Matthew 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And he might [at that time] begin, [rules for himself], to beat his fellow slaves. He might eat, however, and might drink, [celebrate] among those becoming drunk [with wine].

KJV : 

Mat 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Interesting verse because Christ again uses a number of words that are unusual for him. The purpose is clearly to make little plays on the words. Of course, in the Luke version, there are even more uncommon words, but that is common for Luke. 

The first such word is the verb that is translated as "shall begin"that means "to be first", and means both "to begin," and "to command". The sense is that the servant starts ruling by force. The form of the word indicates that the is doing this for his own benefit. Though this verb could be in the future tense, all the rest of the verbs in this verse are not in the future tense. Most likely the form indicates something that might happen at some time.

The verb translated as "smite" is from another uncommon word "to beat", "to strike," and "to smite." Christ uses a lot of different words to mean "to beat." There is some reason he uses this specific verb, but it isn't yet clear. In other Greek sources, (though not the one I use), the form of this word matches the form for "eat" and "drink" (turtein, esthin, pinein).

The word translated as "fellow servants" means literally "slaves together."

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

The form of "eat" and "drink" here at a play on words, since they have secondary meanings of "fretting" and "celebrating".

The word translated as "shall eat" means "eat" but it also means "fret," as we say "something is eating me up," which seems to go better with the "worry" concept earlier.

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

"With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of". It is not the term usually translated as "after."

"The drunken" is from a verb which means "to be drunken with wine", "drunkeness", and "to be intoxicated." It is in the form of an adjective, "being drunken with wine" used as a noun, "those drunken with wine".


The word translated as "begin" also means "rule."

"Eating" and "drinking" mean "fretting" and "celebrating". 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ "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."

ἄρξηται [uncommon](3rd sg aor subj mid or 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall begin" is from archomai, which is a form of archô, which means "to be first", "to begin", "to make a beginning", "to rule", "to govern," and "to command."

τύπτειν [uncommon] (verb pres inf act) "To smite" is from typto, which means to "beat", "strike", "smite", and "strike oneself."

τοὺς συνδούλους (noun pl masc/fem acc) "Fellowservant" is from syndoulos, which means "slave of the same master", "companion in slavery," and "fellow slave."

αὐτοῦ, (adj sg masc gen) "His"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."

ἐσθίῃ (verb 3rd sg pres subj act) "Ye shall eat" is from esthio, which means "to eat", "devour", "fret", "vex," and to "take in one's mouth." It is also a metaphor for decay and erosion.

δὲ (conj) "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").

καὶ "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."

πίνῃ {verb 3rd sg pres subj act) "Ye shall drink" is from pinô (pino), which means "to drink", "to celebrate," and "soak up."

μετὰ "With" is from meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward." -

τῶν μεθυόντων, (part pl pres act masc gen) "The drunken" is from methos, which means "to be drunken with wine", of things, "to be drenched", "steeped", of persons, "to be intoxicated" with passion or pride, and "to be intoxicated."

The Spoken Version: 

"And," he continued. "he might begin, ruling for himself..."

He indicated the follower portraying the servant, and said, "Beating on his fellow service."

The follower playing the servant began pretending to punch the other followers, who were, after all laughing at him.

"He might eat, fretting, instead," the teacher said, raising his voice over the rough housing. "And he might drink, celebrating with the ones getting drunk."

All the followers, taking the cue, portrayed the servants getting drunk together.

Front Page Date: 

Sep 15 2016