "servant" means "slave." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible.

What follows is the master quoting what the servant said about him (omitting the phase about him being a "hard man") using the same words except for one. The word translated as "you knewest " means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English. The servant used a different word for "know", which indicates learning and reflection, but the master corrects this to "see" indicating that the servant didn't learn from reflection but jumped to conclusions about appearances.

"I reap" is a verb that means "to do summer work", "to reap", "to mow", "to cut off," and, in Asia, "to plunder." It is in the form of an adjective, "harvesting."

The Greek word translated as "not" here are interesting because Greek has two negatives, one of opinion, one of fact. The servant uses the negative of fact, but so does the master when he could have changed it reasonable to the one of opinion. He really does this to keep the servant's criticism as negative as possible, a statement of fact, when it is clearly an opinion. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea.

The Greek word translated as "I sowed" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. Jesus often plays it against its opposite, the verb for "gather," but, here, he uses it in opposition to "harvest" or "reap" so the sense is more "sow."

"I gather" is from a verb which means "to bring together", "to gather together", "to unite", "to draw together", "to narrow", "to pinch", "to conclude," and "to prove."

Interestingly, Christ uses a different word here to means "where" than he did in the previous phrase. It doesn't just mean "where" as the previous word did, but "from where." This makes sense with the verb 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 to captures the same idea.

"I have...strawed" is a very rare verb for Christ to use. It means "to scatter abroad", "to disperse among." This is more clearly an opposite for the verb "gathering."

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἀποκριθεὶς (part sg aor pass masc nom) "Answered" is from apokrinomai that means to "set apart," "choose", "exclude," "reject on examination", "decide", "answer" the question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself" and, in the passive, "to be parted or separated." In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered."

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").

κύριος (noun sg masc nom) "Lord" is from kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." -- The Greek word translated as "lord," means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, two different Hebrew words are translated as this Greek word in the OT, the name for God and another Hebrew word with a very similar meaning to this one, referring to someone in authority.

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."

εἶπεν "Said" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "Unto 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."

Πονηρὲ (adj sg masc voc) "Wicked" is from poneros, which means "burdened by toil", "useless," and "worthless." In a moral sense, it means "worthless", "base," and "cowardly."

δοῦλε (noun sg masc voc) "The servant" is from doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

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." -

ὀκνηρέ, [uncommon](adj sg masc voc) "Slothful" is from okneros, which means "shrinking," "timid", and "diffident."

ᾔδεις (verb 2nd sg plup ind act) "You knewest" is from oida which is a form of eido, (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."

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." -- In the Greek source, this is a word here that means "that" or "because." So what follows is a dependent clause, indicating either what they were "saying" or why they were saying it.

θερίζω (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "I reap" is from therizô (therizo), which means "to do summer work", "to reap", "to mow", "to cut off," and, in some areas, "to plunder." -- The Greek word translated as "reap" means "to do summer work" and "to reap."

ὅπου (adv) "Where" is from hopou, which means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

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.

ἔσπειρα (verb 1st sg aor ind act) "I sowed" is from speiro, which means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

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."

συνάγω (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Gather" is from synago, which means "bring together", "gather together," "pit [two warriors against each other]", "join in one", "unite", "make friends of", "lead with one", "receive", "reconcile", "draw together", "narrow", "contract", "conclude [from premises]", " infer," and "prove." --The Greek word translated as "gather" means "to bring together." It has many different uses, but it does not specifically mean gathering in the crops. That is why that idea is provided specifically by the phrase that follows.

ὅθεν (adv) "Where" is from hothen, which means "whence," "from whom or which", "from whatever source", "in what manner soever", "from any other place whatsoever", "where or whither", "whence, "for which reason," and "for what reason."

οὐ "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.

διεσκόρπισα; [uncommon](verb 1st sg aor ind act) "I have...strawed" is from diaskorpizo, which means literally, to "scatter among" or "disperse among", and "to scatter abroad". In the passive, it means "to squander", "to confound," and "to winnow."

The Spoken Version: 

He shifted from the voice of the servant to his story-telling voice, and said,"Answering, however, his lord told him."

Now he played the role of the lord. His voice was somehow amused as he addressed the follower playing the role of the servant, "Worthless servant!"

The crowd laughed because he used the tone that says, "Bad dog!" The follower acting as the servant played his role, cringing like a dog. This won more laughs.

"Also cowardly," the one playing the master continued, acknowledging the over acting and laughing.

He pointed his finger in accusation and said, "You saw that I harvest where I have not really sown, and I gather together from where I haven't really scattered."

The one playing the servant grimaced, acknowledging his poor choice of words.

"You saw that I harvest where I have not really sown, and I gather together from where I haven't really scattered.

Related Verses: 

Oct 11 2016