Matthew 16:2 When it is evening, you say, fair weather:

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

The Pharisees and Sadducees ask Jesus for a sign. 

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

About an evening occurring, you say,  Tranquil weather because it is fiery, this sky.

My Takeaway: 

We can foresee events by understanding the nature of the universe.

KJV : 

Matthew 16:2 When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

NIV : 

Matthew 16:2 When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’

What is Lost in Translation: 

This verse has only nine Greek words, but three of them are uncommon for Jesus. One is only used here. There is a metaphorical meaning here that says that when the sky is on fire, it leads to tranquility since the Greek word for "red" is literally "is fiery."  Today, we have our own saying for this idea: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight."

Wordplay: 

Good weather is a metaphor for tranquility.  "Red" is from the root word "fire." Fire is a metaphor for purification. So Jesus is saying that peace comes from purification.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

"Fire" is associated in Christianity with punishment, but Jesus refers both to the productive use of fire in ovens for the baking of bread and in getting rid of the trash in the junkyard. "Fair weather" is  is a metaphor for tranquility and peace.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὀψίας [2 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Evening" is from opsios, which means "the latter part of day," and"evening."

γενομένης (part sg aor mid fem gen) "When it is" is from ginomai, which means "to become," "to come into being," "to happen," "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

λέγετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye say" is from lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

Εὐδία, [1 verse](noun sg fem nom) "Fair weather" is from eudia, which means "fair weather" or "fine weather," and is a metaphor for "tranquility" and "peace."

πυρράζει [2 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is red" is pyrrazo, which is a verb that means "to be fiery red." Its root is -pyrros, which means "ed" and "flame-colored."

γὰρ (conj) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for," "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what." --The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

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

οὐρανός: (noun sg masc nom) "Sky" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate." -- The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

KJV Analysis: 

When --  (WW) The word here 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. However, here the sense is "concerning" or "about." 

it -- (IW) This is from the singular form of the verb, but since the verb isn't active, it shouldn't be used.

is  - (WW, WF) The word translated as "is" is not the normal verb"to be," but something like its opposite. It means "to become" or "to happen" that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state or having a certain characteristic. It is not an active verb by a verbal adjective, "happening" or "coming into being." The tense of this verb is "at some point in time.

evening, - The Greek word translated as "evening" means "the latter part of day," and"evening." Jesus only uses this word twice in the sense of the time approaching sunset, before it has gotten dark. Jesus only uses this word twice.

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

say, -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak."

It will be -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "it will be" in the Greek source.

fair weather: "Fair weather" is translated from a Greek word that means literally, "good weather." It is a metaphor for tranquility and peace. Jesus only uses this word only here.

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause." 

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. 

sky  -  "Sky" is from the Greek word usually translated as "heaven," the place of God. It means the "vault of heaven" specifically, that arc of the sky. It is also used to refer to the universe beyond earth. 

is red.  - "Is red" is from a Greek verb that means literally, "to be fire colored." It is from the base word for "fire" which, in Greek is also the base for the color, red. "Fire" is associated in Christianity with punishment, but Christ refers both to the productive use of fire in ovens for the baking of bread and in getting rid of the trash in the junkyard.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "when" should be something more like "about."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "it" isn't justified by the text.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "is" should be something more like "happens."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "is" is not an active verb but a participle, "happening."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "it will be" doesn't exist in the source.

NIV Analysis: 

When --  (WW) The word here 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. However, here the sense is "concerning" or "about." 

evening, - The Greek word translated as "evening" means "the latter part of day," and"evening." Jesus only uses this word twice in the sense of the time approaching sunset, before it has gotten dark. Jesus only uses this word twice.

comes - (CW, WF) The word translated as "comes" is not the normal verb "comes," but it means "to become" or "to happen" that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state or having a certain characteristic. It is not an active verb by a verbal adjective, "happening" or "coming into being." The tense of this verb is "at some point in time.

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

say, -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak."

It will be -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "it will be" in the Greek source.

fair weather: "Fair weather" is translated from a Greek word that means literally, "good weather." It is a metaphor for tranquility and peace. Jesus only uses this word only here.

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause." 

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. 

sky  -  "Sky" is from the Greek word usually translated as "heaven," the place of God. It means the "vault of heaven" specifically, that arc of the sky. It is also used to refer to the universe beyond earth. 

is red.  - "Is red" is from a Greek verb that means literally, "to be fire colored." It is from the base word for "fire" which, in Greek is also the base for the color, red. "Fire" is associated in Christianity with punishment, but Christ refers both to the productive use of fire in ovens for the baking of bread and in getting rid of the trash in the junkyard.

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "comes" is not the common word usually translated as "becomes."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "is" is not an active verb but a participle, "happening."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "it will be" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

Feb 3 2021