Particle Exhortation


Exhortative particles strengthen the emotion of a command or request.


Exhortation particles are words that add emotive force to a command or request. These particles are similar to interjections but function to strengthen a specific call to action, while an interjection is used as a more general expression of emotion. Similar to demonstrative particles, exhortation particles are sometime left untranslated, depending on the specific context.


When used with a command, נָא is usually translated as “now” in English (or left untranslated).

Example: ISA 51:21

לָכֵ֛ן שִׁמְעִי־נָ֥א זֹ֖את

lakhen shim’i-na zoth

Therefore listen_now this

But now hear this

When used as part of a request, נָא is usually translated as “please” in English (or left untranslated).

Example: AMO 7:2

אֲדֹנָ֤י יְהוִה֙ סְֽלַֽח־נָ֔א

‘adonay yehwih selah-na

Lord Yahweh forgive_please

Lord Yahweh, please forgive

In some instances a translation with “now”, “please”, or “oh” is possible, but not necessary. The emotive context of each attestation must determine whether to render the word in translation or to leave it untranslated.

Example: JON 1:14

אַל־נָ֣א נֹאבְדָ֗ה

‘al-na novedah

not_now let-us-perish

do not let us perish


This is a stronger and more emotive form of the particle נָא. The two particles are sometimes paired together to express extreme urgency or desperation, as in the example below. In some instances, this particle could also be classified as an interjection.

Example: PSA 118:25
אָנָּ֣א יְ֭הוָה הֹושִׁ֘יעָ֥ה נָּ֑א אָֽנָּ֥א יְ֝הוָ֗ה הַצְלִ֘יחָ֥ה


‘onna yehwah howshi’ah na ‘anna yehwah hatslihah na

Please Yahweh give-help oh please Yahweh make-succeed oh!

Please, Yahweh, give us victory! Please, Yahweh, give us




This particle appears the same but should not be confused with the preposition בְּ with 1st common singular Suffix Pronominal.

When paired with a vocative, the word בִּי strengthens the emotive force of the statement that follows. It is used for addressing someone who is superior. In English, it can be translated as “oh” or “pray” or “please”, etc.

Example: 1KI 3:26

בִּ֣י אֲדֹנִ֗י תְּנוּ־לָהּ֙ אֶת־הַיָּל֣וּד הַחַ֔י

bi ‘adoni tenu-lah ‘eth-hayyalud hahay

Oh my-master give_to-her [dir.obj]_the-child living

Oh, my master, give her the living child