Matthew 20:22 You do not know what you ask...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You all haven't seen anything you are demanding of yourself. Do you have the strength to drink (celebrate) the wine-cup (offering cup) that I drink (celebrate).

KJV : 

Mat 20:22 Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, [and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?]

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are several very important elements here lost in translation. First, the entire last section about baptism is missing in today's Greek sources so it was likely a later addition based on the version in Mark 10:38 . In the verse itself, several very important words are translated so simply as to miss the point. However, the main issue here is understanding what it means to drink from someone else's cup.

However, drinking from someone's cup has several levels of meaning. For a king, the most obvious meaning was that food tasters first drank from their cup to see if the drink was poisoned. There is certainly a sense of that here, but the issue here is having the ability or the strength to do this. While it could be that food tasters were stronger than regular people so they could survive poison, there is more common experience in the time of Christ.

To understand it, we have to realize that Jesus saw the apostle's as his children. Children drank wine mixed in their water from a very early age in Christ's society, but strong drink was limited to adults. Everyone would have had the experience of being told that they were not strong enough to drink from an adult's cup.


The word "to drink" also means "to celebrate." 

Related Verses: 

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.

οἴδατε (verb 2nd pl perf ind act) "Know" 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."

τί (pron sg neut acc) "What" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

αἰτεῖσθε: (verb 2nd pl pres ind mp) "You ask" is from aiteo, which means "to ask", "to demand", "to beg", "to claim," and "to ask for one's own use."

δύνασθε (verb 2nd pl pres ind mp) "Are ye able" is from the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

πιεῖν (verb aor inf act) "To drink" is from pino, which means "to drink", "to celebrate," and "soak up."

τὸ ποτήριον (noun sg neut acc) "Cup" is from poterion, which means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

(pron sg neut acc) "That" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings. -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

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."

μέλλω (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Shall" is from mello, which means to "be destined or likely to", "might have, " "must surely have," "to be about to", "to be always going to do", "delay," and "to put off."

πίνειν (verb pres inf act) "Drink of" is from pino, which means "to drink", "to celebrate," and "soak up." -- The word seems chosen for its double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate."

KJV Analysis: 

The word translated as "Ye know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English. It is plural, address not just to the mother, but to the family. It is also in the tense indicating something completed in the past.

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

There word translated as "what" means "anything" or "anyone." It is in the present tense.

The verb translated as "you ask" has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim." However, it is in a form where the subject acts on himself. "you ask yourself." Christ s saying that we do not sufficiently understand our desires to know what we ask of ourselves. As human, we fail to imagine the implications of getting what we think we want. For Christ, spirit, mind, body, and emotional relationships are all connected. Spiritual rewards require physical, mental, and emotional sacrifices.

The verb translated as "are you able" indicates having the power, strength, or desire to accomplish something.

The word "to drink" seems chosen for its double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate."

The word for "cup", it means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

The Spoken Version: 

No of you have seen what you are really asking for. Are you strong enough to celebrate the offering that I celebrate?