Gen 1:1. Kermess

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Thu Sep 7 21:47:52 EDT 2000

I like your idea of RE'SHIYT meaning "day zero", and referring to what
happened in verses 1-2.

But to the following question snipped from your post I have to say "no",
well, not as a translation though possibly as a paraphrase. I am sorry to
repeat myself. But the Hebrew grammar does demand that there is some sort of
"and" or "but" at the start of verse 2, so verse 1 cannot be subordinate to
verse 2. At least this would be totally unique Hebrew grammar: an adverbial
clause followed by a waw and a noun in the same sentence. (Or can someone
give another example?)

May I suggest another translation based on your idea:

"On day zero God created the heavens and the earth, but the earth was
formless and void..."

That, I think, explains the Hebrew. BERE'SHIYT lacks the article because it
is indefinite, it is not yet specified what this particular RESHIYT refers
to. Of course this becomes clear as the story proceeds. But it is I think
standard practice to introduce something new without the article but to use
the article with further occurrences.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Baker" <joebaker at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2000 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: Gen 1:1. Kermess

> Could the opening of Genesis be paraphrased
> On the "day" before the first day of God creating the Heavens and the
> [the state of the universe was as follows -] the earth was.....

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