House ( οἰκίᾳ )
The dwelling-place. Used primarily of the edifice (Matthew 7:24; Matthew 8:14; Matthew 9:10; Acts 4:34). Of the family or all the persons inhabiting the house (Matthew 12:25; John 4:53; 1 Corinthians 16:15; Matthew 10:13). Of property (Matthew 23:14; Mark 12:40). Here meaning heaven.
Mansions ( μοναὶ )
Only here and John 14:23. From μένω tostay or abide. Originally a staying or abiding or delay. Thus Thucydides, of Pausanias: “He settled at Colonae in Troas, and was reported to the Ephors to be negotiating with the Barbarians, and to be staying there ( τὴν μονὴν ποιούμενος , Literally, making a stay ) for no good purpose” (i., 131). Thence, a staying or abiding-place; an abode. The word mansion has a similar etymology and follows the same course of development, being derived from manere, to remain. Mansio is thus, first, a staying, and then a dwelling-place. A later meaning of both mansio and μονή is a halting-place or station on a journey. Some expositors, as Trench and Westcott, explain the word here according to this later meaning, as indicating the combination of the contrasted notions of progress and repose in the vision of the future. This is quite untenable. The word means here abodes. Compare Homer's description of Priam's palace:
“A palace built with graceful porticoes,
And fifty chambers near each other, walled
With polished stone, the rooms of Priam's sons
And of their wives; and opposite to these
Twelve chambers for his daughters, also near
Each other; and, with polished marble walls,
The sleeping-rooms of Priam's sons-in-law
And their unblemished consorts.”
“Iliad,” vi., 242-250.
Godet remarks: “The image is derived from those vast oriental palaces, in which there is an abode not only for the sovereign and the heir to the throne, but also for all the sons of the king, however numerous they may be.”
If it were not so, I would have told you ( εἰ δὲ μὴ εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ).
Wyc., If anything less, I had said to you.
I go to prepare, etc.
Many earlier interpreters refer I would have told you to these words, and render I would have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. But this is inadmissible, because Jesus says (John 14:3) that He is actually going to prepare a place. The better rendering regards if it were not so, I would have told you, as parenthetical, and connects the following sentence with are many mansions, by means of ὅτι , for or because, which the best texts insert. “In my Father's house are many mansions (if it were not so, I would have told you), for I go to prepare a place for you.”
I go to prepare
Compare Numbers 10:33. Also Hebrews 6:20, “whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.”
A place ( τόπον )
See on John 11:48. The heavenly dwelling is thus described by three words: house, abode, place.