[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:5

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Jul 28 12:53:15 EDT 2003

“First” is a strange word in every language that I know, with connotations beyond just the numerical value. Furthermore, I know of no language where “first” is based on “one”. Not all languages allow the cardinal to take the place of the ordinal (e.g. English, though even here “day one” followed by “second
” and “third
” and so forth is acceptable). (Chinese, which as far as I know has no ordinal numbers, still has a word for “first”.)

Therefore, the use of “one” in the place of “first” in Genesis 1:5 emphasizes that it was the first numerically, not in importance or other factor.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: waldo slusher <waldoslusher at yahoo.com>
> Frank Polak wrote earlier:
> > In my view the cardinal )xd serves as ordinal (the
> > ordinal for 'first' 
> > varies extremely in all semitic languages, in sharp
> > contrast with the 
> > toher ordinals and the rather fixed mode of the
> > cardinals). 
> Would you therefore allow for this translation of the
> Shema, taking )xd here as ordinal even though )xd
> lacks the defininte article:
> Listen, Israel: As for the Lord your God, the Lord is
> first.
> But how would be understand "first"? 
> =====
> Waldo Slusher
> Calgary, AB
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