[b-greek] Re: hUSTERA and hUSTEREW

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (mauros@iol.ie)
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 10:42:20 EST

At 13:26 20/02/01, JKandJWilk@aol.com wrote:

>When I began to learn
>biblical greek, I was struck by the similarity of forms of hUSTEREW, meaning
>to lack something (cf. John 2.3 KAI hUSTERHSANTOS OINOU, LEGEI hH MHTHR
>TOU IHSOU...) and hUSTERHMA, meaning poverty (used to describe the state
>of the widow in Luke 21:4, ...hAUTH DE EK TOU hUSTERHMATOS AUTHS PANTA TON
>BION hON EICEN EBALEN). Does anyone know if somehow the words for uterus
>and for poverty/lacking share some distant derivative? If so, what is the
>connection between them and how did a uterus become associated with poverty?

I would suggest that this excerpt from the Louw-Nida lexicon is a necessary
corrective to equating "need" with "poverty".
  57.38 hUSTERHMA -- TOS n : (derivative of hUSTEREW —to be lacking,'
<a that which is lacking in what is essential or needed - —what is
lacking, what is needed. —the plenty which you have at this time should
make up for what they lack' 2 Cor 8.14; ¿ —the fellow believers supplied
the things I was lacking' 2 Cor 11.9; —but she from what she lacked gave
all that she had to live on' Lk 21.4. In a number of languages the
expression of —lack' may be indicated as —not to have enough' or —not to
possess what one needs' or —not to have what one should

And the TDNT makes the point:
>> 4. The nouns hUSTERHMA and hUSTERHSIS are very rare in ancient lit.
apart from the LXX and Chr. writings. <<
but it then goes on to distinguish various meanings for hUSTERHMA --- one
such being:
>>>We have here the underlying expression ANAPLHROUN hUSTERHMA “to fill
up what is lacking,” which is also found in Chr. lit. <<

but pointing out that:
>>hUSTERHSIS always means “want,” “need.”<<

I regards as the most significant term in the Lukan account of this widow
is that she is described in 21:2 as PENIXROS --- which is a hapax in the
NT, as against PTWXOS, used 10 times in Lk and Ac.,( as in Lk. 4:18, where
the good news has been brought to the PTWXOIS )

What is more, PENIXROS appears only 3 times in the LXX --- Ex 22:24 : Pr
28:15: 29:7 --
always in the sense of being oppressed, whether by money-lenders as in Ex
or the " wicked " as in Pr.


Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

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