Gen 1:27 "man" and Gen 2:7 "the man"

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Garcia | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Feb 5 2013 10:22 AM

In Gen 1:27 it says, 

"So God created man in his own image,"

The word man in this case does not get a the definite article "הַ" 

Although in the BHS the definite article is part of the word  - הָֽאָדָם֙


In Gen 2:7 it says,

"then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground"

In this case the definite article is translated but again in the Hebrew text it is part of the word - הָֽאָדָם֙

I understand that in Gen 2.7 we are speaking of "Adam" the person and therefore it is proper to identify him as "The Man" signifying we are speaking of Adam.

I also understand that in Gen 1:27 "Man" is being used as a generic reference to people or mankind in general.

What I am trying to understand are the grammatical Hebrew rules (and references within Logos) used by the translators in differentiating the use of the definite article "the" in Gen 2.7 and not in Gen 1.27.

God Bless and thanks for your help.

Posts 418
davidphillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 5 2013 10:45 AM

This isn't an issue involving the article, but a translation issue involving the context. All the English translations I have, except Young's Literal translation, translate it as man, mankind, or something similar. The reason is the context of verse 1:27. The three clauses are parallel, and the last clause indicates that the creation of הָאָדָם is corporate, since he created "them" male and female. Verse 28ff continues this, as God speaks to them, and their actions are all described in the plural.

Posts 482
elnwood | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 5 2013 11:13 AM

The definite article in Hebrew doesn't mean that "the man/mankind" is singular, as it is in English.

For example, Genesis 8:21 (ESV):

21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 

In both of these instances, there is the definite article, but the meaning is collective, i.e. mankind, not singular.

Posts 151
luoar | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 6 2013 5:56 AM


You have asked a very good question. You can be sure that in neither place does haadam refer to the proper name "Adam" since proper names do not take the article in Hebrew. The reason the article is used in both instances is because to designate a noun of species, one uses the article. To translate as "THE man" in English is incorrect. The reference is to the species humankind




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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 6 2013 4:07 PM

I'd say this is simply a peculiarity of the English language. Apart from Latin (which doesn't have any definite article), all languages I can think of do use the definite article together with the generic word for man, mankind. English doesn't.

(In Swedish we have our own peculiarity, since the word for man in this sense happens to be feminine. So in Swedish it's God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created her. Same in Ps 8: What, then, is man that you think of her, or son of man that you take care of him? Sounds weird in English where man can mean both male and human being, but not in Swedish where it can only mean the latter. In fact, given the Hebrew Bible's love for parallelism, it tends to fit the style and add an extra dimension to it. (No wonder we're at the forefront when it comes to equality: we were egalitarian long before the word was even invented.Big SmileStick out tongue))

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 7 2013 4:36 AM

Fascinating fgh. Thanks for sharing! Smile

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