Matthew 6:2 Therefore when you give charity,

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

The context is the Sermon on Mount starting a  new section arguing against virtue signaling through charity.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Whenever you really perform a kindness, you do not want to blow your horn before you. The same as the actors perform in the meeting places and on the crowded streets. This is so that they are recognized by the people. Truly I'm tell you: they are collecting that payment of theirs.

KJV : 

Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Several words  in this verse have been adopted into English, but their meaning in our language are different than their original meaning in Greek. The words are "hypocrites" and "synagogues". The meaning of "hypocrites" in Greek as "actor" not simply someone who says one thing and does another. A hypocrite is someone who is playing a part. A "synagogue" was not a Jewish place of worship. It was simply a meeting or a meeting place. The term applied to any meeting place in the Greek-speaking world, not just those in Judea.

The Greek word translated as "have" is not the word simply meaning "to have." This verb literally means "to have from" or "to keep from." The "have from" meaning in business translations becomes "to receive payment in full." The sense of "keep from" means  "to keep off or away from" or "to hold away from." So this word not only has a double meaning but , amusingly,  almost contradictory meanings. 

The term translated as "do" and give" in the first part of this verse actually means "perform." By using it, Jesus is making a play on words, comparing the performance of good deeds and the performances of actors.

The clause "they have their reward," is introduced here as a new catch phrase, which Jesus will repeat several. times.

NIV : 

Matthew 6:2  So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

NLT : 

Matthew 6:2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.

Wordplay: 

 A comparison of the performance of services with the performance of actors. 

There is a play on the word for actor, ", literally,  "by judgment" and hypo anthropos, "by people."The Greek word translated as "have" is not the Greek word meaning "to have." This verb literally means "have from" or "keep from." The "have from" meaning in business translations become "to receive payment in full." The sense of "keep from" means  "to keep off or away from" or "to hold away from." So this word not only has a double meaning but , amusingly,  almost contradictory meanings. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὅταν (conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)."

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

ποιῇς (2nd sg pres subj act) "Thou doest" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

ἐλεημοσύνην, (noun sg fem acc) "alms" is from eleemosyne, which means "pity", "mercy", "charity," and "alms." It is the noun for of the verb eleeo, which means "to have pity on," "to show mercy to," and "to feel pity." In the passive, "to be shown pity," and "to be pitied."

μὴ (partic) "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.

σαλπίσῃς (2nd sg aor subj act) "Do sound a trumpet" is from salpizo, which means "blow a trumpet", "sound a trumpet", "give a signal by trumpet", "to announce," and "to proclaim."

ἔμπροσθέν (adv) "Before" is from emprosthen, which as an adverb means [of place]"in front of", "before", "forwards," [of time] "before", "of old," and as a preposition, "facing", "opposite", "in front," [of time] beforehand," and [of degree] "preferred before." It also denotes a ranking.

σου, (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thee" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

ὥσπερ (adv) "As" is from hosper, which means "the very man who", "the very thing, which", "the same as", "wherefore," and "although."

οἱ (article pl masc nom ) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὑποκριταὶ (noun pl masc nom ) "The hypocrites" is from hypokrites means "interpreter" or "actor."

ποιοῦσιν (3rd pl pres ind act) "Do" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

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

ταῖς (article pl fem dat) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

συναγωγαῖς (noun pl fem dat) "Synagogue" is from synagoge, which means a "bringing together", "assembly", "place of assembly", "contracting", "collection", "combination", "conclusion," and "demonstration." It comes from a Greek word Christ uses commonly, sunagô, to mean "gather" or "bring together."

καὶ (conj) "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 (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

ταῖς (article pl fem dat) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ῥύμαις, (noun pl fem dat) "The streets" is from rhyme, which means "force", "swing", "rush [of a body in motion]", "rush", "charge [of soldiers]", "street", "lane," and "alley."

ὅπως (conj) "That" is hopos, which is a conjunction that means "in such a manner as", "in order that", "in the manner in which", "how," [with negative] "there is no way that," and [in questions] "in what way."

δοξασθῶσιν (3rd pl aor subj pass) "They may have glory" is from doxazo, which primarily means "to think", "to expect", "to imagine," or "to suppose." Secondarily, it means "to magnify" or "to extol," which is where we get the "glorify" used most often in NT the translation. The English term "to recognize" carries the same sense of both seeing a person in the mind and honoring them.

ὑπὸ (prep) "Of" is from hypo, which means "by", "before,' and "under," (with genitive and passive verbs of cause, as here).

τῶν (article pl masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). --

ἀνθρώπων: (noun pl masc gen) "Man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

ἀμὴν (exclam) "Verily" is from amen, which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT.

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from llego means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," "nominate," and "command."

ὑμῖν, (adj pl masc dat) "To you" is from humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἀπέχουσιν [8 verses](verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "They have"" is from apecho, which means "to keep off or away from", "to hold one's hands off or away from", "to hold oneself off a thing", "to abstain or desist from it," "to project", "to extend", "to be far from," and "to receive payment in full." From the preposition apo, meaning "from" and "away from" and the verb meaning "to have" or "to hold." So, "to have from" or "to hold away from", two almost contradictory meanings. 

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). --

μισθὸν (noun sg masc acc ) "Reward" is from misthos, which means "wages" in the sense of compensation for work done, "pay", "hire", "fee", "recompense," and "reward."

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."they h

KJV Analysis: 

Therefore -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative. Either works here, but the "really" seems to make difference between real and false charity here.

when -- The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition. The issue is time as much as a set of conditions.

thou  -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

doest  -- The Greek word translated as "thou doest" has the primary meaning of "making", "performing", or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. However, when associated with a play, it means "to perform." Jesus is making a play on words here comparing the performance of good deeds and the performance of actors.

thine -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "thine" in the Greek source.

alms, -- The Greek word translated as "alms" is the Greek source for our word "eleemosynary", which in English means "charitable", but the Greek word primarily means "pity" or "mercy." It is another form of the word used in the Beatitudes as "merciful" and "obtain mercy." It is not the word translated as "alms" in the previous verse, Mat 6:1.

do -- (WF) This helping verb is used to create commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement. This looks like a command, but it isn't.

not --  The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. Here, it is before the verb,

sound a trumpet -- The word translated as "sound a trumpet" means to "announce" in the same sense that we say "blow your own horn" in English. It is not a command or a prohibition, but a simple statement. In English, the same idea is captured by the phrase "blowing your own horn", which probably came from the Bible.

before -- The Greek word translated as "before" when used to apply to time means "beforehand." However, the main sense is the idea of "in front of."

thee, -- The word translated as "thee" is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

as -- The Greek word translated as "as" does not have the same broad sense as our "as" in English. It specifically means "the same as".

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

hypocrites -- (UW) The Greek word translated as "the hypocrites" is a great example of a word that has taken its English meaning from how it is used in the Bible rather than the original Greek. It means "actor" from its literal meaning, "under separation," which describe the separation between what is said and reality. Interesting enough, it also means "interpreter," which is another separation between what is said and reality.

do -- The Greek word translated as "do" has the primary meaning of "making", "performing", or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service.

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

synagogues -- (UW) The Greek word translated as "synagogues" is the source of our English word but it simply means an assembly or place of assembly. It comes from a Greek word Christ uses commonly, sunagô, to mean "gather" or "bring together."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

streets, -- The Greek word translated as "streets" is not a simple word for street. Its primary meaning is the "force" and "rush" of a body of moving people something like we use the word "speedway" to refer to a road.  It means "streets" in the sense that they hold these people. A different and funnier word for street is used in  the later verse of Matthew 6:5.

that -- The word translated as "that" is one of those Greek words that introduce a new phrase that offers an explanation. It can be translated as a dependent clause, but if we start a new sentence with it, we get fewer run-on sentences.

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

may-- This helping verb "may" indicates that the verb indicates a possibility. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

have glory -- (WW, WF) The Greek term translated as "to have glory" is a word that primarily means "to imagine" and "to expect." It also means "to honor" in a sense. However, the word that it comes closest to in English is "to recognize" since that word captures both the mental imaging and the feeling of the word. "Recognize" works especially well with actors because they seek fame and recognition from the audience. This verb and its noun form are commonly translated as "glory" in the NT. The verb is not active but passive, "be recognized."

of --  (WW) The word translated as "of" primarily means "by" in the sense of a cause or agency, "under," or "with."  The "by" it called for by the passive verb  "be recognize."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

men. The Greek word for "man" in the plural means "people" and "humanity" in general.

Verily -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

say -- The word translated as "say" 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.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc.

They -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

have -- (WW)  The Greek word translated as "have" is not the Greek word meaning "to have." This verb literally means "to have from" or "to keep from." The "have from" meaning in business translations becomes "to receive payment in full." The sense of "keep from" means  "to keep off or away from" or "to hold away from." So this word not only has a double meaning but , amusingly,  almost contradictory meanings. 

their -- The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.   This pronoun follows the noun so "of theirs."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

reward. -- The Greek word translated as "reward" really means "compensation," what you receive for doing work. In Christ's teaching, there is spiritual compensation and worldly compensation.

KJV Translation Issues: 

10
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "thine" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" does not indicate a command.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrites" means "actors." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "synagogues" means "meeting." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The verb translated as "have glory" should be "be recognized."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "have glory" verb is passive, "be recognized."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The verb translated as "of" should be "by."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "men" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The verb translated as "have" should be "collect."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "reward" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

So-- The Greek word translated as "so" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative. Either works here, but the "really" seems to make difference between real and false charity here.

when -- The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition. The issue is time as much as a set of conditions.

you -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

give -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "give" has the primary meaning of "making", "performing", or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. However, when associated with a play, it means "to perform." Jesus is making a play on words here comparing the performance of good deeds and the performance of actors. It is not the Greek word for "give."

to the -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "the" in the Greek source.

needy, -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "needy" is the Greek source for our word "eleemosynary", which in English means "charitable", but the Greek word primarily means "pity" or "mercy." It is another form of the word used in the Beatitudes as "merciful" and "obtain mercy." It is not the word translated as "alms" in the previous verse, Mat 6:1.

do -- (WF) This helping verb is used to create commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement. This looks like a command, but it isn't.

not --  The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. Here, it is before the verb,

announce it with trumpets -- The word translated as "announce it with trumpets" means to "announce" in the same sense that we say "blow your own horn" in English. It is not a command or a prohibition, but a simple statement. In English, the same idea is captured by the phrase "blowing your own horn", which probably came from the Bible.

before -- The Greek word translated as "before" when used to apply to time means "beforehand." However, the main sense is the idea of "in front of."

thee, -- The word translated as "thee" is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

as -- The Greek word translated as "as" does not have the same broad sense as our "as" in English. It specifically means "the same as".

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

hypocrites -- (UW) The Greek word translated as "the hypocrites" is a great example of a word that has taken its English meaning from how it is used in the Bible rather than the original Greek. It means "actor" from its literal meaning, "under separation," which describe the separation between what is said and reality. Interesting enough, it also means "interpreter," which is another separation between what is said and reality.

do -- The Greek word translated as "do" has the primary meaning of "making", "performing", or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service.

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

synagogues -- (UW) The Greek word translated as "synagogues" is the source of our English word but it simply means an assembly or place of assembly. It comes from a Greek word Christ uses commonly, sunagô, to mean "gather" or "bring together."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

streets, -- The Greek word translated as "streets" is not a simple word for street. Its primary meaning is the "force" and "rush" of a body of moving people. It means "streets" in the sense that they hold these people.

untranslated "that"-- (MW) The untranslated word "that" is one of those Greek words that introduce a new phrase that offers an explanation. It can be translated as a dependent clause, but if we start a new sentence with it, we get fewer run-on sentences.

to - (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "to" in the Greek source.

be honored --  The Greek term translated as "be honored" is a word that primarily means "to imagine" and "to expect." It also means "to honor" in a sense. However, the word that it comes closest to in English is "to recognize" since that word captures both the mental imaging and the feeling of the word. "Recognize" works especially well with actors because they seek fame and recognition from the audience. This verb and its noun form are commonly translated as "glory" in the NT. The verb is not active but passive, "be recognized."

by --  The word translated as "of" primarily means "by" in the sense of a cause or agency, "under," or "with."  The "by" it called for by the passive verb  "be recognize."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

others. --(WW) The Greek word for "others" means "men," in the plural means "people" and "humanity" in general.

Truly -- The word translated as "truly " is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

tell -- The word translated as "say" 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.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc. This is the first time Jesus addresses an individual with his catch phrase.

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

have received -- The Greek word translated as "have" is not the Greek word meaning "to have." This verb primarily means "to keep off or away from." It is a compound word "To have/hold from/away from". The "hold away from" means to "keep off", but the "to have from" means to be paid. Christ uses it here because it has the special meaning in business translations of "to receive payment in full." This is the sense that it is used here. The "to have from" or "to hold away from" and, amusingly,  almost contradictory meanings. 

their -- The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.   This pronoun follows the noun so "of theirs."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

reward. -- The Greek word translated as "reward" really means "compensation," what you receive for doing work. In Christ's teaching, there is spiritual compensation and worldly compensation.

in full. -- These words are part of the concept of the verb.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The verb translated as "give" should be "do" or "perform."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "to the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The verb translated as "needy" should be "mercy."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" does not indicate a command.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrites" means "actors." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "synagogues" means "meeting." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "to" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "men" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "others" should be "mne" or "people."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "reward" is not shown in the English translation.

NLT Analysis: 

When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

In this verse, Christ focuses on the social value of fame. When we "sound a trumpet," we want others to notice us. We are looking for approval, not from those who know us, from the crowd, from society.

The Spoken Version: 

“But I want others to see how kind I am!” She protested.
“When you truly perform a kindness,” he advised her, “you don’t want to trumpet it in front of people. The same as actors, performing in the meeting places—.” He took the exaggerated pose of an actor blowing a horn. “And in the crowded streets,” he said, blowing his imaginary horn again.
This got people chuckling.
“So that they might be recognized by the people,” he continued. “Honestly, I’m telling you, they are getting paid in full.” He put his hand up to his chin and patted his stomach, signaling being full. “That pay of theirs.” He said these words with obvious distaste.

evidence: 

49.00

Front Page Date: 

May 25 2020