BHS (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia): וִיהִ֣י מַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין מַ֖יִם לָמָֽיִם

ESV (English Standard Version): and let it separate the waters from the waters.

NLT (New Living Translation): to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.

Definitions: (bādal), ni. separate o.s.; go over to (+ אֶל); be excluded from (+ מִן); be singled out; hi. separate; make a distinction; segregate (#976); בְּדִיל (bedîl), tin, plumb line (#974); בָּדָל (bādāl), piece (#977); מִבְדָּלוֹת (mibdālôt), nom. singled out, selected (a mixed form with the vowels of the ni. part. and the consonants of the hi. part.) (hapleg.; #4426).[1]

Hiphil—(1) to separate, to disjoin, Lev. 1:17; as two places by a veil, fence, wall. Ex. 26:33; Eze. 42:20; Gen. 1:6, things previously mixed together; Gen. 1:4.[2]

My translation from the MT: To be a barrier between the waters above and the waters below


LXX (Septuagint): καὶ ἔστω διαχωρίζον ἀνὰ μέσον ὕδατος καὶ ὕδατος

BETS (Brenton English translation Septuagint): and let it be a division between water and water

NETS (New English Translation Septuagint): And let it be a separator between water and water

OSB (Orthodox Study Bible):  and let it divide the water from the water

My LXX translation: To be a barrier between the two waters



VUL (Latin Vulgate): et dividat aquas ab aquis

DRB (Douay Rheims Bible):  and let it divide the waters from the waters

NAB: (New American Bible): to separate one body of water from the other.

My VUL translation: To be a barrier between the two waters


English Translations with variant readings:

CEV: God said, “I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it.”

EMPH: and let it be a means of dividing between waters and waters

GNB: “Let there be a dome to divide the water and to keep it in two separate places”

LB: And God said, “Let the vapors separate to form the sky above and the oceans below.”

NCV: “Let there be something to divide the water in two.”


Observations & Discussions

An Interesting Cross Reference for thought: Isaiah 59:2 “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”


CLV (Chuck Larsen Version): And God declared, “Let there be some solid border that will keep the waters above separated from the waters below.”

CLV In the beginning God created heaven and earth but the earth was invisible and incomplete. And darkness covered the abyss. The spirit of God was brooding over the abyss’ darkness so God issued a decree that there should be light, and there was light. God saw the light and declared that the light was very good. Then God named the light “day” and he named the darkness “night.” And it was evening and it was morning: Day One! And God declared, “Let there be some solid border that will keep the waters above separated from the waters below.”

  1. niphal

o.s. oneself (in lexical definition)

  1. hiphil
  2. niphal
  3. hiphil

hapleg. hapax legomenon

[1] Willem VanGemeren, ed., New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 603–604.

[2] Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003), 103.