Sleep 3

5258 HUPNOS (6): a reduced state of consciousness. Each usage of hupnos in God's FCM (NT) refers to an event in which a person is neither fully awake nor totally asleep, or is unconscious. (Hupnos is the root of English words such as "hypnotize" or "hypnosis.") All six occurences of hupnos are discussed below:

Hupnos and "sleep" (koimaomai) occur in the same phrase in Jn.11.11-13: "...after this he said to them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; (koimaomai), but I depart so that that I may awaken him.' So then the learners said to him, 'Master, if he has fallen asleep, he will be healed.' Now Jesus was explaining about his death (thanatos), but they thought that he spoke about the unconsciousness (hupnos) of sleep (koimaomai)." Hupnos is traditionally translated "rest" or "slumber" in this passage. But those words are virtual synonyms of "sleep." Their use makes the passage redundant. Jesus' learners apparently considered Lazarus to be unconscious or in a coma.

Mt.1.20: "But thinking on these things, look! a messenger of the Master appeared to him by a dream (onar), saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary, your wife; for that conceived in her is of pure spirit.'" But in verse 24 Joseph did not arise from sleep, but from "semiconsciousness" (hupnos): "And Joseph, arising from semiconsciousness (hupnos), did as the Master's messenger directed him, and took his wife." Joseph was partially conscious, because his thoughts were interrupted by the messenger and he obeyed God's message. "Dream" (3677 onar) occurs only six times in the FCM, always in Matthew, and always including a message from God.

Act.20.9: "And a certain young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, being brought down by a deep sleepiness (hupnos) as Paul was discussing [with them] longer; having been brought down from sleepiness, he fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead." Note that Paul did not use the word for "sleep," koimaomai, but chose hupnos instead.

Jesus' "transfiguration" in Lk.9.32: "...Peter and those with him were burdened with sleepiness (hupnos); but waking thoroughly, they saw his magnificence and the two men standing with him."

Rom.13.11: "And this do, being aware of the time, that now is an hour for you to be raised up out of unconsciousness (hupnos), for our rescue [is] nearer now than when we [first] trusted." Hupnos here refers to the attitude of a believer who is subconsciously unaware of or indifferent to his relationship to the Master.

In Lk.8.23 "fall asleep" (0879 aphupno'o) reveals the partial consciousness of Jesus as he was falling asleep: "And as they sailed, he fell asleep (aphupno'o). And a windstorm came down on the lake and they were filling up [ith water] and were in danger."

Accordingly it seems proper to translate hupnos with words indicating the level of a person's consciousness.


SLEEPINESS Lk.9.32. Act.20.9,9.
UNCONSCIOUSNESS Jn.11.13. Rom.13.11.

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