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Matthew 24:42-51

Context

24:42 “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day 1  your Lord will come. 24:43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief 2  was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. 24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 3 

The Faithful and Wise Slave

24:45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, 4  whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves 5  their food at the proper time? 24:46 Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work 6  when he comes. 24:47 I tell you the truth, 7  the master 8  will put him in charge of all his possessions. 24:48 But if 9  that evil slave should say to himself, 10  ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 24:49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with drunkards, 24:50 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, 24:51 and will cut him in two, 11  and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

1 tc Most later mss (L 0281 Ï lat) have here ὥρᾳ ({wra, “hour”) instead of ἡμέρα (Jemera, “day”). Although the merits of this reading could be argued either way, in light of the overwhelming and diverse early support for ἡμέρᾳ ({א B C D W Δ Θ Ë13 33 892 1424, as well as several versions and fathers}), the more general term is surely correct.

2 sn On Jesus pictured as a returning thief, see 1 Thess 5:2, 4; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15.

3 sn Jesus made clear that his coming could not be timed, and suggested it would take some time – so long, in fact, that some will not be looking for him any longer (at an hour when you do not expect him).

4 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.

5 tn Grk “give them.”

6 tn That is, doing his job, doing what he is supposed to be doing.

7 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

8 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn In the Greek text this is a third class condition that for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition (note the translation of the following verb “should say”).

10 tn Grk “should say in his heart.”

11 tn The verb διχοτομέω (dicotomew) means to cut an object into two parts (L&N 19.19). This is an extremely severe punishment compared to the other two later punishments. To translate it simply as “punish” is too mild. If taken literally this servant is dismembered, although it is possible to view the stated punishment as hyperbole (L&N 38.12).



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