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Luke 12:45-46

Context
12:45 But if 1  that 2  slave should say to himself, 3  ‘My master is delayed 4  in returning,’ and he begins to beat 5  the other 6  slaves, both men and women, 7  and to eat, drink, and get drunk, 12:46 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two, 8  and assign him a place with the unfaithful. 9 

1 tn In the Greek text this is a third class condition that for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition (note the translation of the following verb “should say”).

2 tn The term “that” (ἐκεῖνος, ekeino") is used as a catchword to list out, in the form of a number of hypothetical circumstances, what the possible responses of “that” servant could be. He could be faithful (vv. 43-44) or totally unfaithful (vv. 45-46). He does not complete his master’s will with knowledge (v. 47) or from ignorance (v 48). These differences are indicated by the different levels of punishment in vv. 46-48.

3 tn Grk “should say in his heart.”

4 tn Or “is taking a long time.”

5 sn The slave’s action in beginning to beat the other slaves was not only a failure to carry out what was commanded but involved doing the exact reverse.

6 tn The word “other” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

7 tn Grk “the menservants and the maidservants.” The term here, used in both masculine and feminine grammatical forms, is παῖς (pais), which can refer to a slave, but also to a slave who is a personal servant, and thus regarded kindly (L&N 87.77).

8 tn The verb διχοτομέω (dicotomew) means to cut an object into two parts (L&N 19.19). This is an extremely severe punishment compared to the other two later punishments. To translate it simply as “punish” is too mild. If taken literally this servant is dismembered, although it is possible to view the stated punishment as hyperbole (L&N 38.12).

9 tn Or “unbelieving.” Here the translation employs the slightly more ambiguous “unfaithful,” which creates a link with the point of the parable – faithfulness versus unfaithfulness in servants. The example of this verse must be taken together with the examples of vv. 47-48 as part of a scale of reactions with the most disobedient response coming here. The fact that this servant is placed in a distinct group, unlike the one in vv. 47-48, also suggests ultimate exclusion. This is the hypocrite of Matt 24:51.



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