Luke 11:17 καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει

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Jonathan Robie
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Luke 11:17 καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 31st, 2015, 7:56 pm

Luke 11:17 wrote:Πᾶσα βασιλεία ἐφ’ ἑαυτὴν διαμερισθεῖσα ἐρημοῦται, καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει.
I read that as "and house falls against house", or "and one house falls against another", then checked a few translations to be sure, and they aren't agreeing with me. On the other hand, I don't understand how this phrase can mean "and a house divided against itself falls". Yes, I know that this is what these parallel passages say:
Matthew 12:25 wrote:εἰδὼς δὲ τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς ἐρημοῦται, καὶ πᾶσα πόλις ἢ οἰκία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς οὐ σταθήσεται.
Mark 3:25 wrote:καὶ ἐὰν οἰκία ἐφ’ ἑαυτὴν μερισθῇ, οὐ δυνήσεται ἡ οἰκία ἐκείνη στῆναι.
But I'm not managing to get the phrase καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει to say the same thing as these other phrases in similar passages in other gospels. So I did what I often do if the translations fail me, I looked this up in Meyer, ICC, and Expositor's Greek, but they mostly agreed with me without explaining why the translations don't understand it this way.
Meyer wrote:Luke 11:17. καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει] a graphic description of the desolation just indicated by ἐρημοῦται: and house falleth upon house. This is to be taken quite literally of the overthrow of towns, in which a building tumbling into ruins strikes on the one adjoining it, and falls upon it. Thus rightly Vulgate, Luther, Erasmus, and others, Bleek also. Comp. Thucyd. ii. 84. 2 : ναῦς τε νηῒ προσέπιπτε. This meaning, inasmuch as it is still more strongly descriptive, is to be preferred to the view of Buttmann, which in itself is equally correct (Neut. Gr. p. 291 [E. T. 338]): House after house. Many other commentators take οἶκος as meaning family, and explain either (Bornemann), “and one family falls away after another” (on ἐπί, comp. Php 2:27), or (so the greater number, Euthymius Zigabenus, Beza, Grotius, Valckenaer, Kuinoel, Paulus, de Wette) they supply διαμερισθείς after οἶκον, and take ἐπὶ οἶκον as equivalent to ἐφʼ ἑαυτόν: “et familia a se ipsa dissidens salva esse nequit” (Kuinoel). It may be argued against the latter view, that if the meaning expressed by ἐφʼ ἑαυτόν had been intended, the very parallelism of the passage would have required ἐφʼ ἑαυτόν to be inserted, and that οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον could not in any wise express this reflexive meaning, but could only signify: one house against the other. The whole explanation is the work of the Harmonists. It may be argued against Bornemann, that after ἐρημοῦται the thought which his interpretation brings out is much too weak, and consequently is not sufficiently in accordance with the context. We are to picture to ourselves a kingdom which is devastated by civil war.
ICC wrote:οἷκος ἐπὶ οἶκον. Matthew 12:25 and Mark 3:25 do not prove that διαμερισθείς is here to be understood. In that case we should expect ἑ αυτόν or καθʼ ἑαυτοῦ rather than ἐπὶ οἶκον. Comp. πίπτειν ἐπί τι, 8:6, 13:4, 20:18. 30. 23:30. It is better, with Vulg. (domus supra domum cadet) and Luth. (ein Haus fa¬llet u¬bet das andere), to keep closely to the Greek without reference to Matthew 12:25 or Mark 3:25. We must therefore regard the clause as an enlargement of ἐρημοῦται: “house falleth on house”; or possibly “house after house falleth.” Comp. ναῦς τε νηὶ προσέπιπτε (Thus. 2:84, 3). Wetst, quotes πύργοι δὲ πύργοις ἐνέπιπτον (Aristid. Rhodiac. p. 544). In this way Lk. gives one example, a divided kingdom; Mk. two, kingdom and house; Mt. three, kingdom, city, and house.

In class. Grk. ἐπί after verbs of falling, adding, and the like is commonly followed by the dat. In bibl. Greek the acc. is more common: λύπην ἐπὶ λύπην (Php 2:27); λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον (Matthew 24:2); ἀνονίαν ἐπὶ τὴν ἀνομίαν (Psalm 68:28); ἀγγελία ἐπὶ ἀγγελίαν (Ezekiel 7:26). In Isaiah 28:10 we have both acc. and dat., θλίψιν ἐπὶ θλίψιν, ἐλπίδα ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι.
Expositor's Greek wrote:Luke 11:17. διαμερισθεῖσα. Lk. has a preference for compounds; μερισθεῖσα in Mt.—καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει, and house falls against house, one tumbling house knocking down its neighbour, a graphic picture of what happens when a kingdom is divided against itself. In Mt. kingdom and city are two co-ordinate illustrations of the principle. In Mk. a house takes the place of Mt.’s city. In Lk. the house is simply a feature in the picture of a kingdom ruined by self-division. Some (e.g., Bornemann and Hahn) render Lk.’s phrase: house upon house, one house after another falls. Others, in a harmonistic interest, interpret: a house being divided (διαμερισθεὶς understood) against itself (ἐπὶ οἶκον = ἐφʼ ἑαυτὸν) falls.
But unless I'm missing something, ἐπὶ οἶκον != ἐφʼ ἑαυτὸν. So what am I missing?
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Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Luke 11:17 καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει

Post by Louis L Sorenson » November 1st, 2015, 11:23 pm

BDAG οἶκος, ου, ὁ
οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει house falls upon house 11:17

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 815). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
I also found this in BDAG under πίπτω:
—Fig. become invalid, come to an end, fail (Pla., Euthyphr. 14d; Philostrat., Ep. 9) Lk 16:17 (cp. Josh 23:14 v.l.; Ruth 3:18); 1 Cor 13:8.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 815). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Luke 11:17 καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 2nd, 2015, 2:19 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:But unless I'm missing something, ἐπὶ οἶκον != ἐφʼ ἑαυτὸν. So what am I missing?
It may be some thing to do with the feeling of the amount of information that can go unstated, or which needs to be retained in an abbreviated second clause. Of course if it were fully stated, it would have been καὶ πᾶς οἶκος διαμερισθεὶς ἐφʼ ἑαυτὸν πίπτει. - with all the elements of the first phrase carried forward to the second. Perhaps it was felt that because the πᾶς was lost as well as the verb, then there needed to be some compensation in making the meaning clear again, rather than encoding the meaning of ἐπὶ οἶκον as ἐφʼ ἑαυτὸν like in the fully written out phrase. Such a choice is not according to the codifiable rules of the language, but down near the white noise, where a speakers perception of whether they are likely to be understood or not in a particular circumstance comes into play in forming the utterance. That is not harmonistic as stated in the commentaries, but how to take the phrase as part of the sentence.
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Tony Pope
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Re: Luke 11:17 καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει

Post by Tony Pope » November 2nd, 2015, 9:59 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Luke 11:17 wrote:Πᾶσα βασιλεία ἐφ’ ἑαυτὴν διαμερισθεῖσα ἐρημοῦται, καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει.
I read that as "and house falls against house", or "and one house falls against another",

Godet's preferred interpretation appears to be as you propose, though he does allow a second option.
Godet wrote:The words, "And one house falls upon another," appear to be in Luke the development of the ἐρεμοῦται, is brought to desolation: the ruin of families, as a consequence of civil discord. In Matthew and Mark they evidently include a new example, parallel to the preceding one. This sense is also admissible in Luke, if we make the object ἐπὶ οἶκον depend, not on πίπτει, but on διαμερισθείς ...: "And likewise a house divided against a house falls."
Weymouth translates like Godet's preferred option:
Weymouth wrote:Every kingdom in which civil war rages goes to ruin : family attacks family and is overthrown.
For πίπτω in this sense see LSJ B.I.
LSJ wrote:B. Special usages:
I. πίπτειν ἔν τισι fall violently upon, attack, “ἐνὶ νήεσσι πέσωμεν” Il.13.742 (but ἐν νήεσσι πεσόντες tumbling into the ships, 2.175); ἐν βουσὶ π. S.Aj.375 (lyr.); Ἔρως, ὃς ἐν κτήμασι π. Id.Ant.782(lyr.); ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλοισι, of combatants, Hes.Sc.379, cf. 375; “πρὸς μῆλα καὶ ποίμνας” S.Aj.1061 ; “πρὸς πύλαις” A.Th.462.
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