Matthew 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them

KJV Verse: 

Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

And he sent out his slaves to call the ones that had been called, and...they didn't really want to come.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

While the vocabulary consists of the very simple words that Jesus uses in his analogies, there is a little wordplay here.

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

The noun translated as "servants" means "slaves." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible to more modern society.

The same verb is translated as "to call" and "them that were bidden" The word is like our word "call" beause it means both "to summon" and also "to name." This first form is an infinitive ("to call") and the second is in the form of a noun ("the ones having been called.")

The word for "wedding" here is plural. In the previous verse, it was translated as "marriage." This word is used more frequently in the plural so it doesn't necessarily reflect a marriage to multiple wives.

In English, we would expect an "but" here since the second part of the sentence is contrary to the first, but if we imagine this being spoken, the "and" sets up a bit a humor.

The Greek word translated as "they would" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something. We would say "want" or "desire" today.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out." 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."

Notice that not everyone is invited to this event, only as select few, the ones who were called.

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ "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."

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

τοὺς δούλους (noun pl masc acc) "The servant" is from doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

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."

καλέσαι (verb aor inf act) "To call" is from kaleo, which means "call", "summon", "invite", "invoke", "call by name," and "demand."

τοὺς κεκλημένους (part pl perf mp masc acc) "Them that were bidden" is from kaleo, which means "call", "summon", "invite", "invoke", "call by name," and "demand."

εἰς "To" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)." -- The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

τοὺς γάμους, (noun pl masc acc) "Wedding" is both from the from gamos, which means "marriage", "wedding," and "wedlock."

καὶ "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."

οὐκ "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἤθελον (verb 3rd pl imperf ind act) "They would" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain", "to hold", "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

ἐλθεῖν. (verb aor inf 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.

Wordplay: 

The use of alliteration calling the ones called is a little fun, but the "and" before the last phrase sets up a surprise. 

The Spoken Version: 

"And he dispatched his servants," he said with a flourish. "To summon...the special summon ones, and they..."

He ended the word on a high point and paused.

"Didn't really want to make it," he tossed of quickly with his voice declining.

Related Verses: