Matthew 24:36-44

Matthew 24:36-44
Advent A1


36“But about that day and hour no one knows,A neitherB the angelsC of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of NoahD were, so will be the comingE of the Son of Man.F 38For as in those days before the floodG they were eating and drinking, marryingH and giving in marriage,I until the day Noah entered the ark,J 39and they knewK nothing until the flood came and sweptL them allM away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Notes on verses 36-37

A “knows” = eido. To be aware, consider, perceive. Properly, this is physical seeing with the eyes, but metaphorically seeing in the sense of understanding. It implies knowing and awareness.
B “neither” = oude. This is related to the word used for “no one” in Rom 24:36. This is a definitive negation based on reason and facts.
C “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock herd, drove). This is angel or messenger or delegate. This refers to heavenly creatures and to humans acting as God’s messenger. These are those who bring news or carry out requests.
D “Noah” = Noe. 8x in NT. From Hebrew Noach (Noah); from nuach (rested, quiet, resting place); from nuach (to rest, cease, lay, let down, be quiet, remain; to rest as in settle down literally or figuratively). This word for “rest” is found in both iterations of the 4th commandment (in Ex 20:8-11 and Dt 5:8-12). We keep the Sabbath because God created and then rested. We also keep the Sabbath so that all of us, including servants, may rest.
E “coming” = parousia. From pareimi – to be present, to have come. From para (from beside, by) + eimi (to be). This word is presence, arrival, or advent. It would have referred to the visit of some high official with great authority. It is specially used to refer to the second coming of Jesus.
F “Son of Man” = huios + ho + anthropos. Though traditionally rendered “Son of Man,” the word anthropos refers to humankind – people of all genders. Anthropos is where we get “anthropology” from. Whereas “Son of God” was a term used by, for example, many Roman emperors to describe them being significant and important, “Son of Man” was used specially by Jews to describe the promised one who would return, the Messiah, and restore the kingdom of Israel to independence and peace.

Notes on verses 38-39

G “flood” = kataklusmos. 4x in NT – all referring to the Great Flood with Noah and the ark. From katakluzo (to inundate, flood over, overwhelm), which is from kata (down, against, throughout) + kludon (billow of water, wave, surge of the sea) [from kluzo (to wash over)]. This is a flood or deluge. It is also where the English “cataclysm” comes from.
H “marrying” = gameo. From gamos (wedding, marriage, wedding feast). This is to marry. It shares a root with the English “gamete.”
I “giving in marriage” = gamisko. Related to “marrying” in Rom 24:38. From gamos (see note H above,). This is specifically to make a marriage of a daughter to her spouse.
J “ark” = kibotos. 6x in NT – 4x of Noah’s ark, 2x of the ark of the covenant. This is a wooden box or chest, or the specific arks mentioned previously.
K “knew” = ginosko. To know – knowledge gained experientially. To learn, perceive, be aware of.
L “swept” = airo. This is to lift up or raise. By implication, to remove or take away.
M “all” = hapas. From hama (together with, at the same time; used for close association) + pas (all, every, the whole) OR it is a (closely joined) + pas (as above). This is all with an extra emphasis of every single one all together. Typically, pas is used alone to mean all in the New Testament.

40Then two will be in the field,N one will be takenO and one will be left.P 41Two women will be grindingQ mealR together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awakeS therefore, for you do not know on what day your LordT is coming. 43But understandU this: if the owner of the houseV had known in what part of the nightW the thiefX was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have letY his houseZ be broken into.AA 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpectedBB hour.

Notes on verses 40-42

N “field” = agro. This is fields as for crops or grazing cattle. The country or a farm. Could also be lands or an estate. This is where “agriculture” comes from.
O “taken” = paralambano. From para (from beside, by) + lambano (to take, receive; actively and not passively – focusing on initiative or intentional choice). This word is to take or receive with initiative. Can be used figuratively for learning.
P “left” = aphiemi. From pao (from, away from) + hiemi (to send). This word is to send away, leave alone, release, let someone go, or forgive. Properly, it is to send someone forth, used in various ways.
Q “grinding” = aletho. 2x in NT – in this passage and in the parallel in Lk 17:35. From the same as aleurone (flour, meal); from aleo (to grind).
R “meal” = mulos. 5x in NT. From molos (toil); probably related to mogis (with difficulty, scarcely); from mogos (laborious). This word is mill, millstone, or grinder. Perhaps milling as quite hard work.
S “keep awake” = gregoreo. From egeiro – to waken, lift up. This word is to be awake or to be one watch in the night – thus, vigilant, responsible, watchful.
T “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is the polite way to address someone as master or sir. It is also used as a respectful title for God – “Lord.” One who has authority.

Notes on verses 43-44

U “understand” = ginosko. Same as “knew” in Matt 24:39 (see note A above)
V “owner of the house” = oikodespote. 12x in NT. From oikos (house) + despotes (lord, master prince, ruler, despot), perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, compel) + posis (husband). Oikodespote is master of a house or head of a house. It could also be the one who looks after the household goods.
W “part of the night” = phulake. From phulasso (to guard, watch, protect, be on guard – literally or figuratively). This is a guard, guarding, or watch (the division of time during which one guards).
X “thief” = kleptes. 16x in NT. From klepto (to steal in secret, by stealth). This is someone who is stealthy and not someone who steals using violence. It is a thief literally or figuratively.
Y “let” = eao. 11x in NT. This is to let alone, leave, allow, or permit. It implies a level of reluctance in putting up with something that is happening.
Z “house” = oikia. Related to “owner of the house” in Matt 24:43. From oikos (see note V above). This is a house or household as well as goods and property. Abstractly, it can refer to a family.
AA “broken into” = diorusso. 4x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across) + orusso (to dig, excavate, burrow in the ground). This word is to dig through, break through. To dig through walls, so as to rob someone.
BB “unexpected” = ou + dokeo. From dokos (opinion). This is to have an opinion, to suppose, seem, or appear. It is a judgment call drawn from personal values. So, the second coming will happen, but not by your own estimation – not when it would seem so to you. This is related to the words “doxology” and “dogma.”

Image credit: from the Beato of Valcavado, an illuminated manuscript done by Ovedo in the year 970 in northern Spain.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply