Matthew 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A parable about the final judgment of the sheep and the goats.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

When, however, did we see you a stranger and made friends or naked and wrapped [you] up.

My Takeaway: 

We don't forget seeing someone naked.

KJV : 

Matthew 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

NIV : 

Matthew 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse uses the same basic vocabulary as Matthew 25:35 and Matthew 25:36. There is one word left untranslated, conjunction, "however" or "but" that works better spoken than written. Again, the language is better understood if we assume it is being said by a sheep. In the NIV version, the word meaning "naked" is changed to the phrase, "needing clothes." These are not equivalent statements. People can be wearing rags and still need clothes. Of course, sheep are naked whenever they have been sheared.

"Stranger" is not a common word but a specific noun that means "guest-friend", specifically meaning someone who should receive hospitality. Both Greek and Aramaic traditions offered hospitality to travelers who had no place to stay. The word also means someone that is a "stranger to a thing", "ignorant of a thing", and "unusual". We could include the homeless in this, but perhaps "lost" comes closest to the idea.

Wordplay: 

The plays on words here all work because they describe sheep. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πότε [26 verses](adv/conj)"When" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) Untranslated is 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").

σε: [47 verses](pron 2nd sg acc) "Thee" is from su which means "you" and "your."

εἴδαμεν [166 verses](1st pl aor act ind) "Saw we" is 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."

ξένον [4 verses] (noun sg masc acc) "Stranger" is from xenos, which means "guest-friend" in the sense of someone from a friendly country, 'visitor," "stranger",:wander:, "refugee", "stranger to a thing", "ignorant of a thing", and "unusual".

συνηγάγομεν,[20 verses] (verb 1st pl aor ind act) "Took...in" 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."

[92 verses](conj/adv) "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

γυμνὸν [4 verses](adj sg masc acc) "Naked" is from gymnos, which means "naked", "unclad", "unarmed", "stripped" of a thing, "lightly clad", of facts, "bald", "destitute", and "beardless".

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." π

εριεβάλομεν; [7 verses] (verb 1st pl aor ind act) "You clothed" is from periballo, which means "to throw around", "to put on", "to encompass", "to surround", "to bring under one's power", "amplify", "expand", "appropriate mentally", "comprehend", "to excel", "to surpass", "throw beyond," and "beat in throwing." In the passive, it means "to have put around oneself." "to be involved in," and "to have come into possession of one."

KJV Analysis: 

When -- The "when"  is from an adverb meaning "when," "at what time," "at some time or other," "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is usually translated as "but" and joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. It is used here instead of an "and" because the verses are questions that contest what the king said.

saw  - The verb translated as "saw" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive."

we -- This is from the first-person, plural form of the verb.

thee -- The word translated as "thee" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

stranger,  - "Stranger" is not a common word but a specific noun which means "guest-friend", specifically meaning someone who should receive hospitality. Both Greek and Aramaic traditions offered hospitality to travelers who had no place to stay. The word also means someone that is a "stranger to a thing", "ignorant of a thing", and "unusual". We could include the homeless in this, but perhaps "lost" comes closest to the idea.

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

took -  (CW) The Greek word translated as "took...in" means "to bring together." It has many different uses, but it Jesus often uses it as "gather crops", that is, the opposite of scattering, as in, scattering seeds. However, it also means "make friends of" which makes perfect sense here.

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

in? -- (CW) This verb's prefix means "together" not in. 

or -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

naked,  - The word for "naked" means both "naked" and "destitute." It also means bald and beardless.

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

clothed  - The word for "clothed" means "to put on" or "put around." It is a word Christ uses fairly commonly to refer to putting on clothes, starting with Solomon being compared to the lilies of the field.

thee? -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "took" is not the common word usually translated as "took."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "in" does not capture the specific meaning of the prefix.

NIV Analysis: 

When -- The "when"  is from an adverb meaning "when," "at what time," "at some time or other," "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is usually translated as "but" and joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. It is used here instead of an "and" because the verses are questions that contest what the king said.

did -- 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.

we -- This is from the first-person, plural form of the verb.

see- The verb translated as "see" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive."

you -- The word translated as "you" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

stranger,  - "Stranger" is not a common word but a specific noun which means "guest-friend", specifically meaning someone who should receive hospitality. Both Greek and Aramaic traditions offered hospitality to travelers who had no place to stay. The word also means someone that is a "stranger to a thing", "ignorant of a thing", and "unusual". We could include the homeless in this, but perhaps "lost" comes closest to the idea.

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

took -  (CW) The Greek word translated as "invite ...in" means "to bring together." It has many different uses, but it Jesus often uses it as "gather crops", that is, the opposite of scattering, as in, scattering seeds. However, it also means "make friends of" which makes perfect sense here.

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

in? -- (CW) This verb's prefix means "together" not in. 

or -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

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

clothes  - (WW) The word for "naked" means both "naked" and "destitute." It also means bald and beardless.

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

clothed  - The word for "clothed" means "to put on" or "put around." It is a word Christ uses fairly commonly to refer to putting on clothes, starting with Solomon being compared to the lilies of the field.

thee? -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "invite" is not the common word usually translated as "invite."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "in" does not capture the specific meaning of the prefix.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "needing" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "clothes" should be "naked."

Front Page Date: 

Nov 24 2021