Matthew 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise...

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

The parable continues the topic, staying vigilant, in the context of comparing the realm of the skies to dumb kids and sensible kids going to a party.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The foolish, however, said to the wise, "Give us out of that oil of yours because these lamps of ours burn themselves dry.

My Takeaway: 

We need to bring enough enthusiasm with us to stay vigilant over the long run.

KJV : 

Matthew 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

NIV : 

Matthew 25:8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus likes to end each line with a punchline, when possible, with a playful word. Here the last word is translated as "are gone out" and "are going out." This verb has, however, three meanings: one for fire, another for liquid, and a third for desire. Referring to fire, it means "to extinguish." Referring to liquid, the oil here, it means "to run dry." And referring to desire, it means "to stiffle" or "to suppress." So the sense here is that their lamps have burnt themselves out, running themselves dry of oil, and that their desire has gone out.

While this verb could be passive, the most sensible translation is the middle voice where the subject, the lamp, acts on itself. After all, nobody did this to the lamps. They did it themselves.

Wordplay: 

The word meaning "going out" also means "running dry." 

Greek Vocabulary: 

αἱ [692 verses](article pl fem nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

δὲ [446 verses](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").

μωραὶ [6 verses](adj pl fem nom) "Foolish" is moros, which means "dull", "sluggish," and "stupid."

ταῖς [692 verses](article pl fem dat) "The" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

φρονίμοις [9 verses] (adj pl fem dat) "The wise" is from phronimos, which means "in one's right mind", "showing presence of mind," and "prudent." In Hebrew, the source word is arum, which means "crafty", "shrewd," and "sensible." -

εἶπαν [162 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind act) "Said" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

Δότε [147 verses](verb 2nd pl aor imperat act) "Give" is from didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

ἡμῖν [15 verses](pron 1st pl masc/fem dat) "Us" is from hemin, which is the first person plural dative pronoun, "to us."

ἐκ [121 verses] (prep) "Of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

τοῦ [692 verses](article sg neut gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἐλαίου [5 verses](noun sg neut gen ) "Oil" is from elaion, which means "olive oil", "anointing oil," and "any oily substance."

ὑμῶν,[168 verses] (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὅτι [332 verses](adv/conj) "For" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

αἱ [692 verses](article pl fem nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

λαμπάδες [5 verses]((noun pl fem nom) "Lamps" is from lampas, which means "torch", "beacon light", "light," and any type of "lamp."

ἡμῶν [16 verses](pron 1st pl fem gen) "Our" is from hemon, which is the plural possessive (genitive) form of the first personal pronoun.

σβέννυνται. [4 verses](verb 3rd pl pres ind mp) "Are gone out" is from sbennymi, which means "quench", "put out", "to be quench", fo liquids "dry up", "to be put out," and "cooling."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" 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. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

foolish  - The Greek words translated as "foolish" is the source of our word "moron." It means "slow" and "stupid". However, to describe teenagers today, we would usually say "silly."

said  - "Said" is from means "to say" and "to speak" also.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

wise,  - The Greek term used for "to the wise" means "in one's right mind", "showing a presence of mind," and "prudent." Again, in referring to teenagers today, we would say "sensible" or "bright."

Give  - The verb translated as "given" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is in the form of a command, which, in Greek, can also be a request.

us - "us" is the first person plural pronoun, "we", "us" as an indirect object.

of  - The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." 

your -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

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. 

oil;  - "Oil" is from the noun for "olive oil", "anointing oil," and "any oily substance."

for  - The Greek word translated as "for" means "that" or "because."

our  -- The "our" is the plural possessive first-person pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of ours."

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.

lamps  - The word for "lamps" is actually the source of our English word "lamp," meaning any burning light from a torch to any type of lamp.

are  - -- (WV) This helping verb "are" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. However, it is more of a progressive form than a passive one. The verb could be either passive or the middle voice where the subject acts on themselves.

gone out.  -(CW, WT) "Gone out" is from a verb that means "quench", "put out", "to be quench", "to be put out," and "cooling," but when referring to liquids, as in the oil here, it means "go dry" or "run dry." Since the form of the verb could be acting on itself, the "running themselves dry" meaning makes more sense, with a double meaning of "putting themselves out." The form is a past progressive tense, but the tense of the verb is present not past.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "oil" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lamps" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The are here doesn't create a passive but a progressive form.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "gone out" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "gone" indicates the past tense, not the present tense.

NIV Analysis: 

 The -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

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.

foolish  - The Greek words translated as "foolish" is the source of our word "moron." It means "slow" and "stupid". However, to describe teenagers today, we would usually say "silly."

ones -- From the definite article above that can have the sense of "the ones" when it comes before an adjective.

said  - "Said" is from means "to say" and "to speak" also.

to -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

wise,  - The Greek term used for "to the wise" means "in one's right mind", "showing a presence of mind," and "prudent." Again, in referring to teenagers today, we would say "sensible" or "bright."

Give  - The verb translated as "given" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is in the form of a command, which, in Greek, can also be a request.

us - "us" is the first person plural pronoun, "we", "us" as an indirect object.

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

of  - (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." However, after, some, this looks like a possessive, which it isn't.

your -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

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. 

oil;  - "Oil" is from the noun for "olive oil", "anointing oil," and "any oily substance."

missing "because"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "for" means "seeing that" or "because."

our  -- The "our" is the plural possessive first-person pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of ours."

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.

lamps  - The word for "lamps" is actually the source of our English word "lamp," meaning any burning light from a torch to any type of lamp.

are  - -- (WV) This helping verb "are" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. However, it is more of a progressive form than a passive one. The verb could be either passive or the middle voice where the subject acts on themselves.

going out.’  -(CW, WT) "Going out" is from a verb that means "quench", "put out", "to be quench", "to be put out," and "cooling," but when referring to liquids, as in the oil here, it means "go dry" or "run dry." Since the form of the verb could be acting on itself, the "running themselves dry" meaning makes more sense, with a double meaning of "putting themselves out." The form is a past progressive tense, but the tense of the verb is present not past.

NIV Translation Issues: 

9
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "some" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "oil" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "because" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lamps" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The are here doesn't create a passive but a progressive form.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "gone out" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "gone" indicates the past tense, not the present tense.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 26 2021