Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the jussive

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Glenn Dean
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Joined: Tue May 26, 2020 6:28 pm

Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the jussive

Post by Glenn Dean »

Hi:

Here's the start of Gen 1:14:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יְהִ֤י מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם "and God said 'let there be luminaries in the firmament of the skies"

I thought the verb "to be" should be fem. pl. since "luminaries" is fem. pl., but the verb יְהִי is masc. sg.

I want to compare-and-contrast to Gen 1:20:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים יִשְׁרְצ֣וּ הַמַּ֔יִם "and God said 'let the waters teem ..."

so I noticed the verb is masc. pl. just like "waters" is masc. dual/pl

And also we look at Gen 1:3 "let there be light" (the verb is masc. sg. and so is the word light)

So back to Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the verb "to be" in 1:14??

thanxs!

Glenn
ducky
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Re: Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the jussive

Post by ducky »

Hi Glenn

When it comes to this verb היה, it can comes as masuline singular also to refer to a plural or to feminine and so on.
It is like a general way.

just for a simple example:
Ex. 12:49
תּוֹרָה אַחַת יִהְיֶה לָאֶזְרָח וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכְכֶם
(you would expect תהיה since תורה is feminine)

****
In this case, it could be also that this ויהי is written like that to give reference to the ויהי אור in the beginning, since both these verses talks about the light.
David Hunter
Glenn Dean
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Re: Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the jussive

Post by Glenn Dean »

thanxs ducky for that example! That really helps!

It's just the verb "to be" that is odd in the jussive, but all the other verbs act normally?

By that I mean, normally there's agreement in the subject and verb (so, for example, one would never write ישׁרץ המים since the verb is masc. sg. while the subject is masc. dual/pl.)

Glenn
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Jason Hare
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Re: Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the jussive

Post by Jason Hare »

Don't forget that אוֹר is masculine, and the plural אוֹרוֹת, as are מָאוֹר and מְאוֹרוֹת. The ◌וֹת does not necessarily indicate feminine gender in the noun on which it is found.
Jason Hare
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progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

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Glenn Dean
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Re: Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the jussive

Post by Glenn Dean »

Thanxs Jason for the info - I totally missed that m'orot was masc pl

Glenn
Jemoh66
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Re: Gen 1:14 - what is the subject of the jussive

Post by Jemoh66 »

It’s simple. Since יְהִ֤י is a masc. sg., it means it is not agreeing with מְאֹרֹת֙. Which means it has an assumed impersonal subject. So it is correctly translated let there be.

In the case of יִשְׁרְצ֣וּ הַמַּ֔יִם the subject is clearly hammayim.
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary
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