I'm a little confused by the second דֹּֽר in this verse, which ends the verse.

וַיֹּאמֶר֩ ע֨וֹד אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה כֹּֽה־תֹאמַר֮ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ יְהוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹתֵיכֶ֗ם אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֛ק וֵאלֹהֵ֥י יַעֲקֹ֖ב שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם זֶה־שְּׁמִ֣י לְעֹלָ֔ם וְזֶ֥ה זִכְרִ֖י לְדֹ֥ר דֹּֽר׃

And God saith again unto Moses, `Thus dost thou say unto the sons of Israel, Jehovah, God of your fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this [is] My name -- to the age, and this My memorial, to generation -- generation. (YLT)

(Exodus 3:5)

You can see that the YLT adds an em-dash. But it still isn't clear how to interpret the second דֹּֽר. More idiomatic would be "from generation to generation", but that clearly isn't written here.

How would you translate the phrase לְדֹ֥ר דֹּֽר? What do you understand it to mean?

  • Firstly, I have 3:15. Also, I think of it more as "for generation after generation". See also the Tagumin here.
    – user22655
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 4:04
  • 1
    A gentle request: could you please not wrap Hebrew in <h1> tags? It is very hard to read on my system as it makes everything bold. And when this site gets a custom layout and Hebrew script will look normal, these post won't look normal.
    – user2672
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


Hebrew likes to repeat words. You will need to check grammars and lexicons for the particular meaning. In this case, it has the sense of all generations:

(iv) When the same noun is repeated in the singular—with or without the conjunction וְ or with a preposition—it has a distributive sense. (Cf. §29.3/(viii).)

שָׁנָה שָׁנָה ‍year by year (Deut. 14:22)

דּוֹר־וָדוֹר ‍all generations / every generation (Deut. 32:7)‍

שָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה ‍year by year (Deut. 15:20)

בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר ‍morning by morning (Exod. 16:21)

Van der Merwe, C., Naudé, J., Kroeze, J., Van der Merwe, C., Naudé, J., & Kroeze, J. (1999). A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (electronic ed., p. 184). Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Another reference is BDB:

b. usually of duration to come, future age(s), לְדֹר דֹּר Ex 3:15

Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 189). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Here it is in Gesenius's grammar:

(d) The repetition of single words, and even of whole groups of words, especially to express entirety, or in a distributive sense. The following cases are more particularly to be noticed: 1. The repetition of one or more words to express the idea of every, all, as יוֹם יוֹם Gn 39:10, &c., day by day, every day; שָׁנָה שָׁנָה year by year, Dt 14:22; אִישׁ אִישׁ every man, Ex 36:4; with בְּ before each, as בַּבֹּ֫קֶר בַּבֹּ֫קֶר Ex 16:21 every morning (and similarly before a group of words, Lv 24:8), for which the distributive לְ is also used, לַבֹּ֫קֶר לַבֹּ֫קֶר 1 Ch 9:27, and with one plural לַבְּקָרִים Ps 73:14, Jb 7:18 parallel with לִרְגָעִים every moment. Somewhat different are the instances with בְּ before the second word only, e.g. יוֹם בְּיוֹם day by day, 1 Ch 12:22; שָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה year by year, Dt 15:20, 1 S 1:7 (but in verse 3 מִיָּמִים יָמִ֫ימָה), כְּפַ֫עַם בְּפַ֫עַם Nu 24:1, Ju 16:20, 20:30 f., 1 S 3:10 as at other times. Also With the two words united by means of wāw copulative, אִישׁ וְאִישׁ Ps 87:5, or אִישׁ וָאִישׁ Est 1:8; דּוֹר וָדוֹר all generations, Dt 32:7; יוֹם וָיוֹם Est 3:4; cf. Est 8:9, Ezr 10:14, 1 Ch 26:13 and often (cf. Cheyne, Bampton Lectures, 1889, p. 479, according to whom the use of the ו copulative with the second word is especially common in Ch and Est, and therefore belongs to the later language; Driver, Introd.6, p. 538, No. 35); sometimes (but with the exception of Ps 45:18 only in very late passages) with a pleonastic כָּל־ preceding, Ps 145:13, Est 2:11, 9:28, 2 Ch 11:12, &c.

Gesenius, F. W. (1910). Gesenius’ Hebrew grammar. (E. Kautzsch & S. A. E. Cowley, Eds.) (2d English ed., pp. 395–396). Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Biblical Hebrew repeats itself in order to emphasis to meaning. Sometimes the whole word repeats, and sometimes it just the ending of the word. Examples: שחר - youth שחרחר - very young. שחור black (color) שחרחר ("blacker" then just black). אדום - red (color) אדמדם - ("redder" then just red). האדום האדום הזה (the soup of Jacob) = very red soup.

When speaking of time, when we say דור דור we basically means for generation to generation till the end of time. One might use דורות (plural) for expressing the same meaning, but it will lose the "strength" of the purpose.

  • Meshu's answer is a more general answer. For example, with adjectives when comparative and superlatives make sense, 2x can have the sense of comparative and 3x superlative. "Holy, Holy, Holy" means "most Holy." However, "Holy of Holies" also means "most Holy." Repeating the verb with i's infinitive adds intensity. Grammars spell this out in detail.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 19:52
  • 1
    Actually modern hebrew is opposite with this examples: אדמדם is less red then אדום etc.
    – A. Meshu
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 19:56
  • @Meshu I'm not sure I understand what more red and less red means. That is unless you're talking about RGB mixing of colors or mixing paints. But, in either case more red has a different effect. Of course, the Hebrew grammars I'm referring to are Biblical Hebrew grammars.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 20:02
  • אדמדם in biblical hebrew is deep red while in modern hebrew is pale red.
    – A. Meshu
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 20:05
  • @Meshu I'm wondering if that's the influence of color TV, projectors, and monitors (additive colors) versus dyes and paints (subtractive colors).
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 20:10

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