Greek Study Luke 9:28-36 - Transfiguration
v28 εγενετο it came about. A common introductory phrase often not translated in English.
ωσει "about [eight days]" - about ημεραι οκτω, "eight days", Mark has six days, possibly alluding to Exodus 24:16, the period of preparation before God spoke from the cloud. Is Luke's eight days a subtle allusion to the resurrection?
μετα τους λογους "after Jesus said this" - after these words; Luke ties this episode to Jesus' words on cross-bearing discipleship.
προσευξασθαι (προσευχομαι) inf. "to pray" - The infinitive is verbal, expressing purpose. Luke tends to focus on what Jesus is doing. Mark does not refer to Jesus' intention to pray.
v29 του προσωπου (ον) gen. "[the appearance] of [his] face" ειδος (ος ους) while he was praying, his face “changed”.
εξαστραπτων (εξαστραπτω) pres. part. "[bright] as a flash of lightening" - participle is adjectival describing "white". Is Luke distinguishing between the transformation of Jesus' face (and therefore, person) and his outer garb? The language alludes to Old Testament descriptions of divine glory, Ezk.1:4, 7, Dan.12:6.
v30 ανδρες δυο "two men" - two visionary persons are also at Jesus' resurrection, 24:4. Does Luke imply they are the same? If so, he is tying the Transfiguration to the resurrection. Why these two? Moses has been in the cloud before and Elijah, due to his translation, is a living heavenly being. There is a tradition that Moses was also translated, given that the site of his tomb is unknown, so, they may represent living heavenly beings who originally possessed an earthly life; both fit to discuss Jesus' "exodus". The view that they represent the law and the prophets, is possible, but unlikely as Luke gives us no hint this is meant.
οφθεντες (οραω) aor. pas. part. attendant circumstance participle expressing action- the Greek is: v30, "And behold, two men were holding a conversation with him, they being Moses and Elijah, v31, who appeared in glorious form and spoke about his....."
v31 εξοδον (ος) "departure" - the word is commonly used of death, in the sense of the "dearly departed" but more likely Luke intends an allusion to the Exodus from Egypt and in so doing, ties Jesus' departure in Jerusalem to his death on the cross and thus escape from sin and death of a ”new Israel”.
πληρουν (πληροω) pres. inf. "[which he was about] to bring to fulfillment" - infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "was about to."
v32 ησαν βεβαρημενοι (βαρεω) perf. pas. part. "were very" -a periphrastic pluperfect construction used to emphasize aspect - this was a long meeting υπνω/ (ος) dat. "sleepy"
διαγρηγορησαντες (διαγρηγορεω) part. "when they fully woke up " participle is adverbial, the disciples have not been part of the transfiguration to this point as they were asleep. The experience, up to this point, is for Jesus alone, but now the disciples share in it just as the heavenly visitors prepare to leave. The timing is important here.
v33 εν τω διαχωριζεσθαι (διαχωριζω) pas. inf. "As the men were leaving" – the preposition ενwith the articular infinitive forms a temporal clause. It is the parting vision that prompts Peter to want to preserve the moment.
ειναι (ειμι) "[it is good for us] to be [here]" - The infinitive verb to-be forms an infinitival phrase subject of the verb to-be εστιν, "it is wonderful for us to be here!"
ποιησωμεν (ποιεω) aor. subj. "Let us put up" – a hortatory subjunctive.
σκηνας (η) "shelters" – tabernacles, possibly another allusion to the wilderness wandering and further underlining the Exodus theme.
μη ειδως (οιδα) perf. part. "he did not know [what he was saying]"
v34 λεγοντος (λεγω) gen. pres. part. "while [he was] speaking" – a genitive absolute forming a temporal clause- the implication is that Peter's words hasten the end of the theophany.
επεσκιαζεν (επισκιαζω) imperf. "enveloped [them]" – who did the cloud cover? Mark implies it was just the heavenly visitors and Jesus, emphasizing the cloud as a divine transportation. In Luke the cloud seems to cover everyone, emphasizing the divine presence.
εφοβηθησαν (φοβεω) aor. pas. "they were afraid" - A proper response when confronted by a theophany.
εν τω εισελθειν (εισερχομαι) aor. inf. "as they entered" - as above in v33. "They were awestruck..”
v35 ο εκλελεγμενος (εκλεγομαι) "whom I have chosen" - participle serves as a substantive standing in apposition to "Son" In the sense of “appointed” as messiah.
ακουετε "listen to" – A divine directive, the key teaching point of the episode.
v36 εν τω/ γενεσθαι "when [the voice] had spoken" - Infinitival construction, as v33, 34.
ευρεθη Ιησους μονος "Jesus was alone" - a poignant description that offsets the previous moment of glory. The lonely journey to Jerusalem begins.
εσιγησαν (σιγαω) "[the disciples] kept this to themselves" – idiom; were silent. Mark tells us Jesus told them to be silent, Luke tells us that they were silent, as if they didn't understand what just had happened.