Matthew 25:45 Inasmuch as you did [it] not to one of the least of these

KJV Verse: 

Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Then he is going to respond to them saying: "Tell you true, on the principle of 'as you didn't really produce for the benefit of one of these, you didn't really produced for me."

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The vocabulary here is basically a simplified version of Mat 25:34 . The only hidden thing in the vocabulary is that the word translation as "done" primarily means "to make" or "produce," though it is usually translated as variations of "to do" in the NT. However, Christ seems to value being productive over simply being active.

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

"Saying" is the verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also.

The "verily" phrase is used frequently by Christ as a personal signature. Its meaning is discussed in detail in this article. Currently, "tell you true" is the translation I currently use. In the previous parable, it was used as a joke, revealing that the bridegroom or celebrity was Christ. Here, it is repeated to echo that humor. Christ is making fun of his frequent use of it.

The word translated as "insomuch" is a preposition, but here it is used to introduce a phrase. It general meaning is "upon" but where used to describe a reason for something, in means "upon the principle of," which is its sense here. There are, as usual, several humorous things here as well.

The word translated as "as" means "as great as", ""as much as," and similar ideas of comparison.

The Greek word translated as "ye did" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service.

The word translated as "unto one" is the number one. It is in the form of an indirect object, which, in Greek, can also means "for the benefit of" which is clearly the meaning here.

"Of the least" is from the Greek means "the smallest", "the shortest", "the least," and "the fewest." It is the possessive form, "of the least" or "of the smallest." However, in English, we use the phrase "little people" to capture this idea.

The Greek word translated as "ye did" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service.

Again, the English translation disguises much of the meaning. The word translated as "did" here hide a lot throughout the Gospel. It is also often translated as "make." Its more complete meaning is "to produce" (see bottom) with a very strong economic sense of doing work to get something accomplished. It is one of the most common words used by Christ in his stories, but its hidden by the much blander and less specific verbs, "to do" and "to make." We can do a lot of things that aren't productive. In English, we can even make mistakes. This translation drains out a lot of the meaning from the Greek word.

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

ἀποκριθήσεται (verb 3rd sg fut ind pass) ) "Shall he 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."

αὐτοῖς (adj pl masc dat ) "Them" 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."

λέγων (part sg 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."

Ἀμὴν "Verily" is from amen, which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek of this meaning before the NT. However, this is also the infinitive form of the Greek verb amao, which means "to reap" or "to cut." -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap."

λέγω "(1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" 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." -- The word translated as "I tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

ὑμῖν, (pron 2nd pl dat) "To you" is from humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἐφ᾽ "Inasmuch" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against." Its is used with verbs of rest to mean "upon"; when used with verbs of motion, indicates the goal or how the motion is supported; in the context of time, "in the time of"; also used to indicate a cause "for" or "on the principle of." ​

ὅσον "As" is from hosos, which means "as many", "as much as", "as great as", "as far as," and "only so far as." -- ​

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. -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. ​

ἐποιήσατε (verb 2nd pl aor ind act) "Ye did" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do." ​

ἑνὶ (noun sg masc dat) "Unto one" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.​

τούτων (adj pl masc gen) "Of these" is from touto, which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]." ​

τῶν ἐλαχίστων, (adj pl masc gen) "Of the least" is from elachistos, which is the superlative form of elachus which nmeans "small", "little," and "short." It means "the smallest", "the shortest", "the least," and "the fewest."​

οὐδὲ "Not" is from oude , which means "but not", "neither", "nor,"and "not even." -- "Neither" is from a Greek negative meaning "but not" and as both parts of "neither...nor."

ἐμοὶ (pron 1st sg masc dat) "Me" is from emoi, which is 1st person,singular dative pronoun meaning "me' as the indirect object of a verb. -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek. ​

ἐποιήσατε. (verb 2nd pl aor ind act) "Ye did" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

The Spoken Version: 

"And he is going to respond, saying" he said wistfully. "'Tell you true..."

However, no one laughed at the signature phrase now. His entire demeanor had changed.

"On the principle of 'as you didn't really produce for the benefit of these, my little one," he continued as if talking about children now. "you didn't really produce for me."

Related Verses: 

Nov 1 2016