Matthew 12:11 What man is there among you, if he has one sheep,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Who [is] from among you all, a  man, who is going to maintain a sheep, one, and, when it falls down, this one,  on the Sabbath into a hole, nevertheless, you are going to take control of it yourself. So, you are going to arouse yourself.

KJV : 

Matthew 12:11 What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

While the KJV version shows the last part of this verse in the third person ("he"), the forms of the verbs in Greek could also be the second person. This adds the important idea that you are doing it for yourself.

The Greek word translated as "what " means "someone," and "anything." In questions, it means "what", "who," or "why."

The verb translated as "shall there be" is the future tense of the verb "to be" but it does not appear of all sources.

"Sheep" is the Greek word that refers to any domesticated animal and, when plural, works better if translated simply as "flock" or "herd." It is singular here. 

"Fall" is  a verb, which means "to fall in" and "to fall on." The root verb has means "to fall" that has a wide variety of meanings and the prefix/preposition that means "in". "on". and "among."

The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

"Pit" is a word that means "pit" or "well." It is a verb that means "to make deep", "deep," and, interestingly, "poverty." Its use here seems to indicate a "wallow" or "pond."

"On the Sabbath day" is a single word meaning "rest" or "day of rest" from the Hebrew. It is in a Greek form indicating something happening at this time. 

"Lay hold" is f a verb that means "to be strong", "to prevail", "to get possession of," and "to lay hold of." The form could be the third person or second person future, but the second person would indicate that the person did this either by themselves or for themselves. 

The verb translated as "lift out" means "awaken" and "rouse". It is the same word Christ uses to describe God raising the dead and false prophets arising. It is in a form which means the subject is acting on himself. So you are going to "arouse" yourself from the "rest" of the Sabbath. 

There is no Greek word that could be translated as "it" in this final phrase. 

I like the way that the author illustrating the ideas of "laying a hold of" and "rousing" with the ideas of "being strong" and "getting excited." You would get excited if an animal fell in a pit and you would be strong.


A "sheep" also means "follower" as Christ uses it. 

The "pit" is an analogy for problems, specifically, poverty.

The verb "lay hold of it" primarily means "to take control."

The verb "lift" primarily means to "awaken."

So the sense is "if a follower falls into poverty, you will take control and awaken."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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."

[ἔσται] (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid] [Does not appear in all sources] class="text">(3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall there be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai.)

ἐξ (prep) "Among" 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 humon, the plural possessive 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.

ὃς (pron sg masc nom) "That" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who," "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἕξει . (3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close," "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

πρόβατον (noun sg neut acc) "Sheep" is from probaton, which means any domesticated four-footed animal, "sheep", "cattle", "herds," and "flocks.

ἕν, (prep) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἐὰν (prep/partic)  "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

ἐμπέσῃ (3rd sg aor subj act) "Fall into" is from empipto, which means to "fall upon", "fall in" and "to fall on." It's root is the verb pipto, which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down, ""fall upon," "intersect (geometry)", "meet", "pass through", "fall violently upon," "attack", "fall in battle", "sink{in water)", "fall short i.e. fail", " fall out of", "lose a thing", "escape from", "fall asleep", "to be accessible to perception", "to fall (between her feet, i.e. to be born)", "to let fall[dice)", "turn out," and "fall under (belong to a class).

τοῦτο (adj sg neut nom ) "It" is from touto,  which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]."

τοῖς σάββασιν (noun pl neut dat)  "On the Sabbath " is from sabbaton, which means "Sabbath", "seven days of week," and "first day of week." 

εἰς (prep) Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place), ""up to (of time)", "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object).

βόθυνον, (noun sg masc acc) "Pit" is from bothunos, which means "pit" and "well." It is a version of bathuno, which means "to make deep", "deep," and, interestingly, "poverty."

οὐχὶ (adv) Not" is from ouchi, an adverb which means "no", "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however," "nevertheless, ""notwithstanding", "yet", "still", "never yet", "for not", "indeed", "for surely not", "no,—certainly not", "for I don't suppose," and "for in no manner."

κρατήσει (3rd sg fut ind act or 2nd sg fut ind mid) "Lay hold" is from krateo, which means to be strong, powerful: "to rule", "to hold sway", "to be the lord and master", "to conquer", "to prevail over", "to get the upper hand", "to seize", "to control," and "to command."

αὐτὸ "On it" 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."

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἐγερεῖ; (3rd sg fut ind act or 2nd sg fut ind mid) "Will he lift it out" is from egeiro, which means "to awaken", "to stir up," and "to rouse."

Front Page Date: 

Jul 20 2017