Matthew 15:24 I am not sent but unto the lost sheep

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

The apostles ask him to send away a Canaanite (that is, non-Judean) woman, who is asking Jesus to heal her daughter.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Was I not been sent out except for these flocks, the destroyed ones of House Israel?

My Takeaway: 

Jesus didn't see himself as teaching only to the Judeans.

KJV : 

Matthew 15:24 I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

NIV : 

Matthew 15:24 “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Could it be that this verse is translated as the opposite of the way Jesus meant it? That is, that he meant it as an ironic question, the translators missed his meaning? It begins with a negative verb, which is a common form of an interrogatory statement. This also makes more sense because of the woman's reaction, approaching and praising him instead of being rejected. In John 10:16, Jesus says that he has come from other flocks that he must bring also.

The verse contains a double negative but double negatives are still negative in Greek.

Wordplay: 

The term translated as "lost" means "destroyed" and it refers both to people who are physically damaged, the ones Christ was curing, but also to those who were ruined in terms of their membership in the family. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective. -

ἀπεστάλην (verb 1st sg aor ind pass) "I am...sent" is from apostello, which means "to send off," "to send away," or "to dispatch."

εἰ μὴ (conj particle) "Except" is from ei me, which is the conjunction that means "if not," "but," and "except." εἰ is the particle use with the imperative usually to express conditions "if" or indirect questions, "whether." (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

εἰς (prep) "Unto" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)," "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)," "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὰ (article pl neut acc))  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

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

τὰ (article pl neut acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἀπολωλότα (part pl perf act neut acc) "Lost" is from apollymi, which means "to demolish," "to lay waste," "to lose," "to perish," "to die," "to cease to exist," and "to be undone."

οἴκου (noun sg masc gen) "Of the house" is from oikos, which means "house," "dwelling place," "room," "home," "meeting hall," "household goods," "substance," and "ruling family." It is any dwelling place but not exclusively a separate house.

Ἰσραήλ. "Of Israel" is from Israel, which means "Israel."

KJV Analysis: 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

am -- This helping verb "am" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.n English, adding "in fact" or "really" gives the sense of the word.

sent  - The "sent" is from a verb that means "to send off" and "dispatch." It is the source of our word "apostle." It is passive in a tense usually translated as the past.

but -- (CW) "But" is from two words that mean "if not" or "probably not," with the negative sense of not being wanted to happen. It is used to mean "except." It is not one of the two common words translated as "but."

unto  - (CW) The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "up to" limits in time and measure, and "for" when describing a purpose. The "for" describing a purpose seems more likely here.

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. 

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." There a two articles here, one before the noun and another before the adjective, "lost." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

lost  - (CW) ) "Lost" if from a verb, used an adjective, which means "to destroy utterly," "to kill," and "to lay waste." It can mean "lost," but in the sense of "to lose one's life." Here, the term seems to refer to people who are damaged. The form is a verbal adjective, "destroyed."

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

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

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

house  - The word "house" means all the holding of a family including both its people and property.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

Israel. - -- The word translated as "Israel" comes from the Hebrew, not the Greek.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unto" probably should be "for."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "lost" probably should be "destroyed."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lost" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.

NIV Analysis: 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

was-- This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

missing "not"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.n English, adding "in fact" or "really" gives the sense of the word.

sent  - The "sent" is from a verb that means "to send off" and "dispatch." It is the source of our word "apostle." It is passive in a tense usually translated as the past.

only -- (WW) "Only" is from two words that mean "if not" or "probably not," with the negative sense of not being wanted to happen. It is used to mean "except." It is not one of the two common words translated as "but."

to  - (CW) The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "up to" limits in time and measure, and "for" when describing a purpose. The "for" describing a purpose seems more likely here.

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. 

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." There a two articles here, one before the noun and another before the adjective, "lost." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

lost  - (CW) ) "Lost" if from a verb, used an adjective, which means "to destroy utterly," "to kill," and "to lay waste." It can mean "lost," but in the sense of "to lose one's life." Here, the term seems to refer to people who are damaged. The form is a verbal adjective, "destroyed."

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

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

missing "house"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "house" means all the holding of a family including both its people and property.

Israel. - -- The word translated as "Israel" comes from the Hebrew, not the Greek.

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "not" before "sent" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "only" should be "except."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" probably should be "for."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lost" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "lost" probably should be "destroyed."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "house" before "Israel" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 29 2021