[B-Greek] Matt 13:32a

Bert de Haan b_dehaan at sympatico.ca
Mon Jul 30 21:09:49 EDT 2007

One more question about this passage. Not a critical one for understanding 
the passage but I find it interesting just the same.
"hO MIKROTERON MEN ESTIN PANTWN TWN SPERMATWN" means "which is smaller than 
all the seeds" (Not: a bit on the small side) and "MEIZON TWN LAXANWN ESTIN 
KAI GINETAI DENDRON" means "is greatest among the vegetables and becomes a 
tree."(Not: of great importance compared to the other vegetables....)
Mustard seeds are a bit on the small side but not the smallest by anyones 
standard and I don't think any mustard plant grows tall enough to be called 
a tree.
Assumtions can get one in trouble but is it a reasonable assumption that 
SINAPI is not the same as our mustard?

George F Somsel gfsomsel at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 27 22:30:54 EDT 2007

On genitive constructions Wallace is a rather safe bet to have something to 
say (so does BDF here)

3. Genitive of Comparison [than]
a. Definition
The genitive substantive, almost always after a comparative adjective, is 
used to indicate comparison. The genitive, then, is the standard against 
which the comparison is made (i.e., in “X is greater than Y,” the gen. is 
the Y). This usage is relatively common.

Daniel B. Wallace. (1999; 2002). Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - 
Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (110). Zondervan Publishing House and 
Galaxie Software.

Why do we not say "among the smaller seeds"?  Because it compares it not to 
seeds in general but to all seeds [PANTWN TWN SPERMATWN].


Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear truth,
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
defend the truth till death.

- Jan Hus

----- Original Message ----
From: Delbert Flora <delbert.flora at hotmail.com>
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 8:36:23 PM
Subject: [B-Greek] Matt 13:32a


I know the King James translators took this comparative MIKROTERON in a
superlative sense (is the least of all seeds), but it seems like a Greek
would have understood MIKROTERON, however awkward it would be translated
into English, to be nothing more than an assertion that the mustard seed is
‘smaller in comparison’ to all seeds. That is, if all seeds were measured
and put on some scale, the mustard seed would be on the smaller end. I’m
just not seeing where a Greek would have presumed a superlative sense with
MIKROTERON even if the group to which it is being compared is all seeds
(which would mean that the mustard seed is in both groups, so obviously it
can't be smaller than itself).

Delbert Flora

More information about the B-Greek mailing list