Luke 14:5 Which of you shall have an ass or an ox

KJV Verse: 

Luke 14:5 Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Of which of you: a son or an ox into a reservoir is going to fall and not immediately you will draw him out on the day of the Sabbath? 

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

As usual, the humor here is translated out. While this KJV sounds like a combination of Matthew 12:11 and Luke 13:15, this verse has surprising differences from each of them. Where the English words are the same, the Greek words are different. Where the English words are different, the Greek words are the same

The word translated as "which" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why".  In  Matthew 12:11, this word is translated as "what man of you". In Matthew, it was the subject of the sentence. Here, it looks like the subject, but it isn't. It is possessive, "whose son of yours". 

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

There is no "shall have" in the Greek. It is added to make "which" the subject.

The word translated as "an ass" is the Greek word for" son". It more generally means "child."  More about it in this article. The "ass" goes back to the Latin Vulgate, which was the intermediate source for the KJV Greek. The word 
ass" is used in Luke 13:15, but not here. Here, the word is "son". Some recent translations correct this. 

"Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

The word translated as "ox" means "bull" or "ox". It is an uncommon word.  It is the same word as appears earlier in Luke. This word is humorous, comparing a son to an ox as is the ox was as valuable or more valuable than a son. 

"Fallen" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is an active verb in the future tense so "will fall" or "is going to fall". It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class", "to prostrate", "to fall from power", "to perish," and so on. It is the root of the word in Matthew that is translated as "fall into". 

The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

The Greek word, used by Jesus only here, translated as "a pit" means "an artificial well" or "reservoir". Metaphorically, it means "a brink" or "a large wine-cup". It is a completely different word than the word used in Matthew, which means a "pit" or "well" but comes from the word for "deep". 

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

The Greek verb translated as "will pull" is also used uniquely by Jesus here. It means  to "draw", "draw a ship upon land","pull up", "draw back", "tear up", and "pull down".  It is different than the common word Jesus uses in Matthew translated as "lift up". 

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.

"Immediately" is  an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

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.

The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

The word translated as the "the Sabbath day" is the Greek version of the Hebrew word "shabbat" meaning "rest" or "day of rest".  

The Greek word translated as "day" also means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime."


Greek Vocabulary: 

Τίνος (pron sg gen) "Which" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of," "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

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

υἱὸς (noun sg masc nom) Untranslated is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

(conj/adv) "Or" is which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." --

βοῦς [uncommon](noun sg masc nom) "Ox" is bous, which means " bullock", "bull", "ox", metaph. of any "dam" or "mother".

εἰς (prep) "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place), ""up to (of time)", "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object).

φρέαρ [unique](noun sg neut acc) "A pit" is from phrear, which means "an artificial well", "tank", "cistern", and "reservoir". Metaphorically, it means "a brink" or "a large wine-cup". 

πεσεῖται, (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Fall" is the verb pipto, which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down," "fall upon", "intersect (geometry)", "meet", "pass through", "fall violently upon", "attack", "fall in battle", "sink{in water)", "fall short i.e. fail", " fall out of", "lose a thing", "escape from", "fall asleep", "to be accessible to perception", "to fall (between her feet, i.e. to be born)", "to let fall[dice)", "turn out," and "fall under (belong to a class)." 

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."

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is 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.

εὐθέως (adverb) "Straightaway" is from eutheoswhich as an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

ἀνασπάσει [unique](verb 2nd sg fut ind mid) "Will pull" is anaspao, which means "draw", "draw a ship up on land","pull up", "draw back", "tear up", and "pull down".  

αὐτὸν  (adj sg masc acc) "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." 

ἐν (prep) "On" is en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

ἡμέρᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "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)." 

τοῦ σαββάτου; (noun sg masc gen)  "The sabbath" is from sabbaton, which means "Sabbath", "seven days of week," and "first day of week." -- 


There is a funny comparison between a son and an ox here. 

The "pit" is metaphorically a wine-cup. 

Related Verses: 

Jun 12 2018