Dative Case - Syntactical Classification

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The following categories mainly refer to uses of the Dative case when used without a preposition.  Some prepositions require their object to be in the Dative Case.  Even the Dative with the preposition will often still fit into one of these syntactical categories.

The Dative is the case of personal interest, pointing out the person to or for whom something is done. When it refers to a person, it indicates the one who is concerned about or affected by the action of the verb. When it refers to an object, it refers to the setting or framework in which an action takes place.

A. Dative After Certain Prepositions - as discussed in the section dealing with prepositions, the noun governed by each preposition will be in a certain case form or forms. Certain prepositions will normally have their direct object in the dative case.
B. Dative Indirect Object - This is one of the most basic and most common uses of the dative case.  It is used to indicate an indirect object for many transitive verbs.  The substantive in the dative case indicates to or for whom something is done.
        E.g. John 4:10
        "kaiV e[dwken a[n soi u{dwr zw'n"
        "and he would have given to you living water"
        Mark 10:13
        "prosevferon aujtw'/ paidiva"
        "they were bringing children to Him"
C. Dative of Means (also called the Instrumental Dative) - This is also a very common use (and a root meaning) of the dative case.  It shows the "means" or the "instrument’ by which something is accomplished. The English prepositions with, by, or by means of can be used to translate this use of the dative. The dative noun is typically concrete as opposed to an abstract idea. This use can also be formed using the preposition ejn with the dative case.
        E.g. Ephesians 2:8
        "th'/ ga;r cavritiv ejste sesw/smevnoi dia; pivstew""
        "for by means of grace you are saved through faith"
         Other examples: Romans 3:28, John 11:2, Philippians 4:6
D. Dative of Sphere (or Place) Also called the Locative Dative - This use shows the sphere, location, or even physical place, of an item or in which an action takes place. Although it can be translated by the English prepositions in, on, at, upon, or beside, (where appropriate) this use of the dative is most clearly translated by the phrase ’in the sphere of’ or ’in the realm of’. See the explanation if the Dative of Reference since these two can be confused with each other.
        E.g. Matthew 5:3
        "Makavrioi oiJ ptwcoiV tw'/ pneuvmati"
        "Blessed are the poor in (the realm of) spirit"
        Romans 4:19
        "mh; ajsqenhvsa" th'/ pivstei"
        "without being weakened in (the sphere of) faith"
E. Dative of Time (Answering ‘When?’ or ‘At what point of time?’) - The emphasis is on the chronology of an event.  It indicates a particular point of time within a succession of events.
        E.g. Matthew 20:19
        "th'/ trivth/ hJmevra/ ejgerqhvsetai"
        "on the third day He will be raised"
        2 Corinthians 6:2
        "Kairw'/ dektw'/ ejphvkousav sou"
        "at the appointed time I heard you"
F. Dative of Interest - Emphasizes the idea of personal interest, or the person interested in the verbal action. It can convey the idea of interest in a positive or negative sense: interest in terms of advantage or disadvantage. Both of these uses are relatively common, with the dative of advantage being more common than that of disadvantage. Even the Dative of Direct Object tends to show some kind of ‘interest’, this classification is used when the idea of interest is stressed. ‘Interest’ is usually indicated by the kind of verb used.
    I.  Dative of Advantage - Indicates the meaning "for the benefit of" or "in the interest of", although these may be rather awkward for a smooth translation.
        E.g. 2 Corinthians 5:13
        "ei[te ga;r ejxevsthmen, qew'/: ei[te swfronou'men, uJmi'n"
        "For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right minds, it is for you"
        Revelation 21:2
        "… hJtoimasmevnhn wJ" nuvmfhn kekosmhmevnhn tw'/ ajndri; aujth'"."
        "… prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
    II. Dative of Disadvantage - Can be translated "to the detriment of" or "against".
        E.g. Matthew 23:31
        "marturei'te eJautoi'""
        "you testify against yourselves"
G. Dative of Direct Object - after certain verbs - A number of verbs require that their direct object be in the dative case (as opposed to the accusative case which is normally expected). These are verbs that usually emphasize a personal relationship such as verbs that indicate trusting, worshipping, obeying, serving, thanksgiving, or following.
        E.g. Hebrews 1:6
        "Kai; proskunhsavtwsan aujtw'/ pavnte" a[ggeloi qeou'."
        "And let all the angels of God worship Him."
        Matthew 8:27
        "oiJ a[nemoi kai; hJ qavlassa aujtw'/ uJpakouvousin;."
        "the winds and the sea obey Him."
H.  Dative of Reference - Shows interest in a way that is similar but more remote than that of the indirect object. It is typically used to qualify a statement that would otherwise typically not be true. It acts to give a frame of reference or context to the statement. The statement will often make no sense if the dative word is removed. It can be translated with the phrases with reference to, concerning, about, or in regard to.
The Dative of Reference can sometimes be confused with the Dative of Sphere, but their meanings are somewhat the opposite. Make sure to not just see if the grammar fits, but to think through what the author intended to say in the context. For instance, in Romans 6:2, ‘having died in the sphere (realm) of sin’ or ‘having died with reference to sin’ have very different meanings. This should be a true Dative of Reference.
        E.g. Romans 6:11
        "logivzesqe eJautou;V [ei\nai] nekrou;" me;n th'/ aJmartiva/ zw'nta" de; tw'/ qew'/"
        "consider yourselves to be dead in reference to sin, but alive to God"
I.  Dative of Association - This relatively common use of the dative indicates the person or thing one associates with or accompanies.  It can be translated in English with the phrase in association with. It is typically formed with a dative substantive modifying a verb rather than a noun. Oftentimes the verb will be one that is prefixed with the preposition suvn.
        E.g. Ephesians 2:5
        "sunezwopoivhsen tw'/ Cristw'/"
        "he made us alive together (in association) with Christ"
        2 Corinthians 6:14
        "Mh; givnesqe eJterozugou'nte" ajpivstoi":"
        "Do not be unequally yoked together in association with unbelievers;"

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