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The reading of Genesis 2:2 has been debated due to variants found in the text. In particular the word הַשְּׁבִיעִי is replaced by הַשִּׁשִּׁי in three different manuscripts. These manuscripts include the Samaritan Hebrew Pentateuch, the Septuagint, and the Syriac version of the OT. הַשְּׁבִיעִי, is an ordinal number meaning ‘the seventh’ and הַשִּׁשִּׁי is also an ordinal number meaning ‘the sixth’. In English the translation would either be: “and God finished on the seventh day His work which He made…” or “and God finished on the sixth day His work which He made… .” Nahum M. Sarna comments briefly on verse two of Genesis in his work for the Genesis volume of The JPS Torah Commentary. “On the seventh day This phrase caused embarrassment to ancient translators and commentators, for it seems to be out of harmony with the context, implying some divine activity also on this day.” Sarna supposes that the הַשְּׁבִיעִי reading is the original and that the preposition בַּ could easily mean ‘by the’ thus alleviating any tension in the harmony of the text. Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) uses this translation stating: “and God completeth by the seventh day His work which He hath made… .” There are many other English translations that use this reading including the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), The Message (MSG), Contemporary English Version (CEV), and New International Version - UK (NIV-UK) to name a few. I agree with Sarna in his evaluation and selection of the original reading of the text being “the seventh” day reading. One of the main reasons for this choice is the author’s style in his narrative of the creation. The narrative has a very structured pattern and to have a reading of ‘the sixth day’ would break the harmony of the pattern established in the previous 31 verses. “The seventh day is the Lord’s Day, through which all the creativity of the preceding days achieves fulfillment…The seventh day is in polar contrast to the other six days, which are filled with creative activity.” Furthermore, I believe the other manuscripts are suffering from scribal error. It is easy to see how the word could have been mis-copied by reading from the sixth day lines above as well as logically thinking that God finished working “on” the sixth day. All in all I purport that literary style in this text far out weighs the logical contradiction caused by an “unclear” reading of a preposition.
יְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיֹּום הַשּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתֹּו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיֹּום הַשּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתֹּו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה׃
God completed by the seventh day his work, which he had done, and he ceased by the seventh day from all his work which he had done.
 Nahum M. Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis בראשית, (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), 15.
 ibid., 14.
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