μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

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μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Iver Larsen » January 19th, 2013, 8:42 am

I wouldn't consider this to be a particular difficult word. LSJ suggests to be longsuffering, persevere, bear patiently. It seems to include both an attitude of patience and perseverance through hard times and an attittude of forbearance and compassion towards the wrongdoings or shortcomings of others. BDAG has the main two senses:
① to remain tranquil while waiting, have patience, wait .... Hb 6:15; Js 5:8. μ. ἐπί τινι wait patiently for someth. Js 5:7b. μ. ἕως τ. παρουσίας τ. κυρίου have patience until the coming of the Lord vs. 7a.
② to bear up under provocation without complaint, be patient, forbearing.

Matt 18:26,29 suggest forbearing and compassion, showing mercy. The same for 1 Cor 13:4 and 1 Th 5:14 (the only two in Paul).
Heb 6:15 and James 5:7-8 suggest patient waiting. Maybe that is more of a Jewish thought.
In 2 Pet 3:9 it is God who is forbearing and compassionate with people wanting to be merciful and give them time to repent.

Now I come to the problem text in Luke 18:6-8

Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος, Ἀκούσατε τί ὁ κριτὴς τῆς ἀδικίας λέγει· 7 ὁ δὲ θεὸς οὐ μὴ ποιήσῃ τὴν ἐκδίκησιν τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν αὐτοῦ τῶν βοώντων αὐτῷ ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός, καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς; 8 λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ποιήσει τὴν ἐκδίκησιν αὐτῶν ἐν τάχει.

The δὲ after Εἶπεν suggests a change of speaker. The δὲ after ὁ θεὸς suggests a change in character from the judge to God. ἐκδίκησις is more than justice. It refers to avenging which includes justice for the aggrieved party and punishment for the offending party. God's elect are calling out to God for help day and night. They are being oppressed by enemies like the poor widow who was being oppressed by an adversary and the judge did not avenge her until he finally felt he had to. I assume that this may well refer to enemies of the disciples and even persecution. Help does not always seem to be forthcoming promptly, but I think the text says that God will eventually avenge his chosen ones.

If we take the normal sense of μακροθυμέω I suggest the rhetorical question becomes something like: Will not God avenge his chosen ones who cry to him for help day and night and does he not have compassion on them? (I take the οὐ μὴ to govern both coordinated clauses). Then in v. 8: I tell you that he will avenge them quickly (when the right time comes).

This is not how it is translated in any English version, so I may be wrong. However, it seems strange to me that both LSJ and BDAG had to create a special sense of "delay" for the sole purpose of having a place to put Luke 17:8. How can forbearance, patience and compassion become slow to help?

LSJ has: 2. to be slow to help, Ev.Luc.18.7.

BDAG has: ③ delay Lk 18:7 μακροθυμεῖ ... and difficult to interpret, ... may be transl.: will (God) delay long in helping them?

I cannot get this to fit the context, because there is clearly a delay (so BDAG added "long"), but the point seems to be that God has not forgotten them. He feels compassion for them but may also be longsuffering with the enemies, hoping that they will repent (taking the thought from 2 Peter).

Where I am wrong?

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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby George F Somsel » January 20th, 2013, 9:51 am

I think where you went wrong is in not letting loose of a few Kroner to buy the 3rd edition of the lexicon. You appear to still be using the 2nd edition. There is no special category created to accomodate this one passage.

③ delay Lk 18:7 μακροθυμεῖ (textually uncertain [v.l.-θυμών ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς] and difficult to interpret, but cp. Mt 18:12 for the mixture of tenses in a question) may be transl.: will (God) delay long in helping them? (NRSV; s. Weizsäcker3–8; Fitzmyer, Luke ad loc., w. emphasis on Sir 35:19; μ.=delay: Artem. 4, 11).—Jülicher, Gleichn. 286ff; HSahlin, Zwei Lk-Stellen: Lk 6:43–45; 18:7: SymbBUps 4, ’45, 9–20; HRiesenfeld, NT Aufsätze (JSchmid Festschr.), ’63, 214–17 (Lk 18:7); but see KBeyer, Semit. Syntax im NT, ’62, 268 n. 1.—DELG s.v. θυμός. M-M. TW.


Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (612). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

In Sir 35 we have a widow (I wonder whether it is the same widow—the longevity of some of these women is amazing) who similarly cries out to God for justice. Our pericope here may be somewhat dependent upon that passage.

11 Μὴ δωροκόπει, οὐ γὰρ προσδέξεται, καὶ μὴ ἔπεχε θυσίᾳ ἀδίκῳ, 12 ὅτι κύριος κριτής ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν παῤ αὐτῷ δόξα προσώπου. 13 οὐ λήμψεται πρόσωπον ἐπὶ πτωχοῦ καὶ δέησιν ἠδικημένου εἰσακούσεται, 14 οὐ μὴ ὑπερίδῃ ἱκετείαν ὀρφανοῦ καὶ χήραν, ἐὰν ἐκχέῃ λαλιάν, 15 οὐχὶ δάκρυα χήρας ἐπὶ σιαγόνα καταβαίνει καὶ ἡ καταβόησις ἐπὶ τῷ καταγαγόντι αὐτά; 16 θεραπεύων ἐν εὐδοκίᾳ δεχθήσεται, καὶ ἡ δέησις αὐτοῦ ἕως νεφελῶν συνάψει, 17 προσευχὴ ταπεινοῦ νεφέλας διῆλθεν, καὶ ἕως συνεγγίσῃ, οὐ μὴ παρακληθῇ, 18 καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀποστῇ, ἕως ἐπισκέψηται ὁ ὕψιστος καὶ κρινεῖ δικαίοις καὶ ποιήσει κρίσιν. 19 καὶ ὁ κύριος οὐ μὴ βραδύνῃ οὐδὲ μὴ μακροθυμήσῃ ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς,


Septuaginta: With morphology. 1979 (electronic ed.) (Sir 35:11–19). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

Here too the idea is one of delay. I can't account for the divergence in versification here. I know about the difference in Psalms, but haven't really studied the text of Sirach, but be aware that the verse numbers of the English translation do not match the Greek text. Note what Deissmann states regarding some apparently late developments in the meanings of words.

But now comes the surprise. Among the 550 remaining words we find first a number of proper p 72 names, then a quantity of Semitic and Latin transcriptions or borrowed words, then a series of numerals. Finally, however, if we consult the excellent articles in the Lexicon itself, we shall find in the case of many of the words still remaining that there are quotations given from Josephus, Plutarch, Marcus Aurelius, etc.! Thus, for example, out of 150 words enumerated by Kennedy2 as occurring “only” in the Septungint and the New Testament, 67 are quoted by Thayer himself from pagan authors! The only excuse that I can see for the inaccuracy in these old statistics is that most of the authors quoted for the 67 words are later in date than the Now Testament. But are we to regard words as specifically “New Testament” words because they happen to make their first appearance there? Did Plutarch, for instance, borrow words from the Bible? That is altogether improbable. The Bible and Plutarch borrow from a common source, viz. the vocabulary of late Greek.



Deissmann, A., & Strachan, L. R. M. (1910). Light from the ancient East the New Testament illustrated by recently discovered texts of the Graeco-Roman world (71–72). London: Hodder & Stoughton.
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » January 20th, 2013, 10:45 am

Sometimes two meanings of a word seem to clash and you feel it doesn't make sense. Etymological thinking may help to see how the meanings are naturally related. I can't know about this word, but at least I can easily imagine how it may have meant "be patient = wait patiently before something happens" and then taken sense "wait patiently before doing something", hence "delay doing something". God is patient with his plans and we should be, too... Oh, sorry about the theological conclusion! :)
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Iver Larsen » January 20th, 2013, 3:57 pm

I was actually quoting from the 3rd edition, but only quoted what I considered to be most relevant. There is no difference between BAGD and BDAG here.

However, now that you have mentioned Sirach 35:19, we do find the word for delay which is βραδύνω and not μακροθυμέω.
καὶ ὁ κύριος οὐ μὴ βραδύνῃ οὐδὲ μὴ μακροθυμήσῃ ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς,

REB translated this as: The Lord will not be slow, neither will he be patient with the wicked,
NRSV: Indeed, the Lord will not delay, and like a warrior (Heb: Gk and with them) will not be patient
GNB: And the Lord will act quickly. He will show no patience with wicked people.

All seem to agree that the word means "be patient" rather than "delay".

It seems to me that "be patient" here is closely related to "show mercy" or "have compassion with". That is the sense I was womdering about in Luk 18:7. There is a big difference in that Luk 18:7 is a rhetorical question with οὐ μὴ that expects an affirmative answer, whereas in Sirach we have a statement where the οὐ μὴ indicates a reinforced negation.
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby David Lim » January 20th, 2013, 9:58 pm

Iver Larsen wrote:[...]

Now I come to the problem text in Luke 18:6-8

Εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος, Ἀκούσατε τί ὁ κριτὴς τῆς ἀδικίας λέγει· 7 ὁ δὲ θεὸς οὐ μὴ ποιήσῃ τὴν ἐκδίκησιν τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν αὐτοῦ τῶν βοώντων αὐτῷ ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός, καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς; 8 λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ποιήσει τὴν ἐκδίκησιν αὐτῶν ἐν τάχει.

[...]

If we take the normal sense of μακροθυμέω I suggest the rhetorical question becomes something like: Will not God avenge his chosen ones who cry to him for help day and night and does he not have compassion on them? (I take the οὐ μὴ to govern both coordinated clauses). Then in v. 8: I tell you that he will avenge them quickly (when the right time comes).

This is not how it is translated in any English version, so I may be wrong. However, it seems strange to me that both LSJ and BDAG had to create a special sense of "delay" for the sole purpose of having a place to put Luke 17:8. How can forbearance, patience and compassion become slow to help?

Can I suggest the problem is not with "μακροθυμεῖ" but with "ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς"? I think that "ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς" here means "over them", so "καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς" means "and is he patient over them?", which implies "and is he patient [with those who persecute them]?"
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 21st, 2013, 3:43 am

Iver Larsen wrote:If we take the normal sense of μακροθυμέω I suggest the rhetorical question becomes something like: Will not God avenge his chosen ones who cry to him for help day and night and does he not have compassion on them? (I take the οὐ μὴ to govern both coordinated clauses). Then in v. 8: I tell you that he will avenge them quickly (when the right time comes).

Where I am wrong?


I can't really see anything wrong with your proposal (it seems to make excellent contextual sense without positing any unusual meanings), but I would like a better understanding of why so many have seemingly favored the "delay" sense.

Stephen
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Iver Larsen » January 21st, 2013, 11:28 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Iver Larsen wrote:If we take the normal sense of μακροθυμέω I suggest the rhetorical question becomes something like: Will not God avenge his chosen ones who cry to him for help day and night and does he not have compassion on them? (I take the οὐ μὴ to govern both coordinated clauses). Then in v. 8: I tell you that he will avenge them quickly (when the right time comes).

Where I am wrong?


I can't really see anything wrong with your proposal (it seems to make excellent contextual sense without positing any unusual meanings), but I would like a better understanding of why so many have seemingly favored the "delay" sense.

Stephen


I failed to look at REB, so let me quote it here. It is one of the few or maybe the only English one that use the word patient:
"Then will not God give justice to his chosen, to whom he listens patiently while they cry out to him day and night?"

The Greek word is not common in the LXX, but interestingly it occurs a number of times in Sirach, so I thought I would quote how REB dealt with these:

Sir 2:4 Bear every hardship that is sent you, and whenever humiliation comes, be patient.
Sir 18:11 That is why the Lord is patient with people; that is why he lavishes his mercy upon them.
Sir 29:8 Nevertheless be patient with the penniless, and do not keep them waiting for your charity.
Sir 35:19 The Lord will not be slow, neither will he be patient with the wicked.

It seems to me that we two senses. One is being patient in the sense of persevering. The other is patient/forbearing in the sense of feeling compassion with and showing mercy to people who are in a difficult situation.
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 21st, 2013, 1:17 pm

Iver Larsen wrote:I failed to look at REB, so let me quote it here. It is one of the few or maybe the only English one that use the word patient:
"Then will not God give justice to his chosen, to whom he listens patiently while they cry out to him day and night?"


For what it's worth, the Vulgate goes the patience route as well: et patientiam habebit in illis.
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Tony Pope » January 22nd, 2013, 6:58 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
I can't really see anything wrong with your proposal (it seems to make excellent contextual sense without positing any unusual meanings), but I would like a better understanding of why so many have seemingly favored the "delay" sense.

Stephen


There is an article that may be of interest, arguing against the gloss “delay”:
Max Rogland, ‘μακροθυμειν in Ben Sira 35:19 and Luke 18:7: A Lexicographical Note’ Novum Testamentum Volume 51, Number 3, 2009 , pp. 296-301
Abstract at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/not/2009/00000051/00000003/art00005

David Lim wrote:Can I suggest the problem is not with "μακροθυμεῖ" but with "ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς"? I think that "ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς" here means "over them", so "καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς" means "and is he patient over them?", which implies "and is he patient [with those who persecute them]?"


The usage elsewhere is that the people ἐπὶ whom one μακροθυμεῖ are the people who are causing you grief. So if you want it to mean "Is he patient with their oppressors", the αὐτοῖς surely has to refer directly to the oppressors not his chosen people. Some have taken this line, e.g. Grimm in the Grimm-Thayer lexicon, who suggests that they are referred to "negligently" (=without previous contextual reference) with Sirach 35 in mind. Otherwise, the αὐτοῖς must refer to the chosen people.

Iver Larsen wrote:It seems to me that we two senses. One is being patient in the sense of persevering. The other is patient/forbearing in the sense of feeling compassion with and showing mercy to people who are in a difficult situation.


I think your idea of "compassion" is not far off but I suggest that μακροθυμέω is used with particular reference to the clamouring night and day, and a better gloss might be "to be tolerant of them" (i.e. of their requests). Sirach 29.8, which you mentioned, seems similar in that the previous context warns of the difficulties that a lender may experience in securing the repayment of his loan.
πλὴν ἐπὶ ταπεινῷ μακροθύμησον και ἐπ’ ἐλεημοσύνῇ μὴ παρελκύσῇς αὐτόν.
"Nevertheless be patient with [be tolerant of? be understanding towards?] the penniless, and do not keep them waiting for your charity." (REB)
Despite the fact that English versions start a new paragraph, I feel the πλήν supports a connection to the previous context.
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Re: μακροθυμέω Luke 18:7

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 22nd, 2013, 8:08 am

Tony Pope wrote:There is an article that may be of interest, arguing against the gloss “delay”:
Max Rogland, ‘μακροθυμειν in Ben Sira 35:19 and Luke 18:7: A Lexicographical Note’ Novum Testamentum Volume 51, Number 3, 2009 , pp. 296-301
Abstract at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/not/2009/00000051/00000003/art00005


Thanks for the cite. I think Rogland is persuasive that μακροθυμεῖν does not mean "delay" in Sir 35:19 or Luke 18:7, but it would have been nicer if Iver's possibility of meaning "be compassionate" was also addressed.
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