Thursday, December 07, 2023

Acts 1:17, part 2: verbs ending in -άνω

 Here's the verse again:

ὅτι κατηριθμημένος ἦν ἐν ἡμῖν καὶ ἔλαχεν τὸν κλῆρον τῆς διακονίας ταύτης

for numbered he was among us, and he obtained a share of this ministry

The form ἔλαχεν is 3-S, aorist active indicative of the verb λαγχάνω, 'I cast lots', 'I obtain by lot', 'I have a share', and so on.  This verb is known from Homer down, but is seen only four times in the New Testament, so we don't get an extensive look at the possible meanings there.

Although the English words 'lot, lottery, lotto' do not seem to come from the Greek λαγχάνω (although the origins are not entirely clear), the modern Greek λαχείο ('lottery' or 'lotto') very much does.  You will hear this word shouted on the streets of Athens by ticket sellers:

The aorist of λαγχάνω is a second aorist.  There are a number of verbs ending in -άνω with second aorists, so it may be helpful to add a few remarks here.  

The verb λαμβάνω, in particular ('I take, I receive'),  is used over 250 times in the NT, with second aorist indicative forms as follows:

1st person          ἔλαβον                    ἐλάβομεν

2nd person        έλαβες                     ἐλάβετε

3rd person         έλαβε(ν)                  ἔλαβον

Note below the many compounds of this verb, prefixed with various prepositions, and showing some common threads of meaning:

ἀναλαμβάνω - 'I take up'

ἀντιλαμβάνω - 'I take instead, I share in'

ἀπολαμβάνω - 'I get back, I receive back'

καταλαμβάνω - 'I seize, 'I perceive'

παραλαμβάνω - 'I take, take from, I receive from'

προλαμβάνω - 'I take beforehand'

συλλαμβάνω - 'I seize, I collect'; 'I become pregnant'

υπολαμβάνω - 'I take up; I suppose, I assume'

And the following two verbs have a double prefix, with two prepositions:

συμπαραλαμβάνω - 'I take along with'

συμπεριλαμβάνω - 'I embrace'

All of these compounds will have the second aorist as with the root verb λαμβάνω.


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