[B-Greek] Two men in one bed?

Edward Andrews edandrews at adelphia.net
Fri Jul 21 10:42:41 EDT 2006

Iver Larsen:

I have a general question.  Those commenting keep referring to "two men in 
the same" bed.  What part of the Greek brings one to that conclusion, when 
it says "two [men] will be in one bed.'  What brings us to the conclusion it 
is the same one bed as opposed to two men each in their own one bed?

Edward Andrews
Grand Canyon University

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Iver Larsen" <iver at larsen.dk>
To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2006 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Two men in one bed?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fridolin Janzen" <fjanzen at gmx.net>

> Since in Luke 17:35, Luke uses the feminine in order to describe two women
> grinding together, "MIA" and "HETERA", wouldn't that mean that he
> purposefully uses the masculine in verse 34 in order to describe two men?

No, I don't think it is possible to make such a deduction. The two people 
grinding flour together would obviously have
to be women, so the feminine is used. But two people in the same bed could 
be either two men or a man and a wife (not
two women).

> The words ANAKLINW, KATAKLINW derive from KLINE, and the illustrations I
> have from the time, show that they "always" reclined at the table for the
> meals. They did not "sit" at the table the way we do today. They did not 
> use
> chairs, they used the "KLINE", so two men could have been taking a meal at
> the "KLINE" at the event described, just like Jesus and His disciples were
> reclined during the Last Supper.

There are many examples in the NT of people reclining to eat. But if you 
check the context of all of these, the
expressions used and the contexts are very different from here. I am not 
aware that they reclined on a KLINH for a meal.
At least there are no examples of this in the NT. They were probably 
reclining on pillows, and the food would be served
on the table.

> In Portuguese we have feminine and masculine articles in order to 
> differentiate between the two,
> just like in German, which is not the case in English. Luther 
> differentiates, using the
> masculine in verse 34 and the feminine in verse 35.

Now that you mention the German versions, I looked up two of them. Die 
Lutherbibel is literal and as ambiguous as the
Greek, since it says that "zwei auf einem Bette liegen". I assume that zwei 
Menschen is meant, so that the following
"der eine" refers to Mensch. Mensch is masculine like ANQRWPOS, so there is 
a good linguistic match.

The Gute Nachricht has chosen to use "Von zwei Männern, die in jener Nacht 
auf einem Bett schlafen".
By using "Männern" (men) they have IMO made an unfortunate mistake.

Iver Larsen

Pastor Fridolin Janzen

-----Original Message-----
From: Iver Larsen [mailto:iver at larsen.dk]
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2006 3:52 AM
To: Fridolin Janzen; b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Two men in one bed?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Fridolin Janzen" <fjanzen at gmx.net>

> Luke 17:34 says that two men shall be in one "bed" (KLINE). Could "O"
(masculine) also refer to a woman?
> Since the meals were taken at a "KLINE", should this word not be
> translated as "couch" or a synonym, in order for people to understand the
text properly? I used the word "divã" in my translation.
> Do you think I am on the right track?

> Pastor Fridolin Janzen

No, I don't think you are on the right track.

Why did you make the assumption that two men are being talked about? No
English version is saying that, so it may be a Portuguese one?
The closest is KJV which says  "in that night there shall be two [men] in
one bed" indicating that the word "men" is supplied, but "men" in those days
meant people, not men.

The Greek says:

Since there is no noun connected to DUO, the implied noun must be ANQRWPOI
(people). When a noun is to be supplied, it must come from the preceding
context (not applicable here) or the most generic noun is to be chosen.
ANQRWPOI (people) is more generic than ANDRES (men).

Both hO and hEIS are masculine, because they refer to the implied ANQRWPOS.
The same applies to hO hETEROS. The text is not difficult and the hO is
optional, just like in English you could say "One will be taken" or "The one
will be taken".
The presence of the article seems to add an emphasis on the contrast between
the two people. "The one person" will be taken, "the other person" will be

The text does not tell us whether it refers to two men or a man and a woman.
It is just two people. Therefore, the correct translation is "two people"
like almost every English version says.

I am not sure of the specific challenges in Portuguese. If you don't
distinguish between "men" and "people" as in old English, the translation
may be more ambiguous than the original Greek is, and therefore lead to
potentially wrong assumptions by the readers.

Also, it is unlikely to talk about lying down for dinner. Nowhere in the NT
is KLINH used as a place to be reclining on for dinner. The verbs used for

Iver Larsen

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