From: George Blaisdell (
Date: Fri May 28 1999 - 15:03:15 EDT


>From: Cindy

Ward [writes]

> 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?
> Is there a point to the use of the present imperative that is eluding

>In both cases, the use of the present imperative in
2:13 and 2:20 involves relative prominence or emphasis
which contrasts with the commands in the aorist.<

>The main point in 2:13 is to flee (FEUGE), and the main
point in 2:20 is to go (POREUOU). The aorist commands
to get up (EGERQEIS) and take (PARALABE) the child are
secondary and supportive to the main
points to 'flee' and 'go'.<

Cindy and Ward ~

I thought that this was a great question, and a tantalizing response. My
question to Cindy is: "Why secondary and supportive?"

Is it because he must first 'get up' to be fleeing, hence the fleeing is
primary and getting up supports that action? And if so, then how is taking
the child secondary and supportive of travelling? It would seem that the
reverse would hold, where taking the child is primary, and travelling
supports the purpose of taking the child.

Perhaps the present imperatives could be thought of as the purposes of the
aorist imperatives. ['Get up ... be fleeing!' 'Take the child ... be
travelling.'] The literary construction parallels this aor-pres imperative
sequence, as the first imperatives [2:13] establish the sense of urgency,
and the second [2:20] show the purpose of that urgency.

Likewise, the purpose of taking the child is to be travelling [with it].
The sequential imperatives give this a marvelous sense of high drama and
urgency that an aorist-imperative ~ present-infinitive construction would
not seem to have.

Thanks to you both...

George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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