As an Advent project this year, I decided to translate the two Nativity stories in the New Testament, Luke 2:1 – 20 and Matthew 1:18 – 2:12, from Greek into English. Yes, it’s been done a thousand times already, but I wanted some real translation practice. And since my Lenten translation project didn’t end so well, I decided not to mention this project, until it was well underway. As of today, I’ve translated Luke 2:1-16. At this rate, I should be finished before Christmas.
καὶ ἦλθαν σπεύσαντες καὶ ἀνεῦραν τήν τε Μαριὰμ καὶ τὸν Ἰωσὴφ καὶ τὸ βρέφος κείμενον ἐν τῇ φάτνῃ
which is translated essentially the same in most translations. The ESV says
And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
while the KJV says
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
But the Greek word that is in bold, ἀνεῦραν, is the 3rd person aorist plural form of ἀνευρίσκω, which seems to mean a bit more than simply “found.”
The Greek New Testament from the United Bible Societies, version 4 has a lexicon that defines this word as
find (by searching)
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines it as
to find out by search
and Mounce’s Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament defines it in the strongest terms
to find by dilligent search
I think it is interesting that this word seems to imply that some real effort had been applied before the finding, yet no translation makes a note of that. Maybe I’m reading more into this word than I should, but if you used one of these definitions, then it makes it sound like the shepherds had to expend a bit more energy than simply walking to Bethlehem and “finding” the holy family. I asked a friend what he thought and he suggested “discovered” instead of “found.” I think I like that; it conveys a bit more work on the part of the shepherds. But it still doesn’t really point out their efforts to find them. What do you think? Have I read too much into this word?