Questions, Insights, & Responses

shared from and with users

#39 - Man in Gen 2:7 - dust? or soil?

by Robert Nguyen Cramer

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.


Question/insight #39: "The one question I have is about the TEV [Today's English Version]. Often the origin of man is referred to as dust. Is this [TEV's rendering of "soil" instead of "dust" in Gen 2:7] an interpretive translation or is this completely accurate?"

Response #39:

Since most translations (ASV, Goodspeed, KJV, Moffatt, Moulton, NASB, NIV, REB, NRSV, Rotherham, RSV, RV, and others) do use the term "dust," you ask a very reasonable question. Only a few use other terms ("clay" - NAB; "clods" - Anchor Bible; "soil" - CEV, NJB, TEV). In this and in most cases, the TEV provides a completely sound and accurate translation.

The Hebrew word for dust is apar <Strong's Hebrew word #6083>. One of the more thorough Hebrew dictionary discussions of this word is found in the Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament, Volume 2 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997, pages 939-941), which states in part:

In A Handbook on Genesis (New York: United Bible Societies, 1997, pages 61-63), William D. Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry write:

In the Anchor Bible's commentary on Genesis (New York: Doubleday, 1964, pages 14 and 16), E.A. Speiser maybe puts the issue most succinctly:


Copyright 1996-2005 Robert Nguyen Cramer