[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:5

Peter Kirk peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Thu Jul 24 17:24:58 EDT 2003

On 24/07/2003 12:07, CS Bartholomew wrote:

>On 7/24/03 11:16 AM, "waldo slusher" <waldoslusher at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>A recent article I read indicates that the phrase at
>>the end of this verse, "day one", by virtue of the
>>fact that "one" lacks the definite article, makes it a
>>Cardinal number.
>Bruce Waltke & M. O'Connor page 274:
>"The indefinite noun plus )xd has a definite sense in the opening chapter of
>Genesis: ywm )xd 'the first day' (Gen. 1:5); this pattern is found nowhere
>else-- even the rest of the account uses indefinite nouns with ordinal
>numbers (Gen 1:8,13, etc.)."
>Clay Bartholomew 
Much as I respect Waltke and O'Connor, I  am highly suspicious of 
interpretations which ascribe to a very common word a unique sense in 
just one occurrence. So, having seen your later posting, I am inclined 
to agree more with George Bush (the 19th century one, I would rarely be 
inclined to agree with the more recent two) though not entirely. "One 
day" means "one day". Well, in English we can start a list with "one 
day", then "the next day", then perhaps "the third day". But in 1:5 the 
focus is not that this day is the first of a sequence but rather that 
the evening and the morning make up a complete day. Perhaps the 
translation should be something like "one whole day", or just "one day". 
Then in 1:8 etc, where the Hebrew remains indefinite, "a second day". 
Then change to "the sixth day" at the end of the chapter as this wraps 
the whole thing up nicely. A very literal translation, I know, but I 
think it works.

Peter Kirk
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com

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