Matthew 25:16 Then he that had received the five talents

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Immediately departing, the one getting the five hundred dollars worked for himself with them and profited five more.

KJV : 

Mat 25:16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made [them] other five talents.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Another verse where Christ uses some specific words whose meaning in lost in translation. One problem is that the KJV Greek source (translated back from the Latin) had several wrong words in it, but more modern translations similarly gloss over the meaning of these words.

The KJV begins with the Greek word that means "but" that is translated as "then," but today's sources begin with an adverb that means "immediately."

The word translated as "he" is from the Greek article, "the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

The word translated as "That had received" is a verb that primarily means "take." However, it means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing."

The word translated as "talents" is not the word for any specific amount of money, but the word that means "weight", "a pair of scales," and "sum of money." As money, the amount varied in different systems. A hundred dollars in today's money seems to capture the sense. The "bags of gold" used by some translations is far too much money since any bag of gold in any era would be worth thousands. In Mat 18:24, Christ describes a slave (a servant) as owing ten thousand talents, which, if a "talent" is a hundred dollars, would be a million dollars. This seems a reasonable scale.

The "went" is not from the common word translated as "go" in the NT, but a word that specifically has the sense of "to go away" or "depart." It doesn't appear in the middle of the verse, but at its beginning, right after the "immediately."

There is no "and" here in the Greek because all the previous verbs ("getting" "departing") were used as adjectives, not active verbs.

"Traded" is from a word Christ uses humorously here and elsewhere. It has the general sense of "work", "do," or "make," but it is not the word Christ uses common to express those ideas. frequently, but a more sophisticated word he uses less commonly. He uses it to mean "make a living for yourself." The form is where the subject acts on himself, so "work himself." It also means "trade" but Christ uses it in Mat 21:28 for a father telling his sons to go "work" in a vineyard, so he didn't use it to mean "trade" there.

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

The word translated as "the same" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English ("his" "them" etc.), but the word technically means "the same," but for consistency, translating it as the pronoun made more sense.

The word translated as "made" is a different Greek word in today's sources than the KJV source. In the KJV, the word used was the common word for "do" or "make," which we referred to in the definition of "traded", but the better sources we use today has a very different word that means to "make profit," and "gain an advantage." This was a very common word in Greek, but less so in Christ's words. It is used in Luke and Mark for the famous verse "What does it help a man to gain the world and lose his soul."

The word translated as "other" is usually translated as "another" and with numerals means "further" or "more."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

εὐθέως (adv) "Then" is from euthus, which means "straight", "simply", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

πορευθεὶς (part sg aor pass masc nom) "Went" is from poreuomai (poreuô) which means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed." It is almost always translated as "go" in the NT. -- The Greek verb translated as "go" isn't the common verb almost always translated as "go" in the NT. This word means "to lead over", "depart," and "to carry over." This word, however, uniquely means both "to pursue a course" and "to depart from life."

(article sg masc nom) "He" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

τὰ (article pl neut acc) πέντε (number) "Five" is from pente, the number five.

τάλαντα (noun pl neut acc) "Talents" is from talanton, which means "a weight", "a pair of scales", "a commercial weight," and "a sum of money." In Greek mythology, it was the scales on which Zeus balanced the fortuns of men. As money, the amount varied in different systems.

λαβὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "That had received" is from lambano means to "take", "take hold of", "grasp", "seize", "catch", "overtake", "find out", "detect", "take as", "take [food or drugs]", "understand", "take in hand", "undertake", "take in", "hold", "get", "receive [things]", "receive hospitably", "receive in marriage", "receive as produce", "profit", "admit", "initiate", "take hold of", "lay hold on", "seize and keep hold of", "obtain possession of", "lay hands upon", "find fault with", "censure," "to apprehend with the senses", "to take hold of," and "to seize." It is also specifically used to mean "seized with emotion."

ἠργάσατο (verb 3rd sg aor ind mp) "Traded" is from ergazomai, which means to "work at", "make", "do", "perform", "work [a material]", "earn by working," work at a trade or business", " traffic," and "trade."

ἐν "With" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". --

αὐτοῖς (adj pl masc dat) "The same" 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."

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."

ἐκέρδησεν [uncommon](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Made" is from kepdaino, which means to "gain," "derive profit", "make profit", and "gain advantage."

ἄλλα (adj pl neut nom) "Other" is from allos, which means "another", "one besides", "of another sort", "different", "other than what is true", "as well", "besides," (with numerals: "yet", "still", "further"), "of other sort", "other than what is", "untrue", "unreal", "other than right", "wrong", "bad", "unworthy," [with an article] "the rest", "all besides," and [in series] "one...another."

πέντε: (number) "Five" is from pente, the number five.

The Spoken Version: 

"Immediately leaving," he said, leading first follower off from the group, "the one getting the five hundred dollars."

He indicated the follower standing apart and continued, "Worked for himself with it..."

He gestured that the follower should work with the money. He pretended to play cards with it. The crowd laughed.

"And profited five more," the teacher continued, laughing himself.

Front Page Date: 

Sep 30 2016