|Dr. Couch: I understand there is a different translation on the word "Friend" in Matthew 26:50. What does the word mean?|
ANSWER: Judas brought the Jews to the Garden of Gethsemane in order to arrest Christ while He was there with the other eleven to pray with Him. When he came up to the Lord and said "Hail, Rabbi" and kissed Him, Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." The word friend is not a good word to use. It is not the Greek word phileo. The word is hetairos. And though it is translated as friend, this is not the best rendering. The word is used only in Matthew: 11:16; 20:13; 22:12; 26:50.
The better translation is "comrade, mate, partner, fellow." Judas was part of the contingency of the apostles who were to witness or confirm who Christ was, but he did not have fellowship with Him as one who was close and intimate in the spiritual work of the Lord. From the very beginning he was a turncoat and one who would betray Jesus.
Judas' betrayal was even prophesied in Psalm 41:9: "Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." "Close friend" is not a good translation either. It is better translated "the man of my peace." It is a strong idiomatic expression in Hebrew for the man with whom I was at peace. And this is true of Judas. Alexander notes that "Our Lord applies this verse expressly to Himself and Judas (John 13:18), which shows that Judas was really included in the class to which the psalm relates." But Judas with his betrayal would kick at Christ with his heel in turning his back against the Lord.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch