Matthew 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

At what time, however, did we see you lost and brought you in, uncovered and wrapped [you] up.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse uses the same basic vocabulary as Mat 25:35 and Mat 25:36. There is one word left untranslated, a conjunction, but it works better for spoken version than written. Again, the language is better understood if we assume it is being said by a sheep.

The untranslated Greek word here is 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. It is used here instead of an "and" because the verses are questions that contest what the king said.

The verb translated as "see we" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive."

"Stranger" is not a common word but a specific noun which means "guest-friend", specifically meaning someone who should receive hospitality. Both Greek and Aramaic traditions offered hospitality to travelers who had no place to stay. The word also means someone that is a "stranger to a thing", "ignorant of a thing", and "unusual". We could include the homeless in this, but perhaps "lost" comes closest to the idea.

The Greek word translated as "we took...in" means "to bring together." It has many different uses, but it Christ often uses it as "gather crops", that is, the opposite of scattering, as in, scattering seeds.

The word for "naked" means both "naked" and "destitute." It also means bald and beardless.

The word for "clothed" means "to put on" or "put around." It is a word Christ uses fairly commonly to refer to putting on clothes, starting with Solomon being compared to the lilies of the field.

Greek Vocabulary: 

πότε "When" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

δέ (conj) Untranslated is 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").

σε (pron 2nd sg acc) "Thee" is from su which means "you" and "your."

εἴδαμεν (1st pl aor act ind) "Saw we" is from 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."

ξένον [uncommon] (noun sg masc acc) "Stranger" is from xenos, which means "guest-friend" in the sense of someone from a friendly country, 'visitor," "stranger",:wander:, "refugee", "stranger to a thing", "ignorant of a thing", and "unusual".

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."

συνηγάγομεν, (verb 1st pl aor ind act) "Took...in" is from synago, which means "bring together", "gather together," "pit [two warriors against each other]", "join in one", "unite", "make friends of", "lead with one", "receive", "reconcile", "draw together", "narrow", "contract", "conclude [from premises]", " infer," and "prove."

"Or" is e which 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.

γυμνὸν [uncommon](adj sg masc acc) "Naked" is from gymnos, which means "naked", "unclad", "unarmed", "stripped" of a thing, "lightly clad", of facts, "bald", "destitute", and "beardless".

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." π

εριεβάλομεν; (verb 1st pl aor ind act) "You clothed" is from periballo, which means "to throw around", "to put on", "to encompass", "to surround", "to bring under one's power", "amplify", "expand", "appropriate mentally", "comprehend", "to excel", "to surpass", "throw beyond," and "beat in throwing." In the passive, it means "to have put around oneself." "to be involved in," and "to have come into possession of one."

Wordplay: 

The plays on words here all work because they describe sheep. 

The Spoken Version: 

At what time, however, baaahhh," he continued in his sheep voice, "did we see you lost, bah, and brought you in, and sheared and wrapped [you] up?"

The crowd laughed.

Related Verses: 

Oct 25 2016