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imperative vs jussive


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I would appreciate any clarity anyone is able to provide. 


What would you say is the distinction of meaning between a verb which is an imperative and a verb which is jussive?




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24.1 Volitives (from Latin volo “to will” and related to English “volition” = “will”) are verb forms that are used to express the will of the speaker.  Hebrew has three volitives:


Cohortative: volitive of the first person, for example, “Let me listen!”

Imperative: volitive of the second person, for example, “Listen!”

Jussive: volitive of the third person, for example, “Let him listen!”

Mark D. Futato, Beginning Biblical Hebrew. Accordance electronic ed. (Winona Lake : Eisenbrauns, 2003), 148.


The volitional mood in the third-person, and frequently in the second-person in negated sentences, is the jussive. With the regular verb no difference in form is discernible between the ordinary imperfect and the jussive. The meaning must be decided on the basis of context.


Allen P. Ross, Introducing Biblical Hebrew. Accordance electronic ed. (Grand Rapids : Baker Books, 2001), 150.

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The Pocket Hebrew Dictionary (IVP, 2003) has


jussive. n. A *volitive mood of BH and Semitic languages that is based on the *prefix conjugation. In *strong verbs, its form is identical to the regular prefix conjugation form and thus must be identified according to context. In weak verbs, the root will undergo a shortening referred to as *apocopation: the dropping of a *word-final *guttural letter (most often ‏ה‎). The jussive conveys a wish, permission or an indirect command in the second and third persons (e.g., Gen 1:3: ‏יְהִי אוֹר‎, “let there be light”). Like *cohortatives, jussives are often accompanied by the emphatic particle ‏נָא. Joüon §§46, 114; MNK §§15.5, 19.4; GKC §§48, 109; IBHS §34.3.


cohortative. n. A *volitive mood in BH and the Northwest Semitic languages formed from the *prefix conjugation (e.g., Ugaritic CTA 23:1: iqra ilim nꜥmm, “I will invoke the gracious gods”). In BH it functions similarly to the *jussive but is limited to the first person. It is frequently indistinguishable from the regular prefix conjugation except by context. However, it often takes a lengthened form with the suffix ָה (*cohortative he). Like the jussive, it is often accompanied by the emphatic particle נָא. Joüon §§45, 114; MNK §§15.4, 19.4; GKC §§48, 108; IBHS §34.5. See also volitive moods; jussive.


volitive moods. n. Verbal moods or conjugations that express modal aspect such as the *imperative, *jussive *energic and *cohortative. Joüon §§45, 46, 48, 114; MNK §15.3-5; GKC §§46, 48, 108-110; IBHS §34.

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