ע
ABARIM
Publications
Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: κηπος

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/k/k-et-p-o-sfin.html

κηπος

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

κηπος

The noun κηπος (kepos) means garden, which is a carefully designed and maintained piece of land, commonly planted with flowering fruit trees and additionally aimed at providing beauty, delicacies and recreation to visitors. It appears to derive from an ancient proto-Indo-European root of similar meaning from which also stems the Dutch word hoeve, which is now a fancy word for a high-end farmhouse but which was originally a unit of area of agricultural land, defined as the amount from which one farmer and his family could make their living. This word survives in family names like Hoeven and Hoven (and Beethoven).

Our noun κηπος (kepos) has a near synonymous counterpart in the noun χωριον (chorion), which denotes a similarly carefully manicured, relatively small plot of land, but possibly with a more practical or agricultural purpose. But both these words describe land that's been wholly divorced from the wilderness: cleared, plowed, planted, cordoned off and guarded and ultimately repurposed to serve man, albeit while still gratefully making use of the laws of nature and biology.

A third word that describes a plot of agricultural land is αγρος (agros), which describes land that hasn't been cleared but rather cultivated from the wild conditions in which it was found. Such a land may, for instance, hold a stand of wild olive trees, that was once found by foragers and over eons has become cultivated into an orchard by the repeated traffic of their customers rather than by their willful design.

Large sections of the New Testament are built around the broad metaphor of seed that is sown onto fields by sowers, to yield crops that are harvested by harvesters (who in turn are overseen by managers and owners and heirs), sold by merchants, processed by cooks and bakers, consumed by consumers; all of which apply to the cognizant mind of man into which preachers plant ideas that grow into schools of thought, which in turn produce traditions and written works of science and technology (χωριον, chorion), or else literature, art and music that seeks beauty for beauty's sake (κηπος, kepos). See our article on the noun αγρος (agros) for a closer look at this.

Our noun κηπος (kepos) occurs 5 times in 4 verses, see full concordance, and is mostly associated with the arrest and burial of Jesus. From this noun derives:

  • Together with the otherwise unused noun ουρος (ouros), watcher or guardian: the noun κηπουρος (kepouros), meaning garden-keeper (John 20:15 only).