Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour

KJV Verse: 

Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

This, however, you do know: that if he had seen, the manager of an estate,  what hour the thief is showing up, he would have woke up, probably, and not left it to be ruined, that estate of his. 

Explanation of Greek: 

This verse follows Matthew 24:43 pretty closely. Both contain a couple of words that are uncommon for Jesus, but used in both versions of this verse. However, both verses look more alike in translation because where a key word is changed, the KJV translates both words the same. 

The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

"Know" is from a verb that means "to know", "to recognize", "make known", "to know carnally," and "to learn". It is in a form that could be a command, but it could also be a simple statement: "you do know."

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

The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

"The goodman of the house" is from a word that means the master, steward or owner of the house but Christ uses it to refer to those who own an estate rather than just a house.

The verb translated as "had known" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive."

The word translated as "what" also means "which", "what kind" and "whose." this is the same word used in the previous verse in the phrase "what day".

The word translated as "hour" means a period of time, generally, as we might say "moment." In Matthew, the word "watch" that Luke used in the previous verse, Luke 12:38, is used here. 

"Thief" is from the Greek word for "thief", "cheat," and "knave."

The word translated as "would come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway". though our phrase  "show up" seems to capture it best.  It is in the present tense, not the future or a tense indicating something that might happen.

"Would" is from a Greek word that indicates something that might happen. However, this word appears after the verb, as an afterthought, not before it.

"Have watched" is from a Greek verb that means "to be or to become fully awake." It is not in a form that indicates something that might happen but that something that does happen at a specific time. This is an uncommon word for Jesus, but we saw it in the previous verse. 

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea.

This is where a different Greek word is used but translated the same. Here, the word translated as "have suffered" is a common verb that is usually translated as "leave" or "let" or, when used with the word for "sin" as "forgive". In Matthew, a less common word was used, one that means "permit". 

The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea. This word fits the title used for the man.

"To be broken up" is from a verb that means "digging through" but metaphorically means "to be ruined", which is more the sense here. This is an uncommon word for Jesus. 


Greek Vocabulary: 

τοῦτο (adj sg neut acc) "This" is touto, which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]." -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing."

δὲ (conj) "But" is from 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").

γινώσκετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind/imper) "Know," is from ginosko which means "to learn to know", "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

εἰ (conj)  "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

ᾔδει (verb 3rd sg plup ind act) "Had known" is from eido which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

οἰκοδεσπότης (noun sg masc nom) "The goodman of the house" is from oikodespotes , which means "master or steward of a house", "owner of a domicile," and "native ruler (as opp. foreign emperor)."

ποίᾳ (adj sg fem dat) "What" is from poios, which means "of what kind", "whose", "what," and "which."

ὥρᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "The hour" is hora, which means "any period", "season," (especially springtime), "year' (generally), "climate" (as determined by seasons), "duration", "the twelve equal parts into which the period of daylight was divided", "the fitting time" (for a task). 

κλέπτης (noun sg masc nom) "The thief" is from kleptes, which means a "thief", "cheat," and "knave."

ἔρχεται, (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Would come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place. --

ἐγρηγόρησεν [uncommon] (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Have watched" is from gregoreo, which means "to become fully awake," and "to watch."

ἂν (particle) "Would" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is from 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."

οὐκ (particle) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἀφῆκεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act ) "Have suffered" is aphiemi, which means "to let fall", "to send away", "give up", "hand over", "to let loose", "to get rid of", "to leave alone", "to pass by", "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself." -- The word translated as "forgive" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament.

διορυχθῆναι [uncommon](verb aor inf pass) "To be broken up" is from diorysso, which means "digging through, "having dug a trench across or along," metaph "undermine", "ruin", "worm out," and Pass., "to be shut up in a funeral vault."

τὴν οὶκίαν (noun sg fem acc) "House" is from oikia, which means "house", "building," and "household."

αὐτοῦ. (adj sg masc gen) "His" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

Related Verses: 

Apr 26 2018