Re: James 2:9

From: Edward Hobbs (
Date: Wed May 13 1998 - 16:05:34 EDT


Jim West inquires:--->>>>>>>

I am interested in your views concerning the word <gk>parabatai</gk>. This
word is a noun, and referred originally to "a warrior beside the charioteer,
or a certain kind of foot soldier". But in the NT it means "transgressor".

How does one move from a "warrior" to a "trangressor"? That is, what went
on in the history of the language that the meaning of the word seems so
drastically different? Is it that the word was used derogatorily about a
soldier who would not get into the chariot and thus was a cowardly
transgressor of the general's command?

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<-------------end of inquiry

Carl Conrad usually answers questions like these before I even see them,
but he is in his summer hideout in NC, having troubles with his server, so
I'll venture in.

The noun PARABATHS (Jim gives it in the plural) is a form derived from the
verb PARABAINW, whose meanings include "go by the side of" and (in the
perfect) "stand by the side of" (hence the noun meaning "the fighter who
stands by the driver with weapons" [which the driver can't handle while he
drives]), AND ALSO the meaning "pass beyond, overstep" hence "transgress,"
leading to the noun meaning of "transgressor."

Note later usage, hO PARABATHS meaning "Julian the Transgressor" (the

Once in a while, etymology is fun, and even explains things.

Edward Hobbs

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