Matthew 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Parables, Parable of the Weeds

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

During, however, some sleeping of these men, he showed up, his--the hater--and seeded fake wheat throughout the middle of the wheat and departed.

My Takeaway: 

Bad ideas are the enemy that keeps coming in the night.

KJV : 

Matthew 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

NIV : 

Matthew 13:25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.

What is Lost in Translation: 

In reading the Greek, the "enemy" seems less like a person. The actual word means "hater" from a Greek word meaning "hater," but this word is not the word that Jesus uses for "hate." So the enemy as seen by Jesus is literally hatred. The Greek word for "his" appears before "the hater," which is uncommon for Jesus who usually puts the "his" after the word. This makes the statement seem like a verbal correction, use for emphasis, someone starting to say "his hater" correcting it to "the hater."

"The sleeping of the men" and "night" also like a metaphors, for people acting without thinking and out of the darkness of ignorance.

Wordplay: 

The "men falling asleep" is a metaphor for people not being constantly vigilant. 

The word for "came" and "went away" are different forms of the same word that primarily means "to start out." 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

"The sleeping of the men" and "night" also like a metaphors, for people acting without thinking and out of the darkness of ignorance.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐν (prep)  "While" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with." --

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 an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

τῷ (pron sg dat) Untranslated is tis which can mean "someone," "something," "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."

καθεύδειν [12 verses](verb pres inf act) "Slept" is katheudo, which means "to lie down to sleep," "to sleep," and "to lie asleep."

τοὺς (article pl masc acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -

ἀνθρώπους (noun pl masc acc) "Men" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate. -- The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in plural.

ἦλθεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Came" 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.

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."

(article sg masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -

ἐχθρὸς [12 verses] (adj sg masc nom) "Enemy" is from echthros, which means "the hated," "the hateful," "the hostile," "the enemy," "the alienated," and "the hating."

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

ἐπέσπειρεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "sowed" is from speirô, which is a verb, that means "to sow seed," "to scatter like seed," and "to beget offspring.

ζιζάνια (noun pl neut acc) The term translated as "tares" is zizanion, which was a weed that grows in wheat, a kind of imitation wheat, that had black kernels instead of real wheat when it mature. It comes from a Sumerian word for "wheat."

ἀνὰ [6 verses](prep) "Among" is from ana, which is a preposition that with the genitive, means "on board" a ship.With accusative, implies upward motion; of place, "from bottom to top" or "up along;" of time, "throughout;" of mind, "to have continually" in mind, " as an adverb, "thereupon," "throughout," "all over," "up," and "arising. -

μέσον [11 verses](adj sg masc acc) Untranslated is from mesos, which means "middle," "middle point," "midway between," "offered for competition," "deposited," "by the middle," "by the waist," "impartial," "inter-mediate," "indeterminate," "things indifferent (neither good nor bad)," "middling," "moderate," "midst," "intervening space," "intervening," "difference," "in a moderate degree," "in the mean," and "equator."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

σίτου [8 verses](noun sg masc gen) "The wheat" is \sitos, which means "grain," "wheat," "barley," "food made from grain," "bread," and, most generally, "food."

καὶ (conj) And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

πῆλθεν.  (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Went his way" is from aperchomai, which means "to go away," "to depart from," "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life."

KJV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

while -- The word translated as "while" means "in," "within," "with," or "among." When referring to time, it means "during."

untranslated "some"  -- (MW) The untranslated word in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

men  - The word for "men" is in the form of that is normally the object in a sentence but with the infinitive verb below, it becomes the subject of the verb, so "the people sleeping."

slept,  -  (WF) The term used for "slept" is a Greek verb which means not just to sleep, but "to lie down in sleep." However, it is in the form of an infinitive, which makes the infinitive a noun describing the action and the "men" its subject. In English we would say "the sleeping of the men."

his  - The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

enemy  - The term, translated as "enemy" means both "hated" and "hateful." As single term it encompasses the idea that someone or something who is hated also becomes something filled with hate.

came  -- 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." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

sowed  -- The Greek word translated as "sow" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. It is, however, from the same root word as the Greek word for "seeds" so "seeding" is closer to its meaning.

tares  - The term translated as "tares" is from a weed that grows among wheat crops, a kind of imitation wheat, that had black kernels instead of real wheat when it mature. It comes from a Sumerian word for "wheat."

among  - The word translated as "among" is a very uncommon preposition for Jesus, that he uses to mean "through out."  Its primary meaning is "up along."

untranslated "middle"  -- (MW) The untranslated word here means "middle" but it is usually translated as "midst" in the NT.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

wheat, -  "The wheat" is from a word that means "grain," "wheat," "barley," "food made from grain," "bread," and, most generally, "food."

and  - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

went his way .-- The Greek verb translated as  "went his way" means "to go away," "to depart from," "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life." 

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "some" before "sleeping" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "men" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "slept" is not an active verb but an infinitive, acting as a noun.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "middle" before "the wheat" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

while -- The word translated as "while" means "in," "within," "with," or "among." When referring to time, it means "during."

untranslated "some"  -- (MW) The untranslated word in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

everyone -- (WW) - This is from the word for "men" in the form of that is normally the object in a sentence but with the infinitive verb below, it becomes the subject of the verb, so "the people sleeping."  The word "everyone" is usually the Greek word "all" in a plural, singular form.

was -- (WT) This indicates the verb is a part tense, but it is present.

sleeping,  -  (WF) The term used for "sleeping" is a Greek verb which means not just to sleep, but "to lie down in sleep." However, it is in the form of an infinitive, which makes the infinitive a noun describing the action and the "men" its subject. In English we would say "sleeping of the men."

his  - The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

enemy  - The term, translated as "enemy" means both "hated" and "hateful." As single term it encompasses the idea that someone or something who is hated also becomes something filled with hate.

came  -- 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." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

sowed  -- The Greek word translated as "sow" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. It is, however, from the same root word as the Greek word for "seeds" so "seeding" is closer to its meaning.

weeds - The term translated as "weeds" is from a weed that grows among wheat crops, a kind of imitation wheat, that had black kernels instead of real wheat when it mature. It comes from a Sumerian word for "wheat."

among  - The word translated as "among" is a very uncommon preposition for Jesus, that he uses to mean "through out."  Its primary meaning is "up along."

untranslated "middle"  -- (MW) The untranslated word here means "middle" but it is usually translated as "midst" in the NT.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

wheat, -  "The wheat" is from a word that means "grain," "wheat," "barley," "food made from grain," "bread," and, most generally, "food."

and  - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

went away. .-- The Greek verb translated as  "went away" means "to go away," "to depart from," "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life." 

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "some" before "sleeping" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "men" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "everyone" should be something more like "men."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "was" indicates the pas tense, but the verb's tense is present.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "sleeping" is not an active verb but an infinitive, acting as a noun.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "middle" before "the wheat" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 14 2020