Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothes the grass

KJV Verse: 

Mat 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

If, however, the pastures of the countryside, existing for today and presently into the oven tossing itself, the God in this way clothes?  Not really, much better you, you tiny believers?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The KJV translator had to assume a lot of words to make this translation. The actual statement isn't completed with a "then" clause.  It is left handing as a suggestion. This is more like the way we speak than we write (see this article). 

The Greek word translated as "Wherefore" joins phrases in an adversarial way. It is usually translated as "but," but, since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

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 form of the if/then statement seems to 

The subject of this sentence, the one acting, is clearly God, but the word doesn't appear until the middle of the verse,. not the beginning.  

The Greek verb translated as "clothe" means "to cloth" much more than the other verbs Christ uses in this section, but this verb is uncommon for Christ Unlike the verb in Mat 6:29, which has more the sense of "put on" or "wrapped around," this verb has a similar primary meaning, "put around," but its secondary meanings all involved putting on clothing. This verb also appears toward the end of the phrase, de-emphasizing it.

The verse starts with the term translated as "grasses" means "an enclosed place" with the sense of a feedlot. It means food generally, as well, specifically various forms of animal fodder. It is also used to describe the "expanse" of heaven as we might say, "the pastures of heaven."

The "of the field" means primarily an agricultural field but can refer to any type of land. This is the term used to identify fields in which people do agricultural work.

The term translated as "which today" is an adverb meaning "for today" or any short period of time.

The "is" is the verb "to be" in the form of an adjective, meaning "being" or "existing."

The terms translated as "cast" is also an adjective form of a verb meaning "to toss" or "to throw." This is one of the most common terms Christ uses. It has the sense of "tossing" something. Christ always uses this verb when discussing "tossing" something into a fire or the "outer darkness".

However the term translated as "tomorrow," is not a noun. Instead, it is an adverb meaning something more like "until tomorrow", "until the morning" meaning "shortly" or "presently." Unlike the noun "tomorrow" in English, this adverb doesn't take in the entire future, just the opposite. The term indicates not now but the immediate future.

The word translated as "in" can be "into" when referring to a location. However, it can also mean "for" referring to a purpose for an action.

The oven is Greek for a small, clay vessel used for baking bread (see picture above).  The ovens Jesus describes are different than ours, which have the fire is on the outside and bread on the inside. These ovens are clay vessels. The fire is burned in the vessel. The dough for the bread is attached to the vessel's sides. The "grass", that is, the foliage, of "the lilies of the field" (Mat 6:28) becomes the fuel for baking bread. This image is similar to the one evoked by the "Parable of the Weeds", where the weeds are bundled to be burned in ovens. The wheat, gathered into barns (Mat 13:30) for flour, makes the dough cooked by these weeds. 

There is no repeated "shall he...clothe" in the last part of this verse. The word appears only once as described above being applied to the grasses or pasture. It never appears in the future tense.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

The "you" is the object of the verb. It is plural, so Christ is referring to all his listeners.

The "much" is an adjective "great," "large" and "many". It is in the singular, which creates a problem because the "you" is plural. The form could indicate an instrument ("with a great"), a purpose (" a great"), a benefit ( "...a great"); or a comparison ("...than a great").

The "more" is an adverb meaning "to the highest degree" or "more certainly.

The final "little faith" word is addressed to the listeners. The word itself is used only in the NT. It means "small trust" or "little faith." Since it is addressed to the listener, we can the "you" to it, though it doesn't appear in the Greek.

Greek Vocabulary: 

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.

δὲ (partic) "Wherefore" 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").

τὸν χόρτον (noun sg masc acc) "The grass" is from chortos, which means "an enclosed place", "pastures", "herbage", "growing crops", "any feeding-ground," "green crop", "the expanse [of heaven]", "fodder", "provender", "food [generally]", "farmyard," and "growing grass."

τοῦ ἀγροῦ (noun sg masc gen) "Of the field" is from ἀγρὸν agros (agros), which means "field", "lands," or "country."

σήμερον (adv) "Which to day" is from semeron, which is an adverb that means "for today" and "on this day."

ὄντα (part sg pres act masc acc) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

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."

αὔριον (adv) "To morrow" is from aurion, which means "tomorrow at this time", "on the morrow", "till morning", "presently," and "shortly."

εἰς (prep) "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

κλίβανον (noun sg masc acc) "The oven" is from klibanos, which means "covered earthen vessel [in which bread is baked in a fire], "funnel-shaped vessel [used for drawing water]", "underground channel", "vaulted passage", "hollow," and "cavern in a rock."

βαλλόμενον (part sg pres mp masc acc) "Is cast" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall", "to put", "to pour," or "to cast."

θεὸς (noun sg masc nom) "God" is from theos, which means "God," the Deity."

οὕτως (adv) "So" is from houtos, which, as an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

ἀμφιέννυσιν, [uncommon] (3rd sg pres ind act) "Clothe" is from amphiennymi, which means "put round", "clothed in", "wearing", "clothe one in or with", "put on oneself," and "dress oneself in.

οὐ (partic) "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.

πολλῷ (adj sg masc dat ) "Much" is from polus, which means "many (in number)", "great (in size or power or worth)," and "large (of space)."

μᾶλλον (adv) "More" is from mallon, which is the comparative form of the adverb mala which means "very", "exceedingly", "more certainly", "especially," "more", "to a greater degree," and "rather."

ὑμᾶς, (pron 2nd pl acc) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὀλιγόπιστοι; (adj pl masc/fem voc ) "Oh ye of little faith" is from oligopistos, which means "of little faith." From oligos, which means "little", "small," and "weak," and pistos means "believing", "trustful", "obedient," and "loyal."


A different word for "cloth" is used here to play against the "tossing themselves" verb. 

The Spoken Version: 

“As well as one of these.” He held up the flower again, spinning it. “If, however, the foliage of the countryside,” he said, gesturing to the surrounding vegetation, “existing for today, and tomorrow? Into the oven, it is being tossed! The Divine in this way,” he said, holding up his flower. “Clothes!”
“But he doesn’t clothe us like that!” Someone complained.
“No?” The speaker asked. He indicated their clothing. “Much better!” He suggested. Together, the audience was a riot of clothing colors and styles. “For all of you! You tiny trusters!”

Related Verses: 



Front Page Date: 

Mar 19 2017