Matthew 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

And he shall certainly place the sheep out on his skilled side but the kids out on his honored side.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The way Christ says "on the right" and "on the left" is different than how we say it in English and, surprisingly, both terms have a number of positive meanings.

The word translated as "he shall set," like the English words "put" and "set," has a number of specific meanings from "to put down [in writing]", "to bury", "to establish", "to make", "to cause," and "to assign." Here, the meaning is more straight forward.

Untranslated is a Greek word which is generally used to express certainty and means "indeed", "certainly", "surely," and "truly." This is the Greek word that is the equivalent of Aramaic "amen".

The Greek preposition translated as "on" in both cases, means "out of" or "from." When used to describe a place, it has the sense of "outside of" or "beyond".

"Right" has a lot of positive meanings including "fortunate", "skillful", and "clever". It is in the plural.

"Sheep" is Christ's symbol for his followers. The Greek word refers to any domesticated animal and works better if translated simply as "flock" or "herd." The flock follows the shepherd, which is above them. It is also together, a united group.

"Goat" is a word, meaning "young goat" or "kid", that Christ uses only twice, here and in Luke.

The word for "left" is also plural. It primarily means "of a good name", "honored," and similar positive things, and is only a euphemism for "left."

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."

στήσει (verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "He shall set" is from histemi, which means "to make to stand", "to stand", "to set up", "to bring to a standstill", "to check", "to appoint", "to establish", "to fix by agreement", "to be placed", "to be set", "to stand still", "to stand firm", "to set upright", "to erected", "to arise," and "to place." Like the English words "put" and "set," it has a number of specific meanings from "to put down [in writing]", "to bury", "to establish", "to make", "to cause," and "to assign."

τὰ (article pl neut acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is separated from its noun by an particle below.

μὲν (part) Untranslated is men, which is generally used to express certainty and means "indeed", "certainly", "surely," and "truly."

πρόβατα (noun pl neut acc) "Sheep" is from probaton, which means any domesticated four-footed animal, "sheep", "cattle", "herds," and "flocks.

ἐκ "On" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

δεξιῶν (noun pl fem gen) "Right" is from dexios, which means, as an adjective, "on the right hand", "fortunate", "skillful", "ready", "clever", "courteous," and "kindly." As a noun, it means the "right hand," "assurance", "pledge", "treaty,"

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."

τὰ (article pl neut acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is separated from its noun by thr particle below.

δὲ (conj) "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").

ἐρίφια [uncommon] (noun pl masc gen) "Goats" is from eriphos, which means "young goat" and "kid."

ἐξ "On" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

εὐωνύμων. "Left " is from euonymos, which means "of good name", "honored", "expressed in well-chosen terms", "prosperous," and "fortunate." It is a euphemism for "left", "on the left hand," and "bad omens."

Wordplay: 

The word "right" means "lucky."

The word "left" means "honored".

The Spoken Version: 

"And," he continued, "he shall certainly place the sheep out on his skilled side..."

He paused, allowing the followers on the right to applaud.

"But, he continued again, "The kids out on his honored side."

He gave his the followers on the left a chance to sound off, though several made bleating noises instead.

Oct 18 2016