12:37 Blessed are those slaves 1 whom their master finds alert 2 when he returns! I tell you the truth, 3 he will dress himself to serve, 4 have them take their place at the table, 5 and will come 6 and wait on them! 7 12:38 Even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night 8 and finds them alert, 9 blessed are those slaves! 10
2 tn Or “watching”; Grk “awake,” but in context this is not just being awake but alert and looking out.
3 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”
5 tn Grk “have them recline at table,” as 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.
6 tn The participle παρελθών (parelqwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
7 sn He…will come and wait on them is a reversal of expectation, but shows that what Jesus asks for he is willing to do as well; see John 13:5 and 15:18-27, although those instances merely foreshadow what is in view here.
8 sn The second or third watch of the night would be between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on a Roman schedule and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on a Jewish schedule. Luke uses the four-watch schedule of the Romans in Acts 12:4, so that is more probable here. Regardless of the precise times of the watches, however, it is clear that the late-night watches when a person is least alert are in view here.