What are "jussives"?

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Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Jan 6 2022 2:58 AM

Hey kids! Just reading through some commentaries on Genesis 1, and one said that "let there be..." are "jussives". I did a search in Logos but can't seem to find what those are? Anyone have a definition?

Thanks!

Posts 1556
HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 3:06 AM

Shalom Carmen!

jussive — ‘Jussive’ refers to a third person expression of volition; that is, a wish or desire, expressed in the third person (“let him worship!”; “let them worship!”; “let it worship!”). The jussive is typically marked by a shortening of the usual third person imperfect verb form. Note that the jussive is also used to express a negative command in the second person (i.e., negative אַל with the second person jussive form; “do not walk!”). See J.-M. §46, §114g-l, §116d-e; BHRG §19.4.4; IBHS §34.2.1, §34.3, §34.6; GKC §48f-l, §109.

Michael S. Heiser and Vincent M. Setterholm, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology (Lexham Press, 2013; 2013).

Posts 594
Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 3:35 AM

Okay, thanks HJ!

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 8:11 AM

HJ offers an excellent formal definition! I simplify by saying it is a 1st or 3rd person imperative (command).

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Posts 5048
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 10:18 AM

JUSSIVE

What It Looks Like

The form of the Jussive verb in any of Hebrew’s seven verb stems is often identical to the third-person form of the Imperfect conjugation. When possible, however, the Jussive form will be a modified form of the third-person Imperfect form. This modification will occur whenever the three-consonant root ends with a ה, has a long middle vowel, or is in the Hiphil verb stem. Note the differences below between the third-person Imperfect forms and the Jussive forms in these cases where such modification occurs:

Qal Imperfect 3ms עשׂה

Qal Jussive 3ms עשׂה

יַעֲשֶׂה

יַעַשׂ

Notice how the final ה of the root has dropped off (= apocopation) in the Jussive

Qal Imperfect 3ms שׁוּב

Qal Jussive 3ms שׁוּב

יָשׁוּב

יָשֹׁב

Notice how the Shureq has changed to a Holem in the Jussive

Hiphil Imperfect 3ms שׁמד

Hiphil Jussive 3ms שׁמד

יַשְׁמִיד

יַשְׁמֵד

Notice how the Hireq Yod has changed to a Tsere in the Jussive

What It Does

The Jussive is a volitional conjugation. That means it represents the will (or volition) of the speaker. Because it only occurs in third-person forms, it indicates the speaker wishes to impose their will onto a third-person entity (that is, onto “him,” “her,” “it,” or “them”). For example, the translation of the Jussive forms in the examples above would be (1) “Let him (or it) make/do”; (2) “Let him (or it) return”; and (3) “Let him (or it) destroy.”

An Exegetical Insight

The idea communicated by the Jussive can be a little difficult for English speakers to get their heads around. We’re used to giving commands in the second person: “Do this!” “Do that!” But the idea of giving commands in the third person might be a little unfamiliar. Nevertheless, we have ways we regularly communicate this idea in everyday language: “Let him cook supper himself if he doesn’t like my cooking!” “If she doesn’t like my work, then let her do it herself!” In these examples, the speaker is expressing his will to have a third person do something without speaking directly to that person. Don’t allow the use of the word “let” (that often begins translations of the jussive) fool you. “Let” in these cases does not signify granting permission; it signifies an assertion of the will.

Consider Psalm 150:6, the last verse in the book of Psalms. By the time we get to the end of verse 5 we’ve encountered the Piel Imperative 2mp (“Praise!”) no less than eleven times! One might say that these verses are “command rich”! Then we get to the last verse, the first part of which begins with the words, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” This is not a pious wish, as if the psalmist meant “We mustn’t hinder anyone from praising the Lord.” Rather, this is a Jussive form, indicating that the palmist is continuing to command. Instead of continuing to use the second-person Imperative forms that have specified where, why, and how to praise God, the psalmist shifts to the third-person Jussive form in this last verse in order to specify “who” should praise God: “everything that has breath.” The Jussive form clears away any ambiguity. None of us is exempt from the responsibility to give God the praise that he deserves. So, let him be praised!

The Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users: Grammatical Terms Explained for Exegesis

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Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 2:29 PM

Mattillo:
The Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users: Grammatical Terms Explained for Exegesis

Mattillo you just reminded me that I have this resource in my library.

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Forum MVP
Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 2:40 PM

Kiyah:

Mattillo:
The Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users: Grammatical Terms Explained for Exegesis

Mittillo you just reminded me that I have this resource in my library.

Logos Wiki  Extended Tips for Visual Filters

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Recommend reading The Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users that has exegetical examples. Hebrew & Aramaic verbal primary focus is kind of action while English is time of action. Five sets of Visual Filters for Logos Hebrew Morphology & Logos Aramaic Morphology show verbal highlighting (includes negation immediately preceding verb), interjection, interrogative, numbers, and relative pronouns:

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Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2022 6:21 AM

Kiyah:

Mattillo:
The Biblical Hebrew Companion for Bible Software Users: Grammatical Terms Explained for Exegesis

Mattillo you just reminded me that I have this resource in my library.

Yes

It and the companion Greek volume are my go-to's for questions like these. 

Posts 1526
Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2022 6:33 AM

Mattillo:
It and the companion Greek volume are my go-to's for questions like these. 

I picked up both a while back during a sale. They look super handy. I need to actually start going through them.

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