Luke 9:62 No man, having put his hand to the plough,

KJV Verse: 

Luk 9:62 No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

No one laying that hand of his upon a plow and looking into the future is well-positioned for the realm of the Divine. 

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

One unique and one very rare word used here, and the rare word is very funny. However, it is a fairly common word that is misleadingly translated seemingly referring to the past when it always refers to the future. 

The Greek word translated as "no man" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns. However, to avoid the English double-negative, we translate it as its opposite "anyone" when used with another Greek negative.

The word translated as "putteth" means literally to" throw against, before, by or on," but it has a large variety of specific uses. It implication is that the patching is not well done, but just thrown on.

The Greek word translated as "having put" means to "throw or cast upon", "lay on", "affix" (a seal, add), "contribute",  and a lot of other meanings. The literal meaning is "throw upon". The form is that of an adjective, "laying upon". 

There is no "his" in the Greek. The "hand" is introduced with an article, "the" which acts more like a "this" or "that" in Greek. 

The Greek word translated as "hands" means "the hand and forearm". It can mean both the idea of a helping hand and being in someone's control.  

The word translated as "to" means "against", "before", "during", "by" or "on."

The word translated as "plough (plow)" means "plow" as in the device for breaking the ground for planting. This is the only time it is used in Christ's words. Interesting, it also has a sexual connotation as our English verb does. Here it means "organs of generation". 

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." 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.

The verb translated as "looking" means "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to beware", and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding "look" in English. It is in the form of an adjective, "looking". 

There are a couple of untranslated words here before the word for "back". The first word means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.  The second is the Greek article, "the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Now we have the mistranslated word, or rather, a word with a clear double meaning. The term translated as "back" means "back" in space but "forward" in time. The logic regarding time is that, since the future is unseen, it should be regarded as behind us, whereas the past is known and therefore before our eyes. This seems quite strange to English speakers, but the use of this word in Greek is well-established to mean "future". Our English view coincides with the ancient Greek when discussing books. The "back" of the book in English means the "end" of the book, which is the future for the reader. This use of "back" is identical to the Greek. 

The Greek word translated as "fit"  means "well-arranged", "conveniently placed", "in a suitable place", and of persons "well-adapted".  In English today, you would say "well-positioned" to capture the feeling of this word. 

The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will. The form is an that of an indirect object. 

The word translated as "Of God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Christ often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐδεὶς (adj sg masc nom) "No man" is oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter." 

ἐπιβαλὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "Having put" is epiballo, which means to "throw or cast upon", "lay on", "affix" (a seal, add), "contribute", "place next in order", "let grow", "let loose", "throw oneself upon", "go straight towards", "follow", "come next", "belong to", "fall to the share of", "shut to", "close", "to overlap (in logic)," and in the passive to "lie upon", "be put upon," and "be set over."

τὴν χεῖρα (noun sg fem acc) "Hand" is cheir (cheir) which means "the hand and arm," and "with the help of agency of another." Like "hand" in English, it has a lot of meanings including "an act or deed", "a body of people," and the measurement "handful." 

ἐπ᾽ (prep) "To" is epi, which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," "during", and "against."

ἄροτρον [unique](noun sg neut acc) "Plough" is from arotron, which means "plow", (in boxing) "a right-handed blow", and "organs of generation". 

καὶ (conj) "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."

βλέπων (part sg pres act masc nom) "Looking" is from of blepo, which means "to look", "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to rely on", "to look longingly", "to propose", "to beware", "to behold," and "to look for."

εἰς (prep) Untranslated is 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)." 

τὰ (article pl neut acc)  Untranslated is the Greek article, "the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is followed, not by a noun, but an adverb.

ὀπίσω (adv) "Back" is from opiso, which means "back", "behind," and "hereafter."

εὔθετός [uncommon](adj sg masc nom) "Fit" is euthetoswhich means "well-arranged", "conveniently placed", "in a suitable place", "well-fitting", "ready for use", of persons "well=adapted", "quick", "able", and "fit and proper". 

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.") 

τῇ βασιλείᾳ (noun sq fem dat) "The kingdom" is basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." 

τοῦ θεοῦ. (noun sg masc gen) "Of God" is theos, which means "God," the Deity." 


Related Verses: 

Jan 2 2018