[b-hebrew] Gen 1:22,28 ("replenish the earth"?)

Joshua@can-do.net joshua at can-do.net
Wed Jun 9 11:15:11 EDT 2004


"Earthlings" were not instructed to, "REPLENISH the Earth". I believe you
are deriving this (correct me if I am wrong) from the KJV which has
"replenish" in Gen 1:28:

KJV Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful,
and multiply, and replenish (ûmil’û) the earth, and subdue it: and have
dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over
every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Also see Gen 9:1 which uses
"replenish" for the same construction and instruction).

The word translated "replenish" in the KJV of Gen 1:28 is __ûmil’û__ (Waw
conjunction + Qal Imperative mp of ML’). Yet ML’ is found in the same form
and construction (ûmil’û followed by DDO + maqqef + def. article and
absolute noun) six verses earlier in Gen 1:22, and is translated "fill":

KJV Genesis 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply,
and fill (ûmil’û) the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the

The Lexicons and Dictionaries I have (HALOT, BDB, TWOT, NIDOTTE, TDOT) give
no indication of "replenish" being an accepted meaning for the verb ML’ in
the Qal (or any other stem for that matter).

So, why did the KJV translators translate the same word/construction with
two different words within 6 verses of each other? Why "replenish" in v.28
and "fill" in v.22? It appears that "replenish" had a broader meaning in the
1600's and could be used with no indication of the action being a repetitive
or recurring action; the use of "replenish" instead of "fill" in v.28 was
simply a stylistic decision by the translators. The American Heritage
Dictionary confirms this:

Middle English replenisshen, from Old French replenir, repleniss-  : re-,
re- + plenir, to fill (from plein, full, from Latin plenus. See pele- in
Indo-European Roots).

FROM: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth
Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton
Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

The modern translations agree with this analysis that ML’ in these verses
means "fill". The NIV, NASB, YLT, NRS, and so forth all have "fill" in these
two verses instead of "replenish". This is an example of how words change
over a SHORT period of time. In this case, "fill" gives the correct sense to
the modern reader, while "replenish" is misleading to those unfamiliar with
the archaic usage.


Joshua Luna

Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Gen 1:2 (3)
Herman (Ephraim49 at aol.com) said:


> Remember, God tells the earthlings to REPLENISH the Earth
> on the Sixth day (of the second restoration week).
> Does it begin to make more sense now?


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