In the Day you eat thereof... (Gen 2:4 and 17)

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Wed Aug 23 06:33:25 EDT 2000

We do have short memories on this list. It was only just over a week ago
(14th August) that Lee Martin posted the following:

Dear Tony,
The word BEYOM simply means "when." For a parallel to Gen. 2:4, see Num.
3:1, where all of God's speaking to Moses from Sinai is referred to as "in
the day God spoke to Moses from Sinai".  Thus Gen. 2:4 is not an attempt to
reduce creation to one day at all, but rather it means "when God had created
the heavens and the earth".  As far as I can determine, there is no other
Hebrew word meaning "when."
The question of authorship is not influenced by the word BEYOM.
Lee R. Martin

If BEYOM simply means "when" in Gen 2:4, I think we can assume the same
meaning in verse 17 of the same chapter. In fact NIV translates simply
"when" in both verses. On the Gen 2:4 thread, I could perhaps argue that
this is a classic case where BEYOM refers to a period longer than one day,
specifically one of 930 years (less however long Adam lived in the garden,
but that time could not have been much more than 100 years, see 5:3-5).

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Ross" <wross at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 9:27 PM
Subject: In the Day you eat thereof...

I looked up "in the day" (byom) and found that the phrase is used pretty
loosely thoughout Genesis, not necessarily as a 24 hour day. While not
entirely satisfactory, I guess it does provide some explanation for the

Genesis 2:4  These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when
they were created, in the day  that the LORD God made the earth and the
Genesis 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely
die. {thou shalt surely.: Heb. dying thou shalt die}
Genesis 3:5  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your
eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Genesis 5:1  This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that
God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
Genesis 5:2  Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called
their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
Genesis 31:40  Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost
by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
Genesis 35:3  And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there
an altar unto God, who answered me in the day  of my distress, and was with
me in the way which I went.

Thanks for all of your help.

By the way, does anyone have any light on the prefix BETH? What can it mean
besides "in"?



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