Genesis 1:16 and the Lesser Light

Several have been studying the importance of the moon as far as determining times and seasons lately. A key verse in the study is Genesis 1:16.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

The phrase “he made” is not found in the Hebrew. There is also a good chance that the word “also”, H853 “‘eth”, at the end of the verse is not or should not be there. A suggestion on how the verse should read is as follows.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, the stars.

This makes the verse read significantly different. Looking at one of my study programs leads me to believe that the word “also” is in the Hebrew text. However since there were no verse markings or punctuation in the original text I wondered if the “also” could actually be a part of verse 17?

Here is verse 17.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

The word “And” that starts the verse is actually H5414 nathan and is not the word “And”. It is also translated “set” in verse 17. It has the meaning to give, put or make. So the word “And” is missing from verse 17. Perhaps the word “also” at the end of verse 16 really belongs to verse 17 which would then accurately read as is shown above. Using Englishman’s shows that the word, H853 ‘eth, is translated “and” or “also”.

In verse 16 the word translated “light”, found twice, is translated from the Hebrew H3974 and means “a luminous body or luminary”. Looking at a modern dictionary gives us an answer that any body that radiates or reflects light is a luminous body. Looking at the 1828 Websters says the following.


1. Any body that gives light, but chiefly one of the celestial orbs. The sun is the principal luminary in our system. the stars are inferior luminaries.


1. Shining; emitting light. The sun is a most luminous body.
2. Light; illuminated. The moon is rendered luminous by the rays of the sun.

I am inclined to favor the older definitions for two reasons. One is that the older definition is more closely related to the source language or word usage at the time of the translation. Second, and maybe this is just me, but I am seeing modern definitions expand to include concepts they were never intended to include. The misuse of words is expanding and definitions are blurring. Unfortunately I may be guilty of this very thing myself. Either way I currently see the word “light” in verse 16 to indicate a source of light, not a reflected light.

It is because of these reasons and one more that I will chat about later that I am inclined to side with a solar calendar to determine times and seasons in scripture.


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