BHS (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia):            וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀ לָאֹור֙ יֹ֔ום וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה

ESV (English Standard Version): God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

NLT (New Living Translation): God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”


LXX (Septuagint): Καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸ φῶς ἡμέραν, καὶ τὸ σκότος ἐκάλεσε νύκτα.

BETS (Brenton English translation Septuagint): And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night

NETS (New English Translation Septuagint): And God called the light Day and the darkness he called night

OSB (Orthodox Study Bible): God called the light Day; the darkness He called Night


VUL (Latin Vulgate): appellavitque lucem diem et tenebras noctem

DRB (Douay Rheims Bible):  And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night

NAB: (New American Bible): God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”


English Translations with variant readings:

CEV: and named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.”


Observations & Discussions

  1. Naming things is important. It is done by the one sovereign over the thing or things being named. I believe that may be why God gave Adam the right to name the animals. Gowan says as much in his commentary on Genesis, “So God affirms his sovereignty over both light and darkness by giving them names, Day and Night. And with this, time begins.”[1] In Psalm 147:4, (ESV) we read, “He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names.” The idea of naming is significant to each of us. We are God’s people, those of us with faith in Jesus Christ are now His chosen ones according to Paul. I like to think that the promises we find in the Old Testament addressed specifically to Israel and the Patriarchs are intended for us today. Psalm 43:1-2 (ESV) is encouraging, “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
  2. Notice the last statement in Gowan’s quote: He suggests that the separating of light from darkness and naming them was God’s act that set in motion “time” as an entity in and of itself. This might be seen because God begins to number the days of creation from this point on. The sequencing of events seems to be the definition of time in some ways.
  3. There have been questions about the nature of “darkness.” Is it something in and of itself or is it the absence of light. It seems to be the later. We know that light is forever, but darkness is temporary. Revelation 22:5 (ESV) makes that clear: “And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Constable observes, “Darkness was not a creation like light but the absence of light (cf. v. 2). Darkness (Heb. hosek) in Scripture often connotes evil (cf. Exod. 10:21–23; 1 Sam. 2:9; Job 2:4, 5; Ps. 35:6; Joel 2:2).”[2]
  4. In Exodus 10, the ninth plaque that Moses called down upon Egypt was darkness throughout the land. Not just normal darkness, but “dark-darkness.” But to the Israelites God gave light (See Exodus 10:23).


CLV (Chuck Larsen Version): God named the light “day” and he named the darkness “night.”

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.”

[1] Donald E. Gowan, From Eden to Babel: A Commentary on the Book of Genesis 1–11, International Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1988), 22.

[2] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 1:4.