I was perusing Luke 17 when I noticed the specific context of the familiar passage about "losing" and "preserving" one's "life". This is the verse:
[Luke 17:33 KJV] Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
[Luke 17:33 mGNT] ὃς ἐὰν ζητήσῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ περιποιήσασθαι ἀπολέσει αὐτήν ὃς δ’ ἂν ἀπολέσῃ ζῳογονήσει αὐτήν
How should this best be translated? The word translated "save/keep/preserve" appears 3 times in the NT and only here is "save":
Luke 17:33 V-ANM GRK: ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ περιποιήσασθαι ἀπολέσει αὐτήν NAS: seeks to keep his life INT: life of him to save will lose it Acts 20:28 V-AIM-3S GRK: θεοῦ ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ NAS: which He purchased with His own KJV: which he hath purchased with INT: of God which he purchased with 1 Timothy 3:13 V-PIM-3P GRK: ἑαυτοῖς καλὸν περιποιοῦνται καὶ πολλὴν NAS: as deacons obtain for themselves KJV: well purchase to themselves INT: for themselves good acquire and much
The reason I ask is I had only considered the verse in isolation. In isolation it seems to be talking about the necessity of being willing to die for confessing Jesus as the Messiah. However, in context it appears that what he's saying is to not be like Lot's wife who, because she had to flee her home "looked back" and perished. So in this context "losing one's life" is to "leave everything familiar and valuable to you, including family and friends and don't look back". He's saying, "When you see the Roman army approaching RUN FOR THE JUDEAN HILLS AND DON'T TRY TO GO BACK AND RECOVER YOUR STUFF!!!" Here's the context:
[Luk 17:28-33 KJV] 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot's wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
IE: The passage is not about "being a disciple" but rather about "not being stupid" by going back into Jerusalem to get your stuff when God is raining hell on the city in judgment.
So I think I have the idea of the context. What about the specifics of the translation to fit the context? Can it be improved?
Regarding verse 31:
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. '
The flat-roofed eastern houses have stairs on the outside, by which a person may ascend and descend without coming into the house; and in walled cities they usually form continued terraces, from one end of the city to the other, terminating at the gates; so that one may pass along the tops of the houses and escape out of the city without coming down into the street. Job 2:4; Jer 45:5; Mat 6:25; Mat 16:26; Mat 24:17-21; Mar 13:14-16; Phl 3:7,8
Here are the synoptic parallels:
[Mat 24:17-21 KJV] 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
[Mar 13:14-16 KJV] 14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter [therein], to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
History (Josephus) tells us that 1.1 million non-combatants died in the Roman siege.