And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis:1:26(kjv)

Can the hebrew adam(without article) mean "human" in a colective sense? The word adam with definite article can mean "many humans" like in Genesis 6:7 , but without article, can mean this?

3 Answers 3


Yes, that is a well attested usage of the word אָדָם. Gesenius wrote,1

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p. 13


Gesenius, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm. Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. Trans. Tregelles, Samuel Prideaux. London: Bagster, 1860.


Hi florentin constantin

Please, learn to use biblegateway.com and the NET Bible online ( https://netbible.org ). The NET Bible answers your question and the critical commentaries I have in Logos Bible Software all point out the same sort of details.

Yes, it can. All Hebrew grammarians I know have already pointed this out a long time ago and many modern translations actually translate it humankind (collective) precisely because that's the meaning it has in Gen 1.26.

The Heb. " adam " in Gen 1.26 does not have a definite article and it clearly refers to mankind or humankind in general. In Gen 1.27, it does have a definite article and it's used to refer back to the collective " adam ".

Older Bible translations had a tendency of translating " man ", which is collective.

Newer Bible translations correctly now translate " mankind " or " humankind ", which is evidently collective.

Let me cite, so you can see...

The NET Bible translator notes on Gen 1.26:

The Hebrew word is אָדָם (’adam), which can sometimes refer to man, as opposed to woman. The term refers here to humankind, comprised of male and female. The singular is clearly collective (see the plural verb, “[that] they may rule” in v. 26b) and the referent is defined specifically as “male and female” in v. 27. Usage elsewhere in Gen 1–11 supports this as well. In 5:2 we read: “Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and called their name ‘humankind’ (אָדָם).” The noun also refers to humankind in 6:1, 5–7 and in 9:5–6.

Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005).

The NET Bible translator notes on Gen 1.27:

The Hebrew text has the article prefixed to the noun (הָאָדָם, ha’adam). The article does not distinguish man from woman here (“the man” as opposed to “the woman”), but rather indicates previous reference (see v. 26, where the noun appears without the article). It has the same function as English “the aforementioned.”

Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005).

Now, some critical commentaries:

Gordon Wenham:

אדם is “mankind, humanity” as opposed to God or the animals (אישׁ is man as opposed to woman). Adam, the first man created and named, is representative of humanity (cf. TDOT 1:75–87; THWAT 1:41–57). (For a diachronic explanation of the variant spellings in chaps. 2–3 see Barthélemy, 1981). 27 Whereas v 26 used the anarthrous אדם, here in v 27 the definite article האדם is used, and clearly mankind in general, “male and female,” not an individual, is meant.

Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1–15 (vol. 1; Word Biblical Commentary; Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 32.


Adam literally translates from Hebrew to English as "man" and can also refer to "mankind". Very creative name, like naming your dog "dog".

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