Matt 26:50

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at
Fri Aug 31 03:30:06 EDT 2001

Carl said:
> My first response, which I think is still most probable, was:
> >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."
> Nevertheless, after Mark Wilson's insistence that Judas has ALREADY DONE
> what he has arrived for, it occurs to me that there's yet another way to
> fill the ellipsis, by understanding a TOUT' ESTIN
> That is to say, the actual words cited are "what you came for"
> with the implicit sense: "Yes, that's what you came for."

The reason I am still pursuing this is that I am working on an idiomatic
translation of Matthew into Danish. I do not feel that any of these two fit
well in the context.

Mark Wilson suggested to me off-list that

"Like most of Jesus' questions, it seems to me the objective
is for the recipients to take careful inventory of their motives."

I like this, because it is consistent with Jesus' use of rhetorical

It fits with the following suggestion from BADG under EPI:
EF' ho; for what (reason)? Mt 26:50

I also looked at the word hETAIRE which I would consider a possible clue to
the intended meaning. Only Matthew uses it, and he does so three times: Mt
20:13, 22:12 and here in 26:50.

In 20:13 the master is saying "Friend" to a grumbling, critical employee who
was not being friendly.

In 22:12 the master/king is using it to refer to a man who cheated himself
to an entrance into the kingdom/wedding feast.

It appears that Matthew is using this word in situations where the other
person has shown lack of friendship. He has been disobedient to the master
and is more or less a rebel.
This fits with Judas' situation. He has pretended to be a close friend by
kissing Jesus (which he did not have to do in order to identify Jesus).
It makes good sense to understand Jesus as inviting Judas to look at his
motives and invite him to come back to the close friendship that he used to
have with Jesus. Jesus is more concerned with calling people to repentance
than with the details of what is happening at his arrest. That was part of
God's plan anyway. It was already settled and done.

So, since we agree that the expression is elliptic, the rule of thumb is
that what is elided should be supplied from the immediately preceding
context. This context is the Judas kiss and the word "friend".

Therefore, I am inclined to go in the direction of:

"My friend", said Jesus, "are you (really) here as a friend?" Rhetorical

Or: "Have you come with friendly motives?"

Or more literally with the implicit topic of friendship made explicit:
"Friendship - is it on that basis (or for that purpose) you have come?"

I am not expecting total agreement on a puzzling construction, but these are
my thoughts at the moment.

Iver Larsen

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