THE PREPOSITIONS ט AND ב
The grammar of Gen 1: 26a is unusual (see §0.3). At first, v. 26a conforms to grammatical expectation. The proposal to create humanity is introduced by a desiderative predicate () and is then followed by an undetermined direct object ( ). Thereafter, though, two different prepositional phrases appear in immediate succession. Neither phrase is semantically or grammatically required. They each contain a similative nominal yet are governed by a grammatically distinct prepositional head. They each present information rhetorically peripheral to the sentential core. Hence, the differential marking of each nonobligatory phrase suggests that each phrase has distinct meaning, at least in relation to one other.
Gen 5: 3 is often adduced to prove the contrary (§0.3).1
When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he fathered (a son). (Gen 5: 3a [PT])
then God said, “Let us make humankind.” (Gen 1: 26a
Like 1: 26aβ, 5: 3aβ is headed by a highly transitive verb of creation (). The direct object—omitted as an obvious, generic, and contextually less salient entity than the fathering agent2—is viable, newborn, and human. So too, the final constituents in 5: 3aβ are a pair of nonobligatory prepositional phrases that recycle the same prepositions, similative nouns, and syntax as in 1: 26aβ. These two passages are clearly similar, then, even though the prepositional phrases themselves
1 E.g., Josef Scharbert, “Der Mensch als Ebenbild Gottes in der neueren Auslegung von Gen 1,26,” in Weisheit Gottes—Weisheit der Welt. Festschrifl für Joseph Kardinal Ratzinger zum 60. Geburtstag (ed. Walter Baier et al.; 2 vols.; St. Ottilien: EOS, 1987) 1.250.
2 See J. C. L. Gibson, ed., Davidson's Introductory Hebrew Grammar ~ Syntax (4th ed.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994) §89, Rem. 4, in conjunction with GKC §117f. Cf. Ronald S. Hendel, The Text of Genesis 1–11: Textual Studies and Critical Edition (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) 49–50; and, differently, Howard N. Wallace, “The Toledot of Adam,” in Studies in the Pentateuch (ed. J. A. Emerton; VTS 41; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1990) 19.