Genesis 1:2 והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשך על־פני תהום ורוח אלהים מרחפת על־פני המים׃
(My translation of the bolded part) And darkness is on the face of the deep
My question regards the bolded section of the verse. Is the Author of Genesis making use of the so-called "historical present," or is something else going on here?
Here are some ideas:
He is indeed using the historical present, i.e. the clause is grammatically in the present tense in order to speak of the past as if it were happening now, pehaps to make it more vivid.
The Hebrew grammar tutorials are oversimplfying by saying that the sentence שרה מלכה means "Sarah is a queen." The sentence could just as well mean "Sarah was a queen" or "Sarah will be a queen."
The bolded section actually refers to the earth in the present (or when Genesis was composed), but this doesn't make the verse fallacious since there is always darkness on the face of the deep in some part of the world, even in the present day.
The Author is using ellipsis. He would have written וחשך היתה על־פני תהום , but omitted the word היתה for the sake of brevity.
Because היתה appears earlier in the verse, this automatically makes the rest of the verse past tense.
Which idea (if any) is correct? If either #1 or #3 is correct, I would translate the verse as "And darkness is on the face of the deep." But if #2, #4, or #5 is correct, I would translate it as, "And darkness was on the face of the deep."