Luke 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Who, however, out of you all, a bondman having, plowing or herding, who entering out of the countryside, you will say to him, "Straightaway, passing by, recline."?

KJV : 

Luke 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse continues Jesus's response to the Apostles asking him to increase their faith. It is a humorous response explaining why the Apostles cannot command a tree to uproot itself.  In this analogy, the apostles and the tree are the bondsman, who place is to serve others. The verse is filled with so many verbs used as adjectives, that the language itself is humorous. There are several ideas in the KJV that do not appear in the Greek. This verse has a shift from the plural "you" to the singular "you" because of the context of the analogy. It also has one unique word and one uncommon word used for the first time here. 

The Greek word translated as "but" 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 "which " means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why". 

The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

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

The word translated as "having" means to "have", "possess", "bear", "keep close", "have means to do",  "to have due to one", or "keep" and many specific uses. This verb isn't used to form past tenses as it is in English. 

The noun translated as "servant" means "slave." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible.

"Plowing" is a Greek verb used by Jesus only here that means to "plough" and "till". 

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

"Feeding" is an uncommon Greek word, first used by Jesus here that means to "herd", "tend", "act as a shepherd", "tend flock", "guide", and "govern". It does not mean "feed". Jesus commonly uses the word for feeding cattle in other verses, but not here

There is no word for "cattle" in the Greek. It is added to make the "feeding" work.

"Will say" is from the Greek verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. It is in the second person singular, "you will say".

The word translated as "unto him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.

"By and by" is  an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once." It does not appear here in the sentence, but later in what is said to the servant. This does not apply to when the servant comes in, but what he is told to do.

There is no "when" in the Greek.

The word translated as "he" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

"Is come" is a word that means "go or come into" and has the double meaning of "coming into one's mind." It is in the form of an adjective, "coming in" or "entering".

The Greek preposition translated as "from" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

"Field" is from the common noun that means "field", "lands," or "countryside." Since he can be either ploughing or herding, "countryside" words best.

The phrase "go" is a verb that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass away".  It is not any of the several Greek words usually translated as "go". The from is not an active verb, but an adjective, "passing by" or "going by".

There is no "and" it is added because the previous verb was made active in translation. 

The active verb translated as "sit down" means to "fall back", "give ground", "lifeless", of style, of a plan "to be given up",  and "recline" at meals. While it is uncommon for Jesus to use this word, it is always used in the Gospels to mean reclining at meals. This is a command.

There is no "to meat" here, but the sense of the  previous word is to recline to eat.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τίς (pro sg masc/fem nom) "Which" is 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." -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those."  -

δὲ (conj/adv) "But" 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"). --

ἐξ (prep) "Of" is ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

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

δοῦλον (noun sg masc nom) "The servant" is doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

ἔχων (part sg pres act masc acc) "Have" is echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to have due to one", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

ἀροτριῶντα  [unique](part sg pres act masc acc) "Plowing" is arotriaō, which means to "plough" and "till".

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

ποιμαίνοντα, [uncommon]( part sg pres act masc acc ) "Feeding cattle" is poimainō, which means to "herd", "tend", "act as a shepherd", "tend flock", "guide", and "govern".

ὃς ( pron sg masc nom) "He" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings. --

εἰσελθόντι ( part sg aor act masc dat ) "Is come" is eiserchomai which means both "to go into", "to come in", "to enter", "to enter an office", "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind." --

ἐκ (prep) "From" is ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

τοῦ ἀγροῦ ( noun sg masc gen ) "Field" is agros, which means "field", "lands," or "country."

ἐρεῖ (verb 2nd sg fut ind mid) "Will say" is eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

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

παρελθὼν ( part sg aor act masc nom ) "Go" is parerchomai, which means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), "pass away", "outwit", "past events" (in time), "disregard", "pass unnoticed," and "pass without heeding." --

ἀνάπεσε,  [uncommon]( verb 2nd sg aor imperat act) "Sit down" is anapipto, which means to "fall back", "give ground", "lifeless", of style, of a plan "to be given up",  and "recline" at meals.

Front Page Date: 

Sep 10 2018