Luke 13:8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also

KJV Verse: 

Luke 13:8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

The one, however, answering says to him, "Master, Let it go also this year until this: I am going to dig all around it and dump manure. 

Hidden Meaning: 

This is where this parable becomes more clearly comical. In the previous two verses, there have been many references to the male and female roles in productivity, or, in this case, the lack of productivity, the barren earth. Again, the  "fig tree" here seems to represent the barren religion that is being practiced. 

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. 

The word translated as "he" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." 

The Greek word translated as "answering"  means to "set apart," "choose","decide",  and "answer" the question. In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered."  It is in the form of an adjective, "answering". 

The word translated as "said" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

The word translated as "unto him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective.

The word translated as "lord" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored. It was the term people used to address Christ, even though he had no formal authority. Today, we would say "boss" or "chief".

The word translated as "let...alone" 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.

The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. 

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

The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing."

"Year" is from a Greek word that means "year", "yearly", and "annually". It is also an uncommon word for Jesus, appearing primarily by Luke.  It was used in the previous verse (Luke 13:7). 

The word translated as "till" means "until" but it also means "in order that."

An untranslated word that means "this", "that", "the nearer" appears here.  This "this" refers to the activity of the vine dresser is about to describe.  This reads like a setup line in a story. 

The uncommon Greek word translated as "I shall dig" means "dig", "delve", " dig about", and "cultivate by digging". 

The Greek word translated as "about" means It means "around" and "all around". Jesus usually uses it to mean  "about", in the sense of  "concerning", and "on account of". 

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

The phrase "dung it" is from two Greek words that means "toss manure" or "toss dung".  

The word meaning "toss" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Jesus often uses this word in the same way we use "dump" in English, which is particularly funny when dealing with manure or dung.  The word is very often used by Jesus comically. It is almost a reliable signal that the verse was spoken to get a laugh even while making a point. 

The word that means "dung" means  "dunghill", "rubbish-heap", "muck", and "manure".  Jesus commonly uses a well-known rubbish heap, Gehenna outside of Jerusalem, as the place of spiritual destruction. A funny thing about this word. It is in the dual form indicating a pair of something. In this case, this could be a pair of turds, but perhaps the idea of "number two" referring to dung worked then as well. This is the last word in the verse, working as the punchline. However, while I am sure dung had the same comic possibilities then as now, we should also know that, because the people then lived closer to the earth, it wasn't completely negative. If was a form of filth that could make things more productive. As such, it is a powerful symbol: the unclean things that enriches. 

 

Vocabulary: 

 (article sg masc nom) "He" 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. 

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"). 

ἀποκριθεὶς (part sg aor pass masc nom) "Answering" is from apokrinomai that means to "set apart," "choose", "exclude," "reject on examination", "decide", "answer" the question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself" and, in the passive, "to be parted or separated." In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered." -- 

λέγει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Said" is lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

αὐτῷ  (adj sg masc acc) "Unto him" is 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." 

Κύριε, (noun sg masc voc) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

ἄφες (verb 2nd sg aor imperat act) "Let...alone" 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."

αὐτὴν (adj sg fem acc) "It" is 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."

καὶ (conj/adv) "Also" 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." --

τοῦτο τ() "This" is touto, which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]." 

τὸ ἔτος, [uncommon] (noun pl neut acc) "Year" is from etos, which means "year", "yearly", and "annually". 

ἕως (conj) "Till" is heos which means "until", "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that." 

ὅτου (pron sg masc gen) Untranslated is houtos, which as an adjective means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why." -

σκάψω  [uncommon](verb 1st sg fut ind act ) "I shall dig" is from skapto, which means "dig", "delve", " dig about", and "cultivate by digging". 

περὶ (prep) "About" is peri, which means "round about (Place)", "around", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond," and "all around."

αὐτὴν  (adj sg fem acc) "It" is 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." -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective.

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."

βάλω (verb 1st sg fut ind act) "Dung it" (with kopiia below) is ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall," "to cast," "to put", "to pour", "to place money on deposit", "push forward or in front [of animals]", "to shed", "to place", "to pay,"to throw [of dice,]" "to be lucky", "to fall", "to lay as foundation", "to begin to form", "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe." 

κόπρια: [uncommon] (noun dual fem acc) "Dung it" is from kopria (with ballo above) which means "dunghill", "rubbish-heap", "dung", "muck", and "manure". 

Related Verses: 

May 21 2018