Luke 17:37 Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Anywhere the body, there also the vultures (bird of omen) are going to be collected and brought in.

KJV : 

Luke 17:37 Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

What is Lost in Translation: 

This verse has the feeling of being a common folk saying, which perhaps it was. It is a play on words, describing both vultures around a corpse and omens around times of trouble. This version has a word added and another subtracted to make it look more like Matthew 24:28, which this is clearly a version. It is not clear if this verse is positive or negative.

The "wheresoever" is from a word that means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

The word translated as "the body" means "body", either living or dead, but it also means anything physical or solid. Like our word "body" it has special meanings such as "body" of proof and the "body" of a document. It is the opposite of "spirit" but more connected to the "soul" because it is part of this life. See this article about Jesus's use of words related to a human being. The word is different than the "carcass" used in Matthew.

There is no verb "is" in this verse. There is in Matthew. 

"Thither " is a word meaning "there", "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world."

Eagles" is from the Greek word for "eagle", "bird of omen", or "omen." It is a Greek word, but this word was used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word for "eagle" (nesher), which means both "eagle" and "vulture". Among the Jews, it was forbidden to eat eagles, along with buzzards and vultures, so they were grouped among carrion birds. Some uses of this word, such as Micah 1:16, which refers to the baldness of eagles, clearly referring to vultures, which are bald. (Bald eagles, of course, are not bald but have white feathers on their adult heads and were not known in the ancient world.) While there are positive characteristics of eagles in Jewish writing, based on their size and strength. This view of eagles in the West is positive, but this comes from Greek and Roman culture, which had a very positive view of the bird, but they also saw eagles as a bird of omen.

"Will be gathered together" is from a verb that means, literally, "collect and bring in". This less command and an extended version of the verb translated in the same way. In Matthew 24:31 Jesus uses this verb to refer specifically to the gathering of the elect.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὅπου (adv)  "Wheresoever" is from hopou, which means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

τὸ σῶμα,  ( noun sg neut nom ) "The body" is soma, which means "body", "dead body", "the living body", "animal body", "person", "human being", "any corporeal substance", "metallic substance", "figure of three dimensions [math]", "solid", "whole [of a thing]", "frame [of a thing]", "the body of the proof", "a body of writings." and "text of a document."

ἐκεῖ (adv) "There" is ekei, which means "there", "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world." -- "Yonder place" is a word meaning "there", "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world."

καὶ (conj/adv) Untranslated 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." -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

οἱ ἀετοὶ (noun pl masc nom) "Eagles" is from aetos, which means "eagle," (which was considered a bird of omen) "eagle as a standard (of the Roman legions)," and "omen."

ἐπισυναχθήσονται.[uncommon] (verb 1st sg aor ind act) "Gather together" is from episynago, which means "to collect and bring to a place." It also means to "bring into" a conversation or to "infer" or "conclude."

Front Page Date: 

Oct 5 2018