Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

Pharisees attack, violating the Sabbath

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

A master, consequently, is he? Of the Sabbath? The son of the man?

KJV : 

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is odd because we would normally see the verb "to be" at the end of the sentence. The "for" makes it seem like a response to a question, but the verb near the beginning, makes it look like Jesus was answering a question with a question. 

We would also expect the "of the Sabbath" to appears after the word for "lord" is it modified it. Instead  it appears after the "he is" verb. The Biblical translation overlook these oddities because they know what they want the line to say.  Also notice the the verse is not "the Lord" but "a lord."   This word does not follow the word "Lord", but it separated from it by an adverb and a verb. 

The effect has a clear self-deprecating meaning. In the original Greek, this verse is presented exactly backward from the English KJV, "the Lord" comes first, then "the son of man," as if "the son of the man" was the punchline of a joke.

NIV : 

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Wordplay: 

Christ is calling himself a master at resting.

The word translated as "Lord" is in the form where it could be the name of God or a word meaning simply "a lord". 

Christ seems t use the phrase "son of man" to refer both to himself and to a generic concept of a new generation of humanity.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus had mastered the meaning of a day of rest.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

κύριος (noun sg masc nom)  "Lord" is from kurios, which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

γάρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what." It always appears in the second position in the phrase it introduces.

ἐστιν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

σαββάτου (noun sg masc gen)  "The sabbath days" is from sabbaton, which means "Sabbath", "seven days of week," and "first day of week."

(article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

υἱὸς (noun sg masc nom​) "The Son" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἀνθρώπου.(noun sg masc gen)​ "Of man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate. -

KJV Analysis: 

For  - The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation, "because" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

Son  - The word translated as "son" more generally means "child."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

man The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

Lord  -(WP)  The word translated as "Lord" means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of."  It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the term used specifically for a master of servants or slaves. The most important feature of this word is what doesn't have: an article.  The Greek word translated as "Lord" without an article is used as the name, not the title of God (see this article).  This word does not appear before "of the Sabbath," but at the start of the verse.

even -- (OS) In the Greek sources that we use today, there is no Greek word that can be translated as "even." The Mark 2:28 version does have a word here. 

of   - The "of" comes from the possessive form of the following word ("Sabbath"). In Greek this form has a little broader use than English. It can be "the Sabbath day's Lord" like an adjective, but it can also mean "a master belonging to the Sabbath" or "a master which is the Sabbath".  

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

sabbath day. -- The word translated as the "the Sabbath day" is the Greek version of the Hebrew word "shabbat" meaning "rest" or "day of rest".  It is in the possessive form.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "even" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "Lord" doesn't appear here but at the start of the verse.

NIV Analysis: 

For  - The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation, "because" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

Son  - The word translated as "son" more generally means "child."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Man  - The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

Lord  - (WP) The word translated as "Lord" means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of."  It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the term used specifically for a master of servants or slaves. The most important feature of this word is what doesn't have: an article.  The Greek word translated as "Lord" without an article is used as the name, not the title of God (see this article). This word does not appear before "of the Sabbath," but at the start of the verse.

of   - The "of" comes from the possessive form of the following word ("Sabbath"). In Greek this form has a little broader use than English. It can be "the Sabbath day's Lord" like an adjective, but it can also mean "a master belonging to the Sabbath" or "a master which is the Sabbath".  

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

Sabbath. -- The word translated as the "Sabbath " is the Greek version of the Hebrew word "shabbat" meaning "rest" or "day of rest".  It is in the possessive form.

NIV Translation Issues: 

2
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "Lord" doesn't appear here but at the start of the verse.

The Spoken Version: 

Our leader has can recite all the commands in the Law regarding the Sabbath,” responded another of the Distinguished. “He is the master here.”  
“A master, consequently, is he?” asked the Nazarene. “Of the Sabbath?”
“Absolutely,” asserted the man, “Who knows more than he?”
“The son of the man?” suggested the Master, indicating himself.
This response upset all of the Distinguished.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 27 2020