Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

This is because God says "Value that father and that mother;" and "The one abusing a father and a mother, a death let him accomplish.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus is quoting the Old Testament here. We can see that his quotes match the Greek versions of the Old Testament (Septuagint) more closely than they match the original Hebrew. We have noted this as evidence that Jesus taught in Greek (see this article). In the Sermon on the Mount after Jesus teaches the Beatitudes, he goes through several of the ten commandments and raises the bar on morality. Not only shouldn't we kill, but we should turn the other cheek. In this commandment, he changes the verb from a statement about the future to a command.

KJV Analysis: 

For The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

untranslated -- The Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and here precedes "God."  The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Christ often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods. In the Mark 7:10 parallel verse, this is "Moses."

commanded, There is no Greek word meaning "commanded" in the source we use today. The KJV source was different, having two words, one that more closely means "command" and another common verb for "say" but not tje one in the Greek sources we use today. See this article on Greek sources.

saying, "Saying" is from the Greek verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. It is usually just translated as "say" or "tell."

Honour -- "Honour" is a Greek verb which means "to revere", "to honor," and "to value." It even has a sense of value in an economic sense meaning "to estimate," which has the same root as our word "to esteem."

untranslated -- The Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and here precedes "father."  The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.  This is not the "thy" referenced below.

father "Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor. It is introduced by an article "the." In Christ's quote, the "your" is missing with "father" though it appears in the Septuagint version of Exo 20:12.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

mother: -- "Mother" is the common Greek word for "mother" and "grandmothers," but it also means "the source" of something. It is introduced by an article "the."

and,  -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

He that -- The word translated as "he that" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, as it is here, 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. 

curseth -- "Curseth" is from a Greek verb which means "to revile" and "to abuse." The verb is in in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the one who abuses."

father Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor. It is introduced by an article "the."

or -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

mother, -- "Mother" is the common Greek word for "mother" and "grandmothers," but it also means "the source" of something. It is introduced by an article "the."

let This comes from the form of the verb, a third-person command.

him  This comes from the form of the verb, a third-person command.

die "Die" is from a Greek verb which means "to bring about", "to accomplish", "to finish," and "to die." The form is a 3rd person command, which we translated as "let him" in English. Interestingly, the Septuagint is in a different verb form, not a command, but a statement in second person future, "you will end" or third person future or subjunctive "you will end" or "you should/may end." (See Greek for specifics.)

the There is no definitive article in the Greek.

death. "Death" is the Greek word meaning "death" generally and the death penalty specifically. In Greek, it has the clear meaning of separating the spirit from the body.

Greek Vocabulary: 

)article sg masc nom) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, but here is separated by the particle below.

γὰρ  (adv/conj) "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."

θεὸς (noun sg masc nom) "God" is from theos, which means "God," the Deity."

εἶπεν ( verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Commanded saying" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer." --

Τίμα (verb 2nd sg pres imperat act ) "Honour" is from the Greek timao, which means "to revere", "to honor," and "to value."

τὸν (article sg masc acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" 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. 

πατέρα (noun sg masc acc) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

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."

τὴν (article sg fem acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

μητέρα,” (noun sg fem acc) "Mother" is from mêtêr (meter), which means "mother", "grandmother", "mother hen", "source," and "origin."

καί (adv/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."

(article sg masc nom) "He that" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" 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.

κακολογῶν (part sg pres act masc nom) " Curseth " is from the verb kakologeo, which means "revile" and "abuse." It is a compound of the word that means "bad" and "evil" kakos and the word logos) which means "word", "computation", "reckoning," and "value."

πατέρα (noun sg masc acc) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

 (conj) "Or" is which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

μητέρα (noun sg fem acc) "Mother" is from mêtêr (meter), which means "mother", "grandmother", "mother hen", "source," and "origin."

θανάτῳ (noun sg masc θανάτῳdat) "The death" is from thanatos, which means "death ""kinds of death," specifically, "violent death", "corpse," and "a death sentence." --

τελευτάτω (verb 3rd sg pres imperat act) "Let him die" is from teleutao, which means "to bring to pass", "to accomplish", "to finish", "to die", "to come to an end," and, in the passive, "to be fulfilled", "come to pass", "happen," and "to be accomplished." As an adverb in means "to finish with", "at the end," and "at last." However, Christ uses this word for the OT Hebrew word, muwth, in Exo 21:17 which means "to die ""to put to death," and "to kill."

Septuagint versions:
Exo 20:12 τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα 

Exo 21:17 ὁ κακολογῶν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ἢ μητέρα αὐτοῦ τελευτήσει (verb 2nd sg fut ind mid OR verb 3rd sg aor subj act OR verb 3rd sg fut ind act) θανάτῳ

Wordplay: 

By using "the father and the mother" instead of "thy father and mother," Jesus indicates that the words are meant in a more general or symbolic sense rather than the personal one, "the Father" and "the source." 

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus sees parents as symbols. Generally, the father is the symbol for God, that is, the spiritual, and the mother as a source of life, in a physical sense. That union creates a new spirit and new life.