David Lim wrote: Jonathan Robie wrote:
I think the right way to interpret this is as a middle, not a passive. Here's A.T. Robertson's comment on the phrase:
ATR wrote:And fall short (καὶ υστεροῦνται). Present middle indicative of υστερεω, to be υστερος (comparative) too late, continued action, still fall short. It is followed by the ablative case as here, the case of separation.
Hmm then is there a reason why Heb 4:1 and Heb 12:15 use the active forms rather than the middle-passive forms? The structure and usage seems to be similar to Rom 3:23.
[Heb 4:1] φοβηθωμεν ουν μηποτε καταλειπομενης επαγγελιας εισελθειν εις την καταπαυσιν αυτου δοκη τις εξ υμων υστερηκεναι
[Heb 12:15] επισκοπουντες μη τις υστερων απο της χαριτος του θεου μη τις ριζα πικριας ανω φυουσα ενοχλη και δια ταυτης μιανθωσιν πολλοι
"Hmm, hmm, hmm ... " I guess that "hmm" does service as an emoticon whenever you come to an ἀπορία in a Greek text or someone's comment on that text -- it gives one the sense that one is approaching a bee's hive ...
This verb - ὑστερῶ/ὑστεροῦμαι is very interesting in terms of voice. (The lexica always list the lemmata in the uncontracted form,which is never
seen in any actual extant Greek text. Why not just say that they're α, ε, or ο contract verbs but use the forms that actually appear in texts as the lemma?). The verb appears 16x in the GNT, 8x in the active, 8x in the middle-passive. In the LXX it appears 19x, 16x in the active, 3x in the middle-passive.
I would agree with Jonathan that it's not passive
. The question is: Why the divergence between active and middle forms of this verb in Biblical Greek?
I've stated previously my view that "active" voice forms are the "default" form for verbs regardless whether they are transitive and active (e.g. ἀποκτείνω), intransitive (e.g. βαίνω) or even, as in some instances, passive (e.g. δεῖνα ἔπαθον ὑπὸ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μου), while the middle-passive forms are marked
for subject-affectedness, such subject-affectedness being that the subject is a patient
, a beneficiary
, or maybe an undergoer of a process
. It would appear that ὑστερῶ is a denominative verb derived from the comparative adjective ὕστερος/α/ον and means fundamentally "run short" or "run behind" or "come up short" or, in a variety of extended senses, "be deficient." Just the examples indicated in LXX and GNT are sufficient to indicate that the verb is used in both the active and the middle in much the same senses. What then, if any, is the difference. I draw here on our friend Steve Runge's ad nauseam dictum, "difference implies choice." My guess is that when the author uses the middle, he/she intends to underscore the subject's helplessness or deficiency.
Thus, when Paul writes in Rom 3:23 πάντες γὰρ ἥμαρτον καὶ ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ, he might say, were he speaking American English, "Everybody has blown the opportunity; we're all of us missing the boat that should take us to heaven." My own take on this is that if Paul had written ὑστεροῦσι τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ, he'd be noting the fact of their failure; by writing ὑστεροῦνται he emphasizes the tragedy of their failure. He could have made the verb active or middle-passive and the fundamental sense would, I think, have been the same. His choice of the middle-passive, it seems to me, marks a distinct nuance of difference.