BHS (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia): וַיַּבְדֵּ֣ל אֱלֹהִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָאֹ֖ור וּבֵ֥ין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃

ESV (English Standard Version): And God separated the light from the darkness.

NLT (New Living Translation): Then he separated the light from the darkness.


LXX (Septuagint): καὶ διεχώρισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ φωτὸς, καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σκότους

BETS (Brenton English translation Septuagint): and God divided between the light and the darkness

NETS (New English Translation Septuagint): and God separated between the light and between the darkness

OSB (Orthodox Study Bible): and God divided the light from the darkness.


VUL (Latin Vulgate): et divisit lucem ac tenebras

DRB (Douay Rheims Bible): and he divided the light from the darkness

NAB: (New American Bible): God then separated the light from the darkness


English Translations with variant readings:

LEB (Lexham English Bible): God caused there to be a separation between the light and between the darkness


Observations & Discussions

  1. In Job 26:10 we see that the possibility of a separation or of a division might have the idea aof “distinguishing” between the two. They are often used to refer to good and evil not physical places. Job says, (ESV) “He (GOD) has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.” Another verse, Job 38:19-20, talks about the distinction between the two and how to reach them. But since they are not literal places it must refer to good and evil. It says, “Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home?”
  2. There are very few variants in the English Translations. They either translate the verb as “separated” or as “divided.”
  3. One commentator suggested the idea of a “distinction.” In the Teacher’s Commentary we read, “Differentiation. Often our text says, ‘And God separated,’ as in, ‘He separated the light from the darkness’ (v. 4). The Hebrew word here means ‘to make a distinction between.’ Light is distinguished from dark, earth from sea, day from night—as God sets up a stable pattern for His universe.”[1]
  4. Tom Constable makes an interesting comment in his notes, “From the beginning God made divisions. He later divided the holy from the profane, the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, and Israel from the nations. This shows His sovereignty (i.e., ultimate authority).”[2]


CLV (Chuck Larsen Version): God made a distinction between the light and the darkness

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.

[1] Larry Richards and Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1987), 23.

[2] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 1:5.