Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions,

KJV Verse: 

Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

See? I have given you the ability the one to trample upon snakes and [scattering] skorpions and against all the power of the hateful and nothing shall ever harm you.

Hidden Meaning: 

Two different Greek words are used here that are both translated as "power".  There are several strong hints here that the language is metaphorical that are hidden in translation. Most of these words are uncommon words for more common ideas. This is often a sign that Jesus is using them for their double meanings.

"Behold" is an adverb meaning "Lo! Behold!" and "See there!" In a humorous vein, this about how Christ uses this like we use the phrase "tah-dah" in a magic show, or "voila" in French. "Look!" or "See!" comes closest in English.

The verb translated as "I give" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give."

The Greek pronoun "unto you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc. 

The term translated as "power" isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose. It is different than the "power" later in the verse. See this article on this word and related ideas

The Greek article is untranslated here, in English, "the," which usually proceeds a noun.  Here it precedes a verb so the verb becomes the noun form of the action. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). Here the form is plural so "those". See this article for more. 

The Greek verb translated as "to tread" is an uncommon one that means to "tread", "walk", "dwell in", "frequent", "tread under foot", and "trample on". It is in the form "to trample". Since it is preceded by an article, the sense is "the one to trample" describing an ability. 

The word "on" is from a preposition meaning both "on" and "in front of." It is also uncommon. 

The word translated as "serpents" means "snakes", "vipers", and it is also a kind of fish. The "serpent" was used by Christ both as a metaphor for wisdom (Mat.10:16) and, of course, an evil cunning. He also uses it to describe his enemies in Matthew 23:33

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

"Scorpions" is the Greek noun that is the source of our word "scorpion", but it is also a form of the Greek verb that means "to scatter" and "to disperse". Jesus uses the concept of "scatter" as the negative of the positive "gather". The actual verb form is a particle, "scattering". 

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

The word translated as "over" means "against", "before", "during", "by" or "on."

The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way", "on every side," and "altogether."

"Power" is a word that describes abilities and capacities, what actions a person can do or has done so "power", "might", "influence", "authority," and "force." It does not carry the sense of authority over others, either people or laws. The verb form of this word is translated as "can" in the NT. It is different than the "power" earlier in the verse. See this article on this word and related ideas

The Greek noun translated as "Of the enemy" means "the hated", "the hateful", "the hostile", "the enemy", "the alienated," and "the hating."

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

The Greek word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns. However, to avoid the English double-negative, we can translate it as its opposite "anyone" or "anything" when used with another Greek negative as it is here. It is a neutral form so "nothing". 

The "by any means" here is both of the Greek negatives used together.  Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying "you cannot really think." It doesn't mean "by any means" but "never" usually captures the feeling. However, here, because of the double negative, "ever" works. 

"Shall hurt" is a word that, as a verb, as used here, means "to be or do wrong" "to be in the wrong", "to harm," and "to injure," and as a noun means "wrongdoing," and "harm." It is an uncommon word. 

The "you" here is plural, indicating all Christ's listeners as the object of the verb.

 

Wordplay: 

"Serpents" refers to enemies who poison others minds. 

"Scorpions" refer to those who scatter instead of gather. 

Vocabulary: 

ἰδοὺ (adv) "Behold is idou, which means "to behold", "to see," and "to perceive." It acts as an adverbial phrase in this form meaning "Lo! Behold!" and "See there!' It is a form of the verb eido, which means "to see."

δέδωκα (verb 1st sg perf ind act) "I give" is didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "Unto you" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." --

τὴν ἐξουσίαν (noun sg fem acc) "Power" is exousia which means "control", "the power of choice", "permission", "the power of authority", "the right of privilege", "abundance of means," and "abuse of power."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen ) Untranslated is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is separated from its noun by a conjunction.

πατεῖν [uncommon](verb pres inf act) "To tread" is from pateo, which means to "tread", "walk", "dwell in", "frequent", "tread under foot", and "trample on". 

ἐπάνω (adv) "On" is from epano, which is an adverb meaning "above", "on the upper side", "[former] times", "more [of numbers]", "in front of," and "in the presence of."

ὄφεων” (noun pl masc gen) "Serpents" is ophis, which means "serpent", "a serpent-like bracelet", "a specific constellation", "a creeping plant," and "a type of fish." It is a metaphor for "an arrow."

καὶ (conj) "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."

σκορπίων, [uncommon](noun pl masc gen) "Scorpions" is skorpios, which means "scorpion" and the constellation Scorpio. 

καὶ (conj) "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."

ἐπὶ (prep) "Over" is epi, which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," "during", and "against."

πᾶσαν (adj sg fem acc) "All" is pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether."

τὴν δύναμιν (noun sg fem acc) "Power" is dynamis (dunamis), which means "power", "might", "influence", "authority", "capacity", "elementary force", "force of a word," and "value of money." Elemental forces are forces such as heat and cold.

τοῦ ἐχθροῦ, (adj sg masc gen) "Of the enemy" is echthros, which means "the hated", "the hateful", "the hostile", "the enemy", "the alienated," and "the hating."

καὶ "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."

οὐδὲν (adj sg neut nom/acc) "Nothing" is oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter."

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

οὐ μὴ (partic) "By any means" is ou me, the two forms of Greek negative used together. Ou is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. Mê (me) 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.

ἀδικήσει. (verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall hurt" is from adikeo, which, as a verb means to "be or do wrong," "injure", "harm," in games or contests, "play foul", "sin," and as a noun, "wrong doing", "a wrong", "harm" and "injury."

Related Verses: 

Jan 19 2018