From: Ward Powers (
Date: Wed May 26 1999 - 23:11:18 EDT

B-greekers all:

In Greek Class last night a question was raised about the tense of the
imperative FEUGE in Matthew 2:13 and POREUOU in Matthew 2:19.

In each case the context is an angel giving an instruction to Joseph in a
dream as to what he is to do next, in identical language: "Get up and take
the lad and his mother and" [flee to Egypt/travel to the land of Israel].

Now here is the question: a specific and decisive act is called for in
response to the imperative: "flee", "travel"; why then the present tense
for the infinitives? Should we not rather have expected the aorist here?
Even if the idea were taken to be inceptive, "start fleeing", "start
travelling", we could have had here an inceptive aorist. So, what is the
significance of the Gospel writer's choice of a present imperative in each

Yes, I replied, I too would have expected an aorist.

And I thought, What would the members of b-greek say to this question? Is
there a point to the use of the present imperative that is eluding me?



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email:
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College

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