Greek Study Luke 12:13-21
v13 διδασκαλε "teacher" - The appropriate address for a Rabbi.
τω αδελφω (ος) "[tell my ] brother" – a dative of indirect object, the word here is used of a sibling not fellow believer.
μερισασθαι (μεριζω) aor. inf. "to divide" - infinitive expressing an object clause, the content of the command that the man wishes Jesus to issue.
την κληρονομιαν (α) "the inheritance" - portion, part, division.
v14 ανθρωπε (ος) voc. "Man" - this response implies disapproval.
κατεστησεν (καθιστημι) aor. "appointed" – an idiom, "What makes you think it’s any of my business?"
μεριστην (ης ου) "[a judge or] arbiter" – literally the one who divides Jesus doesn't repudiate his authority in such matters, rather he assert that is in the business of promoting the worth of God's life, not material life.
15a Advice: Jesus warns the two intended litigants of the danger of avarice. Interestingly, there is nothing in the dispute to hint at avarice other than Jesus' interpretation.
ορατε και φυλασσεσθε "Be on guard" - two imperatives together serve to make the warning emphatic.
πλεονεξιας (α) "greed" – covetousness or the desire to have more than is needed, This saying highlights the problem of avarice, but the parable highlights the issue of ultimate security. Avarice may well be the motivation that blinds a person to their need for a security transcending the imminent (I think there might be a parabolic teaching here for our current politics?). Someone overly focused on the issue of their inheritance, driven by avarice, may fail to notice the offer of eternal inheritance.
v15b A saying on possessions, v15b. The point being made in the saying is that real life, as opposed to just existence, is a gift of God. Given its awkward syntax, Luke may have condensed two sayings into one, or possibly they were condensed during oral transmission: a) life is not found in abundance b) life is not found in possessions. Yet, it seems more likely that the saying is complete in itself, but has been condensed over time. The prepositional phrase εκ των υπαρχοντων αυτω, "from the things being possessed by him" serves to complement the infinitive περισσευειν, "to be satisfied ", so explaining the source of the satisfaction, lit. "his life is not when someone is satisfied by possessions".
οτι for, because. expressing cause, for life does not consist in possessions".
η ζωη (η) "the life" What "life" is intended here? Scholars suggest "neither physical life nor spiritual life, but authentic life. If physical life were intended we would expect
πσυχη, when the NT uses ζωη, it tends to end up meaning eternal or spiritual life. So, "real life" is not found in objects, but in relationships, especially to God and his will.
περισσευειν (περισσευω) pres. inf. "abundance" - have enough. The sense may be "to have in abundance", but given the drift of the parable, the word may take the meaning "to have more than enough", which leads to the idea of a life that is full, complete, satisfied, content with των υπαρχοντων (υπαρχω) pres. part. "[his] possessions"
v16 The parable of the rich fool, v16-20. The point of this teaching parable is simple enough, particularly as we have its application in v21: "God alone is Lord of life, and a person truly lives only when they are rich toward God .
ευφορησεν (ευφορεω) aor. "produced a good crop" - fruitful.
v17 διελογιζετο (διαλογιζομαι) imperf. "he was reasoning” the imperfect is durative expressing an ongoing debate.
ποιησω (ποιεω) aor. subj. fut. "[what] shall I do".
v18 καθελω (καθαιρεω) fut. "I will demolish [my barns]"
μειζονας (μεγας) comp. adj. "bigger ones"
τα αγαθα adj. "[my] good things - adjective functions as a substantive.
v19 τη ψυχη (η) dat. "[I'll say] to my soul [self]" – a dative of indirect object "Soul" in the sense of one's inner being (self). The literal translation, "I will say to my soul, Soul, you have plenty ...", is unnecessary. This word is again used in v20, where it is often translated "life".
κειμενα (κειμαι) pres. part. "laid up" - participle is adjectival.
αναπαυου (αναπαυω) pres. imp. "take it easy" relax.
ευφραινου (ευφραινω) pres. imp. "be of good cheer."
v20 αφρων adj. "fool" – vocative; one who cannot see the logic of a situation, often used of a godless person. The farmer's foolishness probably does not lay with his failure to fulfill his moral responsibility to care of the needs of others, he is in fact managing his farm wisely. His foolishness is his failure to include God in the plans for his life.
ταυτη τη νυκτι dat. "this very night" – a temporal dative for emphatic construction.
την ψυχην (η) "your life" - see above, an emphatic by position.
απαιτουσιν (απαιτεω) pres. "will be demanded" – asked back. The agents are possibly angels acting on behalf of God; grim reapers or a God Himself or just a circumlocution "God demands a return" (Danker). Message: your life is on loan.
τινιÄdat. pro. "then who [will get]" α pro. "what".
v21 The punch-line ουτως "this [is how it will be] with ο θησαυριζων (θησαυριζω) "the one who stores up things" εαυτω dat. "for himself".
πλουτων (πλουτεω) pres. part. "be rich εις "toward [God]" a referential sense, "with reference to God". Often seen as parallel to "treasure in heaven", v33. Jeremias draws out its meaning by arguing that the foolish man heaps up wealth to himself, while the wise man " entrusted wealth to God", i.e. uses it in a way approved by God. Nolland rightly identifies the issue as one of direction. To possess real authentic life, life that is eternal, as oppose to transient shadows, requires us "to be rich in a Godward direction", rather than rich with this world's things. The person "who amasses worldly wealth, but who in God’s sight has no riches at all, is left clutching at shadows.