Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Acts 1:9

 30 August 2023

καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν βλεπόντων αὐτῶν ἐπήρθη, καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.

After looking at this verse, I thought it would be helpful to split it into four phrases, although one of them is only a single word:

καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν

βλεπόντων αὐτῶν 


καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν

Each phrase has its own verb form, and there are three different subjects. 

1  καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν

The verb form is εἰπὼν: masculine singular nominative, aorist active participle; λέγω / εἶπον

The subject is Jesus, from previous context.  Ταῦτα is neuter plural (accusative) and refers, generally, to 'things, these things'.

Note that the participle is aorist, which suggests a translation of 'after he said' rather than 'while saying'.  Also, the verb is a second aorist, which means that the endings are very similar to present participle endings, rather than first aorist endings.

2   βλεπόντων αὐτῶν

The verb form is the participle βλεπόντων, but be careful, it's not a masculine singular nominative form, but a masculine plural genitive (present active).  The corresponding masculine singular nominative form would be βλέπων, which is also seen in the NT.  

But what is the subject?  Here we have another genitive absolute, i.e., a participle in the genitive, and a noun or pronoun, also in the genitive.  The pronoun αὐτῶν is masculine 3-P plural, and refers back to the apostles.  

So the apostles saw something, and the present participle (as opposed to an aorist) suggests that, perhaps, something happened while they were seeing / watching.

3  ἐπήρθη

The verb is a 3-S, aorist passive indicative, from ἐπαίρω, 'I raise up, I lift up'.  From context the subject is Jesus, and because the verb is passive, he was lifted rather than doing the lifting.

4  καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν

The verb is ὑπέλαβεν, 3-S, aorist active indicative, from ὑπολαμβάνω.  This time, the singular subject is not Jesus, but the feminine νεφἐλη, 'a cloud'.

One common translation is that a cloud 'hid' Jesus from the eyes (ὀφθαλμῶν) of the apostles.  Ὑπολαμβάνω has general meanings something like 'I take up, I receive', so the idea here seems to be that the cloud received Jesus, and thus he was hidden.

The King James has this translation: "and a cloud received him out of their sight", and other translations have something similar.

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