Luke 12:52

From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.

What is the significance of the numbers repeated in reverse?

  • It could somehow refer to some people’s belief that Genesis’ “it was evening and it was morning the first day” could actually also be interpreted to mean that morning came first and then evening. Jun 27 at 22:36

The language of Luke 12:52 is a classic Hebraism. Note the the series in V52 & 53 -

  • three against two and two against three
  • father against son and son against father
  • mother against daughter and daughter against mother
  • mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law

Thus, the last part of V52 is consistent with V53. Let us suppose that the household consists of five people called, A, B, C, D, E and the "two" are A & B. Then the three are C, D, & E. V52 is saying that A & B are against C, D, & E; and C, D, & E are against A & B. This is abbreviated to "three against two and two against three."


What is the significance of the numbers repeated in reverse in Luke 12:52?

Simply, the repetition is there to emphasize how Jesus and his ministry would cause divisions, even within a household.

Gill's Exposition explains it this way:

For from henceforth there shall be five in one house,... Which are the five following, mentioned in the next verse; the father and the son, the mother and the daughter, and her daughter-in-law, or son's wife; for the mother and mother-in-law are one and the same person, only standing in different relations; as a mother to her own daughter, and a mother-in-law to her son's wife, or to her husband's daughter by his first wife; though the former best answers to the word used: now from the time of Christ's saying these words, or quickly after this, immediately upon his baptism of sufferings, or soon after his death, when the Gospel should be preached more publicly and extensively, this should be the effect of it; that supposing a family consisting of the above number, they should be

divided from one another, in the following manner:

three against two, and two against three; three that did not believe in Christ, against two that did believe in him; or two that did not believe, against three that did; or three that did, against two that did not; or two that did, against three that did not. The Ethiopic version reads, "two shall be separated from three, and one shall be separated from two".

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