Matthew 26:50 Friend, wherefore have you come?

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Buddy, for what purpose are you here?

KJV : 

Mat 26:50 Friend, wherefore art thou come? ​

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is spoken when Christ meets Judas when he is about to betray him. The Greek is very different from the English, built on some very uncommon words for Christ, and it is much more of a philosophical statement than it appears at first.

It should be noted that this verse is translated very differently in many of the more recent translations, such as the NIV where it becomes “Do what you came for, friend.” First, this difference illustrates the problem with questions in ancient Greek. Because the source doesn't have any punctuation, we don't know what is a question and what is not, so we have to guess. Secondly, it illustrates how far all translations have to stretch for meaning. As a statement, rather than a question, this text literally says, "Friend, on this you are here." This becomes in more recent translations, "Friend, do what you are here to do." As a question, it is "Friend, on what are you here?" This becomes "Friend, wherefore are thou come?"

"Friend" is a noun which has both the sense of being a "comrade" and "companion" and being a "pupil", "disciple," and "associate." Christ uses it three other times. None of them are situations that are "friendly," addressing someone in a disagreement, and this is the only one where "disciple" works. Christ uses the word ironically. Perhaps "pal," "buddy", or "chum".

"Wherefore" is from two Greek words which literally means "on what" or, as we would say in English, "for what."The word "on" is usually translated as "unto" and means "against", "before", "by" or "on." The"what" word is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause, though it can also be a question word: what, who, etc.

The uncommon word translated as "come" means "to be near" and "to be present." It is not the word commonly translated as "come" in the Gospels.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἑταῖρε, [uncommon](noun sg masc voc) "Friend" is from hetairos, which means "comrade", "companion", "pupil", "disciple," and "associate."

ἐφ᾽ "Wherefore" is from epi. (with hos below) which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

(pron sg neut acc) "Wherefore" is from hos, (with epi above) which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

πάρει. [uncommon](verb 2nd sg pres ind act) "Come" is from pareimi , which means "to be present", "to be near," and "to be ready."

The Spoken Version: 

"Buddy," he said coldly. "Why are you here?"

Front Page Date: 

Dec 2 2016