Matthew 22:18 Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

The Pharisees ask whether it is lawful to pay tribute to Caesar.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

What? Are you testing me, you actors?

My Takeaway: 

This is a good test of whether translators are translating or doing something else.

KJV : 

Matthew 22:18 Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

NIV : 

Matthew 22:18 You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The word translated as "tempt" and "trap" here means "test." Tempting has a moral sense that the KJV translators try to insert wherever they can but this was not a temptation in any sense. The "trying to trap" of the NIV is a description by the translators rather than what Jesus said. It certainly describes what the Pharisees were attempting, but not what Jesus said to them.

The word translated as "hypocrites" is not translated at all. The Greek word means "actors." Our word "hypocrites" is just the Greek word adopted into English and given a different meaning. The word for "actors" may be a good basis for a new word meaning "two-faced" but this is not translating.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τί [252 verses](irreg sg neut nom) "Why" is from tis which can mean "someone," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what."

με [447 verses](pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I," "me," and "my". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

πειράζετε, [7 verses](2nd pl pres ind act) "Tempt" is peirazo, which means to "make proof or trial of," "attempt" to do, "to attempt," "to try," "to test," and, in a bad sense, "to seek to seduce," and "to tempt."

ὑποκριταί; [18 verses](noun pl masc voc) "Ye hypocrites" is hypokrites means "interpreter" or "actor."

KJV Analysis: 

Why  - -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why". 

tempt  - (CW) The word translated as "tempt" primarily means "testing." That meaning works better here. The KJV translators prefer the "tempt" translation where ever this word is used.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

ye - This is from the vocative form of the noun that means it names the person being talked to.

hypocrites? -- (UW) The Greek for "the hypocrites" is a great example of a word that has taken its English meaning from how it is used in the Bible rather than the original Greek. It means "actor" from its literal meaning, "under separation," which describes the separation between what is said and reality. Interestingly enough, it also means "interpreter," which is another separation between what is said and reality.

KJV Translation Issues: 

1
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "tempt" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrites" means "actors." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.

NIV Analysis: 

You - This is from the vocative form of the noun that means it names the person being talked to.

hypocrites? -- (UW) The Greek for "the hypocrites" is a great example of a word that has taken its English meaning from how it is used in the Bible rather than the original Greek. It means "actor" from its literal meaning, "under separation," which describes the separation between what is said and reality. Interestingly enough, it also means "interpreter," which is another separation between what is said and reality.

Why  - -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why". 

are -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

trying to  -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "trying to" in the Greek source.

trap- (WW) The word translated as "tempt" primarily means "testing." That meaning works better here. The KJV translators prefer the "tempt" translation where ever this word is used.

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "hypocrites" means "actors." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "trying to" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "trap" should be "test."

Front Page Date: 

Jul 8 2021