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Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged
KJV Verse:

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Greek Verse:

ΛΟΥΚΑΝ 21:34 Προσέχετε δὲ ἑαυτοῖς μή ποτε βαρηθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι ὑμῶν ἐν κρεπάλῃ καὶ μέθῃ καὶ μερίμναις βιωτικαῖς, καὶ ἐπιστῇ ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς ἐφνίδιος ἡμέρα ἐκείνη ὡςπαγίς:”

Literal Alternative:

Hold on, however, to them. You don't want them at any time to be weighed down, those hearts of yours, in overindulgence and drunkenness and thoughts of the body. It might come down upon you, the unforeseen time, that one, as a trap.

Hidden Meaning:

This verse has so many unique and interesting features that it is hard to know where to start. It is the first verse where Jesus uses a Latin word, not a Greek or Aramaic one. The KJV actually ends the verse in the wrong place, missing some key ideas in its punch line. All the key words in this verse are unique and the meaning of several can be debated since they could be several different Greek words and this is the only time Jesus uses them. However, rather than chase down all possible meanings, I will focus this article on the key issues to translating it better than the KJV does.

The issues start with the first word. The Greek word translated as "and" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  KJV translators regularly change it to "and" when they don't see the adversarial nature of the statement. This may be because Jesus is answering a question that was not recorded.

The word translated as "take heed" means"hold to", "offer", "turn toward", "attend to", "pay attention," and "be on your guard against". Its root is the Greek word meaning "have" and "hold". It works somewhat like our phrase "hold fast" or simply "hold on". It is a command to the group of listeners.

 "To yourselves" is a special reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself," and so on. However, it cannot mean "yourselves". This is because the verb is not in the proper form. Greek has a special form for verb where the subject acts on themselves and it  isn't used here. This pronoun likely refers to something in the question asked of him. A question about "hearts", possibly.

The negative "lest" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used. To capture this negative in English, it is often necessary to change the form of the verb to add the English "want".

The "at an time"  is from an adverb meaning "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

The word translated as "your" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners.

"Hearts" is the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both the "soul" and "the mind".

"Overcharged" is verb Jesus only uses here that means to "weigh down", "depress", "debit" or "charge" an account, "heavy", and "pregnant". It only means "charge" in the sense of charging an account. The idea of electric charges didn't exist at the time. The form is passive in the form of possibility, something that might happen.

There is no "with". It is added because of the form of the following nouns, which must be translated into English by adding a preposition. This form can  mean adding a "to" (indirect object), "with" (an instrument), "in" (location), "as" (a purpose), "for" (a benefit), "of" (possession), "by" (an agent), "as" (a comparison), and "in" (an area of effect).

"Surfeiting", which means acting in excess, is from a unique Latin word, the only purely Latin word so far in this study. The word means  means "excessive drinking", "overindulgence", and "intoxication". This word is not Greek but a Latin word spelled in Greek letters.

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also."

"Drunkenness" is another unique word, this one Greek, that means "strong drink" and "drunkenness".

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also."

"Cares" is translated from a Greek word that means "care", "thought" or "concern." It has most of the sense of the way we use "worry" in English. However, it is single, not plural.

"Of this life" is yet another unique word. It is not one of the several common words that mean life that Jesus uses (see this article).  This word is an adjective that means "full of life", "lively", and "of life". It is from a root word that Jesus uses elsewhere that means "livelihood", and "means of living", in the sense of supporting yourself and your family. It is not the Greek word normally translated as "life".

However, it specifically refers to life of the body,

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

There is no "so" in the Greek.

The word translated as "that" is an adjective that highlights its noun as in a specific place from a word that means "there."

The Greek word translated as "day" also means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime." This word comes later in the sentence, after the verb.

"Come" is another unique word for Jesus.  It is not the word commonly translated as "come". This word means to "set upon", "place upon", "cause", "set up", and so on. This word starts the sentence and is in the form of possibility so it would be heard as "it might put upon."

The word translated as "unto" means "on", "over", "upon", "against", "before", "after", "during", "by" or "on." This is a repeated word because it already appeared in the prefix of the verb translated as "come".

The "you" here is plural, indicating it was addressed to a group of Christ's listeners as the object. 

"Unawares" is another unique word that means "unforeseen" and "sudden". It is an adjective that comes before "day" modifying it, so "unforeseen day".

There are two words used in the next verse that are, in the Greek, clearly part of this verse. We will explain why in the next article, but these words mean "as a trap". The follow the "unforeseen day".

Vocabulary:

Προσέχετε ( verb 2nd pl pres imperat act ) "Take heed" is the Greek prosecho, which means "hold to", "to offer", "turn to or toward," "to turn your mind toward," "to be on one's guard against", "to take heed", "to pay attention", "to devote oneself to", "to attach oneself", "to continue", "to hold fast to [a thing]," "to have in addition," or "pay court to." --

δὲ (conj/adv) "And" is de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). --

ἑαυτοῖς ( adj pl nuet/masc dat ) "To yourselves" is heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself" "themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative to autos. --

μή (partic) "Lest" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. --

ποτε (adv/conj) "At any time" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future." -- 

βαρηθῶσιν [unique]( verb 3rd pl aor subj pass) "Overcharged" is bareo, which means to "weigh down", "depress", "debit" or "charge" an account, "heavy", and "pregnant".

αἱ καρδίαι (noun pl fem nom) "Hearts" is kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire," "purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." --

ἐν (prep) "In" is en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

κρεπάλῃ {Latin: crapula} [unique]( noun sg fem dat) "Surfeiting" is  kraipalē, which means "excessive drinking", "overindulgence", and "intoxication". This word is not Greek but a Latin word spelled in Greek letters.

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just." --

μέθῃ [unique]( noun sg fem dat) "Drunkenness" is methe, which means "strong drink" and "drunkenness".

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just." -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

μερίμναις [uncommon]  (noun sg fem nom) "Cares" is from merimna , which means "care", "thought", "solicitude", "object of care or thought," and, in plural, "pursuit", "ambition."

βιωτικαῖς, [unique]( adj pl fem dat ) "Of this life" is biōtikos , which means "full of life", "lively", and "of life".

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἐπιστῇ [unique]( verb 3rd sg aor subj act ) "Come" is ephistemi, which means to "set upon", "place upon", "cause", "set up", and so on.

ἐφ᾽ (prep) "Upon" is epi, which means "on", "over",  "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," "after" in position, "during", and "against."

ὑμᾶς (pron 2nd pl acc) "You" is humas which is the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." --

ἐφνίδιος {αἰφνίδιος} [unique]( adj sg fem nom ) "Unawares" is aiphnidios, which means "unforeseen", and "sudden".

ἡμέρα (noun sg fem nom) "Day" is hemera, which, as a noun, means "day" "a state or time of life", "a time (poetic)", "day break" and "day time." It is also and also has a second meaning, of "quiet", "tame (animals)", "cultivated (crops)," and "civilized (people)." --

ἐκείνη (adj sg fem nom) "That" is ekeinos (kakeinos), which means "the person there", "that person", "that thing", "in that case", "in that way", "at that place," and "in that manner." --

The following two Greek words are translated in Luke 21:35.

ὡς (adv/conj) "For as" is hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that." -- The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

παγίς:” [unique]( noun sg fem nom ) "A snare" is pagis, which means "trap" and, metaphorically, "snare".

Most Recent Question

Question:
What does "Pay the uttermost farthing" mean in historical and clear context?
Answer:

You can see a fairly complete explanation of the Greek here: Matthew 5:26 ...Thou shalt by no means come out thence.

But to answer your question directly, we would say, “the last penny” today.

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