Matthew 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

At what time, however, did we see you sickly or in the pen and we came to you.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse uses the same basic vocabulary as 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 as a sheep, but not as obviously as the previous verse, Mat 25:38.

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."

The word used for "sick" is an uncommon one. Despite all of Christ's work healing, he only uses it a couple times before. It means "to be weak or sickly."

"Prison" is a word that means a "watcher", "guard", "chain", "keeper," and "a place where people are watched." Christ uses it to clearly mean prison elsewhere, but in the context of sheep, we might say the "pen."

The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway."

The word translated as "unto" means "towards", "by reason of (for)," and "against." Here, it has the sense of "in the presence of."

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."

εἴδομεν (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."

ἀσθενοῦντα [uncommon](verb 1st sg aor ind act) "Sick" is from astheneo, which means "to be weak", "to be feeble," and "to be sickly."\

"Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

φυλακῇ (noun sg fem dat) "Prison" is from phylake, which means "a watching or guarding", "a guard", "a ward", "a watch", " "a station", "a post," "a keeping", "a preserving", "safekeeping", "a safe-guard," and "a precaution."

καὶ "And" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

ἤλθομεν (verb 1st pl aor ind act) "Come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

πρός "Unto" is from pros, which means "on the side of", "in the direction of", "from (place)", "towards" "before", "in the presence of", "in the eyes of", "in the name of", "by reason of", "before (supplication)", "proceeding from (for effects)", "dependent on", "derivable from", "agreeable,""becoming", "like", "at the point of", "in addition to", "against," and "before." -

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

The Spoken Version: 

did we see you

"At what time, however, ​baaahhh," he continued in his sheep voice, "sickly or in the pen and we came to you?"

The crowd laughed.

Related Verses: 

Oct 26 2016