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Hebrew language and Genesis 1

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  • Hebrew language and Genesis 1

    I was told that according to the Hebrew language Genesis 1 should read "at the beginning" and not "in the beginning."

    True or not?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    I don't think either of those actual words are in the original Hebrew. Looking at the interlinear of the passage here:
    https://www.studylight.org/desk/inte...3=str_nas&ns=0

    It only has "Beginning" with a Hebrew translation. I think the other words are just added in English to make it understandable

    But then I don't know Hebrew.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've never heard that before -- what's supposed to be the significance?
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, there's a missing word, but it's "the" that's missing, actually. And the Hebrew prefix "בְּ" can mean "in" or "at" (or a number of other things). So literally it would be "In beginning" or "At beginning", either would probably work, but "In the beginning" is smoother English.

        Blessings,
        Lee
        "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
          Well, there's a missing word, but it's "the" that's missing, actually. And the Hebrew prefix "בְּ" can mean "in" or "at" (or a number of other things). So literally it would be "In beginning" or "At beginning", either would probably work, but "In the beginning" is smoother English.

          Blessings,
          Lee
          So, Lee, can you think of any reason somebody would zero in on that? Why it would be an issue?
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            So, Lee, can you think of any reason somebody would zero in on that? Why it would be an issue?
            We may note John 1:1, which is "In beginning" as well, now there is some debate as to which reading in Gen. 1:1 is correct:

            Source: Expositor's Bible Commentary

            In defense of the traditional view (that berēʾsîṯ is in the absolute state [i.e. "In the beginning"]), it can be said that rēʾšîṯ along with several other adverbials, does occur in the absolute state without an article (e.g., Isa 46:10; cf. Konig, Syntax par. 294g). Thus the argument that the article must be with berēʾšîṯ for it to be absolute does not hold in every case. There are other arguments that berēʾšîṯ should not be read as an absolute (see Westermann, pp. 94ff.), but none of them is sufficient to stand against the traditional view without the central grammatical argument of the absence of the article in berēʾšîṯ just referred to. An example such as Isa 46:10, then, is crucial in that it shows that the article is not necessary for the absolute state.

            © Copyright Original Source



            If "the" is not appropriate here, then the reading would be:

            Source: EBC

            “When God set about to create the heavens and the earth—the world being then a formless waste …—God said, “Let there be light’ ”

            © Copyright Original Source


            So that little word does make a difference! But given the argument above, and the echo in John 1:1 (where I cannot find a reference that translates this other than "In the beginning", and the Septuagint of Gen. 1:1 has the same phrase as John 1:1) I would say that "the" does belong.

            Blessings,
            Lee
            Last edited by lee_merrill; 02-14-2020, 04:49 PM.
            "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
              I've never heard that before -- what's supposed to be the significance?
              It came from my Pastor in a speech he made at a Bible Study class. I'm trying to find out why he thought it important. I asked a Jew who teaches Hebrew and he said:

              It's ambiguous. Rashi suggested repointing the text to read "in the beginning of God's creating..." I tend to like it. That would be translated as "when God began to create..."

              I don't see that it makes any difference at all.

              Comment


              • #8
                OK, guys I finally heard from my Pastor and this is what he said:

                "I was explaining that Jewish Midrash states that God created twice before the current creation we have. Once with just love and once with just law. Our creation has both."

                Notice it is now Midrash and not Hebrew Language.

                Anyone know what he is talking about? Thanks

                Comment


                • #9
                  This a link to my Pastor's thoughts.

                  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ge...e=1&item=22827

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Christian3 View Post
                    This a link to my Pastor's thoughts.

                    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ge...e=1&item=22827
                    The idea presupposes that God is not omniscient and made a mistake that he later corrected.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      The idea presupposes that God is not omniscient and made a mistake that he later corrected.
                      Not really. As I understand it, it had to do with Justice and Mercy.

                      In the future, the universe will return to the Divine attribute of Justice, with Mercy concealed within, thus uniting all apparent opposites.

                      I had a Rabbi look at this and he was confused. Another Jew who teaches Hebrew said: That certainly doesn't come from a plain reading of the Torah text

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Christian3 View Post
                        Not really. As I understand it, it had to do with Justice and Mercy.

                        In the future, the universe will return to the Divine attribute of Justice, with Mercy concealed within, thus uniting all apparent opposites.

                        I had a Rabbi look at this and he was confused. Another Jew who teaches Hebrew said: That certainly doesn't come from a plain reading of the Torah text
                        It said:

                        “Initially, God intended to create it with the attribute of Justice. But then He saw that the world cannot exist [with only Justice], so He gave priority to the attribute of Mercy, and joined it with the attribute of Justice.” (Pesikta Rabbati 40)

                        If God is omniscient, he would have realized that the world cannot exist with only Justice all along. There would be no "but..."

                        So it is presupposing that God didn't know everything and made a mistake which he then corrected.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                          It said:

                          “Initially, God intended to create it with the attribute of Justice. But then He saw that the world cannot exist [with only Justice], so He gave priority to the attribute of Mercy, and joined it with the attribute of Justice.” (Pesikta Rabbati 40)

                          If God is omniscient, he would have realized that the world cannot exist with only Justice all along. There would be no "but..."

                          So it is presupposing that God didn't know everything and made a mistake which he then corrected.
                          You are right, Sparko. Thanks.

                          Comment

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