Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman...

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A long section about "the end of the world" or, more precisely, "the culmination of an era." The appearance of stability does not mean that change will not soon show up.

KJV : 

Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

Literal Verse: 

This, however, you do know: because if he had seen, the estate manager, in which night period the thief comes, he watched, probably, and not probably permitted it to be dug into, that house of his.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Here, the word translated as "come" is applied to a thief, where in the previous verse, it was applied to "that lord of yours" and, in the next verse, "to the son of the man." So is Jesus describing himself as a "thief?" In this verse, as with the verses before and after, the come here is the present tense, not the future. This series of verses is more complicated than that, explained in this article.

There is a lot going on here, including some humorous repeated  uses of the word for "probably." There are also a couple of different Greek verbs both translated as "know." One matches the "know" in the previous KJV verse (Matthew 24:42), which means "to see." The other word is the common word translated as "to know" and matches the "know" in Matthew 24:39. The noun and verb both translated as "watch" in English are unrelated and one of them doesn't mean "watch" at all.

Greek : 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐκεῖνο [107 verses](adj sg neut acc) "This" is ekeinos, which means "the person there," "that person," "that thing," "in that case," "in that way," "at that place," and "in that manner."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" 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").

γινώσκετε [62 verses] (verb 2nd pl pres ind/imper) "Know," is from ginosko which means "to learn to know," "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

ὅτι [332 verses]((adv/conj) "That" is from 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."

εἰ  [90 verses](conj) "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever," "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

ᾔδει [166 verses](verb 3rd sg plup ind act) "Had known" is from eido which means "to see," "to examine," "to perceive," "to behold," "to know how to do," "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

οἰκοδεσπότης (noun sg masc nom) "Goodman of the house" is from oikodespotes , which means "master or steward of a house," "owner of a domicile," and "native ruler (as opp. foreign emperor)."

ποίᾳ [13 verses](adj sg fem dat) "What" is from poios, which means "of what kind," "whose," "what," and "which."

φυλακῇ [10 verses](noun sg fem dat) "Watch" is from phylake, which means "a watching or guarding," "a guard," "a ward," "a watch," " "a station," "a post," "a keeping," "a preserving," "safekeeping," "a safe-guard," and "a precaution."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

κλέπτης (noun sg masc nom) "The thief" is from kleptes, which means a "thief," "cheat," and "knave."

ἔρχεται, [198 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out," "to come," "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place. --

ἐγρηγόρησεν [14 verses] (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Have watched" is gregoreo, which means "to become fully awake," and "to watch."

ἂν [60 verses](particle) "Would" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have," "might," "should," and "could."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "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."

οὐκ [269 verses](particle)"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.

ἂν [60 verses](particle)"Would" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have," "might," "should," and "could."

εἴασεν [6 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Have suffered" is from eao, which means "to suffer," "to permit," "to let alone," "giving up," "to concede" in an argument, and "to let be."

διορυχθῆναι [4 verses](verb aor inf pass) "To be broken up" is diorysso, which means "digging through, "having dug a trench across or along," metaphor: "undermine," "ruin," "worm out," and Pass., "to be shut up in a funeral vault."

τὴν [821 verses](article sg fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

οὶκίαν (noun sg fem acc) "House" is from oikia, which means "house," "building," and "household."

αὐτοῦ. [720 verses](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."

KJV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

know  - "Know" is from a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn." It is in a form that could be a command, but it could also be a simple statement: "you do know."

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

that  - -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

if  - The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

goodman of the house  - "The goodman of the house" is from a word that means the master, steward or owner of the house. Jesus uses it to refer to both those who own an estate and manage it.

had  - This helping verb "had" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past, in this case before the past, a pluperfect tense.

known  - (CW) The verb translated as "known" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." It is not the word translated as "know" above, which is the common way of saying "to know."

in  -- This word "in" 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. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

what  - The word translated as "what" also means "which," "what kind" and "whose." This is the same word used in the previous verse in the phrase "what day."

watch - "Watch" is from a word that means "a watching" or "a guarding." In Matthew 18:30, it is  used to mean prison but here it refers to the four "watches" that the nighttime was divided into as the daytime was divided into twelve "hours." The sense is "a night period."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

thief  - "Thief" is from the Greek word for "thief," "cheat," and "knave."

would  - (CW) "Would" is from a Greek word that indicates something that might happen. However, this word appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it. A "would" before the verb usually indicates a subjective form, but that is not used here. The adverb "probably" comes closer to capturing the meaning here.

come,  - The word translated as "would come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." It is in the present tense, not the future or a tense indicating something that might happen.

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

would - (CW) "Would" is from a Greek word that indicates something that might happen. However, this word appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it. A "would" before the verb usually indicates a subjective form, but that is not used here. The adverb "probably" comes closer to capturing the meaning here.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

watched,  - "Watched" is from a Greek verb that means to "watch" or "to be or to become fully awake." It is not in a form that indicates something that might happen or was completed in the pasted.

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

would  - (CW) "Would" is from a Greek word that indicates something that might happen. However, this word appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it. A "would" before the verb usually indicates a subjective form, but that is not used here. The adverb "probably" comes closer to capturing the meaning here.

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. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

suffered  - "Suffered" is from a verb that means to "suffer," "to permit," and "to let alone." This word is used for the first time here in the NT. Its sense is "permit."

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. 

house  - The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea. This word fits the title used for the man.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

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

broken up.  -- (CW) "Broken up" is from a verb that means "digging through" but metaphorically means "to be ruined," which is more the sense here.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "known" is not the common word usually translated as "known."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "would" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "would" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "would" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "house" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "broken up" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV : 

Matthew 24:43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

NIV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

understand - (CW) "Understand" is from a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn." It is in a form that could be a command, but it could also be a simple statement: "you do know."

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

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

If - The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

the  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

owner of the house  - "Owner of the house" is from a word that means the master, steward or owner of the house. Jesus uses it to refer to both those who own an estate and manage it.

had  - This helping verb "had" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past, in this case before the past, a pluperfect tense.

known  - (CW) The verb translated as "known" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." It is not the word translated as "undertand" above, which is the common way of saying "to know."

at -- This word "at " 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. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

what  - The word translated as "what" also means "which," "what kind" and "whose." This is the same word used in the previous verse in the phrase "what day."

time of night - "Time of night" is from a word that means "a watching" or "a guarding." In Matthew 18:30, it is  used to mean prison but here it refers to the four "watches" that the nighttime was divided into as the daytime was divided into twelve "hours." The sense is "a night period."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

thief  - "Thief" is from the Greek word for "thief," "cheat," and "knave."

was - (CW) "Was " is from a Greek word that indicates the past tense. However, this word here appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it.  The adverb "probably" comes closer to capturing the meaning here.

coming,  - The word translated as "coming" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." It is in the present tense, not the future or a tense indicating something that might happen.

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

would - (CW) "Would" is from a Greek word that indicates something that might happen. However, this word appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it. A "would" before the verb usually indicates a subjective form, but that is not used here. The adverb "probably" comes closer to capturing the meaning here.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

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

watch,  - "Watch" is from a Greek verb that means to "watch" or "to be or to become fully awake."

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

would  - (CW) "Would" is from a Greek word that indicates something that might happen. However, this word appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it. A "would" before the verb usually indicates a subjective form, but that is not used here. The adverb "probably" comes closer to capturing the meaning here.

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. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

let -- - "Let" is from a verb that means to "suffer," "to permit," and "to let alone." This word is used for the first time here in the NT. Its sense is "permit."

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. 

house  - The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea. This word fits the title used for the man.

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

broken into..  -- (CW) "Broken up" is from a verb that means "digging through" but metaphorically means "to be ruined," which is more the sense here.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "understand" is not the common word usually translated as "understand."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "known" is not the common word usually translated as "known."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "was" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "would" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "kept" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "would" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "house" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "broken into" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

Related Verses: 

Unimportant Opinions and Imaginings: 

"This, however," he said pausing. "You do know: that, if the manager of an estate had seen."

He paused again, closing his eye, and putting his hands to his head as if seeing through psychic powers.

"Which part of the night," he started solemnly. "The thief is coming!"

He said the final part as it someone was shouting it in the distance.

"He would wake up then," he said. "Probably!"

He said that last word in a way that made his followers laugh.

"And probably," he said, repeating the word in the same way. "Not really let his estate be ruined."

He then nodded his head as if eliciting agreement.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 10 2021