Matthew 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

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

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

At what time, however, did we see you sickly or in the pen and we came to you.

My Takeaway: 

Memories are unreliable for both men and sheep.

KJV : 

Matthew 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

NIV : 

Matthew 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse uses the same basic vocabulary as Matthew 25:36. There is one word left untranslated, the conjunction "but" or "however," but it works better for the spoken version than the written one. A prison for a sheep is a "pen."Again, the language is better understood if we assume it is being said as a sheep, but not as obvious as the previous verse, Matthew 25:38.

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."

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

ἀσθενοῦντα [3 verses](part sg pres act masc acc) "Sick" is from astheneo, which means "to be weak", "to be feeble," and "to be sickly."\

[92 verses](conj/adv) "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

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

φυλακῇ [10 verses](noun sg fem dat) "Prison" is 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."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but."

ἤλθομεν [198 verses](verb 1st pl aor ind act) "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.

πρὸς [92 verses](prep) "Unto" is from pros, which means "on the side of", "in the direction of", "from (place)", "towards" "before", "in the presence of", "in the eyes of", "in the name of", "by reason of", "before (supplication)", "proceeding from (for effects)", "dependent on", "derivable from", "agreeable,""becoming", "like", "at the point of", "in addition to", "against," and "before." -

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

KJV Analysis: 

Or  - (WW) The Greek word here 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.

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."

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.

sick,  - The word used for "sick" is an uncommon one. Despite all of Christ's work healing, he only uses it a couple of times before. It means "to be weak or sickly." It is in the form of a participle, "being sickly."

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

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with" (an instrument), "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

prison,  - "Prison" is a word that means a "watcher", "guard", "chain", "keeper," and "a place where people are watched." Christ uses it to clearly mean prison elsewhere, but in the context of sheep, we might say the "pen."

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

came  - The word translated as "came" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. 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."

unto -- The word translated as "unto" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before." With verbs of seeing it specifically means "towards."

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

KJV Translation Issues: 

1
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "or" should be "but" or "however."

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.

sick,  - The word used for "sick" is an uncommon one. Despite all of Christ's work healing, he only uses it a couple of times before. It means "to be weak or sickly." It is in the form of a participle, "being sickly."

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

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with" (an instrument), "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

prison,  - "Prison" is a word that means a "watcher", "guard", "chain", "keeper," and "a place where people are watched." Christ uses it to clearly mean prison elsewhere, but in the context of sheep, we might say the "pen."

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

go - The word translated as "came" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. 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."

to -- (CW) The word translated as "unto" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before." With verbs of seeing it specifically means "towards." It is not the "to" of an infinitive.

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

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

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "or" should be "but" or "however."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "visit" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 25 2021