Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
Forum rules
This is a beginner's forum - see the Koine Greek forum for more advanced discussion of Greek texts. Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up.

When answering questions in this forum, keep it simple, and aim your responses to the level of the person asking the question.
tjrolfs
Posts: 10
Joined: May 6th, 2014, 7:22 pm

Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

Post by tjrolfs » July 6th, 2014, 3:40 pm

καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου καὶ προφητεύσουσιν ἡμέρας χιλίας διακοσίας ἑξήκοντα περιβεβλημένοι
Revelation 11: 3

Ok, I may be trying to jump into the deep end here before I'm ready. So if you think I need to be rescued from drowning, please feel free to save me :D .

Im interested in this first part of the verse only.

καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

My first question is probably going to be obvious: how do I figure out what the object is? δυσὶν is describing μάρτυσίν (correct?), and μάρτυσίν is describing who the object of all this is being given to (correct?). The speaker (or whoever he is speaking for) is going to do the giving; but what is going to be given?

My second question

Is the fact that τοῖς is neuter significant towards deciding who the two witnesses are? I'm wondering what the range of possibilities is for who or what these two witnesses are going to be. Two corporate bodies, two distinct individuals, or something else I'm not already considering? I'm not quite sure how big or complicated of a question that can be, so sorry if I'm asking for someone to write me a textbook. Not my intent.

Thanks in advance for any help,

Travis
0 x



Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 946
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 6th, 2014, 7:01 pm

tjrolfs wrote:καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου καὶ προφητεύσουσιν ἡμέρας χιλίας διακοσίας ἑξήκοντα περιβεβλημένοι
Revelation 11: 3

Ok, I may be trying to jump into the deep end here before I'm ready. So if you think I need to be rescued from drowning, please feel free to save me :D .

Im interested in this first part of the verse only.

καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

My first question is probably going to be obvious: how do I figure out what the object is? δυσὶν is describing μάρτυσίν (correct?), and μάρτυσίν is describing who the object of all this is being given to (correct?). The speaker (or whoever he is speaking for) is going to do the giving; but what is going to be given?

My second question

Is the fact that τοῖς is neuter significant towards deciding who the two witnesses are? I'm wondering what the range of possibilities is for who or what these two witnesses are going to be. Two corporate bodies, two distinct individuals, or something else I'm not already considering? I'm not quite sure how big or complicated of a question that can be, so sorry if I'm asking for someone to write me a textbook. Not my intent.

Thanks in advance for any help,

Travis
Travis,

The object of δώσω is not specified. That verb in passive is used frequently in Apocalypse where an agent is "enabled" by divine providence to perform some action. In the active form here it seems to indicate that the two witnesses will be authorized and enabled for the task defined by προφητεύσουσιν ἡμέρας χιλίας διακοσίας ἑξήκοντα …
0 x
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3611
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 6th, 2014, 8:40 pm

tjrolfs wrote:My second question

Is the fact that τοῖς is neuter significant towards deciding who the two witnesses are? I'm wondering what the range of possibilities is for who or what these two witnesses are going to be.
The fact that τοῖς is neuter isn't even a fact ;=>

τοῖς can be either dative masculine plural or dative neuter plural.

In the phrase τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν, the noun μάρτυσίν is dative masculine plural, so τοῖς and δυσὶν are dative masculine plural to match the noun.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

tjrolfs
Posts: 10
Joined: May 6th, 2014, 7:22 pm

Re: Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

Post by tjrolfs » July 6th, 2014, 8:54 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote: Travis,

The object of δώσω is not specified. That verb in passive is used frequently in Apocalypse where an agent is "enabled" by divine providence to perform some action. In the active form here it seems to indicate that the two witnesses will be authorized and enabled for the task defined by προφητεύσουσιν ἡμέρας χιλίας διακοσίας ἑξήκοντα …
Thanks for the info Stirling,

..... καὶ τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ λαβεῖν τὴν εἰρήνην ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καὶ ἵνα ἀλλήλους σφάξωσιν .....
Rev. 6:4

That now makes sense to me that it would be implied here that power/authority has been given, especially in light of similar verses explicitly using ἐξουσία along with ἐδόθη in other places (Rev 6:8 + 9:3).
0 x

tjrolfs
Posts: 10
Joined: May 6th, 2014, 7:22 pm

Re: Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

Post by tjrolfs » July 6th, 2014, 9:12 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
The fact that τοῖς is neuter isn't even a fact ;=>

τοῖς can be either dative masculine plural or dative neuter plural.

In the phrase τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν, the noun μάρτυσίν is dative masculine plural, so τοῖς and δυσὶν are dative masculine plural to match the noun.

Ok, so the phrase τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν doesn't tell you anything more than: these are witnesses, and there are two of them.

That's what I wanted to know.

Thanks Jonathan,

Travis
0 x

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Grammatical / natural gender

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 6th, 2014, 10:13 pm

tjrolfs wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:In the phrase τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν, the noun μάρτυσίν is dative masculine plural, so τοῖς and δυσὶν are dative masculine plural to match the noun.
Ok, so the phrase τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν doesn't tell you anything more than: these are witnesses, and there are two of them.
There is one other thing that it could tell us.

In the case of this noun (μάρτυς, ὁ, ἡ), grammatical gender is probably also natural gender.

With a feminine definite article, the witnesses / martyrs would both be female. That would be written ταῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου.

As it stands - with the masculine article - either one or both of them are male.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

George F Somsel
Posts: 172
Joined: May 9th, 2011, 10:11 am

Re: Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

Post by George F Somsel » July 7th, 2014, 1:34 am

Δίδωμι is frequently used in the granting of authority (ἐξουσίαν). Here the two witnesses are granted the authority to prophesy (προφητεύσουσιν). The καὶ can be intensive or even function as an explication of the authority which is granted to the witnesses (μάρτυσίν).
0 x
george
gfsomsel



… search for truth, hear truth,
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
defend the truth till death.



- Jan Hus

tjrolfs
Posts: 10
Joined: May 6th, 2014, 7:22 pm

Re: Grammatical / natural gender

Post by tjrolfs » July 7th, 2014, 5:48 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
tjrolfs wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:In the phrase τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν, the noun μάρτυσίν is dative masculine plural, so τοῖς and δυσὶν are dative masculine plural to match the noun.
Ok, so the phrase τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν doesn't tell you anything more than: these are witnesses, and there are two of them.
There is one other thing that it could tell us.

In the case of this noun (μάρτυς, ὁ, ἡ), grammatical gender is probably also natural gender.

With a feminine definite article, the witnesses / martyrs would both be female. That would be written ταῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου.

As it stands - with the masculine article - either one or both of them are male.
Ok, so if the definite article is masculine, at least one of the two martyrs would assumed to be male, given that grammatical and natural gender probably coincide here.

However, taking the next verse into account:

11:4 οὗτοί εἰσιν αἱ δύο ἐλαῖαι καὶ δύο λυχνίαι αἱ ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ τῆς γῆς ἑστῶσαι

Could it then be reasonable to argue that τοῖς in the previous verse is then (or at least could be) neuter? In that the μάρτυρες are two things (olive trees and candle sticks) and not necessarily two individual persons; even though those two "things," would be made up of persons. Or is this presumptuous and / or flawed reasoning? The possibility of considering τοῖς to be neuter in this text does exist though, correct? Or would μάρτυσίν need to be μάρτοσίν to support that idea?

I'm just trying figure out 1. how far this text can be stretched to make an arguement towards different interpretations, and 2. how gender is understood in this context.

Thanks,

Travis
0 x

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1582
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Revelation 11: 3 - καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 7th, 2014, 5:59 am

George F Somsel wrote:Δίδωμι is frequently used in the granting of authority (ἐξουσίαν). Here the two witnesses are granted the authority to prophesy (προφητεύσουσιν). The καὶ can be intensive or even function as an explication of the authority which is granted to the witnesses (μάρτυσίν).
Yes, normally in most Greek authors you would see something more like this:

καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου, ἵνα προφητεύσωσιν ἡμέρας χιλίας διακοσίας ἑξήκοντα... With the ἵνα clause functioning substantively as the direct object of δώσω. Revelation is seriously paratactic where most Greek authors are syntactic. A word of warning: Revelation is not the author to whom one turns to learn normal Greek usage... :shock:
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1582
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Grammatical / natural gender

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 7th, 2014, 6:12 am

tjrolfs wrote:
Ok, so if the definite article is masculine, at least one of the two martyrs would assumed to be male, given that grammatical and natural gender probably coincide here.

However, taking the next verse into account:

11:4 οὗτοί εἰσιν αἱ δύο ἐλαῖαι καὶ δύο λυχνίαι αἱ ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ τῆς γῆς ἑστῶσαι

Could it then be reasonable to argue that τοῖς in the previous verse is then (or at least could be) neuter? In that the μάρτυρες are two things (olive trees and candle sticks) and not necessarily two individual persons; even though those two "things," would be made up of persons. Or is this presumptuous and / or flawed reasoning? The possibility of considering τοῖς to be neuter in this text does exist though, correct? Or would μάρτυσίν need to be μάρτοσίν to support that idea?

I'm just trying figure out 1. how far this text can be stretched to make an arguement towards different interpretations, and 2. how gender is understood in this context.

Thanks,

Travis
No. You notice that both predicate nouns are feminine, not neuter, and even if they were neuter, the noun of the predicate retains its gender while the subject retains its own gender. There is no doubt that witnesses are masculine (at least one of them) and that τοῖς is masculine plural. Now, as pointed out, Greek can occasionally take a noun that is normally masculine and use a feminine article to emphasize that the actual gender (rather than the grammatical gender), such as ὴ θεός, "the goddess," but this is relatively rare... and certainly has no application here. Oh, and the spelling change you propose is nonsensical. It doesn't work like that. Even if one were, for some odd reason, to make the witnesses neuter or feminine the noun would still retain its own declension.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Post Reply

Return to “What does this text mean?”