[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:5

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Jul 24 21:12:43 EDT 2003

On Thursday 24 July 2003 15:24, Peter Kirk wrote:
> 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.)."
> >
> >
> >
> >greetings,
> >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.

This seems to raise a somewhat related question.  If "evening and morning" 
means "a complete day," why isn't it "morning and evening"?  Why are the two 
reversed from what we might expect to be the "natural" order?

Dave Washburn
"God does a lot of things in the Psalms
that He can't get away with in systematic theology."

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