Matthew 21:37 But last of all he sent unto them his son,...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

This continues the lesson about authority and trust to a story about how not trusting those in power leads to a predictable result.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The last, however, he sent to them that son of his, saying, "They will feel fear on account of this son of mine."

My Takeaway: 

We respect people based upon their relationships to others.

KJV : 

Matthew 21:37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

NIV : 

Matthew 21:37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The key to this verse is the word translated as "reverence" which means "to be turned around." Christ commonly uses this idea of "turning around" to describe changing behavior but that idea is lost in translation. For example. the word "repent" in the phrase, "Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand" means to "turn around."

Missing in this verse is the little joke that appears in the version in Mark Mark 12:6. A lot happened before you came.

Wordplay: 

"Turning around" has the sense of feeling guilty about what you are doing so your "turn away" from it. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὕστερον [5 verses](adj sg masc acc) "Last of all" is hysteros (husteros), which means "latter," "last," "coming after," "after" (in Time), "posterior," "inferior," and "extremely."

δὲ (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"). -- The Greek word translated as"but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

ἀπέστειλεν [60 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "He sent" is apostello, which means "to send off," "to send away," or "to dispatch."

πρὸς (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."

αὐτοὺς (adj pl masc acc) "Them" 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."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

υἱὸν [158 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Son" is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

αὐτοῦ (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." -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same," and when used as a pronoun can mean "the true self" as opposed to appearances.

λέγων [264 verses](part sg pres act masc nom) "Saying" is from lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

Ἐντραπήσονται [3 verses](verb 3rd pl fut ind pass) "Reverence" is entrepo, which means "to turn [something] about," "to make one turn," and, as a metaphor, for "putting one to shame." In its passive form (used here), it means "to turn [yourself] about," "to feel misgivings," "to hesitate."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

υἱὸν [158 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Son" is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

μου.(noun sg masc gen) "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

KJV Analysis: 

But  - -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

last   -   'Last" is from a Greek adjective which means "latter" and "last" acting as the object of the verb, in the same form as the word "son."

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

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

sent  - The "sent" here is from a word that means "to send off" and "dispatch." It is the source of our word "apostle."

unto  - The word translated as "unto" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," and "against." All three major meanings work here.

them  - -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

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. 

son, -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

saying,  - The word translated as "saying" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It is in the form of an adjective, "saying."

They  - -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

reverence  - The word translated as "reverence" primarily means to "turn around." In the passive used here, it has a sense of feeling misgivings about what you are doing. It also means to respect or reverence, but with a sense of changing behavior. Jesus only uses this word in this parable and it appears in all three versions. It is in the future tense, the passive mood that specifically means "hesitate," "feel misgiving,"  and most appropriately, "feel shame or fear on account of."

my  - --  "My" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the possessive form, so "my" or "of me". This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

son. -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "of all" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "son" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "son" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "however" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

Last -   'Last" is from a Greek adjective which means "latter" and "last" acting as the object of the verb, in the same form as the word "son."

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

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

sent  - The "sent" here is from a word that means "to send off" and "dispatch." It is the source of our word "apostle."

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. 

son, -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

to  - The word translated as "to" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," and "against." All three major meanings work here.

them  - -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

They  - -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

respect - The word translated as "reverence" primarily means to "turn around." In the passive used here, it has a sense of feeling misgivings about what you are doing. It also means to respect or reverence, but with a sense of changing behavior. Jesus only uses this word in this parable and it appears in all three versions. It is in the future tense, the passive mood that specifically means "hesitate," "feel misgiving,"  and most appropriately, "feel shame or fear on account of."

my  - --  "My" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the possessive form, so "my" or "of me". This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

son. -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

he  - This is from the masculine, singular form of the verb.

said,  - (WF) The word translated as "said" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It is in the form of an adjective, "saying."

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "of all" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "son" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "son" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "said" is not an active verb but a participle, "saying."

Front Page Date: 

Jun 18 2021