Verb Jussive

Summary

A jussive verb is used to express indirect commands, direct negative commands limited by time, and other similar actions with varying degrees of desirability as determined by the context.

Article

The Jussive form looks very similar to the Imperfect but functions in the sentence more like an Imperative. Jussive verbs usually appear in third person forms. (Similarly, Imperative verbs appear only in second person forms, and Cohortative verbs appear only in the first person, forms.) A Jussive verb does not carry the full force of a command (“He must do this!”), but it conveys a stronger meaning than a simple suggestion or statement of possibilty (“He could do this.”). The meaning is somewhere in the middle. In English, a Jussive is often translated with the helping verb “may” or “let,” depending on the context (“May he do this!” or “Let him do this!”). Thus, the Jussive verb functions as an indirect command; the reader must examine the context to determine the strength of desirability being expressed in each specific instance.

Biblical Hebrew does not use the Imperative form to express negative commands. Rather, negative commands are always expressed using either the Imperfect conjugation form or the Jussive form. In cases where the Jussive form is being used to express a negative command, the verb will appear in a 2nd person form rather than a 3rd person form. When used in this way, the Jussive form takes the negative particle אַל in nearly all instances.

Form

Qal Jussive Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
masculine singular third person יִקְטֹל yiqtol may he kill
feminine singular third person תִּקְטֹל tiqtol may she kill
masculine singular second person תִּקְטֹל tiqtol may you kill
feminine singular second person תִּקְטְלִי tiqteli may you kill
masculine plural third person יִקְטְלוּ yiqtelu may they kill
feminine plural third person תִּקְטֹלְנָה tiqtolenah may they kill
masculine plural second person תִּקְטְלוּ tiqtelu may you kill
feminine plural second person תִּקְטֹלְנָה tiqtolenah may you kill
Niphal Jussive Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
masculine singular third person יִקָּטֵל yiqqatel may he be killed
feminine singular third person תִּקָּטֵל tiqqatel may she be killed
masculine singular second person תִּקָּטֵל tiqqatel may you be killed
feminine singular second person תִּקָּטְלִי tiqqatli may you be killed
masculine plural third person יִקָּטְלוּ yiqqatlu may they be killed
feminine plural third person תִּקָּטַלְנָה tiqqatalnah may they be killed
masculine plural second person תִּקָּטְלוּ tiqqatlu may you be killed
feminine plural second person תִּקָּטַלְנָה tiqqatalnah may you be killed
Hiphil Jussive Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
masculine singular third person יַקְטֵל yaqtel may he cause to kill
masculine singular second person תַּקְטֵל taqtel you will be caused to kill
feminine singular second person תַּקְטִילִי taqteli you will be caused to kill
feminine singular third person תַּקְטֵל taqtel may she cause to kill
masculine plural third person יַקְטִילוּ yaqtelu may they cause to kill
feminine plural third person תַּקְטֵלְנָה taqtelenah may they cause to kill
masculine plural second person תַּקְטִילוּ taqtelu you will be caused to kill
feminine plural second person תַּקְטֵלְנָה taqtelenah you will be caused to kill
Hophal Jussive Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
masculine singular third person יָקְטַל yoqtal may he be caused to kill
feminine singular third person תָּקְטַל toqtal may she be caused to kill
masculine singular second person תָּקְטַל toqtal may you be caused to kill
feminine singular second person תָּקְטְלִי toqteli may you be caused to kill
masculine plural third person יָקְטְלוּ yoqtelu may they be caused to kill
feminine plural third person תָּקְטַלְנָה toqtalnah may they be caused to kill
masculine plural second person תָּקְטְלוּ toqtelu may you be caused to kill
feminine plural second person תָּקְטַלְנָה toqtalnah may you be caused to kill
Piel Jussive Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
masculine singular third person יְקַטֵּל yiqattel may he slaughter
feminine singular third person תְּקַטֵּל tiqattel may she slaughter
masculine singular second person תְּקַטֵּל tiqattel may you slaughter
feminine singular second person תְּקַטְּלִי tiqatteli may you slaughter
masculine plural third person יְקַטְּלוּ yiqattelu may they slaughter
feminine plural third person תְּקַטַּלְנָה tiqattalnah may they slaughter
masculine plural second person תְּקַטְּלוּ tiqattelu may you slaughter
feminine plural second person תְּקַטַּלְנָה tiqattalnah may you slaughter
Pual Jussive Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
masculine singular third person יְקֻטַּל yequttal may he be slaughtered
feminine singular third person תְּקֻטַּל tequttal may she be slaughtered
masculine singular second person תְּקֻטַּל tequttal may you be slaughtered
feminine singular second person תְּקֻטְּלִי tequtteli may you be slaughtered
masculine plural third person יְקֻטְּלוּ yequttelu may they be slaughtered
feminine plural third person תְּקֻטַּלְנָה tequttalnah may they be slaughtered
masculine plural second person תְּקֻטְּלוּ tequttelu may you be slaughtered
feminine plural second person תְּקֻטַּלְנָה tequttalnah may you be slaughtered
Hithpael Jussive Paradigm
Parsing Hebrew Transliteration Gloss
masculine singular third person יִתְקַטֵּל yithqattel may he kill himself
feminine singular third person תִּתְקַטֵּל tithqattel may she kill herself
masculine singular second person תִּתְקַטֵּל tithqattel may you kill yourself
feminine singular second person תִּתְקַטְּלִי tithqatteli may you kill yourself
masculine plural third person יִתְקַטְּלוּ yithqattelu may they kill themselves
feminine plural third person תִּתְקַטֵּלְנָה tithqattelnah may they kill themselves
masculine plural second person תִּתְקַטְּלוּ tithqattelu may you kill yourselves
feminine plural second person תִּתְקַטֵּלְנָה tithqattelnah may you kill yourselves

Function

The Jussive form can indicate any of the following kinds of actions:

Indirect commands

Example: GEN 1:14
יְהִ֤י מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם
yehi me’oroth birqia’ hashamayim
Let-there-be luminaries in-expanse-of the-heavens
Let there be lights in the sky

Direct negative commands (2nd person forms with negative particle אַל)

Example: JOB 41:8
זְכֹ֥ר מִ֝לְחָמָ֗ה אַל־תּוֹסַֽף
zekhor milhamah ‘al-tosaf
Remember battle not_repeat!
you will remember the battle and do it no more.

Actions of greater or lesser desirability

These may include instructions, requests, permissions, invitations, assurances, wishes, etc.

Example: GEN 24:51
וּתְהִ֤י אִשָּׁה֙ לְבֶן־אֲדֹנֶ֔יךָ
uthehi ‘ishah leven-‘adoneykha
and-let-her-be wife to-son-of your-lord
so she may be the wife of your master’s son
Example: PSA 45:11
וְיִתְאָ֣ו הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ יָפְיֵ֑ךְ
weyith’aw hammelekh yofyekh
and-let-him-desire the-king your-beauty
In this way the king will desire your beauty
Example: PSA 104:20
תָּֽשֶׁת־חֹ֭שֶׁךְ וִ֣יהִי לָ֑יְלָה
tasheth-hoshekh wihi laylah
You-bring_darkness and-let-it-be night
You make the darkness of the night