Mark 12:37 David therefore himself calls him Lord...

Greek Verse: 

Literal Translation: 

He himself, David, called him "lord" and from what origin of his is he a son?

KJV Verse: 

Mark 12:37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? 

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The verse begins with a pronoun as its subject, but that information is already part of the verb. Pronoun subjects are only used when the subject is emphasized.  This form is repeated from the previous verse ( Mark 12:36 ),  to make it clear that the "anointed one" (christos) is the same as David's master. David was considered the pinnacle of Israel's history, so many expected "the anointed" to be merely a duplicate, a repeat of the historic kingship, in other words, for him to be the same as David, but less because he follows him.

The last word, that is, the punchline here is "a son." This works because "a son" is always lower than his parents. It is not a disparaging term, but it is term that puts someone in their place. This is why Jesus uses "the son of the man" as a self-disparaging term to refer to himself.  See this article.

Greek Vocabulary: 

αὐτὸς (pro sg masc nom) "Himself" is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

Δαυεὶδ (Hebrew Name) "David" is from is from the Greek Daueid, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name.

λέγει ( verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Calleth" is lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." When used with an object is has the sense of "call by name."  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."

αὐτὸν  (adj sg masc acc) "Him" is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

κύριον, (noun sg masc acc) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is 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."

πόθεν (adv) "Whence" is from pothen which means "whence" and "from what source."

αὐτοῦ   (adj sg masc gen) "His" is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

ἐστὶν ( verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen",  and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

υἱός; (nounb sg masc nom) "The Son" is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

KJV Analysis: 

David "David" is from is from the Greek form of the Hebrew name.

therefore -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "therefore" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

himself -- The word translated as "himself" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  This is not the normal reflexive pronoun (a pronoun that is normally translated as "himself"), but it is used as the subject of the sentence so the sense is "he himself."

calleth -- The word translated as "calleth" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but  when used with an object is has the sense of "call by name."  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.

him -- The word translated as "him" 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." 

Lord;  -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored. It was the term people used to address Christ, even though he had no formal authority. Today, we would say "boss" or "chief".

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".

whence  -- "Whence" is from an adverb which means "whence" and "from what source." The word can be used specifically to refer to the origin of something, which is the sense here,

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.  

he  -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the following verb.

then -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "then" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity.

his -- The word translated as "his" 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." 

son? -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

The Spoken Version: 

As you can see from the alternative above, Christ has a lot of fun with this verse. It is dominated by the word that means "the same," and "the true self," autos. While it can be used as a regular pronoun (him, her, it) its is really a reflexive, referring to the self, as we say "himself" or "myself."  Christ uses that characteristic here like a hall of mirrors in raising questions about the Christ being the son of David.

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Dec 4 2019