Mt 28:1 and Mt 12:1 for wordw "Week" and "Sabbath"

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danielkim
Posts: 7
Joined: March 22nd, 2014, 7:41 am

Mt 28:1 and Mt 12:1 for wordw "Week" and "Sabbath"

Post by danielkim » October 22nd, 2015, 8:59 am

Hi,
I have real serious Question.

in Mt 28:1, the word Sabbaton is plural, genetive case.

I think Sabbaton means always "week" in case when it is plural, genetive case.

Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων, τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων, ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον.

it means Mt 28:1 should be translated as " in the end of the WEEK....".

please help me.

2nd question is,

Ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ ἐπορεύθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς σάββασι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων· οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπείνασαν, καὶ ἤρξαντο τίλλειν στάχυας καὶ ἐσθίειν Mt 12:1

Question : Is there any body know why Matthew did not use singular word for sabbath here. he used "σάββασι" ( plural).
In the context, I think it is obvious that this sabbath has to be singular. I do not understand why plural instead?

please help.
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Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Mt 28:1 and Mt 12:1 for wordw "Week" and "Sabbath"

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 26th, 2015, 10:28 pm

danielkim wrote:I do not understand why plural instead?
Hi Daniel. Why is a far more difficult question to answer than if you had asked, whether the plural is used of a single day (Saturday, as we know it by).

In answer to your "why" question... Try thinking abstractly. The Sabbath is not just another day in the sequence of the week as μία "one (day)" (="first (day)") (πρώτη "first"), δευτέρα "second (day)", ... πέμπτη "fifth (day)" are. The day has a special function or feeling, a quality of its own. As the day of rest for Jews (and Christians till the time of Constantine (321 CE) and slightly later), it is a day with a special quality. The name (in either the singular or the plural) refers to the type of day it is, not that it is simply the day following Friday. In our Greek, the day before the Sabbath is called "the day to get ready (for the Sabbath)". Another way of saying that is that σάββατον is not an adjective agreeing in number with "day" as the other six are, so being in the singular or plural is not dependent on that.

By way of comparison, in Modern Greek, σάββατον is used for "Saturday", and only in the singular for the day, and not in reference to the "week", which is ἑβδομάς (εβδομάδα) "(lit.) group of seven", and most frequently used in the special sense of "week". The situation, however, in New Testament times was different, and they thought about that day differently. It is used in the New Testament and in other literature in the plural, to refer to "Saturday". Though that might not seem logical to us, it is what they did, so we have to accept that that is what they did in New Testament times. In Greek generally, not only in the case of this word, we need to consider what a particular authour meant by a particular word. A meaning or usage in Plato or Homer, is a meaning or usage in Homer. If we find the same word in another place we need to consider whether it is with the same or a different meaning. Nuance, synonymy, antonymy, usage (collocations) and even the "dictionary" meaning may be very different.

The use of the plural form is not a cause for alarm. Open this page to search on KataBiblon. Unclick all of the boxes in the New Testament except σαββάτων (the genitive plural that you are asking about). Click on "Find GNT verse(s)". So far as that shows, Luke 4:16, Acts 13:14 and 16:13 all have the phrase ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν σαββάτων, referring to a single Sabbath day. Colosians 2:16 has σάββατα (the plural form) in the genitive beacuse it follows μέρος in the phrase ἐν μέρει ... σαββάτων. That is to say that the syntax of a phrase requires the use of a particular case, rather than that the genitive is used to limit the meaning of a word to a particular meaning.

Look, by way of analogy, at the word κρέα "meats" (from τὸ κρέας). It is used in the plural when the singular would seem more natural, but that is what it is, and that is they way it was said, and presumably it seemed normal to them.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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