The Bible

Major shout out goes to the Servant Moses and Joshua son of Nun for handing this awesome book to the elder Israelites (Mishnah Avot 1:1). And shout out goes to Aaron ben Moses Ben-Asher and the other masoretes of the Galilean town of Tiberias for preserving this text and allowing me to continue this work.

Translation Notes

a. The Hebrew prefix B' means "in" but the definite article "Ha" meaning "the" is not in the text, so I make this omission explicit. The Hebrew ending IM is equivalent to the English ending S, i.e. it is a pluralizing suffix. Elohim is the male plural form of eloah, meaning God. The verb form (b[a]ra), however, is in the third-person singular masculine perfect. So I chose to insert the third-person singular pronoun to carry forward this effect in my translation. The Hebrew ending "AYIM" indicates duality in standard Biblical Hebrew implying that there are exactly two heavens. Others "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

b. The verb "haitah" is the third-person singular feminine perfect of haya (hyh) meaning "to be" or "to exist" -- before a vocalic suffix the verb forms will show a vocal shewa and the tav is added to disambiguate since the 3sf suffix is "ah" (e.g. banah bnh means "he built" and bantah bn-th means "she built"). The word "tohu" has many definitions including "formlessness" and "confusion". The word "vohu" has many definitions and also includes a type of "formlessness" or "emptyness". The word "panei" is the bound male plural form in the construct state of the word "panim" meaning "face", so I translated this literally as "faces of [male final noun]". I could find no indication of the verb "was" in the second part of the sentence and so I continue to treat the "aretz" as the subject to emphasize that the Torah is describing something indescribable a "tohu v'vohu v'hosek al-penei tehom" -- an indescribable emptiness and confusion in existence. Others "And the earth was unformed and void...", "And the earth hath existed waste and void..."

c. The verb "yamar" is the third-person singular masculine imperfect of the verb "amar" (amr) meaning "to say". If Hebrew words had tenses, then the vav prefixes would have plain meaning of tense reversal and "v'yamar" could be translated as "And he said", "v'y'hi" could be translated as "and [he] was". This is the traditional interpretation of the so-called vavyiqtol (the vav-prefixed imperfect). I choose to interpret the form as future tense but from the shifted deicted center (to describe a future-in-past action), and so I insert the marker "would" and conjugate accordingly. Others "And God said [let] there be light, and there was light."

d. The verb form "yara" (yra) is the third-person singular masculine imperfect form of the verb raah (rah) meaning "to see", as this is a III-He root the final He is dropped in the vavyiqtol. The verb "yavdel", again in the vavyiqtol construction "vayavdel", is the third-person masculine imperfect form of the root verb "vdl" meaning "to divide/to distinguish". The word "byn" can mean "between,among,amid". Others "And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness."

e. The verb "kara" (kra) meaning "to call" is used both in the third-person singular masculine perfect and the vavyiqtol construction. I preserve these usages so that the reader can easily spot the verb in the original text.