Matthew 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

During teaching about forgiving people's mistakes, Jesus tell a parable about forgiving debts.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Then, calling out to him, that master of his says to him: "Worthless slave, all that debt there, I let go for you when you cried out to me."

My Takeaway: 

Jesus is "calling out to" all those who do no see they are using double standards.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

NIV : 

Matthew 18:32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Two unique Greek words appear here, one translated as "debt" and the other translated as "because." The word "debt" appears many times in translating Jesus's words and in this parable, but a variety of words are used by him, four different nouns, and two different verbs. All are from the same root except one of the nouns. The word translated as "because" is not one of the many common words meaning "because," but one that refers to specific occurrence in the past.

The "said" here is in the present tense, "says," which is different from all the other verbs, which are in the "story" tense that has the sense of "at that time." It sticks out here, making it seem intentional and funny, emphasizing the word.

Jesus uses the same rare (for him) word twice in this verse, one he used earlier in the story. Here, he uses it in two different senses. This word is used a half dozen times by Jesus and it is translated into almost as many different English words. Here, it is translated as "called" and "desirest" in the KJV and "called" and "begged" in the NIV. All of those translations are confusing this with other Greek words. The sense is "called out to." When used by a king, the "called out to" sense is "summoned." When used by a supplicant, the sense is "cried out to." This is the punchline of the verse so the repetition and the change in meaning serves a purpose.

Wordplay: 

The "all" here refers to both the size of the debt (a debt of everything) as much as how much was forgiven. 

Both the word translated as "called" and the different word translated as "desirest" both mean to "summon." 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Again Jesus reminds us that all that the source of life asks in return for all we have received is recognition, to be called upon.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

τότε  (adv) "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

προσκαλεσάμενος [3 verses](part sg aor mid masc nom) "After that he had called" is proskaleo, which means to"call on," "summon," "address," "accost," "call to oneself," "invite," "summon," "cite or summon into court," in the passive, "to be summoned," and metaphorically, "call forth," and "excite."

αὐτὸν (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."

(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."

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."

λέγει [264 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Said" 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 spelt the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "Unto 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."

Δοῦλ [56 verses](noun sg masc voc) "Servant" is doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

επονηρέ, [38 verses]( adj sg masc voc) "Oh thou wicked" is poneros, which means "burdened by toil," "useless," and "worthless." In a moral sense, it means "worthless," "base," and "cowardly."

πᾶσαν [212 verses](adj sg/pl fem acc) "All" is from pas, which means "all," "the whole," "every," "anyone," "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way," "on every side," "in every way," and "altogether."

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὀφειλὴν [1 verse](noun sg fem acc) "Debt" is opheile, which means "debt."

ἐκείνην [107 verses](adj sg fem acc) "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."

ἀφῆκά [73 verses](verb 1st sg aor ind act) "I forgive" is aphiemi, which means "to let fall," "to send away," "give up," "hand over," "to let loose," "to get rid of," "to leave alone," "to pass by," "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself."

σοι, (pron 2nd sg dat) "You" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you."

ἐπεὶ (conj) "Because" is epei, which means "after that," "since," and "when" referring to a definite occurrence in the past.

παρεκάλεσάς [6 verses](verb 2nd sg aor ind act) "Thou desirest" is parakaleo which means "call to," "call in," "send for," "invite," "summon," "address," "demand," "exhort," "encouraged," "excite," "demand," and "beseech." It means literally "call closer."

με: (pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I," "me," and "my."

KJV Analysis: 

Then -- The Greek word for "then" means "at this time" or "then." With the subjective negative, the sense is "not when."

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.

"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. 

lord,  - The word translated as "lord" also means "master," in the sense of owning slaves, which is the case here.

after that he had -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "after that he had" in the Greek source.

called  - (CW, WF) The verb translated as "after he had called" means "call upon" or "summon, but it has the specific meaning to "cite or summon into court." It is in the form of an adjective, "summoning," referring to the lord or master. In Matthew 18:29, it was used from one servant to another as "called out." Here the sense is "summoned" because it is the king. It is not the simple word "called."

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

said  - (WT) The "said" is the common word meaning "to say" and "to speak." It is the word Christ uses to refer to himself speaking. It is the present tense not the past. Until now, this story has been in a tense that is usually translated as the past.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

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

O thou -- This is added to indicate that the following word is in the form of address, using it as a term to identify someone.

wicked -- The word translated as "wicked" means "second-rate" or "worthless." It doesn't have a sense of malevolence that our word "evil" does. This article explores its meaning in more detail.

servant, -- The noun translated as "servant" means "slave." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible.

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

forgave -- The word translated as "forgive" 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. See this article for more. It has the sense of leaving something alone and letting it drop. In this section, it refers to letting go of debts.

thee -- The word for "you" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

all  - The word translated as "all " means "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. It is in the possessive case modifying "debt." So, a "debt of everything." It refers as much to the size of the debt as to how much was forgiven.

that - The word translated as "those" is an adjective that highlights its noun as being in a specific place or time from a word that means "there."

"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. 

debt, -- The Greek word translated as "debt" is a noun that means "debt." Jesus used four different nouns and two verbs to describe "debt," almost all are related (except one), different forms of the same root. This is the simplest from the root.

because  - (CW) "Because" is a word that means "since," "after that," and "when." It is interesting because it is not the word that Christ usually uses for "because." It is a word that Christ uses nowhere else, which is even more interesting.

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

desiredst -- (WW) "Desired" is the same word translated above as "after he had called." which means "call to," "call in," "send for," "invite," "summon," "address," "demand," "exhort," and "encouraged." A lot of these meanings work.

me: -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lord" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "after that he had" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "called" is not the common word usually translated as "called."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "called" is not an active verb but a participle, "calling out to."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "said" indicates the past tense, but it is the present tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "debt" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "because" is not one of the common word usually translated as "because."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "desirest" should be something more like "called out."

NIV Analysis: 

Then -- The Greek word for "then" means "at this time" or "then." With the subjective negative, the sense is "not when."

the   -- The word "the" 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.

master ,  - The word translated as "master " also means "master," in the sense of owning slaves, which is the case here.

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

called  - (CW, WF) The verb translated as "after he had called" means "call upon" or "summon, but it has the specific meaning to "cite or summon into court." It is in the form of an adjective, "summoning," referring to the lord or master. In Matthew 18:29, it was used from one servant to another as "called out." Here the sense is "summoned" because it is the king. It is not the simple word "called."

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

missing "him"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. 

You -- This is added to indicate that the following word is in the form of address, using it as a term to identify someone.

wicked -- The word translated as "wicked" means "second-rate" or "worthless." It doesn't have a sense of malevolence that our word "evil" does. This article explores its meaning in more detail.

servant, -- The noun translated as "servant" means "slave." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible.

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

said  - (WT) The "said" is the common word meaning "to say" and "to speak." It is the word Christ uses to refer to himself speaking. It is the present tense not the past. Until now, this story has been in a tense that is usually translated as the past.

missing "to him"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. 

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

canceled -- (WW) The word translated as "canceled " 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. See this article for more. It has the sense of leaving something alone and letting it drop. In this section, it refers to letting go of debts.

all  - The word translated as "all " means "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. It is in the possessive case modifying "debt." So, a "debt of everything." It refers as much to the size of the debt as to how much was forgiven.

that - The word translated as "those" is an adjective that highlights its noun as being in a specific place or time from a word that means "there."

"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. 

debt, -- The Greek word translated as "debt" is a noun that means "debt." Jesus used four different nouns and two verbs to describe "debt," almost all are related (except one), different forms of the same root. This is the simplest from the root.

of -- (WW) This word "for" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. "Of" is from another word form.

yours --(WF)  The word for "yours" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun.  It is not a possessive form and does not modify.

because  - (CW) "Because" is a word that means "since," "after that," and "when." It is interesting because it is not the word that Christ usually uses for "because." It is a word that Christ uses nowhere else, which is even more interesting.

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

begged -- (WW) "Begged " is the same word translated above as "after he had called." which means "call to," "call in," "send for," "invite," "summon," "address," "demand," "exhort," and "encouraged." A lot of these meanings work.

me -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

to  - -- This object is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

NIV Translation Issues: 

13
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "of his" after "master " is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "called" is not the common word usually translated as "called."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "called" is not an active verb but a participle, "calling out to."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "the servant in" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "him" after "called" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "said" indicates the past tense, but it is the present tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "to him" after "said" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "canceled" should be something more like "let go."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "debt" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "of" should be something more like "to."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "your" is not a possessive but an indirect object.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "because" is not one of the common word usually translated as "because."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "begged " should be something more like "called out."

Front Page Date: 

Apr 13 2021