Matthew 15:5 But you say, Whoever shall says [to his] father

KJV Verse: 

Mat 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother,It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

You, however, taught that he could tell the father or the mother, "You could be helped by this, if it might [be] an offering [to God] from me."

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Most translations make this verse into a statement just about telling parents that the support that they might have gotten was given as a gift to God, but it is a little more than that. It is really an accusation against his accusers that they teach people to give money to them (the religious officials) to "help" their parents. What is hidden is that the "gift" is specifically an offering to God.

KJV Analysis: 

The pronoun is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you." The "you" here is plural, indicating all Christ's listeners.

The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching. In the Greek used by the KJV translators, it was a different word than the sources we use today, the "say"word used later in the verse.

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

The word translated as "shall" is a word that indicates a possibility of something happening, "might" or "could." It is not a future tense.

"Say" (a different Greek word that the "say" above in the Greek source) is from a verb that also means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it has less a sense of teaching and more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

The father and mother here have no "his" associated with them. Instead they have an article "the," which means them seem more formal referring to the father and mother in a more symbolic sense that personal one.

"Gift" is from a Greek word that means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. There is a another Greek term without the sense of a votive from the same word, but it is not used here. The word is in a form which could be either the subject or object of the sentence.

The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

The Greek word translated as "might" actually means "if might" and indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.

The Greek word translated as "thou be profited" in the KJV (and "accomplishes" or "is" in other translations) means "to help" or "to be of benefit." It is in the second person passive.

There is also an important and very modern application of this same idea. We may not excuse ourselves from supporting our parents because of religious tithes, but many do excuse themselves from supporting their parents because they claim that is "the government's job" and that this is why they pay taxes. Symbolically, this is exactly what Christ is talking about. People want to use social obligations as an excuse for avoiding personal ones.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὑμεῖς "You" is from humeis, which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

δὲ "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). -- The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

λέγετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "I tell" is from lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out, ""choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep." --

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

ἂν "Shall" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

εἴπῃ (verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Say" 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."

τῷ πατρὶ (noun sg masc dat) "To his Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers." -- "Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor.

"Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

τ μητρί (noun sg fem dat) "His mother" is from mêtêr (meter), which means "mother", "grandmother", "mother hen", "source," and "origin." -- "Mother" is from the common Greek word for "mother" and "grandmothers," but it also means "the source" of something.

Δῶρον (noun sg neut nom/acc) "It is a gift" is from dôron (doron) which means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. The simpler term without the sense of a votive offering is "dorea."

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

ἐὰν "Mightest "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. -- \\

ἐξ "By" 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." -- 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."

ἐμοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "By me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

ὠφεληθῇς, (verb 2nd sg aor subj pass contr) "Thou be profited" is from opheleo, which means "to help", "to aid", "to succor", "to be of use or service, ""to enrich," and "to benefit." --

 

Wordplay: 

By not making "father" and "mother" personal, Christ makes them symbols for all parents and God the Father and mother as "the source." 

Related Verses: