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GREEK WORD DEFINITIONS ὕπνος, 'hupnos' Strong's 5258

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Introduction 2.3

This study defines the meaning of the Greek word ὕπνος, 'hupnos' Strong's 5258 in the New Testament and in the Septuagint. We have examined every verse where the 'hupnos' appears to obtain a true understanding of this word, and these scriptures need to be meditated on and notes made of their meaning in different contexts. We have used extracts from some others who have defined this word. In quotations from scripture the translation of the Greek word hupnos is highlighted with bold and yellow. If any words are in italics then there is no equivalent word for it in the Greek. Every blessing be to those who seek the truth of God's word.

#2.31 New Testament definition of ὕπνος, 'hupnos' Strong's 5258

Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
STRONGS NT 5258: ὕπνος
ὕπνος, ὕπνου, ὁ (i. e. συπνος, cf. Latinsopnus, somnus; Curtius, § 391), from Homer down, Hebrew שֵׁנָה, sleep: properly, Matthew 1:24; Luke 9:32; John 11:13; Acts 20:9; metaphorically, ἐξ ὕπνου ἐγερθῆναι (see ἐγείρω, 1), Romans 13:11.

Expository Dictionary of Bible Words W.E. Vine P82
HUPNOS (ὕπνος) is never used of death. In 5 scriptures in the New Testament it is used of physical sleep; in Romans 13:11 metaphorically, of a slumbering state of the soul, i.e. of spiritual conformity to the world, out of which believers are warned to awake.

Here are the six New Testament scriptures where hupnos appears.

Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph having been raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had told him, and took his wife to him:
Luke 9:32 But Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep: but having awoke fully, they saw his glory, and the two men who stood with him.
John 11:13 However Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Acts 20:9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus being overpowered by deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, having been overpowered with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
Romans 13:11 And this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour to be raised out of sleep: for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed.

In the first 5 occurrences of this word it is obviously referring to natural sleep, but in Romans 13:11 it is referring figuratively of someone who is spiritually asleep. Such a person, although physically alive is insensitive or unaware of spiritual things, and it really refers to carnal or worldly Christians. Never in the New Testament does it ever refer to a dead person.

#2.32 Septuagint definition of ὕπνος, 'hupnos' Strong's 5258

All teferences to the Septuagint are chapter and verse as in the bible, not the original Septuagint references. We have renumbered them.
In the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, 'hupnos' occurs far more often. We have traced 38 occurrences translated from Hebrew, so we have excluded the Apocrypha.

In 13 scriptures 'hupnos' is translated 'sleep' and refers to natural human sleep.

Genesis 28:16 And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said, Surely Yahweh is in this place; and I did not know it.
Genesis 31:40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from my eyes.
Judges 16:14 And she fastened it with the pin, and said to him, The Philistines are upon you, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.

There are other scriptures where it is translated the same (Judges 16:20, Esther 6:1, Psalm 127:2, Proverbs 4:16, 6:4, 6:9, Ecclesiastes 5:12, 8:16, Jeremiah 31:26, Daniel 2:1). In each of these scriptures 'hupnos' translates the Hebrew word שֵׁנָה, 'shenah' meaning 'sleep' Strong's 8142. There are 2 other scriptures where it is translated from the Hebrew word יָשֵׁן 'yashen' Strong's 3463 (1 Samuel 26:7, Hosea 7:6).

In 10 scriptures it is translated 'dream'.

Genesis 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are but a dead man, for the woman which you have taken; for she is a man's wife.
Genesis 20:6 And God said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; for I also withheld you from sinning against me: therefore did not allow you to touch her.
Genesis 31:11 And the angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here I am.

Other places it is translated the same (Genesis 31:24, 40:9, 41:17, 41:22, Numbers 12:6, 1Kings 3:5, Isaiah 29:7). Every one of these occurrences translates the same Hebrew word חֲלוֹם 'chalom' meaning 'dream' Strong's 2472. This reveals something very significant about sleep, that although the body may be unconscious to the world around it the spirit can still be active and receiving information many times from God or an angel. The spirit does nor necessarily sleep when the body sleeps.

In 5 scriptures 'hupnos' is translated 'vision'.

Numbers 24:4 He has said, which heard the words of God, who saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
Daniel 4:13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from heaven;
Daniel 7:2 Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

There are two other scriptures where hupnos is translated 'vision' (Numbers 24:16; Daniel 9:21). A vision is similar to a dream but the emphasis here is on what is seen, and it can be with eyes open (Numbers:24:4). In Numbers it is translated from the Hebrew word מַחֲזֶה 'machazeh' Strong's 4236, and in Daniel from the Aramaic word חֵזֶו 'chezev' Strong's 2376. Both translate as 'vision'. Obviously the human spirit or soul is still active during these experienced, although in a trance the body may not move.

Cassell Popular English Dictionary
trance n. a state in which the soul seems to have passed into another state of being; ecstasy, rapture, a state of insensibility to external surroundings with suspension of some of the vital functions, catalepsy; the hypnotic state.

In one scripture it refers figuratively to death.

Job 14:12 So man lies down, and does not rise: till the heavens are no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

You can say here that the word sleep can only be used figuratively, euphemistically, or metaphorically of death. It refers only to the body which lies down at death; the spirit or soul has been shown to remain active.

Conclusion of the meaning of ὕπνος 'hupnos' Strong's 5258

Hupnos is a masculine noun, the basic definition of which is sleep. It would transliterate into English as 'hypnos', hence the connection to hypnosis, like when in a trance. It usually refers to natural sleep, but also refers to activity such as dreams or visions which which take place during sleep. Therefore its use in Job 14:12 cannot be used to promote the false doctrine of 'soul sleep' taught by many churches, as the spirit is still active during dreams and visions and that doctrine says it is not. Its meaning, or the way it is translated in any place must be determined by the syntax and context in which it occurs.

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