Matthew 24:18 Neither let him who is in the field turn back

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A long section about "the end of the world" or, more precisely, "the culmination of an era."

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Also, the one in the field? No he must not turn around back to pick up that cloak of his.

My Takeaway: 

In a crisis, it doesn't matter how we look nor does our social position.

KJV : 

Matthew 24:18 Neither let him who is in the field turn back to take his clothes.

NIV : 

Matthew 24:18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verb translated as "turn" and "go" is another third-person command. In English,  commands are in the second person, spoken to someone. Third-person commands are spoken about someone or something.  This form is used as something like our word "must." The word means "turn round" not "go."

The other verb does not mean "get" or "take," which is another common Greek word. The verb means "pick up." It is one of Jesus's favorite multiple-meaning words. This verse resembles the previous one, Matthew 24:17, in structure. The translations ignore the first word "and" that connects them.

The word translated as "clothes" is a specific word meaning "cloak" or the cloth that was worn over a tunic. The word is not plural but singular. This was the clothing that largely identified social status in Judean society. The symbolism of clothing is discussed more extensively in Mark 13:16 and in this article.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) Untranslated is 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."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom) "He that is" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

ἐν [413 verses](prep) "In" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with."

τῷ [821 verses](article sg masc dat) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -- The word translated as "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. 

ἀγρῷ (noun sg masc dat) "Field" is from agros, which means "field," "lands," "tilled land" as opposed to fallow land, or "country" as opposed to "town."

μὴ [447 verses](partic) "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

ἐπιστρεψάτω [9 times](verb 3rd sg aor imperat) "Let turn back" is epistrepho, which means "to turn about," "to turn around," "turn towards," "return," "curve," "twist," "go back-and forwards," "pay attention to," "to turn one's mind towards," "regard," "conduct oneself," and "behave," and in the passive to "be converted," "to be distorted," "turn oneself round," "are turned," and as an adjective, "earnest," "vehement."

ὀπίσω [15 verses](adv) "Back" is opiso, which means "back," "behind," and "hereafter."

ἆραι [56 verses](verb aor inf act or verb 3rd sg aor opt) "To take" is airo, which means "to lift up," "to raise," "to raise up," "to exalt," "to lift and take away," and "to remove." OR (verb 2nd sg pres subj mp) "To take" is from apaomai, which means to "pray to," or "pray for."

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -- The word translated as "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. 

ἱμάτιον [10 verses](noun sg neut acc) "Clothes" is himation, which was an oblong piece of cloth worn as an outer garment. The term generally means "clothes" and "cloth."

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: 

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "and" is used as the conjunction, but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." 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.

Neither -- (CW) "Neither" is from me, which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. This is the usual negative used with command since commands are an expression of opinion. The sense is "I don't want him" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used. The position is later in the verse, before the verb "return," the usual position for a negative command. This is not the word usually translated as "neither."

let -- This "let" is the helping verb used to translate the Greek form of the third-person command. In English,  commands are in the second-person, spoken to someone. Third-person commands are spoken about someone or something.  This form is used as something like our word "must."

him -- (WW) The word translated as "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. 

who  is -- (IW) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "is" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It follows the "and" or "also" that really begins the verse.

in - The word translated as "in" also means "within," "with," or "among."

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"). See this article for more. 

field -- "Field" is the Greek word that means "farmland" or the "countryside" as opposed to "city."

turn -- "Turn back" is translated from a Greek word "to turn about" or "to turn around," but also means "cause to return" and "to turn one's mind towards" something. It is a third-person command that gets translated into English as a "let" phrase. Third-person commands are spoken about someone or something.  This form is used as something like our word "must."

back -- The term translated as "back" means "back" both in space and in time.

to  -- This "to" is from the infinitive form of the following verb.

take -- "(CW) Take" is from one of Jesus's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up," "elevate," "to bear," "to carry off," "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease." It is not the word commonly translated as "take" in the NT.  Its form means "to lift," or "wishes to lift up."  We would say "pick up" in English. This is not the common word translated as "take."

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. 

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This word appears after the noun so "of his."

clothes. --(CW) The word translated as "clothes" means an outer garment ("a cloak"), like we would use a coat or jacket today. This quality of this garment was how people judge social status. The word is not plural but singular.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "neither" is not the common word usually translated as "neither."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "him" should be "the one."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "who is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "take" is not the common word usually translated as "take."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "clothes" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "clothes" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "and" is used as the conjunction, but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." 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.

Let -- This "let" is the helping verb used to translate the Greek form of the third-person command. In English,  commands are in the second-person, spoken to someone. Third-person commands are spoken about someone or something.  This form is used as something like our word "must."

no -- (WP) "No" is from me, which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. This is the usual negative used with command since commands are an expression of opinion. The sense is "I don't want him" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used. The position is later in the verse, before the verb "return," the usual position for a negative command. This is not the word usually translated as "no one."

one -- The word translated as "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.

in - The word translated as "in" also means "within," "with," or "among."

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"). See this article for more. 

field -- "Field" is the Greek word that means "farmland" or the "countryside" as opposed to "city."

go -- (WW) "Go" is translated from a Greek word "to turn about" or "to turn around," but also means "cause to return" and "to turn one's mind towards" something. It is a third-person command that gets translated into English as a "let" phrase. Third-person commands are spoken about someone or something.  This form is used as something like our word "must."

back -- The term translated as "back" means "back" both in space and in time.

to  -- This "to" is from the infinitive form of the following verb.

get -- "(CW) "Get" is from one of Jesus's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up," "elevate," "to bear," "to carry off," "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease." It is not the word commonly translated as "take" in the NT.  Its form means "to lift," or "wishes to lift up."  We would say "pick up" in English. This is not the common word translated as "take."

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. 

their .-- (WN)  The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This word appears after the noun so "of his." It is not plural.

cloak.. -- The word translated as "clothes" means an outer garment ("a cloak"), like we would use a coat or jacket today. This quality of this garment was how people judge social status. The word is not plural but singular.

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "not" doesn't appear here but before the verb.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "get" is not the common word usually translated as "get."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "cloak" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "their" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.

Front Page Date: 

Sep 15 2021