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Luke 12:46-48

Context
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, 1  and assign him a place with the unfaithful. 2  12:47 That 3  servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or do what his master asked 4  will receive a severe beating. 12:48 But the one who did not know his master’s will 5  and did things worthy of punishment 6  will receive a light beating. 7  From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, 8  and from the one who has been entrusted with much, 9  even more will be asked. 10 

1 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).

2 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.

3 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

4 tn Grk “or do according to his will”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity. This example deals with the slave who knew what the command was and yet failed to complete it.

5 tn Grk “did not know”; the phrase “his master’s will” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the contemporary English reader.

6 tn Grk “blows.”

7 tn Grk “will receive few (blows).”

8 tn Grk “required from him”; but the words “from him” are redundant in English and have not been translated.

9 sn Entrusted with much. To be gifted with precious responsibility is something that requires faithfulness.

10 tn Grk “they will ask even more.”



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