Already on this site are several questions regarding this verse but none that I have read really hone in on the word "deliver".
The point and detail of this question is: What is the semantic range of "rhysai" seeing that it is aorist and imperative?

The overall picture is that I wonder if this verse could be seen as: "And you [2nd aorist-have] not lead us into temptation but/for/nay rather you have [aorist-done deal] delivered us from evil".

Before we get to the overall picture what is the meaning of "rhysai" here?  

2 Answers 2


Wallace’s grammar has a good section on the Aorist Imperative, see below.

The idea that aorist must be in some sense past referring is not correct. This form can be ingressive and signal the start of an action, but not in your verse as that makes no sense contextually. Here is stresses the urgency of the request. And, while this is not a completed action, it could have been going on for a while already.

2. Aorist Imperative ExSyn 719–21

The basic idea of the aorist imperative is a command in which the action is viewed as a whole, without regard for the internal make-up of the action. However, it occurs in various contexts in which its meaning has been affected especially by lexical or contextual features. Consequently, most aorist imperatives can be placed into one of two broad categories, ingressive or constative . Further, the aorist is most frequently used for a specific command rather than a general precept (usually the domain of the present)

b. Constative This is a solemn or categorical command. The stress is not “begin an action,” nor “continue to act.” Rather, the stress is on the solemnity and urgency of the action; thus “I solemnly charge you to act—and do it now!” This is the use of the aorist in general precepts. Although the aorist is here transgressing onto the present tense’s turf, it adds a certain flavor. It is as if the author says, “Make this your top priority.” As such, the aorist is often used to command an action that has been going on. In this case, both solemnity and a heightened urgency are its force.[4]

[4] The difference between the aorist and the future indicative in such general precepts seems to be that the aorist is used for a sense of urgency while the future indicative does not stress this element.


>ῤύομαι; future ῤύσομαι; 1 aorist ἐρρυσάμην G (ἐρρυσάμην R, so T in 2 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Peter 2:7; L everywhere except in 2 Timothy 3:11 text) and ἐρυσαμην (so Tr WH everywhere, T in Colossians 1:13; 2 Timothy 3:11; L text in 2 Timothy 3:11); a deponent middle verb, in later Greek with the 1 aorist passive ἐρρύσθην G (ἐρρύσθην R), and (so L T Tr WH in 2 Timothy 4:17) ἐρυσθην; (on the doubling of rho ῥ, and the breathing, see in Rho); from Homer down; the Sept. chiefly for הִצִּיל; also for גָּאַל, פִּלֵּט (to cause to escape, to deliver), חָלַץ (to draw out), מִלֵּט, הושִׁיעַ , etc.; from Ρ᾽ΥΩ to draw, hence, properly, to draft, to oneself, to rescue, to deliver: τινα, Matthew 27:43; 2 Peter 2:7; τινα ἀπό τίνος (cf. Winer's Grammar, § 30, 6 a.), Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4 R L; 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (here T Tr WH ἐκ; 2 Timothy 4:18); 1 aorist passive, Romans 15:31; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; τινα ἐκ τίνος (Winer's Grammar, as above): Romans 7:24 (cf. Winer's Grammar, § 41 a. 5); 2 Corinthians 1:10; Colossians 1:13; 2 Timothy 3:11; 2 Peter 2:9; 1 aorist passive, Luke 1:74; 2 Timothy 4:17; ὁ ῤυόμενος, the deliverer, Romans 11:26 (after Isaiah 59:20).

Thayer - Biblehub

In Matthew 6:13 it is :

the aorist imperative middle - 2nd person singular

see Biblehub

The imperative aorist is positioned in the future and then looking back into the past at the completed, desired act. 'Have delivered us' is the request being made, in my understanding.

'Give us not up to temptation but have delivered us from evil' is how I prefer to word this when praying this request.

  • ?Nigel You say "Give us not..." I am not sure where you get "give" from. My versions have "lead" [aorist]. Possibly- "You have not led.."?
    – C. Stroud
    Feb 6, 2020 at 12:43
  • @C.Stroud See above (from Thayer) 'to cause to escape' LXX. 'Cause to escape' = 'give us not up'.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 6, 2020 at 13:02

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