Luke 12:13-21

Luke 12:13-21
Ordinary C36


13 Someone in the crowdA said to him, “Teacher,B tell my brotherC to divideD the family inheritanceE with me.” 

Notes on verse 13

A “crowd” = ochlos. Perhaps from echo (to have, hold, possess). This is a crowd, the common people, a rabble. Figuratively, it can refer to a riot.
B “Teacher” = Didaskalos. From didasko (to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge; in the New Testament, almost always used for teaching scripture); from dao (to learn). This is teacher or master.
C “brother” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
D “divide” = merizo. 14x in NT. From meros (part, share, portion figurative or literal); from meiromai (to get your share, receive one’s allotment). This is to divide, distribute, assign, apportion – separate into parts, bestow, share.
E “inheritance” = kleronomia. 14x in NT. From kleronomos (heir); {from kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out, assign)}}. This is inheritance, heritage, or possession.

14 But he said to him, “Friend,F who set me to beG a judgeH or arbitratorI over you?” 

Notes on verse 14

F “friend” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
G “set…to be” = kathistemi. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to appoint, set in order or set in place, constitute, give standing or authority, put in charge, designate.
H “judge” = krites. 19x in NT. From krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging). This is judge or ruler.
I “arbitrator” = meristes. Related to “divide” in v13. 1x in NT.  From merizo (see note D above). This is divider, administrator, arbitrator.

15 And he said to them, “Take care!J Be on your guardK against allL kinds of greed,M

Notes on verse 15a

J “take care” = horao. Related to “friend” in v14. See note F above.
K “be on your guard” = phulasso. This is to guard something so that it doesn’t escape – to watch over it vigilantly. This is being on guard in a literal or figurative sense.
L “all” = pas. This is all or every.
M “greed” = pleonexia. Related to “crowd” in v13. 10x in NT. From pleonektes (one who covets more, covetousness, avariciousness, one who defrauds or harms others’ rights; one eager for gain); {from pleion (many, more, great, having a greater value, more excellent); from polus (much, many, abundant) + echo (see note A above)}. This is avarice, greed, advantage, desire for more. It can imply fraudulence or extortion.

for one’s lifeN does not consistO in the abundanceP of possessions.”Q 

Notes on verse 15b

N “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
O “consist” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
P “abundance” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.
Q “possessions” = huparcho. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). This is to begin or be ready, to exist or possess. It is what one already has or possesses.

16 Then he told them a parable:R, S “The landT

Notes on verse 16a

R “parable” = parabole. From paraballo (literally to throw beside, compare, arrive, liken); {from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a parable, comparison, adage. Quite often a tale told or a metaphor to establish a point, but it could be a true story.
S {untranslated} = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
T “land” = chora. From chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is space, land, region, fields, open area – the countryside in contrast to the town.

of a richU manV produced abundantly.W 

Notes on verse 16b

U “rich” = plousios. Related to “greed” in v15. From ploutos (abundance, wealth, or riches; money, possessions, spiritual abundance, or a valuable bestowment); from polus (see note M above) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is wealthy, having full resources. It can be a rich person or refer to God’s abundance.
V “man” = anthropos. Same as “friend” in v14. See note F above.
W “produced abundantly” = euphoreo. 1x in NT. From eu (good, well, well done); {from eus (good)} + phoreo (to bear constantly or habitually or repeatedly; it can mean to wear or carry a burden); {from phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is to yield an abundant harvest, be fertile.

17 And he thoughtX to himself,Y ‘What should I do,Z

Notes on verse 17a

X “thought” = dialogizomai. Related to {untranslated} in v16. 16x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + logizmai (to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense); {from logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (see note S above)}. This is to consider, have a back and forth debate with an uncertain conclusion. It can be multiple confused minds reinforcing a faulty conclusion.
Y {untranslated} = lego. Same as {untranslated} in v16. See note S above.
Z “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.

for I haveAA no place to storeBB my crops?’CC 

Notes on verse 17b

AA “have” = echo. Related to “crowd” in v13 & “greed” in v15. See note A above.
BB “store” = sunago. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, go, drive). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
CC “crops” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.

18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull downDD my barnsEE and buildFF largerGG ones, and there I will store all my grainHH and my goods.II 

Notes on verse 18

DD “pull down” = kathaireo. Related to “crops” in v17. 9x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + haireo (see note CC above). This is to take down, destroy, depose, forcibly yank. It is to lower violently, whether literally or figuratively.
EE “barns” = apotheke. 6x in NT. From apotithemi (to put aside, put away, renounce); {from apo (from, away from) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)} This is somewhere that things are stored like a barn or repository.
FF “build” = oikodomeo. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple) + domeo (to build). This is to build a house or be a house builder. Figuratively, it can mean to edify or encourage, be strong or embolden.
GG “larger” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
HH “grain” = sitos. 15x in NT. This is used for any kind of grain that you can eat. It is usually wheat, but it can also be barley and other grains.
II “goods” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.

19 And I will say to my soul,JJ Soul, you have ampleKK goods laid upLL for manyMM years;

Notes on verse 19a

JJ “soul” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
KK “ample” = polus. Related to “greed” in v15 & “rich” in v16. See note M above.
LL “laid up” = keimai. This is to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined. It is to lie down literally or figuratively.
MM “many” = polus. Same as “ample” in v19. See note KK above.

relax,NN eat,OO drink,PP be merry.’QQ 

Notes on verse 19b

NN “relax” = anapauo. 12x in NT– including Matthew 11:28 “come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” From ana (up, again, back, among, between, anew) + pauo (to stop, refrain, pause, restrain, quit, come to an end). This is a break from work, which implies being refreshed. It denotes that rest that one gets once a necessary task is finished.
OO “eat” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
PP “drink” = pino. This is to drink, literally or figuratively.
QQ “be merry” = euphraino. Related to “produced abundantly” in v16. 14x in NT. From eu (see note W above) + phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); {perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb)}. This is to be glad, revel, feast. It is having a positive outlook, rejoicing.

20 But GodRR said to him, ‘You fool!SS This very night your lifeTT is being demandedUU of you.

Notes on verse 20a

RR “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
SS “fool” = aphron. Related to “be merry” in v19. 11x in NT. From a (not, without) + phren (see note QQ above). This is not having reason – foolish, unperceptive, unwise. It denotes short-sightedness and lack of perspective, which leads one to act without prudence. It is not grasping cause and effect, even willful ignorance. It implies being rash or egotistical.
TT “life” = psuche. Same as “soul” in v19. See note JJ above.
UU “demanded” = apaiteo. 2x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + aiteo (to ask, demand, beg, desire). This is to ask back, ask again, demand.

And the things you have prepared,VV whose will they be?’WW 21 So it is with those who store up treasuresXX for themselves but are not richYY toward God.”

Notes on verses 20b-21

VV “prepared” = hetoimazo. From hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is to prepare or provide.
WW “be” = eimi. Same as “consist” in v15. See note O above.
XX “store up treasures” = thesaurizo. Related to “barns” in v18. 8x in NT. From thesauros (treasure, storehouse, deposit; wealth in a literal or figurative sense); from the same as tithemi (see note EE above). This is to store up or treasure up – to amass in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “thesaurus” comes from.
YY “are…rich” = plouteo. Related to “greed” in v15 & “rich” in v16 & “ample” in v19. 12x in NT. From ploutizo (to enrich, cause abundance, bring fullness); from ploutos (see note U above). This is to be rich or abound in. It is to be or get wealth in a literal or figurative sense.

Image credit: “Death and the Miser” by Josef Scheuplein.

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