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Greek/Matthew 25 - 'Going' Out or 'Gone' Out?


QUESTION: Question:  The following Greek text is taken from the Codex Sinaiticus re: Matthew 25 ("give us of your oil for our lamps are going out")

των αι δε μωραι ταιϲ

φρονιμοιϲ ειπον

δοτε ημιν εκ του

ελαιου ϋμων οτι

αι λαμπαδεϲ ημω


What is the correct translation; Is it; "And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are GOING OUT" -- or is it ..."our lamps have GONE OUT." -- ?

Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Helllo,

the correct translation of the verse  “αἱ δὲ μωραὶ ταῖς φρονίμοις εἶπαν• Δότε ἡμῖν ἐκ τοῦ ἐλαίου ὑμῶν, ὅτι αἱ λαμπάδες ἡμῶν σβέννυνται “ (Matthew 25: 8) is exactly: “And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are GOING OUT”.

In fact, the verb σβέννυνται is just the 3rd.person plural, present indicative, middle-passive voice of the verb σβέννυμι that in its middle-passive form means “ to be quenched, to go out” (related to the fire).

Therefore, the present indicative, middle-passive voice σβέννυνται cannot mean “have GONE OUT” simply because in ancient Greek “have GONE OUT”  -related to the subject “lamps“- should have been  ἐσβέσθησαν (3rd.person plural, passive aorist) or ἔσβην (3rd person plural, athematic aorist), both meaning “have GONE OUT”/ were quenched”.

Best regards,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

I have this other question please.  Thank you very much!!

Re: Luke 12:36
ancient greek, from Codex Sinaticus);

και ϋμειϲ ομοιοι ανθρωποιϲ προϲδεχομενοιϲ τον κν  εαυτων ποτε αναλυϲη εκ τω  γαμων ϊνα ελθοντοϲ και κρουϲαντοϲ ευθεωϲ ανοιξωϲιν αυτω

My focus (in the above ancient greek text) is primarily on the words -- εκ τω γαμων

Is the correct translation?

1 ("when he shall return) --FROM-- the marriage" (feast or FEASTS?)
2 ("when he shall return) --BEFORE the marriage" (feast/FEASTS?)

Q: What is the CORRECT translation of the verse?

Thanks in advance.

Your sincerely,

Dear Sonia,

the words πότε ἀναλύσῃ ἐκ τῶν γάμων literally mean “when he shall return from the nuptials” where the English “nuptials” is just in the plural like the ancient Greek γάμοι (nominative plural) whose genitive is γάμων.

So, please note that:

-the ancient Greek γάμοι whch is the nominative plural of γάμος (2nd.declension) is often used instead of the singular γάμος.

-“nuptials” in the plural corresponds exactly to the ancient Greek γάμοι (nominative plural) whose genitive is just γάμων.

-“nuptials” is a synonym of “marriage ceremony” /”marriage feast”/ “wedding celebration” used in the SINGULAR.

-the indirect object ἐκ τῶν γάμων means exactly “FROM the marriage feast” /”FROM the wedding celebration” as the preposition ἐκ followed by the genitive case means “FROM”, NOT “before”.

-Lastly you must not  use the plural “marriage FEASTS”,  since the ancient Greek plural γάμοι (nominative plural) whose genitive is γάμων is used instead of the singular γάμος, as I’ve already said.

To conclude, the verse: καὶ ὑμεῖς ὅμοιοι ἀνθρώποις προσδεχομένοις τὸν κύριον ἑαυτῶν πότε ἀναλύσῃ ἐκ τῶν γάμων, ἵνα ἐλθόντος καὶ κρούσαντος εὐθέως ἀνοίξωσιν αὐτῷ (Luke 12:36 ) translates correctly as:

“Be like men watching for their lord, when he shall return from the marriage feast, so that they may immediately open to him, when he arrives and knocks.

Hope all is clear enough.
Best regards,


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I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning ANCIENT GREEK. So, do not ask me please questions regarding MODERN GREEK as it is different from Ancient Greek either in spelling/meaning or in pronunciation.


Over 25 years teaching experience.

I received my Ph.D in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy) and my thesis was about ancient Greek drama (Aeschylus).

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