In Genesis 1:16b we find that God made two great luminaries, then in b part we find that the lesser light was to dominate or rule over the night which is followed by the waw conjunction and the accusative marker in construct with the noun for stars. Does the accusative marker shows that the stars were also the object over which the lesser light (which we think of as the moon) to rule over. It may sound weird but it is so in some translation eg. "And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars (ESV)" In some translations we find, "He also made the stars." (making it a complete sentence) when there is not.



The accusative marker אֶת (et) marks the definite direct object(s) of the verb. The noun הַכּוֹכָבִים, "the stars", in וְאֵת הַכּוֹכָבִים is grammatically marked as one of the definite direct objects of the verb וַיַּעַשׂ and thus is one of the things that God made. (Though some English translations render לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת as a verb "to rule", it is not a verb and thus cannot have הַכּוֹכָבִים as its object. Instead, it is a noun in construct state with a prefixed preposition meaning "for the dominion/rule of". This is why there is no accusative marker before הַלַּיְלָה "the night" in לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַלַּיְלָה.) If the accusative marker before הַכּוֹכָבִים were absent from the text—לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַלַּיְלָה וְהַכּוֹכָבִים— then the phrase could mean "for the dominion of the night and of the stars", i.e., the stars being also under the dominion of the "lesser light" (cf. e.g., תוֹלְדוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ "the generations of the heavens and of the earth" in Gen 2:4 and מִקְנֵה הַשָּׂדֶה וְהַמְּעָרָה "the purchase of the field and of the cave" in Gen 49:32). The presence of the accusative marker, however, makes this reading untenable.

As for the ESV rendering of this verse, the em dashes are parenthesizing "the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night". This usage of the em dash is equivalent to rendering the sentence as "And God made the two great lights (the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night) and the stars". The em dashes indicate that the main sentence is "And God made the two great lights and the stars". The translation is correctly indicating that "the stars" is one of the things that God made.

Also, compare Ps. 136:9 where both the moon and the stars are dominions in the night.


In the verse you quote there are four את (at). Now, if we interpret them as 'accusative markers' the speech appears fluid to me.

In fact, all these את (at) respond to the implicit virtual question "What God made [עשה] (in that creative period)?". These 'accusative markers' do not respond to any question about the 'rule' (משל). Instead, each one to-the noun-prefixed את (at) identify the things God made (עשה) in that 'day'.

What things, in particular?

  1. two greater luminaries (or, 'light points', an up-to date expression, it seems to me...), and specifically
  2. the greatest luminary (sun),
  3. the lesser (among the two 'great' ones) luminary (moon), and
  4. the stars.

Interestingly, since the sun and the moon are called (as a group) 'great luminary' this indicates that there are other lesser luminaries (aside from the first two). And these lesser luminaries (from a viewpoint of a 'natural/naked' [not technological] man on earth) are the stars.

  • @Mike Borden. Sorry, I do not spot - in this context - a scrap of clue which indicates me to conclude in the same way you metaphorize... – Saro Fedele Aug 3 '20 at 9:34

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