Matthew 21:30  And he came to the second, and said likewise

KJV Verse: 

Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

So, approaching the second, he said this the same. The one separated out, however, proclaimed, "I don't want to!" Afterwards, being made to feel regret, he departed.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Current Greek sources reverse the two sons statements from what the KJV translators. The KJV has the first son saying he won't go and going, and the second son saying no and then going. However, current sources kind of reverse that, but in an entertaining way. This story is, from the beginning, using words that are humorous.

The Greek word translated as "and" but it is usially translated as "but." However, in explaining cause, as it does here, it is translated as "so."

The word translated as "came" is the first bit of humor. It a special form of the word commonly translated as "come." It has the sense of "coming forward" and "approach" but it is typically used for an inferior approaching a superior. It is a verb in the form of an adjective, so "approaching."

The Greek word translated usually as "but" appears here but is not translated. It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

"Answered" is from a verb that means to "set apart," "choose", "answer" a question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself." In the passive, it means "to be parted or separated." Here, it is used as a noun and in the passive so "the one separated out." This was used in the previous verse, Mat 21:29, in the same way.

"Said" is from a verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it has less a sense of teaching and more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

(The following section refers to the English KJV translation for Mat 21:29 but which matches the source for this verse.)

The "no" is from the "no" of fact, not opinion. Since the speaker is expressing an opinion, it is like someone adding "really" in English.

The word translated as "will" is not like our "will" in that it is a helper verb forming the future tense. It means "to want" or "to desire" something. This is not a statement about the future, but a statement about desire.

The word translated as "repent" is not the verb usually translated as "repent" in the NT, but it means "repent" in the sene of feeling regret. It is in the form of a passive adjective, "being made to feel regret."

"Went" is from a verb that means "to go away," and "to depart from."

Greek Vocabulary: 

προσελθὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "He came" is from proserchomai, which means "come", "go to", "approach", "draw nigh," in hostile sense, "attack", "come in", "surrender", "capitulate", "come forward to speak", "appear before a tribunal or official", "apply oneself to," of things, "to be added", "come in (of revenue)" and "have sexual intercourse."

δὲ "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").

τῷ δευτέρῳ (adj sg masc dat) "To the second" is from deuteros (deuteros), which means "second", "next", "second of two," and "later."

εἶπεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind) "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."

ὡσαύτως: "Likewise' is from hōsautōs, which an adverb that means "in like manner," and "just so." It is literally "this the same."

(article sg masc nom) "He" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from its noun by the following conjunction.

δὲ "And" 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").

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."

εἶπεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind) "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."

(Section below is as translated in KJV in the previous verse, Mat 21:29).

Οὐ "No" 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.

θέλω: (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "I will" is from thelô (thelo), which as a verb means "to be willing", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

ὕστερον "Afterwards" is from hysteros (husteros), which means "latter", "last", "coming after", "after" (in Time), "posterior", "inferior", and "extremely."

μεταμεληθεὶς (participle, passive, aor) "Repent" is from metamellomai, which means "to feel repentance", "to repent a thing", "to change one's purpose or conduct," and "to feel regret." Since this is a passive participle, "being made to feel regret."

ἀπῆλθεν. (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "He went" is from aperchomai, which means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life."

Related Verses: