Matt 26:50

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at
Thu Aug 30 15:44:27 EDT 2001

The expression in Matt 26:50 looks incomplete and is hard to understand:


I know some options and would be grateful for comments on which, if any of
them, seems the better one:

1. The imperative POIEI should be supplied to give the sense: "Friend, do
that which you are here for." I am reluctant to go this route, because I am
not sure we are allowed to add POIEI.

2. It is understood as a question to give the sense "Friend, why have you
come?" This sounds as a real question and does not make much sense, since
Jesus knew very well why Judas had come. I also find it hard to make EF' hO
mean "why" when EIS TI or similar would have been simpler.

3. A word of saying may be implied, giving the sense "Friend, tell us what
you are here for." I suppose this could be a request to Judas to be honest
and not hide his intention behind a friendly kiss.

4. The relative could refer to the previous situation where Judas has
feigned friendship by giving Jesus a kiss and calling him Rabbi while
bringing an armed contingent to catch him. This might give the sense
"Friend, is this what you have come for?" (That is, greeting me as a close
friend as well as your Master.)

Is there a Greek idiom involved here? I am not satisfied with any of the
suggestions above.

I didn't get a lot of help from BADG. But let me quote some of what they
suggest under hOS:

2a: "The much disputed pass. hETAIRE, EF' hO PAREI Mt 26:50 would belong
here if we were to supply the words necessary to make it read about as
follows: friend, (are you misusing the kiss) for that (purpose) for which
you are here? (Wlh.; EKlostermann) or thus: in connection with that (=the
purposes), for which (=for the realization of which) you have appeared (do
you kiss me)? (Rdm.2 78). Friend, are you here for this purpose? FRehkopf,
ZNW 52, ’61, 109-15. But s. 2b and 9b below.

2b: So Mt 26:50 (s. 2a above), if the words to be supplied are about as
follows: friend, (do that) for which you have come! (so ESchwartz, ByzZ 25,
’25, 154f; ECEOwen, JTS 29, ’28, 384-6; WSpiegelberg, ZNW 28, ’29, 341-3;
FZorell, Verb. Domini 9, ’29, 112-16; sim. PMaas, Byz.-Neugriech. Jahrb. 8,
’31, 99; 9, ’32, 64; WEltester: OCullmann-Festschr., ’62, 70-91; FWDanker,
FWGingrich-Festschr., ’72, 104f n. 6 reads EF' Wi PAREI as a commercial
idiom w. the colloq. sense ‘what deal did you make?’ [s. 11d, Ro 5:12].

9B: NT philology overwhelmingly rejects the proposition that hOS is used in
direct questions (Mlt. 93; Bl-D. §300, 2; Radermacher2 78; PMaas [see 2b
above]). An unambiguous example of it is yet to be found. Even the inscr. on
a goblet in Dssm., LO 100ff [LAE 125-31], ET 33, ’22,  491-3 leaves room for
doubt. For this reason the translation of hETAIRE, EF' hO PAREI Mt 26:50 as
‘what are you here for?’ (so Gdspd., Probs. 41-43; similarly, as early as
Luther, later Dssm.; JPWilson, ET 41, ’30, 334) is scarcely tenable.-Rob.
725 doubts the interrogative here, but Moulton-Turner, Syntax ’63, p. 50
inclines toward it."

Iver Larsen

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