Matthew 18:13 And if it is that he finds it,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Parable of the Lost Sheep, in the context of children

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And when he happens to discover it, honestly I tell you, that he celebrates more on it than on that ninety-nine, the ones not having wanted to wander.

My Takeaway: 

People focus on loss more than they value what they have.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

NIV : 

Matthew 18:13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In Greek, the word "sheep" is not used in this passage: it is added in Biblical translation. Jesus seems to have avoided it intentionally. The Greek has just the pronouns and number. This makes the verse seem less about sheep and more about anything or anyone lost and discovered. The article ("the") used to identify "the ninety-nine" can be either masculine, referring to people, or neuter, referring to sheep.

As we saw in the previous verse, Matthew 18:12, the meaning of a verb changed from "becomes" to "belongs to" because of the following word. Here, the same verb has a third-meaning, "happens," which is its meaning when applied to events. Here the event, "to find" follows the verb so again in changes meaning. This phrase, "happens to find it" is casually humorous but it is not translated that way.

The negative used to describe those that head not wander is not the negative of facts, but the negative of opinion and desire, the sense that the ninety-nine hadn't wanted to wander. This explains why the shepherd could leave them alone upon the mountains.

Wordplay: 

The negative used here to describe "the ones not straying" refers to an opinion or a comparison, suggesting either that the other sheep may have in fact strayed when the shepherd went of to look for the wandering sheep or that they also strayed but not as much. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

ἐὰν (conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

γένηται [117 verses](verb 3rd sg aor subj mid) "Have" is from ginomai, which means "to become," "to come into being," "to happen," "to be produced," "fall to," "belong to," "under control of," (of events}, "take place," an "come to pass." 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.

εὑρεῖν [43 verses](verb aor inf act) "That he find" is heurisko, which means "to find," "to find out," "to discover," "to devise," "to invent," "to get," and "to gain."

αὐτό, (adj sg neut acc) "It" 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." -

ἀμὴν [88 verses](exclaim)"Verily" is amen, which is the Hebrew, meaning "truly," "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek of this meaning before the NT. However, this is also the infinitive form of the Greek verb amao, which means "to reap" or "to cut."

λέγω [264 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from lego means "pick up," "choose for oneself," "pick out," and "count," "recount," "tell over," "say," "speak," "teach," "mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," "nominate," and "command."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὅτι (adv/conj) Untranslated is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that," "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore." -

χαίρει [14 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "He rejoiceth" is chairo, which means "rejoice," "take pleasure in," "delight in (doing)," and "welcome."

ἐπ(prep) "Of" is from epi. which means "on," "upon," "at," "by," "before," "across," and "against." -- The word translated as "unto" means "against," "before," "by" or "on."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "That" 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." -

μᾶλλον [13 verses](adv) "More" is mallon, which is the comparative form of mala which means "very," "exceedingly," "more certainly," "especially," "more," "to a greater degree," and "rather."

(conj)Untranslated is e which is a particle meaning "either," "or," or "than."

ἐπὶ (prep) "Of" is from epi. which means "on," "upon," "at," "by," "before," "across," and "against."

τοῖς (article pl masc/neut dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἐνενήκοντα [4 verses] (numeral)"Ninety" is enenekonta that is the Greek number ninty plus the number ennea, the number nine. The article preceding it makes it a noun and the object of the verb.

ἐννέα [5 verses](numeral) "Nine" is ennea, the number "nine."

τοῖς (article pl masc/neut dat) "Which" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

μὴ (partic) "Not" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. With pres. or aor. subj. used in a warning or statement of fear, "take care" It can be the conjunction "lest" or "for fear that."-

πεπλανημένοις. [12 verses] (part pl perf mp masc dat) "went...astray" is from planaô, which means "to cause to wander," "to lead astray," and, in the passive, "wander," "stray," and "to be misled."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

if so -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when." This is not the common word that means "if."

be  - (WW) The word translated as "be" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In the previous verse, where it appeared in exactly the same form, it was translated as "have" but it does have a secondary meaning of "to belong to." Here, however, it means "happens," which is its meaning when applied to events. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "to be," which is existence in the current state.

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

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the PREVIOUS verb. The following verb has no such form.

find  - (WF) The term used for "find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." This verb is an infinitive, which makes it the "event" referred to by the previous verb.

it, -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  

verily -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

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

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the PREVIOUS verb.

rejoiceth  - "Rejoiceth" is from a Greek verb that means "rejoice," "take pleasure in," and "welcome."

more  - "More" is the comparative form of the Geek word that means "very," "exceedingly," "more certainly," "especially," "more," "to a greater degree," and "rather."

of -- (CW) The word translated as "of" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

that -- (CW) The word translated as "that " is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. Normally, it would just be translated as "it." It is not one of the words translated as "that."

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

than  - The untranslated word "than" is from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

of - (CW) The word translated as "of" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

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. 

ninety - This is the Greek numeral "ninety."

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

nine, - This is the Greek numeral "nine."

which -- (CW) 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.

went (WT) This helping verb "went" indicates that the verb is the past tense, but the terns is the past, perfect, indicating an action completed in the past so "having gone" is better.

not  - (CW) The negative "not" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "don't think" something, not that it isn't true. If it wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used. However, it is also a relative negative, so something is less true than something else, that is, a matter of degrees which is a matter of opinion.

astray.  - (WF) "Astray" is from the same verm as used in the previous verse, which means "to cause to wander," "to lead astray" and "to be misled." The form is probably the passive as it was in the previous verse. This is not an active verb, but a participle.

KJV Translation Issues: 

14
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if so" is the common word that should be translated as "when."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "be" should be "happens."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "find" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to find."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The conjunction "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" is not the common word form usually translated as "of."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that" before "sheep"  is not a common word usually translated as "that."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" is not the common word form usually translated as "of."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "sheep" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" before "ninety-nine" is not the common word form usually translated as "of."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "which" is not the common word form usually translated as "which."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "went" indicates the simple past tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the subjective negative of opinion with the sense of "not wanting," "not thinking" or not seeming when used with a non-opinion verb.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "went astray" is not an active verb but a participle, "having gone astray."

NIV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

if -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when." This is not the common word that means "if."

missing "happens"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "happers" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In the previous verse, where it appeared in exactly the same form, it was translated as "have" but it does have a secondary meaning of "to belong to." Here, however, it means "happens," which is its meaning when applied to events. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "to be," which is existence in the current state.

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the PREVIOUS verb. The following verb has no such form.

finds  - (WF) The term used for "find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." This verb is an infinitive, which makes it the "event" referred to by the previous verb.

it, -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  

Truly -- The word translated as "truly " is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

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

tell -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the PREVIOUS verb.

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

happier - (CW) "Happier" is from a Greek verb that means "rejoice," "take pleasure in," and "welcome."

missing "more"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "more" is the comparative form of the Geek word that means "very," "exceedingly," "more certainly," "especially," "more," "to a greater degree," and "rather."

about -- The word translated as "about" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

that -- (CW) The word translated as "that " is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. Normally, it would just be translated as "it." It is not one of the words translated as "that."

one sheep, -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "one sheep" in the Greek source.

than  - The untranslated word "than" is from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

about -  The word translated as "about" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

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. 

ninety - This is the Greek numeral "ninety."

nine, - This is the Greek numeral "nine."

that -- The word translated as "that" 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.

did  - (WT) This helping verb "did" indicates that the verb is the past tense, but the terns is the past, perfect, indicating an action completed in the past so "having gone" is better.

not  - (CW) The negative "not" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "don't think" something, not that it isn't true. If it wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used. However, it is also a relative negative, so something is less true than something else, that is, a matter of degrees which is a matter of opinion.

wander off..  -(WF)  "Astray" is from the same verb as used in the previous verse, which means "to cause to wander," "to lead astray" and "to be misled." The form is probably passive as it was in the previous verse. This is not an active verb, but a participle.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if so" is the common word that should be translated as "when."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The verb "happens" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "find" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to find."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The conjunction "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" is not the common word form usually translated as "of."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that" before "sheep"  is not a common word usually translated as "that."
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The word "one sheep" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "did" indicates the simple past tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the subjective negative of opinion with the sense of "not wanting," "not thinking" or not seeming when used with a non-opinion verb.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "wandering off" is not an active verb but a participle, "having wandered off."

Front Page Date: 

Mar 26 2021