Matthew 25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, [You] wicked

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A parable describing a man traveling abroad, turning over his stuff to personal servants.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Answering, however, that lord of his told him: Worthless servant, and cowardly: "You saw that I harvest where I didn't sown, and I gather together where I didn't scattered.

My Takeaway: 

Understanding economics requires something more than simply seeing people's money.

KJV : 

Matthew 25:26 ​His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

NIV : 

Matthew 25:26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Two things are interesting here in the Greek that are lost in the English.

First, it brands the servant as worthless and timid, rather than wicked and lazy. The word  translated as "wicked" actually means "second-rate" and "useless." It also means "cowardly."  The word translated as "slothful" and "lazy" specifically means "fearful." This echoes the servant's own statement about being afraid in Matthew 25:25.

The second interesting change here is in how the master repeats what the fearful servant said but changes it. He omits the phase about the servant knowing the Master, where the servant used the Greek word that means "know," in the sense of something learned.  He also leaves out the statement about the Master being a "hard man."

The word misleadingly translated as "knewest" and "knew" here is a different word, one that means "saw," that it, seeing someone as opposed to knowing them. It can mean "know" as we use "see" to mean "know" when was express understand by saying "I see," but it is not the word translated in the earlier verse that specifically means "know." The servant didn't learn from reflection but jumped to conclusions about appearances.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἀποκριθεὶς [17 verses](part sg aor pass masc nom) "Answered" is from apokrinomai that means to "set apart," "choose," "exclude," "reject on examination," "decide," "answer" the question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself" and, in the passive, "to be parted or separated." In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered."

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 a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

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

κύριος [92 verses](noun sg masc nom) "Lord" is from 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." -- The Greek word translated as "lord," means "having power," "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, two different Hebrew words are translated as this Greek word in the OT, the name for God and another Hebrew word with a very similar meaning to this one, referring to someone in authority.

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."

εἶπεν [162 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Said" is from eipon, which means "to speak," "to say," "to recite," "to address," "to mention," "to name," "to proclaim," "to plead," "to promise," and "to offer."

αὐτῷ [720 verses](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."

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

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

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "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." -

ὀκνηρέ, [1 verse](adj sg masc voc) "Slothful" is okneros, which means "shrinking," "timid," and "diffident."

ᾔδεις [38 verses](verb 2nd sg plup ind act) "You knewest" is from oida which is a form of  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."

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." -- In the Greek source, this is a word here that means "that" or "because." So what follows is a dependent clause, indicating either what they were "saying" or why they were saying it.

θερίζω [10 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind act) "I reap" is therizo, which means "to do summer work," "to reap," "to mow," "to cut off," and, in some areas, "to plunder."

 ὅπου [32 verses] (adv/conj) "Where" is from hopou, which means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

οὐκ [269 verses](partic) "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.

ἔσπειρα [31 verses](verb 1st sg aor ind act) "I sowed" is speiro, which means "to sow a seed," "to beget offspring," "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "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."

συνάγω [20 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Gather" is synago, which means "bring together," "gather together," "pit [two warriors against each other]," "join in one," "unite," "make friends of," "lead with one," "receive," "reconcile," "draw together," "narrow," "contract," "conclude [from premises]," " infer," and "prove." --The Greek word translated as "gather" means "to bring together." It has many different uses, but it does not specifically mean gathering in the crops. That is why that idea is provided specifically by the phrase that follows.

ὅθεν [4 verses](adv) "Where" is from hothen, which means "whence," "from whom or which," "from whatever source," "in what manner soever," "from any other place whatsoever," "where or whither," "whence, "for which reason," and "for what reason."

οὐ [269 verses](partic) "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.

διεσκόρπισα; [6 verses](verb 1st sg aor ind act) "I have...strawed" is from diaskorpizo, which means literally, to "scatter among" or "disperse among," and "to scatter abroad." In the passive, it means "to squander," "to confound," and "to winnow."

KJV Analysis: 

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "but" that 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.

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" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family."

answered  - (WF) The verb translated as "answered" means to answer questions, but also to "answer charges," and "defend oneself." In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered." However, it is in the form of an adjective, "answering." It modifies "his lord."

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.

said  - "Said" is from means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it is different than another common verb translated as "said," so translating it as "speak" or "tell" clarifies when the different verbs are used. This verb has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

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.

Thou  - This is from the vocative form of the following adjectives and noun that means it names the person being talked to.

wicked  - (CW) The word translated as "wicked" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This article explores it meaning in more detail. It also means "cowardly" which is an idea that Jesus clearly wants to emphasize here.

and  - The "and" here is in a position where it is better translated as "also" because it is not between the two adjectives describing the servant.

slothful  - (CW) "Slothful" is an uncommon word that Christ uses that primarily "timid," and "shrinking." It implies a hesitance to act out of fear. Notice that the word translated as "wicked" also means "cowardly" so the idea here is clearly emphasize the servant's lack of courage, not is laziness.

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

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

knewest  -   (CW) The word translated as "knewest " means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.

that  - In the Greek source, this is a word here that means "that" or "because."

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

reap - "Reap" is a verb that means "to do summer work," "to reap," "to mow," "to cut off," and, in Asia, "to plunder."

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

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

sowed - The Greek word translated as "sowed" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds.

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.

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

gather - "Gather" is from a verb which means "to bring together," "to gather together," "to unite," "to draw together," "to narrow," "to pinch," "to conclude," and "to prove."

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

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

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.

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.

strawed: -- (CW) "Strawed" is a Greek word meaning "to scatter abroad," "to disperse among." This is more clearly an opposite for the verb "gathering." The verb is also translated very confusingly in ​Luke 15:13 , where it becomes "wasted."  "Strawed" is also confusing.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lord" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "answered" is not an active verb but a participle, "answering."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "wicked" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "slothful" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "knewest" is not the common word earlier translated a "knew."
  • 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 "strawed" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "but" that 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.

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. 

master-- The word translated as "lord" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family."

replied - (WF) The verb translated as "replied" means to answer questions, but also to "answer charges," and "defend oneself." In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered." However, it is in the form of an adjective, "answering." It modifies "his lord."

missing "said"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "said" is from means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it is different than another common verb translated as "said," so translating it as "speak" or "tell" clarifies when the different verbs are used. This verb has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

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

You - This is from the vocative form of the following adjectives and noun that means it names the person being talked to.

wicked  - The word translated as "wicked" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This article explores it meaning in more detail. It also means "cowardly" which is an idea that Christ clearly wants to emphasize here.

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "and" here is in a position where it is better translated as "also" because it is not between the two adjectives describing the servant.

lazy - (CW) "Lazy" is an uncommon word that Christ uses that primarily "timid," and "shrinking." It implies a hesitance to act out of fear. Notice that the word translated as "wicked" also means "cowardly" so the idea here is clearly emphasizing the servant's lack of courage, not is laziness.

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

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

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

knew  -  (CW) The word translated as "knew " means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.

that  - In the Greek source, this is a word here that means "that" or "because."

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

harvest - "Harvest " is a verb that means "to do summer work," "to reap," "to mow," "to cut off," and, in Asia, "to plunder."

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

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

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.

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.

sown - The Greek word translated as "sown " means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds.

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

gather - "Gather" is from a verb which means "to bring together," "to gather together," "to unite," "to draw together," "to narrow," "to pinch," "to conclude," and "to prove."

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

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

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.

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.

scattered seed: -- (CW) "Scattered seed" is a Greek word meaning "to scatter abroad," "to disperse among." This is more clearly an opposite for the verb "gathering." The verb is also translated very confusingly in ​Luke 15:13 , where it becomes "wasted."  "Strawed" is also confusing.

NIV Translation Issues: 

12
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lord" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "replied" is not an active verb but a participle, "replying."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "said" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "to him" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "lazy" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "slothful" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "so" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "knewest" is not the common word earlier translated a "knew."
  • 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).
  • 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 "scattered seed" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 12 2021