Greek Study Matthew 25:31-46
v31 οταν + subj. "when" - an indefinite temporal clause.
o υιος του ανθρωπου "the Son of Man" - the reference is to the mysterious messianic figure who is enthroned at the right hand of the Ancient of Days (Dan.7:13). The phrase can be understood simply as "man" and so also served to maintain the “messianic secret”.
ελθη (ερχομαι) aor. subj. "comes" - to heaven, not earth.
εν τη δοξη του πατρος "in the glory of the Father", expressing high Christology; he comes in a cloud of divine presence, radiating the shekinah glory.
οι αγγελοι (ος) "the angels" – likely the heavenly messengers though possibly believers, messengers from earth, gathered with Christ on the final day.
v32 παντα τα εθνη (ος) "all the nations" - probably means "all peoples", Jew and Gentile likely includes dead and living since the day of judgment is also the day of resurrection.
εμπροσθεν + gen. "before [him]" - spacial.
αφορισει (αφοριζω) pres. "will separate" - Palestinian sheep and goats look the same and since they graze together they are constantly being separated. Beare notes that the judgment here is not a trial, but the enacting of a sentence for decisions already made.
απ (απο) + gen. "[one] from [another]" - separation; "away from."
ωσπερ "as" - comparative."
v33 μεν .... δε "-" – idiom; on the one hand ..... but on the other ....."
ευωνυμων adj. "left" - The sheep and goats are sorted into the good luck and bad luck positions, sheep are on his right (honor, power and authority) goats on the left, a bad-omen position.
v34 τοτε adv. "then" - temporal adverb; indicates a division, identified by a new paragraph. "At that time" is better. We are probably dealing here with what was originally a kingdom parable, with τοτε serving as a stitching device; so "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to the situation where a king says to those standing to his right ...."
ο Βασιλευς (ευς εως) "the king" - in the parable's original setting "the king" could have been any king but in Jesus' explanation "the king" represented God. In the present context one suspect that Matthew sees Jesus/ Son of Man as the king. The "blessed of my father" leads to that conclusion. Jesus uses the title "Son of Man" because it is a mysterious messianic title where the Son of Man receives his right to rule from the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7).
τοις dat. art. "to those [on his right]" - article serves as a nominalizer turning the prepositional phrase εκ δεξιων into a substantive, dative of indirect object.
οι ευλογημενοι (ευλογεω) perf. pas. part. "you who are blessed" participle serves as a substantive. These blessed ones, standing to the right of the K/king, are blessed because they have been assigned to his right and thus gained their inheritance.
του πατρος (ηρ ρος) gen. "by [my] Father" - genitive may be classified as ablative, of origin.
κληρονομησατε (κληρονομεω) aor. imp. "take your inheritance" - receive an inheritance. The inheritance is defined as the kingdom.
την ητοιμασμενην (ετοιμαζω) per. pas. part. "prepared" - the thing having been prepared. The participle serves as an adjective, , attributive, limiting "kingdom"; "the kingdom that has been prepared for you", Berkeley.
υμιν dat. pro. "for you" - Dative of interest, advantage.
απο + gen. "since [the creation of the world]" - expressing source. "God intended from the beginning to fashion creatures in community for fellowship with himself", Blomberg.
v35 γαρ "for" - cause/reason; explaining why those to the right are blessed by the Father.
μοι dat. pro. "[you gave] me" - [you gave something] to me. a dative of indirect object. The provision of food, drink and clothing to the needy is work required of the righteous in the Old Testament, and those who perform it "shall surely live", Ezk.18:6-9, cf. Job 22:6-7, Isa. 58:6-7.
φαγειν (εσθεω) aor. inf. "to eat" - infinitive is adverbial, expressing purpose; "you gave to me something in order that I might eat."
ημην (ειμι) imperf. "I was" - six different situations of distress and the actions to relieve them - good works which, although not defined by the Torah, were, in Jewish tradition, "decisive at the judgment". The aorist verbs are used except for "I was a stranger" and "I was in prison" where an imperfect verb to-be is used expressing an existing state rather than a durative action.
ξενος (ος) "a stranger/foreigner”, hospitality to the stranger is required of the righteous in the Old Testament, cf. Job.31:32.
v36 γυμνος adj. "I needed clothes" - naked.
ησθενησα (ασθενεω) aor. "I was sick" - the “caring” action may read "visit", or "care for", both actions required of the righteous. Given the religious requirements pertaining to disease, visiting someone who is sick is an act of above and beyond the call of duty.
ηλθατε (ερχομαι) aor. "[I was in prison and] you came [to visit me]" Ancient prisons provided a roof but nothing else. Food and other necessities were provided by family and friends so this is not just a visit to commiserate.
v37 οι δικαιοι (ος) "the righteous" - the "righteous" are the covenant compliant, those who are judged right before God.
αυτω dat. pro. αποκριθησονται."[will answer] him" – a dative of indirect object
λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. saying. ποτε adv. "when" πεινωντα (πειναω) pres. part. [did we see you] hungry? - this (and other) participles serve to form a dependent statement of perception expressing what they saw, "when did we see that you were hungry ..... or thirsty?" The same construction is used for the participle "having sickness", in v39.
v40 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. "[The King will] reply" – a Semitic construction.
αμην λεγω υμιν "I tell you the truth" – This phrase serves to underline the following statement and is often used by Jesus; likely emerging from Jesus' explanation rather than the parable itself.
εφ οσον "whatever" - This construction appears three times in Matthew, but not in the other gospels or the LXX.
των ελαχιστων sup. adj. "[one] of the least" – a superlative of little; serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, partitive. In God's domain status is not important; this kind of act is what matters. So, the word identifies a degree of compassion beyond the norm, “love to the loveless shown...”
τουτων gen. pro. "of these"
των αδελφων (ος) gen. "brothers" - Jesus thus identifies himself fully with his disciples- a fellow child of God, but also a stranger within the gates.
εμοι dat. pro. "[you did it] for me" - "you did it out of respect for me." The general principle, "the person who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, Prov.19:17, is the point.
v41 τοις πηρασεεκ ευωνυμων dat. art. "to those [on his left]"
απ (απο) + gen. "[depart] from [me]"
οι κατηραμενοι (καταραομαι) perf. pas. part. "you who are cursed" - cursed in that they are sent from the Father's presence into the το αιωνιον adj. "eternal" - (ever-burning) [fire]. This reference is often used to support the notion of eternal punishment, cf. v46, but the imagery used here is not necessarily describing eternal damnation, but of a fire that does not go out and so is ready to deal with the condemned.
το ητοιμασμενον (ετοιμαζω) perf. pas. part. "prepared"- having been prepared. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "eternal fire."
τω διαβολω (ος) dat. "for the devil" - deceiver, liar, slanderer. A dative of interest.
τοις αγγελοις (ος) "[his] angels" Satan's demons/gang
v42 ουκ εδωκατε (διδωμι) aor. "you gave [me] nothing [to drink]"
v44 ου διηκονησαμεν (διακονεω) aor. "you did not provide a service " in the sense of serving one’s your need.
v45 αποκριθησεται (αποκρινομαι) fut. "he will replay" -.
v46 ουτοι pro. "they" απελευσονται (απερχομαι) fut. "will go away" (future)
κολασιν αιωνιον "eternal punishment" in the sense of suffering as a consequence of wrong behavior. This hell (the lake of unquenchable fire - Matt.15:3) is symbolic of a punishment that involves separation from God, better described as eternal nothingness. Banishment from the presence of the living God is a monstrous loss. The term appears only here in Matthew and probably derives from Daniel 12:2-3, LXX. "Eternal doom".
ζωην αιωνιον "eternal life" - Daniel 12:2; "and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall rise, some to life everlasting." cf. Matt.19:16, 29, referring to "the future inheritance of eschatological blessing", or simply of entering the kingdom of heaven.