Genesis 1:10 ויקרא אלהים ליבשה ארץ ולמקוה המים קרא ימים וירא אלהים כי טוב
Vulgate: Et vocavit Deus aridam Terram, congregationesque aquarum appellavit Maria. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum.
LXX: καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὁ θεὸς τὴν ξηρὰν γῆν, καὶ τὰ συστέματα τῶν ὑδάτων ἐκάλεσεν θαλάσσας· καὶ ἴδεν ὁ θεὸς ὅτι καλόν.
Douay-Rheims: And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
From what I can tell, the Hebrew word מקוה means "collection/congregation/gathering-together" and it is grammatically in the singular construct state here in Genesis 1:10. However, the Latin Vulgate and the LXX (in addition to the Greek translations of Aquila, of Symmachus, and of Theodotion, as quoted in Origen's Hexapla, PG 15) translate the word in the plural.
But vast majority of the English bibles translate in the singular. (Even the Douay-Rheims, surprisingly, which for the most part tends to follow the Vulgate.)
So should Genesis 1:10 be translated "collection" or "collections?"
Here are some ideas (both pro and con) that came to mind. Feel free to critque or add to them.
In favor of singular:
- The Hebrew word is grammatically singular, so it perhaps makes more sense to translate it "collection"
In favor of plural:
Even though מקוה is grammatically singular, perhaps it has a plural meaning? Kind of like how פְּנֵ֥י in Genesis 1:2 is grammatically plural but has a singular meaning (i.e. "face," not "faces")
Strengthening the above point, מקוה never appears in the plural form (at least not in the Hebrew scriptures)
It says that God called the congregation/congregations "Seas." Now seas is plural, so it makes sense that congregations should also be plural
Perhaps "congregation" and "congregations" have pretty much the same meaning so either translation is fine?
I want to point out also that the different bibles are by no means consistent on how they translate מקוה. The same word appears in Exodus 7:19, again in the singular, but English bibles tend to translate it in the plural in Exodus 7:19 even though they previously translated it in the singular in Genesis 1:10.
For the present purpose, I care more about understanding the grammar than the theological implications.