Matthew 7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Surely, who from among you, a man, that he might beg, the child of his, bread, a stone he does not want to give.

Hidden Meaning: 

There is a negative here that is ignored in the KJV and all other translations. The reason for this is because it creates a humorous kind of double meaning. There are two meanings here. The traditional meaning is that the person wants "not to give" a stone or, as we would say more easily in English, want "to avoid giving a stone" to a child asking for bread. However, there is a clear double meaning. That anyone being begged for bread secretly wants to give his child a stone as a joke.

The Greek word translated as "or" could be the conjunction, but it could also be the adverb that means "surely" or "doubtless". The adverbial meaning seems to fit better here. The "or" would indicate that this is an alternative to the previous verse, which it surely isn't.

The word translated as "what" means "anything" or "anyone." In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what. Since it begins the phrase, it looks like a question. This is clearer in the Luke version (Luke 11:11) because the form of the Luke version doesn't fit anything but a question in response to a question. 

The Greek word for "man" in the plural means "person" and "humanity" in the singular when not referring to a single person and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

There is not Greek verb "is" in this verse. It is assumed because the two words that could the subject need to be connected in an English sentence.

There is no Greek word for "there" in this verse.

The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of." There is no "there" there.

The "you" here is plural, indicating all Christ's listeners. This makes sense because Christ is asking a question of the crowd.

The word translated as "whom" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this", "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

There is no Greek word for "if" in the Greek source used today. However, the form of the verb indicates something that might happen.

The word translated as "son" more generally means "child." This word appears after the "ask" below. 

The verb "ask" is not the simple verb "ask" but a compound form that literally means "ask on". It  has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim."

The word translated as "bread" means "small loaf or cake of bread". It is more like a bun today.

Untranslated here is the Greek negative, "not," of subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used. More about the Greek negative in this article.

The word translated as "will he give" is not from the normal verb translated as "give" that we saw in Mat 7:7, but a more complicated word or fancier word meaning "give besides" or "bestow." The form is both third person and second person covering both the "what person" and the "you". It is in the future tense. The second person form indicates that it is something you do by or for yourself. So it is either, "he is going to bestow" or "you are going to hand out".


The little girl looked at the coin, then up at him, not sure if she should take it. She said something people couldn’t hear and he said, “Certainly!” 
She took the money and hurried back to her parents. 
“Who from among you,” he said,  flexing his biceps, “a man?”  
The men in the crowd raised their hands. 
He went over to a burly looking man with a boy next to him. The speaker addressed the crowd, “From him.” He indicated the man. Then he indicated the boy, “He might beg for bread, the child of his.” Then he picked up a stone from the ground. “No stone.” The speaker held it up. “Will he offer.” The speaker made a flourish offering this stone to the boy. 

The Spoken Version: 

“Even for us?” One of the detestables, a tax-collector, asked.
Certainly!” Responded the teacher happily.
“Why should any Divinity care about us?” Asked a burly, sunburnt man with a ten-year-old boy by his side.
“What about you?” The speaker responded. “A man?”
The man looked confused.
The teacher invited the man and his boy to the stage.
“From him,” the teacher said to the crowd, putting his hand on the man’s shoulder. Then moving his hand to the boy’s shoulder. “He might beg for bread—this child of his.” Then the teacher picked up a stone from the ground. “No stone?” He asked as he showed the stone to the man, his boy, and the crowd. “Are you going to want to hand out?”


(conj) "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." OR (adv) "Or" is from e which means "surely, "doubtless".

τίς (irreg sg masc nom) "What" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

ἐξ (prep) "There of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen ) "You" is from humon, a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἄνθρωπος, (noun sg masc nom ) "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.

ὃν (pron sg neut acc) "Whom" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

αἰτήσει (3rd sg aor subj act) "Ask" is from aiteo, which means "to ask", "to demand", "to beg", "to claim," and "to ask for one's own use."

υἱὸς (noun sg masc nom) "Son" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "His" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

ἄρτον (noun sg masc acc) "Bread" is from artos, which means specifically a "cake of whole wheat bread," and generally "loaf," and "bread."

μὴ (partic) Untranslated is me, which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

λίθον (noun sg masc acc) "The stone" is lithos which means "a stone", "stone as a substance," and various specific types of stones, such as touchstones, and altar stones.

ἐπιδώσει (2nd sg fut ind or 3rd sg fut ind act mid) "Will he give" is from epididōmi which means to "give besides", "give afterwards", "contribute as a `benevolence'", "give freely", "bestow", "give oneself up", "devote oneself", "give into another's hands", "deliver", "take as one's witness", "increase", "advance", "improve", "give in," and "give way."

αὐτῷ; (adj sg masc dat) "Him" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

Related Verses: 

Apr 1 2017