Question re Numbers 6:24-26

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Montcombroux
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Question re Numbers 6:24-26

Post by Montcombroux » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:41 pm

εὐλογήσαι σε Κύριος καὶ φυλάξαι σε, is the beginning of the "Aaronic Blessing"(Num 6:24-26.) What are those --αι endings? The meaning is clear enough, but I am puzzled about the form of the endings. The text continues: ἐπιφάναι Κύριος τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ ἐλεήσαι σε· ἐπάραι Κύριος τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ δώῃ σοι εἰρήνην.
I must be missing the obvious. Can anyone help?
Thanks
Michael

C. S. Bartholomew
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Re: Question re Numbers 6:24-26

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:55 pm

Num. 6:24 Εὐλογήσαι σε κύριος καὶ φυλάξαι σε,

Num. 6:25 ἐπιφάναι κύριος τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ ἐλεήσαι σε,

Num. 6:26 ἐπάραι κύριος τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ δῴη σοι εἰρήνην.

--αι 3rd person sg aor act opative

δῴη 3rd person sg aor act opative δίδωμι
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Montcombroux
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Re: Question re Numbers 6:24-26

Post by Montcombroux » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:17 pm

Thank you, Stirling, for the clarification. Most helpful. Why would I have expected the subjunctive in this construction?
Michael

mwh
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Re: Question re Numbers 6:24-26

Post by mwh » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:59 am

Hi Michael,
Stirling meant “optative” not “opative.” The optative is used in wishes (Lat. optare “to wish”), including blessings and curses, but in the NT, as in koine in general, it has mostly fallen out of use except in the traditional phrase (ὃ) μὴ γένοιτο “May it not happen.” The subjunctive has many uses but for wishes it's the optative you should expect.

As Stirling says, -αι is a 3rd-person singular aorist optative ending (-αιμι 1st sing., -αις 2nd sing.). You won't meet it often. Note the acute accent on the penultimate syllable, ευλογήσαι etc. With circumflex, ευλογῆσαι, it would be aor. infinitive, and the infinitive is far commoner than the optative.

δῴη is different because it’s not an –ω verb (unlike ευλογέω, φυλάσσω and all the others) but a –μι verb (δίδωμι), and –μι verbs have different endings.

Montcombroux
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Re: Question re Numbers 6:24-26

Post by Montcombroux » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:02 pm

Thank you. My understanding has gone up a notch thanks to this brief exchange.
Michael

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Re: Question re Numbers 6:24-26

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:35 pm

See the Dutch linguist Helma Dik who teaches classics (U Chicago) on the Subjunctive and Optative:

USES OF THE SUBJUNCTIVE AND OPTATIVE
https://classics.uchicago.edu/files/mayandmight.pdf

Postscript:
Tyndale House Cambridge Greek Verb Conference 2015:

The invited Classicists included Rutger Allan (Vrije Universiteit), Helma Dik (Chicago), Robert Crellin (Cambridge). The linguists included Stephen Levinsohn (SIL International), Randall Buth (Biblical Language Center), Amalia Moser (Athens), and Mike and Rachel Aubrey (Trinity Western). The scholars from within biblical studies included Peter Gentry (SBTS), Mark Dubis (Union), Nick Ellis (BibleMesh) Chris Fresch (Cambridge), Elizabeth Robar (Cambridge), and Chris Thomson (Cambridge).
C. Stirling Bartholomew

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Re: Question re Numbers 6:24-26

Post by mwh » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:25 pm

That’s fine for classical usage (and is philologically very traditional), but not for koine, where the use of the optative is more restricted, and almost wholly confined to the “optative of wish,” as in these instances in Numbers. I might quibble with Dik’s saying it’s “trying to change the world.”

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