Matthew 20:22 You do not know what you ask...

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

Salome asks special places for her sons, James and John.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

No, you all haven't seen what you are asking for yourselves. Do you have the power to drink this cup that I myself am destined to drink?

My Takeaway: 

You don't want to play with the big boys or girls until you get big yourself.

KJV : 

Matthew 20:22 Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

NIV : 

Matthew 20:22  You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This answer is not addressed to an individual, Salome. the mother who asks the question, but to a group. So Jesus assumes she is a front for the brothers. The last phrase is addressed to them.

Children drank wine mixed in their water from a very early age in Jesus's society, but strong drink was limited to adults. Everyone would have had the experience of being told that they were not strong enough to drink from an adult's cup. Jesus saw the apostle's as his children.

For a king, the most obvious meaning was that food tasters first drank from their cup to see if the drink was poisoned. There is certainly a sense of that here, but the issue here is having the ability or the strength to do this. While it could be that food tasters were stronger than regular people so they could survive poison, there is more common experience in the time of Jesus's.

Wordplay: 

The word "to drink" also means "to celebrate." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐκ (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.

οἴδατε [38 verses](verb 2nd pl perf ind act) "Know" is oida, a common 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."

τί (pron sg neut acc) "What" is from tis which can mean "someone," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what."

αἰτεῖσθε: [28 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind mp) "You ask" is aiteo, which means "to ask," "to demand," "to beg," "to claim," and "to ask for one's own use."

δύνασθε [61 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind mp) "Are ye able" is from the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities," "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

πιεῖν [36 verses](verb aor inf act) "To drink" is pino, which means "to drink," "to celebrate," and "soak up."

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

ποτήριον [14 verses](noun sg neut acc) "Cup" is poterion, which means "a drinking-cup," "a wine-cup," "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

(pron sg neut acc) "That" is from hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐγὼ [162 verses](pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least," "for my part," "indeed," and "for myself."

μέλλω [10 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Shall" is mello, which means to "be destined or likely to," "might have, " "must surely have," "to be about to," "to be always going to do," "delay," and "to put off."

πίνειν [36 verses](verb pres inf act) "Drink of" is from pino, which means "to drink," "to celebrate," and "soak up." -- The word seems chosen for its double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate."

KJV Analysis: 

Ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

know  - (WT) The word translated as "Ye know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English. It is plural, address not just to the mother, but to the family. It is also in the tense indicating something completed in the past.

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. This makes the sense of the previous word more like "see" because the subjective negative is used with verbs of thought.

what  - There word translated as "what" means "anything" or "anyone." It is in the present tense.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

ask.  - The verb translated as "you ask" has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim." However, it is in a form where the subject acts on himself, "you ask of yourselves" or "for yourselves." 

missing "for yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourselves." "for yourselves" or "by yourselves."

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

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

able  - The verb translated as "are you able" indicates having the power, strength, or desire to accomplish something.

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

drink  - The word "to drink" has a double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate."

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

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. 

cup  - The word for "cup," it means "a drinking-cup," "a wine-cup," "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

that -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

I  - -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

shall -- - (WW) "Shall" is a Greek verb, which means "to be destined or likely to," "to be about to do something," or "to intend to" or "to have in mind to." This is not the future tense of the following verb, but the active verb in the clause. The following verb is an infinitive. Jesus only uses this verb in ten verses;

drink   - (WF) The word "to drink" has a double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate." This is an infinitive, "to drink," the object of "destined."

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

and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?  -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb "know" is the present tense, but Greek is the past perfect tense, an action completed.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "of" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "shall" should be "am destined."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "drink" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to drink."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "of" doesn't exist in the source.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.

NIV Analysis: 

You -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

do -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

n't  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This makes the sense of the previous word more like "see" because the subjective negative is used with verbs of thought.

know  - (WT) The word translated as "Ye know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English. It is plural, address not just to the mother, but to the family. It is also in the tense indicating something completed in the past.

what  - There word translated as "what" means "anything" or "anyone." It is in the present tense.

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

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

asking.  - The verb translated as "asking" has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim." However, it is in a form where the subject acts on himself, "you ask of yourselves" or "for yourselves." 

missing "for yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourselves." "for yourselves" or "by yourselves."

Can - The verb translated as "can" indicates having the power, strength, or desire to accomplish something. This is not a helping verb as it is in English.

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

drink  -  (WF) The word "to drink" has a double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate." This verb is an infinitive.

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. 

cup  - The word for "cup," it means "a drinking-cup," "a wine-cup," "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

I  - -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

am going -- - (WW) "Am going" is a Greek verb, which means "to be destined or likely to," "to be about to do something," or "to intend to" or "to have in mind to." This is not the future tense of the following verb, but the active verb in the clause. The following verb is an infinitive. Jesus only uses this verb in ten verses.

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

drink   -  The word "to drink" has a double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate." This is an infinitive, "to drink," the object of "destined."

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb "know" is the present tense, but Greek is the past perfect tense, an action completed.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "drink" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to drink."
  • MW -- Missing Woard  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "are going" should be "am destined."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus s saying that we do not sufficiently understand our desires to know what we ask of ourselves. As human, we fail to imagine the implications of getting what we think we want. For Christ, spirit, mind, body, and emotional relationships are all connected. Spiritual rewards require physical, mental, and emotional sacrifices.

Front Page Date: 

May 24 2021