I have a question concerning the imperatives in John 5:8 (the healing of the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda).
λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἔγειρε ἆρον τὸν κράβαττόν σου καὶ περιπάτει.
Jesus says to him, "Arise, take up your mat, and walk."
In a translation of the Greek text of the Gospel of John which I have, the translator gives an explanation of the use of the present imperative “ἔγειρε”. He states that verbs which by their nature indicate punctual actions may use the present imperative instead of the aorist (as would be expected here) to make the command less domineering, more delicate and polite. If this is true, I wonder if it might indicate Jesus’ desire not to provide a spectacle for everyone present to see, his tendency to try not to draw attention to himself and his healings. That is, Jesus did not shout at the top of his lungs for all to hear but addressed the man in such a way that perhaps only he could hear him.
If that is feasible, it might also offer an explanation for the use of the aorist in “ἆρον”. What would a man normally do upon being instantly and completely healed after 38 years of paralysis? He would start running, jumping, shouting and embracing everyone – precisely what Jesus wanted to avoid. Telling him abruptly to pick up his mattress could have been a way to block his enthusiastic reaction, in addition to any theological nuances John may have seen in the action.
I apologize for the somewhat lengthy explanation, but it seemed necessary to make clear the point I’m trying to ascertain. I’m interested in your comments on the “present-aorist-present” pattern in the imperatives in this verse and on the validity of the explanation of my translation.
Thanks to all,