Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "undefined".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    Grammatical Construction of Matthew 28:1

    IN these times it is almost dangerous to explode a heresy; for there are not a few who are ready even to seize the fragments, and caper about with them in the highest glee, as if they had discovered a new truth, or been blessed with a flood of new light. There are many now claiming that the first day of the week is called the Sabbath in Matthew 28:1, who doubtless learned for the first time that sabbatone occurs in that passage, from reading a refutation of that foolish claim.SBTON 5.7

    Let us then again examine the manner in which the first day attempts to find an asylum in Matthew 28:1. The passage, in the original, reads thus: “Opse de sabbatone, te epiphosekouse eis mian sabbatone, eelthe Maria, he Magdaleene,” 1In presenting these Greek words in English characters, we use such forms as will show the correct pronunciation. etc. A translation is given to these words as follows: “In the end of the Sabbaths, as it began to dawn toward one (or the first) of the Sabbaths, came Mary Magdalene,” etc. And on this the following claim is raised: In the end of the Sabbaths, that is, the old series, or seventh-day Sabbaths, as it began to dawn toward the first of a new series of Sabbaths, namely, Sabbaths to be held thereafter upon the first day of the week. What is necessary to sustain this claim? It is necessary, first, that the word sabbatone should have a plural signification, and refer to a series of Sabbaths, and, secondly, that the word first should agree with sabbaton understood; for in that case the idea would be, “as it began to dawn toward the first Sabbath of a new series of Sabbaths.” If now it shall appear that the word sabbatone has a signification the same as if it was in the singular number, and that the word first cannot agree with sabbaton understood, then the translation given above is incorrect, and the claim based thereon, unfounded.SBTON 6.1

    If now the reader will turn with us to the lexicon and grammar, we will try to ascertain clearly the meaning of the words and the sense of the passage.SBTON 7.1

    Opse is defined by Robinson to mean, as a general signification, late, after a long time. “With a genitive, the same as at the end of, at the close of, after.” Robinson then quotes these words from the Greek of Matthew 28:1, “opse de sabbatone,” and translates them, “at the end of the Sabbath, i.e. after the Sabbath, the Sabbath being now ended.”SBTON 7.2

    De is simply a continuative particle, signifying but, and, also, and the like.SBTON 7.3

    Sabbatone. There are two words translated Sabbath in the New Testament. The first is sabbaton, which is a noun of the second declension, and is always used in the singular number. The second is sabbata, 1From this word comes the genitive plural sabbatone. The reader should carefully distinguish between sabbaton nominative and accusative singular, and sabbatone genitive plural. a noun of the third declension, and always used in the plural number. But these two words have identically the same signification, and are used interchangeably. Robinson says that where the plural form occurs, it is generally used for the singular. The word here in Matthew 28:1, is in the genitive case, which, according to Robinson, determines the meaning of opse before it; he, as already noticed, having said that opse with a genitive signifies at the end of, or after. The genitive is thus used, Sophocles S 196, to denote the time when, or place where.SBTON 7.4

    Te epiphosekouse: It beginning to dawn. Here we have the article te and the participle of the verb epiphoseko, which means, according to Robinson “to grow light upon, to dawn upon.” Liddell and Scott give it the single signification “to grow toward daylight.” The word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament, only in Luke 23:54, where it says that the Sabbath drew on; and this use of the word in this instance, Bloomfield explains to be a Jewish idiom to denote the commencement of their day, borrowed from the classic use of the word by the heathen, who commenced their day in the morning. The word cannot have the tropical signification in Matthew 28:1, that it has in Luke 23:54, and signify that the first day, according to Jewish reckoning, was drawing on; for the word opse signifies that the Sabbath was already past. It must therefore here have its proper and literal signification, and mean, “as it began to grow toward daylight.” The word is here in the dative form for the genitive absolute, Soph. S 226, Note 3, the article te, agreeing with heemera, day, understood.SBTON 8.1

    Eis is simply a preposition, meaning to or into.SBTON 8.2

    Mian is a numeral adjective, the first of the cardinal numbers. literally signifying one. It is here used, according to a Hebraism, as an ordinal, signifying the first. - Robinson. The form mian is found in the singular number, feminine gender, accusative case, from the nominative, heis, mia, hen. Being an adjective, it must agree with some substantive, either expressed or understood. Is there any word expressed with which it can agree? The next word is sabbatone which is in the genitive plural, and cannot therefore be the word with which the accusative singular, mian, agrees. What word, then, shall be supplied? This brings us to the principal claim based upon this text in behalf of the first day of the week. Is the sense of the passage that this is the first of a new series of Sabbaths now introduced? the first Sabbath of a new series? If so, the word first (mian) must agree with Sabbath (sabbatone, singular) understood. This form is found in the singular number and accusative case, the agreement thus far being all right; but when we look at the gender, we find that sabbaton is neuter, and mian, as already stated, is feminine. We cannot, therefore, supply the word sabbaton, unless we can perform the ungrammatical miracle of making a feminine adjective agree with a neuter noun.SBTON 8.3

    But, strange to say, some are so determined to have sabbaton understood, as to claim that mian is neuter! and that the gender of the noun with which it agrees; as much as to say the the adjective has but one form, and is masculine, feminine, or neuter, according to the gender of its noun. This will certainly surprise those who have any acquaintance with the Greek. It is only for the benefit of those who have never studied it, that we need to say that adjectives are declined, or take a change of form to express the number and case, exactly the same as nouns: and that they have a change of form also to denote the gender; and the gender of the noun determines absolutely what form of the adjective shall be used to agree with it.SBTON 9.1

    Take, for instance, the word under consideration. The accusative singular, masculine, of the numeral heis, is hena, accusative feminine, mian, accusative neuter, hen. Used with a noun in the accusative singular, if masculine, hena would be the form of the adjective to be used; if feminine mian, if neuter hen. If therefore sabbaton is the word understood with which the numeral should agree, the form hen should have been used, not mian; and the fact that mian, the feminine form, is used, shows that the noun understood, with which it agrees, must be a feminine noun. In this respect the law of the language is absolute and inexorable.SBTON 10.1

    With what, then, does mian agree? Scholars and critics who understand thoroughly the idioms of the Greek, tell us that in such sentences the word day, heemera, is understood. See Greenfield’s Greek Testament, Matthew 28:1, margin, also Robinson’s Lexicon. Heemera is a feminine noun, and hence mian can agree with it in every respect; and there is no grammatical inaccuracy involved. Putting in the supplied word, we have eis mian heemeran sabbatone, literally, the first day of the Sabbath.SBTON 10.2

    Now it is evident that the word sabbatone must here be taken in other than its ordinary sense; for “the first day of the Sabbath,” the Sabbath itself being only one day, would be a meaningless expression. Turning again to Robinson, we find under the word sabbaton the second definition given as follows: “Meton. [that is, by metonymy, a figure of speech in which one word is put for another], a Sabbath, put for the interval from Sabbath to Sabbath; hence a se’nnight week.” “Only after numerals marking the days of the week.” Then he refers, for examples, to all those passages in which the phrase, “first day of the week,” occurs in the New Testament. And he adds, “In the Talmuds, the days of the week are written; the first, second, third, day in the Sabbath (week); see Lightfoot Hor. Heb. in Matthew 28:1.”SBTON 10.3

    In the light of the foregoing facts, presented in a manner so plain that we trust all can understand them, it is not difficult for any one to see that a correct translation of the passage would be: “After the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week.”SBTON 11.1

    One question more may arise: How is it to be known when sabbatone or sabbaton is to be rendered week, instead of Sabbath? Answer. It is to be rendered week whenever it is preceded by a numeral. It is so preceded in every case where the expression, first day of the week, occurs, and also in Luke 18:12, where the Pharisee fasted twice in the (sabbatou, genitive singular) week. Hence we translate the word sabbatone, as it first occurs in Matthew 28:1, by the word Sabbath, because it has no numeral before it; and in the second instance of its occurrence, we translate it week, because it is preceded by the numeral mian. U. S.SBTON 11.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents