“The field is the world, the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.”
“…the good seed — these are the sons of the kingdom…”
It seems that Matthew is trying to differentiate and place an emphasis on who the kingdom people are. In 8:12, οἱ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας, are Jews, who by birth are “sons of the kingdom” but are thrown into outer darkness because of their rejection of the Messiah. As Matthew’s Gospel progresses it becomes increasingly clear that ethnicity is not the determining factor of kingdom status. At this juncture Jesus has declared that those who identify with him — these are the kingdom people and those who reject him are of the devil. People of the kingdom are the ones who identify with and are planted by the Son of Man.
Here are the ways other versions translate this passage:
Lexham English Bible – And the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom
HCSB – and the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom.
NIV 2011 – and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.
NRSV – and the good seed are the children of the kingdom
NKJV – the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom
NET – and the good seed are the people of the kingdom.
My translation – And he said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first and whenever they have become drunk then they bring out the cheap wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
ESV – and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
The issue is over the translation of μεθυσθῶσιν (ESV – drunk freely). It was my recollection that this word means to “get drunk/intoxicated” but here it gives the connotation that John just means drinking as much or little as one wants. BDAG confirms this with the definition cause to become intoxicated. The same goes for Louw & Nida, to become intoxicated. And Logos’ Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the GNT on the entry for Jn 2:10 says, “to make drunk.” Interestingly, Mounce’s Greek dictionary gives the definition of to inebriate, make drunk, to be intoxicated but under Jn 2:10 he says, “to drink freely.”
There is nothing in this passage to suggest that μεθυσθῶσιν would mean anything other than “get drunk.” The reason that the person throwing the party does this is because when one becomes drunk they are less likely to notice or care about the quality of drink. Is this translation to limit the possibility that Jesus gave wine to intoxicated or soon to be intoxicated guests? If so, the translation is misleading. The KJV 1611 reads “well drunk.” My question is whether in this time period it meant “drunk” as we understand it today or “drunk freely” as the ESV has? If it is the latter it would seem that the ESV is just following the tradition of the translation (though their still could be theological bias). Let’s see how the ESV translates this word other places:
with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”
The ESV seems to be inconsistent here because they translate μεθύσκω as getting “drunk” in all other occurrences. There is no reason based on the context that this should be translated any differently.
Other translation are closer but only the NRSV says “get drunk”. The NIV and others have “too much to drink”, which implies drunkenness much more than “drunk freely.”
NRSV – and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.
NIV – and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
NASB – and *said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.
HCSB – and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people have drunk freely, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.
CEB – A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”
NLT – A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!
KJV – And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
What are your thoughts on this? Does anyone know why this is translated as “drunk freely?”
The HCSB at least footnotes the option that it could be translated “get drunk.” ↩
As I study the Gospels I am always amazed at the emphasis of bringing in the Gentiles and outcasts into the kingdom of God. The new people of God are defined by their faith rather than ethnicity or ritual purity. The Gospel according to Luke is no exception. From the start there is emphasis on the Gentiles and outcast being brought into the kingdom of God (Lk. 2:31–32; 3:6; 4:18–19 etc.).
One emphasis that is played out in the Lukan narrative is the key phrase ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε (your faith has saved you). This phrase occurs four times in the Gospel and each time it is in relation to an outcast.
Luke 7:50 – In the surrounding pericope Jesus is eating with the Pharisees and a “sinful woman” comes and anoints Jesus’ feet. This alarms the Pharisees, to which Jesus replies that she will be forgiven much because she loved much. Jesus tells the woman that she has been forgiven and concludes with “ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε· πορεύου εἰς εἰρήνην” (your faith has saved you; go in peace).
Luke 8:48 – In this section a woman who had “a discharge of blood for 12 years” goes to Jesus and touches him and she is healed. He says to the woman, “θυγάτηρ, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε πορεύου εἰς εἰρήνην” (Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace).
Luke 17:19 – This story Jesus approaches 10 lepers between Samaria and Galilee and has mercy on them. Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priest and Luke says that they were ἐκαθαρίσθησαν (cleansed). The Samaritan returns to give praise to God and Jesus tells him “ἀναστὰς πορεύου· ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε” (Rise and go; your faith has saved you).
Luke 18:42 – Finally, Jesus heals a blind man who cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus replies, “ἀνάβλεψον· ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε” (Regain your sight; your faith has saved you).
In each one of these stories it is the outcast from society (one was even a Samaritan!) that Jesus saves because of their faith. In my opinion Luke has intentionally blurred the lines between spiritual and physically healing. The individuals who come to Jesus are saved, both from physical illness/disability and spiritual illness. The kingdom of God is one in which the people of God have been restored. We are told that the already-not-yet(ness) of the kingdom says that we are restored spiritually but Jesus gives us a glimpse of the physical restoration that will also happen in the new kingdom.
The theme of peace is also present in these stories. Jesus told both woman to go in peace. The gospel is a gospel of peace. At the beginning of the Gospel the angels are praising God saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased. The woman can go in peace because through their faith they have found God’s favor.
Side note: The ESV makes a hard and fast distinction between spiritual and physical healing. In the encounter with the “sinful woman” the ESV translates “your faith has saved you” but in the other pericopes it is translated “your faith has made you well.” I think this interpretive judgment actually weakens Luke’s use of σῴζω, which he has purposely intended a two-fold meaning. The Greek word σῴζω carries this two-fold meaning while the English word “save” is primarily used biblical only in a spiritual salvation context. A word that could possibly bring out this double meaning would be “restored”. This word carries the idea of bringing something back to its original state. This is probably an imperfect solution but I think we should attempt to bring this two-fold meaning into English the best we can.
This is not a review of the text of the NA28 or ESV.
The Greek-English New Testament Diglot from Crossway features the new Nestle-Aland 28th Edition text (and apparatus) and the 2011 ESV text. The Bible itself is a nice cloth-over-board construction with a sewn binding. Both the NA28 and ESV both use a single column 11-point font. On the English side there is usually a half page that is blank that is great for notes. Unfortunately, the ESV does not have cross-references but the NA28 does.
I have one major complaint and one minor. The major complaint is that the Bible itself is constructed in a way that focuses on the English text. In Luke 20:14, the NA28 text is split in the middle of κληρονόμος while the English text is finished on the page. On the NA28 side it reads οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρο- (the next page reads -νόμος ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτόν.). The ESV side reads This is the heir. There is enough room on the NA28 side that the word κληρονόμος could have fit on the line below. This happens in several other places also. I understand this was probably a decision that Crossway had to make but I wish that if some type of splitting of words must happen that it would have been on the English side.
The minor quibble is the size of the Bible itself. It is very bulky and I have found myself not carrying it around for that reason. If this is the only thing I am carrying it is fine but that is rarely the case. The font size is plenty large (11 pt) so there is room for a smaller font size, which would result in a smaller Bible.
Overall, the ESV Greek-English New Testament is a great resource. I highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a Greek-English Diglot.