Passive Imperative

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3491
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC

Re: Passive Imperative

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 17th, 2017, 11:18 am

scottj7801 wrote:
April 16th, 2017, 7:48 pm
Hi, just stumbled on this forum question and wanted to inquire about your thoughts on the 2 Aorist Passive Imperative of 2 Cor 5:20? I would follow what Thayer's Lexicon says and translate like this "καταλλάγητε τῷ Θεῷ, allow yourselves to be reconciled to God; do not oppose your return into his favor, but lay hold of that favor now offered you, 2 Corinthians 5:20" ( ) I have had no formal training in Greek, my pastor teaches from the greek in almost every lesson.
First off, I suggest you read Carl's overview of middle and passive before reading what I write here.

Also, think about what an imperative is. An imperative tells you to do something. Even in English, a passive imperative like "be quiet" or "be brave" can definitely mean taking action.

Often, it is helpful to look at similar uses of the same word. This same word also occurs as a passive imperative one other time in the Greek New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 7:
1 Cor 7:11 wrote:τοῖς δὲ γεγαμηκόσιν παραγγέλλω, οὐκ ἐγὼ ἀλλὰ ὁ Κύριος, γυναῖκα ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς μὴ χωρισθῆναι,— ἐὰν δὲ καὶ χωρισθῇ, μενέτω ἄγαμος ἢ τῷ ἀνδρὶ καταλλαγήτω,— καὶ ἄνδρα γυναῖκα μὴ ἀφιέναι.
However you translate this, "be reconciled to her husband" probably involves taking some kind of action. Wouldn't this have a middle sense rather than a passive sense? She is being told to either remain single or be reconciled to her husband. I think this usage is similar to another passive imperative for a similar verb in Matthew 5:
Matt.5.23 wrote:ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ, ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, καὶ τότε ἐλθὼν πρόσφερε τὸ δῶρόν σου.
In this verse, διαλλάγηθι is an aorist passive imperative - Go! First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your gift (on the altar). That's a very active thing to do, and often not an easy one. It's something you have to go and do.
scottj7801 wrote:
April 16th, 2017, 7:48 pm
With this in view, the command "you be reconciled" seems contradictory to what really happened. There is in my understanding, nothing for anyone to do other than to simply grasp or not refuse the reconciliation God has offered the world.
Doesn't an imperative tell us to do something? If Paul wanted to tell us to grasp or accept something, there are good Greek verbs for these things.
0 x

ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;

Posts: 922
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington

Re: Passive Imperative

Post by MAubrey » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm

williamted wrote:
April 17th, 2015, 12:12 am
What about 1 Peter 2:17: 17 πάντας τιμήσατε, τὴν ἀδελφότητα ἀγαπᾶτε, τὸν θεὸν φοβεῖσθε, τὸν βασιλέα τιμᾶτε.

Is that a middle as well? Cause yourself to fear God?
Yes, it is middle as well, but it isn't causative. Middles are semantically non-causative. It's just "Fear God."
0 x
Mike Aubrey, Linguist

Post Reply