Evening and Morning of the 1st Day — Here’s What it Means
Evening and Morning, we think we know what they are. When it comes to Biblical Hebrew, there’s a much fuller meaning. Here it is.
Evening and morning and day. Wherever you are in the world, one of those periods is on you. If you’re a Bible reader (and I hope you are), then when you see those words, they are so common you don’t even hesitate to question what they might mean. You’re in for a surprise when we dig deeper into Biblical Hebrew.
(Origin of the Universe, chapter 8.5)
On a second note, notice that as at the beginning of this verse we have and/and so in this part we again have and/and — juxtapositioning, for emphasis, two separate phrases: “And the evening (H6153 erev/arab) was, and the morning (H1242 boker) was, first day (H3117 yom)” (Gen. 1:5).
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And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening (H6153) and the morning were the first day.
Three Hebrew words that tell a story, the whole story. They merit deeper reflection, far beyond a rapid read of this short verse. The first word is erev for evening.
עֶרֶב ʻereb eh’-reb; from H6150 (עָרַב); dusk:
KJV — + day, even(-ing, tide), night.
עָרַב ʻârab aw-rab’; a primitive root (rather identical with H6148 (עָרַב) through the idea of covering with a texture); to grow dusky at sundown:
KJV — be darkened, (toward) evening.
עָרַב ʻârab aw-rab’; a primitive root; to braid, i.e. intermix; technically, to traffic (as if by barter); also or give to be security (as a kind of exchange):
KJV — engage, (inter-) meddle (with), mingle (self), mortgage, occupy, give pledges, be(-come, put in) surety, undertake.
There are about ten other words with this identical root ערב (ayin, raish, bet-from left to right): be darkened (H6150) mingle (self), mix (H6151). Arabia, mingled people (Ezra 9:2), mixed (multitude), woof, the web (or transverse threads of cloth); also a mixture, (or mongrel race) (H6154), divers sorts of flies, swarm (H6157). Arabah, champaign, desert, evening, heaven, plain, wilderness, the (generally) sterile valley of the Jordan (H6160). Pledge, a pawn (given as security), or (metaphorically) a bondsman (H6061–2).
The above is a summary, but let’s ask the audience the question. Who has meddled? Intermixed? Darkened? Made sterile? Who has threaded a web? Who has made a mixture? Who is a bondsman? Who has caused humans to be pawns? Galacti understands these are all meanings of Erev as Strong’s indicates above, and they do have a common denominator, pointing to the same individual. Guess who (if you don’t know, click to find out).
We also find one reference, as seen above, in Strong’s H6157 to swarms of flies, mosquitos. At first glance, you might not realize the connection, but people have elevated the fly to god level, and worship it. In the Bible, this is called Beelzebub or Baalzevov; furthermore, zevov is the Hebrew for fly (2 Kings 1:2). A Biblical point of view considers this type of adoration as devil worship and denounces it. (Mark 3:22–23).
We notice in H6149 that this same root is also pleasant, sweet; this appears to be in opposition to the description of the Serpent, who is the symbolic reference here. It’s an excellent example of Bible-wide corroboration. We know the main point: darkness, night, and evening have strong references to the Serpent. How can sweet be applied to this infamous character? Pro. 20:17 points us in the right direction: “Bread of deceit is sweet (H6149) to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” Indeed, our audience understands that what looks good on the outside (alcohol, sex, quick money) can turn into hell if not used properly. Comprehension dawns on us as the lights in our auditorium go out again.
And evening and morning
In contrast to and following evening is morning. It may dawn with the soft glow of rays of light escalating the horizon, dark yielding to light, but it is a separate positive progression. On the stage, we see this action reflected.
בֹּקֶר bôqer bo’-ker; from H1239 (בָּקַר); properly, dawn (as the break of day); generally, morning:
KJV — ([phrase]) day, early, morning, morrow.
בָּקַר bâqar baw-kar; a primitive root; properly, to plough, or (generally) break forth, i.e. (figuratively) to inspect, admire, care for, consider:
KJV — (make) inquire (-ry), (make) search, seek out
Boker translates morning, and from the alternative words above, also contains the concept of breaking of day, evening dissolving into the morning, the light and warmth emerging, intensifying, engulfing, finally replacing the black and cold.
Read Psalms 27:4 for an associated meaning of morning, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire (H1239) in his temple.” Boker contains the realization that in the existing dark confusion, there’s an instigation to inquire, search out, and seek for some answers. It’s an honest examination that starts dimly and brightens with patience, a careful inspection of issues and details that light can reveal. Evening and morning are the times for breaking new ground.
Quickly reading “and the evening and morning …” in Genesis 1:5, in your native language, solely refers to the movement of time. In Biblical Hebrew, there’s a clear figurative meaning for evening and morning: inquire and plowing. Once again, this is not Sam’s interpretation. Psalms 27:4 uses the Biblical Hebrew root that way; Sam is merely pointing this out to you. The Explanation is an inquiry into what God is telling us through the Bible, and it is solely designed to help you inquire and dig out what it says.
Day: On the Threshold
This momentous Godly intervention in the total blackness of night ends or instead begins in Gen 1.5 with the first day. There’s still dark, but it has been confined so that light shines through, bearing the name day: H3117 (yom) from an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours). Yes, I’ve shortened this extract, but the essential is there: Warmth. As the light brightens our surroundings, we have a warm feeling, a pleasant atmosphere, as in, It’s been a beautiful day. Evening and morning, in that sequence, represent a day. Evening and morning introduce night and daytime.
This Hebrew word for day has various meanings related to time (and we shall discuss the length of the days of creation, but not now), but let’s focus on one which is particularly relevant to this new phase of God’s plan. Psalms 91:16 “With long life (3117) will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.”
We ponder life or long days, another of those singular concepts that sum up everything God is accomplishing. There was nothing physically alive that first day, but light, morning, and day symbolize wonderful long life in the fullest sense of its magnificence and accomplishment. Life has nothing to do with destructive darkness, mixed up evening, and twisted night.
The light of day is but the first step to and of life.
Our audience stands up in the aisles as the model of the earth is replaced by music. The ballet music inspires us to dance. Now we are participants instead of spectators. The light has awakened us and brought us a fuller experience of life. The light is generous, because only in full light can we live a long and prosperous life. We are not meant to dwell in darkness, and light is necessary for the long, continued life of man. Light and using our talents to the fullest: that is what the first day brings us as our introductory plan concludes.
However, now that day has dawned, there is so much more to discover in our long life, and in The Explanation. This light we are experiencing is only the beginning.
This article is an excerpt from chapter 8.5 of the book Origin of the Universe
Click on UnlockBibleMeaning.com, find Genesis 1:5, and switch to Strong’s. You’ll see evening, click on H6153. Hover your mouse over the bottom of Strong’s reference, and you’ll see: Previous 5 | Next 5. Click to open up the previous and next references. There you’ll find the other words with this identical 3-letter root ערב (ayin, raish, bet-from left to right).
Even if you can’t read Hebrew, you can recognize the letters. You’ll see these words refer you back to root via H6150 and H6148. There is a fantastic relationship between these words, and they do tell a story that we’re unfolding.
A word about Strong’s concordance: I double-checked the usage of this root בָּקַר H1239 and frankly, nowhere in the Biblical Hebrew did I find the translation to plow as we see indicated clearly for H1239. My point is we have to be careful with Strong’s and cautious with how we use and interpret Biblical Hebrew. What is clear is that figurative usage is an integral part of the language. You’ll often see me write dig for Bible meaning. We know that you don’t go and get a shovel and start digging up your flower garden.
So, from where does Strong get plow and breaking forth?
H1241. בָּקָר bâqâr baw-kawr’; from H1239 (בָּקַר); beef cattle or an animal of the ox family of either gender (as used for plowing); collectively, a herd:
KJV — beeve, bull ([phrase] -ock), + calf, + cow, great (cattle), + heifer, herd, kine, ox.
The Bible uses the same Biblical Hebrew word for morning, cattle and cow. Strong traces both back to H1239 (KJV — (make) inquire (-ry), (make) search, seek out). Some would argue that we have the same root with two different meanings, and there’s no connection. I hear them, but it is also clear that word roots with different meanings are interconnected — both literally, figuratively, and even poetically.
Take Deuteronomy “21:3 And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer (H1241) which hath not been wrought with and which hath not drawn in the yoke” The Biblical Hebrew bakar (H1241) is used to refer to a cow. The implication is clear that this heifer has not plowed; this is the literal use of a cow.
Figuratively when referring to a cow, we can, therefore, point out its usage: plowing and the breaking of the ground; this is the beginning of any new crop until the bright and admirable day of harvest (we recall our visit to the wheat fields).
You can read all of the book Origin of the Universe online. Sam blogs weekly at TheExplanation.com The Explanation masters Biblical Hebrew to help you unlock more in-depth Bible meaning. Free tools to read and study the Bible online.