Matthew 18:12 What do you think? If a man has an hundred sheep,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

What seems likely to you? When a hundred sheep belong to any man, and one strays from them. Doesn't he certainly leave the ninty nine on the hills and, departing, looks for the one [leading himself] astray.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Beneath the surface here, there is a point being made about Christ and his relationship with his followers. The word translated as "have" is a Greek word that primarily indicates becoming and belonging. This is a little like our idea of "coming into property."

The Greek word translated as "how" is usually the indefinite pronoun, "anyone", "whoever," etc. but it also acts as an interrogative pronoun, "what", "which," and "who." It is the subject of this sentence,

The word translated as "think" doesn't mean think as much as it means "expect" or "imagine." Is also "seems" and "seems good."

The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.

An untranslated, indefinite pronoun appears before the word "man" in the same form as an indirect object.

The word translated as "man" means "man" or "person," but it isn't the subject of the sentence, but the indirect object, the one something is given to.

The word translated as "have" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. It also means "belongs to" but where the object not the subject is what belongs. It is not the word translated as "have" normally in Greek. In Greek, especially as used by Christ, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state.

"An hundred" is from the Greek number "a hundred."

"Sheep" is from the Greek word refers to any domesticated animal. Christ always uses sheep to symbolize his followers and to describe his relationship and feelings for his followers. While "sheep" has a negative connotation, in Jesus's era they were a form of wealth as productive animals. Since "sheep" included "rams", they weren't the passive creatures we think of them as today. 

The Greek word translated as "one " means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."

The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

 The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." 

"Be gone astray" is from a verb which means "to cause to wander", "to lead astray" and, in the passive, as it is here, "to wander," and "to be misled."

The word translated as "not" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly", "assuredly not", "not, however", "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."

The word translated as "doth he...leave" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament.

The "ninty-nine" are the Greek numerals "ninty" and "nine". These are uncommon. 

The word translated as "into" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."

The phrase translated as "into the mountains" appears in the Greek to describe where he leaves the sheep, not where he goes since it precedes the conjunction.

The "and" in Greek comes before the verb for "goes" not after it.

The Greek verb translated as "goeth" isn't the common verb almost always translated as "go" in the NT. It also isn't an active verb here, but a verb in the form of an adjective. This word means "to lead over", "depart," and "to carry over." This word, however, uniquely means both "to pursue a course" and "to depart from life."

The Greek verb translated as "seeketh" has a variety of meaning, but "to look for" comes the closest to capturing most of them in English.

"That which has gone astray" is from the adjective form of the verb, used above, which means "to cause to wander", "to lead astray" and, in the passive, "to wander," and "to be misled." It is preceded by an article, making it into a noun. Here, however, it is not a simple passive, but in a form which indicates the subject acting on himself.

Greek Vocabulary: 

τί (pron/irreg sg neut nom/acc) "How" 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", "which," or "what."

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

δοκεῖ; (verb 2nd sg pres ind mp or verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Think" is from dokeo, which means "expect", "suppose", "imagine", "have an opinion", "seem", "seem good," and "to be reputed."

ἐὰν "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.

γένηταί (verb 3rd sg aor subj mid)"Have" is from ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to be produced", "fall to", "belong to", "under control of," (of events}, "take place," an "come to pass." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

τινι (pron sg dat) Untranslated 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."

ἀνθρώπῳ (noun sg masc dat) "A 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. -- The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

ἑκατὸν "An hundred" is from hekaton, which is the number "a hundred."

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

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."

πλανηθῇ (verb 3rd sg aor subj pass) "Be gone astray" is from planaô, which means "to cause to wander", "to lead astray," and, in the passive, "wander", "stray," and "to be misled."

ἓν (noun sg neut nom/acc) "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.

ἐξ "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."

αὐτῶν, (adj pl masc/fem/neut gen) "Them" 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."

οὐχὶ "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."

ἀφήσει (verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Doth he...leave" is from aphiemi, which means "to let fall", "to send away", "give up", "hand over", "to let loose", "to get rid of", "to leave alone", "to pass by", "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself." -

τὰ (article pl neut acc) ἐνενήκοντα [uncommon] (numeral)"The ninty nine" is from enenekonta that is the Greek number ninty plus the number ennea, the number nine. The article preceding it makes it a noun and the object of the verb.

ἐννέα [uncommon](numeral) "Nine" is ennea, the number "nine".

ἐπὶ (prep) "Into" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τὰ ὄρη (noun pl neut acc) "Mountain" is from oros, which means "mountain", "hill", "canton," and "parish."

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."

πορευθεὶς (part sg aor pass masc nom) "Goeth" is from poreuomai (poreuô) which means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed." It is almost always translated as "go" in the NT.

ζητεῖ (3rd sg pres ind act) "Seek" is from zeteo, which means "inquire for", "search for", "seek after", "desire", and "feel the want of."

τὸ πλανώμενον; (part sg pres mp masc acc) "Be gone astray" is from planaô, which means "to cause to wander", "to lead astray," and, in the passive, "wander", "stray," and "to be misled."

Wordplay: 

Sheep is Christ's symbol for his followers, since sheep follow the shepard.

The use of the term verb meaning "becoming" to describe the belonging of the sheep to the shepherd describes the learning of someone following a teacher. 

The word for "stray" also means to be misled as a follower is mislead. 

Related Verses: