Matthew 22:21 Render therefore unto Caesar

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

The Pharisees ask whether it is lawful to pay tribute to Caesar.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Give back, certainly, everything of Caesar's to Caesar, and everything of the Divine's to the Divine.

KJV : 

Matthew 22:21 Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse follows the common pattern of Jesus's sayings, repeating two phrases with one change between them. Here the duplicated phrase also repeats its keywords. This is one of those verses where Jesus demonstrates both his depth of understanding of the world and his cleverness with words. The original Greek is much pithier, with the key words repeating themselves sequentially in two different forms, "to Caesar Caesars'" "to the Divine's the Divine's." Translated adds a verb phrase between them that doesn't exist in the original.

One key difference between the Greek and the English translations is that the word translated as "the things/what" means "anything" and can mean "everything" in the plural. So one sense is "everything of Caesar's" and "everything of the Divine."

NIV : 

Matthew 22:21 So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Wordplay: 

Repeating identical phrases with the change of one word. Then within the phrase, repeating the same word, one as the owner and then as the receiver. 

My Takeaway: 

Everything returns to its source, money and people.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀπόδοτε [22 verses](verb 2nd pl aor imperat act) "Render" is apodidomi which means "to give back", "to restore," and "to deliver." It has the economic sense of "to sell" or "to give something for one's own profit." It begins with apo the preposition of separation and origin, the idea of "from" in English, didômi which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over," and "to describe."

οὖν [82 verses](adv) "Therefore" is oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

τὰ [252 verses](irreg pl neut acc) "The things which are" 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." -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those."

Καίσαρος [3 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Caesar" is Kaisar, which means "Caesar" primarily Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the emperor."

Καίσαρι [3 verses](noun sg masc dat) "Caesar" is from Kaisar, which means "Caesar" primarily Julius but also Augustus and, later, generally, "the emperor."

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."

τὰ [252 verses](irreg pl neut acc) "The things which are" 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."

τοῦ  (article sg masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

θεοῦ [144 verses](noun sg masc gen) "God" is from theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

τῷ (article sg masc dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

θεῷ. [144 verses](noun sg masc dat) "God" is from theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

KJV Analysis: 

Render  - (CW) The word translated as "render" means "to give back." In a financial sense, to "pay back." This word is translated "deliver" and "reward" elsewhere in the NT.

therefore -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative.

unto  -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

Caesar -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor."

the things -- The word translated as "the things" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

which are -- (IP) There is no Greek word(s) that are translated as "which are" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used.

Caesar's; -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor." The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

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

unto -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

untranslated -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

the things -- The word translated as "the things" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

which are -- (IP) There is no Greek word(s) that are translated as "which are" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity.

untranslated -- (MW)The untranslated word is the Greek definite article.The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

God's. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods. The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "render" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "which are" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

So -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative.

give - The word translated as "give" means "to give back." In a financial sense, to "pay back." This word is translated as "deliver" and "reward" elsewhere in the NT.

back -- This is from the prefix of the previous verb that means "from."

to -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

Caesar -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor."

what -- (WN) The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

is -- (IW) There is no Greek word that are translated as "is" in the source we use today.

Caesar's; -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor." The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

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

to -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

untranslated -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

what -- (WN) The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

is -- (IW) There is no Greek word that are translated as "is" in the source we use today.

untranslated -- (MW)The untranslated word is the Greek definite article.The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

God's. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods. The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "what" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "things."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "what" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "things."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jul 11 2021