Re: 3rd-person imperatives in the Lord's Prayer

From: Jack Kilmon (
Date: Fri Aug 15 1997 - 21:42:34 EDT

Jonathan Robie wrote:

> At 08:47 PM 8/13/97 -0500, Jeffrey Gibson wrote:
> >Carl,

    Jeff informed me that my response to this interesting post may
haveembedded some hidden codes that prevented it from coming through,
I will try again.

> >Just a quick response to your question on why the first three
> petitions
> >of the LP are formulated in 3rd person aorist imperatives. As BDF
> note
> >(sec. 337 n. 4) this is simply stardard Greek practice in prayers
> (and in
> >liturgies), particularly those with specific petitions. It does not
> >necessarily reflect any special feature of a presumed Aramiac
> >original, whatever that may have been.

    It would have been the Galilean dialect of Middle Aramaic.
GalileanAramaic shared a common morphology and idiom with Eastern
See the Introduction to the Peshitta of the Aramaic Scriptures Research
Society, Jerusalem, 1986. Over time, unique pronounciations that
the Galilean form from the Judean form became "western" dialects.
were remarkable for "dropping their alefs" in a sense similar to the H's
Cockney English. This habit is preserved in the Latinization of the
of Jesus' friend Alazar as `Lazarus.

> 4. I notice that Jesus uses the same form when he heals people or
> performs
> miracles, e.g. Matt 8:13 hWS EPISTEUSAS GENHQHTW SOI, see also Matt
> 9:29,
> Matt 15:28. In 1 Cor 3:18, Paul says "if anyone of you thinks he is
> wise,
> let him become foolish (MWROS GENESQW) so that he may become wise.

    "Jesus uses the same form?" Shouldn't that be the Matthean Scribe
uses the sameform?

> Overall, at least for GENHQHTW, the meaning seems to be "let your will
> be
> done" or "may your will be done", but I wonder how significant it is
> that
> Jesus used this form to perform healings - is this a real command,
> with the
> authority of God backing it up? Should we interpret Matt 8:13 hWS
> GENHQHTW SOI as a short prayer?

    Again, "Jesus used this form." Are you suggesting that Jesus
spokeand taught to the Galilean and Judean Am ha-Aretz in the Greek of
the Matthean Scribe as a primary language?

    Comparing Matthew and Luke, Luke starts the LP simply with "Father"
<aram )b) "Abba" and records a very short version of five petitions
Matthew expands "Father" to *our* Father <aram )bwn "Abbun" and
"who is in heaven." This follows the Matthean tradition/redaction style

of Jewish liturgy seen throughout the Gospel. The phrase "Thy will be
done" <aram>nhw) cbynk "NIho tsebYAHnek" Let be done your will...
is only in Matthew's version and is considered an interpolation by the
author to expand "Thy kingdom come" by telling *when* the kingdom
will come (when God's will is done). The "bread" petition more clearly
reflects the difference in the two traditions. Where Matthew says
DOJ HMIN SHMERON in the Aorist "Give us bread today" (the
imminent coming), Luke uses the present imperative DIDOU HMIN TO
KAQ (HMERAN, "KEEP giving us today" (because it's going to
be a while). The <aram>hb ln lxm) dswnqnn yowmn) "hen lan lachMA
desoonKANen yomaNA" give us bread needed today.

    Here is where it gets relevant to the discussion:

    The Matthean Scribe's version asks God to "Forgive us our DEBTS
(OFEILHMATA) as we forgive our DEBTORS (OFEILETAIJ) using
the debts/debtors metaphor for sins/sinners that was inherent to the
Aramaic idiom but *not* the Greek. In Aramaic it is <aram>w$bowq
ln xowbyn )ykn) d)p xnn $bqn lxybyn "voshVOK lan hoBIN ahKENo
dup heNEEN shevKON l'hoyBEEN" and it was this hobin/l'hobin
idiom that the Matthean Scribe translated as OFEILHMATA/OFEILETAIJ.

    Luke, writing for gentiles who were not familiar with the Aramaic
double meaning for "debts" replaces it with "sins" (AMARTIAJ) in the
first half and retains "debtors" (OFEILONTI) in its participial form
in the second half.

    What does this substitution by Luke tell us? It is very significant
telling us that Luke was competent in Aramaic since he understood the
"Hobin idiom" and felt the need to explain it.

    Second, it is a direct witness by Luke that the Lord's Prayer was
originally rendered in Jesus' own Aramaic language and a refutation
of recent scholarly opinion )among some) that the LP was not original
to the HJ.

Jack Kilmon

> Jonathan
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