From: Harold R. Holmyard III (
Date: Wed May 31 2000 - 08:53:18 EDT

Dear Mark,
     You write

>LOUKAS 19:12


>LOUKAS 19:15


>I think most translate verse 15: When he returned after receiving the

>Why do we translate this with the preposition after?

>Earlier in verse 12 we are told that he went away to receive this kingdom;
>so it makes sense to translate verse 15 with after. I guess I am trying
>to understand why the Aorist LABONTA expresses antecedent time to another
>Aorist verb. Of course, I am not 100 percent sure that it modifies another
Aorist, but it looks that way to me.

>I understand that EGENETO with EN TWi plus the Infinitive expresses
>contemporaneous time. Which I would then take as It happened when he

>So the Aorist LABONTA happened before this. Is that what this Aorist
>construction means?

>Also, what is it happened referring to?

>I realize my questions are fairly basic, but I really do appreciate
>responses from all of you!

Mark, your questions are ones that a Greek grammar book could explain. Do
you have a Greek grammar book? Here is a comment by Eugene Goetchius, in
_The Language of the New Testament_, a beginner's Greek grammar:

Like the present participle, the aorist participle does not, properly
speaking, have "tense"; i.e., it does not necessarily refer to past time or
to any other sort of time. Like the present participle, the aorist
participle indicates as *aspect* of action; more precisely, it indicates an
action conceived as *indefinite*, or as a *simple event* (without reference
to its being in progress, or being completed). The aorist participle may,
therefore, refer to any action, whether it be past, present, or future with
respect to the action of the main verb.

Thus it becomes the work of the reader to determine what the author was
intending by his use of the aorist participle. Here I think you rightly
conclude that the action of receiving the kingdom was prior to his

The "it" is an English word, functioning like "it" does in English. We say,
"It happened yesterday that I received a visit." "It" is equivalent to
"that I received a visit." In the translation of Luke 19:15 the "it" is the
subject of EGENETO, which subject in Greek is built into the verb form
itself. The Greek does not use "that" in the verse, but the "it" that
happened was the event in the second clause: "he said for his servants to
be called . . . ."

                                Harold Holmyard

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