Untranslatable "את" (ET)
by Rob Vanhoff
Have you ever heard a Bible teacher say that the “et” (את) is a mysterious, untranslatable word that holds all sorts of hidden meanings? I have. And at one time I believed it because I didn’t have the proper framework for evaluating the claims I was hearing. In this short article I hope to explain to you the facts of the matter so you will not be misguided like I was.
The first book of the Bible (reading from right to left) opens with:
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת האר
the earth – and the heavens – God created In-beginning
In the beginning God created (את) the heavens and (את) the earth…
If you look in an interlinear Bible [which I’ve attempted to imitate above. Looks good on my screen; apologies if it looks crazy on yours.], you will see that this strange word את (underlined above) has no translation below it. In other words, the את appears to be untranslatable! If it could be translatable, then my interlinear Bible would have a word directly below it!
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