Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/46. The Imperative

§46. The Imperative.

46a 1. The ground-forms of the Imperative, קְטֹל (properly qeṭŭl, which is for an original qŭṭŭl), and קְטַל (see below, c), the same in pronunciation as the forms of the Infin. constr. (§ 45), are also the basis for the formation of the Imperfect (§ 47).[1] They represent the second person, and have both fem. and plur. forms. The third person is supplied by the Imperfect in the Jussive (§109b); and even the second person must always be expressed by the Jussive, if it be used with a negative, e.g. אַל־תִּקְטֹל ne occidas (not אַל־קְטֹל). The passives have no Imperative, but it occurs in the reflexives, as Niphʿal and Hithpaʿēl.[2]

46b 2. The Afformatives of the 2nd sing. fem. and the 2nd plur. masc. and fem. are identical in every case with those of the Imperfect (§47c). In the same way, the Imperative of the 2nd sing. masc., in common with the Imperfect, admits of the lengthening by the ־ָה paragogicum (§48i), as, on the other hand, there are certain shortened forms of this person analogous to the Jussive (§ 48. 5).

46c Rem. 1. Instead of the form קְטֹל (sometimes also plene, e.g. שְׁמוֹר Ec 1213; before Maqqeph קְטָל־ with Qameṣ ḥaṭuph), those verbs which have an a in the final syllable of the Imperf. (i.e. especially verbs middle ē) make their Imperative of the form קְטַל, e.g. לְבַשֹׁ dress! (Perf. לָבַשׁ and לָבֵשׁ); שְׁכַב lie down! in pause שְׁכָ֑ב 1 S 35.6.9.

46d 2. The first syllable of the sing. fem. and plur. masc. are usually to be pronounced with Šewâ mobile (qĭṭe, qĭṭe, and so שִׁפְכִי, &c., without Dageš lene, and even מִֽשְׁכוּ with Metheg, Ex 1221; but cf. אִסְפִּי Jer 1017, and with the same phonetic combination חֶשְׂפִּי Is 472; see analogous cases in §93m); less frequently we find an ŏ instead of the ĭ, e.g. מָלְכִי rule, Ju 910; מָשְׁכוּ draw, Ez 3220; חָרְבוּ Jer 212 (cf. חֳָרָ֑בִי Is 4427); on קָֽסֳמִי 1 S 288 Qe, צֳעָ֫קִי Jer. 2220 (cf. 1 K 137), see §10h. This ŏ arises (see above, a) from a singular ground-form qŭṭŭl, not from a retraction of the original ŭ of the second syllable. We must abandon the view that the forms with ĭ in the first syllable (cf. also אִמְרִי, חִגְרִי, מִכְרִי, עִבְרִי) arise from a weakening of the characteristic vowel ŏ. They, or at least some of them, must rather be regarded with Barth (ZDMG. 1889, p. 182) as analogous to the original ĭ-imperfects. See further analogies in §§47i and 48 i; 61 b, 63 n.

46e The pausal form of the 2nd plur. masc. is גְּזֹֽרוּ 1 K 326; from שְׁמַע, שְׁמָ֫עוּ, &c.; similarly the 2nd sing. fem. in pause is עֲבֹ֫רִי Is 2312; even without the pause מְל֫וֹכִי Ju 910.12, Keth.; קְס֫וֹמִי 1 S 288, Keth. (cf. with this also מְלוֹכָה, &c., §48i); from שְׂמַה, שְׂמָ֫חִי Jo 221.

46e 3. In the 2nd plur. fem. שְׁמַ֫עַן occurs once, in Gn 423 (for שְׁמַ֫עְנָה) with loss of the ־ָה and insertion of a helping vowel, unless it is simply to be pointed שְׁמַ֫עְןָ. Also instead of the abnormal קִרְאֶן Ex 220 (for קְרֶ֫אנָה) we should perhaps read as in Ru 120 קְרֶ֫אןָ (cf. מְצֶ֫אןָ 19 and לֵ֫כְןָ 112).

On the examples of a 2nd plur. fem. in ־ָ֫, Is 3211, see §48i.

  1. The Infin. absol., like the Greek Infin., is also sometimes used for the Imperative (§113bb). Cf. in general, Koch, Der semitische Inf. (Schaffhausen, 1874).
  2. In Hophʿal an Imperative is found only twice (Ez 3219, Jer. 498), and closely approximating in meaning to the reflexive.