Matthew 6:9 "Pray like this; "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name". ESV

I understand "hagiastheto" is an aorist imperative.

"Beyond the Basics" page 720 describes Ingressive and I guess this word comes in catagory a. Momentary or Single Act.

However I am still not absolutely clear to which category it belongs.

Which of these, if any, might be the best understanding:

  1. May your name be hallowed. [Because sometimes it is not.]

  2. Your name is hallowed. Is already hallowed.

  3. I'm glad your name is hallowed. A rejoicing in it being so.

  4. Another possibility?

  • Have you seen "Hallowed" in Hebrew is מְקֻדָּשׁ "Mequdash" written in [Ezekiel 48:11] regarding respected items [set apart] only for sacred spiritual matters? Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 18:02

4 Answers 4


As Jesus hardly prayed in Greek but rather in in Hebrew or maybe Aramaic, the profound analysis of the Greek does not lead very mucvh further than to see how the tranlator understood it. Hebrew uses only two words: יתקדש שמך . This Phrase is also used in Jewish Kaddish. יתקדש is future sense used in an imperative way.

The translation would allow for

1: May your name be hallowed. [Because sometimes it is not.]

4a: It may also be understood as a real future tense: Your Name will be hallowed (I do not feel that this is meant).

4b: It may be a gest of deep respect similar to سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ‎ or تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَىٰ‎ in Islam.

2 and 3 would not fit that well.

The most probable meaning to my feeling is 1, followed by 4b. But that is a feeling, not knowledge. God knows best.


ἁγιασθήτω is aorist passive imperative third person singular. Probably ingressive stressing the urgency of the action. The Appendix has the possibilities.


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.

 1.      Ingressive

This is a command to begin an action. It is a common usage. The stress is on the urgency of the action. This may be broken down into two subcategories.

 2.      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. -- Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (p. 719-20). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


ESV Matthew 6:9

Pray like this; "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Imperative mood means that it is a request of some urgency. It makes good sense to use this mood in the prayer.

It is not in perfect tense because it is not a finished reality yet. Present tense stresses a continuing process of requesting while aorist calls for a specific, definite, decisive choice. Aorist shows more faith in the request.

  1. May your name be hallowed. [Because sometimes it is not.] This is more like a present imperative.

  2. Your name is hallowed. It is already hallowed. This is more like a perfect imperative.

The aorist imperative is the standard form used in prayers. The rest of the verbs in the Lord's prayer are in the aorist aspect. It shows a single-sighted faithful request.


"Beyond the Basics" Part II, Section "Mood", Chapter IV: "The Imperative Mood", describes Option 3 for the imperative mood:

Request, a.k.a. Entreaty, Polite Command:

The imperative is often used to express a request. This is normally seen when the speaker is addressing a superior. Imperatives (almost always in the aorist tense) directed toward God in prayers fit this category.

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