Matthew 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

In a section about forgiving debts and mistakes people make.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Literal Verse: 

Being moved, however, the master of that slave there released him and that loan? He let him go.

What is Lost in Translation: 

This verse begins with a reference to a "gut feelng" which is lost in translation. In Greek, the "bowels" were considered the seat of compassion. We describe this as "being moved" in a very similar sense. This words begins the sentence, setting up the rest.

The "forgave" is set up as a punchline by it phrasing, "And that debt? He forgave him/it." The last word is in a form where it could refer to the slave, as an indirect object, or to the debt, as an object.

My Takeaway: 

Even the most powerful have to satisfy their gut feelings.

Greek : 

Greek Vocabulary: 

σπλαγχνισθεὶς [5 verses](part sg aor mp masc nom) "Was moved with compassion" is splagchnizomai, which means to "feel pity, compassion, or mercy." It is a New Testament word. It is from splanchnon which means ones insides, the bowels.

δὲ (conj) "Then" 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").

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

κύριος [92 verses](noun sg masc nom) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power," "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family."

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

δούλου [56 verses](noun sg masc gen) "The servant" is doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

[ἐκείνου] [107 verses](adj sg masc gen) "Of that" is ekeinos, which means "the person there," "that person," "that thing," "in that case," "in that way," "at that place," and "in that manner."

ἀπέλυσεν [13 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "And loosed" is  apolyo, which means "to loose from" "to set free," "to release," "to acquit," "to divorce [a wife]," "to do away with," and "to begin to count." In the passive, it means "to be released," "to be separated [combatants]," "to be brought forth [a child]," and "to be delivered [of a mother]," and "to be undone."

αὐτόν, (adj sg masc acc) "Him" 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."

καὶ (conjk) "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."

τὸ (article sg neut nom/acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

δάνιον [1 verse](noun sg neut nom/acc) "The debt" is daneion, which means "loan."

ἀφῆκεν [73 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Forgave" is aphiemi, which means "to let fall," "to send away," "give up," "hand over," "to let loose," "let go," "loose," "set free," "send away," "to get rid of," "to leave alone," "to pass by," "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself." --

αὐτῷ. (adj sg neut dat) "Him" 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."

KJV Analysis: 

Then  - (WW) The Greek word translated as "then" is usually translated as "but." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

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. 

lord  - The word translated as "lord" means "lord" and "master." The standard English word for one who controls slaves is the master. It is, however, the word translated as "lord" to refer to God.

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.

that  - The word translated as "that" is an adjective that highlights its noun as being in a specific place or time from a word that means "there." Here, it refers to the slave laying on the floor.

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. 

servant  - The word translated as "servant" is the word for slave, but it also means a person held in bond for a debt, which is clearly its meaning here. However, using "bondsman" loses the "master" and "slave" contrast.

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. Technically, it could be the middle voice as well, where the subject acts on themselves, but we would use passive in either case.

moved with compassion,  - (WF, WP) "Moved with compassion" is from a verb that means to "to feel compassion." It is not an active verb but a verb in the form of a verbal adjective, particle, "feeling compassion." It is a New Testament word. It is from a word that means "bowels." Bowels were considered the seat of compassion. So its sense is feeling something in your guts, so "movement" is appropriate. Since the form is a passive, participle, "being moved."

and -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "and" in the Greek source. It was added because the previous verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

loosed  - (CW) "Loosed" is from a verb that means "to loose from," "to set free," and "to discharge." Interestingly, in another context the word means "to destroy utterly," "to lose," and "to perish." It is not the common word used to mean "loose," which is its Greek root, but a more complicated word meaning "loosed from." Our word "release" works well.

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

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

forgave  - -- The word translated as "forgave" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave," "forgive," "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament. This is Jesus's first word in the Gospels (Matthew 3:15) when he tells John to "suffer" baptizing him. It is often translated as "to leave" or "to let" in the Gospels. It is first translated as "forgive" in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:12) where it is applied to forgiving debts. It has the sense of leaving something alone and letting it drop.

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This verb could be an indirect object, as translated, but it could also be a pronoun referring to the debt, at the verb.

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. 

debt - (CW) "Debt" is a noun that means "loan." Jesus only uses this particular word once, though he does use another unrelated word for "debt" that he also uses only once in the Lord's prayer, Matthew 6:12. Jesus uses the other, more common word, throughout the rest of this parable.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "then" should be something more like "but."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "servant" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "moved" is not an active verb but a participle, "being moved."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "moved" phrase begins the verse.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "loosed" is not the common word usually translated as "loosed."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "debt" is not the common word usually translated as "debt."

NIV : 

Matthew 18:27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "however" is usually translated as "but." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

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." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

servant  - The word translated as "servant" is the word for slave, but it also means a person held in bond for a debt, which is clearly its meaning here. However, using "bondsman" loses the "master" and "slave" contrast.

missing "there"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "these" is an adjective that highlights its noun as being in a specific place or time from a word that means "there." Here, it refers to the slave laying on the floor.

’s -- This "'s"  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.

master - The word translated as "lord" means "lord" and "master." The standard English word for one who controls slaves is the master. It is, however, the word translated as "lord" to refer to God.

took pity - (WF, WP) "Took pity" is from a verb that means to "to feel compassion." It is not an active verb but a verb in the form of a verbal adjective, particle, "feeling compassion." It is a New Testament word. It is from a word that means "bowels." Bowels were considered the seat of compassion. So its sense is feeling something in your guts, so "movement" is appropriate. Since the form is a passive, participle, "being moved."

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

canceled - - -- (CW) The word translated as "cancelled" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave," "forgive," "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament. This is Jesus's first word in the Gospels (Matthew 3:15) when he tells John to "suffer" baptizing him. It is often translated as "to leave" or "to let" in the Gospels. It is first translated as "forgive" in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:12) where it is applied to forgiving debts. It has the sense of leaving something alone and letting it drop.

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. 

debt - (CW) "Debt" is a noun that means "loan." Jesus only uses this particular word once, though he does use another unrelated word for "debt" that he also uses only once in the Lord's prayer, Matthew 6:12.

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

let  - (CW) "Let...go" is from a verb that means "to loose from," "to set free," and "to discharge." Interestingly, in another context the word means "to destroy utterly," "to lose," and "to perish." It is not the common word used to mean "loose," which is its Greek root, but a more complicated word meaning "loosed from." Our word "release" works well, having both the sense of destroy and free.

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

go. -- This is from the prefix of the previous verb that means "from."

NIV Translation Issues: 

9
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "servant" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "there" after "servant" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "took pity" is not an active verb but a participle, "taking pity."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "taking pity" phrase begins the verse.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "on him" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "canceled" is the common word usually translated as "forgive."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "debt" is not the common word usually translated as "debt."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "let...go" is the not common word usually translated as "let go."

Related Verses: 

Unimportant Opinions and Imaginings: 

Having a gut-feeling of compassion, however, the one controlling the indentured servant there [on the floor] release him. He also dropped his debt.

Front Page Date: 

Apr 8 2021