What is the meaning and root of the verb "יְהִי" in Genesis 1:3. I want to know more about its root, its other meanings and etc. Does it mean "create?"

וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר.

And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.

dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux.

وقال الله ليكن نور فكان نور.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya. What exactly are you confused about? Please edit your question to explain that, so we can give better answers.
    – Scimonster
    Feb 11, 2015 at 7:56
  • Shouldn't that be وقال الله تعالى: "ليكن نور". وكان هناك ضوء. to fit the other labguages? Feb 11, 2015 at 8:00
  • I found this Arabic translation in a website. The original Hebrew text use same words for "light" that is "אוֹר". So a good translation should use same word, not once "نور" and them "ضوء". Feb 11, 2015 at 8:21
  • @MehdiAbbassi Yeah it's just "fiat"
    – SAH
    Nov 3, 2016 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


As I understand it the root is היה the meaning being 'to be' or 'to exist' and this is the command of GOD 'Let there be' (light).

An example of the verb in use is found in Genesis 3:1: וְהַנָּחָשׁ הָיָה עָרוּם מִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה and the serpent was (i.e. 'he was' 3rd masculine singular of the root הָיָה)more crafty than any (all) the beast of the field

  • +1. Specifically, it's the masculine singular third-person jussive.
    – msh210
    Feb 13, 2015 at 1:04

From The SWORD Project for 01961:

hayah haw-yaw; a primitive root (compare 1933); to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary):--beacon, X altogether, be(-come), accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), do, faint, fall, + follow, happen, X have, last, pertain, quit (one-)self, require, X use. see HEBREW for 01933

And for 01933:

hava' haw-vaw' or havah haw-vaw'; a primitive root (compare 183, 1961) supposed to mean properly, to breathe; to be (in the sense of existence):--be, X have. see HEBREW for 0183 see HEBREW for 01961

And for 00183:

'avah aw-vaw' a primitive root; to wish for:--covet, (greatly) desire, be desirous, long, lust (after).

  • What is the SWORD Project? Feb 11, 2015 at 20:39
  • The SWORD Project - The CrossWire Bible Society at: crosswire.org/sword Feb 17, 2015 at 12:04
  • Thanks for the link. (You might edit that into your answer.) They are an overtly Christian organization, so without knowing what sources they use I wouldn't place much value on what they publish about the meanings of biblical text -- Christianity has a long record of distorting the text of the Tanakh. If they've quoted from a standard concordance or lexicon (like Strong's or BDB) it would be good to note that. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:33

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