[b-hebrew] Light be made versus Let there be light.

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Sat Oct 17 06:20:40 EDT 2009


2009/10/17 K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com>

> James:
> On Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 1:26 PM, James Christian
> <jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com>wrote:
> > Hi Karl,
> >
> > 2009/10/15 K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
> >
> >> James and Steve:
> >> I can see the question as far as how best to render these ideas into
> >> English.
> >>
> >> But for the Hebrew, I can’t recognize your questions. Grammatically it
> is
> >> simple, common Hebrew, other than the subject matter. God commands the
> >> light
> >> to come into existence, and it does.
> >>
> >
> > Are you suggesting a vocative understanding here? i.e. That God is
> talking
> > to the light?
> >
> Not at all! The light didn’t exist before God commanded to become into
> existence.
Right. With God all things are possible so I don't really see this to be a
major problem. I was just wondering from a syntactic point of view if this
interpretation could be possible.

> As I understand the vocative is that the light would have had to have
> pre-existence to the command. I understand the text as being God commanding
> and then the light existed.
> >
> > Then how can you side with a 'Let there be...' translation? If this is
> not
> > funny sounding in Hebrew then common sense would dictate that its
> > translation should not be funny sounding in any natural language.
> >
> On the contrary, what may be natural in one language may be quite awkward
> and contrived in another. Common sense is contradicted by actual practice.
> In this question, we are dealing with English, not Hebrew.
I now think I understand Wycliffe's translation better. The problem is that
in English the optative and vocative versions can look exactly the same:

1) Light be made [vocative sense]
2) Light be made [optative sense]
3) May light be made [optative sense; softer version]
4) Heaven forbid
5) May heaven forbid

Perhaps Tyndale was attempting to address this ambiguity with his 'Let there
be...' construction that he coined. In any case, I think it is safe to say
that not even after so many years has this construction become normal
colloquial usage in English.

In conclusion, if there remain no good arguments for a vocative sense then I
am fast approaching an optative sense. The Greek would seem to support the
theory that this is not a vocative sense. The 'light' doesn't seem to be
declined vocatively.

James Christian

> >
> > James Christian
>  >
> >
> >  Karl W. Randolph.
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