Mark 13:8 For nation shall rise against nation...

KJV Verse: 

Mark 13:8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these [are] the beginnings of sorrows.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

For people shall be roused up against people and state against state, and there will be agitation against regions and there will be hunger and the first political upheavals, these pains of childbirth.

Explanation of Greek: 

All of the words here have a political sense. While "seismos" means "earthquake," as it is translated here, is more generally means "agitation."  This is clear because the first phrase does not describe nation "rising up" against nation, but "being roused up," that passive form. This describes agitation, specially as agitation against (kata) places not earthquakes in (en or eis) places. The topic here is political upheaval and seismos takes on the specific meaning of political shakeups.

The word translated as "troubles" is used to specially mean political upheavals.

It is interesting how Christ connects hunger specifically with political upheavals. He doesn't mention the death of war here as the problem, but the hunger that comes from the breakdown on political order. Economic collapse is the biggest danger of conflict.

 

Wordplay: 

This verse consist of five  phrases connected by the conjunction, "and" (kai). It reads almost like a poem, with its repetitions, nearly ending in a rhyming phase tarachê archê, first upheavals.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐγερθήσεται” "Shall rise" is from egeirô (egeiro), which means "to awaken", "to stir up," and "to rouse."

ἐγερθήσεται” (verb 3rd sg fut ind pass) "Shall arise" is from egeiro, which means "to awaken", "to stir up," and "to rouse."

γὰρ (adv) "For" comes from gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation:  "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἔθνος (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Nation" is from ethnos, which means "a number of people living together", "company", "body of men," "tribe", "a people", "nation," and (later) "foreign, barbarous nations."

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

ἔθνος (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Nation" is from ethnos, which means "a number of people living together", "company", "body of men," "tribe", "a people", "nation," and (later) "foreign, barbarous nations." -- The word translated as "Gentiles" does not mean gentiles or even foreigners. Its primary meaning is "a group of people living together," a nation, a tribe, or a cast of people. Later it came to mean "barbarous nations" similar to our idea of ethnic people. It is in the same form as the "them" above, so "to them" or "for them."

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."

βασιλεία (noun pl neut nom/acc) "Kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." --

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

βασιλείαν,” (noun pl neut nom/acc) "Kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." --

ἔσονται "There shall be" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form used here is esomai.)

σεισμοὶ "Earthquake" is from seismos (seismos), which means "shaking", "earthquake", "shock", "agitation", "commotion", "blackmail," and "extortion."

κατὰ  "In diverse" is from kata (kata), which means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

τόπους, "Places" is from topos (topos), which means "place", "region", "position", "part [of the body]", "district", "room," and "topic." It is also a metaphor for "opening", "occasion," and "opportunity."

ἔσονται "There shall be" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form used here is esomai.)

λιμοί: "Famine" is from limos (limos), which means "hunger", "famine," and "a hungry wrench."

ἀρχὴ "Beginning" is from archê (arche), which means "beginning", "origin", "first principles", "first place of power", "empire," and "command." This is the word from which we get both "archbishop," primal bishops who can consecrate other bishops, and "archeology," the study of ancient history.

ὠδίνων (noun pl fem gen) "Sorrows" is from ôdin, which means specifically the "pain or throes of childbirth", "children", in singular, "that which is born amid throes"," "child," It is a metaphor for "anguish" but with the specific sense of suffering that bears fruit, "fruit of" the mind's "travail". This is very different from the sorrow we feel at death, which is what the term "sorrows" in the context of war and natural disaster seems to indicate.

ταῦτα. ( adj pl neut nom ) "These" is tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these", "this", "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why." -- The "this" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why." It is not typically used as an adjective.

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