[b-hebrew] Gen. 1:26--Connotation of the beth preposition

Polycarp66 at aol.com Polycarp66 at aol.com
Wed Jan 14 13:26:21 EST 2004

In a message dated 1/14/2004 12:12:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
klbarney at yahoo.com writes:

> I have a friend who is arguing that the inseparable
> beth in Gen. 1:26 does not mean "in" (IE man was
> created *in* the image of God), but rather "as" (IE
> man was created *as* the image of God).  The parallel
> suggested for this usage is Exod. 6:3, where the
> preposition does indeed appear to have this type of a
> connotation.
> (The point of this argument is to say that God doesn't
> have an image of his own, and he created man to be his
> image, as a representation of him, or something like
> that.)


The BETH preposition does not have only one usage.  In fact, almost no word 
does (unless you wish to consider that words used once or infrequently are such 
though it is more likely that we simply haven't sufficient representatives of 
the word).  In BDB has a lengthy list from which this has been excerpted.

I.  IN

1. in

a. among 
b. some of 

3. within

4. into

5. time

6. of state or condition within which an action takes place

7. introducing the object
a. in which the subject consists or shows itself
b. secondary predicate
c. a pred. as accus.
d. comparison -- in the form of , as

II. With -- proximity

1. at, by

2. on

3. with vbs of touching etc.

4. with vbs implying hostility
a. against
b. down to, upon

1. with
a. accompaniment
b. with what one brings with one (B.:):YN without
c. concommitant conditions

2. instrument or means
a. with, by
b. idiomatic with certain vbs "with", "by means of"
c. through
d. allied -- as to swear "in the name of "
e. B.aM.fH or B.aM.eH = "how?"

3. cost or price
a. buying, betrothing, etc.
b. selling, etc.

4. object treated as instrument "shake with the head"

5. causal "through", "on account of"

As Yul Brynner in "The King and I" was accustomed to say, "Et cetera, et 
cetera, et cetera."  The point being that one should never look at one passage and 
decide that the usage found therein is determinative for all others.  The 
usage in Ex 6.3 is actually more like the usage of Kaf (K.) though prepositions 
frequently overlap in their usage as in Greek.


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