[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:16 (The Tifha accent)

Yonah Mishael yonahmishael at gmail.com
Sun Sep 3 09:15:40 EDT 2006

You do realize, don't you?, that almost every verse in the Bible has
at least one tipcha accent? It is only a minor dysjunctive accent. In
fact, the very first word of the Bible has this accent. In this verse
(1:16), the tipcha accent is on the word מארות M)RWT as well as on the
ואת W)T at the end of the verse (right before הכוכבים HKWKBYM).

The word הכוכבים HKWKBYM bears its own accent, however: the silluk /
sof-pasuk. This is a completely regular trope pattern, and it does not
affect the meaning of the verse.

In fact, the next verse (1:17) ends the exact same way with the
conjunctive mercha falling just before the tipcha:

וירא אלהים כי־טוב
mercha / tipcha / sof-pasuk

Are you suggesting that we should somehow change the regular
translation of this because of the accentuation? I think you're
confused as to the function of the accents in the text. They break it
up into logical segments, but they do not cause repetition of clauses
or anything else. This would be completely up to the area of syntax.

All of the את־ and ואת־ clauses of Genesis 1:16 are simply
demonstrating the direct object of the verb ויעש ("and he made").

"God made the two great lights --
the greater light to govern the day,
and the lesser light to govern the night --
and the stars."

Personally, I think that the sun and moon phrases (greater v. lesser
light) are parenthetical while "and the stars" picks up the main
action again. The two parenthetical phrases are there to explain what
the "great lights" are, while the last phrase continues the narrative.

--> "God made the two great lights... and the stars."


Yonah Mishael ben Avraham
Joplin, MO
yonahmishael at gmail.com

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