Matthew 20:15 Is it not lawful for me

KJV Verse: 

Mat 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with mine own? Is your eye evil because I am good?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Is it allowed to me what I want to accomplish what I desire? Or your sight is worthless because I am worthy.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

"Is it...lawful" is from a verb that means "to be allowed", "is possible," and, in the passive, "to be in one's power." The word literally means "from being," in other words, from its very nature, rather than by the laws of society.

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 "me" is in the dative, which has a number of uses in Greek. It is usually an indirect object "to me" but it can mean "for one's benefit."

"To do" is from verb which has two general meanings of "make," and "do" and this verse combines both meanings. No English word has quite the same two ideas. The same word is translated in Mat 20:12 (two verses prior) as "wrought" and "made." Both In the sense of "make" this word means "to produce", "to bring into existence", "to bring about," and "to cause." In the sense of "to do," it means "to act" and "to be effective." It is usually translated as "do" in the Gospels, but both examples here are its primary meaning.

The word translated as "what" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

The Greek word translated as "I will" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which usually expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something. We saw it used in the previous verse Mat 20:14.

Here, there is an Greek word missing form the KJV translation. It means "either" or "o."

The word translated as "eye," also means "sight", "the dearest and best", "light", "cheer", "comfort," and "the bud [of a plant]." Christ often uses it to mean a person's "sight" as in their ability to understand what they see.

The word translated as "evil" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This article explores it meaning in more detail. It is an adjective, but when used as a noun, therefore, "what is worthless."

The word translated as "that" is 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."

The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

The adjective translated as "good" means "useful", "worthwhile," and "of high quality. See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

.Christ here sets out the principles of private property. First, you are entitled to the compensation for your efforts, but only to what you have agreed to. Second, you are entitled to do with your property whatever you want. Just like other people cannot say what is "fair" for you, other people cannot say what you should do with what you have earned.

Greek Vocabulary: 

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.

ἔξεστίν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is it...lawful" is exesti, which means "to be allowed", "is possible," and, in the passive, "to be in one's power."

μοι (pron 1st sg masc dat) "Me" is from emoi, which is 1st person,singular dative pronoun meaning "me' as the indirect object of a verb

(pron sg neut acc) "What" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings. --

θέλω (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "I will" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain", "to hold", "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired." -- The Greek word translated as "will" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something.

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

ἐν "With" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

τοῖς (article pl masc dat) "Own" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

ἐμοῖς; (adj pl neut dat) "Mine" is from emoi, which is 1st person,singular dative pronoun meaning "me' as the indirect object of a verb.

Untranslated is e is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

ὀφθαλμός (noun sg masc nom) "Eye" is from ophthalmos, which means "eye", "sight", "the dearest and best", "light", "cheer", "comfort," and "the bud [of a plant]."

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your." -- The word translated as "thy" is possessive form of the second person pronoun.

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

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "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.") --

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."

ἐγὼ (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself.

ἀγαθός (adj sg masc nom) "Good" is from agathos which means "good" and, when applied to people, "well-born", "gentle", "brave," and "capable." When applied to things, it means "serviceable", "morally good," and "beneficial."

εἰμι; (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "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.")

Wordplay: 

The use of "eye" to mean vision or sight" 

The Spoken Version: 

Is it okay if I do what I want? Maybe your perspective is useless because I am okay.

Related Verses: