George V. Wigram
EXAMINATION OF THE HEBREW BIBLE AS TO THE STRUCTURE AND IDIOM OF THE LANGUAGE
Source: Memorials of the Ministry of G. V. Wigram
Vol. II - Fifth Edition
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EXAMINATION OF THE HEBREW BIBLE
AS TO THE
IDIOM OF THE LANGUAGE
THE TENSES: THEIR FORCE, AND HOW TO BE
THE tenses in Hebrew need fresh examination. Nothing but a careful study of
them as they occur in the Bible can give a satisfactory solution to the
difficulties and uncertainties which exist in many minds as to them.
In Hebrew verbs there are three moods—the Indicative, the Infinitive, and the
Imperative— and, besides these, two participles. The indicative has two tenses,
which I will call x and z for the present. The questions are, as to these (x and
z), firstly, Do they carry in themselves a time of their own? or is the time
which they express dependent upon the connection in which they stand?
Let us look at them, first, in Genesis, from chap. i. 1 to chap. ii. 3.
Chap. i. 1, 2: “In the beginning God xcreated the heavens and the
earth. And the earth xwas without form, and void; and darkness
was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face
of the waters.”
The form marked x is called Preterite by the Hebraists.
Note this: “In the beginning,” here, does not mean ‘of creation;’1
for (Job xxxviii, 4-7) angels existed when the foundations of the earth were
laid. Again, though it does refer to the commencement of the globe on which we
are, it was not the commencement of ‘the earth as prepared for man.’ That
begins in verse 3; and between the paragraphs (vv. 1, 2) and that
beginning at verse 3, there is a gap, which is blank and void. Some geologists,
in self-sufficient ignorance, who wish to find fault with Scripture, do not see
either this, or that if the theories which they advocate are right, they must
have been in the said gap; for the verses 1 and 2 describe a state not suited to
much for which they demand a place. And the same is true of the paragraph which
begins with verse 3; but there is the gap between the two, and Scripture, in
saying nothing of it or its contents, leaves it a blank.
Paragraph 1 contains a narration, in which the origin of this globe (heaven
and earth) is ascribed to God; the formless and void condition of it is
named, and darkness being over the deep; but the Spirit of God also was moving
on the face of the waters.
Thus, what first came into being, God xcreated; and
darkness xwas, &c.; both these verbs are in the perfectly
past time. The mind is thrown back to “the beginning,” and to what was
originated there, and the state of it. ‘God created,’ and ‘what He
created was,’ &c. Here the object seems to be to mark that the
originator was God as Creator.
In paragraph 2 (beginning with verse 3), on the contrary, we get a series of
actings connected in one, each acting a step towards a whole. Six days, and
their characteristic marks put upon them by God; and then a seventh, a day of
Between these two paragraphs, when they are compared together, there is
contrast. They cannot be made into one and the same series. But there may have
been a gap between them, undefined as to extent and what was in it. Nothing
could more mark, to my mind, the perfectly past time expressed, as above, by
x“created” and x“was,” and their
isolateness as in paragraph 1. They are the first occurrences of the preterite
form, and so are the more calculated to impress the mind; and the perfectly past
time is stamped upon them by the context, and not only by the name given to them
by the grammarians; so that I shall use p henceforth instead of x.
Paragraph 2. Verses 3-5: “And God zsaid, zlet there be
light: and there zwas light. And God zsaw the light, that
it was good: and God zdivided the light from the darkness. And
God zcalled the light Day, and the darkness pHe called
Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”2 (Heb.,
“And the evening zwas and the morning zwas, a first
Here we have six instances of z (called by the old grammarians future,
and by the moderns present), then one p, and then in Hebrew
two more occurrences of z—all translated alike, by a past (but which here,
however, would sometimes be more like an imperfect than a proper perfect
It might be translated differently, thus: ‘And God zsaith, Light
zis, and there zis light. And God zsees the
light, that it is good: and God zdivides the light from the
darkness. And God zcalls the light Day, and the darkness
pHe called Night. And evening zis and morning
zis, a first day.’
I see, as I judge, what led Hebrew rabbis astray sometimes, and what also
misled Gentile translators into doing violence in the translation of the tenses,
and moods too, here and elsewhere. The rabbis, on the one hand, made their
observations on the text; and Gentile translators too soon turned to man-made
grammars, and too little kept their minds in lively examination of the sacred
text. On the other hand, while I admit that the idioms of the languages into
which translators (whether Greek, or Latin, or English) sought to render that
which was in the Hebrew did not readily admit the very forms of the
Hebrew, this is all that I can as yet grant. And this, of course, raises a
question as to the competency of the translators for their work, and is a proof
of the need and the value of every such tentative paper as this. But if
the mind of the respective translators rules in the LXX, in the Vulgate, in
Jerome’s, and in the English versions, ere I dare to submerge the Hebrew idiom,
&c., altogether, and go to sea without a compass as to moods and tenses, I
would say, Let us look carefully to the Hebrew, and see what the facts of the
I observe then, firstly, that the English gives the paragraph 2 as a
historical record: “God said, . . . Let there be light, . . . light was;”
&c. Now, this is just as if there had been no break after verse 2, and that
the account given in verses 1 and 2 (paragraph 1), which was correctly so given,
was being continued through paragraph 2.
On the contrary, the Hebrew, more like the gospels by far, seems to give a
vividness to what begins in verse 3, because it brings us into the scene itself
where God is presented as a living Person in present action, and this living
Person’s actions and words characterize the whole paragraph onward.
I know, by their omission of Peh at the commencement of verse 3, that the
rabbis did not see that a new paragraph began with verse 3; but any one that
weighs the matter will see that it is the commencement of an entirely new
paragraph. It has a vacuum before it occurs, sufficiently large for all the
geologists, but it has no background; the vacuum is of most undefined space and
occupation; on the other side of which is the origin of the globe and its chaos
state, yet under the Spirit of God. If the various displays of creation of which
the geologists speak occupied that gap, they all had ceased and passed, when the
living God is seen as personally present, and introducing an entirely new and
orderly system of things. He is in living display, and He says, speaks, sees,
divides, calls, creates, makes, &c., and the very variety of His ways and
actings is a proof of the same.
I have spoken of x, the first tense, a preterite, which will, I anticipate,
be found by us to be always, in one way and sense or in another,3 a
tense carrying its own time, and that a perfect. Apparent exceptions are not
always real ones, and the uses too to which a tense may be put may have to be
As to z, the second tense, called a future by the old, and a
present by many grammarians, I have thought that in some
cases, following a past, it might be to mark ‘and consequently thereon,’ or
‘after that past, now so and so.’ But here I may raise a question or two for
examination and testing; viz., whether the great mistake has not flowed from
this, that grammars and rules have been formed too hastily by man, after partial
examination of the text, and too readily accredited? Again, does the second
tense (z) possess, and carry with it any time of its own? or is it not rather
dependent, or contingent, on its immediate context for the time it marks?
I am not at present aware of any occurrence in which it could be rendered
correctly by a past time. Dependent upon the context, it may carry the present
time or a future time, and does so, as I believe, constantly in Scripture.
To call x a preterite, and, in an initiatory sentence, to translate it by a
present (as in Psalm i. 1), falsifies the text, and changes (in that case) the
doctrine, connecting three verbs with men, and not with the Anointed. The
translators, perhaps, thought that they were protected (in Genesis i. 3, in
rendering what they called future tenses by past tenses) by what seemed to them
the historic character of the narration, or for some reason which I do not know;
but I cannot receive their doing so without proof of its correctness.
In Genesis i. 3 the living God is present, and ‘He will say,’ &c. (in the
future), could not be said; He speaks as in present action, and the present
tense alone can be used. I observe, as I pass, that the translators turn
the indicative mood, future (as they would say), into an imperative mood,
“Let there be light.” Thus likewise there are imperatives out of all number in
the Psalms4 in English, where in Hebrew they are in the so-called
future. The imperatives thus used in the Psalms turn the energy of hope into the
sense of need—which, with a lesser faith, a believer would do—imploring God for
help, instead of expressing the assurance of hope. There are eight imperatives
in Genesis i., and the reason of their being used, and the effect on the sense,
we shall see when we come to them.
Judging that z, instead of being a tense will a time of its own, is nothing
of the kind, but dependent or contingent, as to the time which it marks, upon
its connection and place in the clause, I have no hesitation in rendering it
here, ‘God saith, Light is: and there is light; and He sees, and divides,’
&c. That is, the living God, in present action, is that which marks
the time: this, and not, as some one has said, because it is always a present;
for that it certainly is not. In the fourth day we see this. In verse 14 God
speaks, first of what shall be, then of it as according with what was in
purpose; and in verse 16 He, in action, creates what He had spoken of in verse
14 as about to be.
This verse 14, “And [z first a present] ‘God saith,’ next there ’shall
be’ lights [a future] in the firmament of the heavens,” &c.;
and this was to be so because of something past. These lights (p) have
been (or were*) for signs, &c.; and again, (p) they have been (or
were5) for lights, and so (z) ‘it shall be;’ but not
till verse 16 does His action appear: ‘And God zmakes them, &c.,
and zsets them, &c., and zsees that it is good,
&c.’ (See also the same thing in verses 6-8.) In us, faith leads through
difficulties to trust in God, stay on Him, and to hope. So life shows itself.
And often the same voice that calls for help under trial will add, a little
later, “He will help.” That is, when the soul is with God.
Beautiful English is not so good, if it gives us only an approximation to the
original (and that not a close one), as a rougher and less polished English,
which gives the original as nearly as possible as it stands. Moreover, the
change in the mode of presenting the matter to be communicated is a serious
change, and without warrant.
When I read from Genesis i. to ii. 3 in the English Bible, I am as one
listening to a narration; when I read the same portion in Hebrew, I am as one in
the presence of God, the living God in action. Psalm xxxiii. 6 is blessed; but
Job xxxviii. 4-7 is more stirring and impressive. What, so to speak, would Job
have given for the answer to it in our present portion! What the grace which has
given it to us? Our authorized version, with its many words which have changed
their meaning (some of them altogether) since it was written; with its many
italic words, put in to make it like English; with its want of uniformity as to
the use of the same word in English for the same word in the original (this last
because of the king’s order, and with the view of showing the largeness of the
English vocabulary, &c. &c.), is still (all that notwithstanding) a
precious gift from God to the English people. But if it led the way, faith would
follow on, through grace, to something better. Ezekiel xliii. 10, 11 may have a
word for faith herein.
In verse 5 there is a remarkable change. “And God z‘calls’ the
light Day, and the darkness p‘He called’ Night.” Why the change here
from ‘calls’ to ‘called’—from a present to a past? It is the more marked because
found in dealing with the two halves of one whole day.
Again, though less marked, yet in verse 10 a similar thing occurs:
“z‘calls’ the dry land earth, and the gathering together of
the waters pHe called.’”
And see also verse 27: “z‘creates’ the man in His own image, in
the image of God p‘created’ He him; male and female
p‘created’ He them.”
In each of these cases the Spirit of God, writing through Moses, changes (if
I may so say) His own position for the moment. Writing at first as one
personally present, and a present witness of a scene occurring, He uses language
befitting that position; but changes it, as to that of one looking back to a
scene that is past. Man does the same thing frequently. As to the ‘why’
of this here, and as to the rationale of it, I have, at present, nothing to say.
The effect of the change I feel to be this, that it draws my mind to the fact of
the series which makes up the whole. ‘And zHe calls the light
Day, and the darkness pHe called Night. And evening zis
and morning zis, a first day.’ But I could not say that this effect
on the mind of the change from ‘calls’ to ‘called’ was the intention of
the writer, so as to be worthy to be called one of the intentional uses of this
or similar changes. That it is a mode of speech common to many languages is
true. And these remarks apply in a great measure to the two other instances
On the second day, verses 6-8, I have nothing more to say, having
referred above to the proof they afford that z has at times a future sense, and
why (i.e. the proof of it here), as well as, at other times, a present
tense. Being without a time of its own, it is dependent for the time it presents
on the connection in which it stands.
On the third day, verses 9-13, I have noticed the change of
tense in one place, and have nothing more to add.
On the fourth day, verses 14-19, the ’shall be’ and the ‘is’ of z, and
why (i.e. the proof of it here), has been pointed out above (vv.
On the fifth day, verses 20-23. Here, after saying the things
zare, &c., God z‘creates’ certain ones, and
“which the waters pbrought forth,” are the expressions used. Then we
first get the “imperative mood” used. They being in existence, through
creatorial power, He commands them, by procreation, to “be fruitful, and
multiply, and fill the seas,” and declares that “the fowl zshall
multiply”—another future, with z, and not a present.
On the sixth day, verses 24-31, “God saith, The earth brings forth”
(v. 24), and (v. 25) “God makes;” verse 26, “He saith, We will
make Adam,” and “they shall have dominion”—futures, and not presents (see above
for the why); verse 27, “created” (as above), and then “be fruitful, multiply.
and replenish, and subdue it, and have dominion”—all imperatives, as marking
God’s order for enlargement of the various species He had formed, &c.; and
that it was not from the mud having a creatorial power in itself, or
decomposition either, as some of old taught; or any other folly such as
materialists, men learned as to things subjected to sense, have taught. But the
power and the wisdom of the originator is that which settles the lines of
extension, and, I may add, of maintenance and of protection. But Himself, acting
still, though unseen, who at first originated, will in the end close Nature’s
For maintenance, so far as food is concerned, the appointment was from Him.
(vv. 29, 30.)
Verse 29. p“I have given to you” calls the attention, at least, to
the change from creation to maintenance. In verse 31 God’s scrutiny of the
quality of that of which He was the originator occurs: “And, behold, it is very
good;” and to this too, in point of fact, attention is roused by another change
of tense from z to p, “God zsees every thing that pHe
Chap. ii. 1-3. Verse 2, “God zfinishes His work which
pHe made,” another such change of tense; and “zHe rests
from all His work which pHe made” is again another specimen of the
same; and a third follows, “zsanctifies it: because that in it
pHe rested from all His work which God pcreated to
IN THE FOLLOWING ILLUSTRATION
p and z above, but just before a verb, mark the two
several tenses in Hebrew.
^ marks where an eth stands in the Hebrew.
The article is marked in Hebrew, where it occurs, by a capital T in the word
The. The demonstrative article may be noticed, where it occurs, in notes. “The
serpent,” chap. iii. 1, might better be “a certain serpent;” and Isaiah vii. 14,
“a certain virgin,” &c. These are demonstrative pronouns.
ye denotes the article supplied in English to make sense.
Words in italics are supplementary, to help the English.
a above, but just before a word, marks a participle; b
an infinitive; c an imperative.
h is at times the article, and at times a
demonstrative pronoun, and at times an interrogation, equal to “?,” as in chap.
iii. 11 and iv. 7, 9.
1. Genesis i. 3. “And Elohim,” &e. If the force of z is dependent as to
time upon context, it would pretty nearly amount to a ‘then’ or a ‘now.’ “And
then Elohim” (in Hebrew text), &c., would be “And consequently
thereon Elohim,” &c. This ‘consequently thereon’ would be very indefinite as
to the date or thing of which it was a consequence. The interval between that
referred to and the sequence to it might be a night or ten thousand years; so
that the gap referred to above is not affected by it. On the other hand, if
Elohim speaks of what He knows to be existent, the verb z would be
rendered by a present; or if, secondly, of what He means to exist afterwards,
then it would be rendered in English by a future.
This ‘consequently thereon’ would thus make z, as tied to a past of old date,
in some sense a past historically; and yet the series might be consecutive as to
the action of each, as of the above verbs. Z’s (consequent upon a defined past)
go on to the middle of verse 5, when another past (p) is introduced. Whether or
not the p is introduced here to mark the close of Elohim’s actings in a first
period may be considered. In such case the rest of the verse would be a
break between the periods merely. On the other hand, it might be said, If so,
would it not have been before morning—the close of the first day?
2. And then, verse 6, another series of such z’s (consequent upon a
defined past) follows. What is that defined past? Query. verses 1 and 2,
or p‘called’ in verse 5? If it be said, “No; but of ‘first day;’”
that is a definite period indeed; but p‘called,’ verse 5, is twelve
hours before the light which closed the first day. Yet a series does
begin, verse 6, of such z’s, which runs on to ‘called seas,’ verse 10. ‘Seas’ in
contrast here with ‘rain clouds;’ but it is in the third day, and not in
3. A third series of such z’s begins in verse 10, and runs on to verse 14.
The same and similar queries may be raised as before.
Again, a series of z’s runs on to verse 21: “He zcreates whales,
&c., which the waters pbrought forth abundantly.” It may be that
‘creates’ and ‘brought forth abundantly’ are in contrast. But here the p neither
marks a close of any series, or the commencement of another. Used at haphazard
it could not be by God. Can it be that the use of p here is explained in its
more immediate and private context? As in the contrast between ‘night’ and
‘day,’ between ‘seas’ and ‘rain clouds,’ so here (verse 21) between ‘whales,
&c., created,’ and ‘the waters multiplying,’ &c. This is in the fifth
4. In the next series of z’s, which is in the sixth day, queries as before
might be raised. And, query, from middle of 21 to 27, Is the narration according
to the lapse of time in order in the occurrences? And notice the correspondence
between 20, 21, and 24, 25.
Verse 27. “pHe created him in the image of God, male and female
pcreated He them.” Then three z’s and five imperatives (which are
future yet as to the time in which spoken). which give, therefore, a defined
past, as date of departure, to what is consequent to the command. And then,
verse 29, “Behold, pI have given.”
2 p’s, ‘created,’ ‘created;’ 5 imperatives; A p, ‘have given;’
a defined time. a defined time. a defined time.
Verse 29, z‘it is’ or ’shall be;’ verse 30, z‘it is
so;’ verse 31, z’sees’.
Verse 31, p‘made,’ a defined past; ‘evening zis,’
N.B.—Also the participles—their times of qualifying, inherent in that which
they qualify; though the time of their being given dependent on God’s acting in
Chapter ii. Verse 1, consequent on the six days’ creation, z‘are
finished;’ verse 2, z‘ends,’ p‘made,’ z‘rests;’
p‘he made;’ verse 3, z‘blesses,’ z‘sanctifies
it;’ p‘rested,’ p‘created.’
GENESIS i. 1-12—iv. 26.
SECTION 1. 1 In ye beginning Elohim
pcreated^ The heavens and^ The earth:
2 and The earth pwas without form, and void; and darkness
on ye face of ye deep. And ye Spirit of Elohim
amoving on ye face of The waters.
3 And Elohim zsaith, light zis, and
zthere is light. 4 And Elohim zsees
^The light, that it is good; and Elohim zdivides between
The light and The darkness. 5 And Elohim zcalls The light
day, and The darkness phe called night. And evening zis
and morning zis, a first day.
6 And Elohim zsaith, zthere shall be a
firmament in ye midst of The waters, and zit shall be
adividing between waters and waters. 7 And Elohim
zmakes ^The firmament, and zhe divides between
The waters which are under The firmament, and The waters which are
above The firmament; and zit is so. 8 And Elohim
zcalls The firmament heavens. And evening zis and morning
zis, a second day.
9 And Elohim zsaith, The waters under The heavens
zshall be gathered together to one place, and The dry land
zshall be seen, and so zit is; 10 and Elohim
zcalls The dry land earth, and ye gathering
together of The waters phe called seas, and Elohim zsees
that it is good. 11 And Elohim zsaith, The earth
zbrings forth grass, herb aseeding seed, and tree
of fruit aproducing fruit after its kind, whose seed is in it,
on The earth; and so zit is. 12 And The earth
zbrings forth grass, herb aseeding seed after its kind,
and tree aproducing fruit, whose seed is in it, after its
kind; and Elohim zsees that it is good.
13 And evening zis and morning zis, a
14 And Elohim zsaith, zthere shall be lights
in ye firmament of The heavens, to bdivide between The day
and The night; and pthey have been (or were) for signs and for
seasons, and for days and years: 15 and pthey have been
(or were) for lights in ye firmament of The heavens to give light on
The earth, and so zit shall be.
16 And Elohim zmakes ^Those two The
lights The great ones; ^That light that great one for
ye rule of The day, and ^That light, That lesser (lit.
little one) for ye rule of The night; ^The stars also.
17 And Elohim zsets ^them in ye
firmament of The heavens to bgive light on The earth, and
18 bto rule over The day and over The night, and to
bdivide between The light and The darkness, and Elohim
zsees that it is good. 19 And evening
zis and morning zis, a fourth day.
20 And Elohim zsaith, The waters zbring
forth (or shall bring forth) abundantly ye creeping things of
living being, and fowl zflies (or shall fly) over The earth in
ye face of ye firmament of The heavens;
21 and Elohim zcreates ^great whales [The
whales The great] and ^every living being aThat is
creeping, which The waters pbrought forth abundantly, after their
kind, and ^every winged fowl after its kind, and Elohim
zsees that it is good. 22 And Elohim
zblesses ^them, bsaying, cbe
fruitful and cmultiply and cfill ^The waters in
The seas, and The fowl zshall multiply on The earth.
23 And evening zis and morning zis, a fifth
24 And Elohim zsaith, The earth zbrings
forth ye living being after its kind, cattle and reptile and its
living creature of ye earth after its kind, and so zit is.
25 And Elohim zmakes ^ye living
creature of The earth after its kind and ^The cattle after its kind
and ^every reptile of The earth after its kind, and Elohim
zsees that it is good.
26 And Elohim zsaith, zwe will make man
(Adam) in our image, after our likeness, and zthey shall have
dominion over ye fish of The sea, and over ye fowl of The
heavens, and over The cattle, and over all The earth, and over every reptile
aThat is creeping on The earth.
27 So Elohim zcreates The man (Adam) in his own image,
in ye image of Elohim pcreated he ^him;
male and female pcreated he ^them. 28 And
Elohim zblesses ^them, and Elohim zsaith to
them, cBe fruitful, and cmultiply, and
creplenish ^The earth, and csubdue it; and
chave dominion over ye fish of The sea, and over
ye fowl of The heavens and over every living thing aThat
is creeping on The earth.
29 And Elohim zsaith, behold pI have given
to you ^every herb aseeding seed, which is on
ye face of all The earth, and every tree, in which is ye
fruit of a tree ayielding seed, to you zit is for food;
30 and to every living creature of The earth and to every fowl of The
heavens and to every thing acreeping on The earth, wherein is living
being, ^every green herb for food, and so zit is.
31 And Elohim zsees ^everything that
phe made, and, behold, it is very good. And evening
zis and morning zis, The sixth day.
Chap. ii. 1 And The heavens and The earth zbecome
finished, and all their host. 2 And, on The 7th day Elohim
zfinishes his work which phe made, and zhe
rests on The seventh day from all his work which phe made.
3 And Elohim zblesses ^The seventh day, and
zsanctifies it; because that in it phe rested from all his
work which Elohim pcreated bto make.6
SECTION 2. 4 These are ye generations of The
heavens and The earth in btheir being created, in ye day
of bye making by (of) Jehovah Elohim of earth and heavens:
5 and of every plant of The field before zit is on earth,
and of every herb of The field before zit grows; for Jehovah Elohim
pcaused it not to rain on The earth, and man (Adam) there was
none to btill ^The ground, 6 and a mist
zgoes up from The earth and pwatered ^all
ye face of The ground.
7 And Jehovah Elohim zforms ^The man (or,
Adam) of dust from The ground, and zbreathes in his nostrils
ye breath of life; and The man (or, Adam) zbecomes
a living soul. 8 And Jehovah Elohim zplants a garden in
Eden, eastward, and zputs there ^The man (Adam) whom
phe formed. 9 And Jehovah Elohim zcauses to
grow out of The ground every tree apleasant to sight, and good for
food; and tree of The life in ye midst of The garden, and tree
of The knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river ais going out of Eden
bto water ^The garden; and thence zit is
parted, and pbecame four heads. 11 Ye name of
The first Pishon; that is aThe one compassing ^all
ye land of The Havilah, where there is The gold;
12 and gold of The land The that (or, of that very land) is
good; there is The bdellium and a stone The onyx. 13 And
ye name of The river The second is Gihon; that
aThe one compassing ^all ye land of Cush.
14 And ye name of The river The third Hiddekel, that is
aThe one going eastward of Assyria (or, Ashur), and The river The
fourth that is Euphrates.
15 And Jehovah Elohim ztakes ^The man (or,
Adam) and zputs him in ye garden of Eden, to
btill it and to bkeep it. 16 And Jehovah Elohim
zcommands The man (or, Adam), bsaying, Of every tree of
The garden beating zthou shalt eat: 17 but of
ye tree of The knowledge of good and evil, zthou shalt not
eat of it; for in the day of bthy eating of it, bdying
zthou wilt die. 18 And Jehovah Elohim zsaith,
It is not good bye being of The man (Adam) alone,
zI will make for him a helpmeet for him. 19 And Jehovah
Elohim forms out of The ground every living creature of The field, and
^every fowl of The heavens, and zbrings to The man (Adam) to
bsee what zhe calls it: and all that which The man
zcalls ye living being, that is its name.
20 And The man zcalls names to The every cattle, and to
ye fowl of The heavens, and to every living thing of The field; but
for man (Adam) pthere was not found a help meet for him.
21 And Jehovah Elohim zcauses a deep sleep to fall on The
man (Adam), and zhe sleeps; and zhe takes one of his ribs,
and zhe closes up ye flesh instead of it:
22 and Jehovah Elohim zbuilds ^The rib which
phe took out of The man (Adam) for a wife (isha), and zhe
causes her to come to The man (Adam). 23 And The man (Adam)
zsays, This (this time, now) is bone of my bones, and
flesh of my flesh: for this zshe shall be called woman (isha), for
out of man (ish) this pwas taken. 24 Therefore
zshall a man (ish) leave ^his father and ^his
mother, and Phas cleaved to his wife (isha); and pthey
were one flesh. 35 And zthey two were naked, The man
(Adam) and his wife (isha), and zare not ashamed.
SECTION 3. 1 And a certain serpent pwas subtle above
every living creature of The field which Jehovah Elohim pmade, and
zhe says to The woman (isha), It is good sure that Elohim
psaid, Of every tree of The garden zye shall
not eat. 2 And The woman (isha) zsays to The serpent, Of
ye fruit of ye tree of The garden zwe eat.
3 And of ye fruit of The tree that is in
ye midst of The garden Elohim psaid zye
shall not eat of it, and zye shall not touch it, lest zye
die. 4 And zsays The serpent to The woman, Not bdying
zyou shall die. 5 For Elohim ais knowing
that in ye day of byour eating of it your eyes
pwere even opened, and pyou became as Elohim
aknowing good and evil. 6 And The woman zsees
that The tree is good for food, and that it is pleasant to The
eyes, and The tree ato be desired to bmake wise, and
zshe takes of its fruit and zeats, and zgives
also to her husband with her, and zhe eats: 7 And
zare opened ye eyes of them both, and zthey
know that they are naked, and zthey sew leaf of fig and
zthey make aprons for themselves. 8 And zthey
hear ^ye voice of Jehovah Elohim awalking in
The garden in ye wind-rise of The day; and The man (Adam) and his
wife (ishah) zhide themselves from ye face of Jehovah
Elohim in ye midst of ye trees of The garden.
9 And Jehovah Elohim zcalls to The man (Adam) and
zsays to him, Where art thou? 10 And zhe
says ^Thy voice pI heard in the garden, and zI
fear, for naked am I, and zI hide myself. 11 And
zhe says, Who ptold thee that naked art thou?
Whether of The tree which pI commanded thee not bto eat of
it phast thou eaten? 12 And The man (Adam)
zsays, The woman (ishah) that pthou gavest to be
with me, she pgave to me of The tree, and zI eat.
13 And Jehovah Elohim zsays to The woman (ishah), What
this pthou hast done? and zsays The woman (ishah), The
serpent pbeguiled me, and zI eat. 14 And
Jehovah Elohim zsaith to The serpent, Because pthou hast
done this, acursed art thou above all The cattle and above all
living creature of The field; on thy belly zshalt thou go, and dust
zshalt thou eat all ye days of thy life. 15 And
zI put enmiy between thee and The woman (ishah), and between thy seed
and her seed; he zshall bruise thee as to ye
head, and thou zshalt bruise him as to ye heel.
16 To The woman (ishah) phe said, bMultiplying
zI will multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow
zthou shalt bring forth children, and to thy husband (ish) shall
be thy desire, and he zshall rule over thee. 17 And to
man (Adam) phe said, Because pthou hast hearkened to
ye voice of thy wife (ishah), and zeatest of The tree
which pI commanded thee, bsaying, zThou shalt
not eat of it, acursed is The ground by reason of thee, in
sorrow zshalt thou eat of it all ye days of thy life.
18 And thorns and thistles zshalt it cause to bud for
thee, and pthou hast eaten ^the herb of The field.
19 In sweat of thy face zshalt thou eat bread till
bthy returning to The ground, for out of it pwast thou
taken; for dust thou art and to dust zthou returnest.
20 And The man (Adam) zcalls ye name of
his wife (ishah) Living; for she pwas mother of all living.
21 And Jehovah Elohim zmakes for Adam and for his wife
(ishah) coats of skin and zclothes them. 22 And Jehovah
Elohim zsaith, Behold, The man (Adam) phas become as one
of us to bknow good and evil; and now, lest zhe puts forth
his hand, and phas taken also of ye tree of The life, and
phas eaten and phas lived for ever; 23 and
Jehovah Elohim zsends him forth from ye garden of Eden to
btill ^The ground whence phe was taken.
24 And zhe drives ^The man out; and
zhe makes to dwell eastward to ye garden of Eden
^The cherubim and ^ye flame of The sword
aThat turns every way, to bkeep ^the way of
ye tree of The life.
SECTION 4. 1 And The man (Adam) pknew
^Chavah his wife, and zshe conceives and zbears
^Cain, and zsays, pI have gotten a man (ish)
^from Jehovah. 2 And zshe repeats (adds)
bto bear ^his brother ^Hehvel (Abel); and Abel
zis afeeding (a feeder of) sheep, and Cain pwas
atilling (a tiller of) ground. 3 And zit comes
to pass at ye end of some days, and Cain zbrings of
ye fruit of The ground an offering to Jehovah. 4 And Abel
he also pbrought of ye firstlings of his sheep and
of their fat, and Jehovah zhas respect to Abel and to his offering.
5 And to Cain and to his offering phe had not respect, and
Cain zis very wrath, and his countenance (features) zfall
(are lowering). 6 And zsaith Jehovah to Cain, Why is there
wrath (phas wrath kindled in) to thee, and why
phas thy countenance fallen? 7 Whether is there
not, if zthou doest well acceptance (a rising up, taec]), and if zthou doest not well at
The door a sin (offering) ais lying and to thee his desire,
and thou zrulest (zor shalt rule) over him.
8 And Cain ztalks with (or to) Abel his brother; and
zit comes to pass in btheir being in The field and
zCain rises up against Abel his brother, and zslays him.
9 And Jehovah zsaith to Cain, Where is Abel thy
brother? And zhe says, pI have not known. aThe
keeper of my brother am I? 10 And zhe says, What
phast thou done? Voice of thy brother’s blood ais
crying to me from The ground. 11 And now acursed art
thou from The ground which phas opened ^its mouth to
breceive ^ye blood of thy brother from thy
hand. 12 when zthou tillest ^The ground, not
zshall it repeat to give its strength to thee; a fugitive and a
wanderer zshalt thou be on The earth. 13 And Cain
zsays to Jehovah, My iniquity is greater than bto be
forgiven. 14 Behold, pthou hast driven ^me out
This day from off ye face of The ground, and from thy face
zI shall be hid, and pI have become a fugitive and a
wanderer on The earth, and pit has come to pass that any one
afinding me zwilI slay me. 15 And Jehovah
zsaith to him, therefore any one aslaying Cain
zhe shall be avenged sevenfold; and Jehovah zsets a sign
on Cain, that any one afinding him bmight not kill him.
16 And Cain zgoes out from ye presence of
Jehovah, and zdwells in ye land of Nod, eastward of
17 And Cain zknows ^his wife; and
zshe conceives, and zbears ^Enoch: and
zhe becomes abuilder of a city, and zhe calls
ye name of The city according to ye name of his son
Chanoch (Enoch). 18 And zthere was born to Enoch
^Irad, and Irad pbegat ^Mehujael, and Mehujael
pbegat ^Methusael, and Methusael pbegat
^Lamech. 19 And Lamech ztakes to him two wives;
ye name of The one Adah, and ye name of The second Zillah.
20 And Adah zbears ^Jabal; he pwas
father of ahim dwelling in tent and cattle. 21 And
ye name of his brother was Jubal; he pwas father of
all ahandling harp and organ. 22 And Zillah, she also
pbare ^Tubal-cain aan instructer (improver) of
every aworker in brass and iron; and ye sister of
Tubal-cain was Naamah. And Lamech zsays to his wives, Adah and
Zillah, chear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, chearken to my
speech; for pI have slain an individual (ish) to my wounding, and a
young man to my hurt; 24 for Cain zshall be avenged
sevenfold and Lamech seventy and seven-fold.
25 And Adam zknows ^his wife again; and
zshe bears a son, and zcalls ^his name Sheth:
for Elohim phas set to me another seed instead of Abel, for Cain
pslew him. 26 And to Sheth, to him also a son
pwas born; and zhe calls ^his name Enosh. Then
pbegan some (or, it was begun) to b call in the name of Jehovah.
1 This statement may be questioned, but it is left for the
consideration of the reader.-Ed.
2 I give the quotation as found in the English autborized
version, but mark the so-calIed tenses as they are in Hebrew—p for preterite,
and z for the other.
3 God’s way of His own of writing and speaking—“ Abraham is the
father of us all, (as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,)
before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth
those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. iv. 16, 17)—proves this.
“Have made,” when Abraham had no children—what did that mean? It was God that
spoke and wrote it, and all was according to His foregone counsel, and plan, and
promise. To us, now that His counsels and plans from before the foundation of
the world have been brought to light, with immortality by the gospel, all is
simple in such a mode of speech; for all stands as “yea and Amen” in them.
4 See eight instances in four verses, Psalm xx. 1-4.
5 According to the purpose and plan proposed by God long
6 NOTE.—Reader, thus far we have met with about 12 instances of
p, or preterites, in 34 verses; and they are interspersed in about 66 instances
of z; which the Rabbis call a future, and many moderns a
present tense. Read and consider the matter for yourself. That the writer
or speaker in Hebrew, if be started with a p, was free to bring in
another and start again, is indisputable. The circumstances under which
he would do so and the effect or effects of so doing we have to
weigh up and get light upon.
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