Indirect volitives in Genesis 1?

Trevor M Peterson spedrson at
Thu Sep 24 23:21:02 EDT 1998

Normally I'm just a lurker on this list, but I have a question about
indirect volitives.  First, is it *possible* to take the jussives with a
waw conjunction in Gen 1:6,9,26 as indirect volitives, instead of simple,
coordinating conjunctions?  Second, is it *more likely* that they should
be taken this way?  At first, I was just trying to figure out whether v.
26 should be translated as an indirect volitive ("let us make man in our
image . . . , that they may rule . . . ").  But then I got to looking at
other constructions in Genesis 1, and I realized that there are a few
other passages that would also make sense if translated that way. 
Furthermore, I noticed that vv. 14-15 have a waw-consecutive perfect
instead, which to my thinking tends to imply that there's a different
purpose in mind for the two different types of construction.  Also, v.
20, although it appears quite similar to vv. 6,9,26 in English, actually
places the waw with the noun, so that there is no question that the birds
are a different group.

Anyway, maybe I'm really off base here, but it seems like the best way to
give a unique force to these constructions where volitives are joined
with a waw is to take them as indirect (at least in this passage).

Any thoughts?

Trevor Peterson
Bible/Theology Department
Washington Bible College
Lanham, MD

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