In many translations of Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42, and Luke 22:25, the mentioned “rulers” are referred to as only “rulers of the Gentiles” rather than the more accurate and generic “rulers of peoples/nations.” These translations are dishonest ploys that try to imply that Jesus recognized a privileged status for Israel’s “rulers” in both religion and government – a status which is seemingly beyond criticism because Jesus seemingly criticized only “rulers of the Gentiles.” This switcheroo cunningly protects modern officials, in both religion and government, who desire to be viewed as “inheriting” a special status from Israel’s ancient rulers – the same “ancient rulers of Israel” who deserted the Commandments that forbid coveting, stealing, and bearing false witness in order to dishonestly strengthen their “bureaucracies” instead. Modern officials, particularly those in religion, continue to cunningly take undue advantage of “ancient status” in order to similarly forsake the Commandments in legions of ways as well – as they try to be “revered” and wield power as easily as possible.
THE LESSON: The original Greek uses the following to mean “rulers of people/nations” in a generic fashion, and it does not omit Israel’s own “rulers/officials”:
1) …οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν (Matthew 20:25),
2) …ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν (Mark 10:42) and
3) …οἱ βασιλεῖς τῶν ἐθνῶν (Luke 22:25). *
Therefore, Jesus’ rebukes about dishonest “lording rulers” included criticism of Israel’s officials as well as criticism of “the rulers of the Gentiles” in other nations. Religious and governmental officials of Israel were not excluded from Jesus’ criticisms of “lording rulers,” – and so modern religious and governmental officials are not excluded from Jesus’ criticisms either!
*(Greek language information found at GreekBibleStudy.Org.)
“final authority,” and not any “lording rulers”
either inside or outside of Israel.
“It shall NOT be so among you
[if you will THINK!].”
Honest contextual modifications, of the following verses, are in the brackets.
• Matthew 20:25-28 (NKJV): 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the [rulers of peoples/nations, including the rulers of Israel, dishonestly] lord it over them, and those who are great exercise [dishonest] authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you [if you will THINK!]; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your [honest and thinking] servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your [honest and thinking] slave [who will honestly THINK as a responsible authority in order to honestly enhance life, and not to be lazy or cheating].”
• Mark 10:42-45 (NKJV) 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who [are considered rulers over peoples/nations dishonestly] lord it over them, and their great ones exercise [dishonest] authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you [if you will THINK!]; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your [honest and thinking] servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be a [honest and thinking] slave of all [and one who will honestly THINK as a responsible authority in order to honestly enhance life, and not to be lazy or cheating].”
• Luke 22:25-27 (NKJV) 25 And He said to them, “The kings [the dishonest authorities/rulers of peoples/nations] exercise [dishonest] lordship over them, and those who exercise [dishonest] authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you [if you will THINK!]; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves [honestly by THINKING!]. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who [honestly] serves [and thinks]? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who [honestly] serves [and diligently uses my own mind for THINKING as an honest authority in order to honestly enhance life; I am not lazy or cheating!].”
ADDITIONAL TRANSLATION INFORMATION: In contrast to the examples above, for the sake of honesty, there are times when translating the word “τῶν ἐθνῶν” (“ethnic people”) from the root form “(τὰ) ἔθνη” does refer only to people and rulers from outside of Israel. An example is in Matthew 4:15 which reads: 15 “ The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles (NKJV). [Referring to ethnic peoples that are not of Israel or of the Hebrews].