“Ruling Over” the World: Genesis 1:26

Question

In Genesis 1:26 and again in 1:28 a word is often translated as “dominion” or “rule over.” What is that word in Hebrew? I have heard that there is a connection between that word and shepherding– is this true? And lastly, the charge to “rule over” seems to be connected to “according to the likeness of us, in image of us”– seemingly to mean to “rule over” as our Creator would “rule over”, and in the context of the Creation story: as a creator. Any comments will be appreciated. Thank you.

7 months

Answers

  1. The Hebrew word is “vayirdu”. Rashi, the foremost commentary on the Torah explains that the word vayirdu comes from the words “ridui” (dominion) and “yeridah” (under). Accordingly, Rashi teaches that when humans do as they were put into this world to do they have dominion over the animals but if we do not act in the way that we are commanded to then the beasts will “rule” over us.

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