Matthew 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

At that time, the righteous are going to answer him saying, "Master, when did we know you hungering and we fatten [you] up, or thirsting and we watered.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The strange thing about this verse is that it uses terms usually applied to feeding and watering animals. The joke is that it is the "sheep" saying this.

The word translated as "the righteous" is a noun that means "the virtuous" but it is also a play on the idea of "the right". The two words are similar in Greek, though not as similar as in English.

"Shall answer" is a verb that means to "set apart," "choose", "answer" a question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself."

The word translated as "saying" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak." It is in the form of a participle, "saying" and "speaking."

The Greek word translated as "lord," means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of" and means "lord" or "master."

The verb translated as "saw we" means "to see" but it is usually used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive."

The "an hungered" here is the same verb translated as "hungered" in Mat 25:35, but here it is in the form of an adjective, "hungering."

The word translated as "feedeth" doesn't mean feed as much as the idea of "nurturing" or "causing to grow." It is not the words used in Mat 25:35 to means "give to eat." It was, however, used in Mat 6:26 to refer to caring for birds regarding food. Since its primary meaning is "to thicken", the sense might be described better as "to fatten up."

The word for "thirst" is the same used in Mat 25:35 that means "to be thirsty" or, more generally, "to want" or "lack" anything. It is in the form of an adjective, "thirsting."

The "gave the drink," which is from a word that means "to give a drink", "to water", "to moisten," and metaphorically "to saturate one's mind". It is not the word the Christ always uses for "give" (as used above) or "to drink" but a word that he rarely uses.

There is no "thee" in this part of the verse.

Greek Vocabulary: 

τότε "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

ἀ ποκριθήσονται (verb 3rd pl fut ind pass) "Shall answer" is from apokrinomai that means to "set apart," "choose", "exclude," "reject on examination", "decide", "answer" the question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself" and, in the passive, "to be parted or separated." In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "Him" 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."

οἱ δίκαιοι (adj pl masc nom) "The righteous" is from dikaios which means "observant of rules", "observant of customs", "well-ordered", "civilized," and "observant of duty." Later it means "well-balanced", "impartial," and "just." As a verb, it means to "set right", "hold or deem right", "claim or demand as a right", "pronounce judgment", "do a man right or justice", "chastise", "punish, and in passive, "have right done one."

λέγοντες (part pl 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 spelt the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

Κύριε, (noun sg masc voc) "Lord" is from kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

πότε (part) "When" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

σε (pron 2nd sg acc) "Thee" is from su which means "you" and "your."

εἴδαμεν (1st pl aor act ind) "Saw we" is from eido which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

πεινῶντα (part sg pres act masc acc) "An hungered" is peinaô (peino), which means "to be hungry", "crave after," or "to be starved," and it is a metaphor for desire and cravings.

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."

ἐθρέψαμεν, (verb 1st pl aor ind act) "Feedeth" is from trepho, which means primarily, to "thicken or congeal [a liquid]", "cause to grow or increase", "bring up", "rear", "rear and keep [animals, slaves]", "tend", "cherish," "let grow (of parts of the body)", "cherish", "foster", "breed", "produce", "teem [of earth and sea]", "have within oneself", "contain", "maintain", "support," .Pass. "to be bred," and "reared."

"Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." --

διψῶντα (part sg pres act masc acc) "Thirst" is from dipsao, which means "to thirst", "to be thirsty," "to be parched", "to be in want of", "to lack," and "to thirst after" a thing.

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."

ποτίσαμεν; (verb 1st pl aor ind act) "You gave...to drink" is potizo which means "to give a drink", "to water", "to moisten," and metaphorically "to saturate one's mind."

Wordplay: 

Play of on the right against the idea of righteous, though not as similar as the English, they are still similar in Greek. 

The word for "thirst" means "lack" in general. 

The Spoken Version: 

At that time, the righteous," he continued, indicating the followers are his right, "are going to answer him saying..."

At this point, he moved to over to the side of the sheep. Speaking for them, he used the voice of a sheep, "Mah-bah-master, when did we, bah-bah, m know you were hungering and, bah, we fattened [you] up...or thirsting and, bah, we watered [you]."

The crowd laughed A sheep was describing the care of animals.

Related Verses: 

Oct 23 2016