Matt 26:50

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Thu Aug 30 16:18:02 EDT 2001

At 9:44 PM +0200 8/30/01, Iver Larsen wrote:
>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.

While I can understand your reluctance to take the leap and supply POIEI
(or POIHSON?), I really think this is the only viable alternative among
those you list. There is, of course, no parallel in Mark or Luke--and I
don't know of any exact parallel in extra-biblical literature, although
this is mightily like some bits of half-line stichomythia in Greek tragedy
and comedy and just a little bit like some rather elliptical proverbial
statements such as MH PAR' hO GEGRAPTAI. That is to say, we recognize the
ellipsis as such and supply what makes sense. Here it seems to me that the
nly thing that makes sense is to understand the phrase, as "My friend, you
came here for a purpose, go right ahead and get it done."

>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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Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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