Imperative Mood: Present vs. Aorist

Don Wilkins dwilkins at
Fri Oct 23 17:48:52 EDT 1998

At 3:20 PM -0000 10/23/98, April Van Bibber wrote:
>A friend put this to me: It seems to me that the present and aorist
>imperatives in some cases are used interchangeably. Where I would expect a
>single aorist I find a present, and visa versa. For example, in Matthew
>5:24 why aren't "leave" your gift and "go" both aorists? Or, in Matthew 8:4
>"go" and "show": "go" is present and "show" is aorist. Still further, in
>Matthew 16:24 "deny" is aorist (I would expect a present), "take up" is
>aorist followed by daily (making me expect it to be present, and "follow
>me" is a present, which I expected. Also, in Ephesians 5:18 "Be not drunk
>with wine but be filled with the Spirit", both verbs are present imperative
>past. Any insights?

Carl and Jim already responded to this question with good analysis and
advice. What I find noteworthy is the approach described and the results,
i.e. one comes to the text expecting to find certain things, one is
surprised, therefore one decides that the best course of action might be to
redefine the grammar (in this case, that there is sometimes no difference
between the aorist and present imper., excluding problems with deponents,
etc.). I mean no disrespect, but it seems to me that this is what some
scholars occasionally do when they seek to provide "new insights".

Don Wilkins

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