thy will be done..

Discussion in 'English Only' started by djzuza, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. djzuza Banned

    Croatian - Croatia
    I was at the graveyard today.
    On one commemorative plaque I saw an inscription saying " Thy will be done "
    What does it mean? Thanks :)
  2. Seelix

    Seelix Member

    Toronto, Ontario
    English (Canadian)
    It's a line from the Lord's Prayer (a.k.a. Our Father). In a cemetery I would imagine that the meaning is that it was God's will for that person to die.
  3. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
  4. quillerbee Senior Member

    Canadian English
    Hi djzuza, the complete line is: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and it means, God, your wishes should be carried out on earth just like up there.

    I think that it means that the person has put his soul in the hands of God and accepts whatever God decides for him (or maybe even rest of us, too).
  5. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    'Thy' is the archaic singular pronoun, where we would now say "your" (the nominative is 'thou'). It disappeared from common speech around 1650, but was kept in religious and poetic language for a long time.

    'Will' is the noun: "desire, wish".

    'Be' is an archaic use of the plain form of the verb (historically, the subjunctive) in a main clause to indicate a wish or hope.

    'Thy will' therefore = "your desire". 'Thy will be done' = "I hope/desire that your desire will be done".
  6. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    "Be" still is the present subjunctive of the verb whose infinitive is "to be":

    God wishes that I be saved. (Not the indicative "I am")
    God wishes that you be saved. (Not "you are")
    God wishes that he be saved. (Not "he is")
    God wishes that we be saved. (Not "we are")
    God wishes that you be saved. (Not "you are")
    God wishes that they be saved. (Not "they are")

    In "thy will be done," the noun "will" is the subject of the subjunctive verb "be," indicating a wish or preference. If the verb were in the indicative—"thy will is done"—it would indicate that God's intentions had been accomplished or completed.
  7. Rival Senior Member

    English - UK
    << Not collegial. >>

    I believe 'Thy' is now classed as a 'possessive adjective', and that the 'possessive pronoun' is the one we (used to) see in "... for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory ..."

    (I'm not sure the classification of archaic forms is of earth-shaking importance.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2013
  8. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    Depends on one's view point. If you are a linguist it is important. If you are reading very old texts it certainly is..

  9. JomaSam New Member

    English - England
    Oh really, I always thought 'thy' meant 'the' but I guess it makes a lot more sense that it means 'yours'.

    So 'thy will be done' means 'yours will be done' so in the lords prayer they're talking about the lords work will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    So I'm guessing the guy who has it on his tombstone was a big believer in God and probably did good stuff for the community.

    Thanks for clarifying.
  10. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would gloss 'Thy will be done' as 'May your will be done'. 'Thy' means 'your', not 'yours'. Will is a noun there.
  11. kayve

    kayve Senior Member

    And even if you are an ordinary folk like me, it still is:) Thanks.
    So Thy is Your, while Thine is Yours, right?
    I.e. "... for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory ..." = "... for the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours", right?
  12. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    Yes, 'thy' and 'thine' correspond to 'your' and 'yours', the dependent and independent possessive pronouns. However, not exactly, because 'thine' was also used before vowels: 'thine eyes' = your eyes. Historically, 'my' and 'thy' come from 'mine' and 'thine' and lost the /n/, then in more modern times 'my' and 'mine' only have a grammatical distinction. But formerly there was a phonetic choice too, and if a text is old enough to use 'thy', it will also make this distinction: thy teeth, but thine eyes; my teeth, but mine eyes.
  13. kayve

    kayve Senior Member

    Wow! Very interesting. Thanks a lot, Entangledbank!
  14. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    i.e. "mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

    I second Kayve's thanks. This is interesting, and I had not heard this clear explanation before.

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