οὗτος ἦλθεν πρὸς (John 3:2)

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Title:  This One Came to Jesus

The text is, “οὗτος ἦλθεν πρὸς αὐτὸν νυκτὸς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ῥαββί, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἐλήλυθας διδάσκαλος· οὐδεὶς γὰρ δύναται ταῦτα τὰ σημεῖα ποιεῖν ἃ σὺ ποιεῖς, ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ ὁ θεὸς μετ’ αὐτου”.

“οὗτος”:  masculine, singular, nominative, demonstrative pronoun meaning “this one”.

“ἦλθεν”:  third person, singular, aorist, active, indicative verb meaning “came”.

“πρὸς”:  preposition taking the accusative for its object word and meaning “to”.

“αὐτὸν”:  third person, personal, masculine, singular, accusative pronoun meaning “him” (meaning “Jesus”).

“νυκτὸς”:  feminine, singular, genitive noun meaning “at night” or “by night”.

“καὶ”:  coordinating conjunction meaning “and”.

“εἶπεν”:  third person, singular, aorist, active, indicative verb meaning “said”.

“αὐτῷ”:  third person, personal, masculine, singular, dative pronoun meaning “to him”.

“ῥαββί”:  Hebraicized particle meaning “Rabbi”.

“οἴδαμεν”:  first person, plural, perfect, active, indicative verb meaning “we know”.

“ὅτι”:  subordinating conjunction meaning “that”.

“ἀπὸ”:  preposition taking the genitive for its object word and meaning “from”.

“θεοῦ”:  masculine, singular, genitive noun meaning “God”.

“ἐλήλυθας”:  second person, singular, perfect, active, indicative verb meaning “you are come”.

“διδάσκαλος”:  masculine, singular, nominative noun meaning “a teacher”.

“οὐδεὶς”:  masculine, singular, nominative, indefinite adjective meaning “no one”.

“γὰρ”:  coordinating explanatory conjunction meaning “for”.

“δύναται”:  third person, singular, present, passive, indicative verb meaning “is able”.

“ταῦτα”:  neuter, plural, accusative, demonstrative pronoun meaning “these” or “these things”.

“τὰ”:  neuter, plural, accusative article meaning “that”.

“σημεῖα”:  neuter, plural, accusative noun meaning “signs”.

“ποιεῖν”:  present, active, infinitive verb meaning “to do”.

“ἃ”:  neuter, plural, accusative, relative, definite pronoun meaning “that”.

“σὺ”:  second person, personal, singular, nominative pronoun meaning “you”.

“ποιεῖς”:  second person, singular, present, active, indicative verb meaning “do”.

“ἐὰν”:  subordinating conditional conjunction meaning “unless”.

“μὴ”:  negative particle meaning “lest”.

“ᾖ”:  third person, singular, present, subjunctive verb meaning “is”.

“ὁ”:  masculine, singular, nominative article meaning “the” but it is not rendered into English here.

“θεὸς”: masculine, singular, nominative noun meaning “God”.

“μετ’”:  preposition taking the genitive for its object word and meaning “with”.

“αὐτοῦ”:  third person, personal, masculine, singular, genitive pronoun meaning “him”.

The meaning of this verse is, “This one came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, that no one is able to do these things, the signs that you do, unless lest God is with him.”

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Note:  the confusion borne by the “unless unless” or “unless lest” pairing in the final clause, arises from the fact that the first word is “ἐὰν”, a conditional subordinating conjunction which is sometimes used as an indicator for a subjunctive mood verb, as it is used here, while the word “μὴ” is a negative particle meaning little more than “no” or “not”, but not always, as it also can be used as a conjunction.  I have chosen to translate “ἐὰν μὴ” into English “unless lest”, which might unhappily upset some speakers of English.

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CC BY 4.0 οὗτος ἦλθεν πρὸς (John 3:2) by Dennis Glover is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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