The protagonist of Matthew's Greek story and translation is the protagonist who questions the readings of his antagonists. There is text in this oral story, then. The word for "reading" in Greek, of course, is a play on the word for "knowing"; it literally means to "know from above." The protagonist knows some of the high holy Hebrew scriptures from God above, and he quotes a bit of it back to the antagonists. They seem hung up on how he reads the Torah Law, and how it relates to the healing of a mortal human being.
With my translating, what I'm trying to show is Matthew's clever wordplay, his poetry perhaps, and his rhetoric really. Observe the contrasts and interplay between the words for God, for mortal humans, and for sheep. This wordplay starts in verse 3 perhaps and really in verse 8.
Observe: we get from Matthew neither the sex of the sheep nor the gender of the mortal human whose hand is healed.
This post is following on a few others earlier, which I've linked here. Unfortunately, most of the discussion around Matthew 12 so far has ignored the beginning of Matthew's story and the start of his wordplay there.
1 At that time, during Sabbath [Σάββατόν / שַׁבָּתֹ], Joshua [Ἰησοῦς / יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ] went through the grainfields.
Then, his apprentices were hungry and were beginning to pluck and to eat the stalks. 2 Then, the observing Separtists [Φαρισαῖοι /פרושים ] said to him:
Look at what your apprentices are doing.
This is not to be done during Sabbath [Σάββατόν / שַׁבָּתֹ].3 Then, he said to them:
This is not known by your reading [ἀν-έγνωτε], is it? What you’re saying is not known by your reading of what David [Δαυίδ / דָּוִיד] did when he was hungry, is it? 4 Or how he, and those with him too, went into the house of God [οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ /בֵּית אֱלֹהִים], and ate the showbread of the presence [ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως /לֶחֶם]? This is not to be done by him? Nor by those with him? This is not to be done if not by the Priests [ἱερεῖς / הַכֹּהֲנִים] alone?
5 What you’re saying is not known by your reading [ἀν-έγνωτε] of Torah Law [Νόμος / תֹּורָה] either, is it? During Sabbath [Σάββατόν / שַׁבָּתֹ] the Priests [ἱερεῖς / הַכֹּהֲנִים] in the Temple [ἱερος / הֵיכַל] defile Sabbath [Σάββατόν / שַׁבָּתֹ] and are innocent [ἀναίτιος /נָקִי], right?
Here, then, is a statement for you all:
6 “What’s greater than the Temple [ἱερος / הֵיכַל] is here.”
7 If you, then, had known [ἐγνώκειτε] what this is --
“It’s mercy I wish for and not sacrifice.”
[Ἔλεος θέλω καὶ οὐ θυσίαν
/ כִּי חֶסֶד חָפַצְתִּי וְלֹא־זָבַח]
If you, then, had known [ἐγνώκειτε] what this is -- then there should not have you’re your judging condemnation [κατε-δικάσατε] of the innocent [ἀναίτιος /נָקִי].
8 The Master of Sabbath … is the offspring of a mortal human
[τοῦ Σαββάτου … ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου
/ אֱנָש.ׁבַר … שַׁבָּתֹ]9 Afterwards, he went from there into their Synagogue [συν·αγωγή / עֵדָֽה].
10 So observe:
There was a mortal human [ἄνθρωπος] who had a mangled hand.
They asked him about it - making this statement -
Is it to be done?
to heal during Sabbath [Σάββατόν / שַׁבָּתֹ]?They asked him this in order to accuse him.
11 Then he said to them:
Among all you mortal humans [ἄνθρωπος] there is someone who has just one sheep [πρόβατον ἕν / כִּבְשָׂה אַחַת קְטַנָּה]. Should it fall during Sabbath [Σάββατόν / שַׁבָּתֹ] into a pit, would that someone not grab it and lift it out?
12 How much more, then, would you carry a mortal human [ἄνθρωπος] than you would a sheep?
Thus, it is good [καλῶς / טֹוב] during Sabbath [Σάββατόν / שַׁבָּתֹ] to do this.13 That’s when he made this statement to the mortal human [ἄνθρωπος]:
Put out you hand
[Ἔκτεινον τὴν χεῖρά σου / שְׁלַח יָֽדְךָ]
And the hand was put out there, and it was restored, healthy as the other one.
14 So, the Separtists [Φαρισαῖοι /פרושים ] left and took council together to destroy him.